Mary Ann Tongue – Found (A 52 Ancestors Post)

Finally, I have had a break through in one of my family walls. Last week I posted about my Great Great Great Grandmother, Mary Ann Tongue, and how I had not been able to locate her birth or baptism record. Well, that post (which you can read here) was not even 24 hours old when a friend of mine messaged me with the transcript of Mary Ann’s baptism. Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather since I had not only checked that site on numerous previous occasions (FreeReg) and not found it, but I had searched through the very parish register I then had to go back to and search again. How I missed her the first time, I don’t know, but there she was, plain as day.


Tongue, Mary Ann daugr of John & Elizabeth Tongue – baptised on 15 July 1810 in Chelmsford’s St Mary the Virgin St Peter & St Cedd Cathedral.

Which, if she was baptised shortly after birth, put her age at death as 58 years … or 60 in 2 years – one of my theories about her declared age last week.

So, thank you Barbara, for checking a site I had checked before and finding that they had updated their records to now include Mary Ann. Now I just need to find/confirm her parent’s marriage, of which I have a couple of suspects, one is looking more promising than the others. But that’s another story. As is finding out why her father was in Chelmsford afterall.

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Mary Ann Tongue – where were you born? (A 52 Ancestors Post)

Mary Ann Tongue was my Great-great-great-grandmother, and although I know about her married life, I know very little if anything about her birth and parentage. Dying in June 1869 in Tiverton Devon, Mary Ann is recorded as having an age of 62 years, putting her birth sometime around 1807.

So, what do I know about her?

  • March 1831 – Tiverton, Devon – marries John Clemmons (surname also spelt Clemons)
  • 1832 – Devon - birth of daughter Mary Ann
  • August 1835 – Tiverton, Devon – birth of son John Nicholas
  • December 1837 – Tiverton, Devon – birth of daughter Sarah Ellen
  • Jan-Mar 1840 – Tiverton, Devon – birth of son Charles (died Oct-Dec 1850)
  • June 1841 – English Census – living at “Rackfield, Tiverton, Devon”. Mary Ann’s age is recorded as being 30, and her birth place is recorded as “N”, indicating she was not born within the county.
  • Oct-Dec 1841 – Tiverton, Devon – birth of daughter Jane
  • Oct 1845 – Tiverton, Devon – birth of son George Henry
  • Oct-Dec 1846 – Tiverton, Devon – birth of son Frederick William
  • Oct-Dec 1848 – Tiverton, Devon – birth of birth of Thomas Francis
  • Feb/Mar 1851 – Tiverton, Devon – birth of daughter Emily Emma
  • March 1851 – English Census – living at “Rackfield, Tiverton, Devon”. Mary Ann’s age is recorded as being 40, and her birth place is recorded as being Chelmsford Essex.
  • December 1852 – Tiverton, Devon – birth of daughter Fanny (my great great grandmother)
  • April 1861 – English Census – living at “Rackfield, Tiverton, Devon”. Mary Ann’s age is recorded as being 50, and her birth place is recorded as Chelmsford Essex.
  • December 1868 – Tiverton, Devon – husband John Clemons dies aged 66.
  • June 1869 – Tiverton, Devon – Mary Ann Clemons dies, and her age at death is recorded as being 62.

Age at death in 1869 is 62… that puts her birth as c1807. Yet each census that she appears on, her age is consistent in progression, and consistent with a birth year of 1811. Why the sudden jump in age? Her cause of death is listed as “Sinectus et Imbecillitas”, which translated from the Latin, apparently means “Age and Weakness”. Ok, so cause of death – pretty much old age, nothing unusual there, perhaps her age was mis-recalled when her death was registered 3 days later. 62, or 60 in 2 years – it’s a theory.

There are still two problems though, both to do with her declared birthplace of Chelmsford, Essex. I have been through the parish registers for Chelmsford’s Cathedral, St Mary the Virgin St Peter & St Cedd, and in the time period of 1805-1816, I have not seen any surname that could be considered to be Tongue or a variant of it. I considered that she may have been baptised at another church in the city or even another parish just outside of Chelmsford, so while I was able to, I checked the registers for a dozen other parishes close by, mainly for baptisms within the years of 1805-1812. Again, no surname that could be considered to be Tongue or a variant of it.

