Finding the Forsburys

Our family pronounces Forsbury as "Forsberry"; sometimes in the soft accent of southern England it becomes "Fosberry".

From my grandfather Richard Samuel Ing, I had the full name, date of birth, and birthplace of his mother Martha Jane Forsbury. I also had the names of Martha's brother George and her sister Mary, as well as her half-brother James Waller. I was told that Mary had married a Shipgood (and the names of her children), George was single and died of drowning, and that James Waller had emigrated to Australia.

Martha's daughter Marian worked in a laundry and had died of tuberculosis, and it was felt that Canada would be a healthier place to live. Martha's sons James and Richard were already in Canada and recommended it highly. These sons sold their oxen to get enough money to bring their mother and sister over from England. She came to Canada in 1907, living first in Rainy River district, New Ontario. She came to Kirriemuir, Alberta in 1912, then with her son Tom at Cooking Lake.

My mother Dorothy Ing Buchanan remembers: "Grandma Ing lived with us (i.e. with Richard and Louisa Ing's family) about 10 years, starting in Cooking Lake. When we moved to Breton in 1934 she lived with Uncle Walter and Aunt Ada Suter for a short time at Carrot Creek, AB. Then she moved into the St. Joseph Hospital in Edmonton. She was easy to get along with, enjoyed knitting. She still did her own mending until she was very old. She had excellent eyesight. She could spot an airplane before any of us."

Martha Jane married Thomas George Ing on 19 Dec 1865 at Bethnal Green, Middlesex, and I was able to get a marriage certificate that gave his father as Robert Ing and hers as James Forsbury. I wasn't able to get a birth certificate for Martha Jane.

My next break-though was finding a James Fosberry in the 1881 census, but I couldn't be sure it was James Forsbury because of the spelling. They were living in London and had a son George Fosberry living with them who was about the right age to be Martha's brother, George Forsbury. Martha's sister Mary was born in Battersea, Surrey. So Surrey seemed probable. This gave James' wife a name, "Annie".

1881 British Census
Name Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
James FOSBERRY Head M Male 67 Reigate, Surrey, England General Lab
Annie FOSBERRY Wife M Female 70 Reigate, Surrey, England
George FOSBERRY Son U Male 40 Hendon, Surrey, England General Lab
Will DURNBLE Boarder U Male 32 Dartford, Kent, England Hose Keeper
Emerton HUGH Boarder U Male 39 Denham, Buckingham, England General Lab
Frederick PHIPPS Boarder U Male 30 Harefield, Middlesex, England General Lab
Source Information: Dwelling 5 Wharf Amberley Rd Census Place London, Middlesex, England
Family History Library Film 1341003 Public Records Office Reference RG11 Piece / Folio 0011 / 132 Page Number 52

At this time I also found the family of Mary Ann Forsbury Shipgood in the 1881 and 1891 censuses, which said she was born in Battersea, Surrey. The name of the wife and all children match if the E. in Martha E. stands for Ellen. (Grandpa Ing said Mary married a Jack Shipgood, but research proved that William was the husband of Mary, and Jack was a son.)

1881 British Census
Name Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
William SHIPGOOD Head M Male 40 Essex, England Builders Carman
Mary A. SHIPGOOD Wife M Female 35 Battersea, Surrey, England
Elizabeth SHIPGOOD Daur Female 14 St Lukes, Middlesex, England Scholar
Martha E. SHIPGOOD Daur Female 9 St Lukes, Middlesex, England Scholar
Mary A.R. SHIPGOOD Daur Female 6 St Lukes, Middlesex, England Scholar
John T. SHIPGOOD Son Male 2 Southwark, Surrey, England
Alice J. SHIPGOOD Daur Female 2 m Southwark, Surrey, England
Source Information: Dwelling 5 Gray St Census Place Southwark St George Martyr, Surrey, England
Family History Library Film 1341120 Public Records Office Reference RG11
Piece / Folio 0531 / 33 Page Number 45

1891 census (
Name Age in 1891 Birthplace Relationship to head-of-house Civil parish County
Shipgood, William 30 Battersea, London Head St George the Martyr London [50?][trainman]
Shipgood, Mary A 44 Essex Wife St George the Martyr London
Shipgood, John 17 Southwark, London Son St George the Martyr London [12 on page]
Shipgood, Alice 10 Southwark, London Daughter St George the Martyr London
Shipgood, Ellen 17 St Luke, London Daughter St George the Martyr London [looks like 19 to me]
Shipgood, Alfred 10.12 Southwark, London Son St George the Martyr London [I can't read the age]
[Ellen and Martha E. seem to be the same age.]

