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Sunday, November 23, 2014

More Hunter (And Related) Family Records

John Hunter's parents, as we have seen on his marriage certificate and on his brother Hugh's birth record, are James Hunter and Sarah Ann Godfrey.  From the 1901 census which gives his age as 51, we can estimate a birth date of circa 1850 for John, although his death record, found on Ancestry, gives his age at death as 60 and the year of birth as circa 1846 (place of death, incidentally, is given as Ballymoney).   I think I have found a birth record for him, but it is dated to 1844, earlier than either extrapolated date.

I found this on RootsIreland.  It's missing the maternal first name, but the last name matches.  Of course, this could always be an older child born to the Hunter family and then deceased in childhood--sometimes those names are given to later children, especially if it is a significant name in the family. 

Name:  John Hunter
DOB:  October 19, 1844
Date of Baptism:  November 16, 1844
Address:  Kiltinny
Parish/District:  Portstewart
County:  Derry
Denomination:  Presbyterian
Father:  James Hunter
Mother:  Godfrey

We don't have a marriage record for James Hunter and Sarah Ann Godfrey, so we don't currently have information on their parents' names.  However, their death records give us an approximate year of birth. 

"Ireland, Civil Registrations Death Index, 1865-1958" on Ancestry.

James Hunter, died July-Sept. 1889 (matches date given in will index of June 24, 1889.
Registration District:  Coleraine
Death Age:  78
Year of Birth:  circa 1811
FHL film #: 101595

Sarah Ann Hunter, died Jan-March 1897
Registration District:  Coleraine
Death Age:  75
Year of Birth:  circa 1822
FHL film #:  101599

I found an actual copy of James Hunter's will on the  PRONI (public records of Northern Ireland) website.  Here are the main points:

  • the will is dated 10 March 1889, and James identifies himself as being "of the Townland of Park in Co. of Antrim 
  • James bequeaths all of his property to his wife Sarah Ann Hunter while she lives, and then to his son John Hunter after his wife's death. His wife and son John are his two executors
  • he bequeaths to his daughter Mary Ann  Hunter the sum of 300 pounds to be paid yearly at 10 pounds per year
  • he bequeaths to his son Thomas Hunter 400 pounds to be paid yearly at 16 pounds per year
  • he bequeaths to his son Hugh Hunter "50 acres of perpetuity in the Townland of West Park" where he is to build a home and offices 
  • he asks his family to live together for as long as possible, and asks his wife to provide for his grandson Stewart Hunter
  • if any of his children are to die, their portion shall go to their siblings, except if his daughter is to die her portion should go to her son if living, and if he is not living it should go to her brothers--I'm not clear if this means that she has a son or only that she might one day have a son
  • witnesses are Hugh McFadden and, James McAfee 
  • James signs with a mark (i.e. he cannot sign his name)

I also found a will for Stewart Hunter, John's nephew, who was living with John and Annie in the 1901 census.  He died shortly afterwards, on May 2, 1902.  Probate was granted on October 31 of the same year.   Stewart wrote the will on April 26, 1902,  just a few days before his death.  Stewart was a young man and did not have a lot to give, but here are the significant parts of his will:

  • he identifies himself as being of "The Park Priestland Bushmills C. antim Ireland"
  • he names his mother, Mary Ann Hunter, and leaves her 50 pounds
  • he leaves 10 pounds each to his Aunt Annie Hunter  and his Uncle Hugh Hunter
  • he leaves 5 pounds to his Uncle Thomas Hunter
  • he leaves the residue of his money to his Uncle John Hunter 
His mother, Mary Ann Hunter, possibly had Stewart out of wedlock since there is no mention of a husband for her in any records I have seen.

