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Sunday, 30 November 2008

Gidleys in Marldon, Devon

On my last visit to the Devon Record Office in May, I was surprised to find a hitherto unknown Gidley family - that of John, described as "of Marldon" in the register when he married Mary Gale in 1792 in Kingsteignton. I found 4 children in the Marldon PRs until they became too faint to read easily. Son Samuel could possibly be the one who joins the Navy/coastguard service and marries Amelia Kearley in Hampshire. One of the daughters of John and Mary was Tryphena Gidley, who married in Berry Pomeroy in 1825, but by 1851 was living in West Teignmouth, where her sister Jane married in 1833. West Teignmouth looks a fruitful area to investigate next time, in the hope of finding a burial and/or possible ages for John and Mary, the parents.
The south coast of Devon seems to have been much more attractive to Gidleys from mid-Devon. Very few are to be found in Barnstaple or Bideford, etc. but most families seem to have a representative somewhere on the south coast, with Torquay being particularly popular.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Gidley family history blog

Photo of Pte. James Henry Gidley of the Royal Devonshire Regiment who died of enteric fever in Standerton, Transvaal, in February 1901.

I hope this blog will become a way of communicating progress to all interested parties on the Gidley fact-finding mission of the One-Name Study begun in 2001. I hope too that it will persuade me to go about the research in a systematic fashion, though that rather does depend on the opportunities that present themselves.
My most recent research trip was to London where I visited the Guildhall Library and the Westminster City Archives at half-term. Both very different research centres, but I did discover some more details about Gidleys living in London. One more mystery though - I checked the marriage of Mary Ann Gidley to James Maber at Shoreditch St Leonard in 1844. Mary Ann gave her occupation as bootbinder, and her father's name as Henry Gidley, porter. I don't know who this Henry Gidley could be.
At home I am inputting the census data from the American censuses into Custodian. It rather linked in with the John Adams programme recently shown on Saturdays about the second President of the USA, which provided an interesting background, but it is taking so long that I shall probably take a break at 1880. Looking more carefully than before, a few so far unrecorded facts have surfaced:
William Isaac Gidley, son of Jasper Maudit Gidley of the Honiton branch, had children, including three sons who survived to at least the age of 15. Unfortunately they have disappeared from the family home before the 1850 census when all the family was named. There are several "unattached" Gidleys born in New York State who could fit the bill. There is Charles Gidley born abt 1830 who married Almira Sherlock, Daniel Gidley born abt. 1819, a broom maker who moved to Wisconsin, and Edwin Gidley born abt. 1822 who married Mary (Polly) Herriman, who must not be confused with another Edwin and Mary couple of about the same age, and where the latter Edwin became the Police Chief of Ann Arbor. Confusingly, they all lived in Michigan for a while. There is also Edward B Gidley born abt. 1823, though I find it difficult to believe that a family could have an Edwin and an Edward amongst the children. One must belong to another family.

Amongst the English branches, after 20 years of family history, I have found another first cousin for my father, of whom the family was completely unaware. My aunt remembered visiting a Violet Gidley and her family as a small child, who was a relation of some sort. This tied in with an address for a "Violet Cole (Gidley)" in my grandmother's address book, but I was never able to work out who they were. Then when going through all the Gidley marriages and allotting them to family trees, I eventually decided that there was only one James Henry Gidley who could have married at Crediton in 1898, and that was my great uncle who died very shortly afterwards in the Boer War. We have a photo (the one above) but no-one living knew he had married. Re-checking the 1901 census, his wife, who had married as Lucy Vanstone, was living with her mother in Crediton and was wrongly enumerated under her maiden name as Louisa Vanstone, with a daughter - Violet L Vanstone. At that point I remembered the birth reference to Violet Ladysmith Gidley - a bit of a clue that I'd not thought had anything to do with my family. Violet Ladysmith Gidley married Stanley Coles (with an extra "s"). The mystery was solved. Louisa Gidley remarried very shortly after hearing of Jim's death. Sadly, Violet died as recently as 1999. There do seem to be descendants still in Devon through her daughter Joyce Coldridge, and I should love them to get in touch.