|St Mary Lenham|
The previous post, John Stroud, High Street Pork Butcher of Strood, traced John back to the 1841 England Census, which I repeat here, because this is the starting point for finding his family of origin.
|Parks family, Strood High Street, 1841|
In following the Parkeses further back, the question arises of the origins of Henry Parks, John's father the builder. The clues available consist of his year and place of birth from a couple of censuses (1851 and 1861), and that he has sons John and George in the 1841 England Census.
For the 1841 England Census, age was intended to be given rounded down to the nearest 5 years. So, someone who was 44 years old, would have been recorded as 40, while someone 46 years old, would be recorded as 45. This was not always adhered to, and in many cases census ages (1841 and otherwise) are wildly inaccurate through vanity or misreporting. In the 1841 census Henry's age is given as 46. Thereafter, the same computed year of birth of 1795 follows the decennial censuses. In 1851, he is given as 56, and in 1861 as 66. Other ages on the same census returns are corroborated by vital birth data where it's available. So, it seems reasonable to take the 1795 year of birth seriously.
And while in 1841, no place of birth, beyond the county of Kent is given, the next two census both have Lenham, Kent. Taking the repeated year and place of birth, searches in ancestry.com and familysearch.org revealed little of use for his origins. However, I did find in England, Kent Parish Registers 1538-1911, the following burial record:
Henry Parks, year of birth 1795, burial 2 December 1863 in Strood, Kent
This corresponds to BMD Death Index:
Henry Parks Dec1863 N Aylesford 2a 206
This is consistent with his presence in Strood in the 1861 Census, where he is Assistant Pork Butcher (to his son John), and his absence in the 1871 Census.
A search through http://forebears.co.uk/england/kent/lenham for Henry Parks, baptized in Lenham 1795 found a single entry. Without paying, I have: year, 1795; place, Lenham; and parents, John and Catharine Parks. Removing "Lenham" from the search shows an additional candidate: year, 1796; place, Headcorn; and parents, Thomas and Elizabeth.
Mid-Kent Marriages also found two marriages associated with the name Henry Parks:
Henry Parks and Sarah Peckham 17 June 1815 in Lenham
Henry Parks and Elizabeth Bridgland 21 July 1821 in Headcorn
Headcorn is about 10km from Lenham, and it's not inconceivable for someone stating Lenham as their place of birth on a census return to have been baptized in Headcorn. Thus, I looked both for children born to Henry and Elizabeth Parks, and children born to Henry and Sarah Parks.
For parents Henry and Elizabeth Parks, England, Births and Christenings 1538-1975 have the baptism of Ann in Headcorn 30 Dec 1821, and then 6 more children in Maidstone, Kent between 1823 and 1837. I take these to be the family of the second of these couples. none of them is a good match for John and George, who were 20 and 14 years old respectively in 1841.
For parents Henry and Sarah Parks, England, Births and Christenings 1538-1975 have the following baptisms:
William Parks 26 June 1825
George Parks 15 October 1826 (consistent with the 14-year-old George of the 1841 Census)
There is also the baptism in Lenham 18 October 1812 of Henry Parks, the son of Sarah Peckham - presumably a son of Henry Parks nearly three years before they were married. At the time of this baptism, Henry (the father) would have been 17 years old. I suspect they had to wait for the necessary permission to marry. By 1815, he would have been twenty.
On the day Henry Parks and Sarah Peckham were married, an army in Belgium, commanded by the Duke of Wellington, and composed of German, Netherlands and British soldiers, was making a withdrawal to the Plateau of Mont St Jean, south of Brussels. The next day, Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated at the battle of Waterloo by this army and Bluecher's Prussians. The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars were effectively at an end. There is no obvious connection beyond timing between the marriage and the battle, but the battle does provide a historical context for the lives of this generation of Parkses.
Apart from the above-mentioned 1812 Lenham baptism of Henry Parks (from the pre-1813 register), familysearch.org and ancestry.com do not appear to have index coverage for Lenham in the years after. However http://forebears.co.uk/england/kent/lenham can fill in the gaps:
Marianne Parks 1815 (this could be a variant of Mary Ann)
Ketazah Parks 1818 (most certainly a transciption error for Keturah)
John Parks 1820 (consistent with John Parks of the 1841 Census,
the future Pork Butcher)
Elizabeth Parks 1823
I take this to be evidence that the Henry Parks, Builder employing 5 Men of the 1851 Census in Strood, married Sarah Peckham in Lenham in 1815. They relocated to Strood between 1823 and 1825. Further, I infer that his is the 1795 Lenham baptism (while Henry Parks, baptized in Headcorn in 1796, married Elizabeth Bridgland in Headcorn in 1821 and eventually settled in Maidstone).
Henry's wife, Sarah (Peckham) Parks is last seen alive in about 1826, when she gave birth to her son George. She is not present with the household for the 1841 England Census, leading me to suspect that she had died in that interval. A search found the following burial record in England, Kent Parish Registers 1538-1911:
Sarah Parks; burial 5 August 1838 Strood; born about 1795
And the corresponding civil death registration:
BMD Death Index Sarah Parks Sep1838 North Aylesford 5 244
Mid-Kent Marriages has the following marriage:
John Parks and Catherine Clark 9 March 1779 Egerton Kent
This is the only the only such John Parks and Catherine marriage. for children of parent John and Catherine Parks England, Births and Christenings 1538-1975 has the following baptisms in Egerton:
John Parks 23 May 1779
Catherine Parks 22 Oct 1780
Bennet Parks 3 Feb 1782 (a different index entry has 1781
which is unlikely given the previous baptism)
Chatherine Parks 1 Oct 1786 (presumably for Catherine)
Sander Parks 5 Aug 1788
Alice Parks 28 Oct 1792
And then in Lenham:
Robert Parks 12 Feb 1797
Curiously, although the forebears site has the baptism of Robert Parks, the familysearch.org site does not have the Henry Parks 1795 baptism. These would be the children of my 6xgreat grandparents, who appear to have started their family in Egerton, Kent before moving the short distance to Lenham.
