Main Street Fairview

Sorry to be gone, but my trip to England was worth it!



Sincere apologies for my two weeks of silence. By now you are probably thinking alien abduction or something like that. The truth is that I have been out of the country.

Even more truth is that I carefully prepared a column for July 20, explaining why there would be no column on July 27 — and then forgot to send it! A mind is a terrible thing to lose.

In the most recent column, I said that I hoped by the next week to have located a maiden name. And I did it!

Several years ago, my son and his wife asked me to go to England with them. Then the plague hit. We have finally been able to take the trip.

About six weeks ago I discovered a digital typescript of research done in the 1880s on my Yearsley line, so I’ve been working that side of the family. So far it appears that the researcher had his facts straight, but he didn’t cite any sources.

One of the first rules of family history research is “CITE YOUR SOURCES.” When you locate that published book on your Humperdinker line, look for footnotes, or endnotes, or some kind of notes. Otherwise, how do you know that the information in the book is correct?



The Yearsley information stated that the first ones to come to North America were John Yearsley and his wife and children. They were Quakers and the Quaker meeting in Middlewich, England, had given them a certificate of dismissal in 1700.

Good Quakers wanted to be able to join a meeting in their new location, so the meeting they were leaving provided them with a letter stating that they were faithful members with no record of misbehavior. (I have found several ancestors that would not have been given such a letter.)

John and his wife Elizabeth duly joined a meeting in Pennsylvania, where they had moved. I have found both those records. But there is no record of Elizabeth’s maiden name in this typescript.

Middlewich is a small town in the county of Cheshire, and Chester is the county seat. The internet told me that the archives for the area are housed in the town of Chester, so I contacted them and told them what I wanted to find. Just over a week ago I held in my hands a church record book from 1696, inscribed on parchment. And with the help of the staff, I now have Elizabeth’s maiden name.

“John Yearsley & Elizabeth Simcock were married 7 of 8th month.”

There is no year because it is the page for 1796. And while it may appear that the couple married in August, that’s most likely not accurate. Until 1751 the year began on Lady Day, March 25. So the first month was April. If John and Elizabeth married in the eighth month, it was most likely November. That’s why we sometimes find the term “Old Style” or see a date between January 1 and March 25 like this: 3 January 1750/51.

In our minds, the third of January would be the next year, say 1751. But it would still have been 1750 at the time. Confused? Add to that the dropping of 11 days from the calendar in September and you can get really confused.

In 1582 those in the know realized that the old Julian calendar (yes, created by Julius Caesar) was not totally accurate and as a result, the equinoxes were off by 10 days. Most of Europe moved to the new, more accurate Gregorian calendar, but England and its colonies remained under the Julian calendar until the year 1750. By that time, the calendar was 11 days off, so to bring the calendar into line with the solar year, eleven days were simply removed. September 1 was followed by September 14.

And people being what we are, there were riots over the 11 days that had been “stolen” that year.

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