52 Ancestors: Namesake

This is not the post you think it is. I am named for my dad’s stepfather, Eddie Taplin, who was dying in hospital when I was born. I was given his name as my middle name – the only one of my brothers to have a ‘legacy name’ chosen to honour somebody else. (One of my nieces has the same middle name as my mother and her sister’s was for a [wealthy!] godparent.)

That would be it, that would be the post. But I’m not going to spend a week crafting a one paragraph post, am I? I wouldn’t do that to you.

The Holborow family (yes, them again) seem to pull from a small selection of names. For the males, it’s William, Daniel, Henry, Joseph, with the odd John or Isaac thrown in for good measure. In fact, Daniel appears no less than fifty times in my current tree. Sons, fathers, cousins, nephews. Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. It always comes back to a Daniel which generally leads to me shouting:

What is also … challenging … is that sometimes these relationships are … messy. There are more marriages than births, and more Daniels mentioned in wills than I can find baptisms for, and Daniels dying before their fathers.

The furthest Daniel I have was baptised in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire in 1655, the son of William and Bridget (nee Shallam). He married twice – firstly to Hannah Farrar in 1682 who must’ve died as in 1703 he marries again to Mary Pyrkes (25 years his junior) and has 4 children. His son, Daniel (of course), gets the lion’s share of his father’s holdings, some he has to share with his mother, and his three daughters get whatever household goods are left that Daniel and Mary don’t want. Which sounds lovely.

This Daniel (junior) also married twice, but I can only find one likely child: a son called – you know it – Daniel. When Daniel (junior) made his will in 1761 (he didn’t die until 1767, with the will proved in 1768) he leaves everything to a Nathaniel Perks, gentleman of Minchinhampton. Presumably this is a relation of his mother, perhaps a cousin or uncle of his? Clearly the family must have been close as this Daniel’s son, Daniel, baptises his second son Nathaniel Perks Holborow (don’t worry, his eldest son was … Daniel).

Marriage of Daniel Holborow and Sarah Hatherell in Old Sodbury 9 May 1785 via Ancestry

What happens to this Daniel? That is a good question. A lot of people have him marrying a Sarah Hatherell (see above) in 1785 in Old Sodbury (about 16 miles away) and having 4 children (crucially, the boys are Francis and John and do not include a Daniel. However, there is a will of a Francis Holborow of 1792 naming his children Francis and Daniel (who is left a farm, house and all appurtenances in Old Sodbury.) Which begs the question (and harks back to this previous post regarding oopsies and assumptions) of who is more likely to marry in Old Sodbury – a Daniel who we can place in the parish, whose parents are buried there, or a Daniel 16 miles away with no known connection to the village? I know which one I would choose. But without that will of Francis, there would be no way to tell between them. There isn’t, as far as I have yet found, a burial in Minchinhampton of the Daniel who was baptised there. Yes, the Holborow net I cast has many, many holes.

That’s not to say that people don’t and didn’t move. Of course that happened. For example, there is a will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 7 September 1753 of a Daniel Holborow, clothworker of St Bartholomew the Less, London (interestingly, this church has a close association with the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers located in nearby West Smithfield. A coincidence? Perhaps not.) But Daniel makes his widowed sister, Mary Trotman his executor, and mentions his nephew Thomas, son of his brother Thomas. These clues add up to him likely being baptised in Newington Bagpath, Gloucestershire in 1684, the son of John and Mary (Halling) Holborow. There is a Mary born to the couple who who married John Trotman in 1720 (John’s will mentions his children Daniel, Mary [new wife of John Trotman], Thomas, William and John.) Yes, there is a likely Thomas born to a Thomas in Newington Bagpath.

However, in my direct line, it is my 3 x great-grandfather, Joseph, who had a brother Daniel. A grocer at the time of his marriage in 1869, by the time of his death in 1901 he was a pauper. They had had an uncle Daniel who was baptised in 1777 in West Kington, Wiltshire. At first glance he seems to match a burial in Luckington in 1845. However, much like before, there is a Daniel baptised there in 1777 to a Daniel and Martha Holborow. Again, which is more likely…?

And the further back I go, the more I have to double-check every death or marriage to other baptisms and trying to piece each family together via wills – if they made any! Is it a hassle? Yes. Does it make me scream every time I find another bloody Daniel? Yes. Does it give me a major happy when I slot them together and it matches other research I’ve already done? Abso-bloody-lutely.

You win, Daniel. You win …


  1. Perhaps Nathaniel Perks had a different relationship to Daniel than was officially represented in the records of the time. Just starting to explore what wills might tell me about the hidden relationships in my own ancestors lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps so. Their relationship is not specified in the will, which is a shame as I have seen plenty that state “Cozen”, “friend”, “brother” etc so it was definitely would not have been unusual. Obviously he held him in high regard to make him his executor! 🙂


  2. Loved your namesake story, so went on and read some others. We have something almost in common. My father was American, I grew up in Somerset. Well, not that much in common, but just saying. Great site, I will enjoy reading more.


    1. Hi Sheila. Thank you for commenting, and for having a nose around! I know that it wasn’t exactly unheard of for American soldiers etc to have kids here, but other than both of my parents I’ve never heard of any others – so hello! I look forward to exploring your site too! Dom


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