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{$text['mgr_teal1']} Ball 1

Unpicking a family conundrum

by Alan D Craxford and Nicola Rhodes


Other articles within the website which relate to particular aspects of this story are noted within square brackets in the text. Links to these articles can be found in the table towards the bottom of column 2


Samuel and Doris Ball

The seed of this article came through a seemingly simple question posed by one author to the other. Knowing my interest in South Normanton and as both her grandparents bore the surname Ball before their marriage, were the couple related? and further, were either or both related to my own Ball family contact? The answers are neither simple and straightforward nor completely answered. The search for those answers plunged us into the misty and, at times unsavoury, history of this village in South Derbyshire. Indeed at the beginning of the twentieth century it bore the accolade as "the dirtiest village in Derbyshire" (1)


Framework machine (2)

Most researchers soon become aware that the records of South Normanton and the villages surrounding it are only partly available for easy scrutiny through the internet. The area also showed tremendous social, occupational and economic changes during the eighteenth century. Initially its base was in agriculture and cottage industries using framework knitting machines to make stockings and similar articles. When large coal deposits were discovered it led to a burgeoning mining industry. Each group of workers tended to stick to their own area of the village. The knitters tended to involve the whole family including young children. They were known locally as "shiners" because of the state of their trouser seats after sitting for very long hours at their machine. They were concentrated in the alleys such as Dog Pool and Brickyard on Water Lane and around the Old Market Place. Social mores amongst the peasantry were very different to today's accepted standards as the following two quotes (the first general, the second applied directly to South Derbyshire) attest:

"If we could only get into God's memory we would find that eighty per cent of the world's marriages have been between second cousins. In a population of three to five hundred people, after six or so generations, there are only third cousins or closer cousins to marry, and you end up with generalised altuism because everybody is equally related. During most of human history the people in such finite isolated communities have probably been the genetic equivalent of first cousins, because of their multiple consanguinity. In rural England for instance the radius of the average isolate or pool of potential spouses was about five miles - the distance a man could comfortably walk twice on his day off when he went courting - his roaming area by daylight. Parish registers bear this out. Then the bicycle extended the radius to twenty five miles, to include four or five villages". - Prof. Robin Fox [Further Reading: 1.]

"Illegitimacy was high in South Normanton. In 1852 16 out of 54 children baptised were illegitimate ... a self perpetuating subculture of continued poverty promoted generation after generation of illegitimate children in certain families. In South Normanton the Ball family seem to have been the major example. Illegitimacy seems to rise from 1795 and the unmarried mothers who claimed relief at this time belonged to families whose names recur in poor relief documents - Ball, Hind, Kite, Marriott, Bacon, Hill (add Gaskin and most of these feature in this article!!! - Ed) Many were sisters or "repeaters" who had one or more illegitimate children". - Prof. Pamela Sharpe [Further Reading: 2.]

How, then, might this affect the study of our own family? We might know that there are two children attributed to a Jane Ball and three children attributed to a Hannah Ball in the Parish records between 1800 and 1810 - all without a named father; we also know from Bastardy records that a Jane Ball had received maintenance for a child from Thomas Kyte and a Jane Ball had received maintenance from a William Marriott. What we don't know is that in a village 121 houses and an estimated population of 588 (in 1788), how many individual Jane or Hannah Balls there might be of young child bearing age living there at the same time. There cannot be that many totally unconnected and unrelated Ball families. Also the resultant children were usually sent off into forced apprenticeship so it is almost impossible to follow what happened to them. My own take on this is that when you see a marriage pattern between the Ball / Marriott; Ball / Kyte or Marriott / Kyte families midway into the next century (ie two generations further on) these are almost certainly (and more than likely unknowing) marriages between cousins. I suspect that as we piece together a comparison between the parish, bastardy and removal records we will find more and more unions from this area which fall into this category. [- A.D.C.]

