Alan March’s Family History

This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back many generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from Alan’s as (1)(1)

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THOMAS NEWMAN. We are looking for the parents of George Newman, baptised in Stevenage in 1697, the son of Thomas and Grace Newman. Theirs appears to be the following marriage.

Marriage. Stevenage.
1678 Sep 30  Thomas Newman and Gratia Philips.

We would expect this Thomas Newman to have been born around 1655, but no baptism for Thomas Newman in or near Stevenage has been found at this time. The closest possible is the following:

Baptism. Stevenage.
1642/3 Jan 2  Thomas Newman filius Samuelis et Elizabethae.

This would make him 35 at the time of his marriage, a little older than usual.

No marriage has been found for Samuel and Elizabeth, so we do not know Elizabeth’s maiden name. It may have taken place in a nearby parish whose early registers have been lost.

Thomas was the youngest of six children. We assume that an older Thomas died before the second one was born.

Thomas was born near the start of the Civil War. Stevenage supported Parliament. His childhood years were spent during the war. He grew to manhood under the Republican Commonwealth, when most games and entertainments were forbidden. He was probably glad when the monarchy was restored under Charles II in 1660.

Like many others of the Newmans in Stevenage, Thomas became a blacksmith. Stevenage stood on the busy Great North Road, which would have provided plenty of work from the many horses passing through. We do not have evidence for his father’s occupation, but he may well have been a blacksmith too.

There was a younger Thomas Newman, husband of Elisabeth, having children baptised in Stevenage from the 1690s, who was also a blacksmith.

An engraved vintage illustration engraving of a blacksmiths in his workshop, being watched by his daughter from a Victorian newspaper dated 1867.



GRACE PHILIPS. There is just one baptism in Stevenage which fits with this marriage.

Baptism. Stevenage.
1657/8 Feb 28  Grace Phillipps, the daughter of Thomas.

She appears to be an only child.

We have not found her mother’s name.

Her father died when Grace was two years old.


We have found five children from the marriage between Grace and Thomas.

Baptisms. Stevenage.
1681 Jan 8  Grace. Grace junior’s mother’s name is not given, but there was only one Thomas Newman having children baptised in Stevenage at this time. Grace was buried two months later, on 26 Mar 1681.
1682 Sep 24  Joshua
1689/90  Mar 26  Thomas
1692/3 Jan 24  Mary. There were burials for Mary Newman, infant, on 17 Nov 1702 and 30 Aug 1704. It is likely that one of these was Thomas and Grace’s daughter.
1696/7 Feb 28  George

 John Newman of Bourn, Cambridgeshire, who we believe to be Thomas and Grace’s grandson, gave one of his sons the rather unusual name of Joshua, which strengthens the case for his Stevenage origins.


Grace did not live quite long enough to see the upgrading of the road through Stevenage with the passing of the Turnpike Trust Act of 1720.

Burial. Stevenage.
1716 Aug 24  Grace Newman wife of Thomas, Blacksmith.
She was 58.
This implies that Thomas was still alive.

The greater coach traffic on the turnpike road would have increased the business for blacksmiths like Thomas. There was also an increase in cattle herding, resulting in a new market being founded just north of Middle Row.

There are a number of burials for Thomas Newman in Stevenage in the 1720s and 1730s, but no further information to distinguish between them. Thomas would have been in his 80s or 90s.


[1] iStock




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