Newsletter 10 from Jennifer Topham, of Malmesbury, England
Births, deaths, Risdon Descendents' Day #2

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The Risdons of Somerset
Newsletter No. 10
May 2006

Hello everyone

Several fairly recent additions to welcome to the Risdon family, namely Claire Marie Abigail born to Camille (nee Mook) and Tony ROSE, also Andrew MacNeil born to Tiffany (nee Mook) & Neil FRASER. Both toddlers, born in 2004, are the grandchildren of Sharon MOOK nee Risdon who was at RDD1 and who hopes to be able to come to RDD3 if it happens - Sharon’s words not mine!!!

There is also a new grandchild, Brandon Courtney born in 2004, for Philip and Heather Risdon, to add to the two grandsons they already have. Definitely a family who are keeping up the surname of Risdon! Congratulations to the proud parents Paul and Aimee.

Unfortunately there is another death to report from my close family members. My only sister’s husband, Milosz Powiecki (pronounced Me-wash Pov-E-et-ski) died on 17 March, almost exactly 22 months after their elder son Marek lost his life - see newsletter number 5. I feel sure your sympathies will be extended to Celia and her son Guy.

Three new e-mail addresses, namely for Richard Risdon, Nancy Risdon magnolia, and Alberta Horan If anyone would like an up-dated copy of the Risdon address book, please let me know and I will forward it on floppy disc or printed out - whichever you prefer.

Well, the latest Risdon Descendant’s Day is over! I was bitterly disappointed that so few of you were able to attend as, at the beginning of January, I had a list of 30 people from last RDD who said they would come again in three years time ie 2003 + 3 = 2006, together with 63 of the new cousins I contacted in the second half of last year. Some of you have given me your reasons for not being able to attend, but where were the others? Is Old Cleeve too difficult to get to? Was the price too high (remember caterers cost alot)? I’d be very interested to know, as this helps plan for future RDD’s. I’ve not decided yet about another day, but if anyone else would like to host one, then I would give you my full support!

However, speaking personally, I felt it was better being a smaller number, as I was able to talk to everyone, and have learnt so much more about the family! Certainly everyone seemed to find enough to talk about, not to mention look at between 10.30am and 4.00pm. Thank you to all who attended - we were only 25 - and to those who so kindly gave me copies of photos and parish records, and also to Joanna for her lovely gift which is much appreciated. My A4 files - all 26 of them - were well-thumbed and there was a wealth of new information entered in the files by those attending.

Very many thanks to those of you who helped on the day, namely my daughter Adele and son-in-law Joe who give me such support in what I do, the lovely raffle prizes from several people, Eileen and Anne for organizing the raffle, Anne for making a splendid job of tea-making plus the washing-up afterwards and for helping with the general clearing -up, and last but no means least, Tim for having the forethought to bring along a photo-copier which looked to be well used!

Through the raffle we raised £33.20 which has been sent to Revd Judy Hennings at St Andrew’s, Old Cleeve with the request that the money be put towards the upkeep of the churchyard.

The size of the tree which I took to RDD2 was 63 yards wide and contained 712 sheets of paper with 2286 names. I have made a definite decision that this is the last time I will print out the tree, as it has become unmanageable, so from now on, I will enter new information by hand onto this print-out. The number of 2286 has been increased by five additional names found in the new information provided. Apparently our family tree is by no means near to creating a record, as shortly after I sent out Newsletter 8, I learnt of a tree containing 4700 plus names!! Is this going to defeat us all? No, of course not, so keep the new information coming please, most especially for “hatches, matches and dispatches” outside the UK.

I have recently made contact with a cousin, Julian Bernard, living in Ontario, Canada, who is descended from the marriage of Samuel Marsingall and Sarah Buller. Sarah’s mother was born Mary RISDON in 1750 and was a daughter of Edward Risdon and his wife Betty Evett. As Samuel Marsingall was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, I had hoped he might have been at the Battle of Trafalgar, but it appears not. For some reason, as yet unknown, at the time of the 1841 census, he was imprisoned in Guernsey, Channel Islands. The family later went to live in northern France, before some, if not all, of them returned to England. One of Samuel and Sarah’s sons, Anthony Marsingall (1815-1895), I have traced and have found many descendants in West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. However, I have only come forward to about 1900, so still have alot of work to do on this line.

Then, on Friday morning 19 May, I received a phone call from Australia. This was from Gina MacPherson who is descended from Clara Jane Symons who married Samuel Brown Saunders in 1878. Clara Jane was the daughter of William Symons and Harriet Hawkes. Gina has given me more family info, and I am sure we will soon be corresponding as I am going to send her the information I have on her family line, and she has offered to fill in missing details where she can.

As many of you know, Nancy Risdon from Alberta, Canada who works for the UN has been transferred from Sierre Leone to the Sudan. From her latest e-mail she says she is settling down alright but finds the weather too hot.

Please, like Nancy, keep me posted with your family information, and/or let me know what you would like me to write about in future newsletters. Also, search your cupboards, drawers and attics for old newspaper cuttings, photos and certificates relating to family members and let me have copies please - every little helps in knowing more about our mutual ancestors!

As the next newsletter will not be sent out until September, may I wish you all happy and enjoyable summer holidays. I’m off to Normandy, France with Adele and Joe in two week’s time. We intend visiting the Normandy beaches and museums, which I am sure we will find very emotional as well as most interesting.

Best wishes to you all

Jennifer Topham, 2 Orchard Court, Arches Lane, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0ED
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