The second problem with her census declared birthplace is that through checking a lot of census records and following up and cross-referencing and checking other household members, it can be determined that her father, or at least the man who she called her father, that his name was John Tongue. John Tongue was born in Manchester, Lancashire around 1780 and was an Innkeeper. Sometime before 1819, John Tongue makes his way down from Manchester and ends up in Tiverton, where in Feb 1819, he marries a lass named Hannah Hewitt who had been born about 1792 in Bradnich, about 12km south of Tiverton. I have considered that Mary Ann was the daughter of Hannah Hewitt, but I did not see any Hewitt (or variant) surnames when looking through the parish registers of Chelmsford Essex and surrounds.

So, as far as my research so far can tell, neither John Tongue, nor Hannah Hewitt, had reason or cause to be in Chelmsford Essex between 1807 and 1811, and therefore can not account for this birthplace being recorded. Yes it is possible that Mary Ann was born in Chelmsford while her parents were enroute from a previous location (Manchester?) to the next one (Tiverton?), but with her father’s occupation of Innkeeper, I would have expected to find him somewhere along the line if that was the case.

Mary Ann Tongue – where were you born, and when? Was your father John Tongue, and if so, who was your mother? Or was your mother Hannah Hewitt, and if she was, then who was your father? Whoever your birth parents were, John Tongue and Hannah Hewitt were the parents you knew for the 12 years prior to your own marriage, and they would have been the grandparents your children knew.

Mary Ann Tongue, later Clemons – born between 1807 & 1811, died Tiverton Devon 1869

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DNA – a quick analogy

I was trying to explain to a friend the other day how DNA recombination worked, and since this person has a practical mind and not a scientific one, I decided to use the concept of Scrabble (R) to try to help explain it.

Take the word PARENTS – seven letters or building blocks – P, A, R, E, N, T, and S.
Also, take the word GRAND – five letters or building blocks – g, r, a, n, and d

Now re-arrange these 12 letters and form some new words

PaSTErN, EnTRaPS, ArPEnTs, adAPTS, drAgNET, gRanTEd, DaNgER – all words made of the same basic building blocks as the words grand and PARENTS – and each containing different combination of letters

In a similar way, DNA is also recombined.

It then made sense to my friend, hope it makes sense to you too.


(Note: I am not a DNA expert, just someone looking for a simpler way to explain it.)

pastern: (noun) the sloping part of a horse’s foot between the fetlock and the hoof
Arpents: a former French unit of area; equal approximately to an acre

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Jane Ferrier MacDonald (A 52 Ancestors Post)

Jane Ferrier MacDonald was born on the 23rd January 1884 in North Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia, the third child and second daughter for George Stewart MacDonald and Helen Marshall.

Named Jane Ferrier after her paternal grandmother, one can only presume that Jane’s first two years of life progressed as normal, that she learnt to crawl and then to walk, that she was learning to talk and communicate with her old brother and sister. How Jane’s second birthday was celebrated is unknown, but to a two year old, the arrival of a new baby sister on the day after your own birthday could have been something pretty special. For the next seven months, we can only assume that life in the family progressed as normal. A 6 year old girl, a 4 year old boy, a 2 year old girl, and a baby, together with their parents, would have made for a busy home.

On the 1st September 1886, the family would have gone to bed as usual, George & Helen perhaps a little concerned about Jane’s stiff neck, sore throat or runny nose, but probably thought it just a childhood cold. The next morning however, Jane would not have improved, and so a Doctor would have been called, and on attending to Jane, diagnosed the little girl with an illness that at that time, did not have a vaccine (1), and in America was fatal to about 20% those under the age of five (2) who contracted it.


Just what George & Helen would have known about the illness, and what the immediate thoughts were, can only be speculation, but they would likely have been aware that just a few years earlier, Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Alice, and grand-daughter Princess Marie had both contracted and died of Diphtheria. Princess Marie was aged just 4 years. This was clearly not an illness related to societal classes.

