Thurston (Sophia)


I have been trying to research my 3 xg.grandmother Sophia Thurston for several years but only recently aquired the correct information. I knew her married name was Bell and on the census returns (of Cheshire where she lived) she had given Blaxhall, Suffolk as her place of birth. On obtaining her marriage certificate it gave her fathers name as James Thornton.(Labourer)...I believe this to be a mistake/mis-spelling of the surname because her son and grandson were given Thurston as a middle name and I recently obtained the birth certificate of her youngest daughter which states her maiden name was Thurston.
Sophia Thurston married James Bell (gives profession as stable man but he went on to work on the railways as pointsman) in 1850 in Runcorn Cheshire.......I don't know how she met him or why she was here and so far from Sussex. The census returns show her as born c1820 in census returns from 1851 - 1901. As I had previously had the incorrect surname I hadn't found her in the 1841 census. I have now seen an entry in Plomesgate, Suffolk that may be her. I have also seen an entry on IGI Index for a baptism for Sophia Thurston 1815 but only listing a mother (Elizabeth Thurston).
The only thing I am certian of is that throughout the census she was consistent about where she had lived and the name Thurston was used as a middle name and surname on her childs birth certificate.
If anyone is able to join up the dots I would be very grateful.
Sincerely Julie

Hi Julie,

The Sophia you're chasing was the daughter of James & Lydia Ann Thurston. James was from Blaxhall but moved out of the village when he married, not returning until 1826 when the family were removed from Sibton, so some of the children thought of Blaxhall as home but were actually born elsewhere.

The other Sophia you found (d of Elizabeth) was illegitimate, and went on to have her own illigiimate son in 1837.

Hope that helps.

Wow! It most certainly does, that's amazing - I can't thank you enough! May I ask where you got that from? or more to the point how I can get some more leads to follow the story. I am from up North.............Sophia ended her life in North Wales and so other than the fact that she gives Blaxhall as her place of birth on census and James as her father on her marriage certificate and gave Thurston to her her son as his middle name we know very little about her or her family.
I am intrigued as to how she came to Runcorn, Cheshire where she married, although I know how she ended up in Wales.
That's seriously wonderful thank you very much, I have been trying for 5 years to get a little further back.

Kindest Regards



Well, there's no magic source I'm afraid, just a case of going through the usual documents with a bit of cross referencing, lateral thinking and elimination! I haven't found a marriage for Sophia's parents yet, but with the Blaxhall tree at just over 12,000 people so far you have to divide your time quite sparingly to each branch!
The most obvious guess for the Runcorn link is that she was in service there, but why so far away is a mystery, although she's certainly not unique. It looks as though she was working for Henry Keer in 1841, who was both a farmer and surgeon (yes - you read that right), and who's son and grandson also became doctors. That provides two separate circles for him to move in and potentially proffer Sophia's services if he no longer needed her. Another possibility is that either she, or someone else in Blaxhall, already had a relation working up there and word came through of a vacancy, though I'm not aware of any other Blaxhallites there at the time.
I've got no further on her mother at the moment, but have info on her parents and siblings if you need it.

Glad to be of help :-)

Thank you very much and I would love any info you have on her at all including parents siblings etc, I always try to follow every member of the family branches.
I'm afraid I have never been to Sussex and only have access to Ancestry so I didn't know where to look for her family - also due to the fact that her surname was not spelt correctly on her marriage certificate. I wondered what you meant when you said that the family were removed from Sibston?
I am extremely grateful for your help, there is no way I would have got this information without you. I look forward to the info when you have time....thanks again :-)


Sorry for the delay, been a tad busy. Removal Orders were issued by parishes to individuals (and their families) who were requiring parish relief (due to being ill, disabled, unmarried mothers, etc) but were not originally from said parish. Unless they had received an official 'settement' certificate for their new parish they could at any time be removed to their parish of birth or last settlement.

On the relative front, the parents of James Thurston (1785) were Isaac Thurston & Hannah Mills; they married on 8/11/1780 in Blaxhall. Isaac was buried in Blaxhall in 1831, Hannah in 1849. Isaac's parents were Isaac Thurston & Mary Symonds; Isaac was born c1729 and buried 14/12/1803, Blaxhall. He married Mary on 13/11/1750 in Snape. James had 10 siblings that I'm aware of; John 1781, Jemima 1783, Isaac 1786, John(2) 1789, Sarah 1791, Elizabeth 1792, Martha 1792, Mary 1795, Sophia 1798 and Abraham 1801. So far I have marriages/children for 4 of them. Mary married Samuel Ling 1814 and was the subject of a feature in the Ipswich Journal in 1837 when the family were described as living 'in a small clay hovel on the waste'. They subsequently moved to Lancashire in search of work, but were back in Blaxhall by 1851. Will add some more later :-)

Hi There,

I am extremely grateful for this information, having read about the Lings on this site I suppose (as there were so many of them) it is not suprising we are related to them somehow!
What you have sent me so far is fascinating, my mother and I wondered if it was something to do with parish relief. I shall look and see if there is a site where I can read the Ipswich Journal.
I am off to make family sheets out for them - very exciting......

Thanks again I look forward to hearing from you when you have time, I really appreciate it as you must be very busy.

