Newsletter 7 from Jennifer Topham, of Malmesbury, England

To genealogy Menu
Website Main Menu
Risdon tree in America
Risdon newsletter menu

The Risdons of Somerset
Newsletter No. 7
May 2005


Yes it’s newsletter time again. Firstly, the big news! The second Risdon Descendant’s Day (RDD2) will be held on Saturday 13 May 2006 at Old Cleeve. Further details, booking forms, etc., will be sent out at the end of this year, but in the meantime, I would be very grateful, if you could give me an indication of whether or not you intend to come. At the begining of June, I hope to be able to start contacting the “newly discovered”cousins - those who I have not yet written to - so will need to know how many I can invite.

For some time now, I have been corresponding with descendants of George Risdon (1807 - c1885) and his wife Jane nee Harris, who emigrated to America circa 1852. Several members of this American branch hope to attend RDD2, but in the meantime, I have received news from one descendant, namely, proud grandfather Tom McFarland of the arrival of young Jesse in June. Congratulations to all the family!

Also in connection with the above branch of the family, I have discovered that George and Jane Risdon had another son born in England, namely, Benjamin Torrington Risdon son of George and Jane nee Harris born 8 August 1847 Scawby, Lincolnshire, buried 12 April 1849 St Mary the Virgin, Chelmsford, Essex.

In the last newsletter, I mentioned illigitemacy, and the one known case, namly Annie Risdon born in 1869 at Golsoncott, Old Cleeve, Somerset the daughter of John and Harriet (nee Risdon) Risdon. I had hoped to be able to tell you more about Annie and her daughter Dorothy Ethel - however, I am still drawing a blank. Here is the known information for Annie:

  1. Census: 1871 Golsoncott, Old Cleeve, Somerset
    • 1881 - Golsoncott, Old Cleeve, Somerset
    • 1891 - Spring Hill House School, Tavistock, Devon - teacher
    • 1901 - 29 Rodbourne Street, Derby, Derbyshire
  2. On this latter census she is in a boarding house as a lodger, listed as the “wife” of Arthur Edwin Sykes, a solicitor’s clerk, with a daughter from his first marriage plus a daughter Dorothy Ethel aged 1 born in Birmingham. I have traced AE’s first marriage and the death of his wife - however, I suspect he may have married again and “been on the run” so to speak from an unhappy union.
  3. In the will of Annie’s aunt Harriet (1847-1936) written 9 December 1933, Annie is referred to as Annie Sykes.
  4. Annie’s brother George (1865-1948) wrote his will on 15 January 1947 and refers to his sister Annie’s daughter Dorothy Hicks.

From all this, I know Annie called herself Annie Sykes, but I can find no marriage between her and Arthur Edwin. I know she had at least one child, Dorothy or Dorothy Ethel who married a man with the surname Hicks. This marriage has also not yet been found, so was it a case of “like mother like daughter”? Annie died sometime after December 1933, but where, as they obviously travelled around and there are an awful lot of Annie Sykes, but definitely no Annie Risdon deaths which fit. Also when did Arthur Edwin died, obviously sometime after 1901, but again, I have found nothing which feels right. I have looked in the wills idexes, but again found nothing that seems correct, so, the hunt goes on and I’ll keep you posted.

This is what family history is all about - finding and using the clues!

Some while ago, I wrote about the schoolteachers, Charles and Sarah Ann Veysey. Again I have not found wills nor suitable death entries, but have now found them on the 1891 census where their ages are given as much less than true. I have located some of their living descendants and hope to contact these people soon.

Does anyone know the christian/forename of Mayo? Is it male or female? Please let me know if you can help.

If anyone would like an updated section of their part of the family tree, please tell me, and I’ll send one per snail mail.

Once again, please keep me up to date with the latest hatched, matched and despatched information. And, with apologies for the repetition, please, please let me know about family members I may not have contacted - this applies especially to the Canadian and American cousins.

With best wishes to you all

Jennifer Topham, 2 Orchard Court, Arches Lane, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0ED
Prior to 2008:
Email after 2008 :