Just three days after becoming ill, and two days after seeing the Doctor, little Jane, aged 2 years 7 months and 12 days, succumbed to her illness and died. She was buried the same day at Bundaberg General Cemetery. Her two sisters, brother and parents survived this threat to the family, albeit understandably distressed by the loss of one so young.

 Jane Ferrier MacDonald : 23 Jan 1884 – 4 Sept 1886

1. Australian Government Department of Health. (2013, October 22). Timeline of mass immunisation programs and initiatives. Retrieved from
2. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. (2014). Diphtheria – timelines – history of vaccines. Retrieved from

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Elizabeth Hins (A 52 Ancestors Post)

My great great grandmother, Elizabeth Hins, lived to the age of 79 8 and gave birth to 12 children, raising at least 6 to maturity.
What do I know about her? Precious little really – I have certificates and census data only. No photos that I know of and no family stories passed down. I don’t even know her mother’s name.

Name: Elizabeth HINS 7
Birth Date: about 1842 7,8
Birth Place: Wavendon, Buckinghamshire, England 1,2,5,6
Alt Birth Place: Woburn Sands, Buckinghamshire, England 3,4

Baptism date: ? unknown
Baptism place:

Father: William HINS 7
Mother: ? unknown

Marriage Date: 8 Sept 1861 7
Marriage Place: Wavendon, Buckinghamshire, England 7
Spouse: William MABLEY 7

Death Date: 2 July 1921 8
Death Place: Woburn Sands, Bedfordshire, England 8
Burial Location: ? unknown

Census data:
Date – Location – Age – Occupation
1851 – unknown
1861 – Woburn Sands – 18 – Lacemaker 1
1871 – Woburn Sands – 28 – Lacemaker 2
1881 – Aspley Guise – 39 – Lacemaker 3
1891 – Aspley Guise – 50 – none listed 4
1901 – Woburn Sands – 62 – Lacemaker – on own account 5
1911 – Woburn Sands – 69 – none listed 6

Known Children:
Mary Elizabeth Mabley (1862-1939)
William James Mabley (1865-1924)
Harry Mabley (Abt 1868- )
Eli Mabley (Abt 1870- )
John Thomas Mabley (Abt 1872-1899)
Susanna Mabley (Abt 1875-Abt 1875)
Charles Mabley (Abt 1877-1946)
Lucy Elizabeth Mabley (Abt 1879-1945)
Caroline Mabley (1883-1901)
Martha Isabel Mabley (Abt 1884-1961)
Plus two children of unknown names, genders & dates 6

Eduction: Probably illiterate – signed with her mark at marriage 7, 1911 census filled in by enumerator 6


What I’d like to find before the end of this year (if at all possible), is Elizabeth’s birth record, and the name of her mother.

1. 1861 census of England, Buckinghamshire, Wavendon, folio 127, page 7, Elizabeth Hins/Heins; PRO RG 9/872.
2. 1871 census of England, Buckinghamshire, Wavendon, folio 136, page 18, Elizabeth Mabley; PRO RG 10/1418.
3. 1881 census of England, Bedfordshire, Aspley Guise, folio 16, page 26, Elizabeth Mabley; PRO RG 11/1637.
4. 1891 census of England, Bedfordshire, Aspley Guise, folio 26, page 20, Elizabeth Mabley; PRO RG 12/1262
5. 1901 census of England, Buckinghamshire, Woburn Sands, folio 44, page 8, Elizth Mabley; PRO RG 13/1361
6. 1911 census of England, Buckinghamshire, RG 78 PN 401, RG 14 PN 7988, registration district (RD) 148, sub district (SD) 1, enumeration district (ED) 20, schedule number (SN) 64, Russell St, Woburn Sands, Elizabeth Mabley.
7. England and Wales, marriage certificate for William Mabley and Elizbeth Hins, married 8 September 1861; citing 3a/649/206, September quarter 1861, Newport Pagnell registration district; General Register Office, Southport.
8. England and Wales, death certificate for Elizabeth Mabley, died 2 June 1921; citing 3a/935/20, June quarter 1921, Newport Pagnell registration district, Fenny Stratford sub-district; General Register Office, Southport


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