Sunday, August 3, 2008

George Bliss - where was he from in Kent?

I've been working to confirm what I've read in a number of places about where my convict ancestor George Henry BLISS is from. The Hall family historian before me (Frank HALL, 1923-2005) went to England a few times on family history quests, and he wrote that George was son of:

"John BLISS and his wife Mary lived in Rochester, Kent, UK and had 4 sons, including John Edward, George (1818-1915) and William Samuel."

This baptism is found in the IGI indexes - one of two George Bliss's in Rochester to different sets of parents:
1. GEORGE BLISS - Parents John and Sarah
Christening: 05 MAR 1815 Saint Nicholas, Rochester, Kent, England
2. GEORGE HENRY BLISS - Parents John and Mary
Christening: 17 JAN 1819 Saint Nicholas, Rochester, Kent, England
(I have a copy of the parish register, John's occupation: carpenter)

So here is the George Henry BLISS I knew of, and one other. The problem is that I believe BOTH these George Bliss' are present in the 1841 census.
1. George, born 1815 (with son George), born Rochester, Kent in 1815 census.
2. George, born 1819 living in St Margaret, Rochester City. Born in Kent. In his baptism, his father's occupation was carpenter, and in the 1841 this George's occupation is carpenter.

So the Rochester George Bliss's are out.

The alternative is that I’ve also read “George Henry Bliss - the son of Richard and Elizabeth Bliss Born on the Janurary 1819 in Otford near Sevenoaks in Kent at England” on the Coble site. I’ve not found on-line Otford parish registers, but am still digging to confirm this.

Adding weight to this are the locations of his two crimes from court transcripts, the first he was jailed for 2 months for and the second he was ultimately transported for:
First: “George Bliss, late of the Parish of Seal, in the County aforesaid (KENT), Labourer”
The village of Seal is 3 miles from Otford.
Second: “stealing a piece of meat, value Three Shillings, the property of John Spencer at Wrothham”
The village of Wrotham is 5 miles from Otford.

Compounding this is the following:
Has anyone actually seen our George Bliss' name written as George HENRY Bliss on any document? I haven't. Perhaps some of you have birth certificates for children of George Bliss post-1856 - if so could you let me know where George's place of birth is given as?

I believe the George HENRY Bliss is incorrect and based on the assumption that he was from Rochester, Kent rather than Otford, Kent.

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