The French Connection


  1. In which U.S. State did the Casbons first settle and where did they come from?
  2. What year is the earliest U.S. Census with the surname Casbon?
  3. What is the first U.S. military conflict for which there are service records of a Casbon family member?


1. The U.S. State with the earliest records of the Casbon name is Louisiana. Today Louisiana has the second highest number of individuals with the Casbon surname after Indiana.[1] A few of Jesse Casbon’s (1843—1934; son of Thomas Casbon, 1803—1888) descendants now live in Louisiana. Otherwise, the remainder of the Louisiana Casbons are not related to the “Indiana Casbons,” and their ancestors almost certainly did not originate in England.

Many of the given names for this family, especially in early records, are French in origin. It is possible that the family migrated to Louisiana from Acadia, which was the name given to portions of the Canadian maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) by French settlers in the 1600s.[2] In 1755, the British began to expel the Acadians from their homeland in Canada, and they were dispersed to a variety of locations, including France, Great Britain, the Caribbean, and the American east coast.[3] Gradually, many of them resettled in Louisiana, which had originally been a French Colony, and in 1763 became a possession of Spain following the Seven Years’ War.[4] This became part of the United States in 1803 with the signing of the Louisiana Purchase.[5] In Louisiana, the term Acadian was shortened to Cajun, referring to the descendants of the original Acadians.[6]

It’s also possible that the Louisiana Casbons have Creole origins, which refers to those who were native-born in Louisiana. This originally referred to descendants of French settlers but also “came to be applied to African-descended slaves and Native Americans who were born in Louisiana.”[7]

The 1900 U.S. Census has a record for Francois Casbon, born 1825 in Louisiana.[8] His father’s birthplace is recorded as France, so it’s also possible that some or all of the first Louisiana Casbons migrated directly from France in the late 18th or early 19th century.

I don’t know which of these origins best describes the Casbons of Louisiana. Hopefully this knowledge has been passed down through the generations for the benefit of present-day family members.

Like those of us with English roots, it’s possible that the name has changed over time. There are records for similar French surnames, such as Cassabon, Casabonne and Casbonne.

2. The 1820 U.S. Census has an entry for “Bte [Baptiste] Casbon,” whose age was between 16 and 25 years.[9] This is the earlies census record I have found with the Casbon surname.

Bte Casbon 1820 Louisiana census
Detail from 1820 U.S. Census, St. Jacques Parish, Louisiana. The “1” in the first numbered column denotes a free white male under age 10; the “1” in the 4th numbered column denotes a free white male age 16-25; the “1 in the 9th numbered column denotes a free white female age 16-25. The 16th through 19th numbered columns show numbers of males slaves of different ages; columns 20 through 23 show numbers of female slaves; these are followed by numbers for free male and female “colored persons.”[10] (Click on image to enlarge)

There may be earlier census records with variant spellings of the name, but without more information, such as birth and marriage records, I can’t tell if they are related.

3. Corporal Bte [Baptiste] Casbon is recorded as a member of Colonel Landry’s 6th Louisiana Militia regiment in the War of 1812.[11]

Bte Casbon War of 1812 index card
Index card of Corporal Bte Casbon, War of 1812. (Click on image to enlarge)

Corporal Casbon is listed in the rosters of those who fought in the New Orleans Campaign, and he very likely participated in the Battle of New Orleans, January 1815, led by Major General Andrew Jackson.[12]

Is this the same Bte Casbon as the 1820 census? He might be, depending on his age. Since the census only gives his age as 16-25, he could have been anywhere from 8 to 17 years old in 1812, and 11 to 20 when the war ended in 1815. If he was at the older end of this range, it might be possible, though unlikely, that he achieved the rank of Corporal by the age of 20.


This is only a brief introduction to the Louisiana Casbons. They have not been the focus of my research, but I wanted to mention them in the blog because they also have a story worth preserving. Hopefully a member of that family is doing research or will be motivated to do so.

[1] “Casbon Surname Meaning & Statistics,” United States, Forebears ( : accessed 8 February 2017).
[2] “History of the Acadians,” Wikipedia ( : accessed 8 February 2017), rev. 31 Jan 17, 23:42.
[3] “From Acadian to Cajun,” Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Louisiana (n.d.), National Park Service ( : accessed 8 February 2017).
[4] “History of Louisiana,” Wikipedia (accessed 8 February 2017), rev. 8 Feb 2017, 12:28.
[5] “Louisiana Purchase, 1803,” Office of The Historian ( : accessed 9 February 2017).
[6] “Tracing Your Family’s Roots,” Ensemble Encore: The Acadian Memorial Archive ( : accessed 8 February 2017).
[7] “Louisiana Creole people,” Wikipedia (accessed 8 February 2017), rev. 9 Feb 2017, 00:22.
[8] 1900 United States Census, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, Ward 3; p. 265 (stamped), side B, dwelling 328, family 321, Francois Casbon;database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 February 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T623.
[9] “United States Census, 1820,” St Jacques Parish, Louisiana, p. 381 (stamped), line 6, Bte Casbon; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 February 2017); citing p. 384, NARA microfilm publication M33, roll 30; FHL microfilm 181,356.
[10] “1820 United States Census,” Wikipedia (accessed 9 February 2017), rev. 15 Jan 2017, 21:05.
[11] United States War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815, Bte Casban; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 7 February 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M602, roll 36; FHL microfilm 882,554.
[12], Battle of New Orleans, War of 1812 American Muster and Troop Roster List (N.p.: n.p., n.d.), unpaginated, 41st page, PDF brochure, National Park Service, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve ( : accessed 9 February 2017).

“Two Children Drowned”

This article appeared in The Cambridge Independent Press, May 21, 1859.[1]

Camb Indep 21 May 1859
(Click on image to enlarge)

Sarah Casbon was the second child and first daughter born to John and Rebecca (Speechly) Casbon of Peterborough (see “How doth your garden grow? Part 2”). She was baptized November 11, 1855, and probably named after her maternal grandmother, Sarah (Delanoy) Speechly.[2]

Sarah baptism detail 1855
Baptismal record of Sarah Casbon, 1855 Peterborough (Northamptonshire). (Click on image to enlarge)

The news story gives the location of the incident as Boonfield. At the time, this was a mostly rural area on the northeastern outskirts of Peterborough.

Boonfields map
Map detail showing Peterborough and Boon Fields. Source: Ordnance Survey First Series, Sheet 64 (1856); online image, A Vision of Britain Through Time ( : accessed 1 February 2017). This work is based on data provided through and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. (Click on image to enlarge)

This is the kind of story you hate to see. Although death in childhood was a common occurrence in Victorian times, the loss of a child to drowning must have been an especially hard blow. We would like to think the major causes of death in childhood have been overcome. While that is largely true, there is a sad exception. Other than birth defects, drowning remains the most frequent cause of death in children 1-4 years old.[3]

[1] “Peterborough…Two Children Drowned,” The Cambridge (England) Independent Press, 21 May 1859, p. 7, col. 4; online images, Findmypast (, British Newspapers 1710-1953.
[2] “Northamptonshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912”, Sarah Casbon, 11 Nov 1855, images and transcripts, Ancestry ( : accessed 1 February 2017); citing Northamptonshire Anglican Parish Registers and Bishop’s Transcripts. Textual records. Northamptonshire Record Office, Northampton, England.
[3] “Water-Related Injuries,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( : accessed 1 February 2017).

