Merriman family (Parish Records)

by Debbielakin, Friday, July 29, 2016, 07:53 (1232 days ago)

I'm trying to trace my family tree, Ann Jane Merriman is my 2nd great grandmother and I wondered how common the name Merriman is? I believe her father was Henry Merriman and her grandfather Samuel Merriman. Ann J was born in Cinderford in 1851 and died in Haworth Yorkshire in 1918. She married a James Thomas in The cinderford area. I'm new to this so would welcome any help and advice. Many thanks

Merriman family

by grahamdavison @, Friday, July 29, 2016, 09:39 (1232 days ago) @ Debbielakin

The Gloucestershire Births, Marriages & Deaths(BMDs) show that Ann Jane Merriman was born in the Forest of Dean in 1850 and that her mother`s maiden name was Elton.

A search of the parish register database then shows the following marriage:
Record_ID 13578
Entry_Number 107
Year 1847
Month Jul
Day 26
Grooms_Surname MERRYMAN
Grooms_Forenames Henry
Grooms_Age full
Groom_Condition Bachelor
Grooms_Occupation collier
Grooms_Residence Newnham
Grooms_Fathers_Surname Merryman
Grooms_Fathers_Forenames Samuel
Grooms_Fathers_Occupation labourer
Brides_Surname ELTON
Brides_Forenames Esther
Brides_Age full
Brides_Condition Spinster
Brides_Occupation dressmaker
Brides_Residence Newnham
Brides_Fathers_Surname Elton
Brides_Fathers_Forenames John
Brides_Fathers_Occupation collier
Licence_or_Banns Banns
Date_of_Banns
Signature_or_Mark he marks she signs
Witness_1 [..] Clarke
Witness_2 Mary Hawkins
Other_Witnesses
Officiating_Minister E.C. Brice perp.curate
Event Marriage
Memoranda
Notes
Register_Reference P228 IN 1/13
Page_Number 54
Parish_Chapel Newnham
Soundex_Groom M655
Soundex_Bride E435

As yet I have not been able to find An Jane`s baptism.

Merriman family

by Debbielakin, Friday, July 29, 2016, 10:48 (1232 days ago) @ grahamdavison

Thank you for this

Merriman family

by Mike Pinchin @, Bedford, England, Friday, July 29, 2016, 10:16 (1232 days ago) @ Debbielakin

In the light of the PR entry this must be them in 1851,

GR 1851 Census, Lea Bailey

Henry MERRIMAN, Head,M, 30, Coal Miner, b. Glos. Hartpury
Ester, Wife, M, 27, Glos. Littledean
Harriet ELTON, Daur, 6, Glos. East Dean
Tom MERRIMAN, Son, 2, Glos. Littledean
Ann Jane, Daur, 4m, Glos. Littledean

Merriman family

by Debbielakin, Friday, July 29, 2016, 10:46 (1232 days ago) @ Mike Pinchin

Thanks very much for this. Much appreciated

Merriman family

by Mike Pinchin @, Bedford, England, Friday, July 29, 2016, 11:13 (1232 days ago) @ Debbielakin

From FODFHT,

Record_ID: 70054
Entry_Number: 982
Year: 1853
Month: Apr
Day: 12
Surname: MERRIMAN
Forenames: Esther
Residence: Little Dean Hill
Age_at_death: 29 years
Officiating_Minister: Geo[rge] French Curate
Event: Burial
Cause_of_death:
Memoranda:
Notes: Note in Name Column- O.Y. 3Row 3g
Register_Reference: P109 IN 1/11
Page_No: 123
Parish_Chapel: Drybrook

This newspaper entry looks too good a match not to be her despite the stated occupation of Henry,

BNA Gloucester Journal - Saturday 16 April 1853

Sudden Death.—On the 11th inst. An inquest was held at the Royal Foresters Inn, Littledean Hill, on the body of Esther Merriman, aged 29, wife of Henry Merriman, a mercer, of Littledean. It appears that on the night of the 7th inst. deceased after partaking a good supper, went to bed in her usual health, about ten o'clock. Soon after they were in bed she awoke her husband, and spoke to bim about the children crying ; after this the husband went to sleep, and about one o'clock was awoke by the groans of his wife, he spoke to her two or three times but received no answer. He got up, and called up Mrs. Cooper, a neighbour, who came back with him, when they found the deceased was quite dead. Verdict, died from natural causes. Deceased has left three children, the youngest ten weeks old.

Merriman family

by Debbielakin, Friday, July 29, 2016, 17:27 (1231 days ago) @ Mike Pinchin

From FODFHT,

Record_ID: 70054
Entry_Number: 982
Year: 1853
Month: Apr
Day: 12
Surname: MERRIMAN
Forenames: Esther
Residence: Little Dean Hill
Age_at_death: 29 years
Officiating_Minister: Geo[rge] French Curate
Event: Burial
Cause_of_death:
Memoranda:
Notes: Note in Name Column- O.Y. 3Row 3g
Register_Reference: P109 IN 1/11
Page_No: 123
Parish_Chapel: Drybrook

This newspaper entry looks too good a match not to be her despite the stated occupation of Henry,

BNA Gloucester Journal - Saturday 16 April 1853

Sudden Death.—On the 11th inst. An inquest was held at the Royal Foresters Inn, Littledean Hill, on the body of Esther Merriman, aged 29, wife of Henry Merriman, a mercer, of Littledean. It appears that on the night of the 7th inst. deceased after partaking a good supper, went to bed in her usual health, about ten o'clock. Soon after they were in bed she awoke her husband, and spoke to bim about the children crying ; after this the husband went to sleep, and about one o'clock was awoke by the groans of his wife, he spoke to her two or three times but received no answer. He got up, and called up Mrs. Cooper, a neighbour, who came back with him, when they found the deceased was quite dead. Verdict, died from natural causes. Deceased has left three children, the youngest ten weeks old.

