Shipman of Aberhafesp

This weekend I’ve was working on a part of my tree that has me greatly perplexed. Morgan Shipman, my 9th great-grandfather through his daughter Elizabeth, was a complicated sounding man based on what I can see from many legal entries in various archives.

Morgan Shipman’s Will

Most of what I initially gathered about Morgan Shipman was based on his will, which can be found at the National Archives in Kew. I gather he was born about 1666 and died in 1732 in Aberhafesp, Montgomeryshire, Wales.

His will left the following to his relations:

  • to his son, John Shipman, a tenement Pentre Drayne in Montgomery Co., Wales; the best horse or mare (John’s choice) with saddle and bridle; 20 ewes and lambs with shearing apparel.
  • to grandsons – William, John and Richard – and granddaughters – Margaret and Eliza ?oster and Anna Maria Tylsley – a sum of one guinea to be paid to them at the age of 21.
  • to grandson, Jeremy [Jeremiah] Griffiths, the son of Richard Griffiths, clerk, and daughter Rachel, the sum of one guinea to be paid to him at his going to Oxford [University].
  • to Morgan Griffiths and Richard Griffiths the sum of one guinea each, paid to them at the age of twenty-one.
  • to granddaughter Hannah?, the daughter of Thomas Powell, the sum of one guinea to be paid at age twenty-one.
  • to daughters, Mary Shipman and Hester Shipman, a tenement situated in the parish of Beguildy in the county of Radnor, Wales – currently occupied by Richard Owens.
  • the rest and residue of the estate, of good and chattels both within doors and without in the counties of Salop, Montgomery, and Radnor to be divided equally between Mary Shipman and Hester Shipman.
  • the joint executors of the estate were Mary Shipman and Hester Shipman.
  • he asked that a debt of eight or nine pounds due to Robert Shipman of Beguildy be paid from his estate.

He evidently had much to give and many relations to give it to. But this is where it gets complicated – as it doesn’t appear that his wishes were carried out without complications after his death. In 1750 there is a document in the Exchequer regarding the wife and daughter of Morgan’s son John Shipman. It can be viewed here.

More Relations and a Missing Testement

Although the description is quite muddled I have been able to surmise from this Exchequer document that John Shipman was deceased prior to 1750, John and Patience had a daughter Anne (an infant), and Patience had remarried to Charles Davies. I would suspect John’s beneficiaries, Patience and Anne, were in some kind of legal issue regarding property willed by Morgan Shipman.

The document see Charles, Patience and Anne in a dispute with John’s siblings Rachel Griffiths, Mary Bowen, and Hester Bowen. This seems to centre around the properties of Pentre Drayne in Trefeen, Montgomeryshire, Wales (which was willed to John by his father) and Derwen Rhyddwr in Beguildy, Radnorshire, Wales (which I suspect could be the property in Beguildy willed to Mary and Hester). But as I am in Canada and not the UK I cannot visit to see the document, and I don’t have the spare funds to order a copy at the moment, so we’re at a standstill there.

I feel like if I could find a copy of John Shipman’s will I would possibly get a few more answers. But I can’t find one that fits! Not in the National Archives in Kew or in the Welsh Archives in Aberystwyth. It would also help if I could confirm these relationships with parish records, but I’ve struggled to do that too.

More Questions than Answers

Morgan Shipman and his descendants leave me with more questions than answers. Who was Morgan’s wife? What were the various financial and property disputes about? I really want to know more about Richard and Jeremiah Griffiths the clerks but have yet to find them in the clergy database. I guess I must continue further research and hopefully the answers are out there!

My Great-Grandma C.

Jeanne Chamberlin – world traveller, adventurer, glamorous lady and my great-grandmother. When she passed away in 2017 at the age of 97 my family gathered from the US and Canada to celebrate her life. This is when I came into possession of a beat up old suitcase full of snapshots that was as well travelled as she had been. As I delved into its contents I was continuously impressed with the treasures within. It has been a welcome puzzle to me to attempt to decipher the dates and places she has been.