Using GPS: James & Susanna

Buckle your seat belts, serious genealogy discussion ahead! If you’re not into that, feel free to sit this one out. It’s OK, I don’t mind.

In “James Casbon, Farmer and Carrier, 1806-1871, Part 1” I provided this marriage record for James Casbon and Susanna Hayden Sanders. [1]

James Casbon Susanna Sanders marriage 1834 small
Marriage record of James Casbon and Susanna Hayden Sanders, August 22, 1834, Church of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, London. (Click on image to enlarge)

I raised the question, “how do I know this is the right James?” It might seem like a silly or trivial question. After all, who else would it be? But genealogy researchers know that mistaken identities are all too common and have led many down the wrong rabbit hole, resulting in incorrect and unsupportable family trees. I know there was at least one other James Casbon living in England at the time. There could have been others I don’t know about, or someone with a similar name that got misspelled on the marriage record.

In this case I raised the question because of the unusual location of the wedding. Up to this point in James’ life I was unaware of any connection with London. It was very unusual for any of the Meldreth Casbons to get married anyplace except Meldreth or one of the nearby parishes. And the marriage record in question says that James was “of this parish,” meaning he lived in London.

How do we resolve questions like this? Fortunately there is a navigational tool we all know as GPS—that’s right, the Genealogical Proof Standard! I introduced the GPS in an earlier post and gave an example of how it can be applied. I will do the same now to answer the question I posed about the marriage of James Casbon and Susanna Hayden Sanders. Here are the steps of the GPS.

GPS insert
Adapted from The Board for Certification of Genealogists

First, what research have I done? In this case, this means looking for as much evidence as possible to either prove or disprove that the James in the wedding record is the one who was born in Meldreth in 1806.

The marriage record doesn’t tell me when or where James was born. Unlike many marriage records, it doesn’t even say whether he was a bachelor or a widower. All it really tells me is the date, the location, and the names of the bride, officiating minister, and witnesses. That’s not a lot to go on, but it’s better than nothing.

The date is important. I knew that James’ first wife Ann was buried in October 1833.[2] I also knew from the 1841 census that he married a woman named Susanna, and that their first child (John) was born about 1835.[3] So, the marriage record of 1834 was consistent with these dates.

1841 census detail
 Detail from 1841 census, Meldreth (Cambridgeshire). (Click on image to enlarge)

The fact that the name of James’ wife in the marriage and census records was the same is helpful, but doesn’t prove they were the same person. Susanna was a very common name. However, the bride’s middle name, “Hayden,” is unique, and a good clue for further research. Using her name, and estimated birth year (1808) from the 1841 census, I did a search for birth or baptismal records, and found a record for “Susnah Hayden Sanders,” baptized February 25, 1808, in Braughing, Hertfordshire, to John and Ann Sanders.[4]

Susanna H Sanders bapt Braughing 1808
Detail from Braughing (Hertfordshire) parish registers, baptisms, 1808. (Click on image to enlarge)

This was a lucky break. There were many “Susanna Sanders” born in England during this timeframe, but this was the only one with the middle name “Hayden.” It didn’t prove she was the same person named on the marriage certificate, but it gave me enough information to dig deeper – namely a location and the names of her parents.

Next, I made a guess that Hayden might be Susanna’s mother’s maiden name. I looked for a marriage record between a John Sanders and Ann Hayden in the timeframe of about 1790—1810. I found two: one 1805 in Broxbourne (Hertfordshire), and the other 1806 in Braughing (Hertfordshire). The latter caught my attention, since it was the same location as “Susnah’s” birth record. John Sanders married Ann Hayden November 28, 1806 in Braughing.[5] Based on the date and location, I was confident these were the parents of “Susnah,” and that she was probably the same person in the 1834 marriage record. But I still wanted stronger evidence that she was the same Susanna who married James from Meldreth.

It took another lucky break to confirm the connection. When I reviewed the 1851 census records for James, I noticed that three of the daughters were not present in his household. I did a separate search for each of them and found the following record for daughter Sarah.[6]

Sarah C b1844 Meld 1851 census Royston
Detail from 1851 census for Royston (Hertfordshire). (Click on image to enlarge)

Sarah Casbon, age 7, was recorded in the household of her grandparents, John and Ann Sanders, now living in Royston (a few miles from Meldreth)! It’s possible she was there because of her mother’s recent death in 1850. The census shows that Sarah was from Meldreth, and that her grandmother Ann was from Braughing. This almost certainly meant they were the same John and Ann (Hayden) Sanders married in Braughing in 1806.

This census was the piece of evidence that tied it all together. If John and Ann (Hayden) Sanders were Sarah’s grandparents, then their daughter Susannah Hayden Sanders was the same person listed as the wife of James Casbon of Meldreth on the 1841 census. It would be extremely unlikely for two different men named James Casbon to have married two different women with the unusual name of Susannah Hayden Sanders, especially within such a narrow timeframe. So, the couple married at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in 1834 must be James from Meldreth and Susanna from Braughing.

What about contradictory evidence? There is some, but I think it can be dismissed fairly easily. First, in 1834 there were two men named James Casbon from Meldreth. The other was the son of Isaac Casbon, born about 1813 (see “James Casbon of Meldreth, England and Porter County, Indiana”). He married Elizabeth Waller in 1835.[7] There is no reason to believe he also married Susanna Hayden Sanders in 1834, especially since there are separate entries for each couple in the 1841 census.

As I said, there were two marriage records for John Sanders and Ann Hayden, one in Broxbourne and the other in Braughing. The two parishes are about 11 miles apart, with Braughing being nearer to Royston. Although it’s possible that Ann Hayden, born in Braughing, was married in Broxbourne, it’s much more likely that she married in her home town.

One other piece of contradictory evidence is that the 1841 Meldreth census says that Susanna was “born in the same County [Cambridgeshire].” This contradicts the birth record from Braughing (Hertfordshire). However, errors are quite common in census records, and this detail has little significance compared to the rest of the evidence.

In this discussion, I haven’t gone through the steps of the GPS sequentially, but I think I have covered all the steps.

This post may give the appearance that my research was done in an orderly fashion, that is anything but the truth. I first recorded the marriage of James and Susanna sometime in 2015. I didn’t consciously set out to apply the GPS until I started to firm up facts for the blog entries about James a few weeks ago. It wasn’t until I started to dig deeper into Susanna’s birth as well as looking at census entries for James and Susanna’s children that the evidence started to come together. Genealogical proof can be a tedious business. It frequently requires evidence gathered from a variety of sources over a considerable period of time. And sometimes, as in this instance, it requires quite a bit of luck!

[1] [4] “Westminster Marriages”, images and transriptions, Findmypast ( : accessed 17 January 2017), James Casbon – Susanna Hayden Sanders (1834); citing City of Westminster Archives Centre.
[2] Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), Parish registers,1681-1877, Anne Carsbourn burial, 4 Oct 1833; FHL microilm 1,040,542.
[3] “1841 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast ( : accessed 4 August 2016), James Casbon; citing The National Archives PRO HO 107, piece 63, folio 9, p.12.
[4] “Hertfordshire Baptisms,” Susnah Hayden Sanders, 26 Feb 1808, images and transcriptions, Findmypast ( : accessed 17 January 2017).
[5] “England Marriages, 1538–1973”; database, FamilySearch ( accessed 19 January 2017), John Sanders and Ann Hayden, 23 Dec 1806; citing Braughing, Hertford, England, reference ; FHL microfilm 991,368.
[6] “1851 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” Royston, Hertfordshire; images and transcriptions, Findmypast (accessed 13 January 2017), entry for John Sanders; citing The National Archives, PRO HO 107, piece 1,707, folio 423, p. 8, household 29.
[7] Meldreth (Cambridgeshire, England), Bishop’s transcripts for Meldreth, 1599-1862, James Casbon—Elizabeth Waller, 5 Jul 1835; browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 May 2016).