OMG how interesting is this !!!

Merriman / Merryman surname

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Friday, July 29, 2016, 14:20 (1231 days ago) @ Debbielakin

I'm trying to trace my family tree, Ann Jane Merriman is my 2nd great grandmother and I wondered how common the name Merriman is ? I'm new to this so would welcome any help and advice. Many thanks

Hi Debbie, welcome to the forum, as you've already seen we're a helpful & friendly bunch !

Personally I don't think the Merriman/Merryman name is particularly common in the Forest, can't say I recall coming across it very often altho I did know a few Merrys in my Cinderford schooldays. Searching this site's Parish Records (aka PRs) for the Merriman and Merryman (always look out for possible spelling variations) gives a total of 218 + 74 = 292 Records. As these are Births, Marriages and Death Records, clearly there will be less actual individual people. It's important to allow for possible spelling variations, as people's literacy wasn't so good in the past, also people recorded what they heard, or thought they heard... There are also 2 records of Merrimann, for example, both the same person.

So total of 294 "Merriman" records, which is tiny compared to my surname, Jones, which has 27,852 PRs !
Jones is statistically the most common surname in the Forest, which surprised me when I found out, it didnt seem the case in my days in Cinderford but Lydbrook etc to the west would have been different. So yes, you're searching for quite a rare surname, which should help your researches considerably.

Earlier Graham mentioned the Gloucestershire BMD records in which he found Ann Jane's birth record. This is the site he used, their records include Registry Office marriages which can be helpful, whereas the FoD PRs only include Church aka Parish Records. It's also good at automatically offering spelling variants of the name being searched, unlike FreeBMD for example, both are free to access.
http://ww3.gloucestershire.gov.uk/bmd/SimpleSearch.aspx

That site aka GlosBMD has 254 Merrimans etc listed in the "Forest" District, but it's also worth looking under "Gloucester" District as this includes Newent etc just to our East, which has a further 200, the County as a whole gives 1393 Merriman records, compared to 67,000 Jones...

Statistically across the UK, this is a good site for getting an idea where a surname is most common, so perhaps originated from. In the 1881 Census Merriman was most common in the far tip of Scotland, but that may be influenced by a small overall population generally, also the southwest tip of Wales and then our general area. The 1998 map confirms it's strongest in SW Wales and Herefordshire (hence Lea Bailey area as per Mike's post). This link works best if opened into a new tab or window.
http://gbnames.publicprofiler.org/Map.aspx?name=MERRIMAN&year=1881&altyear=1998...

If you're interested in the likely origins of the name, I like this site, it seems more believable and less "commercial" than some of it's competitors. Interestingly it suggests one of the earliest references to the name was recorded in Gloucester, in 1359.
http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/merriman


Finally, you say you're new to this, don't worry we all were once, and are still learning !. Please have a good look around this whole site, perhaps by searching your surname, there's a huge amount of interesting documents, old photos, newspaper clippings, etc etc etc. This page has several pointers and helpful links to start you in your researches;
http://www.forest-of-dean.net/joomla/help-faq/getting-started-in-genealogy

Searching this forum itself is a great source of info on almost any subject, as most questions have been asked or researched in the past. Indeed, please see this prior thread which includes several posts about the Merrimans of Littledean, which would appear to be in your line as shown by Mike's post this morning. It includes the 1861 Census for Ann and her family. In case you're not familiar with the Forest, Littledean is very close indeed to Cinderford, as mentioned in your original post.
http://www.forest-of-dean.net/fodmembers/index.php?mode=thread&id=869


Good luck !

Merriman / Merryman surname

by Debbielakin, Friday, July 29, 2016, 17:21 (1231 days ago) @ Jefff

Thankyou so much for your reply whch is much appreciated and very helpful, i dont know the forest of dean and surrounding area at all but will plan to visit when i have more information that hopefully will help. ( i live in West Sussex) anything i can gleam from you all is wonderful !
as i have said im very new to this but have started my family tree on Ancestry, can someone explain how to use/buy/ the benefits of a family tree maker programme ? at the moment i am just using ancestry but feel that i should back this up but not sure the best way to do it.

Merriman / Merryman => Family Tree S/W advice ??

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Friday, July 29, 2016, 18:33 (1231 days ago) @ Debbielakin

Thankyou so much for your reply whch is much appreciated and very helpful, i dont know the forest of dean and surrounding area at all but will plan to visit when i have more information that hopefully will help. ( i live in West Sussex) anything i can gleam from you all is wonderful !
as i have said im very new to this but have started my family tree on Ancestry, can someone explain how to use/buy/ the benefits of a family tree maker programme ? at the moment i am just using ancestry but feel that i should back this up but not sure the best way to do it.

No probs Debbie, we have visitors from all around the world, our Vurrister ancestors travelled far afield in search of work. In fact I have a link to West Sussex in my own tree, my Uncle (Richardson) was born in the FoD in Longhope, but his father was from Lewes before WW1, Longhope has a few old families with links to Sussex and Kent.


