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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GEORGE NEWMAN. John Newman was living in Royston in Hertfordshire when he married, but he brought up his family in Bourn, Cambridgeshire, 10 miles away. His wife’s unusual name of Renny, and their use of her surname Gray for one of their children, makes this link a certainty.

No baptism has been found for John in or near either Royston or Bourn. The nearest is in Stevenage, 15 miles from Royston. Normally, we would be sceptical about such a move, at a time when most working people spent their lives in or near their birth parish. But the move to Bourn makes another large move more credible. This John Newman did not raise a family in or near Stevenage. The nearest marriage for him is the one in Royston. This baptism would appear to be the best fit.

It makes John the son of George Newman and Rachel Hill, baptised in 1735.

In contrast to John’s travels, George was born, raised his family and died in Stevenage.

 Baptism. St Nicholas, Stevenage.
1696/7 Feb 28  George Newman ye son of Thomas and Grace.

His mother was Grace Philips.

A number of the Newmans were blacksmiths. Crafts were often passed down in families. George was a blacksmith’s son, but became a labourer.

He was the youngest of five children, though one of these had died before George was born.

Stevenage was a market town on the Great North Road and prospered from the steady flow of travellers. George’s father would have shod many horses passing through.

Main road, Stevenage, with 17th-century house


RACHEL HILL. When she married George, she was a widow, Rachel Brown.

Her first husband was Edward Brown. He is described at his marriage as a yeoman, but subsequently as an innkeeper

Marriage. Stevenage.
1717 Feb 18  Edward Brown yeoman and Rachel Hill servant.

Rachel may have been a servant in Edward’s household. She would then have helped to provide a welcome to the many travellers who stayed at the inn.

We know from this marriage that her maiden name was Hill. From her age at her death we also know that she was born around 1696-7.  We have not found a possible baptism for her in the Stevenage area.

Edward died 5 years after the marriage.

Burial. Stevenage.
1722 Sep 20  Edward Brown  Inholder.
We know of only one child from this marriage. Elisabeth was born posthumously.

Baptism. Stevenage.
1722 Nov 11  Elisabeth Brown ye daughter of Rachel and Edward, Inne Holder.

Rachel would have lost her home when a new innkeeper took over, unless she continued to work there. We do not know how she supported herself and her infant daughter. A William Hill was having children baptised in Stevenage around this time. If he was a relative of Rachel, he may have taken her in.

Seventeen months later, Rachel married again.

Marriage. Stevenage.
1724 Apr 24  George Newman and Rachel Brown. Both of Stevenage.

Six children were born from this marriage.

Baptisms. Stevenage.
1724 May 27  George. Father labourer.
1727 Mar 6  Grace
1730 May 24  Sarah
1732 May 21  Thomas
1733 May 24  John
1735 Oct 28  John

Unusually, the burial register at this period does not say which of the dead were children, let alone who their parents were. It is therefore difficult to know how many of the couple’s children survived infancy. We assume that the first John died.

Both George and Rachel were born in the reign of William of Orange and Mary Stuart, and grew up under Mary’s sister Queen Anne. They lived to see the reigns of the Hanoverian kings George I, II and III.

Burials. Stevenage.
1767 Feb 17  George Newman aged 70, Labourer
1767 Jun 17  Rachel widow of George Newman, aged 70, Labourer





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