Lawrence J Goes Transcontinental

It’s time for a little break from all that serious genealogy work. Here’s an article about one of the Indiana Casbons.[1]

Lawrence J Casbon Hudson article 1920
(Click on image to enlarge)

This article was featured in the November 9, 1920, edition of The Hudson Triangle, the newsletter of the Hudson Motor Care Company. L. J. Casbon was Lawrence John Casbon, the only son of Charles Thomas Casbon (1840—1915), and grandson of Thomas Casbon (1803-1888), my third great grandfather.

Lawrence was born August 26, 1875, probably at the family farm in Porter Township, Porter County, Indiana.[2] For those living in the area, it would have been on what is now the northeast corner of the intersection of S 300 W and W 300 S. My notes say that Lawrence lost his right hand in a mowing machine accident when he was about 14 years old. Rather than follow his father into farming, he entered into a number of apparently successful business ventures. He owned a number of pool halls, a cigar store, and a garage in a variety of cities and towns in northwest Indiana: Goshen, Elkhart, Fort Wayne, Mishawaka, and South Bend.

Lawrence married Lydia May Pauter January 23, 1899, in Adrian, Michigan.[3] They never had children.

Lawrence John Casbon  Lydia Pauter
Portrait (wedding?) of Lawrence J and L. May (Pauter) Casbon, undated. Photo courtesy of Ron Casbon. (Click on image to enlarge)

This slightly different version of the story of Lawrence’s cross-country drive tells us that he was moving to Los Angeles from Indiana.[4]

Lawrence J Casbon CA Hudson article Oct 1920
(Click on image to enlarge)

I don’t know why Lawrence and May decided to move to California. I suspect he had somewhat of a restless spirit. Once there, he entered into a real estate partnership, as evidenced by this entry in the 1923 Los Angeles City Directory.[5]

Lawrence J Casbon Los Angeles directory 1923
(Click on image to enlarge)

Sadly, he did not live long to enjoy the change in climate. Lawrence died October 9, 1923 in Los Angeles.[6] His wife May lived in Los Angeles for the rest of her long life. She died at the age of 98 on June 10, 1971.[7]

[1] “One-Armed Hudson Owner Makes Transcontinental,” The Hudson Triangle, newsletter of the Hudson Motor Care Company, vol. 9, no. 51 (6 Nov 1920), unnumbered p. 3; Google Books ( : accessed 25 Jan 17)
[2] “World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards,” Lawrence John Casbon, 1918; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 August 2016); citing St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,653,193.
[3] “Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925,” Lawrence Casbon—May Pauter, 23 Jan 1899; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 January 2017); citing Adrian, Lenawee, Michigan, item 3 p 62 rn 16, Department of Vital Records, Lansing; FHL microfilm 2,342,512.
[4] “One Arm Enough to Handle Hudson,” The Bakersfield Californian, 30 Oct 1920, part 2, p. 4, col. 1; online images, Access Newspaper Archive (available through participating libraries : accessed 28 January 2017).
[5] Los Angeles (California) City Directory (The Los Angeles Directory Company: 1923), p. 2821, col. 2; online image, Los Angeles Public Library ( : accessed 28 January).
[6] “California, Death Index, 1905-1939”, Lawrence J Casbon, 9 Oct 1923; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 January 2017); citing certificate no. 43379, Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Department, Sacramento.
[7] “California Death Index, 1940-1997,” Lydia M Casbon, 10 Jun 1971; database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 January 2017); citing Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.

James Casbon, Farmer and Carrier, 1806-1871, Part 2

Part 1 of this series ended with the death of James’ wife of 16 years, Susanna Hayden Sanders. The next chapter of James’ life was turbulent, as he faced significant legal, financial, and domestic challenges.

The first record of this period is the 1851 census.[1]

John C b abt 1835 1851 census Meld
Detail from 1851 census, Meldreth, Cambridgeshire. (Click on image to enlarge)

We see from this census record that James was not present at the time the census was taken. The first listing is for his son John, age 15. There is a notation, “Hedd [Head] from home,” indicating that James was away for unknown reasons. The occupation is listed as “Farmer 13 acres & Carier [Carrier].” This occupation almost certainly applies to James, not his son John. The census enumerator has even written the occupation above the line on the form, possibly to make this clear.

This is the first indication that James had another occupation besides being a farmer. A Carrier was “a person who drove a vehicle used to transport goods.”[2] In today’s terms, we would probably say he was in the freight and delivery business – the Victorian version of FedEx®. When James became a carrier is unknown, but if he was already working as a carrier in 1834, it would explain why he was in London when he married Susanna Hayden Sanders.

This detail from a village directory for Barley, Hertfordshire (more about that later) shows James’ delivery schedule.[3] He probably had arrangements for lodging in London during his weekly visits.

Barley directory detail 1864
Detail from Barley (Hertfordshire) directory, 1864. (Click on image to enlarge)

We also see from the 1851 census that only three of the seven children are listed: John; George, age 14; and Fanny, age 6. By this time, son Alfred Hitch Casbon was working as a tailor in Derbyshire.[4] Daughter Martha, age 12, can be found in the household of her maternal uncle Zacheriah Sanders on the 1851 Census.[5] Sarah was with her maternal grandparents, John and Ann Sanders.[6] I haven’t been able to locate the oldest daughter Ann, but I know from later records that she was alive. I wonder if these daughters were taken in by relatives after Susanna’s death, to ease the burden on James.

The census also shows us that James had a housekeeper, a maid, and two lodgers.

The first hint of financial troubles appears in 1851. This article from the Hertford Mercury shows that James was brought to court for a debt of 8£, 10s.[7] I can’t be certain this is the same James, but based on later developments, it seems likely.

Hertford Mercury 5Jul1851 James C owes 1l.10s
Article from Hertford Mercury, July 5, 1851. (Click on image to enlarge)

James married again, this time to Charlotte (Webb) Cheyney, a widow. They were married December 1, 1851, in Hackney, Middlesex, London. [8]

James C Charlotte Webb marriage 1851
Marriage record of James Casbon and Charlotte Webb Cheyney. (Click on image to enlarge)

In 1853, James’ suffered a severe financial setback. He was unable to pay his debts and was placed in debtors’ prison in London. [9]

Debtors prison Mar 1853
Article from The London Gazette, 20 Mar 1853. (Click on image to enlarge)

This article describes him as a farmer and general dealer, and gives him a London address. Is this the right James? Yes – the next article tells us enough to be certain.[10]

Debtors court appearance May 1853
Article from The London Gazette, 13 May 1853 (Click on image to enlarge)

This article tells us that James was “formerly of Meldreth, Cambridgeshire,” and a “Farmer, Carrier, Dealer in Hats, and General Dealer.” Other than saying he is “latterly out of business,” the articles don’t give an indication of how much debt he owed or to whom. I suspect that it was his business as a dealer, in hats or “general,” that got him in trouble. Later records, such as the directory entry, above, show that he continued to work as a carrier.

