Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mary A. Howard: Her Baptism

The Church of St. Mary & Margaret, Stow Maries

My 3great-grandmother Mary A. Howard’s birth date and place is recorded somewhat inconsistently throughout the census years, as the following chart will show.

Census Year
Birth Place
Estimated Birth Year
Stowe Marie

As you can see, her birth date ranges from 1811 to 1817, but is most often recorded as 1814. Her birth place is either Purleigh or some sort of spelling variation of Stow Maries, except, of course, in the 1841 census which records only whether she was born within the county.

According to the cover letter to the Purleigh parish register extracts I was sent, the earliest record of a baptism of any Howard child in Purleigh is that of Hannah Howard in 1817. So that makes it unlikely that Mary A. was born, or at least baptized, in Purleigh. There is, on the other hand, a record of the baptism of a Mary Howard on 29 Jan 1815 in Stow-Maries. This is a fairly close match to the census records, since four of them agree that she was born in about 1814 (29 Jan 1815 is within a month of that) and two of them identify her birth place as Stow Maries. If she were raised mostly in Purleigh, that would explain why Purleigh is often reported as her place of birth.

Looking back to the baptismal record, Mary’s parents are identified as John and Mary Howard. This lends support to the hypothesis, alluded to in a former post, that the John and Mary Howard appearing on the same page as the Filby household in the 1841 census are her parents.

Since the baptismal record was found at FamilySearch, I did an online search on the entire microfilm cited. If you look at any indexed record found at FamilySearch, on the right-hand side of the page you will see a table labeled with the title of the database. Below that are items such as “Indexing Project (Batch) Number” and “System Origin.” Usually the last item is “GS Film number,” which is the microfilm number. First I copy that number and paste it into the “Film/Fiche Number” search box on the Catalog search page. (I prefer to do this in a separate tab of my browser so that the record I began at is still easily accessible.) This search will result in a list of the titles associated with that film number. In this case, there are seven items, all of them Bishop’s transcripts for various parishes in Essex, one of them Stow-Maries. Unfortunately, there is no way that I know of to search a single item, so it is vital to know that this film number is associated with multiple items.

There are at least two ways to arrive at the next step. You could click on one of the search results, scroll down to the microfilm details, find the appropriate film in the list, and then click on the magnifying glass next to it. I prefer to return to the record where I began (remember, I have kept it open in a separate tab) and click on the GS Film number. Either way, you will arrive at an alphabetical results list of all the records indexed for the film number.

Since I learned that this film is associated with seven different locations, I entered “Stow-Maries,” spelling it as it is spelled in the record, into the “Search with a life event: Any Place” search bar. (I used the “Any Place” option because I wanted to be sure to include all the records, not only baptisms.) In the surname bar I entered “Howard.”

Only one other record for a Howard in Stow Maries appears. It is the 1802 burial of a Charles Howard. However, this film is not completely indexed, so that is not to say that there are no other Howards in the parish register of Stow Maries. But until I am able to view the original register, this is all the information I have about the family’s time in that village.

(The FamilySearch site has very recently—within the last week or so—added digital images of the relevant film, but as of the writing of this post, I have been unable to view them. Either the site is suffering technical difficulties that have not yet been resolved, or the images are accessible only to members with an LDS account.)


1841 census of England, Essex, parish of Purleigh, folio 23, page 5, household of John Filby; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry ( : accessed 8 Oct 2007); citing PRO HO 107/327/22.

1851 census of England, Essex, Snoreham, folio 301, page 30, household of John Filby; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry ( : accessed 14 Mar 2007); citing PRO HO 107/1778.

1861 census of England, Essex, Snoreham, folio 48A, page 23-24, household of John Filby; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry ( : accessed 14 Mar 2007); citing PRO RG 9/1089.

1871 census of England, Essex, parish of Latchingdon, folio 49, page 16, household of John Filby; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry ( : accessed 14 Mar 2007); citing PRO RG 10/1673.

1881 census of England, Essex, parish of Latchingdon, parliamentary borough of Maldon, rural sanitary district of Maldon, folio 44, page 10, household of John Filby; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry ( : accessed 19 Mar 2007); citing PRO RG 11/1775.

1891 census of England, Essex, Civil Parish of Canewdon, Rural Sanitary District of Rochford, Parliamentary Division of South East Essex, folio 93, page 1, household of George Amos; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry ( : accessed 11 Mar 2007); citing PRO RG 12/1393.

1901 census of England, Essex, part of civil and eccesiastical parish of St. Peter, parliamentary division of Maldon, town of Maldon, folio 28, page 14, household of William Filby; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry ( : accessed 19 Mar 2007); citing PRO RG 13/1691.

“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 Apr 2017), entry for Mary Howards 1815 christening; citing Stow-Maries, Essex, England, reference; FHL microfilm 1,702,600. Index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City.

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