Along with the photographs of Jeanne, the suitcase also included her typewritten travel diaries: motoring to British Columbia in 1981; touring Europe in 1982; Russia in 1983; a tour of New Zealand in 1992; and her written memoirs from her birth in 1919 until the death of her first husband in 1961.

Familial Beginnings

At least to me, her story is an interesting one. She was born on September 15, 1919 in Ste. Rose du Lac, Manitoba, Canada to French immigrants Georges Lebas and Sidonie Marchand. Her father had originally come to Canada at the turn of the 20th century aspiring to become a Catholic priest but returned to France for his brother’s wedding – where he met Sidonie who was a bridesmaid. The couple were married at Hotel de Ville in Paris in April of 1913 and immigrated to Canada shortly after.

Georges and Sidonie Lebas, Fall of 1925 with their family.

Back L-R: Georgette, Eugene, Jeanne. Front L-R: Cecile, Rene, Marie Louise.

From Jeanne’s memoirs I know the family grew up poor but happy. The children were tutored at home by their parents in basic reading, writing, and French grammar, until they moved closer to the school, when all attended public school. Jeanne remembers:

“Our public school was English, but I was fortunate along with the older children who started school our first years there, to have [for a teacher] Miss Loussy, who was French speaking[.] We weren’t long in mastering the English language, though we were not allowed to speak English at home. By the time the younger ones went to school they knew basic English.”

During the Depression years the Lebas family was quite poor, like most of the other families in their area. Jeanne remembered the Depression years vividly; her mother’s summer garden and the $4.00 a month her father made to light the furnace at the local school kept the family of eight supplied in vegetables and what could be purchased sugar, flour, and other essentials. The neighbouring hired men would come to the Lebas household on Sundays to stay for dinner, for chores, and for an evening of cards. During the Depression era young men, often from the city, were hired to help farmers, each party receiving $5.00 per month. Jeanne recalls learning most of the card games from these young men. For entertainment outside of cards, the adults usually told jokes, sang, and talked. They had a neighbour that played the mouth organ, and Georges taught all of his daughters to dance to the neighbours’ tune.

Jeanne and her brother Eugene were very close and did everything together. The siblings would work together to snare rabbits, help with haying, tending cows in the pasture, and tasks like collecting seneca root, and crows eggs to be sold for extra income in town.

At the age of 13, Jeanne completed all of the high school she was able to at her small country school. Being a girl, paying the extra money and travelling the 6 miles into Ste. Rose was out of the question. Meanwhile, her brother Eugene was able to continue his studies by riding his bicycle into town when the weather allowed, and boarding in town in the winter months. The family paid for his schooling mostly in wood, cream, and vegetables, and in Eugene completing extra chores for his boarding. Jeanne wanted badly to go to school and cried about this many nights. She resolved not to stay at home and at 13 started hiring herself out for $5.00 a month to be a mother’s helper.

Small Town Girl in the Big City – The fall she was 17 Jeanne followed headed for Winnipeg. Her older sister, Georgette, had moved to the city a few years prior and gotten a good paying job at Saint Boniface Hospital. Jeanne was keen to do the same and make some money for herself. Her mother thought she was too young to go, but she was quite determined and so her father arranged for an old army buddy of his to meet Jeanne at the train station. Upon arrival she promptly went to the employment office.

Her first job was as a mother’s helper for a widow in River Heights with an adult son at home and 6-7 boarders. They soon parted ways when Jeanne dropped a 3-legged candy dish they were using as a soup bowl and her employer said she would take the $5.00 cost of the bowl from her $8.00/month wage. Needless to say, Jeanne packed up that day and walked the 2 miles to Georgette’s and was back at the employment office the next day.

Her next job was for Mrs. Smith, whose husband worked in the Law Court building. Jeanne cared for their two young girls and was paid extra money to sew clothes for Mrs. Smith and her pet monkey for their vaudeville show. But that spring Mr. Smith passed away and Jeanne’s position was terminated as the Smiths needed to give up their house.

