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My fascination with our family history probably started in my teens when Dad was given a collection of Lloyd photos from a distant cousin who very kindly thought they should be in a "Lloyd" home. Dad was a worthy custodian of those photos and the honour has now passed on  to me. Many of those photos plus others I have acquired along the way now appear in the gallery pages  ... link above.

I'm not certain when I began researching in earnest but it was certainly after Dad passed away as I often wished I had asked questions. I did have a pretty good grasp on Dad's siblings and their families so filling in the gaps there wasn't difficult. Invaluable help with the previous generation - Pop Lloyd's siblings - came from my cousin Judith in Adelaide who sadly passed away suddenly in recent years. Judith was also able to add to the collection of photos and from her position as Librarian at the University of Adelaide was also able to carry out vital research at ease. She was also a valued member of the committee that organised our Lloyd Reunion at Strathalbyn in 2000.

So piecing together our Lloyds in Australia wasn't all that difficult. Tracing ancestors back in the UK wasn't so easy! Somerset records were not readily available to Australian researchers. Parish registers had not been made available to researchers from the IGI. Only Census Records on microfilm were available through the Church of Latter Day Saints and the nearest access point for me was at Swan Hill - 72 kms each way - so my visits were not all that frequent.

My first goal was to find the birth records of Great Grandfather Benjamin. His obituary notice indicated that he was from Ashcott in Somerset so I employed the assistance of a UK researcher to find and furnish Ben's birth certificate. This resulted in my first discovery which has subsequently offered up many more but also posed a number of questions - some of which are still unanswered. Ben was NOT born in Ashcott but in nearby Huntspill. Together with his mother, Jemima and his siblings, Ben had moved to Ashcott when he was around 6 years of age so memories of Huntspill were probably dim by the time of his passing.

Ben's birth certificate also revealed that his father was George Loyde, butcher of Huntspill and his mother Jemima Loyde nee Kember and his date of birth, August 25, 1842. The census records also revealed that George had obviously passed away prior to Jemima and family moving to Ashcott and that in 1852 Jemima remarried. Her second husband was Francis Everdell, a widower with a young son, 3 years younger than Ben. By the census of 1861, Ben was the only Lloyd child still living at home along with two Everdell children.

Further research in Adelaide revealed that Ben emigrated alone at 19 years of age, to South Australia aboard "Sir John Lawrence" 2/8/1862 - 30/10/1862.

Fast forward now to August 1989 and I had the fortune to be able to make a trip to the UK so armed with the information I had gleaned from census records and Ben's birth certificate, I planned to spend as much time as I could afford in the County Records Office in Taunton, Somerset and make the pilgrimage to our ancestral home. I was able to spend several weeks in Somerset courtesy of some very hospitable host families, in particular John and Jan Saunders, farmers at Bickley Farm near Milverton, not far from Taunton. Car hire for a day enabled me to journey up to Huntspill and across to Ashcott. I had learned before my visit that there was a town historian in Huntspill but unfortunately he was not in. I was later able to make contact with him by mail and more recently by email and he has proved most helpful. Sadly, the parish church at Huntspill was locked and a stroll around the graveyard yielded nothing as all the headstones had been neatly stacked around the perimeter fence. The Ashcott church was open however and I was able to sit and soak up the atmosphere in the belief  that ancestors had sat in that same place - probably misguided as later research shows that Jemima and Francis were married at the Methodist Chapel in Pedwell!.

At the County Records Office, I was able to view the original parish registers for Huntspill back to the very early 1700s. I set about painstakingly listing every Lydo, Lyde, Loyd, Loyde, Lloyd and Lloyde entry I could find - not an easy task as some was in Latin (Lydo) and in others, not the greatest handwriting. When I returned home after my sojourn, I tried to piece together my findings and the results were the foundations of our family tree. I have to admit to a bit of supposition on the basis that Huntspill is not and has never been a large metropolis but I am pretty confident that we are descended from Robert and Sarah (nee Jackson) and possibly from Richardus Lydo who married Eleanore Jennions from Mark at Huntspill in 1712. I've translated the Latin to be Richard Lloyd and Eleanor Jones but that may not be correct. Further examination of the Mark registers may confirm the origins of Eleanore and her English surname. Later research has revealed Lloyds in the village back in the 1690s but no real connection has been made at this stage. 