I don’t have access to the court records and don’t know how long he was imprisoned or how he settled the claims against him, but he apparently made it out of prison before November, 1854. In that month he was “charged by his wife with assaulting her and turning her out of doors.”[11]

Hertford Mercury 25Nov1854
Article from the Hertford Mercury, 25 Nov 1854. (Click on image to enlarge)

Although “cruel treatment was clearly proved,” James’ wife Charlotte is described as a “Tartar,” which was a term meaning “a person of bitter, irritable temper; especially, an irascible domineering woman; as. that man who marries a tartar is to be profoundly pitied.”[12]

Besides telling us about the unhappy state of his third marriage, this article is the first record showing that James was no longer living in Meldreth. Sometime within the past few years he had relocated to Barley, a village in Hertfordshire, a village about 5 miles south of Meldreth.

The records do not show why he moved to Barley. However, the move was permanent. The 1861 census shows James, still employed as a carrier, living in Barley with his son John, also a carrier, and daughter Fanny.[13]

James H Casbon 1861 census detail Barley Detail from 1861 census, Barley, Hertfordshire. (Click on image to enlarge)

Son George, a wheelwright, was also living in Barley in 1861, with his new in-laws.[14]

Notably, James’ wife Charlotte is not seen in the 1861 census. I have not been able to find any record of her after the 1854 court case.

This census is also interesting in that James has a middle initial, “H.” Earlier records do not provide a middle name or initial for James. However, on his daughter Sarah’s marriage record of 1873 (after James’ death), her father’s name is recorded as “James Howse Casbon.”[15] Howse was his mother Mary’s maiden name, so this is apparently the meaning of the “H” in the 1861 census.

I’ll end James’s story with another mystery about his middle initial. James was buried February 4, 1871 in Barley. The parish register for his burial shows his middle initial to be “I,” or possibly “J.”[16]

James Casbon b.1806 burial 1871 Barley
Detail from Barley Parish registers, Burials 1871. (Click on image to enlarge)

The civil record of James’ death, lists his name as James Itchcock Casbon.[17] There is no doubt this is the same James Casbon. Where did “Itchcock” come from? I have no idea.

[1]  “1851 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, Findmypast ( : accessed 23 July 2016), entry for John Casbon, High Street, Meldreth; citing [The National Archives] PRO HO 107/1708/56, p. 5; Royston (Hertfordshire) registration district.
[2] “Victorian Occupations,” Carrier, London Census 1891 Transcription Blog ( : accessed 24 January 2017).
[3] “Barley,” History, Topography, & Directory of Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire (London: 1864), p. 241; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 24 January 2017).
[4] “1851 England, Scotland and Wales census,” Findmypast (accessed 9 August 2016), entry for Hitch Casbourn, Lodger, Street Side, Sandiacre, Derbyshire; citing [The National Archives] PRO HO 107/2141/241, p. 241 (stamped); Shardlow registration district.
[5] “1851 Census … ,” Findmypast (accessed 9 August 2016), entry for Martha Casbarn, Niece, Rowley Yard, St. Giles, Cambridge; citing [The National Archives] PRO HO 107/1760/867, p. 887 (stamped); Cambridge registration district.
[6] “1851 Census …,” Findmypast (accessed 13 January 2017), entry for Sarah Casbon, granddaughter, High Street, Royston, Hertfordshire; citing [The National Archives] PRO HO 107/1708/56, p. 423 (stamped); Royston registration district.
[7] “Hertford County Court.—Friday June 27,” Hertford (Hertfordshire, England) Mercury, 5 July 1851, No. 885, vol. 17, p. 4, col. 4,  James Mason v. James Casbon; online images, Findmypast ( : accessed 7 November 2016), British Newspapers 1710-1953.
[8] “London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921”, James Casbon – Charlotte Webb Cheney (1851), images and transcriptions, Ancestry ( : accessed 10 August 2016); citing London Metropolitan Archives.
[9] “Court for Relief of Insolvent Debtors, ” The London Gazette, 20 Mar 1853, Issue 21,425, p. 943, col. 2; online archive ( – accessed 17 Jun 2016).
[10] “Court for Relief of Insolvent Debtors, ” The London Gazette, 20 Mar 1853, Issue 21,425, p. 943, col. 2; online archive ( – accessed 17 Jun 2016).
[11] “Royston … Petty Sessions, Wednesday, November 15,” Hertford Mercury, 25 Nov 1854, p.3, col. 4; Findmypast (accessed 7 November 2016), British Newspapers 1710-1953.
[12] Zells’s Popular Encyclopedia: a Complete Dictionary of the English Language, 5 vols. (Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Zell, 1882), vol. 4, p. 2332, entry for “Tartar”; online image, Google Books ( : accessed 26 January 2017).
[13] “1861 England, Wales & Scotland Census,” Findmypast (accessed 2 August 2016), entry for James H Casbon, Chequer Corner, Barley, Hertfordshire; citing The National Archives, RG 9, piece 812, folio 85, p. 5; Royston registration district, ED 6, household 23.
[14] “1861 England, Wales & Scotland Census,” Findmypast (accessed 4 August 2016), entry for George Casbon (Son In Law), Smith End, Barley, Hertfordshire; citing The National Archives, RG 9, piece 812, folio 76, p. 14; Royston registration district, ED 5, household 77.
[15] St. Philips Dalson church, Hackney (London) parish, marriages 1873, Herbert EdmundLeader – Sarah Sanders Casbon, 28 Apr 1873; accessed in “London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921”, images and transcriptions, Ancestry ( : accessed 10 August 2016).
[16] Parish of Barley (Hertfordshire), Burials 1870-71, James I Casbon, 4 Feb 1871; accessed in “Hertfordshire Burials,” images and transcriptions, Findmypast (accessed 13 January 2017).
[17] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007,” James Itchcock Casbon, Deaths registered in January, February and March 1871, p. 56, col. 2; image and transcription, Findmypast (accessed 13 January 2017).

James Casbon, Farmer and Carrier, 1806-1871, Part 1

James Casbon of Meldreth (~1772-1833) had only one son, also named James, who is the subject of today’s post. He was born September 7, 1806 and baptized September 28 in the same year.[1]

James C baptism 1806 Meld BT
Detail from Meldreth Bishop’s Transcripts, showing birth and baptismal dates for James Casbon, 1806. (Click on image to enlarge)

He was a first cousin to my third great grandfather, Thomas (b. 1803), and the nephew of Thomas’ father Isaac.

There is so much interesting information about James that I decided to break his story into more than one post. Of course, as always, I have more questions than answers.

The first record I have after his baptism is his marriage in 1827 to Ann Hitch, in Steeple Morden, a village about 6 miles west of Meldreth.[2]

1827 James C Ann H M Steeple Morden BT
Marriage record of James Casbon and Ann Hitch. (Click on image to enlarge)

James and Ann had one child, Alfred Hitch Casbon, whose middle name was the subject of a recent post. Ann died 1833 in Meldreth, leaving James with their five-year-old son.[3]

James remarried soon thereafter, on August 22, 1834, to Susanna Hayden Sanders.[4]

James Casbon Susanna Sanders marriage 1834
Marriage record of James Casbon and Susanna Hayden Sanders. (Click on image to enlarge)

This record is most interesting because of the location: the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, a famous church in Westminster, London.

