Harriet Cox Harriet’s origins remained a mystery for quite a while. I only found out her maiden name when I acquired the birth certificate for her daughter Eliza, as most of her children were born before 1837. The spidery writing revealed her name to be Harriet Cox and this in turn confirmed her marriage to Edmund Greenway on the 15th April 1827 in St Andrew’s in Chichester. As Harriet died in South Bersted on the 28th October 1861 she appears in three censuses: 1841 says that she was born in Sussex; 1851 gives her place of birth as Poole in Dorset, while 1861 places it in South Bersted. As Poole seemed a quite random choice that seemed the most likely place to pursue. Sometimes it helps to think around a problem and eventually I came across the actual images of the Chichester parish registers on FamilySearch and found that the witnesses to Harriet and Edmund’s wedding were Shadrach and Ann Nash: Shadrach Nash had married Ann Foot at St Peter the Great in Chichester in 1817. More than that the marriage in the St Andrew’s register immediately preceding Harriet’s - three days before - was for a Leah Cox and Robert Morgan. Hoping for a connection I began a search on these more unusual names, and did end up in Dorset, but a few miles inland from Poole at Sturminster Marshall. Ann Foot, it became clear, was Harriet’s half-sister, being the illegitimate daughter of Harriet’s mother, also Ann Foot, born in 1791 in Sturminster Marshall in Dorset, before her mother married Obadiah Cox. Obadiah and Ann had five further children, and Harriet was baptised as Henrietta (the feminine version of the Henry/Harry switch) on the 28th September 1800 in Sturminster Marshall, where her father worked as a tailor, at the same time as her twin sister Leah. So the three sisters - Ann Foot, Henrietta/Harriet and Leah - had all moved to Chichester from Dorset probably before 1817, and I suspect their mother had too, for an Ann Cox, aged 57, was buried at St Peter the Great in the city on the 19th of October 1828. In 1824 Harriet had an illegitimate daughter who was baptised as Ann Cox in St Peter the Great on the 3rd December. This Ann Cox is living with the apparently childless Shadrach and Ann Nash in 1841, and married James Ikin in South Bersted in 1847. He was a master baker, and later worked as a grocer, and they ended up in Alverstoke in Hampshire, which is also where Harriet’s son Arthur and his family settled once he’d retired from his coastguard duties in Ireland; Arthur’s 13 year old son Frank is living with the Ikins as an Errand Boy at the time of the 1881 census. Leah, with her husband Robert Morgan, who worked as a shoemaker, moved back first to Dorset, and then to his home county of Devon, settling in Kingsbridge, near his Bigbury birthplace; they had at least five children, including Robert William Morgan born in 1827 and twin sons Amos and Peter born in 1840. Obadiah Cox There are only a couple of men called Obadiah Cox in the English records of the late 18th century, and only one in Sturminster Marshall in Dorset. This one had been baptised in Blandford Forum with a father called Daniel on the 3rd August 1754. By the 18th April 1786 he was working as a tailor in Sturminster Marshall when he married his first wife Christian Carter. They had two children, Daniel born in 1787 and Betty in 1791. Christian died in February 1792, and Obadiah married Ann Foot on the 17th December that same year. Ann brought her illegitimate daughter born in 1791 and also called Ann Foot into her new family, and had five children with Obadiah: Charlotte in 1793, William in 1795, Henrietta (or Harriet, who married Edmund Greenway) and Leah (presumably twins) in 1800, and Richard in 1807. Daniel Cox The Daniel Cox who was the father of the Obadiah baptised in Blandford Forum on the 3rd of August 1754 is a bit of a problem. The baptism records in the parish at this time generally only state the child's father's name so there is no clue to Obadiah's - or to Daniel, Elizabeth and John, his siblings' - mother. This is not helpful in tracking down his father Daniel's provenance or marriage. So setting off on a hunch that came from the two fairly unusual names of Daniel and Obadiah, I thought I might try to find a local Cox family that combined the two, and there was one right in the north of Dorset and across the border into Somerset. It seemed worth pursuing, as I know from chasing cordwainers around Sussex that people with trades - Obadiah became a tailor - could move around a lot more than labourers tied to the land. Osmund Cox, a yeoman of Henstridge in Somerset married Elizabeth Goffe of Lydlinch in Dorset on the 11th February 1706/07 in Lydlinch, and they seem to have spent the next 30 years moving between the two parishes. They had a daughter Ann baptised and buried in Lydlinch in 1708; a possible son Osmund was buried in Henstridge in 1711; a son Obadiah was baptised in 1711 in Henstridge, and buried in 1720 in Lydlinch; a daughter Elizabeth was baptised in Lydlinch in 1714; and Daniel was baptised in 1718 in Henstridge. Elizabeth Cox senior was buried in Lydlinch in 1739, and another Elizabeth Cox was buried there in 1742: so possibly mother and unmarried daughter. Apart from his father Osmund, who seems to have left no trace, Daniel is the only one of the family unaccounted for, so is it he who turns up in Blandford Forum? Looking at the maps, Lydlinch, where it seems the family ended up, is on one of the old roads leading to Blandford Forum, going via Sturminster Newton and down along the River Stour, so it is not an unlikely route for him to take. Perhaps he had grown up in the shadow of his brother Obadiah who died, aged 9, when he, Daniel was two; as an admired older figure he could have named his firstborn son after him. Daniel would be named after himself, and Elizabeth perhaps for his mother and sister; but John? If he had called a son Osmund that would have nailed it for me, but perhaps his father died or disappeared just before or shortly after his birth so he didn't remember him, or perhaps he wasn’t the sort of character he wanted to remember. If Daniel Cox born in 1718 in Henstridge to Osmund and Elizabeth was the father of Obadiah I have not been able to find an obvious marriage for him; if he is his father then I can add Somerset for the first time to my list of English counties.
Murray families: Cox & Morgan