Kent England Research
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Kent England Research   

Genealogical Research in Kent, England, specialising in South West Kent

A small selection of odd entries which have been noted over the years. Please note that these are simply provided for general interest. The sentiments expressed in the contemporary notes on some of these entries do not reflect my own views. They are, though, interesting in themselves as reflecting those less "PC" times in which they were written. Those times were less enlightened in other ways too, as witnessed by the reference to illiteracy, a much more widespread problem then than now.

Tunbridge Wells 1851 Census - an unusually humorous entry:-

HO 107/1614/Enumeration District 3a/schedule 20 (p.7/f.28) Mount Ephraim, parish of Speldhurst, Town of Tunbridge Wells

Julia Kennedy Head Wid 33 [occupation] Looking after my Sons Born Middlesex, St. Andrew Holborn
George Kennedy Son 7 [occupation] Eating & Drinking Born Cambridge
Charles Kennedy Son 6 Eating & Drinking Born Warwickshire, Rugby
Arthur Kennedy Son 5 Eating & Drinking Born Warwickshire, Rugby
James Kennedy Son 3 Eating & Drinking Born Middlesex, St. Pancras
Julia Hollins Niece 11 Eating & Drinking Born Birmingham
(and two female servants)

Further notes - I used to live just down the hill from Mount Ephraim and came across the above entry around 1977, when indexing Tunbridge Wells 1851 Census. It stuck in my mind as so unusual and humorous. I was therefore interested to be contacted in February 2008 by Mrs. A. Smith, who had seen this entry on my website and recognised this Kennedy family as appearing in her husband's ancestry. Mrs. Smith also added, "Three of the four little boys grew up to be a barrister, an architect and a newspaper proprietor, so their Mother seems to have done quite a good job of bringing them up. The fourth died at the age of 25. The Mother did not remarry, albeit her husband died in 1848 - she died at Westgate on Sea in 1901."

Surname variations, possible bigamy and consequent confusion - the following is taken from Farnborough, Kent, baptisms (P144/1/4):-

1853 Jul 31 Jane dau of James & Jane Johnson of Farnborough, Labourer

Extensive note at top of page:-

"Jane Alchorn was married on Sep. 16. 1850 to one James Coghlan; afterwards, upon information (as she states) of his being already married - she considered herself at liberty to marry James Johnson."

The marriage of James Coghlan and Jane Alchorn does indeed appear in Farnborough parish registers on exactly the date given (Sep 16. 1850) but there is no trace of the marriage of James Johnson and Jane (Alchorn or Coghlan?) there, at least on to 1861. To date, such a marriage has not been found in the GRO indexes either. However, James and Jane Johnson are listed in Bromley 1861 Census and in Green Street Green, Chelsfield, 1871 Census as man and wife, with several children stated to have been born in Farnborough, Kent, all but one of whose baptisms also appear in the Farnborough registers, all under the Johnson surname.

Jane Alchorn herself was baptised at Farnborough in 1829 as daughter of William and Ann "Olchin". Several later children of this couple were baptised in the parish as Alchin, Alchorn and Alchorne, while Farnborough 1851 Census lists them as William and Ann Alchin, with three children and a grandchild all given as Alchin. This 1851 Census entry also shows their daughter Jane "Cocklin", stated to be married, aged 22, and born in Farnborough.

Extreme surname variability once again - the following Alcock etc baptisms all appear in Brenchley parish registers (P45/1/5), there being many other entries for the surname (and variants) in the Brenchley registers.

1816 Sep 5 Rebecca dau of Daniel & Ann Accock alias Alcock of Brenchley, Labourer

Note starting at bottom of page and then along right side of page reads:-

"This Name has been spelt by me heretofore thus (Accott) owing to the Ignorance of the Parents who cd not read or write. I have reason to think that the Name ought to be written Alcock, as the Family were so called when they lived in Pembury Parish, & I believe registered so by the late Vicar of Pembury, Mr Whitaker. A: Kersteman."

1830 Jun 13 John son of George & Sarah Allcock (some spell it Acott) of Brenchley, Farmer's Bailiff

1834 Dec 28 Daniel son of David & Abigail Allcock (some spell it Acott) of Brenchley, Labourer

These entries are not only interesting in themselves but do also illustrate how difficult it can be to decide which surname spellings to group together, for example when indexing. Sometimes it is only such helpful comments, or other chance finds, which reveal the connections between entries relating to the same family.

Matthew Copus
307 Dale Street
Kent ME4 6QR