The family of William Ball and Ann Gaskin

M Ball

Mary Ball

W Ball

William Ball

Firstly, a preliminary admission: the William Ball under discussion in this section is not directly related to the Craxford family. In adult life, he moved to Leicester and became a schoolmaster. He married Mary Naylor, a girl from South Normanton, who was the sister of Miriam, my maternal grandmother. Tragedy struck in 1916 when Miriam died five days after giving birth to my mother, Hilda. She was brought up by William and Mary and stayed on to look after him in his advancing years (See: "'Nunkie' - Mary's Line" and "The girls they left behind" [Article A, B.]).

To understand "my" William Ball, we should start two generations earlier. Little is known of his grandfather and the following has been extrapolated from various records with some added conjecture. It will also introduce two other families into the ever thickening mix of proximity and consanguinity - the Kytes and the Gaskins (also confusingly known even in the same individual as Gascoigne). "My" William's grandfather, also named William Ball, was born about 1820 to presumptive father Samuel Ball, a collier. His place of birth is not known for certain.

William Ball was to marry twice: the first time was probably on February 20th 1837 to Elizabeth Ball in Pentrich. This is a village about five miles south west of South Normanton. William became coal miner and they settled in South Normanton. They had a one daughter, Mary Ann, who was baptised on March 18th 1838. The infant died the following year and was buried on December 5th 1839. Elizabeth followed soon after and died on December 14th 1839, being buried three days later. The cause given on the death certificate reports and unexplained "inflammation" but this may represent an epidemic fever. She was 23 years old. William married again on September 27th 1841 to Ann, the daughter of Samuel Gaskin and Amy Kyte. Witnesses to the ceremony were William Beardsmore and Gilley Moakes. William and Ann had one son, Samuel, before William died on September 3rd 1849. He had contracted one of the infectious diseases prevalent at the time and died of a high fever. He was buried two days later.

Samuel Gaskin and Amy Kyte had eight other children (making six boys and three girls in total) of which eldest son Enoch married Ellen Moakes (Gilley Moakes' aunt); third son Peter married Elizabeth Marriott whilst youngest daughter Sophia married Matthew Moakes (Gilley Moakes' first cousin). One of Peter's sons, Isaac born in 1847, was employed as a miner in a narrow seam at the coal face. He was killed in a roof fall on March 4th 1880 at the No.3 Sleights Pit at Pinxton. Samuel Gaskin had been killed in an earlier accident at Carnfield pit, situated near Carnfield Hall midway between South Normanton and Alfreton on May 8th 1872. He was struck by a fall of "bind" (the shale or mud which overlay the coal seam) and died that day (3). He was 72 years old. Amy died three years later on July 16th 1865.

Three months before William Ball and Ann Gaskin's wedding, Edmund, Ann's brother, had married Mary Ball, the daughter of Joseph Ball and Elizabeth Whittaker at the same church. (To date a direct link between William and Mary has not been established). Edmund and Mary were to have seven children. Edmund was killed in an accident at the pit in Pinxton on July 23rd 1873. He was crushed between a wagon and pile of packing (loose stones used to build up and support the roof underground) on a gate road. Their only daughter Eliza had an illegitimate son, Walter Gaskin, who is worthy of note. His daughter Gertrude (who spelled her name Gascoigne) born in 1917 was to marry Wilfred Naylor (Mary Naylor's great nephew) in 1940 See "In Memoriam" in [Article C.]).

