The elusive Thomas Holland

Thomas Holland was born c.1800.  This piece of information comes from the age at which he died - 46 - in 1846.  Whilst his wife, Maria Clark lived almost the entire 19th century (from 1804 to 1892), Thomas died at a considerably early age.

He was married in St Clement on 12 Mar 1826. The register shows that he was of the parish of Kea, also in Cornwall, but the 1841 census (the only census on which he appears) suggests he was born outside the county and this threw up a number of problems.

For years, I and others researching this part of the family tree, have struggled to make any headway in discovering where he came from or who his parents were. No siblings were noted on later censuses, nor were the witnesses to his marriage to Maria family members.

A couple of months ago, I came across the following record of a baptism:

Thomas Holland, son of William Holland and Grace Veale, St Giles in the Heath, 21 July 1799.

The parish of St Giles in the Heath was originally part of Cornwall and is now considered to be in Devon.

Genuki’s information on the parish and its shifting counties:

The parish of St Giles-in-the-Heath was originally in the Broadwoodwidger sub-district, in the Holesworthy Registration District of Devon. (GRO volumes : X (1837-51); 5b (1852-1930)). In 1853, the parish moved under the control of the St Stephen-by Launceston sub-district of the Launceston Registration District of Cornwall, where it remained until 1901 when it became part of the North Petherwin sub-district.

In 1936, it moved back to the Holesworthy Registration district of Devon. In 1998, Holesworthy became subsumed into the Torridge Registration District of Devon.

As previously noted, Thomas was listed as being born ‘outside census county’ on the 1841 census. At this time, the parish of St Giles in the Heath would have been in Devon.

Additionally, the names William and Grace are of interest. Thomas’ eldest son was named William and one of his daughters named Grace.

The dates and information all seem to fit. But is this the right Thomas Holland and will we ever be absolutely certain?


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Last updated: Saturday, October 02, 2010