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Saturday, September 26, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #40: Thomas Birdseye, VIntner of London

     Thomas Birdseye, my 7th Great Grandfather was baptized on 14 Dec 1684 at St. Anne and St. Agnes Church in London, England. He was the son of Thomas Birdseye, a brickmaker, and his wife Elizabeth of Hogsdon, Middlesex, England.  Thomas, the younger, is found in the London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers on  Oct 1711 when he was apprenticed to Avery Hobbs, Vintner. His younger brother, John, was admitted on 3 Jun 1712, apprenticed to a frame-work knitter and their younger brother, William did the same on 1 Apr 1718, also apprenticing to a frame-work knitter. The three brothers remained close as their children were baptized in the same parish of St. Botolph.

     Thomas married Elizabeth Curintine on 15 Jun 1721 at St. Botolph, Aldgate, London.  They had a daughter, Elizabeth born 1721 and a daughter Rebekah, born 1 Mar 1725 and died 17 Mar 1725. I don't have a death date for Elizabeth but on 14 May 1738 Thomas married Sarah Bowler.  They had three sons who died young, Thomas, William and Thomas, and a son John in 1745 and daughter, Sarah in 1746. Thomas wrote a will in 18 May 1751 in which he left most of his property to his wife, Sarah with money sums left to his three children. He left his daughter, Elizabeth, the belongings of her mother and instructed that after is wife's death the house should be divided between John and Sarah with Elizabeth allowed to rent her place in it.  But if John and Sarah predecease her, then the house is hers. He died not long after this will and was buried on 21 Jun 1751.  His son and daughter would've been 6 and 5 years old while his daughter Elizabeth was 30!

     One reason I find him (and his ancestors) interesting is the family name.  In America this name is chiefly famous for the frozen foods company.  That Birdseye family has a legend that it's name came about in a rather romantic way.  It goes that one of their ancestors earned the name when he saved the life of an English Queen by killing an attacking hawk by shooting it squarely through the eye. However, a more prosaic explanation is that an "eyeot" is a small island in the middle of a river which is inhabited by birds.  Thus Birdseye is a place name for someone living near one of these.  It was an early Anglo Saxon name first found in Sussex. It is often spelled "Birdsey" in the records.

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