Tracing Ancestors: Mary Ann Feltham and her husband David Meaden

John Rogers describes how he and his wife Rose traced Rose's Chitterne ancestors

Working backwards from the Living

We traced back from Rose’s mother, Edith Rose Meaden (b.1906) to her father Frank Meaden (b.1868 in Westbury) to his father Edward Meaden (b.1842 in Imber). We were unable to trace a birth record for Edward, but research has shown that an Edmund Meaden was baptised in Imber on 16th May 1842. This also states that his parents are David & Mary Ann Meaden and their residence at the time is given as Chitterne All Saints. After discussing this with other members of the Meaden family researching the Meaden family tree, we are all agreed that Edmund and Edward are one and the same – this is supported by the 1851 Imber census entry for the family. This is how we have arrived at David and Mary Ann.

Mary Ann Feltham

She was born on 7th January 1824 and was christened on 19th December 1824 in Chitterne – this information came from an entry on the website in their England & Wales Christening Records, 1530 – 1906. On this record, her parents are given as John Feltham and Emily. We have also found on Ancestry a marriage record for John Alexander Feltham and Emily Grant dated 14 December 1823 in Chitterne in the England & Wales Marriages, 1538 – 1940 records. We obtained a copy from the GRO of Mary Ann’s marriage certificate, showing that she married David Meaden on 12th October 1841 in the church of Chitterne All Saints. On the marriage certificate Mary Ann’s father is given as John Feltham, labourer, and Mary Ann’s residence is given as Chitterne All Saints.

Using the Censuses

We searched for Mary Ann in the censuses. Trying to trace Mary Ann Feltham in the 1841 census with a mother Emily and father John gave us no success at all. We did have a tentative match in Tilshead in 1841, this being based on the fact that David Meaden gave his residence on the marriage certificate as Tilshead, but this we now believe is not her. Later we started the search again for both Mary Ann and her parents, and despite being able to trace various members of the Feltham family in the area of Imber and Chitterne, we were unable to find her parents in the 1841 census. We finally trawled through the 1841 Chitterne census returns again and found a Mary Feltham aged 17 with a Susan Feltham aged 7 in Biden(?) Lane – we had examined this entry several times and written it off as not her, mainly because we could trace a Susan Feltham in the 1851 census who appeared to be the same person, whose mother actually was Mary. The 1841 census is notorious for the inaccuracies in people’s ages. However, we noticed this time that these two were in the same house as John and Ann Grant. Finally the penny dropped with us, and here the ages were actually correct, maybe the Grants were Mary Ann’s grandparents. If we could establish a link between John and Ann Grant and Mary Ann’s mother Emily it would explain why we were unable to find John and Emily in 1841.

There are various John Felthams in the censuses, but we were unable to say which, if any, was Mary Ann’s father – it’s quite possible that he too had died prior to the 1841 census, or he may have re-married or moved. It is also not beyond the realms of possibility that Susan Feltham (aged 7) may have been Mary Ann’s sister – however, this was just speculation on our part at this point – we were not able to trace her after 1841. One final point on the 1841 Chitterne census – we found David Meaden from Imber in as David Meaton – the age is wrong, but this is not unusual in 1841.

John Alexander Feltham

Having found the christening record for Mary Ann and John Feltham's marriage to Emily Grant, we found an entry for John Alexander Feltham in the Christening Records showing him to be christened on 27th February 1803 in Warminster – his parents are given on this record as John Feltham and Betty. We have traced his parents on various family trees on Ancestry going back to the 17th century – these also name Betty as Elizabeth Mary Alexander, born c.1780 in Wiltshire.

Trying to find Emily/Emma/Emelia Grant

When we traced John and Ann’s family, we found a daughter given as Emelia, born in 1804, who died in 1836 – however, another family tree gave her birth date as 1816. We believed that Emelia was the missing Emily Grant, John and Ann’s daughter, and that upon Emily’s death in 1836, Mary Ann was raised by her grandparents, which would fit with the 1841 census record.

We checked our results against the Feltham, Grant and Meaden lists Sue sent, and found Emily under Emma (baptised 6th May 1804), daughter of John and Ann Grant. Contact with another Chitterne researcher, Pat Ricketts, confirmed our identification of Emily/Emma Grant and that our theory was right.

John and Rose Rogers

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