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Saturday, January 8, 2022

Portrait of Julia Norton or Amaryllis Andrews

 I was recently lucky enough to find this portrait for sale on ebay.  It is very small, possibly a calling card.  

Hmmm. As far as I know, Louisa Davis of Aylmer (wife of Adoniram J. Davis) was the daughter of William Norton and his wife Amaryllis Andrews.  Now I haven't seen her actual birth record, just an abstract, and it is possible that the A. in Julia A. Norton stands for Amaryllis, and she used her middle name instead of her first name, but none of the written records we have—including her gravestone—suggest that.

However, Louisa Davis does have a sister named Julia C. Norton. Her dates are 1822-1857, so she would have been 35 when she died. That’s far too young to be the person in this portrait.  Amaryllis lived until she was 72, dying in 1872. That fits the woman we see here much better. I’m  99% sure this is Amaryllis, and it’s lovely to know she was able to visit her daughter at least once. If anyone out there can confirm her identity, I’d love to hear from you!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Margaret Jackson’s Sister

 Ellen Jackson, sister of William Rutherford Senior’s wife Margaret Jackson, married in Montreal but ended up in Chicago. Here is a synopsis of her husband’s career.

From the book “Industrial Chicago, The Building Interests”, Goodspeed Publishing Company, Chicago, 1891. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Another Bland Family Sexton

I've come across another Bland sexton of Hammersmith.  Robert Bland, son of sexton James Bland, reveals that he serves the same post as his father in his marriage licence.  That would make Robert the fifth Bland to occupy the post.  

Source Citation

London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: DD/0746/02/003

Source Information London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Original data: Church of England Parish Registers. London Metropolitan Archives, London.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Sword Cutlers in the Bland Family

The first sword cutler we know of in the Bland family is John Highlord Bland, brother of our ancestor Stephen Bland. John was born circa 1732 and died childless  in 1791.  We don’t know who he apprenticed with or when, but we do know he was sword cutler to King George III, so he must have been good. 

Here’s one of my favourite advertising artifacts, property of the British Museum, unfortunately not on display:

Isn’t it elegant? I love it. 

If you go to the website of the Royal Collection Trust and search for Bland & Foster swords, you can see some images.  Here's a sample of some of their work: 

A straight cavalry sword. Brass stirrup hilt with scrolled branches and scalloped shells. Fishskin grip bound with herringbone brass wire. Double-edged steel blade with matted central section. Black leather scabbard tooled with crowned GR monogram and three brass mounts.  Provenance:  Acquired from Bland and Foster.

Thomas Bland, son of Edward and Frances Bland of Hammersmith and probably a younger brother of John Highlord, also apprenticed to be a sword cutler. 

 This Indenture Witnesseth that Thomas Bland son of Edward Bland of Hammersmith in the County of Middlesex Clerk of Hammersmith aforesaid doth put himself apprentice to Sanders Davenport Citizen and Cutler of London…

The apprenticeship term is seven years and the fee is only five shillings, which seems very low. The document is dated March 17, 1758.  Thomas  was born in 1741, which would make him 17 when this apprenticeship began. Unfortunately he died fairly young, at the age of 44.

Here’s the source and some information on what this document signifies.

It would be great if we knew that John Highlord and Thomas worked together, but I don’t think they did. Thomas did not apprentice with John Highlord, and we know that John Highlord had a partner who was not Thomas (his name was Robert Foster). 

Stephen Bland was John Highlord Bland's brother. His son James, who was John Highlord Bland’s nephew, apprentices to be a cutler on October 7, 1789 with John Foster, who is to be paid ten pounds for the seven year apprenticeship. 

This Indenture Witnesseth that James Bland son of Stephen Bland of Hammersmith in the county of Middlesex Gardener doth put himself apprentice to John Foster Of Fetter Lane London Sword Cutler …

James ultimately leaves sword-making, either before or after his apprenticeship is complete, to become the Hammersmith Sexton after his father’s death in 1810. 

We don’t have an apprenticeship record for Edward Bland, but the book London Silver-Hilted Swords, Their Makers, Suppliers and Allied Traders, with Directory by Leslie Southwick (Royal Armouries, 2003)  tells us that Edward is another son of Stephen Bland (so would be a brother to James), was apprenticed to Thomas Foster, and later worked in Fetter Lane. 

On April 2, 1819, Edward's  son Stephen John Highlord Bland enters an apprenticeship with sword cutler Charles Matthews. Stephen John Highlord Bland would be John Highlord’s great-nephew and the third generation of this family to work as a sword cutler. 

