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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AARON BEEKEN came from a family of artisans. His father was a shoemaker and his mother was a tailor’s daughter. But Aaron, like so many others, became an agricultural labourer.

 He was baptised in the Lincolnshire town of Spalding on 22 Dec 1826, the son of John Beeken, shoemaker, and Ann Skupham. He was the ninth of ten children.

Aaron’s father died in Feb 1840, aged 54. By then the family was living in the nearby village of Moulton, which was also Jane Esther’s home. Aaron was 13.

We find him in Moulton in the 1841 census. At fourteen years old he is working as a farm servant.

1841 Census. Queens Bank, Moulton, Spalding.
Joseph Grundy       24      Farmer      Y
Susannah Grundy   50      Farmer      Y
Joseph Slator          20      M S          Y
Aaron Beekon       10      M S          Y
Ann Baxter             15      F S            Y

Ages in the 1841 census were rounded down to the nearest 5.
S. denotes Male Servant. Aaron would have been doing farm work.
Queen’s Bank formed part of the northern boundary of the lands of Crowland Abbey.

In the same census we find his mother Ann living in Moulton with two of Aaron’s younger brothers. She is a” publican widow”. At the baptisms of his children, Aaron’s father is never listed as a publican, but it was not unusual for a business to be licensed in the husband’s name, but run by his wife. Aaron may have been living in a small hostelry.

In 1846 Aaron’s mother married again, this time to a labourer.


JANE (H)ESTHER WILSON. In every census, Jane gave her birthplace as Moulton, a village east of Spalding in Lincolnshire. But she was christened at Crowland, nearly ten miles south.

Baptism. St Mary, St Bartholmew and St Guthlac, Crowland.
1831 Apr 4  Jane Hesther daughter of John and Sarah Wilson, Moulton Bank, Labourer.

Her mother was Sarah Hardy.

This elaborately named parish church stands in the north aisle of the ruined Crowland Abbey.

We have not found a settlement named Moulton Bank. There is a Moulton Mere Bank, which is part of the flood defences of this reclaimed fenland. It would have been nearer to use the church at Moulton Chapel, Moulton Eaugate or Cowbit. But Jane’s mother came from Crowland and her parents were married there, so that may be the reason they returned there for this christening. Or Jane may have given birth at her mother’s home.

They were living in the village of Whaplode,, a mile east of Moulton, when her siblings John and Susan were born.

We next find the family living on the Eaugate Road leading south from Moulton.

1841 Census. Eaugate Road, Moulton, Spalding.
John Wilson           47      Ag. Lab.        Y
Sarah Wilson         40                           Y
William Wilson       12                           Y
Jane Wilson           10                           Y
Stephen Wilson      7                            Y
Susanna Wilson      5                            Y

Jane also lost her father when she was in her early teens. He died in 1845, when Jane was 14.

Her mother became a servant, and later a housekeeper.  Jane, too, entered domestic service, in the nearby village of Weston St Mary. It was there that she met Aaron, who was also working in Weston.


Aaron and Jane married in Weston St Mary’s, a mile from Moulton, on 1 Oct 1849. Both were living there at the time.

Aaron Beeken was a bachelor aged 22 and a labourer. His father was John Beeken, shoemaker. Esther Jane Wilson was a spinster aged 19 and a servant. Her father was John Wilson, labourer. Both bride and groom were residents of Weston St Mary’s. Both Aaron and Jane signed with their mark X. The witnesses were William Wilson, who again signs with his mark, and Elizabeth Ground, who manages to sign her name a little clumsily.

The bride’s name is mistakenly given as Esther Jane. She was, in fact, Jane Esther.

Their son John was born in Weston 12 Jan 1851, but not baptised until nearly three years later.

 1851 Census. Weston Marsh, Weston, Spalding.
Aaron Beakon       Head      M    23      Ag. lab.    Spalding
Jane Beakon          Wife       M    21                      Moulton
John Beakon          Son               2m                     Weston
Susannah Willson   Visitor           15                      Moulton

15-year-old Sarah Willson is Jane’s younger sister.