The one mystery that I hoped to solve whilst in the UK was what had happened to George Lloyd, Ben's father at what was, even for those times, an early age. The parish registers failed to offer an answer so on my next journey up to London I headed for the Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths. I thought I'd found the answer when a death of a George Lloyd in Huntspill at around the right time appeared and I duly ordered the certificate but when it arrived by post some weeks later, it turned out to be for an infant from another family altogether!

The answer to that question has continued to elude me ever since as I have patiently waited in vain for UK records to come online. Then in February 2011 I noticed an advertisement in a Family History magazine offering specialised research in the West Country by a Somerset based genealogist, John Campbell of
West Country Researchers. An email to John with my conundrum was answered within 12 hours and thus began an association that has revealed more fascinating facts about our ancestors and relatives in the UK and Canada.

The details of George's passing still elude us but in a round-about way as a result of John's findings, we believe that George died at sea around 1848 on his way to America (maybe Canada) to forge a new life for his family who were to follow once he had established a base.

John has had far more success with Ben's siblings however. In his second report, John had pieced together a family tree for Ben's youngest sister Emma. She had married Robert Porter, a carpenter from Glastonbury and they had moved to Cardiff in Wales. Descendants still live in Cardiff we believe although contact has not yet been achieved. Emma's mother, Jemima had gone to live with them after her second husband Francis Everdell had died. She remained with the family until her passing in 1890 and is buried at the Cardiff new cemetery.

The next most relevant piece of information was the revelation that Jemima and Francis had had a daughter, Elizabeth, and that it appeared that Emma and Elizabeth had remained close all their lives. John was able to add a family tree for Elizabeth right up to present and introduced me to Marilyn, a half-cousin. Communications with Marilyn have yielded some of the photos that appear in the gallery and also the memoirs of her late grandmother, Edith White,  Elizabeth's daughter. Edith has proved to be a mine of information and took the time to write down her memoirs and details that her grandmother had told her ... amongst which was the report that George had died at sea on the way to America.

Marilyn really had little knowledge of her Lloyd relatives but when I was able to "introduce" her to her great Grandmother's half-siblings, certain pieces of her Grandmother's memoirs fell into place. Amongst the collection of memorabilia was a rather sad letter from a Mary in America back home to England to her mother. I quickly ascertained that Ben's sister Mary had followed her father to America to complete what he had set out to do. The report that Mary gave of the New World was not perhaps what her mother had expected and she was urged to give up all hope of joining her to make a new start. A search of the USA failed to find any reference to Painswick and it transpired that
Mary's letter was in fact, not from America but from Painswick in Canada, now part of Barrie, Ontario. Mary's letter indicates that she was married with only a passing reference to "husband" but it gives no address apart from "Painswick" and no surname. The search for her husband and children would go on.

From John's research, Mary's elder sister Jane and her husband Joseph Luckwell (Luckwill) also emigrated to Canada around 1870 and settled at Montreal. John has also been able to trace descendants and I am currently communicating with Sandy, wife of one of the Luckwell boys, who is "into" family history.

The remaining daughter in the family, Francis, has also been "found". From an early life (11 years) as a servant girl in Ashcott, she had graduated to the domestic employ of Walter Sawtell, a grocer and tea dealer in the Finsbury area of London by 1861 and married John D. Tucker, carpenter of Checkland St., Lambeth (15 years her senior!) in 1866, dying at an early age it would appear after giving birth to four children.

Ben's only brother, George, who I had forgotten about to some degree, has had a more colourful life however judging from John's findings and he and his family could be the subject of a book alone! From an early life, 14 years old,  as a blacksmith apprentice at Shapwick, near Ashcott  ... a trade that was taken up by more than one Lloyd boy over the generations I might add ... George joined the 18th and later the 20th Hussars as a farrier and in his 20-years service with the regiments travelled to India (8 years service) and most probably Ireland, being discharged in 1878 in possession of four Good Conduct Badges.

