Monday, 10 September 2012

Family History Through The Alphabet Challenge : R is for...

I've decided to write this Alphabet Challenge post about two of my family lines that start with this week's letter - R. My 4 x great-grandfather was Zachariah Rudd and my 4 x great-grandmother was Sarah Rivett. Both of these families are from my father's side.
Sitting down to write this post brought home the startling reality that I know very little about these two families. I owe what I do know to my second cousin Terry, who was researching his family tree long before I got serious about it. He was able to determine that the Rudd family originated from Thelveton in Norfolk before moving to Loddon and Beccles. The Rivett family lived in the villages of Ringsfield and Shipmeadow, in Suffolk (both of which are located between the market towns of Beccles and Bungay).
Zachariah Rudd (born about 1778) was recorded in the census returns as a cotton weaver, a jobbing gardener, and a boot and shoe maker. Every ten years his address appears to change from Beccles in 1841 (Smallgate Street)  to Loddon in 1851 (with his daughter and son-in-law William Leman, who I posted about a few weeks ago) and then back again to Beccles (Old Market in 1861 and Northgate in 1871). Zachariah Rudd died in 1871 at the ripe old age of 94. I wonder what his secret to long life was back then!
Sarah Rivett (born about 1780) in Shipmeadow, Suffolk. Today there is scarcely nothing to the village of Shipmeadow. It has no shop, public-house or church (the latter was made redundant in 1980) but its parish workhouse still stands today, as a testiment to its history, even if it has been converted into modern housing and flats. Sarah married Issac Turrell in 1807 and they had at least six known children. They lived in nearby Ringsfield but unfortunately the census returns of 1841 and 1851 does not give an actual street address. Ringsfield was a small village with over 1,000 acres of agricultural land and farm-houses; today it has a primary school, a village hall and a public-house. The church of All Saints is a Grade II listed building and the churchyard contains the grave and memorial of Napoleon Bonaparte's  great-niece Princess Caroline Murat.
Ringsfield Church, a sketch from 1819

Ringsfield Church, 2011

Princess Caroline Murat's Memorial Gravestone
Interior of Ringsfield Church, 2011
Ringsfield Hall

The Three Horseshoes, Ringsfield
Photo courtesy of Tony Green

I do not know who either Zachariah Rudd or Sarah Rivett's parents were. There is more work to be done on these family lines. It takes a blog post like this one to make you notice the gaps in your genealogy research. Turns out this post had more to do with Ringsfield, which is probably just as well as it still covered the letter R for the week!


  1. Really interesting post Debra. I want to explore Rngsfield church - sadly it's only left unlocked on a Saturday.

  2. Thanks as always, for leaving a comment. I appreciate your support. If you could get to the church and gather some photos, that would make for a great post for me to read! ;-) xx

  3. Fabulous post, and I totally agree with you about finding gaps in your info, when writing a post on them ... it really does highlight them doesn't it. I love the sketch of the church ... it's lovely.

  4. A very interesting post - love the name Zaccariah - so distinctive and what a grand age he lived to. I also liked the church and village images that enhanced your story.

  5. It's true that writing a post highlights the lacks. Perhaps Zaccariah lived so long because he moved so much. I'm betting he didn't appear in the list of the whipped you mentioned in your last post.

    1. Thanks for your comment Kristin, you might be right. The secret to long life is to move around and not stay stagnant. You might be on to something there! No, he wasn't whipped but I have been told a Rudd ancestor was a smuggler. I'm yet to prove this though xx