Imagine my delight when I discovered a Baker line in my ancestry and to make it even better, Sarah Alice Baker was born of Thomas Baker and his wife, Rebecca, who was Gray before marriage. Two surnames which strike fear into the heart of any family historian!
The 1851 census for North Sway showed my great-great-great-grandmother, Sarah Alice (referred to as just Sarah), aged 14 and born in Eling, Hampshire. With an older brother, Thomas and a younger sister, Augusta and younger brother, James, Sarah’s father is noted as being aged 55, a butcher, born in Semley, Wiltshire. At Asherbridge, Eling in 1841 [HO107/399/9/54/2], the census simply states that Thomas was an inn keeper ‘not born in the county’. His eldest daughter, Lavinia, was still living at home, though not evident in the 1851 census.
Strangely, Mary Lavinia was baptised twice – once in Eling on 6 August 1830 and also in Donhead St Mary, Wiltshire on 26 December 1831, possibly on a return visit to the Baker family for Christmas?
Thomas married Rebecca Gray in Eling on 26 August 1823. Rebecca was an only child as far as I can make out, the daughter of Richard and Susannah (nee Forrester) Gray, baptised 14 December 1800 having been born just over a month earlier on 12 November.
Thomas appears to change his occupation more times than I have had hot dinners this week – poulterer, inn keeper, butcher, cattle dealer … the list goes on and no two records give the same occupation! Although it is unclear when he moved from Semley/Tisbury/Donhead area in Wiltshire, he settled in the New Forest in the 1820s and remained there until his decease at the age of 62. He is buried in St Lukes Sway.
But why did he move ‘so far’ in the 1820s? Semley to Eling is nearly 50 miles on today’s roads and would have been a vast distance to travel in the early nineteenth century.
I guess I should be grateful that I have one ancestral line to trace in the county I now live in, though I do wish the Bakers were slightly more inventive with their names – Thomas, son of Thomas, who had a son called Thomas….