Benoke family – Allen descendants

June Murphy has just sent me a lot of information on the family of her great grandfather Hooper Scott Benoke, and from it I’ve been able to to work out that June and I are 5th cousins, and we are both descended from William and Ann Allen of Winscombe, Somerset.

The Allen family seems to have been quite prolific. At various times I’ve discovered mysterious cousins staying with Hayes relatives in censuses in Bristol, and have gradually been tracking them down, and most have turned out to be Allen descendants. Some of the surnames of descendants are Hayes, Williams, Hill, Purnell, Nipper, Benoke and there are probably many more to be discovered.

Allen, Williams, Benoke, and Nipper families of Somerset

June Murphy replied to a query I had left on the RootsWeb message boards, about the Allen, Williams, Benoke and Nipper families of Somerset. She is descended from Hooper Scott Benoke, who was staying with his grandfather Giles Williams in the 1861 census.

June also left a message in our message forum (see sidebar), that Hooper Scott Benoke is her great grandfather, and descended from Ann Williams. She notes that he was married three times, and I only had information about one of his marriages, to Louisa Nipper, who I suspected may have been related to Joseph Nipper and Mary Williams. June confirmed that Louisa was their daughter, and so first cousin to Hooper Scott Benoke, as their mothers were sisters. So now I’m hoping to hear more from June on Hooper Scott Benoke’s other marriages, and his descendants.

My great great grandmother was Rachel Allen of Winscombe, Somerset, who married Simon Hayes or Hays. Rachel’s sister Hannah married Giles Williams, hence the link between the families. Giles Williams and Hannah Allen had four children, one of whom died young. Hannah appears to have been dead before 1834, though i have not found a record of her death or burial. In 1834 Giles Williams married Sidonia Sweet.

Hayes, Allen, Williams, Purnell

Today I spent quite a lot of time making use of the OriginsNet free offer for 4 July, and seeing what I could find. The most useful things were the 1841 and 1871 censuses, though they are not fully indexed, and some of the images did not display properly.

But they seemed to have Bristol and Somerset fairly well covered, and I looked up my great great great grandparents, Simon and Rachel Hayes, in the 1841 census, and think I may have found a clue to a long-standing mystery.

Ages ago one of the first censuses we found (Bedminster 1851) showed John Hayes (son of Simon and Rachel) and a cousin staying with him, Elena Purnell, aged 17.

Ever since then we’ve looked for a Purnell connection, but have never found it in more than 20 years of searching.

But in 1841 Simon and Rachel were staying in a household that included Ann Purnell, aged 45, and two younger Purnells, and an Emily Tripp aged 4. This was in Paul Street, Bedminster, Bristol. It seems possible, then, that Ann was Rachel’s sister. We know what happened to her other two sisters — one married Giles Williams, and the other married George Hill, but what happened to Ann was a mystery. So now we have to find her marriage to a Purnell, to confirm this, and also that she had a daughter Elena, and another loose end will be tied up.

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