Archive for February 2017

My Great-Auntie Betty's Scottish lineage

Category: What's New at

My Great-Auntie Betty Geake, nee Hutton
My Great-Auntie Betty Geake, nee Hutton

A few months ago my great-aunt Betty (Betty Gordon Hutton) passed away and I have since added her lineage to my website. Auntie Betty was married to Uncle Ron (Ronald Arthur Geake) who was my Grandpa's brother. They were married in St Eustachius Church in Tavistock, Devon, in 1952 but Betty was not a local girl - she came from Leslie in Fife, Scotland.

Betty, who was born in 1927, was the daughter of John Hutton and Lizzie Meikle. She had three older brothers and was a teenager when her mother died in 1943. Her father married again, this time to Betsy (or Bessie) Henderson Speed in 1946.

The Hutton line lived in Methihill and West Wemyss in Fife. Betty's grandfather, David Hutton, married Jane Peebles from Kingsbarns, Fife, and Jane's parents, Robert Peebles and Ann Ramsay, were married in Barry in Angus in 1838. David Hutton was the son of Walter Hutton and Christian Reid who were born in about 1816 and 1817 respectively.

Returning to the Meikle line, Lizzie was the daughter of Thomas Meikle and Betsy Gordon, hence my Auntie Betty's middle name. Betsy Gordon was the youngest of Robert Gordon and Mary McGregor's seven children. Mary's parents, Robert McGregor and Christian Scarlett, were married in Portmoak, Kinross-shire, in 1799. Finally, Robert's parents were my Auntie Betty's 3 x great-grandparents, John McGrigor and Mary Laurie, who also married in Portmoak, the year being 1773.

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Susanna Stinchcomb: my ancestor's maiden name finally revealed

Category: Ancestors Corner

I've been researching my family history since 2007 and it is only just recently that I believe I have discovered the maiden name of my 6 x great-grandmother, Susanna, who was married to John Dando, the elder.

Their marriage had eluded me until a distant cousin and Dando descendant pointed me in the direction of some records produced by the Bristol & Avon Family History Society at In the Downloads section there is a link to a transcript of Bristol St James Church Marriages 1559-1753. The following entry is listed:

15 Mar 1740/1 - John Dando - Susanna Stinchcomb

I knew that John and Susanna's eldest son was born in about 1743 so this marriage, which took place in 1741 using our modern-day Gregorian calendar, fits nicely in the timeline.

I don't have details of where Susanna hailed from or who her parents might have been and I suspect, but have no proof, that John Dando was originally from Rangeworthy in Gloucestershire. The first definitive evidence I'd had of the couple is when they were living in Dursley, Gloucestershire, their children being born and baptized there between 1743 and 1760.

I have mentioned before how John was engaged in starting up a meeting house for Calvinistic Methodists in the area, which became known as Dursley Tabernacle. The tabernacle was rebuilt in 1809 and there is a large plaque on the wall dedicated to John and Susanna but still I hadn't known her maiden name.

Although the spelling in the church register is Stinchcomb, this is most likely a variant of Stinchcombe. There happens to be high ground situated close to Dursley called Stinchcombe Hill from where magnificent views can be seen of the local area and beyond.

Views from Stinchcombe Hill near Dursley
Views from Stinchcombe Hill near Dursley.

John's son, also called John, moved to Bristol at the end of the 18th century and it was during this time and through the next generation, that the family hat-making business flourished.

John, the elder, kept a hat shop in Dursley and I've always been under the impression this was a parochial enterprise but maybe it was a little more prosperous than I'd imagined. If John was marrying in Bristol, then maybe he was purchasing raw materials at the port and cutting out the middle-man or perhaps he was selling his wares to the city's merchant classes. I doubt we shall ever know for sure. What I do know is that John Dando's Non-Conformist connections brought him into contact with the Countess of Huntingdon and, in 1771, he wrote a letter to her in which he discussed the hats he could supply so he was probably doing alright for himself. After his death, John's youngest son continued to run the hat shop in Dursley until his mother died, after which time he moved to London.

It's fascinating how a tiny piece of information transcribed from a parish record, can help build a picture of an ancestor. I now have a slightly different impression of John Dando, my 6 x great-grandfather, from learning that he travelled to Bristol to get married and I would hazard a guess that this was not a single event.

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

17th century newsflash: Okehampton's thatched school house catches fire

Category: Ancestors Corner

Regular readers will know that I've been tracing backwards on my maternal grandfather's line, through my Edwards, Recket, Pudicome and Randall ancestors. Last time, I reached back to 1672 when my 7 x great-grandfather, Nathaniel Randall, was born in Okehampton in Devon. His father was John Randall and his mother was Jane (nee Wood).

John and Jane married on 27th October 1665 in Colan in Cornwall. They had five sons between 1666 (the year of the Great Fire of London) and 1676. The fire raged from the 2nd to the 5th September and their eldest son, William, was baptized just days later on the 11th September but thankfully, they were living a long way from London in Jacobstowe in Devon.

John Randall was appointed the Vicar of Colan in 1663 and in the following year he became the Rector of Jacobstowe. By 1670 his responsibilities had broadened when he became the schoolmaster at Okehampton Grammar School and the Chaplain at St James' Chapel, Okehampton.

Here is a transcript of the form of agreement which John signed...

"It is agreed on and fully consented to, that Mr. John Randall shall have liberty to teach scholars at the School House of the town and borough during the pleasure of the Mayor, Principal Burgesses and Assistants for the time being, and it is agreed on that the said Mr. Randall shall read Common Prayer at the Chapel mornings and evenings, and that he shall preach four Sessions Sermon every year, and that the said Mr. Randall shall instruct 6 or 8 poor children freely, such as the Mayor for the time being shall think fit, and that the said Mr. Randall for, and in consideration of his pains in the discharge of the duty incumbent upon him, shall have liberty to dwell in the school house, and that he shall have £15 yearly in the gift of the Mayor and Burgesses in recompense of his pains, and it is moreover agreed that the said Mr. Randall shall preach a sermon once every year at the election of the Mayor, provided it shall be free for the Mayor for the time being to have whom he pleaseth to preach at any session or election held for the town and borough. Witness our hands and seals this day," etc.

John had his own encounter with fire when, on 29th October 1670, the chimney in the school house caught ablaze. The thatch was destroyed but most of the timber was preserved and so the school house was rebuilt in the following year with "a chamber over it, and new heated".

On 13th May 1672, John Randall with the Mayor of Okehampton, the Vicar (Mr. Hussey) and many town inhabitants viewed some of the parish boundaries on Dartmoor Common. It was usual for the beating of the bounds, as it was called, to take place on Ascension Day or during Rogation week.

John died in 1680 and was buried at Jacobstowe on 8th December, described as the Rector of the Parish. He was buried in wool according to an Act of Parliament which was designed to protect the English woollen industry. He left no will but his estate was administered in 1681. The fate of his wife, Jane, is currently unknown.

Image courtesy of Sailom at

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]