Samuel COSSEY was baptised 14 Jan 1704 in Hassingham Norfolk, a small rural village on the north side of the Yare river valley, less than 10 miles east of Norwich, and slightly farther west of Yarmouth on the east coast. Samuel (Junior) was the son of Samuel and Elizabeth COSSEY; their family lived in Buckenham Norfolk about a mile from Hassingham. We do not yet know his mother’s maiden name, and are still trying to locate and verify possible siblings, potentially Jane 1702, Joseph 1706, Elizabeth 1713 and Mary 1715. Records in this period are skimpy!
The parish of St George Tombland, where their marriage took place, is in the heart of Norwich city. Perhaps Mary’s family had moved north sometime after the children were born, or perhaps Mary moved there as a young adult seeking a new life in or near the big city. By 1700, Norwich was a boom town of 25,000 people. People there worked in weaving, wool manufacturing, leather works, brewing and import / export businesses as well as agriculture. The city would have provided greater opportunities for meeting new people. Records of potential GILLINGWATER ancestors in Norfolk near Norwich and Yarmouth suggest there might have been relatives in the vicinity to take Mary in. I wish I knew more.
In 1730, Mary was about 24 years old and Samuel was 26, both of full age at the time of their marriage. As Samuel was a husbandman (free tenant farmer or small landowner), they likely did not remain in the city, but returned to working the land nearby. They quickly started a family, but baptism records continue to be illusive except for a daughter Mary who was baptized 4 Mar 1738 in Hassingham, and daughter Amy who was christened in Claxton on 16 Sep 1744. Claxton Norfolk is on the other side of the Yare river valley opposite Hassingham and Buckenham, SE of Norwich, so they didn’t move far. Estimates for the births of their other four children have been extracted from burial and other types of records. I am descended from their oldest child William COSSEY who was born about 1731, dying 3 Aug 1809 in Claxton Norfolk at the age of 78. (One of William's female descendants later married into my COATES line, and the next generation married a COMPTON.)
This story is more of an outline, including many guesses and assumptions along with only a few substantial details from primary source records. Census didn’t happen that far back, and there is a shortage of accessible alternatives. But I still dream of finding a lengthy will, more parish records, or land tax records. A family bible would be nice too. With so many blanks still to fill in, I don’t yet know if the month of October held any other significant milestones for this family. But I am truly grateful for their October marriage record. This year their 285th anniversary fittingly falls on the day after Thanksgiving, soon to be celebrated.
Hassingham, Norfolk Genealogy - familysearch site
Hassingham - origins site
St Mary, Hassingham, Norfolk Church - norfolkchurches site
Norwich History - localhistories site
Claxton, Norfolk Genealogy - familysearch site
Claxton, Norfolk Village - norfolkparishes site
Stoke-byNayland, Suffolk - wikipedia
COSSEY / GILLINGWATER Locations Map - custom google map
"52 Ancestors" is a reference to the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge I am participating in.
Reference the No Story Too Small blog by genealogist Amy Johnson Crow for more details.
It is giving me the much needed incentive to write and publish my family stories.