Here is a will which sheds light on the family of Sarah Ann Godfrey, the wife of James Hunter. It was written by her brother John Godfrey, and it names a number of siblings, including Sarah Ann. The will is dated May 19, 1879.  Main points include:

  • he identifies himself as being "of Ballymacombs in the Parish of Ballyscullion in the county of Londonderry, Farmer"
  • he leaves the bulk of his estate, including property, to his nephew John Godfrey of Ballynease, the second son of his brother Rowley Godfrey when he comes of age
  • if John Godfrey should die before he comes of age, he leaves the estate to John's brother Thomas Godfrey (Thomas would also be a nephew of John Godfrey's) 
  • he leaves his "beloved sister Sarah Ann Godfrey Hunter"  2 pounds a year for 12 years
  • he leaves his sister Martha Godfrey Huston 40 pounds to be paid over 3 years, and then 2 pounds a year for 5 years
  • he leaves his sister Elizabeth Godfrey McCullough 2 pounds yearly for 12 years 
  • he leaves his sister Hessy Godfrey Morrison 40 pounds to be paid over 3 years, then 2 pounds a year for five years 
  • he leaves his sister Nancy Godfrey Johnston 5 pounds 
  • he leaves his sister Mary Ann Godfrey Crawford 5 pounds 
  • he leaves his niece Mary, daughter of his brother Rowly, 20 pounds when she comes of age
  • he leaves several ministers in the area money to buy "Tracts and New Testaments to be distributed to the Sabbath Scholars"
  • he names his brother Rowley Godfrey of Ballynease and William Bruce Junior of Mullaghboy executors 

This will gives us the name of many of Sarah Ann (Godfrey) Hunter's siblings, which hopefully will help establish her parentage.  With these names, we can look for birth or marriage records for this family.  This is what I have located so far from RootsIreland:

On February 8, 1853, Nancy Godfrey of Ballynease marries Samuel Johnston of Magherafelt, occupation clerk.  The marriage takes place at the Parish/District of First Bellaghy, Co. Derry. The grooms's father is Samuel Johnston, farmer, and the bride's father is Thomas Godfrey, also a farmer. Witnesses are James Steele and Robert Johnson (sic).

On June 1, 1861, Martha Godfrey of Ballyneese (sic) marries William Houston, also of Ballyneese, a farmer. The marriage is recorded in the Magherafelt Registrar's Office, Co. Derry.  The husband's father is Robert Houston, a farmer, and the bride's father is Thomas Godfrey, also a farmer.  The witnesses are Archibald Haw and Nancy Johnson.  (see above)

On January 13, 1865, Rowley Godfry (sic) of Ballynease, farmer, marries Eliza Stewart of Ballymacpeake.  The wedding takes place in First Bellamy, Co. Derry.  The husband's father is Thomas Godfry, a farmer, and Robert Stewart, a farmer.  Witnesses are Robert Stewart and John Adams.

On May 28, 1866, Hester Godfry (sic) of Ballynease marries Robert Morrison, a farmer,  of Harvey Hill.  The wedding takes place in First Bellaghy, Co. Derry.  The groom's father is Hugh Morrison, a farmer, and the bride's father is Thomas Godfry (sic), a farmer.  The witnesses are Andrew Brady and John Godfry.

I think we can deduce that Sarah Ann Godfrey's father was a farmer named Thomas Godfrey.  Too bad her mother is not named in these records.

PRONI also has a record of (but not an image, unfortunately), for the will of John Hunter's brother Hugh Hunter.

"Hugh Hunter of West Park Rathfriland county Antrim retired farmer died November 27 1953 Probate Belfast 5 May to James Hunter farmer and William McAleese shop assistant.  Effects 4483 pounds 7 s." 

And also for Sarah Ann (Godfrey) Hunter's brother Rowley Godfrey:

" Probate of the will of Rowley Godfrey late of Ballynease County Londonderry Farmer who died 11 August 1909 granted at Londonderry to Thomas Godfrey and William John McIntyre Farmers."   The date of the grant was November 4, 1909, and the value of the estate was 507 pounds 6s. 11d. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Annie McCarter

Annie McCarter or McCarthur was the mother of Molly Stewart Hunter.  I have found a probable birth record for her on the RootsIreland website.  All information is extracted.

