Location: Herefordshire and US
N.B. This research is still on going
The main reason for this space is to make available the notes made by Margery Meredith, my mother, rather than filling the bio with pages of detail people may not need or want to see. This is a transcription of those notes. Please bear in mind that ALL of Margery's research was done at the Gloucester Records office and by visits to areas and without the benefit(?) of access to computerised records. [some comments by me appear thus in italics]
Thomas Starey Meredith was born on 14 July 1791 and baptised at Ledbury, Herefordshire on 17 July 1791.
He was the base born child of Ann Meredith. It was some time before his true date of birth and his baptism were traced as according to the family bible he was born on 14 July 1792. However I have seen the Parish Records for Ledbury and it was definitely 1791. This really only came to light at a later date of which more anon.
Gt. Gt. Grandfather Thomas Starey or Thomas as we originally thought him to be was a bricklayer and on 24 Nov 1811 he married Margaret Collins at Tewkesbury. [copy of marriage register in my possession] Margaret Collins' origins have eluded me so far but from 1783 to 1794 there was a duty levied on baptisms, marriages and deaths [one assumes the duty was on the certification not the event!] and many folk did not did not have their children baptised.
Thomas and Margaret had 10 children, 5 sons and 5 daughters, of whom 1 son died young, possibly 2, and 3 daughters died young. Margaret died aged about 37 on 9 Jan 1831, 10 days after the birth of the youngest son Jehew, and two days after Priscilla had died aged 1 year and 9 months. Whether Jehew survived is doubtful.
Some time after Emma was born in 1825, Gt. Gt. Grandparents Thomas and Margaret and the family left Tewkesbury but to where they went is so far not known.
However son John (born 1819) was found in the 1851 census living in Manchester with his family and the information gained led me to find him in Sheffield in 1841. He was married there in 1841 to a Granada England.
Now the question arises - did the whole family of Thomas and Margaret move to Sheffield or just John at a later date? William was in Liverpool in the latter part of 1851 and by 1852 was in Manchester. So by 1852, 2 of the children were known to be in Manchester. But where was Thomas?
Thomas was also in Manchester in 1850 - found through the records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [LDS]. According to their records Thomas was baptised into that Church, generally called the Mormons, on 07 Jan 1850 in Manchester and was living in Bedford St., Hulme with his second wife Elizabeth Woodhead who was also baptised into the Mormon Church.
They moved to Liverpool on 28 Jan 1850 and returned to Manchester on 20 Feb 1853.
On 16 Feb 1854 they emigrated to Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. and wrere again baptised into the Mormon Church on 13 Mar 1857, Thomas being confirmed as a High Priest on the same date. On the copies of the Mormon records there are two birth dates shown for Thomas and on the U.S.A. baptism there is an 'S'. On the emigration records of emigrants to the U.S. Thomas is shown as Thomas Starey Meredith and the date of birth 17 Jul 1791 which led me to a search of the Ledbury records where I discovered that his full name was Thomas Starey Meredith and that he was indeed baptised there in 1791.
So, was Starey his father's name and did his mother suppress it on instructions from the father's family or her family? Perhaps he was brought up by someone else who was ignorant of his middle name. I think maybe when he emigrated he had to give some proof of his birth and so it came to light. I imagine Thomas himself was surprised. The very early baptism 3 days after birth may be for a number of reasons a) his mother's death at his birth [unlikely as the Starey connection would not have been made if Ann had died] b) a delicate baby [possibility] c) handed to someone else to be brought up. [see later]
Intensive research has not revealed to date any marriage taking place between Thomas Starey Meredith and Elizabeth Woodhead. Elizabeth is recorded under her maiden name on the emigration records, although the record does show her as spouse of Thomas Starey Meredith.