Samuel Ball (1841 - 1914)

St Michaels
St Michaels churchyard

LEFT: St Michael and All Angels, South Normanton; RIGHT: The church from the churchyard

Samuel was born in the autumn of 1841 and was baptised on October 31st 1841. Ann's family, the Gaskins, lived in Dog Pool where she had been a framework knitter before her marriage. On the death of his father, the nine year old Samuel Ball was sent to live with his grandparents and earned a few coppers for the family budget as an errand boy. In 1851, Samuel Gaskin and his son Isaac were miners while his wife Amy, 13 year old younger son Ezekiah and 19 year old daughter daughter Sofia plied the cottage trade as framework knitters. Also in the house was Sofia's nine month old daughter Harriet (who would subsequently have two illegitimate children in the late 1860s). In one direction, their next door neighbours were Samuel's nephew Jonathan Gaskin and his wife Ann Mellor, whilst three doors away was Samuel's son Peter with his wife Elizabeth Marriott and their four children. In the other direction were Elizabeth Marriott's brother, 27 year old Jonathon, sharing the house with Eliza Hill and her four young children. The couple were to marry two years later. Next door to them lived George Moakes and Hannah Beardsmore with five of their eventual eight children. Their next door neighbour was Enoch Gaskin, another of Samuel and Amy's sons. Enoch had married Ellen Moakes, presumably a niece of George. Their daughter Cinderella Gaskin married George Moakes' son Henry in 1858.

The Primitive Zion Chapel, South Normanton (front view)

Zion Chapel


Samuel and Sarah Ball headstone
Mouse over for inscription

Samuel remained with his grandparents in Dog Pool throughout the 1850s and followed the path of most teenagers down the shaft of the local colliery. On May 20th 1861 he married Sarah at the Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels. Sarah who was born in 1845 was the second daughter of coal miner Amos Kyte Duffield and Ann Riley. The Duffield family lived Brickyard, another alley close to Dog Pool off Water Lane. Samuel and Sarah were to have five sons (William, 1863; Abraham, 1866; Hiram, 1870; Samuel, 1874 and Edward, 1881) and a daughter, Sarah Ann, born in 1868. As the family grew, they moved to a house on the other side of the village in Townend. This was off Market Street by the junction with Lees Lane and not far from the Zion Chapel and the Devonshire Arms. In 1875, Samuel became a trustee (along with John Naylor, Mary's father) of the United Methodist Free Church, a breakaway group from the Zion Chapel, on Lees Lane. Sarah died on January 3rd 1897. In his declining years, Samuel at first lived with his youngest son, Edward, before moving in with his now married daughter Sarah Ann Williams and her family. He died on September 19th 1914 and was buried alongside Sarah in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels.

William Ball (1863 - 1955)


The commemorative plaque
Mouse over for inscription

William was born on February 20th 1863. By the time he was eighteen years old he had taken up a post as a pupil teacher. He married Mary, the older daughter of John Naylor and Ann Cotterill, at the Congregational Chapel in Alfreton on July 15th 1891. He became a resident schoolmaster at the Royal Commercial Travellers School in Pinner, Middlesex where he spent several years. By the turn of the century Mary had presented him with two sons (Cyril, 1896 and William Gerald 1898) and he had moved his young family to Leicester. They set up home in the West End of the town and for a time had Mary's sister Miriam living with them. William became Science master and later Deputy Headmaster of the Alderman Newton's Boys Grammar School in the city. After the first World War, they moved to Oadby on the southern outskirts of Leicester. Mary died of a massive heart attack on September 30th 1940. William outlived her by 12 years, dying in the summer of 1952. He was interred alongside Mary in plot B 89 at the Gilroes Cemetery, Groby Road Leicester. There is no headstone and the site is unmarked.

The family of Henry Ball and Thirza Gaskin

The overview of the ancestry of Samuel Bernard Ball is more complicated to explain as both his parents were illegitimate. Therefore this account will start there and work backwards from them. Samuel was the third son born to Henry Ball and Thirza Gaskin in South Normanton on June 16th 1905. Henry, a coalminer, married Thirza Gaskin in the winter of 1897. After the service, Henry and Thirza made their home in Hamlet Lane, which leads to the tiny enclave of Hamlet, just south of the village. They were to have seven children (Joseph Henry, 1897; Eliza Ann, 1899; Wilfred, 1900; Doris Ida, 1903, Samuel Bernard, Gladys Edeline, 1909 and John James, 1911). Henry sustained injuries to his hand in a pit accident in November 1913 (4). Thirza died in November 1926 and was buried on the 15th day of that month.