Name:  Annie McCarter
DOB:  11 Feb. 1868

Address:  Killowen Street Killowen
Parish/District:  Coleraine
County:  Co. Derry
Father:  John McCarter
Occupation:  Post Car Driver
Mother:  Eliza Finlay
Sponsor/Informant:  Eliza McCarter

This record fits with all known information about Annie (she seems to have been actually named Annie, not Anne) and gives us both her parents names.  Two other children of John McCarter and Eliza Finlay have birth records on this database:

John McCarter, born August 29, 1869,  all the same information except father John McCarter is listed as being a "Car Driver" without the "Post", and Robert McCarter, born July 11, 1871.  All three records are civil registrations, not church records.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Diving Into Irish Genealogy: Molly (Hunter) Fyfe

I haven't really done any work on the Irish side of my husband's family, partly because not a lot is known about that branch of the family, and partly because I'm not very familiar with Irish resources.  Ancestry, upon which I rely a great deal, doesn't have a lot of great records for Ireland, and the site that does, RootsIreland, had a very messy and expensive pay-per-use billing system the last time I checked.  However, it has switched to a more reasonably priced time-based subscription service, so I have purchased a one-month subscription to try it out and see what I can find.  I'm excited since Molly, or Granny Fyfe as she was known to Doug and I, was a special person to us both.  I have very fond memories of her. 

Granny Fyfe on her motorcycle

Here's what I know about our Irish ancestors.  My husband's grandmother, Molly Fyfe, was born Mary Stewart Hunter.  Her marriage record names her parents as John Hunter and Annie McCarter.  Family oral reports say that she had a sister named Sarah, that her parents both died when the children were young, and that she and her sister were raised by a couple who lived in Scotland.  Their birth home was near Bush Mills, Ireland, which is in County Antrim.  From her marriage certificate we can calculate that she was born circa 1904.   We know her birthday was April 2nd.  There is a database on Ancestry, "Ireland, Civil Registration Birth Index 1864-1968" which has an entry for a Mary Stewart Hunter being born between April and June 1904 in Ballymoney, Ireland, but it has no additional data (parent's names, for example, or exact birth date).  I can't find a corresponding record on RootsIreland. This is almost certainly her, though--the name (including middle name), time frame, and place are all correct. 

I have located what looks like Molly's parents' marriage information on my first series of searches, so that's an encouraging start!  Unfortunately it is extracted information, so I can't see the original record, which is a little disappointing.  However, here is what the record says.

Date of Marriage:  October 24, 1900. 
Place:  Ballyrashane, Co. Derry, Ireland (Ballyrashane is near the border between Derry and Antrim, and has at various times been in either county)
Husband:  John Hunter, Occupation Farmer
Wife:  Annie McCarthur (sic), Occupation Domestic Servant
Husband's father:  James Hunter, Occupation Farmer
Witnesses:  Hugh Hunter, Sarah Taggart

The record tells us that neither John nor Annie had been previously married, and that they both belonged to the Church of Ireland.  John's address is given as Park Ballywillin, and Annie's address is given as Beardiville.  Unfortunately, Annie's parents names are not given, and we don't know the relationship of Hugh Hunter to John. 

I also found the marriage record of Molly's sister Sarah Hunter.

Date of Marriage:  February 18, 1915
Place of Marriage: Agherton, Co. Derry
Husband:  Charles Frederick Bacon, Occupation Fisherman
Wife:  Sarah Hunter
Husband's father:  James Bacon, Occupation Fisherman
Wife's father:   John Hunter, Occupation Farmer
Witnesses:  William Shaw, Sarah Ann Hunter

Again, this is a first marriage for them both, and they are married in the Church of Ireland.  Both Sarah and Charles give their address as Heathmount Portstewart.  

On the National Archives of Ireland website, I also found an index of wills which includes a listing for John Hunter, Molly's father. His executors include a man named John Taggart (remember that a Sarah Taggart was a witness at his wedding).  Are the Taggart family friends or relatives?  

Hunter John [30] 14 January Probate of the Will (and one Codicil) of John Hunter late of West Park County Antrim Farmer who died 27 July 1906 granted at Dublin to David Huey M.D. and John Taggart Farmer.  Effects 247 19s. 6d.

 John's wife Annie Hunter left less than half of her husband's estate.  She has named the same two executors as her late husband. 

Hunter Annie [329] 6 May.  Probate of the Will of Annie Hunter late of West Park County Antrim Widow who died 10 March 1914 granted at Dubin (sic) to David Huey M.D. and John Taggart Farmer Effects 120 14s. 6d. 

There is also a record of the will of John's father James.