St Martin 1838
“St.Martin’s Church from Charing Cross” engraved by J.Woods, published in Woods Views in London .., 1837. Image courtesy of (Click on image to enlarge)

The question I have is, what was James doing in London? The marriage record says that both he and his bride were “of this parish.” This phrase usually means the individual(s) had resided in the parish for at least three weeks.[5] I can’t answer this question, unless it was related to James’ occupation as a carrier (more about this in the next post). His bride Susanna was not from London either, so her presence there is also unexplained.

There is another noteworthy detail from both of James’ marriage records. He did not sign with his mark, suggesting that he could read and write. This sets him apart from many if not all of the other Casbons in Meldreth.

Another logical question is, how do I know this is the right James? That will also be the topic of another post. For now, suffice it to say that there is a strong chain of evidence supporting my conclusion that the James Casbon who married Susanna Hayden Sanders in London is the same one born in Meldreth in 1806.

The next record I have of James is the 1841 census of England and Wales.[6]

James C b1806 1841 census Meld
Detail from 1841 Census, Meldreth Parish. (Click on image to enlarge)

There are several interesting things to learn from this census record. First note that James’ age is reported as 34 and Susanna’s as 33. Census enumerators weren’t required to use exact ages in 1841. In fact, they were instructed to round ages between 30 and 34 down to 30.[7] Apparently the enumerator ignored the instructions. The “yes” on the far right of each page indicates that they were born in the “same County,” in this case Cambridgeshire. In Susanna’s case, this is incorrect. I have good evidence that she was born in Hertfordshire.[8]

We can see that by 1841, James and Susanna already had a sizeable family, including Hitch, age 12, from James’ previous marriage. The other children were: John, age 6; George, 5; Ann, 3; and Martha, 1.

What I find most interesting about this census is James’ occupation of Farmer. This term has a distinctly different meaning than Agricultural Labourer. A farmer either owned the land, or more likely was a tenant of the landowner.[9] Farmers hired Agricultural labourers, who were paid with wages or perhaps a share of crops. A farmer had at least some security because he had certain rights to the land and its proceeds. The agricultural labourer was at the mercy of the farmer and did not have guaranteed employment.[10]

James was clearly better off socially and financially than the other Meldreth Casbons at that time. This is supported by another detail in the 1841 census. The final name listed in James’ household is Martha Smith, age 19. The initials “F.S.” under profession, etc. stands for female servant.[11] The fact that James could afford to have a servant puts him in a different league compared to his “Ag. Lab” Casbon cousins.

This raises yet another question: how did James acquire this status? I don’t know the answer, but I recently became aware of a clue.

The Meldreth History web site has an informative article about the enclosure of Meldreth in 1820.[12] Enclosure (or inclosure) was a legal process by which previously open fields were closed off and allotted to individual owners.[13] Enclosure resulted in dramatic shifts in agricultural and labor practices. The Meldreth article provides a link to a transcript of the Award Book for the Meldreth enclosure.[14] This document details how the enclosure was to be accomplished and spells out individual land allotments, much like modern land titles.[15]

One entry in the 1820 Award Book is a copyhold allotment to James Casbourn.[16] The allotment is for “one acre three roods and twenty nine perches.” Copyhold is a term that goes back to the Middle Ages, and it means that the individual, or copyholder, is a tenant of the landowner, with specific rights and duties.[17] The copyhold allotted to James Casbourn was heritable, meaning it could be passed from father to son (or other legal heir).[18]

Who was the James Casbourn of the Award Book? According to my records, there was only one living adult named James Casbo[ur]n in the Meldreth area in 1820: James (1772-1833), the father of this post’s subject. As his only son, James, born in 1806, would almost certainly have been the heir and inheritor of the copyhold.

I don’t know this for a fact, and if correct, it still leaves the question of how and when the copyhold was granted to a member of the Casbon family. This information might be contained in the records of the (“Sheene”) manor, but I don’t have access to those records at this time.

James’ domestic life was shaken by tragedy when his second wife Susanna died in 1850. She was buried in Meldreth on March 29th of that year.[19] The cause of her death is unrecorded. By this time, two more daughters had been born: Sarah Sanders, born about 1844; and Fanny S., born about 1846.[20],[21] Once again, James was a single parent.

The next post will pick up where this one left off.

[1] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire), “Bishop’s transcripts for Meldreth, 1599-1862,” James Casbon baptism, 28 September 1806; browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 November 2015).
[2] Parish of Steeple Morden (Cambridgeshire), “Bishop’s transcripts for Steeple-Morden, 1599-1855,” James Casbon – Ann Hitch marriage, 15 December 1827; browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 August 2016).
[3] Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire), Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877, Ann Carsbourn burial (1833); FHL microfilm 1,040,542.
[4] “Westminster Marriages”, images and transriptions, Findmypast ( : accessed 17 January 2017), James Casbon – Susanna Hayden Sanders (1834); citing City of Westminster Archives Centre.
[5] Fawne Stratford-Devai, “English & Welsh Roots – Parish Records in England and Wales,”, 11 June 1999 ( : accessed 19 January 2017), para. 17 [“1754”].
[6] 1841 Census of England and Wales, Cambridgeshire, Meldreth, p. 9 (stamped), James Casbon; image, Findmypast ( : accessed 4 August 2016); citing [The National Archives], HO 107, piece no. 63, Book no. 19, folio no. 9, p. 12.
[7] Guy Etchells, “Directions 1841: Respecting the manner in which Entries may be made in the Enumeration Schedule,” 2005; Rootsweb ( : accessed 19 January 2017), para. 11.
[8] “Hertfordshire Baptisms”, images and transcriptions, Findmypast (accessed 17 January 2017), Susnah Hayden Sanders (1808).
[9] “Agriculture and the Labourer,” Cambridgeshire History ( : accessed 19 January 2017), para. 31.
[10] “Agriculture and the Labourer,” Cambridgeshire History, para. 6.
[11] Etchells, “Directions 1841 … ,”Rootsweb, para. 15.
[12] Kathryn Betts, “Enclosure in Meldreth, 1820,” Meldreth History ( : accessed 19 January 2017).
[13] “Enclosure,” Wikipedia ( accessed 19 January 2017), rev. 06:32, 17 Jan 2017.
[14] Arnold Stanford, transcriber, “Inclosure Act 1820 Meldreth Award Book,” 2014; PDF, Meldreth History ( ; accessed 19 January 2017)
[15] “England Enclosure Records, Awards, Maps, Schedules (National Institute),” FamilySearch Wiki (,_Awards,_Maps,_Schedules_(National_Institute) : accessed 19 January 2017), rev. 20:38, 4 Sep 2014.
[16] Stanford, transcriber; “…Meldreth Award Book,” p. 12, James Casbourn Copyhold Allotment; Meldreth History.
[17] “Copyhold,” Wikipedia ( accessed 19 January 2017), rev. 13:47, 3 December 2016.
[18] “Copyhold,” Wikipedia.
[19] Meldreth parish (Cambridgeshire), Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877, Susannah Casbon burial (1850); FHL microfilm 1,040,542.
[20] “England & Wales births 1837-2006,” database, Findmypast ( : accessed 29 October 2015), birth entry for Sarah Casbon; citing Birth Registration, Royston, Hertfordshire, England, 2nd quarter, 1844, vol. 6, p. 610.
[21] “England & Wales births 1837-2006,” Findmypast (accessed 2 August 2016), birth entry for Fanny Casbon; citing Birth Registration, Royston, Hertfordshire, England, 1st quarter, 1846, vol. 6, p. 591.

