Further to my recent commission of a genealogist to look into the ancestry of George Kirby (see here), my brother has commissioned the next round. The main objectives of the search were a) to make a search in the records of the Inns of Court for any information relating to George Goldsmith Kirby; b) to attempt to find the marriage of him and his wife Harriet Sarah; c) to try to trace a record of her birth/baptism.
a.) George Goldsmith Kirby (GGK) at the Inns of Court
It turns out that each of the main Inns of Court – the Middle and Inner Temples, Lincoln’s Inn and Gray’s Inn – has kept the admissions registers of their student since the middle ages. Most of these have now been published.
Only one trace of GGK was found by the genealogist, which occurred in the admissions to Gray’s Inn. It recorded the following admission as published in Joseph Foster’s Gray’s Inn Admission Register, 1521-1889 (London, 1889):
1 July 1825
George Goldsmith Kirby, only son of George K., of Kensall Green, Middlesex, gent. (p. 431)
The Library of Gray’s Inn was also contacted to see whether any other records pertaining to GGK would have been preserved, but it seems that only the above was available in this respect.
This entry helps to confirm that GGK was the same George Kirby who was baptized in 1806 in the parish of St Andrew’s, Holborn, since at the time of his admission to Gray’s Inn, he would have been around nineteen. According to the genealogist, this, taken with the evidence of census returns which suggest that he was born in Holborn in 1806, should dispel any doubts which have been raised about this connection.
b.) The marriage of George Goldsmith and Harriet Sarah Kirby
In the previous research the parish registers of St Andrew’s, Holborn, St Clement Danes, and Stratford le Bow were searched for the marriage between GGK and his wife Harriet Sarah without success.
Given that he not only studied in the area (Gray’s Inn), but also set up his conveyancing practice in the vicinity (Temple) and brought up his family there (St Clement Danes), it would seem likely that his marriage occurred locally.
The record of this event would be confined to the registers of parish churches in this period. Extra-parochial places of worship, such as the Temple Church and the chapels of the Inns of Court were permitted to conduct marriages until the mid-18th century. However, in 1753 Hardwicke’s Marriage Act came into force, which established the principle that only marriages solemnized in Anglican parish churches would be legal. This was to restrict the practice of clandestine marriages which was then a widespread problem.
Pallot’s Marriage Index – a survey of marriages mainly in the London area between 1780 and 1837 – was consulted to aid this search. This produced a marriage between a George Kirby and a Harriet Watts in 1828 in the parish of St George’s Bloomsbury, a parish north of
Accordingly a search in the parish registers for St George’s, Bloomsbury to confirm this. The following entry was discovered (LMA, P82/GEO1/024):
George Goldsmith Kirby of this Parish a Bachelor and Harriet Sarah Watts of the Parish of Saint Martin in the fields, a Spinster, were married in this Church by Licence this twentieth Day of April in the Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty-eight. By me J.H. Wynn, Curate (p. 197).
c.) The birth/baptism of Harriet Sarah Watts
Having established, by finding the record of her marriage to George Goldsmith Kirby, that Harriet Sarah’s maiden name was Watts, a search of parishes in the Stratford area was conducted. Previously a search was made in the parish of Stratford le Bow, one of the two parishes covering the modern area of Stratford. This being inconclusive, attention then turned to the parish of All Saints’, the ancient parish of West Ham.
The Essex Record Office currently holds the registers relating to West Ham, and these were searched for the years 1800-1810. The original registers of the church were incomplete and difficult to decipher and revealed no positive results (Essex Record Office, D/P 256/1/4). However, Bishop’s Transcripts, copies of the registers sent to the central diocesan authorities, survive for West Ham in this period. A search of the baptismal returns amongst these produced the following result (ERO, D/CR 167/1):
24 February 1804
Harriett Sarah Watts, daughter of Joseph and Hannah, born 27 January 1804
The programme of research by the genealogist has established the following facts, which are illustrated in the enclosed pedigree:
1) That George Goldsmith Kirby was admitted as a pupil at Gray’s Inn on 1 July 1825 and was the son of George Kirby of Kensal Green.
2) George Goldsmith Kirby and Harriet Sarah Watts were married at St George’s, Bloomsbury on 20 April 1828.
3) Harriet Sarah Watts was born on 27 January 1804, daughter of Joseph and Hannah Watts, and was baptized at All Saints’, West Ham, co. Essex, on 24 February.
Potential further research
There are a number of searches which can be carried out to reveal more details about George Goldsmith Kirby and his ancestors. Since we know that his father was of Kensal Green, originally in the parish of Paddington, the genealogist suggests making searches for the marriage of George Kirby Snr both in Paddington and in Holborn. In addition, a search for Kirby wills in the London area may shed light on the family relations of members of that family in the early part of the 19th century. Further progress back in the Kirby family may also be possible.