Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Names and Newspapers

James Buss and his wife Ann Hill are ancestors who have always intrigued me because of the names they gave their children:
Ann Sarah
James Joseph
Letitia Maria
Ethelbert John (also my ancestor)
Edmund Francis
John Gowing
Elfrida Mary
Charles Alexander
Henry Gustavus
Thomas Sargent
James and Anne were married 3 February 1793, St Botolphs Aldersgate, in London.  Their first child was born about a year later.  Their youngest child was born about 1820.  During this time period in England, middle names were not particularly common; nor were the Germanic names that became popular after Queen Victoria married Prince Albert.  As yet, I have no idea why James and Ann chose these names.
James Buss was born around 1770, possibly in London or Kent.  Buss, generally a rare name, seems to be more common in Kent.
Apart from his marriage, the earliest record of James I have comes from the Sun Fire Office Insurance Company.  On 23 Mar 1794 James Buss, 28 Shoemaker Row, Blackfriars, Gent is listed as insured and William Hill, possibly a relative of Ann’s, was also listed as an occupant.
12 Jul 1794, the Sun Fire Office lists James Buss, of 20 Cock Hill Ratcliffe [in London], chemist and druggist.  On 23 July 1794, a devastating fire swept through this area after apparently blowing up a barge laden with saltpetre.  Over 450 houses were destroyed in a couple of hours.  It was the worst fire in London since the Great Fire of 1666.
By 8 August 1794, the Sun Fire Office records list James Buss 90 Upper Shadwell, Chemist & Druggist, so James had managed to keep in business.
James appears to have moved back to Cock Hill once it the area once was rebuilt.  The London Gazette records that a partnership between James Buss and Joseph Crawshaw of Cock Hill, Ratcliffe, Chemist and Druggist, was dissolved 13 June 1796.
In 1797, James Buss appeared in the Old Bailey as a witness after some sal-ammonic was allegedly stolen from his shop.  The accused were found not guilty.
Sometime before 1799, James Buss and his family moved to Bury-St-Edmunds, Suffolk.  The London Gazette records a partnership between James Watt and James Buss of Bury, Chemist and Druggist, Buss & Co, was dissolved by mutual consent, 30 Mar 1799.
Over the time to around 1806, numerous advertisements appear in local Suffolk newspapers for various products sold by James Buss, Chemist and Druggist.  Over this period, various Buss children were baptised in Bury-St-Edmunds.  Most of them were, unusually, baptised a few years after they were born and they weren’t baptised in birth order either.
An 1811 Directory lists James Buss, Chemist & Druggist in Newmarket.
By 1814, James Buss and his family were back in London, where Henry Gustavus Buss was baptised, living in Goswell Street.
The London Gazette sadly catches up with James again in 1826.  On 30 March that year, a list of Insolvencies declared at Maidstone Court House lists James Buss, formerly of Maiden-Lane Cheapside London, afterwards of Wateringbury, since of West Malling and later of Wrotham, Kent, Chemist and Druggist.
Ann Buss nee Hill died in September 1827 and was buried in Wrotham.
The 1841 census lists James Buss, labourer, as living in the Malling Union Workhouse, suggesting he was ill or had fallen on hard times.
James Buss died in December 1845 and was also buried in Wrotham, Kent.
I have found other records of James Buss living in London, but they don’t add anything of note to the information above.  It is nice to find an ancestor who is this well documented even if the news is not always happy.
I hope to find about his origins and perhaps, one day, some clue as to why some of his children were given somewhat exotic names.

NOTE on lineage (added 30 Aug 2014): Me > Dad > John Edward Blake > Alice Mary Elliston > George Elliston > Elfrida Mary Buss > Ethelbert John Buss > James Buss

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