George married twice and fathered at least 8 children including twin boys, George and Henry, both joining their father in the 20th Hussars at age 17 years and serving with distinction reaching the rank of sergeant. They both went to Egypt in 1880's and both earned the Khedive's Star fighting at the Battle of Gennis in 1885 against the Mahdi (Dervishes). Another son, William, was born in 1874 on HMS Crocodile at Bay of Biscay and a daughter, Frances Adelaide, born in 1870 at Secunderabad, India.

George was just 5' when he retired from the army; the boys were even shorter! Both were about 4' 8" and had grey eyes, a fresh complexion and sandy brown hair. Extracts from their military records and those of a cousin appear on
Gallery page (1d).

While searching through assize records for another client, John came across another snippet that took us briefly off in another direction. George (lost at sea) had a brother Benjamin, also a butcher in Huntspill. According to a series of
three Statuatary Declarations, on the night of September 16, 1837, a mare belonging to Benjamin Lloyd, Butcher of Huntspill was stabbed in the neck and subsequently died while grazing on Huntspill Common. One George Neath, a labourer of Burnham, whose invitation to Benjamin to join him at a local Beer House was refused, was summarily charged with the offence.

John went on to discover that Benjamin later married Mary Ann Date at Bath in 1846 and they began their married life at Berrow. They later moved to the Kensington area of London where Benjamin entered the employ as a domestic gardener to John Ganter a landowner from Scotland. They had at least seven children including an inevitable George who became a carpenter and another son named Benjamin.  Benjamin died in 1877 in Fulham, London.

Our search now turned back to Mary's family. Following John's suggestion, I contacted the Barrie Public Library as it was reported that they were in the possession of considerable collection of genealogical material. It was John's hope that they might be able to come up with a Mary, born in England, living in the Painswick area. Alison Bramwell, Information Assistant promptly reported ... "The community of Painswick was a part of Innisfil at the time. After trying various searches of our online index of birth, marriages, and deaths in Barrie newspapers and the Settlers Database, I managed to find someone named Mary Black, born in England in 1833, and living in Innisfil township. The census transcription lists Mary Black and four children."

Further searches failed to turn up any reference to a "Mr Black" who may have been Mary's husband. I had all but given up hope of ever finding Mary's family but John, in hospital following some major surgery, kept going over "Mary Black". John's advanced knowledge of English surnames suggested that "Black" was not a West Country, England surname but more Scottish or Irish and that a look at the original census records might reveal something different. Lo and behold, Mary was not "Black" at all but "Blackmore", a decidedly typical Somerset surname and in fact her husband John Blackmore was the last entry on the previous page! Armed with "John and Mary Blackmore" it was back to Alison at Barrie Public Library and she has been able to unearth a considerable amount of Blackmore family references ... some of which appear in the Gallery pages. Sandy Luckwell also joind in the search and came up with Clive Harlow back in Somerset, England who has extensive information on the Blackmores worldwide. He was able to add some vital information that may lead to John and Mary's marriage which so far has eluded us. Their firstborn, Emma, was born at Alderney in the Channel Islands. It seems that the Blackmore family may haev had a pecuniary interest in Alderney. An astounding coincidence then transpired. John Blackmore was born in the very house in Ash Priors now owned by our researcher John Campbell!!

An approach was then made to the Innisfil Historial Society and I was introduced to local historian Bill Warnica. It transpires that the Warnica and Blackmore families were neighbours and Bill has been able to add some significant background information plus some extraordinary photos featuring the Blackmores and surrounding district, also featured in the Gallery pages. Continuing research is gradually piecing together the Blackmores, some of whom emigrated to the US. A grandson of John & Mary, John Ervin Lloyd Blackmore, whilst working for General Motors in Detroit, Michigan, patented in 1921, a gear cutting machine, plans of which also appear in the Gallery pages. Other members of the family held prominent positions with various companies. The most surprising thing to me is that we have not found a living descendant of John & Mary who is researching their family tree when there are so many notable historic features. The Blackmore story of a pioneering Canadian family is a fascinating one in itself.