...than you can shake a stick at
I already had a number of additional Samuels in the database, but I had not made any linkage until I discovered the marriage of a Samuel WOTRIDG in Westbury in 1714. I must stress that much of the evidence is circumstantial - there are some great leaps of faith in putting this tree together - but it is a fact that hereditary forenames were used for first-born sons (and daughters from their mothers) in those days. And Samuel is a rare enough forename for it to be noticeable. I have found this approach (of putting together speculative trees) to be useful, even if they are wrong, as it provides a framework against which to test knowledge acquired at a later date. Anyway, it's more fun putting trees together than looking at individuals. Here's is an "outline" tree of the early Westbury *O*TRIDGEs: (sorry that the picture is so big, but it can onl;y be read at this resolution)
Notice how the majority of the spellings are based on OATRIDGE, adding credence to the theory that the OT(T)RIDGE and OATRIDGE branches merge somewhere. The first record of this family was the birth of the first child to John OATRIDGE in 1613, John being mentioned as the father of all the children, the first two baptised in Dilton and the rest in Westbury. Otherwise, we only have burial records of this couple.
John was the eldest son (predictably) and he went on to head up a line of O*TRIDGEs that for the present time seems to die out O*TRIDGE-wise. However, the various boys at the bottom may lead somewhere else, more than likely in London to where Gideon and Martha emigrated. John OATRIDGE (1650-1720) had his house registered for the use of dissenters, that is, it became a Meeting House for non-conformists. In this period, anyone not a member of the Established Church (notably Catholics and Non-Conformists) was severely disadvantaged both financially and socially. They also tended to keep their own christening, marriage and burial records, many of which have not survived from that period, which together with the Civil War explains the paucity of records in this period. John was the author of the "bees" Will in the that article.
Samuel was the youngest son, the christening record in Westbury Parish Register reads "1623 Mar 3 OTERIDGE Samuel s. John". At this point it should be explained that until 1753 the end of the year was March 25th (in that year we converted from the Julian to the Gregorian calender, so the tax year jumped to April 5th, the calendar year was taken to end on 31 Dec). Thus, in this case, 1623 is what we would call 1624, so genealogists write dates in the period between 1 Jan and 25 Mar before 1753 as: "1623/4 Mar 3".
The next generation requires a large of a leap of faith! We have a christening record in Westbury for a William OATRIDGE of Samuell and Margarett in 1688. From this we can surmise that Samuell was born about 1660 and was the son of Samuel born 1623 ! Added to this, we have the marriage of a Samuel "WOTRIDG" to a Martha PAVIOUR in 1714 in Westbury. Again we can surmise that he was the son of the same Samuell and Margarett (born about 1690). I freely admit that this is all a bit tenuous, and now requires me to look for other evidence such as Hearth & Poll Tax returns to support this theory!
And again, with the time, place and forename matching, we can surmise that Samuel and Martha were the parents of Samuel (born about 1720) who went on head the dynasty of nearly all the OT(T)RIDGEs alive today in what is a fairly well proven tree. If the "Samuel" ancestral story is correct then we have a tree here of 13 generations and John of Westbury is my great*8-grandfather!
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