I would like to identify the parents of my 4th great grandfather John Stacy.

The timeline I have for John Stacy is:

  • 1777 Paying 4 pounds 4 shillings rent for Coach Houses and Stables at Farringdon Without, City of London (from Ancestry.com. London, England, Land Tax Records, 1692-1932) - this may (or may not) be him - the image seems to say "Jno Stracy"
  • 1780, 1782-86, 1788-91 Paying 12 pounds rent to John Edwards (& Isaac Roberts Co) for somewhere in St Leonard, Shoreditch (from Ancestry.com. London, England, Land Tax Records, 1692-1932)
  • 19 Jul 1792 marries Sarah Osment Smyth at St Botolph, Aldgate (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NJ7C-2J6). This is about a mile from St Leonard, Shoreditch. I have an unsourced image of the marriage record that says that he is a Bachelor of the parish (St Botolph, Aldgate) while she is a Spinster of St Leonard, Shoreditch, and that the marriage was by Licence, witnessed by Jno Smyth and G.Cudlipp. Sarah had been baptized at St Botolph, Aldgate on 28 Feb 1768 as the daughter of Jno Smyth and Sarah (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JQLW-FSW).
  • 1793-1808 John and Sarah baptize 11 children in Exmouth, Devon, all bearing the middle name of Smyth, and in this order: Sarah, Henry, John, William, Elizabeth, Mary, Robert, Jane, James, Thomas and Sophia
  • the 1822-23 edition of Pigot's Directory records him as Linen Draper & Grocer in Exmouth (http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/LittlehamEx/ExmouthPigotPre1830.html)
  • the 1830 edition of Pigot's Directory records him Fore Street, Exmouth as a Grocer & Tea Dealer, as well as a Shopkeeper and Dealer in Sundries (Ancestry.com. UK, City and County Directories, 1766 - 1946 [database on-line].)
  • 15 Jun 1831 he dies, and his Will (written 22 Apr 1830) is proved on 1 Sep 1831 (http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D245538) confirming his children and wife. A memorial to him at Glenorchy Chapel, Exmouth says "JOHN STACY ... FINISHED [HIS] CHRISTIAN COURSE, ... JUNE 15TH 1831, AGED 71 YEARS", which suggests he was born in about 1760.

What I am missing is where John was born and/or grew up. So far the best candidate that I have for his baptism is a John Stacey baptised on 30 Mar 1759 at North Petherton, Somerset to Henry and Elizabeth (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N5WC-X2D). The birth year is about right and the parents names seem to tie in with the names that John and Sarah gave their children:

  • The eldest daughter was named Sarah, presumably after her maternal grandmother Sarah Osment (and her mother Sarah Osment Smyth)
  • The eldest son was named Henry, which matches the candidate paternal grandfather Henry Stacey
  • The second daughter was named Elizabeth, which matches the candidate paternal grandmother Elizabeth Stacey (nee Long; https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N282-JLQ)
  • The second son was named John, presumably after his paternal grandfather John Smyth and/or his father John Stacy

Does anyone have any ideas on how I could try to disprove/prove my theory that the parents of John Stacy were Henry Stacey and Elizabeth Long of North Petherton which is more than 140 miles from London (Aldgate and Shoreditch), but just over 40 miles from Exmouth where he seems to have spent his last 40 years?

There were three John Stacey baptisms at North Petherton within 5 years of 1760:

but only one John Stacey married at North Petherton within 10 years of 1785:

The record below appears not to be him - see Interpreting Musgrave's Obituaries (for London) from around 1790? - maybe it is his father or grandfather?

  • 3 Apr 1790: Stacye, "John, tea-dealer, Gracechurch Str. (E.M. 319; G.M. 375.) Book: S Collection: England, Scotland, Ireland: Musgrave's Obituaries Prior to 1800, part 5 From England, Extracted Parish and Court Records (Facts & Sources)"
  • 1
    Did candidate John have siblings? Aunts and uncles are frequently chosen as godparents - Check if your John's name appear in baptismal records for their children or their names in the records for your John's children. Or similarly as witness at weddings. (Assuming that godparents' and witnesses' names are included in the accessible records).
    – bgwiehle
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 15:16
  • @bgwiehle I've not yet looked too deeply at the North Petherton records due to my uncertainty about whether I have ancestors there, but I think using them as part of a process of elimination will be important. There are a lot of Stacey vital records at North Petherton. I have identified three "siblings" for him baptised at North Petherton: Richard (1762), Betty (1765) and Joan (1769). I don't think I'll be able to find godparents at this time/place but witnesses at weddings are more likely - thanks!
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 23:53

1 Answer 1


I now think that the John Stacey baptised on 30 Mar 1759 at North Petherton, Somerset to Henry and Elizabeth (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N5WC-X2D) was not my 4th great grandfather.

Instead I believe he originates from much closer to London based mainly on 1986 writings by my 2nd cousin twice removed Albert Ernest Stacy in "Colonial Cameos and Genetic Gambits - the Stacy Brown Story" but with corroborating evidence provided in my answer to What records might survive of nautical assessor who died on London Docks in second half of 18th century?:

  • page 12: "Reliable record also has it that John Stacy's father was a nautical assessor on the London Docks and was killed by a fall in the hold of a merchant ship in the course of his duty." I am investigating this via What records might survive of nautical assessor who died on London Docks in second half of 18th century? but at this stage I have found no source or support for this statement.
  • page 14: "John Stacy was a boy chorister in St Paul's Cathedral Choir." I have no source for this statement.
  • page 14: "He was later apprenticed to a vintner in Leadenhall Street". This finds support in FindMyPast where there is a London Apprenticeship Abstracts, 1442-1850 Transcription that may relate to John Stacy, as a vintner apprentice: "Stacy John son of Henry, Bermondsey, Surrey, perukemaker, deceased, to John Bates, 7 Dec 1774, Vintners' Company"
  • page 14: John did seem to have a pre-occupation with wig/hair styling: "He was later apprenticed to a vintner in Leadenhall Street and when so employed, his portrait was painted and presented to him by the customers of his master. The occasion coincided with his attendance at a function hosted by the then Lord Mayor of London. John Stacy was allegedly proud of the fact that he wore his own hair and not a wig. Consequently, he had it carefully dressed for the Lord Mayor's party and so that it might not be ruffled before he sat down for the portrait on the following day, he would not lie down that night."
  • page 24: A Family Register states his birth date as being 24 Dec 1759 (no location) which is too late for the baptism on 30 Mar 1759 at North Petherton.

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