Hunter James [295] 19 August. The Will of James Hunter late of Park County Antrim who died 24 June 1889 at same place was proved at Belfast by Sarah Ann Hunter Widow and John Hunter Farmer both of Park the Executors.  Effects 401 9s. 3d.
The wills themselves can apparently be ordered from the Archives, but they're pricey.

Census records can be searched on the Irish Archives website.  Again, the information is transcribed.
I found Molly and her family on the 1911 census, which was quite exciting!  Notice that the Hunter family is now described as Presbyterian rather than Church of Ireland.  Annie, who would die in 1914, was apparently already ill, as there is a nurse in residence.  The ages allow us to calculate birth years.  The "extra information" on the census shows that Annie said she was born in Derry County, Ireland.

And here is the 1901 census, which shows Stewart Hunter, John's nephew, living with the couple.

John's brothers Thomas and Hugh are living close by in 1901.

In 1911 Thomas is no longer part of Hugh's household, but Hugh has a wife and children.  Could this Sarah Ann Hunter, 5 years old in 1911, could be the Sarah Ann Hunter who witnesses Sarah Hunter's marriage to Charles Bacon in 1915?  She would be quite young.  Or is there another Sarah Ann in the family somewhere? 

Although the age is slightly off, I believe this is the same Thomas Hunter, now living with another sibling in West Park, Beardiville.

If we look for Mary Anne Hunter in the 1901 census, it's not clear where she's living--she's marked as a "visitor" in the Mc Afee household.  It's possible that she's really living with Thomas and Hugh, or with other relatives.

Apparently much of Ireland's census information from the 1800s was destroyed during wartime.  I can't find anything earlier relating to this family.

Ancestry ("Ireland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1620-1911) has a birth record extract for John Hunter's brother Hugh Hunter.  Hugh was born on October 10, 1865, at Bushmills, Antrim, Ireland, to James Hunter and Sarah Ann Godfrey (FHL film number 101115).  RootsIreland does not have a corresponding record.

Finally, a bit of speculation.  There is a marriage record for a Stewart Hunter, a grocer in Coleraine, Derry,  marrying a Jane Andrews on July 17, 1849.  Could this be a relative? Stewart is certainly a name which has come down in the family. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Extracted Parish Records for the Bowling Family, Yorkshire, England

Mary Bowling and Thomas Bulmer, the parents of John Bulmer, came from an English town in Yorkshire called Hatfield.  We know they were married in St. Lawrence Church in Hatfield before their immigration.  The Bulmer family file at the National Archives of Canada has a family tree which states that Mary Bowling was the daughter of William Bowling and Susanna Rawood of Kirk Bramwith (a parish within Hatfield).  Susanna Rawood was a widow when she married William;  her first husband was a Mr. Wilburn.  William Bowling's father was John Bowling of Braithwaite, and Susanna Rawood's father was John Rawood of Hatfield.

There are a few different kinds of databases you can use when searching for records of births, marriages and deaths.  One kind gives you a scanned image of the actual record, and the other gives a transcription, perhaps leaving out certain information.  The following pieces of information I was only able to see transcribed records for.  The first set come from "England and Wales Marriages, 1538-1940", on Ancestry.  

  • A William Bowling married a Sarah Jackson in Kirk Bramwith, Yorkshire, in 1772.  Was this a first marriage for the William who was later to marry Susanna Rawood?
  • Also in that year, a John Bowling married an Elizabeth Ball on July 21, in Kirk Bramwith. 
  • A Susannah Bowling married a James Jackson in Kirk Bramwith on March 20, 1786.  Is she a relative of William Bowling, Mary's father?
  • William Crawshaw, son of Francis Crawshaw, married Susanna Bowling, daughter of William Bowling, on August 30, 1858, in Warmsworth, Yorkshire, England.  Susanna was a sister of Mary Bowling.  Her tombstone is in St. Mary's churchyard, Kirk Bramwith, Yorkshire.  This was a late marriage for her;  she was born in 1797 so would have been around 61 years old in 1858. 
  • A Susannah Bowling, 28-year-old daughter of a William Bowling, married 60-year-old Richard Whittam in Bubwith, Yorkshire, on May 13, 1879.  Could this be a granddaughter of William and Susanna?  
Another database, "England, Select Marriages, 1538-1906", also on Ancestry, gives us some extracts from additional records.

