Hannah Hiscock

I’m continuing with my family history, and I now move on to my first five times great grandparent, Hannah Hiscock. You can see from the image below where Hannah is situated in my family tree:

family tree 3

As you can see on the family tree, there is no grandfather for me to tell you about. My family surname comes from Hannah, as my four times great-grandfather was base-born; meaning he was born out-of-wedlock. In fact, all three of Hannah’s children were base- born. I will tell you more about that shortly.

Hannah was born in 1765 in Bramshaw in the New Forest, and her parents were George and Elizabeth.

Bramshaw is a small village in the New Forest, Hampshire. Up until 1895, it was divided into two parts, with half in Wiltshire and the other half in Hampshire. Bramshaw lies 11 miles west of Southampton.

According to http://www.wikipedia.org Bramshaw appeared twice in the Domesday Book for Wiltshire and was held by Wulfnoth and Edmund. The name Bramshaw comes from an old English word for “bramble bush wood”. The current church of Bramshaw dates from the 13th century, but has many later additions:

The County of Southampton Act 1894 placed the whole of Bramshaw into Hampshire, with the county boundary running through the churchyard and through the church. It had its nave in Wiltshire and its chancel in Hampshire. There were two separate parish councils, but they unified in 1932.

Brawmshaw village school first opened in 1812 as a boy’s school, but by 1819, the girl’s and infants school was registered. It was open for 165 years, and closed in July 1977; with the school building now being used as a private dwelling.

According to the Hampshire Baptisms Transcription on http://www.findmypast.co.uk Hannah Hiscock was baptised on the 23rd April 1765 in Bramshaw, Hampshire. I still need to find out whether or not she had any other siblings . I have already checked on the main genealogy websites, but I will double-check this as records are being added all of the time, otherwise, I will have a look when I visit Hampshire Archives to see if there is anything I can find there.

Hannah gave birth to three children, all of whom were born out-of-wedlock. Her children were: William, my four times great-grandfather (1788-1868), James, my husband’s four times great grandfather (1790-1861), and Mary (1793-). All three of her children were born in Minstead, which is three miles south of Bramshaw. It’ll be interesting to see if  there was a settlement record for Hannah in Minstead as she was born in Bramshaw.

I visited Hampshire Archives to see if I could find a father for my four times great-grandfather, William. I remember arriving there early as I was excited at the prospect of finding another possible ancestor for my family tree, and also to find out what my surname would have been if Hannah had married William’s father. When I arrived at the Archives, I asked to see the Bastardy Orders for Minstead for that time period. I was advised that there would be a possibility that I wouldn’t find what I was looking for, as they didn’t have that much information, but I had my fingers crossed just in case.

When I had the book that I had ordered from the archive vault, I sat down and looked through it page by page. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a Bastardy Order for either William or James, but there was one for their sister, Mary.

There was an Order from 1793 stating that Mary’s father was Job Dovey, a labourer from Bramshaw. Hannah and Job were never married. He appeared on the order so that he could pay towards Mary’s upbringing, so that she was not a burden on the parish coffers. Job was born in Bramshaw, Wiltshire in 1758, and he married Mary Purdey (1746-1789) on the 28th May 1785. So far, I have been unable to locate any children for Job and his wife.

Hannah married Henry Norman in Minstead on the 12th March 1798 when she was 33 years of age. At the present time, I have been unable to find out if they had any children together, despite searching a number of databases. I’ve also been unable to locate a date of death for Hannah, and I will be looking further at the records available at Hampshire Archives.


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The Hiscock Line

The following family tree is the Hiscock line of my family, where it shows the home person as my paternal grandfather.

Family Tree

This is the main body of my paternal line, and you can see where the dark arrows appear that that particular line continues back a generation or two.  I will be writing about all of the ancestors in the Hiscock line first before moving on to the other members of the tree.

The first part of my family history is to tell you about the members from the ninth generation.

family tree 3

This line links directly from the Hiscock line. You can see where they sit into the family tree by looking at the main tree above. Initially, I would be writing about William Hiscock’s grandfather on his paternal line, but as you can see, his father doesn’t appear as William was baseborn. He was baptised using his mother’s surname, but I will tell you more about this in a future blog. I have limited information about my six times great grandparents in this part of the tree, but have been more successful in other areas.

Instead, I will be telling you about my first set of six times great grandparents, who are George Hiscock and his wife, Elizabeth. At the time of writing this book, I have a few sparse details, and I am currently in the process of researching them. All that I know at the moment is that they had a child called Hannah (my five times great-grandmother, who you can read  about in a future blog).

