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TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS NUMBER FORTY NINE: James and Martha Alford

Eric Trudgill    -    2 June 2017

James Alford (like his descendants sometimes an aspirated Halford) married Martha Loveridge in Olney, Bucks in 1778. They are known to have baptised the following Alford children: William in Thornby, Northants in 1785, the five day old child of William (the son and father’s forenames muddled) and Martha, travellers of Merton, Oxf; Ann in Lutterworth, Leics in 1787; Sarah in Ridgmont, Beds in 1791, travellers; James junior in Steppingley, Beds in 1798, travellers of Uxbridge [Mdx]; and David in Finedon, Northants in 1802, tin-plate worker of Uxbridge.

Of these Ann married Henry Loveridge (christened in 1783 son of William and Margaret) in Olney in 1801, and James married Alice Smith (christened in 1797 daughter of the James Smith who married Winifred Loveridge in 1785) in Olney in 1813. And from these baptisms and marriages we can give James and Martha Alford three or four more children, and identify Martha’s Loveridge family.

Between the Sarah Alford baptised in 1791 and the James Alford junior christened in 1798 we can surely place the Rosamund Alford who married Miah Brooks in 1811 in Olney (where James senior and Ann and James junior had married), Miah looking very like a descendant of the famous Miah Smith who married Elizabeth Brooks in Sulgrave, Northants in 1764. And next to Rosamund we can surely place the Job Alford who married Rachel Fletcher (christened in 1798 daughter of William and Elizabeth) in Aylesbury St Mary, Bucks in 1818, witnessed by William, not Miah (presumably another muddled forename), and Rosamund Brooks.

Between the James Alford junior baptised in 1798 and the David Alford baptised in 1802 (their father in each case of Uxbridge) we can surely place the Hezekiah (sometimes Ezekiel) Alford who married Jemima Jeffs in Noke, Oxf in 1823, since Hezekiah and Jemima Alford christened a David in Rotherfield Peppard, Oxf in 1829, an Eliza in 1836 in Denham, Bucks (next to Uxbridge) and a William in Stokenchurch, Oxf in 1839 (Hezekiah in each case a travelling tinker of Uxbridge. And after the David Alford baptised in 1802 we can surely place the Naomi Alford who married Diverus Loveridge [christened in 1806 son of Solomon and Mary] in Olney in 1833, and seemingly gave her forename to Job and Rachel Alford’s second daughter, the Naomi christened in Oving, Bucks in 1821, vagrants of Uxbridge.

The five Alford/Loveridge marriages I’ve mentioned help us where we lack baptisms for James and Martha’s children. They also indicate Martha’s origins as a sister of the William Loveridge, husband of Margaret, discussed in Pat Loveridge’s excellent Family Tree booklet published in 2007. Martha’s daughter Ann Alford married her cousin Henry Loveridge, son of William and Margaret, in 1811, and married her second cousin William Loveridge, grandson of William and Margaret, in 1848; Martha’s son James Alford junior married his second cousin Alice Smith, granddaughter of William and Margaret Loveridge; whilst Martha’s assumed daughter Naomi Alford married her second cousin Diverus Loveridge, grandson of William and Margaret.

If you want more evidence to support my assumptions, look not just at Olney, where Martha Loveridge herself, three of her children, and no less than six of William and Margaret Loveridges’ children were married, look too at where she baptised her children. She baptised Ann in 1787 in Lutterworth, where William and Margaret had one daughter marry in 1785 and baptised another in 1789, and she baptised Sarah in 1791 in Ridgmont, where William and Margaret baptised their Job in 1795. In the early years of their marriages, before their families got too big, Martha and William were clearly travelling together.

One last thought: Job and Ann are the only two forenames we know both Martha and William used for their children. Does this tell us something about their own birth family?

Copyright © 2017 Eric Trudgill