  • On November 25, 1755, John Bowling married Mary Ellis in Kirk Bramwith. (FHL film # 919307) 
 A look at the database "All England and Wales Christening Records, 1530-1906" shows us some birth information for William Bowling's birth family.  William seems to have been the eldest child.

  • On October 17, 1756, William Bowling, son of John Bowling and Mary, was baptized at Kirk Bramwith (birth date given is Sept. 12, 1756).
  •  On June 18, 1758, Frances Bowling, son of John Bowling and Mary, was baptized at Kirk Bramwith 
  • On January 29, 1765, Richard Bowling, son of John Bowling and Mary, was baptized at Kirk Bramwith
  • On September 14, 1772, Jonathan Bowling, son of John Bowling and Mary, was baptized at Kirk Bramwith
  • on December 21, 1775, Isaac Bowling, son of John Bowling (no maternal name given), was baptized at Kirk Bramwith
  • on May 13, 1779, Elizabeth Bowling, son of John Bowling and Mary, was baptized at Kirk Bramwith.  Maternal grandfather's name John Ball.  
Now we come to a bit of a mystery.  Elizabeth Bowling's birth record says that she is the child of John Bowling and Mary Ball.  The next few birth records where there is a father named John have a mother named Elizabeth, whose father is also John Ball.

  • On September 26, 1784, John Bowling, son of John Bowling and Elizabeth, was baptized at Kirk Bramwith.  Maternal grandfather's name is John Ball.
  • on January 3, 1788, Thomas Bowling, son of John Bowling and Elizabeth, was baptized at Kirk Bramwith.  Maternal grandfather's name is John Ball.
  • On August 24, 1789, Thomas Bowling, son of John Bowling and Elizabeth, was baptized at Kirk Bramwith.  Birth date August 18, 1789.  Maternal grandparent's names are John Ball and Elizabeth;  Paternal grandparent's names are John Bowling and Ann.  
John seems to have married twice, but the timeline is confusing. The marriage records, above, show John Bowling marrying Mary Ellis in 1755 and Elizabeth Ball in 1772, but Elizabeth is not named on the birth records until 1775. Jonathan was baptized in September of 1772, and John and Elizabeth were married in July of that year.   Isaac's record has no maternal name.  Elizabeth's has Mary's name as the mother but John Ball as maternal grandfather.   I think the likely explanation is that  John's wife Mary died at or soon after Jonathan's birth, and John remarried quickly. Elizabeth's birth record probably names the wrong mother.

Note also that there are a few large gaps in the children's births.  There is a gap of seven years between Frances and Richard, and a gap of seven years between Richard and Jonathan.  

There are several records of tombstones on the website for the Bowling family in St. Mary's Churchyard, Kirk Bramwith.  Unfortunately there are no photographs.

  • Richard Bowling, buried February 6, 1765, son of John and Mary 
  • Thomas Bowling, buried April 2, 1768, son of John and Mary 
  • Frances Bowling, buried August 4, 1768 daughter of John and Mary
  • Mary Bowling, buried August 21, 1771, wife of John  
  • Joseph Bowling, buried 30 March 1779 aged 9 months
  • Elizabeth Bowling, buried February 28, 1785, aged 5 years, daughter of John and Elizabeth
  • Thomas Bowling, buried Febuary 1, 1788 aged 6 weeks, son of John 
  • John Bowling, buried November 28, 1794, aged 58 years (therefore birth circa 1736)--the dates would fit with John the husband of Mary Ellis and Elizabeth Ball, father of William Bowling and grandfather of our Mary Bowling
  • Elizabeth Bowling, buried June 1, 1800, aged 54 (therefore birth circa 1746)--this could be John's wife Elizabeth Ball
  • Susannah Bowling Jackson, buried May 13, 1801, aged 42 (therefore birth circa 1763), daughter of John Bowling 
  • Elizabeth Bowling, buried April 4, 1821, aged 18 years (therefore birth circa 1803)
  • William Bowling, buried May 22, 1848, aged 91 (therefore birth circa 1757)  
  • Susannah Bowling, buried October 7, 1850, aged 83 (therefore birth circa 1767)
  • Isaac Bowling, buried July 21, 1887 (therefore birth circa 1806) aged 81

So here is a preliminary, tentative sketch of  the birth family of William Bowling, father of Mary Bowling.