I know that at the time their daughter was born, in 1765, they were living in Bramshaw in the New Forest which is in Hampshire. This is all that I know about them at the moment. The next stage of my research for this elusive couple will be to visit Hampshire Archives and research the parish of Bramshaw and the surrounding areas. It could be that they didn’t come from Hampshire; in that case, I would need to see if I can find a settlement record in the Quarter Sessions. This could then tell me where they came from. An update regarding this couple will follow at a later date. We now move on to the next set of six times great grandparents.

William Whitehorn was born in 1720 in Minstead, Hampshire. Minstead is a small village in the New Forest, Hampshire and is three and a half miles north of Lyndhurst, and just over 11 miles west of Southampton.

According to Wikipedia, Minstead was listed in the Domesday Book. Before the Norman Conquest took place, it was assessed at three and a half hides (a hide is an English unit of land measurement), and was held by a man called Godric Malf. By 1086, Godric’s sons were holding half a hide, as the remaining hides had been taken into the New Forest. In the 1500s, Minstead was in the hands of the Compton family, and by the time William Whitehorn’s children were born, Henry Compton was the High Sheriff of Hampshire.

The church in Minstead is All Saints Church, and is said to date back to the 13th century, but there has been additions to the church throughout the centuries.


All Saints Church, Minstead

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, novelist of Sherlock Holmes, is buried in the churchyard under a large tree.

William Whitehorn was baptised  on the 25th September 1720 in the village of Minstead. I was able to find his baptism on the Hampshire Baptism Index 1660-1751 CD rom, which was transcribed by the Hampshire Genealogical Society. A lot of parishes in the 18th century only stated the name of the father when the children were baptised, and in this case, the record shows William’s father as John Whitehorn. I will need to research further, at a later date, who William’s mother was.

William married a lady called Mary, although I am not sure of the date as I haven’t been able to locate a marriage record. I will need to visit Hampshire Archives, as so far, I have only been able to locate one marriage in Hampshire for a William Whitehorn and a Mary, and this was in Romsey in 1747. I will need to research this further as the first child that I have for William and Mary was a William Whitehorn born in 1750 in Minstead. I will check to see if any children were born in Romsey first, and if there were, then the next document to look for would be a settlement record.

According to the records that I have researched, William and Mary had four children: William (1750-), William (1752-1808) – my five times great-grandfather, Anne (1752-), and John (1757-). The first William would have passed away at a young age before the next William was born. This is another record that I will need to research further.

William, my six times great-grandfather, passed away on the 3rd September 1795 in Minstead at the age of 75. I was able to find his burial record on the Hampshire Burial Index, 1400-1841 CD rom, transcribed by the Hampshire Genealogical Society.

The only other six times great grandparent that I have been able to locate in this part of the family tree is Sarah Parker, and she gave birth to my five times great-grandfather, Robert Parker, out-of-wedlock in the Eling area of Hampshire. You can read more about Robert in a future blog. As you are probably aware, the name Sarah Parker is a reasonably common name, and I will need to research Sarah at the Hampshire Archives for further details.

There should be a total of 16 six times great grandparents in this section, but as you can see in the family tree, so far, I have a total of five. Once I have carried out further research, I will publish my findings in a future book.

The next blog will be to tell you about the five, five times great grand-parents in this section of the tree.

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My Family History

Why did I start to research my family history? This is a question I have been asked many times. Researching my family tree and finding out where I came from is something I had wanted to do for a number of years, but for some reason, I had put it off.

I suppose my reasoning behind this was that I didn’t have the time, as my son had been born with a disability, and was in and out of hospital , having had lots of operations. Another reason, and I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of people out there, is that I didn’t know where to start, and initially, I didn’t know anyone who was doing this.

I had been watching all of the family history programmes on television and kept thinking that this was something that I would like to do. I was always wondering about who my ancestors were and where I came from. Was there anyone famous in my tree; was I related to royalty, and were there any skeletons in the closet?

2014-07-09 23.34.28

Another reason for wanting to research my family tree was that my maiden name is the same as my married name. At the time, I didn’t think that Hiscock was a very common name. I knew a few people at school with the Hiscock surname, but I just thought that it was a regional name. When I mentioned to people that I was a Hiscock before I got married, I was always asked whether we were related. This got me thinking, and I felt that I had to find out. Another reason for beginning my research was finding out that both mine and my husband’s Hiscock grandparents lived in the same road, and our parents, aunties and uncles all went to the same secondary school when they were growing up.