Then in the 1871 census, I found what I thought might be my Forsbury couple, but again spelling was a problem. And this time they were said to be born in Sussex, casting serious doubt whether they were the same family. But there is not a lot of choice when it comes to the name like Forsbury/Fosberry in London. And Martha was born in Paddington. So I put them in my list of possibilities.

 1871 Census of England [I read the original as perhaps Forsebury]
Name Age in 1871 Birthplace Relationship Civil Parish County/Island
James Fersebury 56 Sussex, England Head Paddington London
Anne Fersebury 59 Sussex, England Wife Paddington London

The years were dragging on and I felt I was still getting nowhere. Grandpa Ing had been dead for nearly 40 years!

Then I found Mary Ann Forsbury's birth listed in FreeBMD and ordered the certificate. It gave her father as James Forsbury and her mother as Ann Walter. So now I could be sure that James' wife's name REALLY was Ann. And Walter was very similar to Waller. Maybe Waller was her maiden name.

In 2006 I found them in the 1851 census after yet another first-name search on Again the family name appeared mangled. The transcriber read it as "Fausbury" and I read it as “Foursbury".

1851 England Census
Name Estimated Birth Year Birthplace Relationship Civil Parish County/Island
James Fausbury abt 1818 Rowgate, Sussex, England Head Westminster St Margaret Middlesex [Carman to Builder]
Anne Fausbury abt 1812 Rowgate, Sussex, England Wife Westminster St Margaret Middlesex
James Fausbury abt 1834 Rowgate, Sussex, England Son Westminster St Margaret Middlesex [Price's Candle Manufactory]
George Fausbury abt 1841 Hendon, Middlesex, England Son Westminster St Margaret Middlesex
Mary A Fausbury abt 1845 Batessca[Battersea], Surrey, England Daughter Westminster St Margaret Middlesex
Jane Fausbury abt 1849 Bodington [Paddington], Middlesex, England Daughter Westminster St Margaret Middlesex [Martha Jane, my great grandmother.]

The transcriber seemed to be having a bad day, but this was the piece of evidence that made the difference, that cracked the case.
1. It included James [Waller] Forsbury and the other children, so I knew it was the right family.
2. It changed the parents' birthplace from Reigate, Surrey to Rowgate, Sussex - supporting the 1871 census.
3. It also gave James Waller's birthplace as Rowgate, Sussex.
4. It gave an approximate date of birth for James Waller

When I searched Rogate, Sussex, in the IGI, Bingo! Much of the parish register data for the Rogate area was in the IGI.
I found the christenings of James Waller, James Fosberry, Ann Waller, and a Martha Fosberry who appears to be a sister to James and also the marriage of Martha.

Then, while searching online for any clues of what became of James Waller, I found this RootsWeb message board posting:
WALLER-L Archives
Archiver > WALLER > 2000-06 > 0960961273
From: Daniel Kerr [email address removed]
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 15:41:13 +1000
I am searching for information and kin of my g.g.grandfather JAMES WALLER christened in Rogate Sussex in 1834, mother ANN WALLER [James was illegitimate]. If anyone can help me with Ann's birth/parents/siblings it would be wonderful.
Cheers from
Irene Kerr in Ulladulla Australia

Wow! Exactly what I was hoping for, but never really expected to find!!!

The posting was 6 years old. What chance was there that the email address was still valid? Anxiously, I tried it and I had an immediate and excited reply.
Irene knew of James Waller and his mother Ann, but had no knowledge of Ann’s subsequent marriage and other children.  We were both able to fill in the holes in each other’s research.

Soon a large package arrived in the mail. Inside was a large book created by Irene. “From Sussex to Sidney – Descendants of James Waller and Mary Wheeler” I spent many happy hours inputting the information into PAF and learning about the Waller cousins and their families in Australia. I was also able to verify much of it from the New South Wales BMD database.

Further research found the parents of Ann Waller to be Henry Waller and Martha New. Then a kind-hearted soul provided me with access to the local parish registers for St. Bartholmew’s Church in Rogate, which go back to the late 1500s. The Forsbury’s who had long been a roadblock in my research turned into a paved highway, at least along the Waller line.

I joined and received further help from distant cousins. One day there were three of us online together at the same time. I am a descendant of Ann Waller, Tony is a descendant of Ann’s sister Elizabeth, and Jackie is a descendant of their brother Edward. I thought how amazing that it was that we were sitting at our various computers discussing siblings born 200 years ago!

This is a wonderful time to be doing family history research.  There are wonderful resources available!

Page updated 31 October 2012