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TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS THIRTY THREE: Thomas and Jane Hodgkins

Eric Trudgill    -    31 January 2016

Thomas Hodgkins married a Jane, probably in the 1780s, and had, it seems, several children whose baptisms have yet to be found. We have Thomas junior, christened in Misterton, Leics in 1787 (wandering tinkers) and Joseph, christened near Misterton in Claybrooke, Leics in 1789 (travellers), and, after a big gap, we have Richard and Patience, christened in Creaton, Northants in 1804 and 1807 respectively (travellers). But for the rest we have to rely on circumstantial evidence.

Of the four children documented by baptisms Joseph married a Catherine and christened eight children in Warwicks and two in Staffs, with one of them, Job, marrying a somewhat distant relative, Trainet Hodgkins (daughter of Charles and Harriet), while Joseph’s sister, Patience, married more helpfully first John Holland (christened in 1806 son of Robert and Ann), and much later, as a widow, a toy boy, Jonas Holland (christened in 1827 son of Edward and Rosanna).

This gives us a start, as the Rosanna here was a Hodgkins, who married Edward Holland in Stanwick, Northants in 1813, with Robert Holland as witness, seven days before a Sarah Hodgkins married Benjamin Holland there, with Edward Holland as witness. It looks very Gypsy-like, three sisters, daughters of Thomas and Jane, marrying three brothers, sons of Robert and Ann, and Patience marrying her nephew twice over, Jonas Holland, who had previously been married to a Rosanna I suspect was his second-cousin, Rosanna Hodgkins (christened in 1834 daughter of Job and Trainet).

If there are significant marriages between the Hodgkins and Holland families, there are equally significant marriages between the Hodgkins and Sherriff families (and between the Hollands and Sherriffs). In Hillmorton, Wks in 1803 an Ann Hodgkins married Job Sherriff (christened in 1780 son of Thomas and Mary) with Thomas Hodgkins a witness, and in Hillmorton in 1812 an Elizabeth Hodgkins married Job’s nephew, John Sherriff (christened in 1784 son of John and Martha) with again Thomas Hodgkins a witness. Thomas Hodgkins here looks very much like the brides’ father, the husband of Jane.

Ann’s and Elizabeth’s children by their Sherriff husbands support the idea they were daughters of Thomas, husband of Jane. Ann’s daughter, Sinfi Sherriff (christened in 1813) married in 1829 Joseph Holland (christened in 1811 son of Robert and Ann), probably brother-in-law of Ann and Elizabeth and certainly brother-in-law of Patience, who was surely the Patience Hodson who witnessed the wedding of her near contemporary, Sinfi Sherriff. Similarly Elizabeth’s son, Josiah (sometimes Jonas) Sherriff (christened in 1821) made what looks like a cousin-marriage with Jane (born about 1825) daughter of Patience Hodgkins by John Holland.

Alongside Rosanna, Sarah, Ann and Elizabeth we can surely put the Margaret Hodgkins who married Joshua Booth (son of John and Mary) in Loughborough, Leics in 1803. Margaret was almost certainly named after her aunt, the Margaret Hodgkins who married Edward Holland in 1773 in Claybrooke (where Thomas Hodgkins was to christen Joseph in 1789) witnessed by Thomas Sherriff (as we’ve seen, father-in-law of Ann Hodgkins and grandfather-in-law of Elizabeth Hodgkins). And Joshua and Margaret Booth baptised children called Thomas, Joseph and Patience, forenames not used by the Booths but used, as we’ve seen, for children of Thomas and Jane Hodgkins.

Of course, unless they were twins, either Ann or Margaret would have to have been born before Thomas junior’s baptism in 1787 in order for both to marry in 1803, and, if we assume Elizabeth Rosanna and Sarah were born between about 1791 and 1795, we’ve probably still got three more siblings to find.

Copyright © 2016 Eric Trudgill