Brick Wall (General)

by izzybfw @, Tuesday, June 08, 2021, 09:24 (1141 days ago)

I am hoping for some idea's on how to break through a brick wall.

My 4xgr/grandfather is William Thompson baptised at St Michael's the Archangel mount without in Bristol in May 1798, he was born Oct 1797. His Parents were William Thompson and Sarah Court - married at St Augustine the Less in Bristol in Feb 1789. Sarah and her siblings were all bap at St Augustine's.

William and 3 other siblings were all baptised on the same day, but born 1795,1796 & 1798. I know quite a lot about Sarah Court and her family, but cannot find anything about William Thompson snr. William & Sarah also had another 2 children bap; at St James Bristol 1791 again together but born 1789 & 1791.

The mystery begins with William Thompson jun - he married in Cleator Cumberland in 1825. In the 1851 census he states he was born in Bristol - in the 1861 census he states he did not know where he was born, and in the 1871 census he says he was born at sea?

Other things i have been able to pick up is that Sarah obviously came from a wealthy family and was educated (as was her William) as they both signed the marriage certificate - I know Sarah died in Dec 1798, so obviously the children we quite young. William Thompson jnr was an iron ore miner in Cumberland and had to use his mark on his marriage certificate.

I cannot find any indication of even an occupation for Wm Senior or anything to go on - there is one Wm Thompson born roughly at the time who parents were Duncan & Margaret but i have discounted them as there is no link to the family names - which mainly coincide with the Court family names - but could also link to his family .

Any ideas would be gratefully accepted.

Brick Wall

by sidtoomey01 @, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Tuesday, June 08, 2021, 09:47 (1141 days ago) @ izzybfw


I am not positive about this but i believe this Forum was set up for research on inhabitants who were born or lived within the Forest of Dean only. (Perhaps someone could confirm if this is correct or not).
I think your enquiry deals with people and or places outside the Forest.
However, i will have a look privately to see if something comes up.
There is provision on your profile page to put your email address. If you do that then I can reply privately. The Forum email set up is a very secure one.
If you look at my name at the top of my messages, you will see a blue envelope. This indicates i have lodged my email address.

Sid Toomey

Brick Wall

by izzybfw @, Tuesday, June 08, 2021, 10:38 (1141 days ago) @ sidtoomey01

That is a fair point, not knowing the area i do know that they are close.
i have adjusted the email

Brick Wall

by MPGriffiths @, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 19:06 (1139 days ago) @ izzybfw

'William Thompson Jnr, was an Iron Ore Miner in Cumberland'


? Googled on the National Archives (a2A)

Thompson, Bristol


Held at The National Archives, Kew - Chancery, the Wardrobe, Royal Household, Exchequer and various commissions

Date: 1798

Reference: C 202/187/6

BRISTOL - William Thompson; Cumberland - Joseph Hodgson; Devon - William Bowring ; Essex - William ...

Chancery: Petty Bag Office : Writ Files - Returns of Writs. Oaths of Masters Extraordinary in Chancery. Bristol - William THOMPSON; Cumberland - Joseph Hodgson ; Devon - William Bowring; Essex - William Sparling; Gloucester - Thomas Crome; Lancaster - Roger Parker, Ralph Peters the young; Lincoln

Brick Wall

by izzybfw @, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 19:37 (1139 days ago) @ MPGriffiths


That looks kind of promising, it would explain why William Junior ended up in Cumberland. Its a pity i had not done this a few weeks ago when i was at the Archives having found a box full of Court family papers (which made no mention of William)

I will look into that.

Brick Wall

by admin ⌂, Forest of Dean, Tuesday, June 08, 2021, 10:46 (1141 days ago) @ sidtoomey01

It is true that this site was set up to deal specifically with the Forest of Dean but in more recent times we have been a little more relaxed and given the apparent connection with the Court family it would make sense to keep this on the Forum should there be others with an interest in the family either now or in the future.
Some of you may also have noted that we have added and continue to add Register transcripts of Parishes outside the Forest of Dean to our Parish Records database.


Brick Wall

by sidtoomey01 @, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Tuesday, June 08, 2021, 11:10 (1141 days ago) @ admin

Thank you Admin for your prompt reply.
I will add any discoveries i stumble across to this Forum.

Sid Toomey

Brick Wall

by izzybfw @, Tuesday, June 08, 2021, 11:28 (1141 days ago) @ admin

Thank you -

Brick Wall

by MPGriffiths @, Tuesday, June 08, 2021, 11:27 (1141 days ago) @ izzybfw

There is a connection to the Forest of Dean, looking at the Marriage Bonds & Allegations - on this website

(there are others, COURT's Marriage Bonds/Licences etc. St Briavels

Record ID

2 January 1758

John COURT - aged 25, Batchelor,
occupation: Cabinet Maker

Residence: St Augistine's

Martha EVANS, aged 25, Spinster
residence: St Briavels

Marriage by Licence

sworn before J S JONES to marry at St Briavels

*(Bond copy - says witness 1, James BAKER a Bricklayer of Monmouth and Witness 2 - Wm COURT

Brick Wall

by izzybfw @, Tuesday, June 08, 2021, 11:31 (1141 days ago) @ MPGriffiths

Those are my 6x Great Grandparents - he is later described as Gentleman of St Briavels and cabinet maker Bristol and as well as a house and workshop in Horse Lane in Bristol he also had an estate in St Briavels.