It appears that Henry married again in the autumn of 1935 to widow Mary Kerry. Born Mary Page in 1877 she had married David Aaron Kerry in 1897. In 1911 her family was living as near neighbours to Henry and Thirza in Hamlet Lane. Her husband died in 1925. In 1939, the couple were living in Queen Street, off Market Street, in South Normanton, with two of Mary's children. Henry died in the village in 1940.

Henry Ball (1872 - 1940)

Henry was one of two illegitimate sons of Eliza Ball, born in Mansfield in the summer of 1872. The other, John was born in Sutton in Ashfield the following year. As far as is known Eliza never married. She was born in South Normanton, the youngest of three children of William Robert Ball and Maria Gaskin. That couple were married on December 7th 1845. Maria gave birth to two children, Selina in 1845 and Henry in 1847. She was pregnant again when William died sometime during 1849. She duly gave birth to a second daughter, Eliza, in 1850. Now registered as a pauper and a seamstress she was living in a house in Alfreton Road on the west side of the village. In the 1860s, Maria gave birth to two more sons: John in 1862 and Arthur in 1866. No father's name is recorded in the indexes and there is no evidence that Maria married again. By 1871 she and her two youngest sons were lodging with barber Joseph Elliott in Dog Pool where she would stay for the next ten years. She died in South Normanton in the early months of 1887.

Maria Gaskin was born in 1822 the older daughter of Matthew Gaskin and Mary Ann Holmes. In 1861, her younger sister, Effey, born in 1841, married George Haywood (born 1842), who was the uncle of the George Haywood who wrote an insightful account in 1920 of his memories of growing up in Victorian South Normanton (see "A Haywood family history - in three parts" [Article D.]). Maria's first cousin, Sarah Gaskin (1831 - 1915) had married George Haywood's older brother Samuel (1827 - 1876) in the village in April 1851.

Eliza Ball was living in Townend, the area adjacent to Lees Lane when her two sons were born. Like her mother, she earned some money as a seamstress. By 1881 she had moved into lodgings in Blackwell Road with 36 year old unmarried charwoman Hannah Buxton and her 14 year old son. Eliza had been suffering from the progressive advance of pulmonary tuberculosis for several years. On October 23rd 1886, she sustained an acute haemorrhage from the lungs during a coughing bout from which she perished. She was 36 years old. After the death of his mother Henry found a temporary home with John and Rose Ball in the Market Place. In the census that year, John described Henry as his nephew, although strictly speaking the relationship was half nephew. On December 1st 1883 John Ball, one of the two illegitimate sons of Maria Gaskin (and Eliza's half brother), married 15 year old Rose Hodson in the autumn of 1883. Rose, born in the summer of 1868, was the illegitimate daughter of Sarah Hodson, who was lodging with collier John Wilson next door but one neighbours to Maria Ball in Dog Pool 1871. Interestingly on the marriage record John stated his father was Joseph Elliott, barber and Rose declared her father to be John Wilson. Sarah Hodson, who never married, had four children by 1881 when they were living three doors away from Ellen Gaskin and her brood. [Further Reading: 3, 4.]

Thirza Gaskin (1873 - 1926)

Thirza Gaskin was born on March 10th 1873 to Sarah Gaskin and was baptised nine days later. Sarah was one of the seven children of Enoch Gaskin and Ellen Moakes and younger sister by ten years of Cinerella Gaskin. She had one other sister, Ann and five brothers: Samuel (1844), Hermon (1846), John (1851), George - who was deaf and dumb from birth (1853) and James (1857). She grew up with her siblings in Dog Pool and remained at the family home which, in the census of 1871, included her son Stephen who had been born August 27th 1869. Her father Enoch, died in 1872. Almost immediately Sarah entered into domestic service, her recorded occupation when Thirza was born. Her son Stephen died in the early spring of 1873.