This site has plenty of useful pages to help you learn about the Forest's history, geography etc. Goto the "The Forest of Dean" heading within the blue banner across the top of the homepage and it gives a dropdown menu. Of particular help can be the maps section, particularly the Parishes Map,
http://www.forest-of-dean.net/joomla/forest-of-dean-parish-map

Regarding choosing software for your tree, it maybe worth looking on Amazon etc, and reading the various reviews written by buyers of the offerings on there. Also of course you get an idea of choice, cost, etc. Until fairly recently Ancestry had their own "Family Tree Maker" software, which may be what you're referring to, but they've dropped that now, altho it's still available under new ownership.
https://www.mackiev.com/familytreemaker/ftm3/faq.html

As suggested earlier, searching this forum can help you, these posts may help you;
http://forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?mode=thread&id=43104
http://forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?id=17953

This recent article may help you, from the "Who Do You Think You Are ?" monthly magazine
http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/news/find-out-which-family-tree-builder-best...

I must say it's interesting that you've just started using Ancestry; many of us have been using it for years, and some are rather unimpressed with their current "new improved look" of their trees etc and are also looking to move them, but trickier as we have huge trees already on the Ancestry site which, potentially, could possibly be "lost" at any moment (I've learnt thro bitter experience to never trust electrickery !, ALWAYS have a back-up).
If you look on Ancestry they tell you how to download your tree onto your pc etc, which you can then keep as a security back-up, or transfer to other tree softwares or websites. It's quite easy to do and uses a dedicated FH system called GEDCOM.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GEDCOM
I see it was created by "LDS" aka the "FamilySearch" website, I believe they've recently introduced their own online tree service ?

Hope this helps, J

Merriman, Ann Jane marries James THOMAS

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Saturday, July 30, 2016, 01:14 (1231 days ago) @ Jefff

Further to the above post, I see Ann doesn't appear in this site's FoD PRs, but GlosBMD has her Marriage. It was in a Regsitry Office so wouldn't appear in the (Church) Parish Records.


Marriage Details

Groom Surname Groom Forename Bride Surname Bride Forename District Parish Building Year Register Entry
THOMAS James MERRIMAN Ann Jane Forest of Dean Westbury-on-Severn (FoD) Register Office [Closed] 1871 4 77

http://ww3.gloucestershire.gov.uk/bmd/SimpleSearch.aspx

FreeBMD's record shows that it was registered within the "Jun" Quarter, ie April/May/June, so it presumably took place in that period, or possibly just before it (eg often Christmastime events weren't recorded until the Jan/Feb/Mar Qtr of the New Year),

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Marriages Jun 1871 (>99%)
MERRIMAN Ann Jane Westbury S. 6a 443
Thomas James Westbury S. 6a 443

http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl


Here's Ann in the 1871 Census, c/o FamilySearch website, altho she's also in Ancestry etc as you've probably already found. This Census was taken just before her Marriage, on the night of the 2nd April.

1871 Census, East Dean, Glos
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Wm Burduss Head M 50 Collier. Jarrow, Durham
Ann Burduss Wife F 47 Heworth, Durham
Mary Burduss Daughter F 26 Coxhoe, Durham
John Burduss Son M 24 Engineer. Coxhoe, Durham
Thos Harrison Burduss Son M 20 Clerk. Birtley, Durham
Margrett Ann Burduss Daughter F 14 Jarrow, Durham
Ann Jane Merryman Servant F 20 Domestic Servant. East Dean, Gloucestershire

https://familysearch.org

Don't know for sure without seeing the actual Census image, but "East Dean" often refers to Cinderford or adjacent area such as Ruspidge, Littledean Hill etc. It was quite normal for miners and even their families to move a long way from home to find work, as here.

It looks like Ann and husband James moved away from the Forest, again from Familysearch;

1881 Census; William St, Leicester St Margaret, Leicestershire, England.
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
James Thomas Head M 31 Railway shunter. Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
Ann J Thomas Wife F 30 Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
Annie Thomas Daughter F 9 Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
Elizabeth Thomas Daughter F 7 Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
Mary A Thomas Daughter F 5 Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
Rodah Thomas Daughter F 3 Leicester, Leicestershire, England
Minnie Thomas Daughter F 1 Leicester, Leicestershire, England


1891 Census; Wesley Place, Ingrow Cum Hainworth, Keighley, Yorkshire West Riding.
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
James Thomas Head M 41 Woolcomber. Gloucestershire, England
Ann J Thomas Wife F 40 Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
Annie Thomas Daughter F 19 Worsted Spinner. Gloucestershire, England
Elizabeth Thomas Daughter F 17 Worsted Spinner. Gloucestershire, England
Mary A Thomas Daughter F 15 Worsted Spinner. Gloucestershire, England
Rhoda Thomas Daughter F 13 Worsted Spinner. Leicestershire, England
Minnie Thomas Daughter F 11 Worsted Spinner. Leicestershire, England
James H Thomas Son M 8 Scholar. Gloucestershire, England
Emma Thomas Daughter F 6 Gloucestershire, England
Adeline Thomas Daughter F 3 Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
Florence E Thomas Daughter F 0 Gloucestershire, England

This 1894 Gazetteer shows how important the Worsted mills were for the Keighley area at this time.
http://ukga.org/england/Yorkshire/WRY/towns/Keighley.html

1901 Census; Cecil Street, Haworth, Keighley, Yorkshire West Riding.
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
James Thomas Head M 51 Grease refiner. Cinderford, Gloucestershire
Ann J Thomas Wife F 50 Cinderford, Gloucestershire
Rhoda Thomas Daughter F 23 Drawer,worsted mill. Leicester, Leicestershire
Minnie Thomas Daughter F 21 Drawer,worsted mill. Leicester, Leicestershire
James H Thomas Son M 18 Moulder, iron works. Cinderford, Gloucestershire
Emma M Thomas Daughter F 16 Spinner, worsted mill. Cinderford, Gloucestershire
Adeline Thomas Daughter F 13 Spinner, worsted mill. Cinderford, Gloucestershire
Florence H Thomas Daughter F 10 Cinderford, Gloucestershire
Fredrick J Thomas Son M 7 Haworth, Yorkshire
Wilfred E Thomas Son M 6 Haworth, Yorkshire
Lucy Selby Boarder F 20 Wisbech, Cambridgeshire

I cannot yet find Ann in the 1911 Census, but I think she died in 1918. Less certain as a more common name, but it looks like James outlived Ann by 16 years.

