In 1805, according to the Bishops Transcripts for Little Newcastle in Pembrokeshire, Wales, Elinor Hassall married John John. John, his descendants and relatives of the family were predominantly Baptists, so it seems reasonable to assume that Elinor was as well. The Parish Registers for marriages in Little Newcastle haven't survived pre-1813, so no information about witnesses etc. is available.

I haven't been able to identify where Elinor might have been born; there are no other HASSELL/HASSALL/HAZEL events that I can trace in Little Newcastle. Where I might look for her?

Elinor is my great x4 grandmother.

Additional information:

  • The 1841 census for Little Newcastle suggests that Elinor was born between 1781 and 1786. She isn't present in the 1851 census, so most likely died before then.
  • This region of Pembrokeshire is just above the Landsker so it is possible that she would have needed to speak Welsh day-to-day, so may have been born in a Welsh-speaking area.
  • In correspondence with a descendant of the Hassalls of Kilrue/Llanfihangel Penbedw and formerly Worcestershire) we have been unable to establish a legitimate link (and are pretty sure there isn't one, among other things, as that family were Anglican). Nor can I find a legitimate link to Charles Hassall of Eastwood, near Narberth (related to the Hassalls of Kilrue), although he was steward to the Llanstinan estate, which wasn't that far from Little Newcastle.
  • David John in his journals says that he does not know any further details other than her name (Elinor) and the fact that she married John John, who was brother to David John's grandfather.

Edited to add:

My current possibilities for Elinor (in no particular order) are:

  • Her name wasn’t Hassall at all – the incumbent at Little Newcastle made a mistake filling in the PR or BT. This would be more likely if there were other Hassalls in the parish that he was accustomed to dealing with, but I can’t find any trace of another Little Newcastle baptism burial or marriage involving a Hassall or any variant.

  • Her name was Hassall but she originated further afield, as all the Hassalls I’ve found in Pembrokeshire are linked to a single prominent Hassall line (of Kilrue/Eastwood), and she clearly isn’t a legitimate member of those lines (according to the descendents of that line who have researched it thoroughly). I’d need to explain how she ended up in Pembrokeshire in 1805 without (apparently) any nearby family – perhaps she was in service? She married into a Welsh-speaking family, but language may not have been a barrier.

  • Her name was a variant of Hassall – Hassell, Hossall, Hazel, Haskell, etc. There are some Haskells baptising and burying a child in Gumfreston circa 1812, and of course there could be others lurking in parish registers (or indices) I don’t have access to.

  • Her name was Hassall, she was the last of her line and all the previous events in her family are in lost PRs or non-conformist records.

  • She was the illegitimate daughter of Charles Hassall ( a member of the prominent Hassall family in Kilrhue/Eastwood) and she (and/or the incumbent at Little Newcastle) knew her parentage. (She married before the death of Charles Hassall, which may or may not be significant). Given the standing of Charles Hassall, there is unlikely to be a smoking gun in the form of a bastardy bond or similar (he could have afforded a private settlement), and the PRs for Little Newcastle are lost for the relevant period, but of course she might show up in another parish with a helpful notation from the incumbent… or in chapel records. Of relevance: Charles Hassall was steward of Llanstinan (not too far from Little Newcastle) possibly about the time than Elinor was conceived;and Elinor's eldest son was called Charles, the first recorded time that name had appeared in her husband's family.

I may be missing some possibilities?

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure how much help this will be, but I wanted to give it a shot. I hate being stumped :)

I did locate this page of links specifically for Pembrokeshire, Wales. http://www.genealogylinks.net/uk/wales/pembrokeshire/index.html. There might be some unexplored things there.

Women in wales typically didn't use the patronymic naming system, especially this late, but it's not impossible. They also sometimes did and sometimes did not take their husband's last name on marriage.

I might also explore records in the US because a lot of welsh immigration happened in the mid 1800's so, even if Elinor didn't immigrate, a child might have and some of the US census forms note the place of birth of parents.

As I was poking around, I did notice that there's a Membership application for the Sons of the American Revolution that lists Elinor John and John John as ancestors with Pembrokeshire listed. Unfortunately there was nothing further back than that.

There was also an intriguing mention in the legal files in 1805 - Elinor John was tried for Receiving stolen goods and sentenced to 12 months in prison. Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Sorry it's not much help but I hope a little.

  • The suggestion about emigration may be worth following up -- I know of at least 2 emigrants to the States in this area. Thank you. Where could I find details of the Sons of the American Revolution? also the criminal record?
    – user104
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 21:11
  • I actually found both of these on Ancestry. Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 5:30
  • OK, I've found the reference to Elinor John receiving stolen goods. There's little (no) identifying evidence, and I don't have an exact marriage date for her, so I can't confirm or disprove it as a possibility yet. The "Sons of the American Revolution" info isn't available on Ancestry.co.uk.
    – user104
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 10:24
  • Yah - the stolen goods record was worth saving in case there was a way to tie it in later but is by no means guaranteed. The SAR record is from an applicant named Sylvan Morris Toner who applied in 1957 and was accepted in 1958. It looks like he's going back to a Jehu John, born in Chester County, PA Dec 2, 1759, died January 30, 1837 in Brookville, IN. Does any of that ring a bell? If so, it may be related and maybe I can find a way to get the scanned microfilm record to you. Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 6:45
  • Jehu John born 1759 in PA is born before my Elinor Hassall and John John in Wales, so doesn't sound promising but thanks for the offer.
    – user104
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 8:20

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