Pursuing the Parkfield

Findmypast announces new additions to their record collections every Friday. This past Friday (January 13th) brought an unexpected surprise – a newspaper titled Lloyd’s List.

Lloyd’s List is one of the world’s oldest continuously running journals, having provided weekly shipping news in London as early as 1734. Known simply as The List, it was begun by the proprietor of Lloyd’s Coffee House in the City of London, England as a reliable and concise source of information for the merchants’ agents and insurance underwriters who met regularly in his establishment in Lombard Street to negotiate insurance coverage for trading vessels.[1]

I decided this would be a good opportunity to see if I could find the ship Parkfield that carried my third great grandfather Thomas and his family from England to America in 1846.

I mentioned the Parkfield in “From England to Indiana, Part 3.” I knew the ship’s name from this biography of Sylvester Casbon, published in 1912. [2]

Detail Sylvester bio H of Porter Co 1912
(Click on image to enlarge)

The information in this account gives the year incorrectly as 1847. This is not surprising considering that the biography was published 66 years after the fact.

I have previously searched the internet for information about the Parkfield, without success. Now, with the new Lloyd’s List archive on Findmypast, I had success right away – a modest one, I’ll admit. This is it.[3]

Parkfield Lloyds list 20 Apr 1846
Detail of Lloyd’s List, April 20, 1846, showing sailing dates, and ports of arrival and departure.
(Click on image to enlarge)

This small notice shows that the Parkfield departed Southampton, bound for Quebec, on April 18, 1846.

Emboldened by my success, I did some more searching in the Findmypast British Newspaper Archive and located this advertisement in the Hampshire Advertiser of March 28, 1846.

Parkfield ad 28Mar1846 Hampshire Advertiser
“Shipping. Emigration to Canada,” The (Southampton) Hampshire (U.K.) Advertiser, vol. 23, no. 1181, p. 1, col. 1, 28 Mar 1846; online images, British Newspaper Archive—Findmypast ( : accessed 13 January 2017)
(Click on image to enlarge)

EMIGRATION TO CANADA.—fine ship PARKFIELD, of 700 Tons burden, Captain Smith, will embark Passengers in the Southampton Docks, on Thursday, the 16th of April.
This Ship has been employed regularly in the East India Passenger trade, and has a roomy poop and other very superior accommodations for all classes of passengers, and will carry an experienced Surgeon.

These two newspaper items did not add a lot to what I already knew, but they validate my other sources and tell us a little more about the ship. I think the description of the ship as a “Canadian Lumber Boat” in Sylvester Casbon’s biography is probably inaccurate, given the fact that it was “employed regularly in the East India Passenger trade.”

The one item I would most like to have concerning Thomas Casbon’s voyage is a copy of the Parkfield’s passenger manifest. Unfortunately, it still eludes me!

As a postscript, I decided to check Lloyd’s List for the ship taken by Thomas’ brother James in 1870. As I reported in “James Casbon of Meldreth, England and Porter County, Indiana,” James arrived in New York from Liverpool, England, on December 27, 1870, on the ship Great Western. Armed with this information, it was easy to find the record of the Great Western’s departure from Liverpool on November 11, 1870.[4]

Ship Great Western depart LPool 11 Nov 1870
(Click on image to enlarge)

I was able to learn a little more about the Great Western. There were several ships of that name in the 1800s. The most famous was the Great Western of 1837, the first steamship designed for transatlantic travel. This ship carried passengers to New York for many years, and was taken out of service in 1856.[5] Another Great Western was built in 1872, and was wrecked on Long Island in 1876.[6] Based on their dates of operation, neither one of these could have been the ship taken by James Casbon in 1870. That ship was almost certainly The Great Western of the Black Ball Line, built 1851 in New York. The Black Ball line was a well-known passenger company of the 19th century. It continued to operate into the 1880s. Unlike its namesakes, this Great Western was a sailing ship, not a steamship.[7]

[1] Cox, Alex (12 Jan 2017), “Findmypast Friday”. Findmypast Blog ( : accessed January 15 2017).
[2] History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1912), v.2, pp. 482-3; digital images, Hathi Trust Digital Library ( : accessed 20 August 2016).
[3] Lloyd’s List (London), No. 10,014, p. 1, col. 3, 20 April 1846, Parkfield sailing, 18 Apr 1846; online images, Findmypast ( : accessed 13 January 2017), British Newspapers 1710-1953.
[4] “Home Ports,” Lloyd’s List (London), No. 17,651, p. 4, col. 7, 12 Nov 1870, Great Western sailing, 11 Nov 1870; Findmypast ( : accessed 13 January 2017), British Newspapers 1710-1953.
[5] “Ship Descriptions–G…Great Western 1837,” The Ships List ( : accessed 14 January 2017)
[6] “Ship Descriptions–G…Great Western 1872,” The Ships List.
[7] “Black Ball Line (trans-Atlantic packet),” Wikipedia ( : accessed 15 January 2017), rev 13:42, 3 Nov 16.

Without a Hitch

What would you say is this first name?


Don’t feel bad if you don’t know. One of the major online genealogy organizations didn’t know either. Here’s a screen shot of how the record was transcribed in FamilySearch.

Jitel screen capture : accessed 11 January 2017.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Did you think the name was “Jitel”?

So, what is FamilySearch? Here’s what the entry in Wikipedia says:

FamilySearch is a genealogy organization operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was previously known as the Genealogical Society of Utah (or “GSU”) and is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch maintains a collection of records, resources, and services designed to help people learn more about their family history. FamilySearch gathers, preserves, and shares genealogical records worldwide. It offers free access to its resources and service online at[1]

FamilySearch is the website I used the most for genealogy research. It’s easy to use, has millions of records, and it’s free. I also have a paid subscription to Findmypast, and I use a version of Ancestry at my local library. According to one source, as of January 1, 2017, FamilySearch had 2,180 historical record collections online containing 1.2 billion searchable documents and 5.57 billion searchable names; Ancestry had 32,795 databases with over 19 billion records; and Findmypast had 2,049 databases with over 2.0 billion records.[2] In addition, there are many other companies and organizations that provide online genealogy data, either for free or by paid subscription.

Where and how do these genealogy websites get their data? They purchase or borrow it from archives and repositories. These data sources exist at the national, state, and local levels. Some belong to governments, some belong to private organizations. In the case of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they have copied and microfilmed vast quantities of records and stored them in a massive vault dug into the side of a mountain.

Most if not all of these archives consist of paper records. In order to make them available online the information in them has to be converted to searchable digital information. The process for doing this is referred to as indexing. At a minimum, indexing requires someone to transcribe the data from individual records and enter them into a database. Most often the records are scanned or photographed so that a digital image is created. Then someone transcribes the information into a database.

Records that are typed or printed might be scanned with optical character recognition (OCR) software. But OCR is not able to read handwritten records, so they must be transcribed by hand. FamilySearch relies on volunteers to do their indexing. I’ve done some indexing for FamilySearch. It can be challenging trying to read older styles of handwriting. Often the records are badly damaged from water, fire, sunlight, age, insects, etc.