William was born the following year.

Baptisms. Weston St Mary.
1852 May 2   William   son of Aaron and Esther Beacon  Weston St Mary’s   Labourer

John was eventually baptised in Nov 1853, when he was nearly three.

1853 Nov 27 (born 12 Jan 1851)  John   Aaron and Jane Beacon  Weston St Mary’s  Labourer

By the following year the family had moved to Moulton Chapel. This was a small village with a chapel of ease, that the Beekens would have used. The entries for christenings here were recorded in the register of the mother church, All Saints, Moulton.

Baptisms. All Saints, Moulton
1854 May 14  Martha Ann  Beeeton  Moulton Chapel  Labourer

The Beekens next moved to Cowbit, where their first pair of twins were born. Farm labourers were often hired for a year at a time, resulting in frequent moves between farms.

Cowbit was the birthplace of Jane’s mother.

Baptisms. Cowbit.
1856 Apr 30  Stephen and Biddy  Cowbit   Labourer

Both twins died in Cowbit. Biddy was buried on 21 Apr 1857, aged 1, and Stephen on 16 Jul 1858, aged 2. A note beside his entry says: “1st child near ye school wall”.

Twins were sometimes born prematurely, and they may have been frailer than their siblings.

Aaron junior was born in Cowbit in the first quarter of 1858. We have not found a baptism for him.

The family then moved to Moulton Eaugate, where Aaron and Jane were to remain for the rest of their lives.

A second pair of twins was born.

Baptisms. All Saints, Moulton.
1860  Oct 25  George and Sarah Ann   Aaron and Jane Beeken  Moulton Eaugate  Labourer

1861 Census. Moulton Eaugate, Moulton, Spalding.
Aaron Beeken            Head      Mar      34.       Ag. Lab.   Spalding
Ester Jane Beeken     Wife      Mar      30                        Moulton
John Beeken               Son                    10        Scholar     Weston
William Beeken           Son                    9         Scholar     Weston
Martha Ann Beeken    Daur                   6         Scholar     Moulton
Aaron Beeken             Son                    3         Scholar     Cowbit
Sarah Ann Beeken      Daur                  5 m                      Moulton
George Beeken            Son                    5 m                      Moulton

Five more children followed: another Stephen in the second quarter of 1863, Jane Elizabeth in the third quarter of 1864, Susannah Jane in the first quarter of 1866, Thomas in the first quarter of 1868, and Robert Henry in the second quarter of 1870. We have found no baptism for these children.

Susannah is later said to be ‘crippled from birth’.

1871 Census. Eaugate, Molton, Spalding.
Aaron Beeken               Head    Mar      44        Farm labourer      Spalding
Jane Beeken                 Wife    Mar      40        Wife                     Moulton
John Beeken                  Son      Unm    20        Farm labourer      Weston
Aaron Beeken               Son      Unm    13        Farm labourer      Spalding
Sarah Ann Beeken         Daug                10        Scholar                 Moulton
George Beeken              Son                  10        Scholar                 Moulton
Stephen Beeken             Son                  8         Scholar                 Moulton
Jane Elizabeth Beeken Daug                6         Scholar                 Moulton
Susanah Jane Beeken    Daug                5         Scholar                 Moulton
Thomas Beeken             Son                  3                                     Moulton
Robert Henry Beeken    Son                  1                                     Moulton

Before the next census, another three children have been born: Mary Ann in the first quarter of 1872, Fred in the fourth quarter of 1873 and Rose Alice in the third quarter of 1875. Again, we have no baptisms for them.

We know that before the end of their lives, Aaron and Jane had joined a non-conformist church.  This was almost certainly the Baptist Church. The Baptists do not practice infant baptism. There would have been a register of the births of members’ children, but this is not available.

