Often research problems can only be solved by using sources not typically used for genealogy. Just such a situation occurred as I sought to find out whether my great-great grandmother was the same Ann Chantler that was married to a Thomas Chantler in a neighboring parish.
The problem took life when a burial record for Thomas Chantler in 1811 in Knutsford, a contiguous parish to Mobberley, Cheshire, listed him as being a publican. A burial for Phyllis Chantler, a daughter, also identified Thomas Chantler as a publican. With this information now available, a search was made of the licenses for alehouse keepers in Cheshire. According to Terrick V.H. FitzHugh’s The Dictionary of Genealogy, a recognizance is “A legal document obliging a person to do something under a certain stated condition, in the same manner as a bond; the only difference being that a recognizance did not require the party’s seal. The licensees of public houses were obliged to take recognizances before two Justices of the Peace.”
A review of the recognizances for Cheshire at the Chester Record Office showed the following licensed alehouse keepers at Bird in Hand Inn in Mobberley, the parish where Ann married my great-great grandfather, John Whittaker:
- James Graisty – 1803-1806
- Thomas Chantler – 1807-1810
- Ann Chantler – 1811
- John Whittaker – 1812-1815
- Richard Hargrave – 1816
The following timeline which incorporates the list of alehouse recognizances shows how there was a relationship between Thomas and Ann Chantler and John Whittaker:
- 21 Apr 1811 - Thomas Chantler, publican, was buried in Knutsford, Cheshire, a parish contiguous to Mobberley.
- 10 October 1811 – Ann Chantler granted recognizance at Bird in Hand Inn. Recognizances are renewed each year in October, so Ann would have renewed the license in Oct of the year her husband, Thomas, died.
- 2 Nov 1811 - Ann Chantler, widow was married to John Whittaker.
- October 1812-1815 - John Whittaker holds license at Bird in Hand Inn.
- 30 December 1815 – Ann Whittaker is buried in Knutsford.
- 1816, the October following Ann’s death, the license passes to another innkeeper.
There were several marriages of an Ann to a Thomas Chantler in the area of Cheshire where my family lived. Trying to find the correct marriage between Ann and Thomas Chantler to capture her maiden name was and still is a challenge.