Ancestry sends much of their data to other non-English speaking countries for transcription. Although they have good quality control mechanisms in place, you can see where errors might arise when non-native speakers try to interpret handwriting.

I’ve gone into this rather detailed explanation to try to make a couple points: 1) online genealogy databases are only as good as the quality of the indexing. This is not a criticism of the online providers – they provide a wonderful service and have made research much easier than the days when you had to visit the actual data repositories for research. 2) There is no substitute for being able to view the actual record, or at least a digital image of the record.

Which brings me back to the entry for “Jitel” Casbon. I originally found this entry when I was using FamilySearch to find descendants of James Casbon (1806-1871), son of James (“James Casbon of Meldreth (~1772-1833)”). This particular transcription is contained in a database called “England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977.” The index was “created by The National Archives in London as an online access to digital images created from the original records.”[3] Whoever transcribed the records for The National Archives came up with the name “Jitel.”

What is a nonconformist? In England, these are considered to be “people who did not belong to the established church,” i.e., the Church of England.[4] More specifically, in these records, nonconformists are members of other non-Anglican protestant denominations. “Jitel’s” parents (James and Ann) were nonconformists.

As you can see from the screenshot above, the FamilySearch entry did not have access to an image of the actual record. At the time, this was the only information I had, so I entered “Jitel” into my genealogy software program, hoping to get access to the actual record someday.

That day came this week, when I repeated my search in Findmypast, looking for anyone with the surname Casbon born between 1826 and 1830. It turns out that Findmypast has a collection named “England & Wales Non-Conformist Births and Baptisms.” Unlike FamilySearch, this collection includes digital images of the actual records from the National Archives. Here’s the record that turned up in my search.[5]

Hitch Casbon birth baptism detail
(Click on image to enlarge)

Also unlike FamilySearch, whoever indexed the record for Findmypast correctly transcribed the first name as “Hitch.” Can you see it?

Because of the handwriting, I can also see how the indexer for FamilySearch would have interpreted the first part of the “H” as a “J,” and the “ch” as “el.” The second part of the “H” looks like a small “l” to me. I might have transcribed it as “Jlitel.”

What kind of a name is “Hitch”? Well, it turns out that the child’s full name was Alfred Hitch Casbon. Hitch was his middle name. His mother’s maiden name was Ann Hitch. It was common at the time to use a family surname as a middle name. It was also common to use middle names or nicknames when registering births.

Of course, once I had access to the original record, and knowing the mother’s maiden name, it was easy to recognize the word “Hitch.” But without that information, it’s easy to see how a transcriber could make a mistake.

Another mystery solved. I’ll have more information about Alfred Hitch Casbon in a future post.

[1] Wikipedia ( : accessed 10 January 2017), “FamilySearch,” rev.14:26, 29 December 2016.
[2] Randall J. Seaver, “Genealogy Industry Benchmark Numbers for 1 January 2017,” Genea-Musings, 1 January 2017 ( : accessed 10 January 2017, items 1, 2, and 9.
[3] FamilySearch Wiki, (,1588-1977_(FamilySearch_Historical_Records) : accessed January 12 2017); “England And Wales Nonconformist Record Indexes (RGA 4-8) ,1588-1977,” rev. 13:00, 26 Oct 2016.
[4] “Nonconformists” (2017), The National Archives ( : accessed 12 January 2017).
[5] “England & Wales Non-Conformist Births and Baptisms”, transcriptions and images, find my past ( : accessed 10 January 2017), entry for Hitch Casbon; citing The National Archives (U.K.) reference RG4/155.

Another Australia Connection

I’ve previously made mention of the Casben branch of the family that emigrated to Australia in 1914 (“Australia-bound”). It turns out that another Casbon ancestor emigrated to Australia decades earlier.

Background: I was recently contacted by a reader in Australia. She explained that she is descended from Ruth Casbon (ca. 1794–1837), daughter of James (“James Casbon of Meldreth (~1772-1833)“).

Ruth C birth Meldreth 1794
Baptismal record of Ruth Casborn, March 9, 1794. Parish of Meldreth (Cambridgeshire), “Bishop’s transcripts for Meldreth, 1599-1862,” Ruth Casborn (1794); browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 November 2015). (Click on image to enlarge)

I decided to investigate further, and this is what I have learned.

Ruth married a man named Thomas Green of Bassingbourn, a parish near Meldreth, Cambridgeshire, in 1812.[1]

Map showing villages of Bassingbourn and Meldreth, Cambridgeshire.

They had six children that I know of, two of whom died in early childhood. One of their sons was William Green, baptized April 9, 1820, in Bassingbourn.[2]

William Green bp Bassingbourn 1820 BT
Baptismal record for William Green, 1820, Bassingbourn. (Click on image to enlarge)

William married Sarah Christmas, also of Bassingbourn, in 1838.[3] William and Sarah had four children: William (b. ca. 1840), Hannah (b. 1842), Susan (b. 1843), and Rebecca (b. ca. 1848).[4],[5],[6],[7]

When I reviewed my records, I saw that my father had written a note, about 20 years ago, on a hand-drawn family tree of the descendants of Thomas Green. His note, over the entry for William Green, said “to Australia in 1848 w/4 children 1 died en route.” An adjacent note said “I learned this from a 28 yr old girl in Australia who I have been in contact with.– 8 generations down from Thomas Green/Ruth Casben.”[8]

Armed with this information, I looked for information about William Green in Australia, and found this passenger manifest.[9]

William Green passenger list 1849
List of immigrants on ship Steadfast, 1849, Sydney, Australia. (Click on image to enlarge)

What a windfall! The manifest shows the name of the ship (Steadfast), date of arrival in Sydney harbor, names, ages, occupations, birthplaces, religion, and whether individuals can read and/or write. We know this is the right William Green based on his birthplace of Bassingbourn, the names of his wife and children, and their ages. The ages don’t match up exactly with other records, but they are close enough.

Furthermore, the name of one child is missing: Hannah, the oldest daughter. This is consistent with my father’s note that one child died en route.

Just out of curiosity, I googled the words “Steadfast ship 1849.” I wasn’t expecting to find anything, but was pleasantly surprised when the search turned up a newspaper article that gave details of the voyage, and corroborated my father’s notes further.

Ship Steadfast quarantine 27 Mar 1839 trove article
“Shipping Intellingence … The Steadfast,” The Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, 27 Mar 1849, p. 2, col. 1; image copy, Trove ( : accessed 8 January 2017. (Click on image to enlarge)

This article, published one day after the ship’s arrival at Sydney, describes the length of the voyage and the outbreak of various infectious diseases that resulted in twelve deaths, requiring the ship and passengers to be placed in quarantine. This also provided a possible explanation for Hannah’s death.

I wish I had a record of her death. I have not located one in England or Australia. I did find a record listing the names of those who died on the Steadfast during its 1849 voyage. [10] Hannah’s name is not on the list. However, the list only has seven names. This contradicts the Sydney Herald article’s claim of twelve deaths. Is the list incomplete? Was the Sydney Herald incorrect? Did Hannah die before she boarded the ship? I have no way of knowing at this time.