When I was young, we always spent a lot of time seeing my paternal grandparents and the rest of our extended family. I always enjoyed it when my nan got out her big box full of photos, and we always looked through them. There were loads of black and white photos in all different sizes, and I loved to hear who these people were and how they were related to me.

Ann & Hilda Cole

Great, Great Auntie Anne & Great, Great Auntie Hilda Cole

I’m lucky enough that my nan is still alive, and so, a little while a go, I went and visited her to have a look through the photos again. I’ve carried out quite a lot of research on my paternal line, and the names have become very familiar to me over the years. I always wondered what they were like as people and also what they looked like. I showed my research to my nan, and she was able to give me some old photos to scan, and I was finally able to put names to faces. It made the people seem even more real. Nan was able to tell me what some of the people were like as she had met quite a few of them over the years. It was really fascinating.

Finally, six and a half years ago in January 2010, I decided that the time was right for me to begin my journey of finding out who I really am.

My mother had started her family tree six months previously, so she was able to help me on my way. As she was using http://www.ancestry.co.uk this was the route that I decided to take, so I immediately signed up for the 14 day free trial, careful to uncheck the renewal box. I decided that I was going to go for the Pay-As-You-Go option, after all, this was just a hobby, there was no need for me to take out a subscription was there? It wasn’t long before that changed, and I was totally hooked. Overtime, I have gradually increased my membership, and I am now using the Worldwide subscription, which gives me full access to their records.

Of course, you don’t need to use Ancestry, there are plenty of other family history websites out there. FindMyPast is just as good. I’ve found plenty of records on there that I haven’t managed to find on Ancestry. There are also free websites that you can use. FamilySearch is a very good website to use. You have access to vast amounts of records and you can also build your tree on there as well. A lot of people use various family tree programmes. Family Tree Maker is a good one to use and you can syncronise it with your tree on Ancestry. Using a family tree programme may be something to think about using once you are more familiar and settled with your research.

If you’re new to family history, and you want to make a start in researching your tree, make sure that you are able to speak to as many people as possible in your family. Try and get as much information as possible. Remember to not take anything as gospel, always try to back up any information that you have been given. Stories can change over the years and you don’t want to be sent on a wild goose chase.

I began by putting in my details on Ancestry, and then my parents’ details. It wasn’t long before I was getting the green, shaky ancestry leaves telling me there was a possible match in my tree. These hints are not guarantees that they are the right records for your ancestor. Names and dates may be very similar, so go careful before you add that piece of information. Always double check using more than one website. It was so easy to get carried away, and literally spend hours in the evenings finding out about all these wonderful ancestors.

At the beginning, it was all trial and error because I was self taught. I was finding my own way, and it was so easy to lose direction and add the wrong people. There was no organisation to my research, and it was just a random scribbled note on a scrap of paper, so it was inevitable that I ended up having the wrong people in my tree. I would even attach other people’s trees to my own because they had similar information. Most of the time, when I looked at their trees, a lot of the information that they had was not sourced, so I had no idea how they had found the information.

Eventually, I found my own routine, so I typed up my own family group sheets to give me some structure. This helped me to organise my research and to find the correct ancestors for my tree. I was still missing information at this early stage as I was only using Ancestry.

A few months after starting my family tree, I decided to start researching my husband’s. I began with his maternal line as my husband’s aunt had a lot of information to help me on my way. She had the names and dates of birth for her parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents. This time around, I was a lot more organised with my research, and typed out family group sheets each time I had researched a family. Not only was I searching in Ancestry, but I was using FindMyPast as well to find records. Below is my own family group sheet that I use for each of the families that I research:

research table

This table provides me with some structure as to what I have found so far, and what is left to find.

In late 2010, a very sad event occurred in my husband’s family. My father-in-law died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was at the wake talking to my father-in-law’s cousin about researching family trees. He had a lot of information regarding my husband’s grandmother’s family, along with photos. He promised to email them to us so that I could start researching that side of the tree. Not long after that,  my research began on the paternal side of his tree. Below is a photo of my husband’s great grandfather, born in 1873:

Sidney Godwin

Sidney Godwin

The more I researched both trees, the more experience I gained, the better the information in the trees. I found that reading the various different family history magazines can also prove to be a big help. The more knowledge that I have gained over the years has meant that I have been able to go through each family tree again, making sure that I have all of the correct information. I’ve even managed to add new bits of information about each person.