FreeBMD gives;

Deaths Sep 1918 (>99%)
Thomas Ann J 67 Keighley 9a 231

Deaths Mar 1934 (>99%)
Thomas James 84 Keighley 9a 260

James THOMAS born "1850 Cinderford"

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Saturday, July 30, 2016, 02:44 (1231 days ago) @ Jefff

I THINK this is our James Thomas, altho' cannot be certain yet as is NOT a rare name in the FoD, several possible births locally to choose from. I cannot see any births exactly in 1850 (as per the above census info) in the Cinderford area in either this site's PRs, GlosBMD, or Familysearch, but this man seems a good fit;


Name James Thomas
Event Type Census
Event Date 1851
Event Place , Gloucestershire, England
Registration District Westbury On Severn
Residence Note Bilson Green
Gender Male
Age 0
Relationship to Head of Household Son
Birth Year (Estimated) 1851
Birthplace E Dean, Gloucestershire
Page Number 35
Registration Number HO107
Piece/Folio 1959 / 231
Affiliate Record Type Household

(Bilson Green is the lower part of what became known as Cinderford, I know it very well).


1861 Census, Little Deans Hill, St John's Parish, East Dean, Glos
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Samuel Thomas Head M 38 Coal miner. Westbury, Gloucestershire
Emma Thomas Wife F 26 East Dean, Gloucestershire
Peter Thomas Son M 11 Labourer. East Dean, Gloucestershire
John Thomas Son M 6 East Dean, Gloucestershire
James Thomas Son M 9 Scholar. East Dean, Gloucestershire
Rodah Thomas Daughter F 8 East Dean, Gloucestershire
Joseph Thomas Servant M 4 East Dean, Gloucestershire
Mary Thomas Daughter F 1 East Dean, Gloucestershire

St John's Parish Church was the first Church (built 1844) in the township that eventually became known as Cinderford, at that time the fast-growing new town was centred on the southern end nearest Littledean Hill /St Whites, where the Church still stands. Modern info and map, and period photos here;
http://www.cinderford-churches.org.uk/our-churches/st-johns-cinderford/
http://forest-of-dean.net/gallery/cinderford/pages/page_25.html
http://forest-of-dean.net/gallery/cinderford/pages/page_55.html
http://forest-of-dean.net/gallery/cinderford/pages/page_56.html



1871 Census, East Dean, Glos
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Samuel Thomas Head M 46 Coal miner. Westbury, Gloucestershire
Unice Thomas Wife F 44 East Dean, Gloucestershire
Peter Thomas Son M 21 Coal miner. East Dean, Gloucestershire
James Thomas Son M 19 Coal miner. East Dean, Gloucestershire
John Thomas Son M 16 Coal miner. East Dean, Gloucestershire
Aaron Thomas Son M 5 East Dean, Gloucestershire
Samuel Thomas Son M 4 East Dean, Gloucestershire
Miriam Thomas Daughter F 0 East Dean, Gloucestershire

Still struggling to find a definite Birth record for him, but this looks like his parents' marriage, from GlosBMD's "Marriages" search engine;

Groom Surname Groom Forename Bride Surname Bride Forename District Parish Building Year Register Entry
THOMAS Samuel BARNARD Eunice Forest of Dean Westbury-on-Severn (FoD) Register Office [Closed] 1847 1 20

Using these surnames in GlosBMD's "Births" search engine confirms the above children's births, including;

Child Surname Child Forename Father Surname Mother Surname Mother's Former Name Year District Office Register Entry
THOMAS James THOMAS THOMAS BARNARD 1851 Forest of Dean Westbury on Severn, Newnham 11 157

http://ww3.gloucestershire.gov.uk/bmd/BirthSearch.aspx

Still cannot find any relevant PRs, doesn't look like the family were Church-goers.

James THOMAS born "1850 Cinderford"

by Debbielakin, Saturday, July 30, 2016, 08:27 (1231 days ago) @ Jefff

Thank you I think the Thomas family were methodists so maybe that's why they can't be found in the church records ? Would that be correct?

James THOMAS born "1850 Cinderford"

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Saturday, July 30, 2016, 15:06 (1230 days ago) @ Debbielakin

Thank you I think the Thomas family were methodists so maybe that's why they can't be found in the church records ? Would that be correct?

Hi Debbie.
No, not necessarily true, as this site's PRs do include the records of several of the area's Non Conformist Curches and Chapels, if not all of them ? (hopefully someone else can please confirm this ?).
Cinderford itself has the Wesley Church, built abt 1849. Altho my family were C of E so attended St Stephen's just up the same (Belle Vue) Road, I had Methodist school friends and we all went to the Wesley every Christmas to enjoy the great pantomines held by the Wesley Players in their Church Hall.

I attach a link to an excellent website about the Forest in general, with a huge amount of historical info as well as old photos etc, the section about Cinderford is particularly full and includes a good history of the Wesley Church. The site can be a little awkward to navigate at first but is still a remarkably good website which rewards methodical browsing via the little green arrow icons.
http://way-mark.co.uk/foresthaven/start.htm

Like so many of the area's Churches the Wesley was largely funded by local colliery owners to encourage their workforce to spend spare time in healthy Godly pursuits rather than pubs, traditionally the Foresters were renowned as being a rowdy wild bunch of backwoodsmen, indeed they still are by some Gloucester folk ! ;-)
Also see
http://churchdb.gukutils.org.uk/GLS137.php

------------------

As you probably know, when searching this FoD site's PRs you can select which Church/Chapel to view from a dropdown menu, you can see this alphabetical list includes many Non Conformist chapels, including a few listed under Cinderford.

