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  • An Introduction to the Beal, Cooper and Edlin tree

An Introduction to the Beal, Cooper and Edlin tree

An introduction to the Beal, Cooper and Edlin families.

The “Beal, Cooper and Edlin families” was the second tree I started. It covers my mother’s direct ancestors, their extended families and their associates. Over the years it has turned into a major piece of research and currently (September 2019) covers over 2,000 people backed up by more than 8,000 citations.

Who were the Beal, Cooper & Edlin families?

My maternal grandfather was Beal and my maternal grandmother was Cooper. The name of Edlin comes in as my great-great-grandfather was Sir Peter Henry Edlin, 1819-1893, his daughter married a Beal.

The Cooper family were London merchants. The earliest member of this family to arrive in London was Francis Cooper, 1673-1747/8, who signed his apprenticeship indenture in London in 1690. From that indenture I ascertained the name and occupation of his father and that he was from Derby.

The Beal family were also Londoners but I can only trace them back to a marriage in 1799. Where Edward Beal/Beale/Beals originated from is problematic although I do now have a few clues!

The Beal, Cooper and Edlin families draw in others. The Swinhoes who were an East India Company family and it includes Robert Swinhoe, 1836-1877, the naturalist. Major-General Sir William Nott, 1782-1845, married into this family as his wife was my great-great-great-great aunt Letitia Swinhoe, 1788-1838.

The Freuer family of Suffolk, the Wright family of Sheffield, the Hastings family of Norfolk, the Ray family of Norfolk and Suffolk, and too many others to mention by name all make an appearance.  James Payn, 1830-1898, the novelist, is included as he married my great-great-great aunt Louisa Adelaide Edlin, 1830-1917.

Finally the person that I am most delighted to have in this tree is Sarah Anne Drake, 1803-1857, the botanical illustrator. She was the second wife of my great-great-great grand-father John Sutton Hastings, 1790-1869. As someone who loves and grows orchids it was wonderful to find a connection to “Miss Drake” and her beautiful orchid illustrations.

Some sources used :-

When I started this tree there were so many Coopers in London that it was difficult to sort them out if they were related or not. The clue that led me to the answer was in the Times in 1929 in the death notice of my great-grandfather Philip Cooper, 1847-1929. It said he had been Master of the Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers. Mr. Google kindly told me that their records were in the Guildhall Library, so a visit to the UK was arranged. There I discovered that the books of the Tallow Chandlers where I was able to trace this Philip back to his great grandfather David Cooper, 1716-1792 – four generations – all in the same livery company and all had served as Master. The Apprentice Binding Books showed that David’s father was on Francis Cooper who was a member of the Worshipful Company of Coopers.

From the Guildhall the next stop was the London Metropolitan Archives to look at the City of London Freedom Admissions to gather further information. It was there that I found the apprenticeship indenture signed in 1690 by the first member of this Cooper family to move to London. Today these admission papers are available on Acestry.co.uk so now if I find someone in that record set and if the company books are available in the Guildhall I go and look at them.

Again, it was a clue in a newspaper report that lead me to another set of records – the report of David Cooper’s death in 1792 stated that he had been a Collector for the New River Company. Their records I discovered are in the London Metropolitan Archives. A visit proved that the newspaper was correct. Unfortunately, the records of the New River Company were lost in a fire in 1769 so there is no indication from the Company records as to what date he started working as a Collector. However, the minute book did tell me he resigned six months before his death due to breaking his leg in two places.

Other newspaper entries led me to the records of the Truman Brewery Company in the London Metropolitan Archives. Francis Cooper, senior, and his son Francis Cooper, junior, signed the annual accounts. Francis junior was a partner in the brewing business. Again, the early books of the business had been lost in a fire so there is no way of knowing at what date father and son had become involved in the business.

The various records, in the London Metropolitan Archives and the Guildhall Library, are a rich source which I am still mining.

Finally, I doubt this tree will ever be complete. While I may not add more people, there is always more to add to the story of those already in it. Military records, school records, licensed victualler records, freemason records, ship’s manifests, the list is endless!

Therefore, this tree will get updated on an erratic but frequent basis.

Click here to open the tree.

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