Friday, January 11, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 2 - Challenge - James Potter

This year I have decided to take part in Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blogging prompts. 

The theme for Week 2 (Jan. 8-14) is: Challenge.

For this week's theme, I have chosen to write about an ancestor who is a challenge to find, my 4 x great grandfather James Potter

What do I know about James Potter?
James Potter, a bachelor, married Mary Hutton, a spinster, by Banns, on 1 January 1811 in the parish of St Peter in the East, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. 

James, a cabinet maker/carpenter, and Mary had the following children:

The 1813 and 1814 baptisms of James and Edward stated that the family lived 'opposite St John's College'. 

I found the following notice of insolvency for James Potter in the Newspapers collection at FindMyPast. A notice appeared in the Oxford University and City Herald on 31 August 1822 (page 3, column 3) stating the following:
No 33, Lincoln's Inn Fields.
be heard at the Adjourned General Quarter Sessions
of the Peace, to be holden at the Grand Jury Room, in the
Town-hall, Oxford, in and for the County of Oxford, on the
21st day of September next, at the hour of 12 at noon.
HENRY BASSETT, late of Middle Barton, in the County
of Oxford, Labourer.
JAMES POTTER, late of the City of Oxford, Carpenter
and Joiner.
WILLIAM YOUNG, formerly of Wescott Barton, in the
County of Oxford, Farmer; and late of Oddington, in the
same County, Farmer.
The Petitions and Schedules are files and may be in-
spected at this Office every Monday, Wednesday, and Fri-
day, between the hours of ten and four - Two days' notice
of any intention to oppose any prisoner's discharge, must be
given to such prisoner, to entitle any Creditor to oppose the
Bennett-Street, Blackfriars-road.
Mary (Hutton) Potter, James' wife, died in about January 1826. She was buried on 19 January 1826 in the parish of St Peter in the East, Oxford. The parish register gave her abode at that time as 'King Street'. 

After that my knowledge of James is patchy and unconfirmed. 

Unconfirmed sightings of James Potter 

There is a probable second marriage for James in 1827. James Potter married Sarah Davis on 23 December 1827, St Ebbe, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom. The parish register does not state whether this James was a bachelor or a widower. 

James' sons Edward and George later lived in London during the 1840s and early 1850s. 
The marriage record for George's first marriage, to Mary Ann Stone, on 21 December 1840, at St Mary, Rotherhithe, Surrey, stated that George's father was James Potter, Carpenter.
The marriage record for George's second marriage, to Amelia Preston, on Christmas Day (25 December) 1848, at St James, Bermondsey, Surrey, stated that his father was James Potter, Deceased. This appeared to confirm that James Potter died sometime between 21 December 1840 and 25 December 1848. 

I thought perhaps I would find James in London also, as I had not been able to locate him in Oxford after 1827. I searched the Census records for 1841 for any Potter's living in the same vicinity of London where George's marriages took place. I thought I had found my James Potter when I discovered: James Potter, 55, Carpenter, not born in county, in the same household as Sarah Potter, 55, not born in county, living in the parish of St Mary Newington, Surrey. I then discovered the death of this James Potter, on 5 August 1843, at Potter's Place, Uxbridge Street, St Mary Newington, Surrey. The death certificate for this James Potter stated that he was a Carpenter, aged 57 years. He was buried on 13 August 1843 in the parish of St Mary Newington. 

However, after going back over some existing research, including a copy of a death certificate sent to me by a Potter cousin, I have realised that something doesn't add up.

A Sarah Potter died at the Oxford Workhouse on 21 January 1856 and was buried in the parish of St Giles, Oxford, on 26 January 1856. Her death certificate stated that she was 62 years of age and the "Widow of - Potter Cabinet Maker" Probably this same Sarah Potter who appeared in the 1851 Census in the Oxford Workhouse. 
Sarah Potter, pauper, w [widow], 56, servant, [born] Oxford. 
So far this would make sense, she could still possibly be the same Sarah Potter married to James Potter who died in 1843 in the parish of St Mary Newington?
However, the 1841 Census shows the following person in the Oxford Workhouse. 
Sarah Potter, 45, -, y [born in the county]
So this certainly doesn't add up. I feel, given that this Sarah is in Oxford, she is more likely to be the Sarah who married James Potter in Oxford in 1827. Her death certificate in 1856 described her as the 'widow of - Potter Cabinet Maker', so we know she was a Sarah married to a Cabinet Maker named Potter - very likely James Potter. 

This leaves me believing I may have may found the completely wrong death for James Potter in St Mary Newington, Surrey, in 1843. He was just coincidentally a James Potter, Carpenter, married to a Sarah, born out of the county of Surrey, living in the same vicinity of London where my James Potter's son George married during the 1840s. 

I have been unable to confirm when James Potter was born, though there is a particular Potter family I suspect are close relatives, including an Ann Potter, a spinster, who died aged 71 years in February 1834.  She lived on King Street, Oxford, which is where Mary (Hutton) Potter was living when she died in 1826. 

References for this research are available on James Potter's Wikitree profile

James Potter is certainly a challenge to find. 

© 2019. Australian Genealogy Journeys. This post was originally published at
52 Ancestors in 52 weeks is © Amy Johnson Crow

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