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    More help please ..

    After Elaine and Teasie's help yesterday with one of my Wilcox ancestors I'm also looking for:

    Harriet Bland or Sturges(s) b. 1861(ish) - this branch of my family were travellers and on the 1871 census were living in tents on a field in a little village called Rotherfield Peppard. Her PoB is down as Sutton? (Courtenay), Berkshire but I can't find a definite birth and I can't see her after this census. I found a Harriet Ann Sturges on the 1881 with in-laws (yet she's un-married) born and living in Kintbury, Berkshire and the 1891 living with her husband Arthur Sturges born this time in Inkpen which is close to Kintbury but now living in Mile End Old Town.
    Do you think this is my Harriet and the chances are she was just using Sturges as her name before she married Arthur? I can't see a marriage either!

    Any help aprreciated

    Thanks x

    Seems very likely! The census details would have been filled in by the enumerator almost certainly and whoever was giving him the information probably didn't feel it necessary to go into minute detail about whether anyone was actually married or not!



      Harriet Ann Sturges 1881 is with the same family 1871 as step daughter
      Last edited by Elaine; 27-09-19, 22:06.

      Looking for Ward, Moore, Hunt, Warren...and who was Gertrude Wills


        In 1861 there is a Harriet Bland aged 7 & born Sutton, Berkshire living in a caravan in Rotherfield Peppard with her grandparents, John & Rose Bland, so if this is her it puts a question mark on her assumed year of birth based on the 1871 census in the same place.

        In 1881 I think she is possiby listed as Harriet Archer, and is again in tents on Kingswood Common, Rotherfield Peppard:
        James Archer 30 Chimney Sweep b Faringdon, Berks
        Harriot Archer wife 28 b Sutton Courtney, Bucks
        William J Archer 4 son b Chorley(?), Berks
        Ann Archer 2 daur b Faringdon, Berks

        These may be the children's births:
        BLAND, WILLIAM JOHN THOMAS (no mmn) GRO Reference: 1876 J Quarter in WALLINGFORD Volume 02C Page 330
        BLAND, ANN SELINA (no mmn) GRO Reference: 1878 D Quarter in FARINGDON Volume 02C Page 280

        No sign of a marriage between Harriet & James
        Last edited by teasie; 28-09-19, 00:02.


          Following on from my last post, in 1891 the family is still named Archer and are in Sutton Courtney. Daughter Ann has the middle initial S, which fits with Ann Selina Bland, and there is a 3-year-old son, Edward Archer born Sutton Courtney, which is in the Abingdon RD. I think this is his birth:

          BLAND, EDWARD (no mmn) GRO Reference: 1887 S Quarter in ABINGDON Volume 02C Page 297


            Hmmm by 1901 the surname seems to be Carry, or possibly Garvey, and they are living at Way Grounds in a Tent, Didcot, Wallingford

            James 48 Chimney Sweep born Sutton
            Harriett 48 b Sutton
            Edward 15 b Sutton
            Felix 8 son b East Hagbourne
            Sarah 6 b H???y
            James 2 b East Hagbourne

            This seems to be Felix's birth
            BLAND, FELIX (no mmn) GRO Reference: 1893 M Quarter in WALLINGFORD Volume 02C Page 317

            Possibly Sarah?
            BLAND, SARAH JANE (no mmn) GRO Reference: 1895 J Quarter in WANTAGE Volume 02C Page 301

            The nearest I can find for James is this, but it doesn't really fit:
            ORCHARD, JAMES FREDERICK mmn BLAND GRO Reference: 1899 M Quarter in WALLINGFORD Volume 02C Page 312

            I'm seriously beginning to doubt myself now though, as Harriett is consistent with her age throughout the census with James, and it doesnt fit at all with either the 1861 or the 1871. Help !! Anyone!!

            ADDED: Oh hang on, my rubbish maths again. 48 in 1901 fits near enough with being 7 in 1861... pheww!

            ADDED: Could 'Orchard' be a mishearing of 'Archer'?
            Last edited by teasie; 28-09-19, 00:58. Reason: added info


              1911 they are back to Archer and living at 2 Union Square, Reading
              James Archer 51 Peddlar b Faringdon
              Harriett 52 b Sutton Courtenay. Married 32 years 5 children born (altered from 6) 3 living, 2 died.
              Annie 31 b Faringdon
              Sarah 15 b West Faringdon
              James 12 b Didcot


                Well it looks like James Frederick Orchard may be Archer after all, although they year of birth is wrong:


                James F Archer married Rose A Davis 1916 Reading


                  One last snippet for you. If you have access to newspapers, the Berks and Oxon Advertiser 12 May 1899 carried an article headed 'The Didcot Disclosure' which begins "Referring to the shocking state of affairs relating to the number of people living in tents at Didcot'. It's very faint but goes on to describe the area, tents & occupants.

