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Research into the ancestry of the CRYER family
This page gives an update on my research to date on tracing back the ancestry of Neil's CRYER line, particularly in and around Bermondsey and Southwark which lie just south of the River Thames, opposite the Tower of London. At that time this was in the country of Surrey.
In order to trace the line back beyond Neil's earliest confirmed Cryer ancestor, George William Cryer (1790 - 1842), we need the birthplace and parents. We cannot use civil registration records because these only started in 1837, and without known parents or birthplace we have nowhere to start with other records. Death certificates at that time did not state place of birth. So we know only, from the 1841 census, that George was born outside the UK, Scotland or Ireland.
There are some clues to tracing the line back further:
1. The 1851 census gives two other Cryer families living in Bermondsey, ie the area where George had lived and where his family continued to live after his death in 1842. The head of one family was Aaron Cryer, born in Bitton, Glos (ie Gloucestershire, UK) and the head of the other was William Cryer, blacksmith, also born in Gloucestershire. Since relatives often congregated together, some of George's forebears may have come from Gloucestershire.
2. George called his first son William, which means that in the custom of the times his own father or grandfather was probably a William Cryer.
3. There is a William Cryer in Bermondsey in the IGI who would have been of the generation of George's grandparents. That William Cryer married Tomazin Blackwell in 1720 in Bermondsey, and, interestingly, variations on her name appear in Gloucestershire around that time as Thamson Blackwell, Thomasine Blackwell and Thomison Blackwell. This suggests that William's Tomazin had relatives in the Gloucester area, so may herself have come from there. If Tomazin's William Cryer is an ancestor of our George Cryer, a male Cryer would have to have moved out of the UK and then back again - which could fit with George being born outside the UK.
4. Although there are numerous possibilities as to why anyone would move out of the UK and then back again, an interesting line of enquiry is the forced emigration policy of the time to populate the colonies. According to "The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage" (by Peter Wilson Coldham, Genealogical Publishing 1988), there were three William Cryers who were sentenced to transportation to America:
- William Cryer, aged 14, sentenced in Middlesex, transported on the Gilbert to Annapolis, landed July 1722
- William Cryer, sentenced in Middlesex, transported February 1724 on the Anne to Carolina.
- William Cryer, sentenced in Middlesex, transported December 1736 aboard the Dorsetshire to Virginia. (Also transported were Jane Cryer, two Edward Cryers and a Richard Cryer. There is no indication of their crimes.)
5. There is an understanding in Neil's family, for which there appears as yet to be no supporting evidence whatsoever, that the Cryers originated in Scotland. This may have been true, but there are possibilities for how misunderstandings could have arisen:
- The name Alexander Robert does have a Scottish ring. Yet no Scottish sounding names were given to the children of George Cryer's first marriage. Alexander Robert Cryer was the son of George's second wife, Ann Bayford, so it is possible that the Scottish connection is in the Bayford rather than the Cryer line.
- Records show several main clusters of Cryers in the UK, one of which is in the West country around Wick. Yet when most people think of Wick they think of Scotland. So it is possible that a throw-away remark about the Cryers originating in Wick may have been misinterpreted as Scotland.