Archive for the ‘Somerset’ Category

From Pitminster to PEI – a very long journey!

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

When I started investigating my Pursey family history, the letters PEI held an allure; the more so when I discovered they referred to Prince Edward Island, Canada.

For many a long year, that’s what they remained, despite a page on the Island Register website, listing the children of Annie Houston and one Thomas Pursey, including Howard, John Franklin, Bessie Maud, William Allan, Melinda, George, Maria and Wallace Charles. It noted that “She married THOMAS T. PURSEY July 04, 1860 in PEI. He was born July 16, 1838 in England.” Needless to say, no such Thomas made himself known.

One day, on the Family Search site, I came across a death certificate for a Thomas G Pursey, which noted he died of pneumonia in Boston, Massachusetts on 29 January, 1908, aged 69 years and 6 months. The specific age no doubt providing the evidence for the birth date given above. More interesting was the fact that Thomas’s parents names were also listed: Thomas Pursey and Sarah Shillick. But which Thomas?

A trawl of the London records shows that a Thomas married Sarah Sellick on 4 June, 1826 in Marylebone. If you’ve searched the London records for Thomas Purseys, living about that time, you’ll know there are more than a good number! So there the search stalled once again.

On a parralel track, I’d been long looking into the families of Thomas and Eleanor Studley. Among their children a pattern in their professions began to emerge – they worked with coaches and horses. The only one that was ‘untraceable was son Thomas, born August 1802 in Pitminster, Somerset. Newspaper reports of a insolvent debtor – journeyman coachsmith Thomas Pursey – appeared in 1837 and 1846. One of these placed him at Fredrick Street.

A further search of the London burial records indicates a Thomas Pursey, of 6 Woodfield Road, Ormer Green, Paddington as having been buried 4 March 1849, aged 45. Subsequent census searches show widowed Sarah living with her mother (1851), and sister Betsy, b 1800, son Isaac, George Thomas, 11 – visitor, and John 4, nephew (1861).

More trawling showed Sarah and Thomas had a number of children, among them – and very confusingly – a Thomas G Pursey and a George Thomas Pursey. The latter having his own son (with another Sarah – Collins) George Thomas. It is this George Thomas who I believe is the visitor above.

In the end, it was Betsy who led me to Thomas, son of Thomas and Eleanor Studley. And whilst the evidence is still inconclusive, Thomas and Eleanor’s son is, I believe, the father of Thomas G Pursey who died in Boston in 1908, and is the link between Pitminster and PEI.

Help please!

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

I’ve now got a pretty good idea of the spread and breadth of Purseys down the ages. There are many loose ends though and one intriguing one to start the ball rolling is Joseph Pursey, b 1815 in Taunton (St James) to Benjamin and Ann.

He married Elizabeth Coles and as far as I know, they had just one daughter – Elizabeth.

Like many other Purseys, he was a publican. In 1849, he took over the Railway Hotel in Williton, just north of Sampford Brett. He left in 1867, or thereabouts. The ad for a new proprietor said that he had ‘satisfactory reasons’ for leaving.

If you know more about Joseph, or two of his eight siblings William b 1807 or Daniel b 1810, or parents Benjamin and Ann, please get in touch!

John Percy & Elizabeth Young

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

For some time on my Walton/Street tree, John Pursey was a non-entity. I originally had him down as having died in Walton as a child – the perils of having, when I started the project, used others’ research in trying to put together as full a list of descendants as possible.

Then I came across an old post by Ronae Pursey on Genealogy.com on whether the Purseys and Percies are actually related. She said: “I even had a great great Uncle who changed from Pursey to Percy, reason not clear but one story is he went from Australia to New Caledonia and they refused to accept the Pursey spelling (French colony).”

Coincidentally, I was looking up Canadian records and came across one John Percy on the Find a Grave website. The details of the inscription are quite detailed: “John Percy Oct. 10, 1872 aged 62 yrs 4 mo’s A native of Somersetshire England.” A check on the Pursey Project database threw up one obvious contender – John Pursey, born in May 1808, to William and Ann (Taylor) in Walton, Somerset.

What made me believe the two hitherto unconnected Johns were one and the same was the fact that John’s older sister Frances also married a ‘Young’ – John Young. Also, not so very far away Durham, Ontario where John is buried, is George Gallop Pursey (son of Francis Frampton Pursey and Ann Gallop). He emigrated to Canada in 1857 and settled in York County, Ontario. Then there is the fact that both John Percy and George Gallop Pursey were committed non-conformists – as were a good number of the Purseys from Walton. Finally, there is the fact that a number of John’s cousins from related branches of the same tree also left England to find their fortune overseas.

None of the above makes it an absolute certainty that the two Johns – Percy and Pursey – are in fact the same person. But I believe it is more the possible.

John Pursey and Elizabeth Young married on 19 March, 1832 in Walton, Somerset. Their children were all  christened Percy. Eleven in all, they were: Uriah (1833), Archibald (1834), William (1836), Frances (1838), Mary Ann (1840), James (1842), Sylvanus (1844), Uriah (again) (1846), John (1848) and Fred (1850).