Simon ‘Ferdinand’ RAWLINGS (c.1762 -1825)

Simon Rawlings is my 6x great-grandfather, He is an ancestor that I know little about and one of my many 18th century brickwalls. He was born roughly around the year 1762 and a resident of Benefield, Northamptonshire, on some documents he records his name as Ferdinand Rawlings, which makes me think that he is possibly German or with close germanic ancestry, when George I, the Elector of Hanover, came to the British throne in 1714, he was followed here by large numbers of Hanoverians and Brunswickers. The germanic immigration of the 18th century had begun.

In the 18th century, 63 Germans were recorded as residing in Northampton. source: Immigrants and Minorities in British Society by Colin Holmes, published in 1978.

This is also a family line that I share DNA with too, a connection that exists through his wife Martha Spriggs (1773 – 1841), daughter of John Spriggs and Ann Porter. Simon / Ferdinand Rawlings married Martha on the 15th January 1788 in the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Weldon, Northamptonshire, England. This is the first document that records his christian name as both Simon and again as Ferdinand.

The couple had seven children born between the years 1790 – 1805

The following Baptisms all took place in the parish church of Benefield, Northamptonshire.

William Rawlings – Baptised on the 17th June 1790 (and my 5th great-grandfather).

Elizabeth Rawlings – Baptised on the 20th April 1794.

Sarah Rawlings – Baptised on the 27th September 1795.

Thomas Rawlings – Baptised on the 24th December 1797.

Simon Rawlings – Baptised on the 31st August 1800.

Martha Rawlings – Baptised on the 1st July 1803.

Jane Rawlings – Baptised on the 10th March 1805.

What I find most interesting about this branch / area of my tree is the poverty that they suffered. Most of my Northamptonshire ancestors struggled through life, some were recorded as paupers and many lost a lot of children during infancy. Occupations were often listed as labourers and I would presume that Simon too was employed in this industry even though I have no occupation listed for him. He may well have been on lower means then his English counterparts and work would have been very hard and hours very long. a bygone age that we today would have difficulty to put into perspective.



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