Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Continue Shopping
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Canada version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree January 2019 > Your questions answered

Your questions answered

With our panel of experts Jayne Shrimpton, David Frost and Mary Evans

In a spin with my Windmills

Q I am writing to see if you can help me (and my uncle Roy), find my ancestor. My grandfather was Reginald George Windmill, born on 1 June 1899 in Cardiff. His father was Frederick Windmill, born on 18 January 1862, in Cardiff. I have their birth certificates. On Frederick’s birth certificate it states that his father was Charles Windmill, master butcher, and his mother was Mary Amos. I know that he was born about 1817, in Pensford, Somerset (census reports), but I cannot find any record of his birth. Can you help me?

On Charles’marriage certificate it states his father was Richard Windmill. I believe that he was also a master butcher, born in Publow, Somerset about 1774, but I cannot find his birth or marriage details.

I am 67. Uncle Roy gave up searching for his ancestors because he could not get any further than the names of Charles and Richard. Clifford Tomos

AAt a mere 67 you have many years happy ancestor hunting ahead of you! Publow is a hamlet near the village of Pensford and gives its name to the civil parish; both have a church.

In the 1851 and 1861 Censuses I found a Richard Windmill born in Publow c1774, but he was a glazier, not a butcher. He may be the Richard who married Mary Hillman on 22 December 1793; both were illiterate and his name is Winmill in the register. She was dead by 1851. Richard appears to have been buried on 29 August 1861.

The death certificate, if you do not already have it, may reveal more than the burial record. A Richard Winmill was baptised in Publow on 17 July 1774 which ties in with the Richard in the census.

Another Richard Windmill was buried in Publow on 25 November 1832 aged 62. That gives a different birth date to the one you mention but is not so far out as to be impossible – although I haven’t found a corresponding baptism. Burial records of the time do not give occupation. The Winmill name crops up regularly in Publow baptism records but I found no Windmills which leads me to suspect the names are just variant spellings.

To confuse matters a Richard Winmill was baptised on 29 October 1773. I suggest you research each of the Winmill families to see where that leads. If nothing else, it may enable you to eliminate some possibilities. Parish records before 1812 rarely contain much information about occupation etc, which makes research difficult.

There is another researcher on Ancestry looking at the family and it would be worth getting in touch to compare notes.

I was unable to find the baptism of Charles Windmill in Pensford c1817 although the Winmill family again appears in the register, not always with occupation mentioned. The record is in manuscript form which is unusual for the period as there were proper printed registers by then. The long gaps between baptisms (at least compared to the 1770s) suggests the priest may not have been as diligent as he should have been in recording baptisms. Charles could have been baptised and the event not recorded.

Good luck with your search but I fear you may have run into the sand. DF

For help with English and Welsh parish boundaries and more, don’t forget the excellent free site:

This snippet from family tree shows the details that Clifford Tomos knows about Windmill ancestors but he’s keen to trace the line back


Are they both boys?

Q I have a query regarding this ambrotype photograph – the oldest photo in my collection – which has puzzled me for many years. It is contained in what I believe is a black union case, the inside opposite the picture being lined in padded velvet which was once a bright shade of violet. The image itself shows signs of hand tinting. My question really is this: are they both boys?

The seated figure is definitely a boy in a smart buttoned waistcoat and jacket with a shirt and a cravat type tie: he looks to be about 11 years old to me. But the standing figure I am not sure about? He/she is wearing a long loose coat (or dress?) and he/she looks to be about eight years old perhaps? If I could be certain of the children’s gender and if their clothes might narrow down the date to the 1850s or 1860s I might be able to identify them. Can you help me solve this long standing mystery? Deb Walker

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Family Tree - Family Tree January 2019
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - Family Tree January 2019
Or 699 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.85 per issue
Or 4999 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.92 per issue
Or 3199 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 5.07 per issue
Or 549 points

View Issues

About Family Tree

Kick-start your research with the January issue of Family Tree - packed with ideas to help you plan for a great year of family history and inspire you to new discoveries. Get the latest! Our crop of experts talk about upcoming and breakthrough projects they're looking forward to in 2019. Plan your research month by month! Read a genealogist's diary of the past 12 months, and decide what you want to accomplish in the year to come. Hone your research skills! Join in with part 1 in the brand new series of the Family Tree Academy. Each month through the year to come the Academy will give you the chance to get better and understanding and using those all-important family history records. Read Family Tree and become the best genealogist you can be!