I was advised to write to Salt Lake City, Utah as it seems that when a person becomes a member of the Mormon Church they have to research their ancestors back five generations. I was not very hopeful that the Family History Centre at Salt Lake City would be able to give me any such information in view of the fact that Thomas was base born. However some information was forthcoming, namely that Thomas Starey Meredith and Elizabeth were married in the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City on 13 November 1855. This Mormon marriage is called a "sealing", a copy of the "sealing" is included in this file. [This copy must still be in the possession of my brother John as it has not come through with the copy of file to me.] Also included are copies of the index cards for Thomas Starey and Elizabeth and it is interesting that Thomas's father is named as Thomas Meredith (spelt Merridith on the card) and his mother as Sarah Ann - no surname. Naming a father and adding Sarah in front of his mother's name was possibly in order to hide that fact that he was illegitimate.
The admissions register for the British School in Tewkesbury from 1813 - 1830 do not show any of the Meredith family. There are no records for the National School in Tewkesbury earlier than 1850. This is the school that Thomas and Margaret's children including our Gt. Grandfather William would have attended. I had hoped from the school admission register to find a note giving the date of leaving and possibly the place to where the family went on leaving Tewkesbury about 1825. Similarly there are no records for any Ledbury school where Gt. Gt. Grandfather Thomas might have attended, so no hope of discovering anything about his mother or possible 'foster' parents in that line of enquiry.
There was a family of Merediths, namely William and Ann Meredith with the following children, contemporaries of Thomas Starey Meredith:-
In 1807 Susanna a daughter of Robert and Judith Starey [or Sterry] was baptised in Ledbury Church. It has been suggested to me by the Ledbury Parish Archivist that Ann mentioned above i.e. William Meredith's wife, may have had a liaison with Robert Starey, the child, Gt. Gt. Grandfather Thomas, being taken into the family of William and Ann. Certainly there is no trace of a single Ann Meredith in any of the Ledbury Church Records. However I think that the absence of Meredith's apart from the above family in Ledbury at that time leads me to think that Ann, Thomas Starey's mother, came to Ledbury to her brother (?) when she was pregnant. The quick baptism (3 days after birth) would suggest that Ann wished to return to her home or place of work, leaving the child Thomas Starey to be brought up by her brother and sister-in-law or she died at birth or soon after.
[Personally I believe the scenario just outlined to be implausible, mainly for the reason that it suggests Ann was not living in the area and thus would not have had contact with any Starey family unless by some quirk of fate there was a Starey family where she lived.
More likely I believe is that Ann, wife of William, did indeed have a liaison with Robert Starey. William would not be the first father in history to be unaware that his wife was carrying a child that was not his. The Stareys, being in the same village, may have been family friends and thus Ann could persuade her husband William to have Starey as Thomas's second name - William thinking they were 'honouring' good friends and Ann knowing she was pointing to the father of the child.
It seems to me that there is another possibility, that William was actually away at the time of Thomas's birth and the hasty baptism enabled Ann to add the name Starey without her husband's knowledge. If Ann had confessed her transgression to the priest he would be bound by the sanctity of the confessional, the Seal of Confession (or Seal of the Confessional) is the absolute duty of priests not to disclose anything that they learn from penitents during the course of the Sacrament of Penance (confession). It applies to the Anglican Church just as it does to the Roman Catholic Church - much to the surprise of many Catholics! She could add the name Starey and if William ever did ask could simply say she was indeed honouring their good friends.]
For some reason Gt. Gt. Grandfather's middle name Starey was suppressed [was there any need to mention it one wonders? How often do people refer to their second name?] and his date of birth advanced a year from 1791 to 1792 in the family bible, indeed as mentioned earlier Thomas was apparently unaware that he had the name Starey until he emigrated, so there must have been some particular reason for this.
[or the bible entry was made another family member as we do not know who the holder of the bible was and it was a simple error - no conspiracy here - move along please!]
It is to be regretted that in all probability we shall never be able to unravel the mystery and therefore unable to delve further back into the Meredith family ancestry.
___ The end of Mother's notes ___
Additional notes by David (Meredith) Loring
Looking first at Ann Meredith I believe that Mother is incorrect in her assumption that there were no other Meredith families in Ledbury.
There are at least 2 burials later, in the early 1800's and a marriage, suggesting that there were other Meredith's. (These are extracted records, i.e. historical.)
- 1833 Burial: Ann Meredith was laid to rest at Ledbury, Hereford, England on the 6th of October, 1833.