Brick Wall

by sidtoomey01 @, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 06:20 (1140 days ago) @ izzybfw

One possibility out of countless is that William Thompson Senior was in the Army or Navy or was a Mariner. My reasons for saying this are :-
William Thompson Junior stating on one Census return that "he was born at sea"
The Baptism of William Seniors children occurred in two batches. Could this indicate that they were baptised once the family returned to Bristol from abroad ?
Bristol in the late 18th Century was a very busy sea trading port and involved in the slave trade.
Soldiers families sometimes travelled with the Regiments on overseas postings although i haven't read about sea captains or merchants taking their families with them on voyages.
I believe the youngest Son, Charles-Courts Thompson married on the East Coast of Canada and settled there.(Was this connected to a sea travelling life?) A very long shot, i am sure.

Sid Toomey

Brick Wall

by izzybfw @, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 08:00 (1139 days ago) @ sidtoomey01


Those were my exact thoughts - i followed one William Thompson who was a 4'10 mariner who was on a ship called Hind and had a wife called Sarah. Unfortunately i found his will and he left everything to his wife in 1838, given i know that our Sarah died in 1799 it was not him.

I thought it was a bit of a long shot, as like you i thought it was unlikely that a mariner would be able to take his family on voyages with him. I never thought about the army so might try that line.

Brick Wall

by MPGriffiths @, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 11:26 (1139 days ago) @ izzybfw

William Thompson and Sarah Court were married by Licence.

St Augstine the Less

William THOMPSON of this Parish and Sarah COURT of this Parish
Married in this Church by Licence

24 February 1778 - witnesses: Charles COURT and Mary COURT.


What extra information does the Licence have?

The much earlier Bristol Marriage Licences and Bonds on the net list quite a lot of information


6 April 1701

George Moore - of Bristol, Mariner
Mary Warren (s) of St Michael
Bdm; Francis Moore of Bristol, Victualler
At: St Michael, Stoke Gifford, or Mangotsfield

Brick Wall

by izzybfw @, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 13:27 (1139 days ago) @ MPGriffiths


I was hoping to be able to get William's and Sarah's licence to see if it had extra information, but i have searched the National and Bristol archives and i cant find it.

Brick Wall

by MPGriffiths @, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 14:31 (1139 days ago) @ izzybfw

Have you put your request on Rootschat Gloucestershire or Rootschat Bristol etc? Contributors do seem to have access to various documents etc and would help in your research.

Brick Wall

by sidtoomey01 @, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 20:34 (1139 days ago) @ izzybfw

I have still not given up on the Mariner side.
British Newspaper Archives have a couple of mentions for a William Thompson regarding the sale of a boat which may have been in Jamaica. As i do not have a subscription to BNA i am so far unable to access the actual articles. I have only read the free previews but they can be a bit misleading.
The dates of the articles fit but i think the articles are from the North of England.

Sid Toomey

Brick Wall

by izzybfw @, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 20:42 (1139 days ago) @ sidtoomey01

I think you are right about the mariner side - given the record found on the National Archives - the nearest town to where Wm junior lives is Whitehaven which i think back in the day was the biggest port in Cumberland. What was the date of the newspaper articles you found i have a subscription to British newspapers.

Brick Wall

by izzybfw @, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 20:46 (1139 days ago) @ izzybfw

i should have added, that i have previously searched for William Thompson Bristol and got loads of hits - mainly because there was a ship called William Thompson :)

Brick Wall

by sidtoomey01 @, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Thursday, June 10, 2021, 20:49 (1139 days ago) @ izzybfw

Have you researched the ship ?
It had to have been named after someone. Or is this too good to be true ?
Sid Toomey

Brick Wall

by sidtoomey01 @, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Friday, June 11, 2021, 06:31 (1138 days ago) @ izzybfw


You mentioned that the Court family was involved in shipping before cabinet making. The family sounds prosperous so it would be logical (unless there were black sheep involved as family members) for daughters to be married to another prosperous person or some one in a similar calling. e.g. shipping.

I like the prospect of William Thompson Senior being involved in the seafaring industry. I also realise the following might end up being a dead end.

The following link might provide more clues leading to William Senior. (He is not mentioned in the book at all, but if he were a junior member of the Thompson family, that would account for the omission.

Look up the above website and find a book "Records of Bristol Ships 1800-1838 (over 150 Tons).