For Merriman I can find the following, which may fit into your tree somewhere ?;

Record_ID: 87213
Entry_Number: 3
Year: 1880
Month: Dec
Day: 25
Parents_Surname: MERRIMAN
Child_Forenames: John Edward
Fathers_Forenames: John
Mothers_Forenames: Catherine
Mothers_Surname:
Residence: East Dean
Occupation:
Officiating_Minister: Edward Fison
Event: Baptism
Memoranda: Born Dec[ember] 1 1880
Notes: [Fison underlined]
Register_Reference: D2598 2/12
Page_Number: 5
Parish_Chapel: Cinderford Methodist
Soundex: M655

Record_ID: 87435
Entry_Number: 225
Year: 1891
Month: Sep
Day: 27
Parents_Surname: MERRIMAN
Child_Forenames: not stated
Fathers_Forenames: John
Mothers_Forenames: Catherine
Mothers_Surname:
Residence: Cinderford
Occupation:
Officiating_Minister: John Penberthy White
Event: Baptism
Memoranda: Born Aug[ust] 2nd 1891
Notes:
Register_Reference: D2598 2/12
Page_Number: 61
Parish_Chapel: Cinderford Methodist
Soundex: M655

I think these PRs must relate to the Wesley Church.

------------------

The database also includes PRs for "Cinderford Bridge Methodist". The Bridge is at the southernmost and oldest part of the town, at the base of the Cinderford side of Littledean Hill, at junction of Valley Road and St Whites Rd which goes up the Hill to "the Barn" at the top. The Bridge end of town leads into Ruspidge which had large mines which caused the town's growth in Victorian times.

I think "Cinderford Bridge" Chapel would have been in use before the Wesley was built as the town expanded northwards; I think it's the Chapel referred to as "Littledean Hill" in the history website linked earlier, although this photo suggests it's towards the top of the Hill well above the "Bridge" so ??.
However I cannot see any Merrimans within that part of the PR database.
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4429006

Travelling from the Bridge back up St Whites Rd to the top of the Hill the main road splits into two; west is down Belle Vue Road (A4151) which houses the Wesley etc and Cinderfords "newer" town centre, and on thro High Street and out into the Forest "proper".

The same A4151 road in the opposite eastward direction from the top of Littledean Hill (aka the Barn), the road drops steeply down several hundred feet into the much older village of Littledean. Here you've fallen off the high plateau of the inner Forest "proper", trees and coal etc, into flat farming countryside leading towards the fertile plain of the River Severn. Since Norman times Littledean was traditionally as far west towards the "wild" Forest as most people wanted to go (until industry created demand for the woods and minerals), hence Cinderford area is much "newer" than Littledean. The PRs don't specify a Methodist Chapel in Littledean, but does have an "Independent", which doesn't show any Merriman PRs.
For a detailed definitive history of all of the Forest, the British History site is always worth searching, for Non-Conformity see;
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol5/pp396-404

I do hope this helps you, particularly regarding the local geography and placenames. I was born and grew-up in Cinderford, one of the main Forest towns, so it came as a shock when I saw a map c1840 that showed Littledean and nearby Flaxley - home of an Abbey so important in olden times - yet not the much larger town of Cinderford !?. Hence the Census forms for the area often confuse people, including me at first, as the placename changes as the town itself grew thro Victorian times, all the time taking-on differing names (Bilson then Woodside then East Dean, etc), before becoming known as just Cinderford.

James THOMAS born "1850 Cinderford"

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Saturday, July 30, 2016, 17:11 (1230 days ago) @ Jefff

Hi again Debbie, sorry for being an idiot regarding my earlier post, in which I searched the Methodist PRs for Merriman surnames when I so clearly should have been searching for Thomas' !!.

Not surprisingly Thomas is a far more common surname than Merriman in the FoD, with almost 7500 PRs in the database. However I cannot see any Thomas' in the Cinderford Methodist (Wesley?) section but there is this one at Cinderford Bridge. Does he fit in your tree anywhere ?.

Record_ID: 167812
Entry_Number: 8
Year: 1870
Month: Apr
Day: 17
Parents_Surname: THOMAS
Child_Forenames: Charles Henry
Fathers_Forenames: William
Mothers_Forenames: Sarah
Mothers_Surname:
Residence: Respage
Occupation:
Officiating_Minister: J B Charles
Event: Baptism
Memoranda: Born March 19 1870
Notes:
Register_Reference: D2598/27/2
Page_Number: 6
Parish_Chapel: Cinderford Bridge Methodist
Soundex: T520

NOTE: The residence noted as "Respage" is almost certainly Ruspidge, as per my post earlier. Don't forget in those days it was completely normal for people to walk miles to work, or Church, etc.