- 1844 Burial: Ann Priscilla Meredith was laid to rest at Ledbury, Hereford, England on the 11th of August, 1844.
- 1834 Marriage: John Bibbs was married to Ann Meredith at Ledbury, Hereford, England on the 27th of March, 1834.
- 1845 Death: Ann Meredith passed away at Ledbury, Herefordshire, England in 1845.
One of these deaths could be Ann, wife of William, but they cannot all be. One could equally be Ann, mother of Thomas.
Regarding Susanna Starey or Sterry we do find a historical record of her subsequent marriage at least showing that there was a family so named in Ledbury.
- 1831 Marriage: William Taylor was married to Susanna Sterry at Ledbury, Hereford, England on the 24th of January, 1831.
In addition there is a historical record of a Thomas Meredith (recall that Thomas Starey gave his fathers name as Thomas) who died in 1818. We do know, as the Ledbury record states it, that Thomas Starey was base born. Sourced from Forest of Dean Parish Records
We also know from this source that there was an Elinor Meredith whose base born son Thomas was baptised in 1764., indeed this was Elinor or Eleanor's second base born son, her first John having been baptised in 1759. (Elinor finally married a widower, Richard Cottrell, in 1768. The fact that she married in Ledbury is another indication that there were other Merediths in Ledbury around the time of when Thomas's mother would have been born.
- 1818 Burial: Thomas Meredith was laid to rest at Ledbury, Hereford, England on the 5th of May, 1818.
It is certain that Thomas was born out of wedlock yet he managed somehow to produce the required 4 or 5 generations to become not only a member but we believe an elder/high priest [this may be a misinterpretation of the record cards] of the Mormon Church.
See LDS submissions
A new record has appeared (in 2014) which gives his mother as Ann Fisher however this is another submission record to the ordinances database with no proper source. Was Ann Meredith, wife of William born Fisher?? ---
Within the family it is considered that he may have been the child of Ann Meredith, wife of William Meredith, by Robert Starey, hence he carries the Starey name. There is evidence of a gap in the children of Ann and William into which Thomas fits quite neatly. This does not make it fact but it could be considered reasonable to suggest.
Note: There is an additional LDS entry:
- Thomas Marion MEREDITH [Male] [LDS], Birth: 14 JUL 1791 Ledbury, Hereford, England. This record is almost certainly incorrect and was submitted for the purpose of proving generations. This is most probably the record submitted by Thomas Starey Meredith himself who did not know he was 'Starey' at the time.
- And a further record in Batch Number: 6940411, THOMAS MEREDITH [Male] [LDS] Birth: 14 JUL 1792 Ledbury, Hereford, England. This additional record is stated as record of a deceased person.
The next problem is the date of emigration to America. The Overland database clearly has him in America in 1847 but in 1850 he was in Manchester and there are further immigration records for 1854. This is a puzzle needing resolution.
- ↑ "England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J874-RWL : 10 February 2018), Ann Meredith, burial 06 Oct 1833; citing Ledbury, Hereford, England, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1,593,552. System Origin: England-EASy
- ↑ "England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J874-K49 : 10 February 2018), Ann Priscilla Meredith, burial 11 Aug 1844; citing Ledbury, Hereford, England, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1,593,552. System Origin: England-EASy
- ↑ "England Marriages, 1538–1973 ," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NFJ1-4J9 : 10 February 2018), John Bibbs and Ann Meredith, 27 Mar 1834; citing Ledbury, Hereford, England, reference 2, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1,593,552. System Origin: England-EASy
- ↑ "England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2JM4-SKL : 31 December 2014), Ann Meredith, 1845; from "England & Wales Deaths, 1837-2006," database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Death, Ledbury, Herefordshire, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
- ↑ "England Marriages, 1538–1973 ," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NFJ1-WY8 : 10 February 2018), William Taylor and Susanna Sterry, 24 Jan 1831; citing Ledbury, Hereford, England, reference 1, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1,593,552. System Origin: England-EASy
- ↑ "England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J874-231 : 10 February 2018), Thomas Meredith, burial 05 May 1818; citing Ledbury, Hereford, England, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1,593,552. System Origin: England-EASy
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