Researching mine and my husband’s family trees has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I have found out so much and learnt so many new things. With family history, you are always learning. Whilst there is plenty of information to be found online, don’t forget that local and county record offices are always a valuable source of information. You can look at original documentation, with some of them being hundreds of years old. You can also join Family History Societies; I am a member of quite a few and have found them really helpful. Go to as many family history meetings as you can, as you will always find help there. If you are on Facebook, a lot of the family history societies have their own pages. I’ve joined quite a few and they have been very helpful with breaking down brick walls in my research. They also have a lot of local knowledge in their respectful areas.

There are quite a few companies that run genealogy courses online. If you sign up with FutureLearn, you can take part in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree. This is a free online course that runs for six weeks. This course is aimed at all levels of experience. It benefits beginners as it sets them up on the right path for their family research and won’t lead to bad habits. It’s also beneficial for the intermediate and advanced researcher. You can also learn a lot from other people too.

Pharos Tutors is another company that runs courses; these are purely genealogy courses that are affordable for the everyday person. They cover all sorts of topics, for example, Scottish research online; The Poor, The Parish and the Workhouse. There are universities, for example, Strathclyde who do genealogy degrees. They do cost quite a bit to do, and at the time of writing this, I am in the process of saving up to do a genealogy degree.

So far, this year (2016), I have completed the genealogy MOOC (see above), and I would definitely recommend it. It changed the way in which I do my research and has made me a lot more organised. I have designed research logs for each person so that I know which websites I have used.

 I use research logs for each person so that I know which records I have and which ones are outstanding. I also print out each record and keep them all in binders so that, not only do I have an electronic copy, but I also have a hard copy as well.

For the past six years, I have been going to Who Do You Think You Are Live. You can meet up with all sorts of people who are researching their family history. There are lots of different lectures for different areas of family history, and you can learn a lot by attending these. I’m already looking forward to the next one. Over the past few years, I have purchased family history charts and Parish baptisms, marriages and burials CD roms, and family history books. I have got an excellent collection of resources available to assist me with my research.

I have managed to research back quite a few generations, and have collected various documentation along the way to support my research. Whilst my research is nowhere near complete, and I would assume that it won’t be due to the different records continually coming online, I thought I would share with you what I have so far and introduce you to the wonderful people I have found along the way. I will be sharing each couple/person with you in different blogs, but I will be placing everything that I share with you into a family history book which I am hoping to have published in full to place in my local library. The book will be divided into four sections, with the first two sections showing my paternal side of the family. Section one will be about the Hiscock line. Within my research, I have included photos, birth, marriage and death certificates, as well as census returns, parish records and any newspaper articles that may be available. I hope you enjoy reading about these people as much as I have researched them.

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Hunting for Ancestors


I’ve been researching mine and my husband’s family trees for a number of years, and today, we decided to go to the village of Minstead to see if we could find any of our mutual ancestors. We share a mutual five times great grandmother who was born in Bramshaw, three miles away from Minstead, but she gave birth to her three children in Minstead.

The church in Minstead is All Saints Church and is said to date back to the 13th century, but there has been additions to the church throughout the centuries.


The line of my family tree that was born and died in Minstead were the Hiscocks, Whitehorns, and Phillips. My husband and I spent an hour or two exploring the churchyard trying to read the weather beaten grave stones. Quite a lot had remained in tact over the years and were quite easy to read, but others, we were not so lucky with. We found a few small areas of the churchyard where members of the same family were buried. There were quite a few spaces where there were no markers on the graves, and the odd few that were overgrown.

With both of us descending from the same Hiscock line (my maiden name being Hiscock), we were particularly interested to see how many Hiscock headstones that we could see, as both of our four times great grandfathers had died in Minstead. Unfortunately, we only found the one:


This one was for a man called George Hiscock, and from what we could make out, he died in 1914. I will need to research further for him to find out who his direct ancestor was. I will be including George in my Hiscock One Name Study. We can only assume that the other members of the Hiscock family are either in unmarked graves, or they were in the graves that we were unable to read. The next time we visit, I will go into the church to see if they have a plan of the cemetery that we can use.

Another surname that appears in both of our family trees is Whitehorn. Both of our four times great grandfathers married into that family. Upon searching the churchyard, we came across quite a few:

As you can see, some are in better condition than the others. All I will need to do now is to work out where they belong in each tree and whether or not they are direct ancestors.That will keep me busy for a while.