At which point, I found in notes from last year, that some of these names and dates had already been sent to me by Dawn Scotting, a Parks genealogist from New Zealand! Still, it's reassuring to find that I am able to find the same data and draw the same conclusions. Also through Dawn, from information researched by Jill French in England, the following is a transcription of a headstone in Lenham churchyard. So, thank you to Dawn and Jill for this information:
Sacred to the memory of John Parks who died April 3rd 1826
aged 69 years
Also Catherine wife of the above died April 23rd 1829
aged 73 years
From the headstone, the years of birth come out to about 1757 for John Parks, and about 1756 for Catherine Clark. Continuing along the Parks line, a search (familysearch.org) for a John Parks baptized around this time(1755-1765) in Kent, found the baptisms of several by that name. One of them caught my eye because the parents' names are Sander and Bennit Parks, which are names given by John and Catherine to two of their children. Continuing in familysearch.org, I found the marriage in England, Marriages 1538-1973 of:
Sander Parks and Bennet Coppins in Charing, Kent 30 January 1754
Bennet Coppins must be the origin of the subsequent Bennet Parkses, named for their common ancestor, my 7xgreat grandmother. Expanding the search years to look for their children, England, Births and Christenings 1538-1975 indexes the baptisms of the following children of Sander and Bennet (or Bennit) Park(e)s in Egerton, Kent:
Elizth Parks 16 Apr 1756
John Parks 30 April 1758
Bennet Parks 6 April 1760
Sarah Parkes 18 November 1764
Sander Parks 2 April 1766 (burial 9 April 1766)
Saunder Parkes 19 April 1767
Henry Parks 29 March 1769 (burial 2 April 1769)
Thomas Parks 3 June 1770
Peter Parkes 13 October 1771
Henry Parks 8 November 1772
Ann Parks 5 June 1774
Frances Parks 22 October 1775
James 6 July 1778
On the international stage, these baptisms span the Seven Years War (known as the French and Indian War in America), and into the American Revolutionary War.
England, Births and Christenings 1538-1975 indexes a Bennett Coppin, baptized in Egerton, Kent 1733/4, with parents John and Elizabeth Coppin. She would fit with other siblings whose last name is indexed as Coppins, and John and Elizabeth must be my 8xgreat grandparents on this line with children baptized at Egerton Church:
Mary Coppins 10 June 1726
Richard Coppins 27 April 1729
Thomas Coppins 3 October 1731
Bennet Coppin 27 January 1733/4
The baptism 1732 in Headcorn, Kent of "Sarnder" Parks, son of Henry and Elizabeth, fits among the following sequence of siblings:
Paul Parkes 4 February 1727/8
Jemima Parks 1 March 1729/30
Sarnder Parks 9 January 1731/2
Sarah Parks 6 January 1733/4
John Parks 1 February 1735/6
Edward Parks 19 February 1737/8
Jane Parks 30 December 1739
Elizabeth Parks 1 March 1742/3
Prior to that, there is a marriage of Henry Parks and Elizabeth Apps in Staplehurst, Kent on 7 November 1727, which is about 5km west of Headcorn. If this is the marriage of my 8xgreat grandparents, then that would be a place to look for Elizabeth's family. Prior to that is another series of baptisms of children of Henry and Mary Parkes:
Mary Parkes 25 June 1721
Henry Parkes 3 February 1722/3
Anna Parkes 15 November 1724
Followed by the burial of Mary wife of Henry Parkes on 8 December 1725 in Headcorn. These are likely to be the children of the same Henry Park(e)s from a first marriage.
Back another generation of Parkses, England, Births and Christenings 1538-1975 has the following series of baptisms of children of Alexander and Anne Parks in Headcorn. Sander, then, is a shortened form of Alexander:
Mary Parkes 11 September 1681
Alexander Parkes 21 March 1682/3
John Parkes 26 September 1684
Anne Parkes 24 March 1686/7
Judeth Parkes 4 March 1687/8
Elizabeth Parkes 3 March 1689/90
Anne Parkes 24 July 1692
Hannah Parkes 6 September 1694
Henery Parkes 9 February 1696/7
Stephen Parkes 3 February 1698/9
Elizabeth Parkes 8 April 1701
These baptisms preceded by the marriage on 21 October 1680 in Headcorn, Kent of Alexander Parkes and Anne Herden.
In a wider historical context, these baptisms span the reigns in England of Charles II and James II, followed by the Glorious Revolution and the reign of William III and Mary. The children grew up hearing about the victories of the Duke of Marlborough.
And there I stop for now with five generations of Parkses:
Henry Parks and Sarah Peckham (5xgreat grandparents)
John Parks and Catherine Clark (6xgreat grandparents)
Sander Parks and Bennet Coppins (7xgreat grandparents)
Henry Parks and Elizabeth Apps (8xgreat grandparents)
Alexander Parks and Anne Herden (9xgreat grandparents)