Here they are in 1881, now living in Cinderford;

1881 Census, Commerical Street, East Dean, Glos.
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
William Thomas Head M 34 Coal Miner & Inn Keeper. Blakney, Gloucestershire, England
Sarah Thomas Wife F 33 Ruspidge, Gloucestershire, England
Charles H Thomas Son M 11 Scholar. Ruspidge, Gloucestershire, England
Hepzabah Thomas Daughter F 7 Ruspidge, Gloucestershire, England
Elizabeth Thomas Daughter F 5 Ruspidge, Gloucestershire, England
William Thomas Son M 1 Littledean Hill, Gloucestershire, England
Elizabeth Price F 18 Gen'l servant. Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England

http://forest-of-dean.net/gallery/cinderford/pages/page_51.html

By 1891 they've moved down and just out of the town, to Bilson Green, presumably to be nearer the many pits there, as both Charles and his father William are now listed as coal miners/contractors.
Thanks to Ian Pope's superb Lightmoor site, this looks like William at the Breadless pit, Upper Bilson. It's best to open these links in new tabs/windows, so the rest of each site can be accessed.
http://lightmoor.co.uk/forestcoal/CoalBread.html

(Breadless was therefore near where A4151 Lower High Street exits Cinderford towards Steam Mills and Drybrook, look for the black spot labelled "Tormentor" on this map, below "Regulator" at the "top" end of town).
http://lightmoor.co.uk/forestcoal/EastDean.html


Despite this suggestion of bad-times in 1897 at the pit, the 1901 Census still describes William as an "Inn Keeper & Coal Contractor Under Ground", now apparently living back south towards Ruspidge, in "St John's Parish".

--------------

I see there are 18 Thomas PRs in the Littledean Independent section of the database.

However, after finding this old forum post wrt the location of Littledean's Independent Chapel, and revisiting the British History info, I now think the Independent is NOT the same as Methodist. (Again, I'm no expert in these things).

See http://www.forest-of-dean.net/fodmembers/index.php?mode=thread&id=39272

The British History site definitely suggests the "Littledean Independent" Chapel, which it describes in some detail, is not related to the Methodist which it describes thus,

"The congregation for which Isaac Denison, a Wesleyan Methodist minister living in Littledean, registered a house in 1824 presumably attended the Wesleyan chapel opened at Littledean Hill later that year."

ie the Chapel I discussed earlier, which in truth is just "in" Cinderford rather than Littledean village itself.

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol5/pp159-173#h3-0010

James THOMAS born "1850 Cinderford"

by Debbielakin, Sunday, July 31, 2016, 06:41 (1230 days ago) @ Jefff

I don't have either a Charles or william in my tree but again will need to re look at it. looks like this is going to keep me busy !

James THOMAS born "1850 Cinderford"

by Debbielakin, Sunday, July 31, 2016, 06:37 (1230 days ago) @ Jefff

Thanks for this John Merriman is an ancestor, I believe he is my 2 x great grandmothers brother ! Will check it out

Merriman, Ann Jane marries James THOMAS

by Debbielakin, Saturday, July 30, 2016, 08:21 (1231 days ago) @ Jefff

Thank you to everyone of you for your help. You have given me confidence that I am on the right track ! Much of the information you have supplied backs up what I had found out previously, which as a newbie has given me a real boost of confidence. With your help I have found lots of additional information and have spent half the night reading ! Also found a prison record for my 3 x great grandfather Henry Merriman which is such a sad story he's loses his wife in April 1853 they had 3 children the youngest just 10 weeks old then in the June he was prosecuted for leaving the children chargeable to the parish of Hartpury he was sentenced to 7 days imprisonment with hard labour and it was noted that he was a widower who had left the children to go to work. What a hard life !

Merriman, Ann Jane marries James THOMAS

by Mike Pinchin @, Bedford, England, Saturday, July 30, 2016, 20:27 (1230 days ago) @ Jefff

If you haven't found Ann in the 1911 Census yet, here she is,

GR 1911 Census, 18 Duke Street, Haworth Brow, Haworth

James THOMAS, Head, 61, Mar, Wool comber, b. Cinderford, Gloucester
Annjane, Wife, 61, Mar, Cinderford, Gloucester
Florance Ellen, Daur, 20, Single, Worsted Drawer, Cinderford, Gloucester
Frederick John, Son, 17, Single, Iron Moulder, Keighley, Yorkshire
Wilfred Ernest, Son, 16, Single, Worsted Spinner, Haworth, Yorkshire

39 years married, 11 children, 11 alive, 5 rooms.

It looks like whoever recorded the name wrote it as Annjane rather than Anne Jane which might explain the difficulty. She can be tracked via Wilfred Ernest.

Merriman, Ann Jane marries James THOMAS

by Debbielakin, Sunday, July 31, 2016, 06:51 (1230 days ago) @ Mike Pinchin

Thanks again to you all. My grandfather was born in yorkshire so I always knew that they lived in Haworth. But it was only recently that my own mum mentioned that she thought her granny had been born in Cinderford! When I started researching it was interesting to see how the family had moved around the country starting in The forest of dean then over to Leicester then as far as I can make out back to Cinderford for several years and more children, before finally relocating up to Haworth. Chasing work I think. James Thomas appears to have had several different jobs.

James Thomas and Ann J Merriman

by Debbielakin, Sunday, October 01, 2017, 07:59 (803 days ago) @ Debbielakin

Some time ago I posted on this site that I was trying to trace my FOD family and you lovely people gave me loads of help and advice and tips etc from which helped me so much so thank you all very much. I've found out so much about my family. James Thomas and Ann Jane Merriman are my 2x great grandparents and came from the forest.When i first started to research i knew very little apart from that my Grandad their grandson came from Yorkshire. What a voyage of discovery ive been on. I've had 2 week long trips to Yorkshire and found James and Ann J. I laid flowers on their grave in Haworth where they had moved to and ended their days. I also discovered that James family was not who I had originally thought. After purchasing their marriage certificate it told me that Jame's father was a James Thomas occupation Collier not Samuel Thomas who I had previously thought ! So which James Thomas is this? I need to find out if I can. So in order to progress and to get the feel of the forest I've planned a visit from our home in West sussex. We are coming in November and have found a barn conversion to stay in for the week. As far as I know now that my James Thomas was born in East Dean and baptised in the parish church in Blakeney. His father James thomas was a Collier and was born in newland Monmouthshire Wales which confuses me. Was this still part of the FOD? And I think his mother was a Mary Ann Halford.she was born in Blakeney. I'm not too sure that I'm definitely on the right path. Would appreciate any help. When I'm in the forest where's the best place to find out about the history. Any suggestions of places I could visit would be greatly appreciated.

