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TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS FORTY FIVE: Joshua and Joanna Lee

Eric Trudgill    -    4 February 2017

Joshua Lee (born in Norwood, Sry about 1795 son of Thomas and Rose) and Joanna (born a little earlier if, as seems likely, she was the Joanna Scamp who married a Damon Lee in Kent in 1809) baptised seven children: Sophia in Clayton, Ssx in 1814, and (all in Kent) Uriah in Sturry in 1817, Henry in Buckland near Dover in 1821, Thomas in Canterbury St Martin in 1822, Kissy/Keziah in Dartford in 1825, John in Sandwich St Mary in 1829, and Zachariah in Strood in 1831 (at his burial there in 1863 his mother was said to be a Scamp).

Tracing the children’s baptisms isn’t difficult, but establishing their spouses is a little, and I made two blunders when I discussed Joshua and Joanna’s children in a Family Tree booklet published in 2007 (records in those days were much harder to access).

Joshua and Joanna’s Henry (who sometimes called himself David), baptised in 1821, married a Mary Ann who in 2007 I thought was his cousin, daughter of Amos and Mary Ann. Actually, born in Hockley, Essex about 1823, she was the ex-wife of Henry’s cousin Thomas Lee, born about 1823 son of Thomas and Mary, Mary perhaps being a Gardiner: they had married (Thomas Gardiner minor, son of Thomas Lee brazier, and Mary Ann Riley minor, daughter of John Wale sweep) in Prittlewell, Essex in 1841, the groom’s sister Sinamenti Lee acting as one of the witnesses), and had christened a William Henry and Emily Gardiner in Prittlewell in 1843 and 1845 respectively, with Emily’s birth-certificate giving her mother as Mary Ann, formerly Whale.

Henry and Mary Ann Lee christened, all in Kent, Mary Ann junior in Sheerness in 1855, Louisa in Greenhithe in 1857, and Walter and Leonard in Gravesend in 1861 and 1864 respectively (I believe we can add a Henry junior, husband of Selina, who christened a child jointly in 1884 with the Louisa christened in 1857 and her husband William Scamp). On the baptisms and birth-certificates of the first four children their father is recorded alternately as David and Henry Lee and their mother on all the birth-certificates as Mary Ann late Lee formerly Whale or simply formerly Whale.

Joshua and Joanna’s Thomas Lee, christened in 1822, did have two wives, as I claimed in 2007. And I was right about his second wife being the fore-mentioned Sinamenti Lee (christened in 1825 daughter of Thomas and Mary and sometimes known as Margaret): they had a Henry Lee christened in Rochester St Margaret, Kent in 1864 son of Thomas and Ceremitti, tinker.

But I was wrong about Thomas’ first wife, who I took to be his cousin, born about 1820, Lydia/Elizabeth (common alternates) daughter of Joshua’s brother Isaac Lee and Lydia Thatcher: in fact Isaac’s daughter Elizabeth was christening children by her brother-in-law Joseph Emmett while Thomas and Lydia Lee were completing their family. And on the birth-certificate of Thomas and Lydia’s first known child Deogilus Lee, christened in 1846, the mother Lydia was recorded as formerly Baker and the informant was recorded as Fairnetta Baker. Thomas’ first wife was thus the sister of the first wife of his cousin Alexander (son of Isaac Lee and Lydia Thatcher), christened as Delany Baker in Monkton, Kent in 1815 daughter of William and Fannetty.

Such are the intricacies of Gypsy intra-family marriages, wrong guesses, like mine in 2007, are often not altogether wrong!

I’m grateful, as often, for the brilliant work done digging up data, and generously shared, by Bob Collins.

Copyright © 2017 Eric Trudgill