Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tidballs in Bosanquet? What were the Odds?

If you are not yet convinced that Thomas Tidball of North Molton was the same man as Thomas Tidboald born at Exford (see December 8 and 15 posts), additional supporting evidence comes from a few thousand miles away.

To quickly review, the John and Thomas Tidball who emigrated to Minnesota in the 1880s were great-great-grandsons of Thomas of North Molton. They were descended from Thomas' son, William, born 1769. William, in turn, had three sons: William (b. 1798), Michael (b. 1801), and Gregory (b. 1807). Gregory need not concern us here. Michael was the grandfather of John and Thomas who went to Minnesota. Our attention now turns to William.

To make a long story short, William had three grandsons: William Henry (b. 1866), Robert (b. 1869), and John (b. 1872). All three emigrated to Canada.

  • William and Robert arrived at Halifax in April 1889, giving their destination as Thedford, Ontario. The 1891 Canadian census found Robert and John in Bosanquet Township, a mile or two from Thedford.
  • John landed at Quebec in 1894, also giving his destination as Thedford.
So what?

Here's what: William, Robert, and John were not the first Tidballs in Bosanquet Township. Another Robert Tidball family was already there at the time of the 1861 census. Robert, a shoemaker, was 50, and his wife, Elizabeth was 48. They had six England-born children: Richard, Caroline, Robert, John, Mary, and Louisa, plus William Henry, born about 1858 in Canada. The family, minus Richard, was still in Bosanquet in 1871, and again in 1881 and 1891.
1861 Census of Canada, Bosanquet Township, Ontario, Robert Tidball family

This Tidball family was from Cutcombe, Somerset, where the parish register recorded the baptisms of Richard (1842), Caroline (1843), Elizabeth (1844), Robert (1845), and John (1847) -- in each case, the father, Robert, was identified as a cordwainer -- a shoemaker.

You remember Cutcombe, right?  Cutcombe was the parish where tax records listed our North Molton Thomas Tidball as proprietor of Thorne Sheaf -- a farm near Luckwell Bridge (22 December 2016 post). Robert Tudball, a shoemaker living at Luckwell Bridge, married Elizabeth Baker 9 September 1841 at Cutcombe. Robert, the son of Alexander Tidball, was baptized 14 March 1812 at Cutcombe.

Likely, Alexander was the Alexander Tudball baptized at Cutcombe in 1761. This Alexander’s father was also named Alexander. An Alexander Tidball married Anne Tucker at Cutcombe in 1759. He was plausibly the Alexander Tidball baptized in 1728 at Exford to Walter and Elizabeth Tidball. Walter and Elizabeth were the parents of the Thomas Tidball baptized at Exford in 1739. This, of course, is the Thomas who is thought to have moved to North Molton. If all this is correct, the Robert Tidball who came to Ontario about 1860 was a 2nd cousin to the grandfather of Robert, John and William who came to Bosanquet in the 1880s and 1890s.

This is not an especially close relationship. Yet, it would be an amazing coincidence if two completely un-related Tidball families had chosen to emigrate to the same township in Ontario. It is possible, if not likely, that the two families knew they were related. If they did, it would support the notion that the Thomas Tidball of North Molton did, in fact, come from Exford.


  1. The Canadian descendants (or perhaps some census taker) of Robert/Elizabeth at some point changed the spelling once again to Tedball. I know this to be fact.

  2. Yes, I recall that the name appears at "Tedball" in at least one Canadian census. If you are related to the family, I would like to hear from you.

    1. Yes, I am related. My mother was born a Tedball in Bosanquet.

    2. Steve, would you please get in touch with me privately via email: My wife is a Tidball. I am working on research that proves the connection between the Bosanquet Tidballs and the Minnesota Tidballs. Both came from the Devon-Somerset area of England.