Sarah married Joseph Renshaw on August 21st 1886 at St Michael and All Angels Church. Joseph, born in 1859, was the second of four sons of Archelaus Renshaw and his wife Ann Gaskin. The family had been neighbours in Dog Pool for a number of years. Thirza was Ann Gaskin's first cousin, twice removed. Married happiness did not last long and Joseph died on February 12th 1895. He had been suffering from increasing bouts of asthma for over four years. During an acute episode be collapsed with cardiac failure. After the turn of the century, Sarah lived first with now married daughter Thirza in Hamlet and then in 1911 with her younger brother James Gaskin (now styled Gascoigne and a hairdresser), and 34 year old Cinderella Renshaw, described as James' niece. Sarah died in South Normanton in the winter of 1915.

St Helens

St Helen's Church, Pinxton

In the spring of 1877, Hannah, the unmarried daughter of Henry Moakes and Cinderella Gaskin and Sarah Gaskin's sister, gave birth to a little girl which she named Cinderella. Hannah died aged 22 years of pulmonary tuberculosis on June 2nd 1880. When the census the following year was taken, the four year old Cinderella Moakes was living with the family of the now widowed Ellen Gaskin, which still included Sarah, Thirza and James. The little girl's status was described as "orphan". Cinderella Moakes died in the village in early 1923.

Samuel Bernard Ball married Doris Ball at St Helen's Church in Pinxton, a village a couple of miles south east of South Normanton in 1934. He was a miner employed as a surface runner - a job described as heavy. Samuel was also a Special Constable with the Derbyshire Constabulary. By the outbreak of the second World War they had settled into a house at 21 Sherwood Avenue in Pinxton. At the same address lived Doris' parents. The couple had two children: Jennifer in 1936 and John in 1940. Samuel died in the early months of 1993.

Continued in column 2...

The Relationship Charts

So, "my" William Ball and Samuel Bernard Ball show at least three different relationships depending on the path traversed through the family tree. There may be many more given the potential number of linkages as yet undiscovered in even earlier generations. Genealogy is defined as an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms (5) and [Further Reading: 5.]. The fundamental presumption is that all individuals in a family line share a consanguineous or blood relationship which confirms a genetic link between them. The way in which any individual is related to any other individual in this scheme is described as his or her kinship. In kinship terminology, a cousin is a relative with whom one shares one or more common ancestors although the term is not usually used when referring to members of the immediate family. It is outside the nuclear family that the real confusions and misunderstandings come into play with such expressions as second cousin three times removed and third cousin twice removed. As stated above, a cousin is someone in your family tree who shares with you a common ancestor. This two-part nomenclature has developed to describe the actual relationship (See: "Of cousins ... by degrees and removals" [Article E.]).

1. Second cousin once removed

The closest relationship between the two comes from the great grandfather, Samuel Gaskin, shared by William and by Samuel's mother Thirza Gaskin. In the terminology, they were second cousins and Samuel Bernard is one step or "once removed" from this relationship. William's grandmother Ann Gaskin and Samuel's great grandfather Enoch were sister and brother, two of the nine children of Samuel Gaskin (1793 - 1862) and Amy Kyte (about 1795 - 1865). Many of the offspring of this family are of particular note. Second son Edmund Gaskin (about 1819 - 1873) married Mary Ball (born about 1822). Mary was great aunt to William (as well as his second cousin once removed and second cousin twice removed) and was second cousin three times removed to Samuel Bernard. Next son Peter (as Gascoigne) married into the Marriott family whose son Isaac Gaskin had a brief marriage to Dorothy Bond who had five children previously. Her eldest son, Abraham (born in 1850) married Harriett the daughter of George Moakes and Hannah Beardsmore.

