My search for Sophia Mayhew

Sophia Mayhew

1805 – 1840

(4x great grandmother)

I have been searching for the Baptism of Sophia Mayhew for over a year now and I still haven’t been able to find any record for her. She is the only ancestor (not including paternal which is Ukrainian) for which I haven’t passed the 1800’s with, so I have a very big hole in my family tree.

Sophia was a Silkwinder from Bocking, Essex and she had one illegitimate daughter’ Lydia Mumford who was born in Wethersfield, Essex in 1828 and baptized in St Mary the Virgin, Bocking, Essex on the 10th September 1828.

I suspect that Lydia Mumford was also the daughter of William Mumford who was the only man by that surname living in Weathersfield at the time of her birth, He was born the same year as Sophia and he went onto have another child ‘John Mumford’ in 1832. But because the line is illegitimate and no records or clues exist, an intelligent guess is all I can give.

Sophia sadly died before any census in England took place, so tying her down to a particular parish is near impossible, all I can do is view every parish within a set period 1800 – 1815 in the hope that her baptism turns up. I have had luck doing that before on another line, it’s very time consuming but it’s the only way forward.

Sophia died of Consumption on the 21 October 1840 in Church Street, Bocking, Essex her only daughter’ Lydia Mumford was twelve years old at the time.

Sophia Mayhew - Death Certificate - 21 October 1840 - Church Street, Bocking, Essex, England

The only companion at her bedside when she passed away was 65 year old ‘Esther Humphrey’ nee: Inman. She was the widow of Timothy Humphrey. I have looked into who Esther was in the hope she was a relative, but sadly this is not the case. Esther was a native of Colchester, Essex and no connection between Mayhew and Inman has yet been found.

I would like to think that this kindly woman took in Sophia’s orphaned daughter at least until she came of age and that she didn’t end up in Boking, Workhouse. But Lydia disappears from the records between 1841 – 1861. The next time I see her, she is living in Wantz Road, Maldon, Essex in 1871 and she has had eight illigitimate children, at least five by Charles Gray and another three by a Samuel Dennis.

The parishes I have searched so far are:

Coggeshall / High Roding / Chelmsford Cathedral / Great Baddow / Colchester – St James, Greenstead and All Saints / Bocking / Weathersfield / Witham / Finchingfield / Great Tey / Little Tey / Wakes Colne / Great Bardfield / Colnes Engaine / Earls Colne / Braintree / Rayne / Black Notley / Springfield / Burnham / South Wield / Halstead / Kelvedon / Hazeleigh / Rivenhall / Pebmarsh / Aldham / Panfield / Stisted / Shalford / Gosfield / Great Sailing / Stebbing / Felsted / Cressing / Maldon – St Mary and All Saints / Heybridge.

My search continues.



4 thoughts on “My search for Sophia Mayhew

  1. I notice that there is a William Mayhew in Bocking married to Tamar Spurgeon and they had a daughter called Sophia (possibly named after your Sophia if her and William were brother and sister.) I see from the 1851 census he is born around 1808 in High Roding and has his mother Ann with him. Have you ever come across any other Mayhew’s in the PRs that you have searched as it isn’t a common name in that area? I know that many parishes around Bocking and Coggeshall were into adult baptisms so it might be worth looking past 1815. It could be she planned to have an adult baptism but never got around to it. Often women in the area would get baptised before they got married, but some did it much later. I have noticed one in Braintree in 1820 for an Ann Mayhew born around 1767 – wife of a Samuel Mayhew and noting she was the daughter of a Benjamin Joslin and Rebecca Goofield. So could be done quite a bit later in life.

    Hope you do find something! I certainly understand the frustration!

    • Hi Alex,
      Thank you very much for taking a little look for me.
      I have looked into William and Tamar’s Sophia, but so far have not found any links. Although I am sure there is a family connection somewhere. They also have relatives living in Great Baddow who also had a daughter called Sophia.
      I have looked at the parish records for High Roding but sadly no baptisms for Mayhew exist there.
      The family also have connections with Weathersfield, and there is a non-conformist church there, which I don’t have access to on-line so when I get a chance I will visit a family centre in London just so I can eliminate this possibility.
      I have bought a months subscription on Essex Seax, and so I am getting my moneys worth, and filling in as many gaps as possible for my Essex Ancestors, who are probably one of the hardest to research because a lot of the records have not been transcribed so it’s simply a matter of going blurry eyed looking at original parish records.
      Thank you for the tip on the adult baptisms, I might have missed something important there.

      If you need a look up, just let me know.
      Thank you again Alex x

      • You’re welcome Stephen. I will have a think as I’m sure I have some bits I wouldn’t mind a look up for as I usually just do a 24hr sub every so often!

      • That’s what I usually do, is 24hr, but I’m on holiday at mo 🙂
        I think I might have a lead on Sophia Mayhew, there is a branch of Mayhew and Mumford living in Dennington, Suffolk all with the same names as mine. sophia Mayhew b. 1803 and Lydia Mumford b. 1828 not my ancestors, but to much of a coincidence for there not to be a connection, plus one of the Dennington Mayhews ended up in Braintree in 1881.
        So I think I need to research this family to see if any members of the family ended up in Essex. this may be the reason I can’t find a Baptism In Essex for William and Sophia Mayhew of Bocking. they might be illegitimate like so many others in that branch of my tree.
        Feel free to post across some look ups. 🙂

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