                  The owner of the land was a Mr Dennis Napper & the first place inspected was the cow house, which Mr Napper said the Bland family sometimes slept in.

                  Tent No. 3 was occupied by James Archer, Harriett Bland & family, comprising of 4 boys and 2 girls. They had one double and one single tent, with the parents and 4 youngest children at one end (7x7x5 = 215 cubic feet), 2 girls at the other end (7x5x5 = 175 cubic feet) and the eldest son in the single tent (4x6x4 = 96 cubic feet) [NB this adds up to 7 children]. Archer & his son made their living as Chimney Sweeps. The children looked strong & healthy but were not so clean as the others: their clothes were very poor & their heads were very dirty & caked. The family got their water from the stream and used Mr Nappers meadow as a privvy, as did the other families. Mr Napper said he would get rid of the family in a few weeks, along with Henry Loveridge and his wife Susan Moorend & their 5 children in tent 2.

                  The inspector said James, Harriett & family needed 520 cubic feet but only had 420. The Loveridge's needed 440 but only had 140.

                  The article went on to give a general description of conditions, ie dirt floors with little more than straw for bedding. The Archer/Bland family having by far the largest, but still primitive.

                  It seems the inspection had been prompted by the death of a woman in tent 1 (a week previously I think) and the board of guardians weren't happy about what the press had said! ADDED: The woman who died was Reservoir Mooring 44 who lived in the tent with Henry Smith.
                  Last edited by teasie; 28-09-19, 03:03.


                    Wow Teasie, you have helped loads!!! All this info. is amazing. I also have Mooring's in my tree too so will be interesting to see if these are part of my tree or just share the name It's hard to believe what the conditions were like but with that description doesn't sound very nice at all! Now to try and find her death!
                    Thanks so much x


                      good sleuthing teasie whilst lots of us were sleeping, be funny if the Loveridge was a tie to Beaver
                      Family Tree site

                      Researching: Luggs, Freeman - Cornwall; Dayman, Hobbs, Heard - Devon; Wilson, Miles - Northants; Brett, Everett, Clark, Allum - Herts/Essex
                      Also interested in Proctor, Woodruff


                        Insomnia has its up-side sometimes, although I have been known to hallucinate findings at that time in the morning too


                          interesting that they changed name a lot, I have a family that were travellers, that were china dealers and they swapped to 'her' surname, rather than his. As yet not really found that much out about them, even in the papers. Maybe Loveridge and Langridge were changed too.

                          Wonder where the Archer came from.
                          Family Tree site

                          Researching: Luggs, Freeman - Cornwall; Dayman, Hobbs, Heard - Devon; Wilson, Miles - Northants; Brett, Everett, Clark, Allum - Herts/Essex
                          Also interested in Proctor, Woodruff


                            Originally posted by cbcarolyn View Post
                            Wonder where the Archer came from.
                            I believe this was James' surname. In the 1861 census in Liddington, Wiltshire, under the heading 'list of persons not in houses'

                            George Archer 43 Wire Worker b Woolston, Berks
                            Elizabeth Archer wife 33 b Reading, Berks
                            Richard 16 son b Fyfield, Berks
                            Henry 13 son b Faringdon, Berks
                            Thomas 11 son b Carswell, Berks
                            James 8 son b Carswell, Berks
                            John 2 son b ?? Berkshire

                            The next family is headed by Purnell Archer aged 50, a Basket Maker.

                            Wire Workers, Basket Makers, not living in houses... all adds up to another traveller family. But whether the children were registered as Archer, or under the mother's name, or even at all, is quite another question!
                            Last edited by teasie; 28-09-19, 17:42.


                              Reading Mercury 8 February 1851
                              At the Abingdon Petty Sessions 3 Feb, George Archer & John Scarrott charged with stealing lead on 11 Jan from the parish of Wadley. “The accused parties were members of the wandering gypsies located in this neighbourhood” They had buried their haul in Fyfield.

                              Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette 8 March 1851 confirms they were found guilty & sentenced to 3 months hard labour.

                              In 1851 George is in the County Gaol, Reading St Lawrence. I haven’t found Elizabeth & children as yet, but it certainly places them in the right place at the right time for James Archer’s birth c1851/2


                                But then again….
                                Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette 18 Dec 1869
                                James Archer Sen and James Archer Jun, both of Faringdon, sweeps… (charged with stealing 20 Fowls)


                                  Oh goodness lol! Not the 1st of my ancestors to be in trouble!!


                                    Teasie, which site do you use for the papers?



                                      FindmyPast/British Newspaper Archive