My Brickwalls

We all have them – here are mine:

Desperately seeking . . .

Josan: Or you may know her as Joshan, or even Joshen. I have a series of grandmothers with this name and I can’t figure out why. The research I have done into the name suggests that it isn’t a first name at all, or at least not for a girl. It seems to be a surname from the Middle East and Pakistan. If it is used as a forename, it is only for a boy. Bearing this in mind, can anyone tell me why someone chose to give it to their daughter at the end of the 16th century in Cambridgeshire?

George EVANS. George was born in Denbigh, based on census returns I would estimate around 1780. He worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker. He married Mary – no more info about her, but she was born about 1796 in Denbigh. George and Mary had a daughter, Margaret who was born in Denbigh in 1817. Later the family moved to Liverpool. If these names ring any bells, I’d love to hear from you.

Hephzibah! What do I know about Hephzibah? She was born about 1801 in Alford, Lincolnshire – the records don’t seem to be about to say when or to whom. At some point she married a chap called William HANDFORD – I can find no record of it. In 1829, she was living in Edinburgh – I know this because her daughter was born there – apparently no one bothered to baptise the new bundle of joy. In 1841, she was up a tree or something on census night. In 1851, she was visiting friends in Nottingham. She spent the rest of her 84 years living with her daughter Harriet in Birmingham, dying in 1885. Do you know her? Please, please, please let me know, she has become my most elusive and longest running brickwall. For more information about her family go here.

4 thoughts on “My Brickwalls

  1. I have two Hephzibah’s in my tree. Sadly I dont think there is a connection b etween your tree and mine, but I also spent many many months tracing the Hephzibahs. I tried alternative spellings and low and behold I found them. Alternative spellings or ‘known as’ as followsl;-

    IPSELA
    EPSIBAH
    IPSEBAH

    Mine was under IPSELA. Happy hunting. Elsa.

  2. Thanks for the tip Elsa! I have tried searching for variations such as Hefzeebah, but not for any names that don’t begin with an ‘H’.

    I hope you have tacked your Hephzibahs down – they seem to be an elusive bunch considering they have such an unusual name LOL

  3. The name “Joshan” could well be “Johanna” which was written in old style English or German script. If you obtained “Joshan” from any of the LDS files, then it may have been transcribed by simple people who did not know much about history or the world of traditional names and writing styles. I found quite a few Johannas in my very early family tree and they were written down as all sorts of things: Johnan, Ionas, Iannis, Jana, Jano, Jopphan, Joahan, Hoisan [some sort of Chinese sauce?? lol]. Try some variations of Johanna, Johana, Joanna on the source files.

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