Newsletter 11 from Jennifer Topham, of Malmesbury, England
Births, marriages, deaths, and newly discovers cousins

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The Risdons of Somerset
Newsletter No. 11
September 2006

Hello everyone!

The stork is being kept busy, as this time we welcome a 2006 baby, Sonny Joshua the son of Gideon TURNER and his wife Rebecca nee CALLARD. Gideon and Rebecca are both actors and if you enter their names in your computer search engine you will find some super photos of this young couple.

Congratulations also to Elaine Anne RADCLIFFE who has recently married Stephen WALTERS. Elaine’s parents, Peter and Rosemary, were at RDD1 and her aunt Anne at both descendant’s days.

Then on a much sadder note, there have been two deaths since the last newsletter. Norman Philip Risdon died on 29 July aged 100 years and eight months. His ancestry is Frederick G 1875-1970; Edward 1838-1927; John 1799-1854; John 1754-1828, Edward 1724-1773 and Phillip ? - 1769.

Then Valerie Diana Mary Weedy nee Reed who was born in 1919 died on 16 August aged 87 years. Her ancestors were Margaret nee Risdon 1885-1972; John 1856-1938; John 1831-1017; John 1799-1854; John 1754-1828; Edward 1724-1773 and Phillip ? - 1769. Our sincere condolences go to each family.

New e-mail addresses for Darwin Risdon at darwin_risdon and Jon Hebert at

Since the last newsletter, I have been contacted by two new branches of the family. Firstly Susan Breakenridge, who lives in Scotland, wrote to me. Susan, who is descended through Walter Risdon and his wife Annie Scammell, has sent me a wonderful amount of new family information including a lot of overseas data, together with the fact that we have Papua New Guinea cousins - another country to add to our list. This information has added about 150 new cousins to the family tree!

I have also heard from Andrew Scurr who is married to our cousin Rachel Louise nee Broome whose descent is from the Hardwill line which goes back to Rebecca Risdon marrying Richard Veysey in 1780. At this stage I do not know how much Andrew and I are going to be able to add to each other’s research - only one email in each direction so far!

Julian Bernard in Canada and I are still slowly exchanging Buller nee Risdon and Marsingall information, and I am still hoping to hear from Gina nee Saunders in Australia concerning her Symons/Saunders line.

With Susan’s information and the small amount of research that I have done over the summer, we are just about able to claim two and a half thousand persons on the family tree. It is wonderful to now have all the UK censuses available on the internet and this has enabled me to fill the gaps in some people’s lives. Next year I want to join the website which has all the American censuses. However, if anyone is already subscribing to this site and is able to do some searching for me, then please let me know - but, a warning, I have a very long list of “wants”!!

Is there anyone in the extended family who is interested in Military matters (Army, Navy and Air Force), and able to do some research at the National Archives at Kew in London? In one of the earlier newsletters, I mentioned that I had found very few cousins serving in the military. Well, that really tempted fate, and now I have quite a list of those who served in both World Wars as well as regulars (full time servicemen), so again, there is quite a lot of work to do. Some of the World War 1 records are now on the internet but I feel they are rather expensive to download, and the material certainly does not include such things as ship’s logs, war diaries, etc., so this part of the family research is rather on the “back burner” for the present.

Again, going back to a previous newsletter, I listed the centenarian’s in the family. Now, Susan’s information has told me of another cousin who has achieved this great milestone. This is Edith Rosamund Marshall nee Clappe who was born on 16 December 1903. Edith’s parents were Montague B. Clappe and his wife Edith nee Risdon, and this branch of the family then goes back through Walter 1844-1922; Philip 1800-1873; John 1754-1828; Edward 1724-1773 and then Phillip.

Many of you have Hardwill’s in your ancestry, and from you I have received many different stories regarding John Hardwill who went to Wales to be a coal miner. This is now the information I have found. John was born in 1879 at Thurloxton, Somerset and was baptised in 23 March 1879 at the local Anglican Church. John who was known as Jack was living at Taunton Road, Thurloxton at the time of the 1881 census while by 1891 the family were living at Waterpitts Farm, Spaxton. In 1901 John/Jack was working at Lower Cadmain Farm, Bremhill in Wiltshire. By 1905 he was living in Glamorganshire when he married Hannah Jones. Hannah who was born about 1884 died in 1909. John/Jack and Hannah had one daughter Ethel May born 1907 died 1908. In 1911 John married Margaret Jones and they had a daughter Margaret J, who survived only for a few weeks in 1914, with Margaret dying in 1918. John married for a third time in 1920 to Mary Anna Turner who was born on 18 February 1882. John died 11 October 1950 at Sea View Terrace, Ashburnham Road, Burry Port, Carmarthenshire, with Mary Anna outliving her husband by 20 years. If anyone would like the sources for this information, please contact me.

As always, please keep me informed of the “hatches, matches and despatches”, especially where an event has taken place abroad, as these are not usually registered in England. Also I’d appreciate being kept informed of changes to home and email addresses.

The next newsletter will be sent out at the end of January, so in the meantime, best wishes to all of you for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. Yesterday (28 September) my local food store was selling mince-pies, and in today’s paper they say that St Austell in Cornwall has already erected their Christmas lights - mad isn’t it?

Enjoy your festive season
Jennifer Topham, 2 Orchard Court, Arches Lane, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0ED England
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