John Bowling, son of John Bowling and Ann Unknown, marries Mary Ellis in Kirk Bramwith (Nov. 25, 1755)

  • William Bowling b. Sept. 12, 1756, m. (1) (possibly) Sarah Jackson 1772, m. (2) Susannah Rawood, d. May 1848 Kirk Bramwith aged 91 
  • Francis Bowling baptized June 18, 1758, d. August 1768 aged 10
  • Richard Bowling baptized January 29, 1765, d. bef. Feb. 6, 1765 
  • Thomas Bowling born bef. April 2, 1768, d. April 1768 
Death of Mary (Ellis) Bowling August 1771 
John Bowling marries Elizabeth Ball July 21, 1772
  • Jonathan Bowling baptized Sept. 4, 1772, d. unknown 
  • Isaac Bowling baptized Dec. 21, 1775 d. unknown 
  • Elizabeth Bowling baptized May 13, 1779, d. Feb. 1785 aged 5 years
  • John Bowling baptized Sept. 26, 1784 d. unknown
  • Thomas Bowling baptized January 3, 1788, d. Feb. 1788 
  • Thomas Bowling baptized August 24, 1789 d. unknown
What about Susannah Rawood's father, John Rawood, of Hatfield?

There is a record for a John Rawood, of "Hatfield near Doncaster, York, England", marrying a woman named Sarah Carr on November 25, 1765, and marrying for the second time to a Susannah Robinson on April 1, 1766.  A John Rawood of Hatfield also marries an Elizabeth Heywarth on August 24, 1793, but the spread of dates makes it uncertain if this is the same man.  These records are from "England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973".  If this John Rawood is Susannah's father, her name suggests that she is probably from his second marriage to Susannah Robinson. 

Baptismal records possibly related to this family include:

  • John Rawood, baptized November 3, 1771, son of John Rawood and Susannah 
  • Elizabeth Rawood baptized November 1, 1779 in Hatfield, Yorkshire, daughter of John Rawood and Susannah Robinson

Birth records for the children of William Bowling and Susanna Rawood: 
  • William Bowling, born January 28, 1791, baptized February 8, 1791, at Kirk Bramwith, Yorkshire, England, son of William Bowling and Susanna, grandson of John Bowling and John Rawood
  • Mary Bowling, born March 28, 1792, baptized June 3, 1792, at Kirk Bramwith, Yorkshire, daughter of William Bowling and Susanna, granddaughter of John Bowling and John Rawood
  • John Bowling, born March 19, 1794, baptized March 25, 1794 at Kirk Bramwith, Yorkshire, England, son of William Bowling and Susanna, grandson of John Bowling and John Rawood
  • Susanna Bowling, born July 25, 1797, baptized October 2, 1797 at Kirk Bramwith, Yorkshire, England, daughter of William Bowling and Susanna, granddaughter of John Bowling and John Rawood
  • Thomas Bowling, born and baptized June 20, 1800, at Kirk Bramwith, Yorkshire, England, son of William Bowling and Susanna, grandson of John Bowling and John Rawood 
  • Elizabeth Bowling, born February 27, 1803, baptized April 17, 1803 at Kirk Bramwith, Yorkshire, England, daughter of William Bowling and Susanna, granddaughter of John Bowling and John Rawood 
  • Isaac Bowling, born April 10, 1806, baptized May 11, 1806 at Kirk Bramwood, Yorkshire, England, son of William Bowling and Susanna, grandson of John Bowling and John Rawood
  • Charles Bowling, born April 17, 1808, baptized May 15, 1808, at Kirk Bramwith,  son of William Bowling and Susannah,  granddaughter of  John Bowling and John Rawood or Raywood.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Alexander Maxwell in "Then and Now 1799-1974"

I recently found some information on the career of  Alexander Maxwell, husband to Mary Elliot and brother-in-law to Robert Elliot, in a book put out by the law publishing firm he helped establish.  The following is from Then and Now, 1799-1974:  Commemorating 175 Years of Law Bookselling and Publishing, London, Sweet & Maxwell, 1974.  The chapter containing the history of the company is written by M.W. Maxwell, a descendant of Alexander Maxwell, and he has drawn upon his father's recollections of family history as one of his sources. 

