In keeping with my goals for the year, I started working on my Anstead/Ansted line this month. I figured it wouldn’t do to fall off the pace in the first week of the year! I had intended to write the biographies for my ggg-grandmother and my gggg-grandfather, which were the only Ansteads I had any information on.
On Saturday morning, I knew that Dionysia Anstead had been born to John and Dionysia Anstead. I knew that she had married Thomas Burton. I had names of at least some of John and Dionysia’s children from the two censuses I had managed to track down and a couple of baptismal records. One of the censuses listed John as a ‘fruit broker’. I even had what I believed to be John’s baptismal record which gave me his father’s name – Thomas. And that is about all I knew.
Saturday evening I decided to see if I could find anything else. I tried www.Ancestry.com. I tried my brand new subscription to www.findyourpast.com (which I won in a Twitter contest from @familytreemaguk. Yay!) I tried www.FamilySearch.org. I didn’t really find anything new – or at least I didn’t find anything I recognized as new and applicable. Then I tossed <“John Ansted” fruit> into Google.
And everything changed.
Google Books found a record in The European magazine, and London Review, Volumes 77-78:
[11. Mr. John Ansted, of the firm of Clark and Ansted, Fruit Brokers, Mincing-lane, to Miss Dyonisia Northeast.]
In those three lines, a wall I hadn’t fully acknowledged fell down.
Suddenly, I had John and Dionysia’s marriage date (April 11, 1820). I had the name of John’s business and its location. And I had Dionysia’s maiden name.
On Sunday I started searching for verification of this new information. I now have census information for every census between 1841 and 1911. I have as many birth/baptism, marriage and death/burial registration/records as possible so far (nothing yet ordered but I’m making a list!) I have a pile of Times of London clippings, including auctions of fruit, birth/marriage/death notices and more. I have nuggets of information from a variety of books and other publications.
And I am still turning up new pieces of the puzzle. (As I was writing this post, I searched Google Books directly and turned up some new references.) It’s going to take me some time to put it all together, but I am going to enjoy the process. This is the first branch of my family that has ‘social standing’, which seems to mean they left more of a paper trail than the branches who were servants and farmers and labourers.
I’m working on sorting through all the records I have collected and hope to start writing biographies soon. Now, in additional to Dionysia (Ansted) Burton and John Ansted, I will have to add my ggg-uncle John Ansted (who also married a Burton) and, possibly, Thomas Ansted. I’m also eager to look into the history of fruit brokers and grocers in 18th and 19th century London.
Now, if only I could find a picture of John or Dionysia! Oh, and some time to research and write without neglecting the preschooler and the baby!