The Wrong Stilings

I’ve certainly been very busy with genealogy the last week or so.
The most significant discovery is that I am now quite sure that the Broadhembury STILINGs are not directly linked to me. (Click the link to see my previous Stiling posts, or click Stiling in the right sidebar). The John STILING farming at Lane End Farm is not Harriet STILING’s father. I discovered this by making contact with other people researching the Broadhembury John STILING on
Devon has not allowed the LDS to film their parish records and so most baptisms from Devon are not available on the IGI.  This has meant that I have not yet seen Harriet’s baptismal entry but instead have accepted information given to me by a relative over 10 years ago (until I can check the records for myself) which states her mother was Grace FREED.  When I first searched the 1841 census (via microfilm) all those years ago, the Broadhembury John STILING was the closest match I found.  I then decided it was possible Grace had died and this wife, Mary could have been a second wife.  However, the other (very helpful) people researching this family had no knowledge of a first wife (Grace) or of a daughter called Harriet.


John STILING on Harriet’s marriage record


I decided to recheck all my sources.  Harriet’s marriage certificate lists her father as John STILING, a farmer, so I searched the census again with, including spelling variants.  Still no joy.  The Broadhembury STILINGS were still the only likely option.  I then went through my digital folders and came across a file called ‘Stilings on the 1841 census’.  I had another look and this time saw a John and Grace STILING in the Tiverton area (how I’d not noticed that before is beyond me).  I searched for them in this area and sure enough John and Grace topped the list!  They had been transcribed as Steling.  Someone seems to have originally recorded the name as Styling and someone’s attempt to correct it allowed it to be misread as Steling.

Another John STILING farmer – this time at West Barton Farm near Tiverton


I am more confident that these are my STILINGS – not only because of the wife, Grace but also because they reside in the Tiverton area which is where I found Harriet working as a servant on the 1841 census and her location at the time of her marriage.  However, until I see the birth records, I have no hard evidence that Grace is, in fact, Harriet’s mother and that this is MY family, as she never appears with her parents on a census.

Next Steps: 

  • Visit Devon library to locate Harriet’s baptism entry in the parish records.

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