ALLEN a day’s work

In a previous post (from 2010!), my next steps were to:

  • Find ALLEN birth entries in Harborne parish registers
  • Locate family members on 1841 census (and beyond)
  • Find marriage record in Halesowen parish registers
  • Determine Isaac and Ann’s birthplaces/dates

1) These are all the baptisms I could find in the Harborne parish register:

Elizabeth ALLEN baptism – Harborne 1822
Josiah ALLEN baptism – Harborne 1824
Isaac ALLEN baptism – Harborne 1826
Mary Ann ALLEN baptism – Harborne 1829

Note that despite living in Birmingham at the time, the family still returned to Harborne to baptise Isaac and Mary Ann in 1826 and 1829.

2)  The ALLENs were eventually located on the 1841 census in Churchill, Worcestershire near Kidderminster (there are quite a few Churchills I found out!).  The family lived ‘next door’ to the Rectory but I am still unable to determine the exact whereabouts so far. Isaac and daughter, Mary were still there in 1851 – his wife Ann had since died.

ALLENs on 1841 census, Churchill


ALLENs on 1851 census – Churchill


3)  The original Halesowen (Worcestershire) registers have not yet been seen by me but I was able to find a transcription here which gives the marriage date of Isaac ALLEN (bachelor) and Ann Phillis GEALEY (spinster) – both of the parish – as 26 August 1821.

St John's Church, Halesowen
St John’s Church, Halesowen c.1910

4.a)  The 1851 census gave Isaac’s birthplace as Moseley, Warwickshire, and sure enough an Isaac was born to Jeremiah & [Phebe] Allen in 1792 and baptised at the Moseley parish church – St Mary.

Baptism of Isaac ALLEN in 1792
Moseley Parish Church – originally Worcestershire, later Warwickshire

4.b)  I have not been able to view Halesowen baptisms c.1790 so have not yet located Ann Phillis Gealey’s baptism but believe that is where she may be found.


  • Find Ann Phillis Gealey’s baptism
  • Locate siblings on 1851 census & beyond

Mystery Grandson Solved

William James Cussans birth entry

In my last post, I mentioned that I wanted to find out more about the mystery grandson, William CASSANS, found staying with the ALLEN family in the 1851 census.  I’ve actually wanted to do this for years – ever since I first found this census record.  If I could find who his mother was, I could add another child to that family and perhaps open up more doors.  Even though I guessed it was a spelling issue, I was never able to locate this child anywhere else.  To be fair, I wasn’t that bothered since he wasn’t a direct line from me, but seeing his name again bugged me and I set about to solve this mystery.
William CASSANS was only 3 years old (so born c.1848 in Gillingham) and staying with his grandparents William Henry & Sarah ALLEN in the 1851 census.

1851 Census – William CUSSANS with the ALLEN family

I had previously searched the subsequent censuses under various spellings since Cassans gave me nothing.  (Some of the variants I found included; Cussans, Cussons, Cossons, Cousins and even Custance)
A search within two years of 1848 on findmypast, brought up the birth of a William James CUSSANS, registered in the Medway area, and a death in London that looked ‘promising’.


A search for census records under this name found someone of the right name, age and birthplace married to a Jeanette in London 1881.

1881 Census – CUSSANS

A quick search for marriage record with a ‘Jeanette’ as spouse brought up:

Marriage of William CUSSANS (search results)

1873 fits with the age of the first child (6 years in 1881, therefore born a year or two later in 1874/75) but notice there is also another possible bride listed.
Ordinarily, a certificate would need to be ordered to actually prove which of these women was the one he married, however since this marriage took place in London, I was able to find the parish register entry in the London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 records on the ancestry website.  As well as proving the marriage, this record gave his father’s name as James CUSSANS, an upholsterer.

Marriage of William CUSSANS (parish register)

Tracking William back to the 1861 census finds him in London with his parents, James (yay!) and Emma, who was born in Faversham, Kent (double yay!).

1861 Census – Cussans

But was his mother an ALLEN?

Well, my many hours hunting the Kent parish registers showed that William Henry and Sarah did indeed have a daughter named Emma so the last thing I had to do was look for a marriage between a James Cassans and an Emma and…


BAM!  I love it when a plan comes together…


Kent, Faversham, St Mary's of Charity Church

William Henry ALLEN, son of Henry & Susanna ALLEN, was born around 1790 in Faversham, Kent.
I can state this for sure because of Bishop’s Transcripts.  Before this discovery, I only knew that William Henry ALLEN was a carpenter and the father of Mary Ann Allen since he appears on his daughter’s marriage certificate in 1848 (also seen in this post).

