The highlight of September has to be the week we spent in France, in the beautiful Aveyron
countryside. Fabulous weather, lovely food and some really stunning places to visit ensured that we had a smashing break. We thought that was our summer finished, but with its usual unpredictability the British weather has given us a surprise, and September is going out with a spell of gorgeous weather that far exceeds anything we had in what has been a pretty nondescript sort of summer in England. We must enjoy this while we can, of course, because without doubt our normal autumn weather will take over 'ere long.
We are now nearer to sending out the trees to those people who have been awaiting them patiently these past three months. They are nearly ready, and we have an up to date list of Bankes descendants who have requested copies, so hopefully we will get that job done very soon.
In the time I have had available in the past couple of months I have been updating my treeing records, and doing mundane things like filing my pieces of paper. I am never keen on these jobs, but if we are to be able to find the records we want when we want them we need to attend to them in a methodical way, and if you had seen the great big pile of paper that has been building up in my study you would appreciate that the attention I'm currently giving these tasks is well merited.On top of that, it is now time to start work on the December edition of the Shropshire Family History Society Journal, so that will occupy me quite fully for the next few weeks.
As I'm having a break in my research activities it is probably a good idea to reflect on the areas of research that I want to concentrate on when I get back fully into my research.
There are a number of issues that I want to address. I'll briefly mention two of them:
1. Just where did John Bankes (abt 1650 - 1719) come from and who were his parents?
I know, I've harped on about this at length many times before, but although I am not actually directly descended from this man he looms so large over our research activities that I really would love to resolve this issue. My reading of the Court of Chancery documents tells me that at one time he owned property at Roding, which I believe probably was situated in the Epping Forest area. I aim to follow up on this, to try to ascertain what was this property, and how Bankes came to hold it. Did he, I wonder, hail from that neck of the woods? A long shot, but worth a try. I expect to be in touch with Essex Archives service before too long, to try to develop this line of enquiry.
2. I am actually descended from Mary (Rand) Mitchell (abt 1668 - 1739), half sister to Bankes, so it does occur to me that over the years I have not devoted nearly enough effort to tracing her Rand origins. There is a reason for that, in that I live in Shropshire and do not often get the chance to look at records that I may need to research in order to pursue this research. Up to now the relevant information I have found has been held in London, but given the fact that many people moved into London from outside the City, there is no telling where this chase may take me.
When I researched "our" John Rand (abt 1684-bef 1745) I found more than one record stating that he was a Barber Surgeon of London.
We have traced a record of the Apprenticeship and Freedom relating to a John Rand, Barber Surgeon of London. This document was dated 1697, and concerns a John Rand, son of Samuel Rand of Chichester, Sussex. As we know from Bankes's will that his half brother, father of John Rand born abt 1684, was named JOHN RAND, logic suggests that this Samuel cannot be "ours". However, a search of the Freedom Admissions of the Barber Surgeons' Company , and the City of London Freedoms Index has revealed that this man was the only John Rand to become Free of the Barber-Surgeons' Company whose date of Apprenticeship coincided with the time frame expected of "our man".
All very confusing.
Then there is Joseph Rand (b abt 1694). We know from several sources that he was a Carpenter, and we found his apprenticeship record dated 1708, in which his father (ie Bankes' half brother) was named as Joseph Rand, late Citizen & Haberdasher of London deceased. If I'm recalling this correctly, this Joseph Rand Haberdasher of London would have been a brother to Samuel Rand of Chichester, and both of them would have been half siblings to John Bankes. Certainly the thesis that Bankes's half brother may have been a Freeman of the Haberdashers' company seems tenable. The only snag is that the most thorough searches of the Haberdashers Company archives showed no record of this Joseph Rand, Haberdasher! Even the member of staff I asked at Guildhall Library was at a loss to explain this.
Then, to confuse things further, There was a Virginal Maker in London in the 1660s named John Rand, and his wife Mary. They had a son - John - baptised in 1661, and a daughter named Mary, baptised 1668. Interestingly (or maybe merely coincidentally) these baptism dates coincide more or less precisely with the chronology I had calculated for my Rand forebears. Additionally, these people had links to Oxfordshire, and so did John Bankes' first wife - Elizabeth Atherton (abt 1640 - bef 1715).
I would not be surprised if I have confused you with all this. It is all very confusing, but imagine the sense of triumph I shall have if I manage to solve any of these mysteries!
I'll let you know when I start out on these trails.