I've been reading the Mary Grace PRIOR thread in 'Surname Interests' and I am wondering if anyone can help with my own St Blazey PRIOR puzzle. My wife's grandmother was Mary Annie PRIOR born 23 Nov 1868 in St. Blazey to Joseph PRIOR and Mary Jane nee POTE who were married in St Blazey 27 Jun 1863.
In the 1871 census both Mary Annie and her sister Bessie were living with their grandparents William and Eleanor POTE (the grandparents actually married in Crowan 10 Oct 1837, so there is a Penwith connection!). The girls apparently remained with the grandparents, and the family later moved to the Aldershot/ Farnham area. I should say Mary Anne PRIOR's father is recorded as deceased on her marriage certificate (1887), and his name as John PRIOR but I'm fairly sure that this is a mistake.
The problem I have is tracing what actually became of Joseph and Mary PRIOR which caused their two daughters to be looked after by the grandparents. I've looked for their deaths in FreeBMD but I have yet to spot them there or in 1871 and later censuses transcribed on FreeCEN.
Post by Cornish Terrier on Sept 24, 2011 13:31:31 GMT -5
I'm not having any luck with this either Roger. I have the St Blazey Marriage but I don't have other St Blazey records at the moment so it is difficult to build the picture properly.
With the children living with their grandparents in 1871 and no sign of Joseph and/or Mary then there are a few things to think about.
1. Joseph and Mary had left England, possibly temporarily at first, and had not returned. It is possible that their ship was wrecked and they were lost with it or they may have reached their destination where one or other died. If Mary was widowed I probably would have expected her to return to her children but if it were Joseph then he might have decided the children were best off with their grandparents.
2. Joseph had left England possibly to prepare a new life for his family. He may have died and then Mary Jane remarried. A little unusual bit it would not be the first time a widowed mother remarried and left her children with grandparents.
There is no second marriage appearing in OPC records for Mary Jane but it would be worth checking elsewhere.
But the fact that the children remained with grandparents suggests it more likely that perhaps Mary Jane had died.
Thanks for the suggestions, CT. I did wonder if Joseph and Mary Jane PRIOR had emigrated. The birth certificate for their daughter Mary Annie is a bit strange as well. The informant was the grandmother, Eleanor POTE and the registration was made five weeks after the birth, but no details of the father have been included - almost seems as though the parents were not around or didn't care.
Post by Cornish Terrier on Sept 26, 2011 3:47:26 GMT -5
Hmm - the description of the certificate is interesting and perhaps quite significant.
I have just had another look at the 1871 Census record for this family. And combining that information with what you have just told me about the birth certificate paints a slightly different picture to what you might have considered.
Unless there were other unknown children then my summation of things is as follows.
1. Joseph Prior and Mary Jane Pote were married at St Blazey in 1863 as previously noted. 2. In the 1871 Census William and Eleanor Pote have two grandchildren with them - Bessie and Mary A Prior. 3. There appears to be no trace of Joseph or Mary Jane Prior in the 1871 Census. 4. When Mary Ann married in 1887 it was stated that her father was deceased although it appears his name is incorrect. 5. The birth of Mary Ann was registered by her grandmother and on the certificate there is no information about the father.
A point of note that I think is quite significant - in the 1871 Census Bessie Prior is age 7 and Mary Ann age 2.
Unless there are other children we don't know about then there is a five year gap between the two children!
Bessie at age 7 was obviously born within about a year of the marriage but assuming there were no other children it is not for another five years until another child appears!
In my opinion the facts we have at the moment suggest only one thing - that Mary Ann was NOT the daughter of Joseph Prior!
I think you need to consider the possibility that Joseph Prior died within a year or so of the birth of Bessie and that Mary Ann was an illegitimate child of her widowed mother. That explains why Joseph Prior cannot be found and it also explains why there is no information about a father on the birth certificate of Mary Ann.
And from FamilySearch:-
Mary Annie daughter of Mary Jane Prior baptised 4th June 1869 St Blazey
CT, I think you have hit the nail on the head! I had thought that the omission of a father from the birth certificate was caused by some sort of administrative problem because the birth of Mary Annie was registered by the grandmother. However, if the father wasn't noted at the baptism either then that seems clear evidence that Joseph PRIOR wasn't around any more. To complete the picture, Joseph PRIOR and Mary Jane POTE were married 27 Jun 1863 at St Blazey. I believe that the child Bessie was probably the Elizabeth POTE whose birth was registered June Qtr 1863 - if so that looks very much like a marriage after the event. Maybe they didn't stay together, but it's still a puzzle how both parents managed to disappear so completely!
Roger; My name is George Pryor and Joseph Prior is one of my ancestors that I am researching. I am interested in Mary Jane Pote and her family. Joseph Mortimer Prior came to the United States and married Rachel Alcorn February 17, 1865.
We may have information that each other is looking for.
Hi George It's good to see this thread come alive after 5 years. I am very happy to share what little I know of the POTE family, so here goes with the story as I have researched it.