This Indenture Witnesseth that Stephen John Highlord Bland son of Edward Bland of  Cow Cross Street West Smithfield  Sword Cutler doth put himself Apprentice to Charles Matthews of Kings Head Court Shoe Lane London Cutler, a Citizen and Goldsmith of London, to learn the art of the Cutler. 

Smithfield is in West London and is the site of a very old weekly livestock market which began in the 1100s and ran until Victorian times, thus the name Cow Cross Street where these Blands made their home. There is a history of this area and street on the British History Online website.  Curiously, the apprenticeship fee of five pounds is to be paid to Charles Matthews by “the Treasurer of Christ’s Hospital London”, which is apparently not an actual hospital but rather a school and orphanage.

And coming full circle, there is a John Highlord Bland working as a cutler at 2 Charterhouse Street, London, and listed in the 1865 and 1870 London Post Office Directories.  He's the son of Stephen John Highlord Bland and his wife Deborah Smithson, and he would represent the fourth generation of sword cutlers in this family.  

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Edward’s Mysterious Marriage

 Did Edward Bland marry the same woman twice?  When I was looking for a record of his marriage to a woman named Hannah, this is what I found.

Here’s a close up of the names. Notice there is no detail about where they live or what Edward’s profession is. 

Fast-forward eighteen years, and the same database shows this. 

January 14, 1719. Edward Bland Widr & Gardner of Hammersmith and Hannah Every Spr. Ditto.

Hannah’s last name is actually indexed as Evry in the database, which is even more similar. Is this the same Edward? Is it the same Hannah?  It’s so strange. 


Early Bland Family Vital Records at St Paul Hammersmith Chapel

 These records, from the Chapel of St. Paul in Hammersmith, are out of order chronologically.  I am recording them in the order in which they appear in the record books on Ancestry, and  while some of the records go from early to late dates, as one would expect, occasionally some go from late to early. Also the records are largely organized so that all like categories (birth, marriage or burial) are listed together, which means that a certain baptism, for example, could appear in the records earlier than the marriage which preceded it, if baptisms are placed before marriages in the listings.  The first record book available (1671-1689) has no entries for the Bland family, which suggests that they perhaps came from elsewhere. The following are from the record set of St Paul Hammersmith from 1690-1728. There are very few marriages listed in this register, and none at all for the Bland family.  

Baptism.  June 12, 1700.  Mary d. Of Edward Bland & Mary. 

Burial.  February 19, 1697. Edward Bland buried S of Edward & Mary. 

Baptism. November 12, 1699. John Corles Bland S of Tho (Gardener) & Elisa. 

Baptism. March 23, 1697/8. Elisabeth Bland baptism, d of Edward and Mary.

Baptism. February 23, 1695/6. Thomas Bland baptism. S of Edmund (sic) and Mary.

Baptism. January 28, 1692. Edward Bland baptized Son of Edward and Mary, died age 5 (see above). 

Record book 1707-1717:

Burial. May 8, 1714. Elisa wife of Tho Bland.

Baptism.  January 1, 1709/10.  John S of Edward Bland & Mary.

That's it for this record collection.  There were some marriages recorded for the Hammersmith Chapel, but interestingly, they were all for people who came from other parishes.  I have no idea why.  The next record set is 1717-1723. 

November 28, 1722. John son of John Bland & Elisa. Could be John Eland?

Burial record. December 29, 1721-22. Hannah wife of Edward Bland. There are no records that show children born to this couple anywhere in London, but I did find a record of their marriage. It was in a sneaky little database that I don’t check very often called “London Clandestine Marriage and Baptism Registers 1667-1754”. Hannah was a spinster when they married but Edward was a widower, so this was at least his second marriage. There’s something odd about this marriage which I’ll get into in another post. 

January 14, 1719.  Edward Bland of Hammersmith (sic) Gard…Hannah Evry ditto. W. Sp. 

Burial record. March 22, 1718/9. Mary wife of Edward Bland. 

The record group 1723-1727 has nothing on the Bland family except the baptism of Edward, son of Edward and Frances. No John Highlord Bland anywhere.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Whitfields in Hammersmith

 Hey, did anyone else know that there are records of a Whitfield family in Hammersmith? The records seem to be before the era of Eleanor (Whitfield) Bland and then after, but not during. Perhaps there is a family connection, which could explain how she and Stephen became acquainted.