Whilst we were on our travels round the churchyard, we were fortunate enough to come across the following grave situated under a large tree:


It is the grave of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes, and if you look closely at the base of the cross, you can see two pipes placed there.

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Ancestor Number One of the 52 Week Challenge

This is a challenge where we have to write about one ancestor per week over the next year. I am slightly behind with this challenge, but I aim to be up to date by the end of the month. My ancestors will include grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins and I will be sharing their story with you.

My first ancestor that I would like to share with you is Albert Harry Copperthwaite, and he was my second great grand uncle on my paternal line.
Albert, known as Bert, was born on the 25th December 1883 in Southampton, Hampshire, England. Albert was the youngest of seven children born to Alfred Flint Copperthwaite and Clara Carter. His siblings were: Alfred James (1866-1959), Ada Susanna (1868-1946), Ernest Frederick George (1872-1946), Laura Clarinda (1875-1916), Lilly Louise (1878-1961) and Frederick Adlophus (1881-1935).
The first census that he appears on is the 1891 census. He is living with his parents and five of his siblings at Spa Court, Spa Road, Southampton, Hampshire and he is of school age.
The 1901 census shows that he was visiting his sister, Laura Clarinda and her husband Frederick Noyce. They were living at 1 Mount Street, All Saints, Hampshire. Albert’s occupation was a Ship’s Trimmer. A trimmer on a ship was a person who distributes coal on a steam ship. All Saints was a parish in Southampton.
In the first quarter of 1907, Albert married a lady called Kate Young, but by the time the 1911 census was carried out, Albert was living at 8 Wharf Street, Southampton. The other people recorded on this census return was a lady called Maud Beatrice Johnson (1891) who was a lodger, and a three month old child called Lily Alice Johnson. Lily was the daughter of Albert, but Albert and Maud were not married. There is no mention as to what happened to Kate Young, and this is something that I would like to find out. Could she have remarried or did she die of an illness or through childbirth?
Albert was living at 39 Mount Street when he signed on to the Titanic. His occupation was a fireman/stoker and he would have received a monthly wage of £6.00. Sadly, he died in the sinking of the Titanic, and his body was never found. He was only 29 years old.
There was a Relief Fund that provided payments to widows and children of the crew. Albert was a Class G crew which was at the bottom and included Firemen, Scullions and Lower Class Stewards. As Maud and Albert were not married at the time of his death, all payments to Maud in respect of their illegitimate daughter Lily would be made instead to her grandmother, Mrs Charlotte Johnson. An allowance of 8s 6d per week would be made for Lily Johnson if necessary.
I visited the Titanic museum in Southampton when it first opened in 2012. At the time, I was unaware that Albert was my ancestor. I will go and visit again to see if there is anything else I can find out about him.

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New Year, New Start

So, it’s been a while since I posted a blog as I’ve been busy with various projects. I thought that as it is a new year (two weeks in now), I would start my blog up again, and share with you regularly what I have been doing, and what I aim to be doing this coming year.

I started the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge last year, but unfortunately wasn’t able to complete it, so this year, I aim to start this again, and also complete it. I’ll be including direct ancestors as well as not so direct, as I want to share all of the interesting people in my tree.

I am carrying out a One Name Study as well, and I will be continuing with that. I have quite a lot of names in my database already, so far 8,500. I still have quite a lot of names to collect. It’s going to be huge study, but I am enjoying the challenge so far.

I’ve started collecting old documents as I find them very fascinating, and I have a few which are 200-300 years old. They are in remarkable condition for their age. I have been transcribing them, and I will share them with you soon.

There are a few places that I want to visit this year, for example local and county record offices. This will help me with my own tree and others and also my One Name Study.

In April I’m hoping to go to Who Do You Think You Are Live, which is being held in Birmingham this year. This year, I will be going for two days as I want to attend a few seminars as well as visiting the various stands.

I have a lot planned this year, and it looks to be very fulfilling, and I can’t wait to share it all with you. Watch this space for my next blog.

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Hiscock One Name Study

I’ve managed to continue, in the past few days, with my one name study. I’m still at the collecting names stage, and filling up my spreadsheet. So far I have just over 5000 names collected from the free BMD website. I’ve got another 3000 to transfer over from there, before I move on to the other genealogy websites to fill in the gaps, ie Parish Records.
The next stage will then be to find the variations, and then move on to people with the Hiscock name in other countries. It is going to take a bit of time to collate all of this information together, but it’ll be worth it in the end. I’m really looking forward to starting to build the various trees and find out about all of these people that share my name. Watch this space for the next update.

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