Time for the dart board

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March 9, 2016 by auntkatefirmin

Rather than throwing darts to make a decision, I thought I’d record my thoughts regarding the possibility of distinguishing between Ann (Horsell) Whitehead and Ann (Horsell) Little. I’ll structure this like the earlier post on Mary Horsell.

Note the tomb of Reuben Horsell in the foreground.

The parish church of St Bartholomew and All Saints in Wootton Bassett. © Copyright Nick Smith and licensed for reuse under CC2.0

The two Anns in question:

-Ann (baptized 2 Mar 1766) the daughter of Bartholomew & Jane [Andrews] Horsell.

-Ann (baptized 23 Dec 1768) the daughter of John the cordwainer & Mary [Norris] Horsell.


-Anne Horsell and Robert Little, both of Wootton Bassett, married in Wootton Bassett on 25 Dec 1786. Robert was a carpenter.

–Anne Horsell and Thomas Whitehead, both of Wootton Bassett, married in Wootton Bassett on 20 April 1788.


So far burial records for both Anns are not conclusive. The name Little is just too common and the burial records around 1800 often don’t have the age or include the spouse’s name, though the only transcribed entry for the burial of an adult Ann Little in Wootton Bassett is in 1801. Ann Whitehead, age 72, was buried 21 April 1836, which gives a birth year of about 1764 which could be either Ann.

-Ann & Thomas Whitehead may have had eight children between 1789 and 1803: Thomas, Elizabeth, John (died young), Mary, Ann, John, Hannah, Maria. Either Ann would still have been in her childbearing years in 1803. The children’s names don’t provide any clues as John is such a common name, and I’m a bit perplexed that there is a Mary and a Maria, an Ann and a Hannah. There is no baptism transcribed for Thomas Whitehead in Wootton Bassett prior to the couple’s son Thomas, so I’ll need to keep looking for information about Ann’s husband’s parents.

-Ann & Robert Little had at least three children between 1792 and 1797: Sarah, Robert, and Charles. Again the names are not distinctive, especially because I am as yet uncertain of the parents of Robert: there are just too many families with the surname Little, and there is no baptism transcribed for a Robert Little in Wootton Bassett before 1769.

Without more information about the status of the families, I can only guess. For the moment, I will guess that the elder Ann married first. In that scenario:

Ann, the daughter of Bartholomew & Jane, married Robert Little the carpenter in 1786 when she was just a few months shy of age 21. Ann & Robert had no more more children after 1797 when she was about 31. For the moment I will assume she is the Ann Little buried in Wootton Basset in 1801, based only on the name, which means that she was about 35 when she died.

Ann, the daughter of John & Mary, married Thomas Whitehead in 1788 when she was nearly age 20. Ann & Thomas named one of their sons John – possibly after his grandfather, John the cordwainer. Ann Whitehead was buried in 1836, claiming to be 72 when she was closer to 68.

None of this can be regarded as “proved,” as it is equally possible that one Ann married about age 18. There certainly are days when I wish the English records were as thorough as the Norwegian registers and included both parents and the godparents. While the Anns were cousins, I won’t be absolutely positive about their relationship until I’ve satisfied myself that I know which Bartholomew is which. Now, on to distinguish between the lives of Bartholomews 1703, 1708, 1728, 1730 and 1739.





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