From there she moved on to live with the Boltons on Gertrude Ave. She remained with them for a year and then Mrs. B passed away. It was later discovered that Mr. B had lost his job at the Law Courts building sometime earlier and kept it a secret, keeping the same routine. This secret came out after Mrs. B died in 1938. Jeanne moved into a new home with Mr. B and his daughter Evelyn on the top of a large home on Warsaw Ave. She babysat for the family downstairs and did housework during the day.

The last job she noted was at Eatons, she got hired on as extra help. She would line up early in the morning with a hundred others to try and obtain work for for a half-day or maybe full day. This didn’t work out every week, but the pay was better than doing housework. She initially got on just at the snack bar, where she was provided a full lunch in the cafeteria and sometimes a full breakfast.

Finding Love – through her roommate Grace, Jeanne met Bob Chamberlin. They dated for a short time initially. After Grace and Jeanne were due to double date with Bon and his friend Allan, and the men showed up tipsy an hour late to go dancing Jeanne wasn’t interested in seeing him again until he quit drinking. But in the fall of 1939, Jeanne and Bon were te-introduced. Her sister Cecile was coming into the city, and Jeanne asked Allan to go with her to get Cecile from the bus depot. He was the only one she knew with transportation, and paying for a taxi was not financially feasible. Well, Cecile and Allan made a connection that day and the following weekend he arranged with Jeanne for a double date. She expected the blind date to be for Cecile but instead brought his friend, Bob Chamberlin!

Needless to say, Jeanne and Bob hit it off (for the second time) and continued to date until they were married on June 21, 1941 at Westminster United Church in Winnipeg.

Bob Chamberlin and Jeanne Lebas, 1940
Bob & Jeanne and five daughters circa 1960.

A Quick Look at My Family Tree

Like most Canadians, I am of very mixed heritage – which has lead to many exciting research opportunities:

  • A multitude of meandering Scots from the Highlands to the Scottish Borders
  • Norwegians who migrated from Norway to the USA to Canada
  • Landed gentry and vicars in Wales
  • Irish immigrants by the boatload
  • German Paletines
  • Old New England families like the Macks and the Chamberlains
  • Bretons who wound up in Rennes and Paris and a little later Canada!!

It is my goal to eventually share stories of my ancestors with my readers and to hopefully break down some brick walls and chat about DNA testing as well.

First, for those who are interested a link to my tree and the work I’ve been doing on WikiTree. That’s the best place to keep up to date with my most recent activity and get a look in more detail at my personal pedigree.

Welcome to My Blog

Welcome to my blog – Pedigrees and Progenies!

Why start a blog you ask? Well, I have been involved in researching my personal ancestry since I was about 14 years old. My great-grandmother, Eileen Law, gave me a binder one visit that was full of photographs of her family (my paternal grandmother’s family) and stories of all my ancestors on her side of the tree. And my great-aunt Eileen Laing had told me stories of my paternal grandfather’s ancestors as long as I can remember. She had these portraits in her spare room that seemed terrifying as a child, especially in long evening shadows, but the stories she told of them were so wonderful I knew better than to be afraid. And then my great-grandmother on my maternal grandmother’s side wrote me part of her memoirs to share with me. Well, I took all this information in and have been collecting ever since. Still searching, still amassing information, and I’d love to share it with anyone it might be of interest to.

What kind of name is that? Pedigrees and Progenies – to me 1) it has alliteration in it. Being a literary and journalism junkie I love any kind of word play where I can fit it in 🙂 But it’s also representative to me of what I’m doing and sharing. In my genealogical research, not only am I looking to the past to find more information about my ancestors (my pedigree) but I also like to collect and share when I’m able information about the ancestors still living, and have been tracking down relatives via DNA testing. (examining progenies of my ancestors).

I hope that’s a decent glimpse at what I’m up to on this blog and I hope you stick around to share in some genealogical discussions with me! 🙂

Cheers! ~ Robin