Amy Johnson Crow introduced the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge on her No Story Too Small blog in 2014. This year she continued the challenge, but also added a weekly theme. This week’s theme was about the Non-population censuses. Since I haven’t come across any relatives on these special census schedules, I have decided to go “off topic” this week. Another reason why I decided to go “off topic” was because this week I came across additional information about my 3x great grandfather, William Whimpey.
Last Friday, I came across the post Mega-Search … an option for getting search results from just genealogical web sites on the Upfront with NGS blog, so I decided to check this Mega-Search out.
When I uncover new resources, I have a surname that I tend to use, my maiden name, Whimpey, since it’s an uncommon name, which means that I’m usually about to fit any new records I find into my family somewhere.
One of the search results was for Family Search – William Whimpey and Elizabeth Clement. William and Elizabeth were my 3x great grandparents. Although I use FamilySearch often for historical records, I don’t tend to use the FamilySearch Family Tree very often, so this entry was new to me.
In the story about William, there was a statement “He served in the battle of Waterloo, for which he received a medal”. I decided to do some research to see if this was true.
I then went to the Home Page to use the Search form, where I typed in William Whimpey. This came up showing there was a record for him, but I had to pay a subscription to view the information. So, I paid for a subscription, only to find that the record attached was only a transcription. This record showed that a William Whimpey, “was awarded The Military General Service Medal (MGSM) for military actions from 1793 to 1814; a period covering the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Anglo-American War of 1812. Each battle or action covered by the medal was represented by a clasp on the ribbon, with twenty-nine bars been awarded. The medal was only awarded to surviving claimants. The Claimant had to survive until 1847 and then actively apply for it. This showed that he served in the 32nd foot (also known as the Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry), and was awarded clasps for Salamanca, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes and Toulouse
Although this indicated that a William Whimpey did serve in the military for around this period of time, this didn’t confirm he fought in the Battle of Waterloo, or that this was my ancestor. So, it was back to Google. On returning to Google, I realised that the first result returned was for FindMyPast. I received the following result when searching Military records at FindMyPast
Whimpey William — — 1793-1814 Other wars & conflicts Great Britain
I currently have a Pay Per View subscription with FindMyPast, so I used my credits to view and download the original record, which was from the Peninsular Medal Roll 1793-1814.
This record didn’t provide much information
The second result when I had searched Google was for Ancestry.com. Since one of William’s sons, Isaac, became a member of the Latter Day Saint church, and ended up settling in Utah, when I search Ancestry, there are a lot of results (particularly Public Member Trees) for William. In order to see if there were any Military records for William, I narrowed my search to just Military.
This produced a number of entries, including:
in the UK, Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1949
in the UK, British Army Muster Books and Pay Lists, 1812-1817
in the Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900
The most helpful of these in determining that these records were for my ancestor was the Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900. This identified that the record was for William Whimpey, age 16, born about 1791 in Frome, Somerset, Military date 1 May 1807. The birthplace matches the details for my 3x great grandfather, and the year of birth was within 2 years. This record showed that he served in the 32nd Foot Soldiers.
The UK, British Army Muster Books and Pay Lists, 1812-1817 showed: Start of Muster 25 Sep 1815, End of Muster 25 Dec 1815, Stationed or Muster Place: On the Continent. Regiment or Unit: 32nd Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion. The original image provided additional information – the year 1791 (most likely birth year), and included the date 1 May 1807 in one of the columns (there were no headings on the page to indicate exactly what each date corresponded to), which matches up with the “Military date” from the previous record.
The other record, UK, Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1949, showed: William Whimpey, Campaign or Service: Battle of Waterloo, Service date: 1815, Service location Belgium Regiment or Unit Name: W H Toole Company. Unfortunately, this record didn’t provide any additional details, just his name, but it did show that a William Whimpey did fight in the Battle of Waterloo. Since the Regiment or Unit Name didn’t match the other two records, I decided to do a Google search for the W H Toole Company, to find out more information about this company, and the following was one of the search results.
