It’s time to talk about the Huguenots… Part Three

So, let’s recap. June’s 5x great-grandfather was Mathieu Mocquard, occupation unknown, who married Ester Michelle. Her 4x great-grandfather was the first John Macord, who was a butcher but who also potentially started the family’s ‘property empire’; he married Ann or Agnes Gandey. Her 3x great-grandfather was the next John Macord, carpenter and undertaker, 1749-1816. His first wife was also named Ann, but further details are elusive; however June is descended from him through his second wife, Mary Armstrong, via the second Daniel Macord, 1792-1835, who started life as a carpenter but by 1822 had become a publican and victualler. He was in fact the earliest (so far) traceable licensee of the Horse Shoe public house in Grange Road, Bermondsey, an establishment which existed for over a hundred and twenty years before eventually being bulldozed; a block of flats known as ‘Trocette Mansions’ is now on the same site. Daniel and his wife Mary Smith (such an easy name to trace in records!) had four daughters – Mary, Rachel, Sarah and Lydia, as well as a baby son who died at five months old.

Daniel the victualler seems also to have gone in for property owning and management, although there is no clear evidence of him having done any of the actual construction; it’s far more likely that he just bought, sold and managed existing property. Unlike previous generations, however, Daniel’s holdings extended south of the river; as well as the Horse Shoe he also owned – or at least insured – two adjacent properties, one of which was an oil chandler’s yard. This sounds like an uncomfortable neighbour to have, and a good insurance policy was no doubt considered a necessity!

Daniel’s will – proved in February 1835, although the precise date of his death is still unknown – distributes a lot of silver spoons, plates, ‘milk pots’ etc., as well as two magnificent-sounding watches – one gold, one ‘engine-turned’, which in those days would have been a luxury item indeed. Given the history of engine-turning as a craft, there is a good chance that this watch – left to his eldest daughter, Mary – was of Huguenot work and may very possibly have been a family heirloom. It was certainly considered superior to the gold watch bequeathed to his second daughter, as she also had her late mother’s ‘gold hair ornaments and trinkets’ as well as a ring, brooch and earrings, to make up for the deficit. (Her mother, Mary, had died in 1833 at roughly forty years of age.) Clearly, victualling in Bermondsey in those days was a lucrative business – albeit probably very hard work, and in one of the less desirable areas of London.

Daniel’s second daughter Rachel was deaf, which is revealed in the census entries relating to her. In one, her name is actually given as ‘Rachua’, which may indicate the way she spoke – i.e. slightly indistinctly – which in turn possibly indicates that she had been hearing impaired from birth, or a very early age. She married John Adam Daniel, a customs officer, in 1844, and they had seven children together. Rachel is the most recent ancestor in this line to have borne the Macord surname; Colin Gronow, of the Macord One-Name Study, is descended from her sixth child and third son, Robert Macord Daniel, who was born in 1858, whereas June was the grand-daughter of Rachel’s fourth child and second daughter, Alice Ester Daniel, who was born in 1854. Alice married William Augustus Baker in 1882 and was the mother of the ‘Baker bunch’ as described extensively elsewhere on this blog.

And this is where we end our present brief sojourn in the company of the Huguenots. This is still an area for active investigation, not least because the records are confusing. Huguenot clergy were very keen on making notes of their congregations and tracking their births, marriages and deaths, and most of these records have since found their way into the central archives of The Huguenot Society which goes above and beyond to make this information available to researchers. However, many Huguenot places of worship were short-lived – and language confusion and transcription errors over three centuries or more have resulted in difficulty in matching up family members to one another. Two brothers, for example, who may have married at the same place but a few years apart, could easily be recorded with different surnames, especially in the earlier generations when varying Anglicizations of French surnames tended to be used. The same problems occur with new emigrants to the USA who had to go through Ellis Island, and also with the Chinese-descended population in Australia. Whether or not the immigrant was literate, whoever received them into the new country (where there was a formal process at all) may not have been, or not to the same extent, and names and identities were inevitably lost – in most cases forever. It’s really pure luck if existing records in the country of origin can ever be matched up to members of the immigrant population, and usually the fact of a family having relocated due to political, economic or religious upheaval puts a full stop to any line of enquiry – which is where we are obliged to leave it for now. However, as mentioned in the previous post, Mathieu and Ester had approximately 300 traceable descendants in their son’s line alone, which is plenty for any aspiring genealogists to get their teeth into!

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