In the Index of Ship Owners, page 286 of 296 gives five Thompson/Thomson possibilities.
In the General Index "Newfoundland"is mentioned several times.
"Harbour Grace" prominent seafaring Village in Newfoundland is mentioned on page 57.

Keeping in mind that one of William and Sarah (Court) Thompson was married in Harbour Grace in 1829 (Listing his residence at time of marriage as Bristol. Did he regularly travel between the two places ??) and the birth of a male child happened in 1854 where his occupation was listed as "Clerk" (Was he employed in a Thompson family business??)

On page 112 the ship "Emily" owned by a Thompson visited America during 1860-1868. (Link with Charles??)
On page 37 the ship "Joan" was owned by a John Thompson for a number of years.In 1811 it was recorded as being a "Quebec Trader". (I would wager it used to call in at Harbour Grace. The Ships Master in 1813-1814 was a Duncan Thompson or Thomson.
Page 179 mentions Joseph Thompson and Whitehaven.

None of the above proves conclusively to be William Thompson Senior. I would respectfully suggest keeping a record of all the Thompson names and dates as well as the ships names. You never know these details may start to fit into different generations of Thompson families already known in broad form.

Hope this helps

Sid Toomey

Brick Wall

by izzybfw @, Friday, June 11, 2021, 07:12 (1138 days ago) @ sidtoomey01

Interesting theory - the shipping involvement with the Courts was around the 1630s for a number of years, the cabinet makers started with John (as far as i can work out) he was a cabinet maker when he married in the 1750s, but the connect with Grace Harbour is interesting.

My own theory is that Sarah Court married beneath herself - based on 2 wills - her father left money to his grandchildren - William Grimes Court (the one with the property in St Briavels in the 1840s) was left £500 and loads of property in St briavels, another grandson,John Court got £300 and loads of property in Bristol. The Thompson grandchildren got - William £100, and the other 4 got £50 with no property at all. No mention of William senior other than being the husband of his late daughter.

Also in her brother Williams will written before she died, she was left dividends from a trust fund (his will was 15 pages long and very difficult to read) with the proviso that her current husband or any future husbands had no right to these), again no other mention of William senior.

The connection with Cumbria/whitehaven where there was a ship building family called Thompson and the fact that William Junior ended up there is worth further research.

Brick Wall

by izzybfw @, Monday, June 14, 2021, 19:54 (1135 days ago) @ izzybfw

I have managed to get a little snippet of information on William Thompson senior - the very helpful people at the Bristol Archives, despite not being booked in - very kindly found the licence for Wm Senior and Sarah Court - In it John Court and Wm Thompson put up £1000 and William is described as a Corn Factor - don't know much about Corn Factors but think this is likely a dealer or trader - so that could account for the link to Newfoundland - i am going to the reference library tomorrow to see if they have trade directories going back that far. I am fair pleased as apart from birth of his children and marriage dates this is the 1st piece of information i have managed to find.

Brick Wall

by MPGriffiths @, Monday, June 14, 2021, 21:30 (1135 days ago) @ izzybfw

On Rootschat Gloucestershire - there have been past requests regarding a Wm Hood, Corn Factory of Bristol - and Contributors appear to have access to a Bristol Guide & Directory 1793/4

Brick Wall

by sidtoomey01 @, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Monday, June 14, 2021, 21:30 (1135 days ago) @ izzybfw


That is good news.
Regarding the possible Harbour Grace connection (Son Charles Court Thompson), in the 1832 Harbour Grace Voters lists, Charles Court Thompson was living at Main Street Harbour Grace.
Also living in Main Street was James King Thompson. Coincidence or relative ? Harbour Grace was not a large settlement.
James King Thompson might have been born in 1801 in Somerset although this still has to be crosschecked.

Sid Toomey

Brick Wall

by sidtoomey01 @, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 01:36 (1135 days ago) @ izzybfw


William Thompson, being a "Corn Factor" most likely would have done business in the Corn Exchange building on Corn Street. This building still exists today.
Churches named in Baptism records for William Senior and Sarah Courts marriage, the Baptisms of their children are located close to the Corn Exchange. They are all shown on an 18th Century map of Bristol located on "Know Your Place Bristol".

Sid Toomey

Brick Wall

by sidtoomey01 @, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 01:43 (1135 days ago) @ izzybfw

Re the possible Harbour Grace, Newfoundland connection, previously i mentioned that there was a James King Thompson listed in the 1832 Harbour Grace Voters list as living on Main Street , This was the same street as Charles Court Thompson (one of William and Sarah's children)

On 19th October 1823, James King Thompson married Susan Andrews in Harbour Grace.
The Grooms place of residence was given at the time of marriage as "St Stephens Bristol"

St Stephens Church is also located very close to the Corn Exchange.

Could he be a relative ?

Sid Toomey

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