This shows that Captain W. H. Toole’s Company was part of the 32nd Regiment of Foot, which matches the other two records. Used together, these records indicate that my 3x great grandfather William Whimpey did fight in the Battle of Waterloo, and that he did receive a medal.
Now that I had this information, I decided to look into more details about Captain W. H. Toole’s Company and the 32nd Regiment of Foot (in particular their participation in the Battle of Waterloo). I found some messages at Rootschat http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=351075.0 about the Regiment. There were also a number of websites that mentioned Captain W. H. Toole was wounded at Quatre Bas on 16 September 1815.
An article at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/32nd_(Cornwall)_Regiment_of_Foot states:
“Two days later at Battle of Waterloo the 32nd were stationed opposite the French main attacks, stoically standing their ground before attacking Napoleon’s assaulting troops. There were 647 men of all ranks at the start of 18 June 1815, and at the end of the day there were only 131 men left standing; they suffered the greatest loss of any regiment on that day.”
William was born 5 May 1789 in Frome, and was baptised 27 March 1790. William married Elizabeth Clement(s) on 14 July 1817 – a little under 2 years after the Battle of Waterloo.
William and Elizabeth had nine children. The first of their children, Eliza Clement Whimpey, was the last to be baptised. She was baptised 10 July 1833. The transcription on FreeReg shows that the on the Bishop’s Transcript, she was listed as being about 22 years old. This would indicate she was born in 1811 – well before William and Elizabeth were married.
Now that I know that he served in the military from 1807 to 1815, this helps to explain why they were married so long after Eliza’s birth.
Because he was away fighting for his country, they would have been snatching moments together during the times he was on leave. During one of these times, Elizabeth had become pregnant, and she later gave birth to Eliza. It was on William leaving the military that they finally married. They went on to have another 8 children.
William and Elizabeth’s children were:
- Eliza born about 1811, baptised 10 July 1833. Eliza married William Edward Edwards in 1841 in Bristol. Eliza was with her sister Elizabeth in St Helier, Jersey at the time of the 1871 census. Family records show she died 24 July 1874. It is not known if she died at St Helier, or if she had returned to England.
- John on 7 March 1818. John married Caroline Jones in 1839 in Llanfoist, Monmouthshire, Wales, and with his brother Joseph and Joseph’s wife Margaret Price, they migrated to Australia in 1841. John died in South Australia in 1895.
- Joseph (my 2x great grandfather) on 28 August 1819. Joseph married Margaret Price in 1840 in Bedwellty, Monmouthshire, Wales, and as mentioned above, they migrated to Australia in 1841.
- Mary Ann on 8 April 1822. Mary Ann married Edward Snelgrove in 1846 in Frome. They moved to London, where Mary Ann died in 1870
- Isaac on 25 December 1823. This child died young. For many years I hadn’t been able to find a record for Isaac’s death, but recently came across a burial in Frome for a John Whimpey, son of William, age 2, on 28 November 1824. The abode was listed as Butts, which is the same abode as on Isaac’s baptism record.
- Elizabeth C. on 18 June 1825. Elizabeth married Thomas Prout about 1845 (I haven’t found the marriage record yet), and they went to live at St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands. Family records list her date of death as 26 Dec 1894, but I have not yet been able to find a death record for her to confirm this.
- Isaac on 30 June 1827. Isaac married Mary Lewis in 1847 in Llanelly, Breconshire, Wales. Isaac and Mary migrated to the United States in 1866. Mary died in 1869, and Isaac then married Elizabeth Butt, nee Callaway. He eventually settled in Utah, where he died in 1912.
- William on 20 June 1829. William married Emily Jennings in 1852 in the Crickhowell district, Breconshire, Wales. He died in 1874 in Troedryhiw, Glamorgan, Wales.
- Rebecca on 29 September 1832. Rebecca died young. For many years, I didn’t know what had happened to Rebecca, until I recently found a burial entry at FreeReg, which showed she was buried 10 May 1833 in Frome.
William lived to be an old man, dying 27 May 1870 at the Asylum in Frome, at the age of 81 years.