Some final words about William Green and his family’s emigration to Australia. They were listed as “assisted” immigrants, meaning their transportation was paid for or subsidized by the government or through some other means. [11] Like their Casbon “cousins” who traveled to America, they must have been seeking a better life, and they were taking a giant step into the unknown. Their voyage would have been a harrowing one. Even without the terrible outbreak of disease described in the Sydney Herald article, a four-month voyage in the confined spaces of a sailing vessel with over 200 other immigrants must have been arduous.

Hereford Journal emigration ad 1847
Newspaper advertisements like this were widespread in England in the 1840s. “Free Emigration,” Advertisement, Hereford Journal, 13 Oct 1847, p.2, col. 6; image copy, find my past ( : accessed 9 January 2017). (Click on image to enlarge)

I don’t know what happened to William and his family after they arrived in New South Wales. I’m glad to know there are living descendants. Perhaps if they read this they will be able to add to the story.

Steadfast image
The Barque Stedfast [i.e., Steadfast]. Photograph of a watercolour, painted Feb. 1851, “Drawn by Cissie Palliser at and off Gravesend, England, immediately before we left for Canterbury, NZ.” Obtained from the collection, and used with permission of, Christchurch City Libraries. CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0027.
[1] Parish of Bassingbourne (Cambridgeshire, England), Parish registers and poor law records for Bassingbourne, 1558-1876, Thomas Green and Ruth Carsbon (6 Aug 1812); FHL microfilm 1,040,367.
[2] Parish of Bassingbourne (Cambridgeshire, England), “Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1813-1836,” William Green (9 Apr 1820), browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 November 2016)
[3] Parish of Bassingbourne (Cambridgeshire, England), “Baptisms, marriages, burials, 1836-1838, 1858, 1856, 1854, 1853, 1834, 1838, 1839-1852, 1857, 1855, 1859,” William Green and Sarah Christmas (17 Nov 1838), browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 November 2016)
[4] 1841 Census of England, Wales & Scotland, Cambridgeshire, Bassingbourn, p. 6, William Green; image, find my past ( : accessed 7 November 2016)
[5] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 7 November 2016), Hannah Green, 2 Oct 1842.
[6] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975”, FamilySearch ( : accessed 7 November 2016), Susan Green, 5 Nov 1843.
[7] “List of Immigrants per Ship ‘Steadfast’,” arrival on 26 Mar 1849, p. 291, No. 13, Rebecca Green, 1; image, “New South Wales assisted passenger lists,”  find my past ( : accessed 8 January 2016).
[8] Casbon Family Traditions, Jon Casbon, compiler (MSS notes, ca. 1995); privately held by Casbon, Colorado Springs, Colorado; descendants of Thomas Green, reported by Lewis Casbon ca. 1995, as reported to him by unnamed person.
[9] “List of Immigrants per Ship ‘Steadfast’,” 26 Mar 1849, p. 291, No. 13, William Green, age 31;  find my past ( : accessed 8 January 2016).
[10] “Deaths at sea, 1781-1968,” entry for ship Steadfast (1848-9), find my past ( : accessed 9 January 2017).
[11] FamilySearch Wiki, ( : accessed 9 January 2017), “Australia Emigration and Immigration,” rev. 01:05, 3 Jun 2016 .

From Labourer to Landowner

When Thomas Casbon, my third great grandfather, left England in 1846, he was an Agricultural Labourer – a general term that applied to the majority of the population, and meaning someone who worked for wages in various kinds of agricultural settings. [1] Within half a dozen years of arriving in Ohio he realized the immigrant’s dream of owning land and working his own farm. I’ve recently come across records that show when and where he purchased land in Ohio.

In earlier posts, “From England to Indiana” parts 3 and 4, I described how Thomas sailed from England and settled in Ohio. I don’t know how Thomas was able to afford the voyage, nor how he supported his family in the early years after his arrival. Perhaps he was able to save enough of his wages to pay for passage to America, or maybe others loaned him the money. After arriving in Ohio, it’s likely that he received some kind of temporary support, financial or otherwise, from his brother in law, James Scruby, who lived in Wayne County, Ohio.

As to how he supported his family, I suspect he initially sought work as a farm laborer until he could save enough to purchase his own land. Or maybe he was able to rent some property. At any rate, his first few years in America probably involved some hardship and a lot of hard work.

By 1850, Thomas was able to make his first land purchase. In this deed, Emmett Eddy and his wife Mary sold 80 acres to Thomas and another man, James Wing, for the sum of two-thousand dollars. [2] The land was described as the east half of the northeast quarter of section 8, township 18, range fourteen. This is located about 11 miles southwest of Wooster, Ohio.

Thomas C deed R14 T18 S8 80 acres Wayne OH 1850
Record copy of deed for land sale to Thomas Casbon and James Wing, October 1st, 1850, Wayne County, Ohio (Click on image to enlarge)

Why did Thomas and James Wing buy the land jointly? My guess would be that it was difficult for them to raise the necessary funds individually.

Thomas and James were well acquainted – the 1850 census shows them living under the same roof! [3]

detail 1850 census
Detail from 1850 census showing Thomas Casbon and his family, with James Wing listed in same household. (Click on image to enlarge)

According to the census record, James was 26 years old; a farmer; and like Thomas, from England. On March 13, 1852, he sold his portion of the land to Thomas for four hundred dollars, giving Thomas sole possession of the 80 acres. [4] James disappears from sight after this. There are no records of subsequent land transactions involving him in Wayne or nearby Holmes county. Maybe he decided to seek his fortune elsewhere.

So, by 1852 Thomas was sole owner of an 80-acre farm. An index of deeds for Wayne County also shows that Thomas purchased some additional land in the county in 1853. [5] I don’t have access to that deed, so I don’t know the details other than general location.

Detail Bakers map of Wayne Co OH 1856
Detail of Wayne County, Ohio, map, showing approximate locations of Thomas Casbon’s land purchases. Source: Baker’s map of Wayne Co., Ohio (Philadelphia: Baker & Gager, 1856); digital image, Library of Congress ( : accessed 6 January 2016) (Click on image to enlarge)

Thomas’ land purchases in Wayne County open up a mystery – when did he sell his property? I know that he began to purchase land in adjacent Holmes County in 1855 (a subject for a future post). By the time of the 1860 census, he was living in Holmes County. [6] I have scoured the index of deeds for Wayne County up to about 1883 or so, long after he moved to Indiana, and haven’t found a single record for land sold by Thomas.

[1] “Agriculture and the Labourer,” Cambridgeshire History ( : accessed 5 January 2017).
[2] Wayne County, Ohio, “Deed books, v. 34, 36 1850-1852,” v. 34, pp. 293-4, Emmett Eddy to Casbon & Wing entry, 2 November 1850; browsable images of FHL microfilm 420,933, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 November 2016), images 164-5.
[3] Ohio, Wayne County 1850 U.S. census, population schedule. Database with images. FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 July 2016).
[4] Wayne County, Ohio, “Deed books, v. 37-38 1852-1853,” v. 37, pp. 233-4, James Wing to Thomas Casbon entry, 15 March 1852; browsable images of FHL microfilm 420,934, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 November 2016), images 28-9.
[5] Wayne County, Ohio, “Deed index, v. 1 ca. 1813-1863,” p.111, Geo W. Riffle to Casbin Thomas entry, 1853; browsable images of FHL microfilm 420,913, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 January 2017), image 117.
[6] Ohio, Wayne County 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. Database with images. FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 August 2016).