Kind Regards

I am thrilled that the Blaxhall community has set up this fantastic website and the idea about piecing together a family tree of Blaxhall is a wonderful idea. I wish you all the very best in what must be a very long but rewarding project.
The reason I am contacting you is that I am directly descended from Sophia Thurston, daughter of Isaac and Hannah mentioned above.
I can tell you that Sophia left Blaxhall and settled in South London. She married a widower Jeremiah Reeves who like Sophia, had left his childhood home in Oxfordshire, I can only assume in search of work in London. They married in St Mary Magdalen Parish Church in Bermondsey in 1824 and went on to have more than 5 children together although some died very young; Sophia raised a young daughter from Jeremiah’s first marriage too.
Abraham also appears to have left Blaxhall and settled in London around the same time as Sophia. He married Ann Langthon in 1828 in the same parish church as Sophia. They went on to have at least 7 children all born and baptised in Rotherhithe.
Their sister Sarah was visiting Sophia on census night in 1851. She is recorded as a single woman aged 59 and deaf.
Can you confirm Sophia’s baptism date please? I only have a circa date on my tree.

Hi Angie,
I guess that makes us cousins as I am directly descended from Sophia's brother James. Or more to the point the namesake of his sister...............James daughter Sophia.
This site is wonderful and I have found out more in just a few visit' s to this site than I have in 5 years of searching.
May I add your relatives to my tree? I know they are my relatives too but I would not have known that information unless you had mentioned it here.
Kind Regards

Hello Julie
This website is great. I am really looking forward to looking at the Blaxhall family tree when the compilers have completed the huge task of piecing it all together.
Have you got an account with Genes Reunited? I am in the process of fleshing out my family tree on their website.
Cousin Angie

Hi Angie I have got an account with genes but I haven't used it for a while as I tend to use my Ancestry one ..... however now I know you are on there I shall go on and update it so we can connect, I will renew my membership over the next couple of days.
Am I allowed to give you my e-mail address on here - I'm not sure if we are allowed to put our details up?
I probably don't have as much on the Thurston's as you because I only recently found out it was Thurston as it had been mis-spelt on her marriage certificate. My Sophia is the daughter of James (so the niece of your Sophia) our grandparents that we share would appear to be Isaac and Hannah.
My Sophia ended up in Cheshire and North Wales.
I'm very happy to find a new cousin.............Julie

Hi Julie
I also have an ancestry account but have taken down my family tree from the site and I have stopped my subscription. However, you should be able to find me on GU through our family connection to Hannah and Issac though. I still have quite a bit to add to the's finding the time! But I will be more than happy to share what I have found out about our Thurston family with you. Where did your Sophia live in North Wales? I have lived in North Wales for nearly twenty years now.

Evening all,
Looks like you're having a good chin wag so I won't stick my oar in, other than to say thanks to Angie for the info and give her Sophie's christening, which was 10/8/1798 in Blaxhall. Just post back if there's anything specific I might be able to help with.

Cheers :-)

Your oar is welcome anytime if it hadn't been for you I wouldn't know what I do now! Do you need my Sophia's details? I wasn't sure if her and her branch were relevant as she left Blaxhall but I am happy to tell you what I know if it's useful to your big tree.
May I ask if my sophia (daughter of James and Lydia) was christened in Blaxhall and is there a date of birth for her? I only have a circa year and going by the census returns thats changeable.

Angie I will get my stuff out later and check her place of death but her daughter Mary was Aberegle and that area is where her son lived and Rhuddlan etc ......where I still have relatives!


Hello again

Jon - Thank you for telling me Sophia's baptism date, very much appreciated. Your oar is welcome anytime! How's the Blaxhall family tree coming along?

Julie - I know Rhuddlan and Abergele quite well. I live about 15 miles away from Rhuddlan. Let me know if you need any research doing over my way.

Angie :)

Hi Angie thanks for that I will let you know if there's anything although I go there quite a lot as I have an Uncle and another Aunt and Uncle and various family all around there I live on the Wirral. How strane that relatives of two different branches have come to live so far from Sussex!
Jon if there is anything research or anything I am capable of that I can do please let me know - although for your purposes of Blaxhall tree I accept it's probably unlikely.....what a fabulous job you do though and what an exceptional site.
Angie by the way I have tried to make contact with who I think is you on GU.

Julie :-)

Have been reading your correspondence with Angie and just thought I would mention that Isaac Thurston is my 4th great grandfather ( Hannah Mills my 4th great grandmother). The previous generations were Isaac Thurston and Mary Symonds (married 13th Nov 1750) and James Thurston and Ann Mobbs (married 23rd april 1728).
I would be very interested in any tree information you have while I can provide my tree info in return if you wish.


Have been reading your correspondence with Julie and just thought I would mention that Isaac Thurston is my 4th great grandfather ( Hannah Mills my 4th great grandmother). The previous generations were Isaac Thurston and Mary Symonds (married 13th Nov 1750) and James Thurston and Ann Mobbs (married 23rd april 1728).
I would be very interested in any tree information you have while I can provide my tree info in return if you wish.


Sophia Thurston is my 1st cousin 4 times removed, with James being my 3rd great grand uncle. The Thurston family were based at Snape at least from the early 1700's and then came to Blaxhall. Several Thurstons then moved to Rotherhithe/Bermondsey in London, in particular Abraham Thurston who is my 3rd great grandfather.
Best Wishes

Hi John

I really appreciate you telling me this information......which site or records do you use? I only ask so I can fill out my own Thurston branch and find out more about them.
I know a lot about Sophia once she marries in 1850 and onwards and if you collect info on all your branches I will happily tell all I know and scan any certificates I have.
If you would like to contact me directly you can get me at

until 4th Jan then it changes to sky but not sure of e mail address yet

Very Best Wishes

Hi John
Lovely to hear from you. You can find me on Genes Reunited probably through searching on Hannah and Isaac Thurston and I will be only to happy to allow you access to my tree. You have probably already read that I am working on fleshing out my tree offline and will be uploading a new ged.file soon to the GR website.
Kind regards