Mary Jane POTE was the eldest surviving daughter of William POTE and Eleanor THOMAS who were married in Crowan, Cornwall 10 Oct 1837. I have 9 births recorded for the couple, mostly in St. Blazey. Mary Jane was bap.30 Jan 1842 in Crowan - she was preceded by another daughter, Honour, born in 1840 but who died in infancy in 1842.
I have the marriage record of William and Eleanor. William said he was a stone cutter, father William POTE (no occupation recorded) and her father was John THOMAS (miner). In the 1841 census the family is at Crowan where William is recorded as being born 'in county' i.e. Cornwall but in later censuses he says his place of birth is Plymouth, Devon. Because of the Plymouth connection, I have searched for William's birth in Devon and made the connection to the bap. of a William POTE 29 Jan 1815 at Plymouth St. Andrew, with parents recorded as William and Honour POTE. I am fairly confident in this connection because the parent William was a stonemason, and William himself named his first-born daughter Honour, and later named another daughter Honour after the death of the first child.
Mary Jane POTE married Joseph PRIOR at St. Blazey 27 June 1863. He said he was a smelter and I guess it was rather a rushed marriage because the birth of their first child Bessie was registerd in the June quarter of 1863. Mary Jane PRIOR nee POTE had a second child, Mary Annie PRIOR, bap 23 Nov 1868, but in the parish register the vicar records her as illegitimate, so presumably Joseph was not on the scene any more. Mary Annie said that her father's name was John PRIOR on her marriage certificate, but that may have been just to save embarrassment.
For some reason Mary Jane disappeared from the record after the birth of Mary Annie and the care of Mary Annie PRIOR and her sister Bessie was left in the hands of the grandparents. The family moved to Farnham in Surrey after 1881 and both William and Eleanor POTE died in that area in 1889.
Well, that's probably enough to be going on with. It describes the scope of my knowledge but obviously there are more details I could supply if you are interested.
Hi Roger Thanks. I am interested in as much information as possible. I am new to this as I took over the genealogy when my mother passed away in 2014. I knew little but I am learning fast. If you happen to have copies of the documentation I would like to get a copy of it for my files on our new found family, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks in advance for any copies. Please keep in touch.
Hi George I have little in the way of original paper documentation except perhaps a marraige certificate since a lot of the information sources I have used are available online and sometimes without charge, However I will be pleased to take you through these sources via email as you suggest. However for the benefit of the board, can we just check that we are both interested in the same Joseph PRIOR/PRYOR? Firstly I have never seen him listed as Joseph 'Mortimer' PRIOR - certainly not in his baptism record and as far as I can see the Mortimer name is not linked to any other related familiies or individuals. Secondly, while his emigration prior to 1865 fits very well with his disappearance from the UK record following his 1863 marriage, I don't see how he could marry (legally) in 1865, since we know his first wife, Mary Jane, was still alive at least until 1868 when she bore a second child.
Post by Cornish Terrier on Jul 14, 2016 1:21:20 GMT -5
Secondly, while his emigration prior to 1865 fits very well with his disappearance from the UK record following his 1863 marriage, I don't see how he could marry (legally) in 1865, since we know his first wife, Mary Jane, was still alive at least until 1868 when she bore a second child.
One of those interesting little dilemmas that turns up from time to time! Roger - bigamy was certainly illegal and as evidenced by a QS report on a John Trewhella around 1815 it was prosecuted however when it comes to a man with a family in Cornwall upping sticks and starting another family in America it may have been a 'who's to know' thing.
I have several examples in the Trewhella families of this very same thing happening and in one case the husband actually married twice in Canada and the US with his first wife and daughter still living back in the UK assuming him dead! In searching other families such as Curnows and Quicks I have seen similar occurrences. In the case of John Quick of Gonew we have a man who remained in England and had a second, rather large, family while his first wife was tucked away just a few miles away at Towednack. Admittedly John Quick did not actually commit bigamy by marrying again while his wife was still living and he did not apparently get a divorce. But after his wife did die he did then marry the mother of his second brood of then about eight more children!
So really, that Joseph Prior left a small family in Cornwall wondering what happened to him while he merrily married again and continued on in another country is not so unusual.
CT, I do realise that these things happen ! Specially with an ocean in between the two families and little prospect of discovery and a prosecution for bigamy. I was just trying to clarify with George that we were both interested in the same Joseph PRIOR since there seems to be other candidates with similar names.
Joseph Mortimer Pryor is the son of Samuel Prior born in 1813 and Elizabeth Mitchell, Joseph had several brothers that also came to the U.S.A. around 1863-1867.
We have heard that Joseph was married in 1863 in Cornwall and just recently found that he was and that his first wife was Mary Pote, then checking the marriage records from the area that he was from we found the marriage registry with her name. Thus we started tracking down this Mary Pote and looking for documentation. So far Mary had 7 siblings, One Honor died at 2 yrs old,while Mary was 3 months old this is in the 1841 census, piece:H0107/141/71 book folio 55/4.
George, I have sent copies to the email address you supplied of some documents which may be of interest. I would also recommend the familysearch website familysearch.org from which you can obtain images of Cornish parish registers. We are fortunate that the coverage of 19th century registers on the site for both Crowan and St. Blazey is very good. I look forward to learning more of the emigration of Joseph PRIOR.