James Thomas; planning first visit to the Forest of Dean.

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Sunday, October 01, 2017, 16:20 (802 days ago) @ Debbielakin


When I'm in the forest where's the best place to find out about the history. Any suggestions of places I could visit would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Debbie,
welcome back, it's great that you're finally visiting the Forest after all your research, I hope it goes well. The general question of what places to visit in the FoD has been asked many times and as Slowhands once said on this forum, ask 100 people and you may get 100 suggestions, it all depends on your tastes and hopes. The area is very tourist-minded these days, especially for the active open-air types what with cycling becoming trendy again, so I suggest these prior threads may help you as they cover all aspects of the area. From a local history viewpoint the obvious choice is the Dean Heritage Centre, you'll find links to that and many other attractions within these thread.
http://www.forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?mode=thread&id=33227
http://forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?id=44809
Maybe less relevant as you're from the UK, but also
http://www.forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?id=36291

Cinderford's public library has a dedicated local history section if you need to do more reference work, plus they also have extensive leaflets etc for tourism attractions.
http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archives/starting-your-research/starting-to-research-...

If your looking to spend time at Churches and churchyards this thread maybe helpful, if not please ask more specific questions and we'll try to help further.
http://forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?id=41337

Hope this helps, Jeff.

James Thomas; is Newland in Monmouthshire, Wales, ??

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Sunday, October 01, 2017, 17:50 (802 days ago) @ Debbielakin

Some time ago I posted on this site that I was trying to trace my FOD family and you lovely people gave me loads of help and advice and tips etc from which helped me so much so thank you all very much. I've found out so much about my family. James Thomas and Ann Jane Merriman are my 2x great grandparents and came from the forest. I know now that my James Thomas was born in East Dean and baptised in the parish church in Blakeney. His father James thomas was a Collier and was born in newland Monmouthshire Wales which confuses me. Was this still part of the FOD?

In short, YES, Newland village and parish was and has always been a part of the FoD. In fact it's fair to say that despite being situated on the very edge of the Forest, from a historical viewpoint it's almost it's "heart". Reading local history from say the 1600s Newland is often used as a general term for the whole Forest area, Newland village being very near St Briavels castle from which the Forest was administered since medieval times. This western side of the Forest is where the main iron ore deposits were found, which was important long before coal, so the "King's Forges" were built in that area using furnaces fed by charcoal made from local wood, prior to shipping their iron products down the River Wye and beyond. This map from this site's background pages, under heading "Forest of Dean" on top banner of homepage, shows the local parishes in early times - the date on each reflects the earliest available Parish Registers, and shows Newland as one of the very earliest, "1560".
http://www.forest-of-dean.net/joomla/index.php/resources/11-maps/89-early-map-of-the-pa...

For the definitive history of Newland, either see
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol5/pp195-231

or perhaps this is an easier read,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newland,_Gloucestershire

In medieval times Coleford was just a small hamlet within Newland parish, it's only in relatively recent times with the opening-up of the inner Forest c1800 with the Industrial Revolution that Coleford grew to become the larger town and centre of admin it is now, far outstripping Newland village. Hence people and census officials stopped using the term "Newland" to describe the area.
Like you and many other visitors to this forum, when I first took-up FH research I was also confused by mention of Monmouthshire and Wales for an area that I always thought of as in Gloucestershire England, albeit only-just given the traditional boundary was the River Wye. This forum's administrator and regular poster of years past was Slowhands, a knowledgable local historian & researcher, who wisely once said "So far as family history and this Board is concerned , as I have mentioned before, just be aware that whilst place names stay more or less the same, admin boundaries change periodically and your ancestors may be found in a division of the Census that at that time was labelled "Wales", or a BMD registered in Monmouth, Ross, or Chepstow - they are no less a Forester !"

Regarding parts of the western Forest apparently "moving" county if not country, such as Lydbrook or Newland, these old posts may be helpful
http://forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?id=41668
and hence these posts in the same thread
http://forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?id=41685
http://forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?id=41696
Also perhaps this one, as said you're not the first to ask these questions re Parish Boundaries etc,
http://forum.forest-of-dean.net/index.php?mode=entry&id=43024
Hoping this helps, J.

James Thomas; is Newland in Monmouthshire, Wales, ??

by Debbielakin, Sunday, October 01, 2017, 23:09 (802 days ago) @ Jefff

Thanks for this I need to start reading!

