Thursday, December 8, 2016

Two more Generations of Tidballs

Several posts ago (August 11, to be precise), we used English censuses and civil registration records to track William Tidball -- father of the immigrants John and Thomas -- back to Brushford, a small village nestled on the Somerset side of the Devon-Somerset boundary in Southwest England. There, we viewed the record of the 14 April 1822 baptism of Thomas Tidboald, son of Michael and Eleanor Tidboald.

Very nice, but where did Michael come from? No Tidballs appear in the Brushford records before 1822. A search one parish to the west on the Devon side of the border found the 29 November 1821 East Anstey marriage by banns of Michael "Tidball" and Eleanor Dascombe. The curate recorded that Eleanor was from Dulverton, but did not name where Michael came from.

Tidball-Dascombe marriage, East Anstey, Findmypast image
Another approach did give a clue. The 1841 census, which listed Michael (40) and Eleanor, listed another Tidball of similar age in Brushford. Thomas, a 45-year old cordwainer. In the 1841 census, adult ages were usually rounded down to the nearest multiple of five; Michael could have been as old as 44 and Thomas as old as 49. The census stated only that Thomas was not born in Somerset; the entry for Michael is difficult to interpret (Census says only "yes" or "no" for birth in the census county).

The 1851 census asked specifically what parish an individual was born in. It is of no help for Michael, because he died in 1845, and English civil death registrations, unlike many American ones, do not name either parents or birthplaces. The 1851 Census of England listed Thomas Tidball, a 58 year-old cordwinder (a variant of cordwainer), born in North Molton, Devon -- a village (and parish) about 15 miles west of Brushford village.

Map from FamilySearch wiki; click to enlarge
North Molton Bishop's Transcript, FamilySearch image from Devon Record Office
Next stop: North Molton. Indeed, Michael Tidball was baptized to William Tidball and his wife, Margaret, 25 January 1801. (Parish register images are indexed at, a subscription service. Annual Bishop's Transcripts can be browsed free at  William Tidball and Margaret Squire were married 15 April 1792. Michael's uncle, Thomas, was baptized 24 June 1792.

Following the North Molton parish records back two more decades leads to the baptism of William, the son of Thomas and Agnes "Titbald," 27 July 1769. William's baptism is the earliest Tidball (or variant) entry in the North Molton parish registers, and no record names Agnes' maiden name. Thus, the direct Tidball trail evaporates on the Devon side of the Somerset-Devon border nearly 250 years ago.

There are strong hints that the trail leads back across the border to the Exmoor hills in Somerset, but that is another story for another blog post.

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