Thursday, December 4, 2008

William Reed AKA William Farncombe

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my family has a "plague" of common names making genealogy study very difficult. DNA helped with the Williams and Long names, but I still had William Reed (William James Reed was Annie Reed Maupin's father, Vivian Maupin Long's grandfather, my dad's great-grandfather) who was born in the early 1800's in England----hundreds, if not thousands of candidates. I thought about trying to locate a distant cousin for DNA, but got an interesting e-mail through a genealogy web-site before I had to do that:

"I would be interested in contacting you as I have information on William James Reed's parents that I think you would be interested in. His real name was Farncomb and his parents were William Farcomb and Mary Reed. I am a very distant relative of yours and have been working on the famly for a number of years. William's sister Mary Farncomb married Frederick DiVall and moved to Lancaster, Wisconsin. Kathy Weaver"

I don't think I need to tell you how much easier William Farncomb(e) is to research than William Reed, but first I had to be SURE that this wasn't a hoax. So, I asked for more information:

This story has been handed down in our family. The story goes that William got into some kind of trouble. I never heard what the trouble was. He changed his name from Farncomb to Reed which was his mother's maiden name. He moved to the St Louis area. He was born in Pycomb, Sussex, England in 1835. He was christened 17 Dec 1835. We did have in our early records that he had two children, William and Anna. Other than that I did not know anything about him until I found the 1880 Census record for him. William's parents are William Farcomb and Mary Reed. And Wlliam's grandparents were Henry Farncomb and Elizabeth.
His father, William Farncomb was born in 1791. He was christened at Pycombe, England on 26 Jun 1791 He died 21 Feb 1880 in Pycombe. England. . .

This exchange of e-mails is one of the reasons I began this blog---thank goodness the DiVall family handed down the stories of "the black sheep" in the family. I feel so fortunate that Kathy Weaver contacted me. I wish their family had passed down the story of WHAT William did that prompted him to leave England and change his name. Which brings me to my next problem---just what should I include on this blog? There's a fine line between gossip and family stories and yet I really wish I knew more about William's story.

What she said in her second e-mail checked out with what I knew---his birthdate, he was from England, his first two children were William and Anna (Annie). Also, I contacted another Reed cousin about this and she re-called hearing that he'd changed his name, too. But, it was seeing the photos that made me a believer. Come back in a few days for the photos.

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