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  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

Elusive Ellisdons

In my quest to establish the a link between the Ellidson branch of my family and my husband’s Ellistons (see Shock Shared Ancestor), I went back to my notes on our research trip to Suffolk back in 2008. We visited the wonderful old market town of Hadleigh where my 3x great-grandfather John Patmore Ellisdon was the postmaster.

Illustrated map

A year prior to our visit, we’d purchased a copy of a fabulous illustrated map of the town from the Hadleigh Archives. Drawn in 1836 by Thomas Woods, the original is linen-backed and measures 32 inches by 21½ inches. All the residential streets appear, with the names of occupiers written alongside, including that of my ancestor.

I’d hoped that by studying the comprehensive list of names (helpfully transcribed by the archivist, Sue Andrews) I might find more Ellisdons and maybe another name common to the both of us – Firman, the middle name of my great-grandmother, Frances Ellisdon and the maiden name of my husband’s 4x great-grandmother, Hannah.

But in 1836 there were no other Ellisdons recorded in Hadleigh, neither were there any Firmans.

An Essex boy?

According to what's on my Ancestry tree, John Patmore Ellisdon was born in Hadleigh, on 25th July 1798. However, no source information is attached to this fact (so where did it come from?) and a copy of his entry on the 1841 census amongst my paper files, which I’d printed out some years ago, clearly states he was not born in the county.

As his parents, John Ellisdon and Frances Patmore, were both born in Colchester and married there in 1796, I’d hazard a guess that John P was also born there, and that he moved to Hadleigh when he married his first wife, Ann Williams, who was born in the town.

Ann sadly died aged 24, shortly after my 2x great-grandfather John Walter Ellisdon was born in 1821. How close those two events occurred, I don’t know – I’m still searching for the finer details.

As for discovering another Firman connection… nothing so far. Perhaps the link will prove to be through John’s first wife, Ann Williams, or through his second wife, Sarah Sallows, who John married in 1823, the year after Ann’s death.

But there’s still so much left to unravel!

So while I get back to it, I'll leave you with a couple of photos we took of Hadleigh while we were there - the High Street location of the post office during my ancestor’s time and Hadleigh’s stunningly beautiful Guildhall.


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Carolyn Retallick
Carolyn Retallick
Apr 23, 2021

Quite a story to unravel! I hope you can get answers. It would be lovely to be able to visit the places (other than St Ives 😀) where my ancestors lived. I have a whole branch who lived in villages around Warminster in Wiltshire for centuries before they moved to London for work. My 2x Great grandfather was a thatcher in Heytesbury which sounds very bucolic!

Carolyn Retallick
Carolyn Retallick
Apr 24, 2021
Replying to

Wendy, I'm glad I'm not the only one who forgets where they are in research! Our ancestors seem to enjoy having complicated lives! 😂 I have to say I did lol at your poor thatcher! The villages in Wiltshire where my ancestors lived have such wonderful names, Norton Bavant, Longbridge Deverill, Sutton Veny. So evocative of days of yore with Miss Marple popping up to solve the odd murder!

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