Was Mary Unstead’s name really Hokum?
These are two questions asked by Christine Brookes who sent in an email to query research on the “Funnells from Chiddingly” tree. If anyone can confirm, infirm or comment, please do so using the comments form – click on “Comments” at the bottom of the article.
Mary Harmer (person ID 1140). The marriage between John Funnell and Mary Harmer is recorded in the parish records – but which Mary Harmer this is is a bit of a headache. There are a number of Funnell trees on the internet, which show Mary Harmer’s birth date as 1776, born Heathfield and that she is the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Harmer. I am not sure where this piece of information originated, but I believe it to be incorrect. I have been in touch with The Harmer Association who were very helpful on this question, and also checked on the parish records at ESRO. I could not find a Mary Harmer born 1776, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth, but I did find one born in 1766 in Heathfield – this Mary Harmer is included in the Harmer Association’s tree as having died in 1778, and I have verified this from the parish records.
Even if this Mary Harmer’s death in 1778 is incorrect, her date of birth does not fit well with the other things we know about Mary Harmer Funnell – her age is shown in her death record as being 65 on 1 January 1838, and in the 1820 census she is shown as being aged 48. If both of these are correct then we have a birth date for Mary of between 28th May 1772 and 1 January 1773.
There is another Mary Harmer who was the daughter of Barnabus Harmer and Elizabeth Pike – she was baptised in Warbleton on 6th December 1772 (which fits well in terms of date). Looking through the parish records, I have found no other marriage for this Mary, nor a death. The HFA records have a pencilled suggestion (probably best fit) which suggests that it was this Mary who married John Funnell.
Finally, when I looked at the parish records, I did see that on her marriage to John Funnell, she is described as being of this parish (i.e. Chiddingly). I looked back in the Chiddingly parish records and could find no record of a birth of a Mary Harmer around the correct time, so have come to the conclusion that Mary must have been living in Chiddingly having moved there from somewhere else. There also do not appear to be any other Harmer marriages in Chiddingly around that time (apart from one between William Harmer and Mary Jenner in 1805), so maybe she moved there alone.
It is an interesting coincidence that both William Harmer and Mary Harmer (daughter of Barnabus) were related to Sarah Harmer, the wife of James Funnell (John Funnell’s brother). William is Sarah Harmer Funnell’s nephew, and Mary is the daughter of Sarah’s cousin. So maybe it was the link with Sarah Harmer, which prompted Mary to move to Chiddingly.
The upshot of all of this, is that while I am not completely sure, I think that Mary Harmer born 1772 and the daughter of Barnabus Harmer and Elizabeth Pike, is at the moment the most likely person to have been the Mary Harmer who married John Funnell.
5 Responses to John Funnell married Mary Harmer… but which one?
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