2. Third cousin once removed

Third cousins share a great great grandparent. The pairing this time is through a different route from William and from Samuel's father Henry Ball to Jonathan Gaskin and once again Samuel is one step removed from the relationship. Jonathan Gaskin (born about 1770) married Ann Mellor and had eleven known children. Eldest son Edward married Elizabeth Moakes in April 1809. Jonathan named his youngest son Jonathan (1808 - 1893). He married Charlotte Mounteney in December 1827 and produced twelve children. Notable amongst them were daughter Sarah Gaskin who married Samuel Haywood, son of George Haywood and Frances Marriott, in 1851 and Ann Gaskin who married Archelaus Renshaw in 1854. It was their son Joseph who married Sarah Gaskin (Ann's first cousin once removed).

3. Third cousin twice removed

As before, the chart shows the pairing of a couple sharing great great grandparents. This time it is to Francis Kyte, the great great grandfather of William Ball and Sarah Gaskin, Samuel's grandmother. Samuel is two steps away from this relationship hence he is twice removed. Francis Kyte who married Ann Amos had nine children. Sarah, who married Thomas Duffield, was Francis' middle daughter. Francis and Ann had a son he named Francis, whose daughter Amy married Samuel Gaskin. Francis and Ann's next son John was married twice. His first wife, Martha Simpson, produced five children of which daughter Ann married John Ball in November 1820 and their daughter Mary married Edmund Gaskin. After Martha died, John Kyte married again to Jane Ball. She had already produced a daughter, Mary, who married an as yet unrecognised related John Ball. One of their sons, Levi, married Maria, another of the daughters of George Haywood and Frances Marriett. John Kyte and Jane Ball apparently produced three sons, the first known as Francis Ball Kyte. However when Francis married Frances Vardy their children were known as Grace Ball, William Ball and John Ball Kyte.

The ancestry of Doris Ball

Doris Ball's relationship with the Ball family is also by no means straightforward. Doris, (not to be confused with the one year older Doris Ida, her future husband's sister), was born in Riddings, a village about four miles south of South Normanton, on March 20th 1904. She was the daughter of John William Darrington and Harriett Grundy. She spent her childhood in Park Lane, Pinxton. She married Samuel Bernard Ball in 1934. She died in the winter of 1982.

John William Darrington (1871 - 1948)

John William Darrington was born on July 6th 1871 in the Basford Union Workhouse, Nottingham, the illegitimate son of Hannah Darrington. The history of Hannah Darrington is by no means clear. There are no available records to say when or from where Hannah was admitted. There are however suggestions that she was related to the Darrington family that lived in the Codnor Park or Golden Valley area of Derbyshire which is about a mile south of Riddings. The April 1871 census for the Union Workhouse does contain a 68 year old inmate John Darrington, a collier from Codnor, but no Hannah even in the hospital. It seems likely that she was admitted purely for the duration of her confinement.

St James

St James' Church and graveyard, Riddings (6)

In April 1881 John was listed as a boarder with the family of coal miner William Ball and his wife Sarah Shawcroft. At the time they were living in one of a row of cottages in the curiously named Dog Kennels near Fletcher's Row in Riddings. He remained with the family when they moved to West Street in Riddings and he took on a job as a winding engine stoker at the colliery. By the 1891 census he had dropped "Darrington" and was recorded as "Ball - son". John married Harriet Grundy on August 5th 1896 at St James's Church in Riddings.

George Street

George Street, from an old postcard

Harriet Grundy was born in Riddings on January 19th 1875, one of at least eight of the children of Samuel Grundy and Eliza Severn. Although Eliza had been born in Somercotes in 1852 to John Severn and Harriet Chambers, her father was born to Joseph Severn and Frances Reeve in 1823 in Greasley, a village in the north west of Nottinghamshire 7 miles south east of Riddings. His wife Harriet hailed from the nearby village of Kimberley. Examination of records also shows a second John Severn born in Greasley in 1824 who married Mary Winterbottom from the same village. Their grandson Joseph Severn married Elsie Naylor (daughter of Joseph Naylor and Elizabeth Marriott and the niece of Mary Naylor mentioned at the start of this article) in 1910. The two Johns were first cousins once removed. Another possible association with the Chambers family arises from Awsworth, a village a couple of miles away from Kimberley. Granville Chambers married Neliie Roberta Wainwright. His father Meshach and uncle Shadrach Chambers were born in the village in the 1820s (see "The Wainwright Connection" [Article F.]).

