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Disturbing the dead and irritating the living!

What got me interested in genealogy was a note that my mother copied. It was during a visit from her cousin (they both shared the same grandmother). The note was purported to list several generations of their grandmother's ancestors. Unfortunately, the note was written in the English script of the late 1800's. Woe to the Yank attempting to translate that in 1950's!

After chasing the words for nearly three years, I believe I have the correct translation. About 1900, Mary Ann (Annie) Curtis Somers wrote:

"My Grandma's Mother was the daughter of Brasier, Esq. of Cobham Court, Kent. Her married name was Russell. My Grandma's married name was Wicks and my mother's name was Curtis. Mr. John Russell, Mother's Uncle, was of Tillingdown Farm, Redhill, Kent."

The writer was the daughter of George Curtis and Mary Ann Brasier Wicks, born 8 May, 1851 in Croydon, Surrey and christened there at St John's 10 January, 1852. Her father was a builder (bricklayer) and she lived in Isle of Sheppey, London and Baltonsborough, Somerset, passing there on 6 January 1917. She arrived in Baltonsborough in the early 1870's and married a local blacksmith, George Somers 2 May, 1876. George Somer's family goes back many generations in Somerset. The family of George Curtis comes from Billericay, Essex.

Mary Ann Brasier (MAB) Wicks was the child of James Wicks, a groom and Mary (who by the above was Mary Russell). MAB was christened in Croydon at St. Johns 29 August, 1817 and died in London in 1892. James the father's birth has eluded me although there is a likely James christened 19 April, 1770 in Crowhurst, Kent. James died in Croydon 21 March, 1839 at 69.

Mary, the mother was living with MAB (nee Wicks) Curtis and her family in Croydon in 1841 and listed her age as 60 and profession as Needlewoman. In 1851 she was a housekeeper in Beddington, listing her birth city as Croydon and her age as 62. Mary died 11 August, 1858 in Croydon and her grand daughter reported the death, giving her age as 79.

I have found no other definite children for the Wicks couple but a James William Wickes christened at St John 31 May, 1807 is likely. I have not found a suitable marriage.

However, John Russell and Tillingdown Farm did exist! The lease for Tillingdown came into the hands of the Brasier family circa 1700 or before. It passed to James Russell (son of John Russell of Godstone and Mary Pike) in the late 1700's and to his son, John Russell upon the death of James in 1803. John married Mary Lipscombe in 1815 and died in 1829 without children. His extensive will seems to name all in the family: his wife, brothers, sisters and cousins (some of which were Brasier's and some of which were Searle's) but there is not a mention of a Mary Russell-Wicks. This is where the writings of Annie Somers can not be proven to be correct. Had John Russell been the Uncle of Annie's mother, MAB Wicks, Grandma Mary should have been a sister to John of Tillingdown but she was not in the will and no christening to John's parents, James Russell and Ann Searle seems appropriate.

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Comment by Carolyn Preston on July 29, 2009 at 2:17pm
But perhaps a member of the Surrey Group that is in Surrey might volunteer to help you.
Comment by Fred Close on July 18, 2009 at 2:30pm

Thank you but I have been a member of that group for some time and you have tried several times (as have others in the group) to crack the riddle but it still comes down to time in your Center and I am not envisioning myself in England any time soon.




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