The new Connexion church was formed in 1797 by seccession from the Wesleyan Methodists. The New Connexion church in Moulton became a General Baptist church.

They probably joined the Baptist church before Aaron junior was born, since we do not have a baptism for him. The fact that they then had their second pair of twins baptised may be because of the early death of the first pair. Aaron and Jane may have feared the risk of these second twins dying unbaptised.

In the next two censuses the family are still at Moulton Eaugate. In 1881, Jane’s elderly mother is living with them.

1881 Census. Moulton Eaugate, Moulton, Spalding.
Aaron Beeken        Head               Mar      54        Ag. Lab.     Spalding
Jane Beeken          Wife                Mar      50                           Moulton
Stephen Beeken      Son                  Unm    18        Ag. Lab.     Moulton
Susanah Beeken     Daur                Unm    15        Scholar       Moulton
Thomas Beeken      Son                              13        Scholar       Moulton
Robert H Beeken    Son                              11        Scholar       Moulton
Mary A Beeken      Daur                            9         Scholar       Moulton
Fred Beeken           Son                              7         Scholar       Moulton
Rose A Beeken       Daur                            5         Scholar       Moulton
Sarah Wilson          Wife’s mother Wid      80        Boarder      Crowland

1891 Census. Moulton Eaugate, Moulton, Spalding.
Aaron Beeken        Head      M    64      Agricultural labourer     Spalding
Jane Beeken          Wife       M    62                                           Moulton
Jane Beeken          Daur       S     25                                           Moulton
Thomas Beeken      Son        S     23      Agricultural labourer     Moulton
Rose Beeken          Daur       S     15                                           Moulton

The daughter Jane here is not Jane Elizabeth, who was by then married and living in Croydon, but Susannah Jane, their disabled daughter born a year later.


Aaron Beeken was buried at All Saints, Moulton, on 17 Nov 1897, aged 70.

The entry in the burial register is accompanied by the words: “as certified under the Burial Laws Amendment Act of 1880”.

This amendment stated that notice may be given that burial will take place in a churchyard or graveyard without the rites of the Church of England. Notice must be given beforehand, and the service carried out in a decent and orderly manner.

This usually indicated that the person buried in a non-conformist. The funeral service was performed by a Free Church minister, but in an Anglican church, and burial took place in the churchyard.

The Methodist Church in Moulton had its own graveyard, but the Baptists did not.

One other burial on that page of the register bears the same note.

It is significant that Jane Elizabeth was married in a Baptist church in South Norwood.

All Saints, Moulton, churchyard [1]

The widowed Jane Esther provided for herself and her disabled daughter by running a sweetshop in the village.

1901 Census. Moulton Eaugate, Village, Moulton, Spalding.
Easter J Beeken    Head      Wid   71   Sweet shop             At home.  Moulton
Susannah Beeken   Daur       S       35                                                   Moulton Cripple from Birth
Robert H Beeken    Son        S       31   Soldier on furlough       Worker         Moulton
Elizabeth Beeken    G. Daur  S       14                                                   Moulton


Esther Jane Beeken was buried in Moulton on 19 Aug 1901. She was aged 72 and had been living in Moulton Eaugate.

Her burial also carries the words: “as certified under the Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880”.

In her case, no other burial on that page bears the same notice.

There were many people who were not practising members of the Church of England, yet used their services for baptisms, weddings and funerals. Aaron and Jane’s non-conformity evidently meant a great deal to them.


We might have wondered what became of the disabled Susannah, without either of her parents. In fact, she died the year after her mother. Her funeral service was also taken by the Baptist minister.

Burial. All Saints, Moulton.
1902 April 12th   Susan Jane Beeken  Moulton Chapel  36 years

As certified under the Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880.

Moulton Chapel lies between Moulton and Moulton Eaugate, to the east of Spalding. Susannah may have had a sister living there, or was taken in by a member of their church.


[1] Family Search. Moulton. Lincolnshire Genealogy.





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