James Thomas and Ann J Merriman

by Mike Pinchin @, Bedford, England, Sunday, October 01, 2017, 18:49 (802 days ago) @ Debbielakin

I’m sure you will have most of this but just in case you don’t,

Not sure about 1841 but it’s the right kind of area and age,

GR 1841 Census, Forest of Dean, Extra Parochial Place named Parkend

Sarah THOMAS, 35, born in county
Amy, 15, born in county
Waltor, 10, born in county
William, 7, born in county
Sarah, 3, born in county
Margaret, 1, born in county
James THOMAS, 20, Iron Miner, not born in county

GR 1851 Census, West Dean, Slad Yorkley

James THOMAS, Head, Mar, 26, Cole Miner, b. West Dean = 1825
Mary Ann, Wife, Mar, 20, East Dean
James, Son, 1, West Dean

GR 1861 Census, West Dean, Bailey Hill,

James THOMAS, Head, Mar, 39, Labourer, b. Parkend, Gloucestershire = 1822
Mary Ann, Wife, Mar, 30, Blakeney Hill, Gloucestershire
James, Son, 11, Yorkley Slad, Goucestershire
Ema, Daur, 4, Blakeney Hill, Gloucestershire
Walter, Son, 2, Blakeney Hill, Gloucestershire

GR 1871 Census, East Dean

James THOMAS, Head, Mar, 48, Engine Worker at Coal Pit, b. Monmouth = 1823
Mary Ann, Wife, Mar, 41, Gloster, Blakeney
James, Son, Unmar, 21, Coal Miner, Yorkley
Walter, Son, 12, Gloster, Blakeney
George, Son, 6, Gloster, Cinderford
Rhoda, Daur, 3, Gloster, Cinderford
Frederick, Son, 1, Gloster, Cinderford

GR 1881 Census, East Dean, Bilson Green

James THOMAS, Head, Mar, 62, Coal haulier, b. Monmouth = 1819
Mary A, Wife, 51, Gloster, Blakeney
Walter, Son, Un, 22, Iron Moulder, Gloster, Blakeney
George, Son, 16, Coal miner, Gloster, Cinderford
Rhoda, Daur, 13, Gloster, Cinderford
Frederick, Son, 11, Gloster, Cinderford
+ 1 lodger

GR 1891 Census, East Dean, Bilson Green

James THOMAS, Head, Mar, 71, Haulier, b. Monmouthshire = 1820
Mary A, Wife, Mar, 61, Gloshire, Blakeney Hill
Walter, Son, Sing, 31, Iron Moulder, Gloshire, Blakeney Hill
Frederick, Son, Sing, 20, Coal Miner, Gloshire, Cinderford

GR 1901 Census, East Dean, Bilson Green

James THOMAS, Head, Mar, 81, b. Monshire, Newland = 1820
Mary A, Wife, Mar, 71, Glos, Blakeney
Walter, Son, Sing, 41, Iron Moulder, Glos, Blakeney
Mary A, Gdaur, Sing, 25, Visitor, Glos, East Dean

GR 1911 Census, Steam Mills, Cinderford, Glos.

James THOMAS, Head, 90, Mar, no occupation, b. Newland Parish, West Dean, Glos = 1821
Mary Ann, Wife, 81, Mar, no occupation, Blakeney Hill Nr Blakeney, Glos
Walter, Son, 51, Sing, Iron Moulder, General Engineering, Blakeney, Glos
60 years married, 10 children, 5 alive
3 rooms in the house

FODFHT

Record_ID: 14347
Entry_Number: 136
Year: 1849
Month: Apr
Day: 8
Grooms_Surname: THOMAS
Grooms_Forenames: James
Grooms_Age: 25
Groom_Condition: Bachelor
Grooms_Occupation: Labourer
Grooms_Residence: Yorkley Slade
Grooms_Fathers_Surname: THOMAS
Grooms_Fathers_Forenames: James
Grooms_Fathers_Occupation: Haulier
Brides_Surname: HALFORD
Brides_Forenames: Mary Ann
Brides_Age: 19
Brides_Condition: Spinster
Brides_Occupation:
Brides_Residence: Blakeney Hill
Brides_Fathers_Surname: HALFORD
Brides_Fathers_Forenames: George
Brides_Fathers_Occupation: Sawyer
Licence_or_Banns: Banns
Date_of_Banns:
Signature_or_Mark: both mark
Witness_1: Mark of Richard Trigg
Witness_2: Mark of Fanny Charles
Other_Witnesses:
Officiating_Minister: Henry Poole
Event: Marriage
Memoranda:
Notes:
Register_Reference: P145 IN 1/20
Page_Number: 68
Parish_Chapel: Parkend

BNA Gloucestershire Chronicle - Saturday 08 October 1921

CINDERFORD CENTENARIAN A Forest of Dean centenarian has just passed away in Mr. James Thomas of Steam Mills, near Cinderford. This fall he would have attained his 102nd birthday. He had lived in the reigns of five sovereigns. He was a true Forester, and retained a recollection as a boy of earning sixpence per day by carrying young trees to the place of planting, and 80 years ago he drove a team of horses as a haulier. He afterwards became a colliery workman, and he sustained an injury about half a century ago which caused his retirement.

The article doesn’t quite square with what looks like the General Register entry but near enough,

GR England & Wales deaths 1837-2007

First Name James
Last Name Thomas
Gender Male
Year 1921
Birth Year 1824
Birth Month
Birth Day
District Westbury on Severn
County Gloucestershire
Country England
Volume 6A
Event Quarter 3
District Number
Page 283
Line Number 150
Entry Number

FODFHT

Record_ID: 249342
Entry_Number: 850
Year: 1921
Month: Oct
Day: 4
Surname: THOMAS
Forenames: James
Residence: Steam Mills
Age_at_death: 97 years
Officiating_Minister: James Lawton Vicar
Event: Burial
Cause_of_death:
Memoranda: In margin Age 102
Notes:
Register_Reference: P109 IN 1/14
Page_No: 107
Parish_Chapel: Drybrook

James Thomas and Ann J Merriman

by Debbielakin, Sunday, October 01, 2017, 23:07 (802 days ago) @ Mike Pinchin

Thanks for this Mike. It's the same as what I think is right and I am also unsure about the 1841 census. I am very interested to see the newspaper article, but I don't think that he was exactly 100 years old, I suppose they just were not sure themselves. A calculated guess! Can't wait to explore the area.

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