Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tuckey Family History Research

Jean and Tuc surrounded by young members of their family
 August 31st Wind still in the right quarter and blowing fresh. Passed Madeira today leaving it about 120 miles to the eastward. The weather is beginning to feel hotter every day and one or two of the 2nd cabin passengers have taken to sleeping out on the deck. It is generally predicted that we are in for a 4 months voyage at least. I most decidedly hope not, seeing that we are beginning to long for land already. Progress 175.

The Rev Henry Tuckey and his young bride Frances had been on board the SS Ashburton barely three weeks when he made this entry in his diary. Unfortunately Henry's fears were confirmed with the passage from Gravesend to Nelson, New Zealand taking a total of 109 days in 1859.

Henry led an eventful life, serving as parish priest, sheep farmer and classics master, but it was his Wiltshire roots that found Jean Tuckey undertaking some long distance rummaging about in Rodbourne Cheney parish registers.

Born in Staffordshire in 1929, Jean has led a pretty colourful life herself, living in India, South Africa and Rhodesia where she met and married Ron Tuckey, the Rev Henry's grandson. In 1987 the couple moved to New Zealand where reminiscing with Ron's elderly aunt saw Jean become hooked on genealogy.

Jean's research has seen her trace the Tuckey family from New Zealand to Haydon, Rodbourne Cheney and Henry, born in 1829 the son of Richard Tuckey. With the death of his father in a hunting accident in 1833 four year old Henry and his brother and two sisters were placed in the care of their wealthy bachelor uncle Thomas Tuckey who raised them up to the manor born in Compton Beauchamp.

Uncle Thomas provided well for the orphaned children, sending Henry to Marlborough Grammar School and Cambridge University. After his ordination at Lichfield Cathedral in 1854 Thomas bought Henry a farm and the advowson of St Mary's, Rodbourne Cheney.

In June 1859 Henry married Frances Isabel Bryant and on August 11 the couple set sail for New Zealand. Henry had sold both the advowson and the farm to fund the venture, much to the displeasure of Uncle Thomas who promptly cut him out of his will.

The transcript of the diary is just one of Jean's many genealogical projects as she continues to research the Tuckey family.  One conundrum that continues to confound her though is the matter of Henry's parents' marriage, if there ever was one, which seems increasingly unlikely.

However, Jean plans to consult the ultimate in primary sources. "Our Richard has been dead a very long time and I will dig out the facts one day," she says. "Or ask him if I don't - when I get there!!"

Frances Tuckey

Rev Henry Tuckey

Image courtesy of P.A. Williams and Swindon Local Studies - visit the website on 

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