John and Harriet's first daughter was born in the autumn of 1898 and she was baptised Elsie Ball in Riddings on November 20th 1898. At the turn of the century John, now a colliery engine driver, had moved his young family to George Street, a cul de sac off Somercotes Hill to the south of Somercotes. Next to arrive was the couple's first son, baptised Arthur Darrington Ball on September 15th 1901. Doris was similarly baptised on June 19th 1904, this time with her surname hyphenated. In the middle of the decade John moved again to Park Lane, Pinxton. Two more sons followed: Stanley in 1907 and Ernest in 1910, both born in Pinxton. During the 1930s the family moved again to Sherwood Avenue in Pinxton. Harriet died there and was buried on December 12th 1945. John William died at the same address on October 7th 1948 and was buried two days later.

William Ball (about 1833 - 1913)

William Ball, with whom John William Darrington found a home, was born in Golden Valley, a hamlet on the Cromford Canal midway between Riddings and Codnor. His parents were Anthony Ball and Hannah Powell and he had a brother, Anthony (born 1836) and a sister (1839). In his teenage years he became a miner and worked his way up at the colliery to become a banksman - the man loading and unloading tubs from the pitshaft cage and organising the workforce. He married Sarah Shawcroft, a girl from Greenhill Lane, Riddings on May 21st 1854. They were to have two sons (Anthony, 1857 and John, 1864) and two daughters (Sarah, 1861 and Hannah, 1875). When John William Darrington arrived with William's family, there is no evidence where he had come from or that he had any particular relationship with them. There is no evidence either that John William did anything but adopt the surname Ball as a matter of convenience or that he was formally adopted by William and Sarah. The 1881 census does confirm John William's birth in Nottingham but by 1891 this had been changed to Golden Valley.

William's wife, Sarah died at the beginng of 1902 and was buried in Riddings on January 8th 1902. Daughter Sarah Ball had married Thomas Kerry Wetton at Birchwood Chapel in 1884. They ultimately settled in West Street, Greenhill Lane were, in 1911, the 78 year old William was living with them. William died in the spring of 1913.


In the end, the simple answer to the apparently simple question asked at the outset of this article "Were the Balls related" is "Yes" and "No".

It is well accepted that in small isolated communities, the choice of spouse usually comes from within the family, from another family into which there were already married or from near neighbours. Add to this the almost overwelming rate of illegitimacy that South Normanton displayed it is not surprising that William and Samuel Bernard Ball display three (at least) blood relationships of one degree or another.

Doris Ball, because of the status of her father, is not related to either branch of William or Samuel Bernard's family tree.

William Ball of Golden Valley has no direct blood relationship with either William or Samuel Bernard Ball, at least so far that has been found. The closest that could be found was through marriage with William's first cousin Ann Ball, daughter of Anthony Ball and Elizabeth Godber, who married George Spencer. Their son Eli married Elizabeth, one of the daughters of George Haywood and Frances Marriott

However, the continued release and the wealth and depth of documents from the past is never ending. Who know? All these declared relationships may need to be changed in the future.

Further Reading

The book 'The Mountain of Names: A history of the human Family' with introduction by Robin Fox


A Village of Considerable Extent


Marriage Law


The Changing Face of Legal Regulation


The book 'Kinship and Marriage: An Anthropological Perspective'


The book covers

1: "The Mountain of Names" Kodansha International 1995 ISBN 1568360711
5: "Kinship & Marriage" Cambridge University Press 1967. ISBN 052127823-6;

We thank Robin Fox for his permission to use the quotation (page 231) from his chapter in Part II, "The Kinship of Mankind" in the book "The Mountain of Names" by Alex Shoumatoff. Robin is an anthropologist, historian and author of many books on kinship systems. His work, "Kinship and Marriage" is recognised as an established classic in the literature of social science. He is Professor of Social Theory at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.