" Alexander Maxwell, who was born in 1776, was not at first a law bookseller.  He started around 1800 at the corner of Fetter Lane, and moved first to Charing Cross and then to Snow Hill where he was in partnership with Walter Wilson as book auctioneers and booksellers.  It was not until 1811 that he moved to 21 Bell Yard, and it was probably the proximity to the Inns of Court that led him into the publishing of law books.  He had been particularly interested in religious matters and both wrote and published books on religion...It is not known when he first published a law book, but by 1820 or so he must have been predominantly interested in law books because he was one of the founders of the Associated Law Booksellers....He issued with other booksellers what is described as a "Catalogue of Law Books Ancient and Modern' and on the title page this is describbed as 'Printed for A. Maxwell, Law Bookseller and Publisher, 21 Bell Yard.'  In fact this was clearly a co-operative effort because other copies of the same catalogue bear the names of Sweet and of Stevens & Sons on the title page.

Alexander Maxwell moved to number 32 Bell Yard around 1830 and in 1831 was granted a Royal Warrant as law bookseller to His Majesty.  His son William joined him about this time." (p. 121-122)

This seems consistent with what Maxwell's obituary tells us, particularly about his interest in religion.  It's interesting that he published books that he himself had written on this topic. Note the fluidity of the bookseller/publisher labels--it seems not uncommon for booksellers to also publish during this time. 

Unfortunately, Then and Now doesn't include a portrait of Alexander or his son William.  It does show a photograph the Royal Warrant given to Alexander when he was appointed Law Bookseller to King William IV.  The Warrant reads:

"These are to Certify to whom it may Concern that by Virtue of a Warrant to me directed from The Duke of Devonshire Lord Chamberlain of His Majesty's Household I have Sworn and Admitted Mr. Alexander Maxwell into the Place and Quality of Law Bookseller in Ordinary to His Majesty to have hold exercise and enjoy the said Place together will all Rights Profits Privileges and Advantages thereunto belonging.
Given under my Hand and Seal this 6th day of July 1831 In the First Year of His Majesty's Reign."

After Alexander's son William had worked with his father for some time, he became a partner in the firm.

"On January 1, 1845, Alexander Maxwell took into partnership his son William.  The indenture conveys one-half share of the partnership in consideration of 'natural love and affection'.  The value of the partnership assets is stated as 16,000 pounds, and the partnership accounts at December 31, 1845, show the value of a half-share as 8,362 pounds.  The profit and loss account shows a surplus for the year of 1,716 pounds.  In 1848 Alexander retired and sold his share to William for 7,000 pounds, payable by instalments of 500 pounds a year.  He died in 1849." (p. 124)

Back in 1822 Alexander Maxwell joined with five other London-based law booksellers and publishers to form the Associated Law Booksellers.  This was a professional association whose members planned to co-operate with certain publishing ventures and otherwise "promote each other's success in trade by mutual advice and friendly co-operation."  One of the other members was Stephen Sweet, whose firm was to merge with Maxwell's in 1889, many years later.  The merger seems to have been necessitated  by the fecundity of the later Maxwell family.

"William Maxwell was joined in business by his son William Alexander around 1865, and they continued the business at No. 32 Bell Yard until the house was pulled down for the Law Courts when they moved to 29 Fleet Street.  At that time they were trading under the name of W. Maxwell & Son and they commenced rebuilding of 8 Bell Yard in 1882 when William Maxwell died.  It was completed in 1883 and the business was carried on there until the amalgamation with Sweet in 1889...

William Maxwell admitted his son to partnership in 1877.  The partnership deed records the value of the business as 21,600 pounds.  William died in 1882...[and] left his half-share of the business to be divided between his children, of whom there were ten.  By 1887 William Alexander had eight children of his own, and having to share the profits with his brothers and sisters put him in great difficulty, particularly as only one of his brothers was helping in the business.  This led him to approach Sweet and to the merger of the businesses and the foundation of Sweet & Maxwell Ltd. on April 1, 1889." (p. 127-128)

So, the bookselling and publishing company which Alexander began continued to grow and remained a family business at least until 1974:  quite a legacy!   Although it is no longer under family ownership, it is still based in London and today employs over 900 people.