For many years my 3rd great grandfather, Captain Charles Hyne, was a bit of an obsession of mine. As commander of merchant sailing ships in 1830’s to 1860’s I could find ample references to him in the shipping notices and newspapers, sometimes complete with latitude and longitude on specific days. However all efforts to learn about his birth, childhood, parents and siblings always hit a brick wall.
Eventually I was able to get someone from the National Archives in Kew, Richmond, England to find his 2nd class Master’s certificate, which along with information from his 1st class certificate was able to point me to a date of birth of 1805 in [East] Portlemouth, Devon.
Frustratingly, the Devon Archives are missing baptisms from [East] Portlemouth for the period covering 1804-1812. The archive catalogue description of item 3383A/PR/1/3 contains the following explanation:
PR 13 contains burials 1804-12, and presumably contained baptisms for the same period, but the baptism pages have apparently been cut out.Devon Heritage Centre Catalogue, reference 3383A/PR/1/3
Fortunately, parish records were regularly “backed up” by creating what are called “Bishop’s Transcripts”. The Family Search website has Bishop’s Transcripts from [East] Portlemouth covering the period in question. They however are not indexed, meaning the information contained within does not appear in the search. Instead you have to scroll through image after image, trying to decipher some 19th century person’s handwriting.
So that’s what I did and eventually I found a record listed under baptisms for 1806 which states:
Charles and Louisa Son and Daughter of John Hyne and Grace his wife were baptized January 14thFamily Search, England, Devon, Portlemouth, East, bishop’s transcripts
By this point, his father John was not a surprise. I already knew about John, his sisters Mary and Susanna, as well as their parents Nicholas Hyne and Susanna. But this was the first I had heard of Grace! It also suggest Louisa, who I had guessed was either a sister or cousin to Charles is in fact his sister.
I scrolled through other bishop’s transcripts from [East] Portlemouth, searching for other references to John Hyne and Grace, or in fact any references to any Hyne’s. I found only two other baptisms, both children of “John Hyne and Grace his wife”: Harry in 1808 and William Elias in 1811.
Next I decided to try searching for marriage records for a John Hyne marrying anyone named Grace. To date I’ve only found one that fits the timeframe, and it was in Blackawton, Devon in 1800. Blackawton is where John and his siblings were baptized, and where his father Nicholas was a land owner. Seems promising. So what was the bride’s name? Grace… Hyne.
Wait. What? On January 15, 1800 in Blackawton, Devon, John Hyne married Grace Hyne.
The marriage record stated that Grace Hyne was from the parish of Blackawton, so I decided to look for a Grace Hyne, baptized in Blackawton who would have been marrying age in 1800. I found one from 1773: Grace Sweet Hyne, daughter of Elias Tucker Hyne, who it turns out was married to Grace Sweet.
Interestingly, there was another Grace Sweet Hyne baptized in Blackawton in 1802. Her parents? John Hyne and Grace. Hmmm. So this John and Grace married in Blackawton were baptizing children in Blackawton. Did this mean they weren’t the John and Grace I was looking for who were baptizing children in [East] Portlemouth?
Next I searched for baptisms of Hyne children with father’s name being John and mother’s name being Grace. I found 9:
- John Hyne, 1801 in Blackawton, Devon
- Grace Sweet Hyne, 1802 in Blackawton, Devon
- Susan Mary, 1813 in Modbury, Devon
Emma Bastard Hyne, 1820 in East Stonehouse, Devon John Bastard Hyne, 1822 in East Stonehouse, Devon Jane Hyne, 1824 in East Stonehouse, Devon Simon Hyne, 1828, in East Stonehouse, Devon Charles Hyne, 1829, in East Stonehouse, Devon Mary Grace Hyne, 1833, in East Stonehouse, Devon
Now by 1833, Grace would have been nearly 60, so it’s unlikely that the baptisms from East Stonehouse are hers. Additionally, there is an 1818 marriage between a John Hyne and a Grace Bastard which further supports this theory.
What we are left with is two baptisms in Blackawton (1801 & 1802), one baptism in Modbury (1813) and a gap in between into which our baptisms from [East] Portlemouth (1806, 1808, 1811) fit nicely.
This “John Hyne and his wife Grace” remain good candidates for being Charles’ parents.
Eventually I began to examine Elias Tucker Hyne and his family. For one thing, the name Elias matches the middle name of the last [East] Portlemouth baptism, William Elias. More support for the link.
I find that Elias Tucker Hyne died in 1818 and is buried, of course, in Blackawton. Then I found his will, which was a treasure trove of information. In the will he bequeaths a sum of money to his “daughter Grace Hine, wife of John Hine late of Modbury”. Wow! The alternate spelling of Hyne/Hine is interesting. And it really does seem to link the 1800 wedding, 1801 and 1802 baptisms to the 1813 baptism. With those links established, the child birth less gap between 1802 and 1813, into which the [East] Portlemouth baptisms fit seems to strengthen that link as well.
Further researching Elias Tucker Hyne’s family tree leads to his son John Hyne (another one, Grace married a man with the same name as her brother!), whose children include a son Frederick James Marchant Hyne. By the 1841 census John and his family, including Frederick are living in St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands!
Charles had listed in his will, one of his executors as Frederick Hyne of Jersey! This seems to be Charles’ first cousin, Frederick, who by the time Charles writes his will is a retired wine merchant.
It also appears that one of the grandsons of John Hyne (of Jersey) marries one of the granddaughters of Charles’ sister Louisa.
Lots more interesting family history to sort through!