Marriage Certificate of George Wright PALMER & Mary Ann ALLEN

This information backs up the 1851 census record I had for the family (although the names of the visiting grandchildren made me pretty confident anyway):

1851 census entry for ALLEN family

So I now know that the family lived on Chatham Hill, Chatham between 1848 and 1851 (at least) and that Henry was a carpenter born in Faversham, Kent around 1790.  (I also know the names of a few more children but I’m focusing on William for now).  Next stop, parish records…
Unfortunately, the Medway Ancestors project doesn’t seem to have the parish registers for Faversham online but I recently did a search on Find My Past and it came up with the Bishop’s Transcript record.  Bishop’s Transcripts were a copy of the parish records, often summarised, that each church sent to the Bishop.  Information can vary from the register and the transcript so it’s always worthwhile to check out both if you can.

Canterbury Baptisms - Bishop's Transcripts
Canterbury Baptisms – Bishop’s Transcripts (St Mary’s of Charity, Faversham)

…William Henry Allen, son of Henry & Susanna Allen [May 30, 1790]…

Yay! I now know the name of William Henry’s parents and have unlocked a few more avenues of research for this family.

Next steps:

Using Convict Records to Go Back

‘Male and Female Convicts’ (via

The wonderful Tasmanian Archives site has a wealth of records available online – particularly for those researching their convict ancestors.
My ancestor, Elizabeth ALLEN arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) aboard the convict ship, Margaret in 1843.  The details given by her where recorded upon her arrival.
Coming from a large city like Birmingham, with a relatively common name, I had lost hope of finding who Elizabeth ALLEN’s parents were. For some strange reason – perhaps I was having trouble reading the handwriting or deciphering the code used – I didn’t realise how much family information was contained on my ancestor’s arrival record when I first viewed it. After looking again at her arrival record, I could now see that the information I needed was there waiting for me.

Allen, Elizabeth
Height: 5/2 1/4
Age: 20
Calling: [Domestic Servant] & Needlewoman
Where Tried: Warwickshire, Birmingham Boro QS
When Tried: 21 October 1842
Sentence: 10
Native Place: Birmingham
Married or Single: S
Children: [blank]
Religion: CE
Read or Write: R
Relations – Apprenticeship – Where Last Residing: F Isaac at Churchill 2B Josiah & Wm 1S Mary Ann with my father; 9 [months?] on the Town
Ship Character: Fair
Offences: Stg a shawl [from? Gt?] Hampton St; once for same 3 mos
My interpretation:

F = father Isaac at Churchill
2B = 2 brothers Josiah and William
1S = 1 sister Mary Ann

These siblings (or at least Mary Ann) are living with her father in Churchill.
(‘9 months on the town’ seems to indicate that Elizabeth had also been prostituting herself).
Using Family Search, I searched the IGI for the birth of Elizabeth ALLEN around 1822, including her father’s name Isaac.  I found an appropriate entry for 29 Sep 1822 in Harborne, Staffordshire. Harborne was so near to Birmingham that it became a suburb in 1890 (source).

To check this was the right record and accept her mother’s name as Ann, I then searched for her siblings birth entries.  I was able to find Josiah and Mary Ann, also born in Harborne (no record of William as yet).  Ann was recorded as Ann PHILLIPS on Josiah’s record, Anne Philis on Mary Ann’s and simply Ann on Elizabeth’s.

I was also able to find the likely marriage record for Isaac and Ann – 26 Aug 1821, Halesowen, Worcester – Ann was recorded as Ann Phillis GEALEY/GALEY.  So was Phillis another Christian name or a mistranscription of Phillips?

Next Steps:

I Feel the Need… the Need for FOCUS

I’ve been MIA the last few weeks as I travelled back to Australia for my brother’s wedding (which was lovely).
Sadly, my grandmother’s health has deteriorated and she has now moved to Sydney to be closer to my uncle. (Interestingly, she is a direct descendant of the BUCHAN lunatics I’ve been blogging about and is also suffering from senility). 

However, this move uncovered many photograph albums that I think even grandma had forgotten existed.  She told me once that she had thrown out all her old photos because she didn’t think anyone was interested (!).  Happily, this has turned out not to be the case and I pored over loads of antique photographs of her life (which until now I had never seen).  More on those when I have access to a scanner…

image via doubleday

In other news, I am currently reading a new book entitled, ‘Tasmania’s Convicts’ by Alison Alexander, which I found whilst in Australia.  I am less than halfway through but find it addictive reading and am happy to recommend it to anyone researching convict ancestors in Van Diemen’s Land.  It even mentions my ancestor Elizabeth ALLEN (very briefly) who was transported there in 1843 for stealing a shawl.

My brother has just returned from his honeymoon in Tasmania, where he had spent part of it ‘researching’ at Port Arthur. I hope to receive some information from him in the near future.

My head is swimming with genealogy right now so I’ve decided to focus on my convict ancestors for a while to give me a bit of focus.  No doubt when I get this scanner, I’ll be flitting around again though.