2: "A Village of Considerable Extent" John Murfin & Associates, Riddings 1982 ISBN 0952156504

This small volume written by Pamela Sharpe which originally started life as an 'A' level project contains a wealth of information about the history of the village concentrated within its pages. The quote comes from Chapter 8 "Poor Relief - The Rice Dole". Pamela Sharpe is Adjunct Professor at the Australian Academy of Humanities and has held the post of Professor of History at the University of Tasmania.

3: "Marriage Law for Genealogists: the definitive guide. Revised Second Edition" (2016) Takeway Publishing, Kenilworth, Warwickshire. ISBN 978-0-9931896-2-3.
4. "The Changing Legal Regulation of Cohabitation: From Fornication to Family, 1600-2010" (2012) Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-53630-2.

Rebecca Probert is Professor of Family Law at the Law School at the University of Exeter. She has written a number of textbooks and books of general interest including the one listed here. It is an indispensable guide for everyone tracing the marriages of their English and Welsh ancestors between 1600 and the twentieth century. It explains why, how, when and where people in past centuries married. Of particular interest to this article is the marriage of John Ball to Rose Hudson in South Normanton in December 1883 when Rose was 15 years of age. Of note is The Registrar General's report for 1894 which notes that only 19 15 year olds married that year. It is perhaps surprising that it remained the law into the twentieth century that girls aged twelve and boys aged fourteen could validly marry. It was not until the Age of Marriage Act 1929 that the minimum age of marriage was raised to sixteen years for both sexes. The second volume is a critical overview of the legal and social aspects of cohabitation and illegitimacy over four centuries. Rebecca had been able to offer help and advice on legal aspects of several issues raised in our pages for which we are always grateful.


The authors would like to express their thanks for the help, comments and suggestions from the following in the construction of this article: Contributors to the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Forums (including Annie65115, Dizzifish, Heywood, Larkspur and Sunflower) at RootsChat.Com.

Links to the articles mentioned in the text are in italic capitals below:

Article A.: 'Nunkie' - Mary's Line (i)' Relocation to Leicester: In the footsteps of Mary, John Henry and Miriam Naylor.
Article B.: "I was asked to play the piano for him. I later found out, that the piano had been closed since his wife's death, and he wouldn't allow anyone to touch it." Comrades in Arms.
Article C.: 'In Memoriam: Gertrude Naylor' Page 2: Naylor / Ball: The Naylors of South Normanton.
Article D.: 'A three part account of the Haywood family and their association with other South Normanton families.' A Haywood family history.
Article E.: 'The difference between second cousin three times removed and third cousin twice removed.' A Glossary of Genealogical Relationships.
Article F.: The Wainwright - Chambers connection From Gretton to Barrowden 2: From Craxford to Wainwright and beyond.


1. "The Dirtiest Village in Derbyshire" South Normanton A Guide to Derbyshire & the Peak District. Derbyshire UK 2. Framework Knitting Machine Knitters, Framework Knitters and Stockingers Geni.com
3. South Normanton, Fatal fall of bind. Samuel Gaskin killed: Derbyshire Courier Page 3 May 17th 1862 The British Newspaper Archive; © The British Library Board.
4. Record transcription Henry Ball, Septic hand South Normanton Colliery, November 26th 1913 in England, Mining Disasters
5. Genealogy: a definition in The Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary An Encyclopaedia Britannica Company
6. Photograph: St James' Church, Riddings © Alan Murray-Rust, on Geograph and licenced for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Page added - July 12th 2020
Last updated - July 17th 2020

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