Sunday, January 13, 2019

52 Ancestors - Unusual Name

In this week's post, we have been asked to look behind an "unusual name" and I've chosen my great-aunt's husband, Frederick Nay, because it's not a name you hear every day and it is a great example of the challenges of searching for your family, because it turns out that names can change (quite a lot!).


Fred was born in Warialda, in north-west NSW in 1902. He is the father of my Aunty Yvonne, who is actually my 1st cousin, once-removed. 

Fred's father was George Nay, who was born in Mudgee in 1849.

George and Mary Ann Nay
George Nay and his wife, Mary Ann Peglar

George's father was Robert Nay, who was born in Shoreditch, England in 1817. In 1832 at the age of 15, he was convicted of larceny and sentenced to 7 years and sent to Australia on the convict ship Waterloo in 1833.

Mary Fleming & Robert Nay
Robert Nay and his wife, Mary Fleming

Robert's father was James Nay, who was also born in Shoreditch, England in 1789. His father was Francis Nay, born in 1756, also in Shoreditch. 

The only thing I know about Shoreditch is that it is included in the English nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons", which refers to the bells of several churches close to the City of London:

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells at Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells at Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell at Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
Chip chop chip chop the last man is dead

Ah, they don't make 'em like they used to!

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, Francis Nay's father was Lewis Nay, born in London in 1733. But it turns out he was actually Louis Nez when he was born and by the time he married, he changed his name to the anglicised version. 

His father was Jacques Nez or Neé, born in the Spitalfields area of London in the early 1700s. His father was Jean de Neu, also born in the Spitalfields area in 1652.

We then have a series of Jacques de Neu's - born in London in 1627 and 1597. Jacques de Neu was born in Warneton (or Waasten) in Belgium, but got married in the French Church in Canterbury, Kent, England.

His father was Phillipe De Noeud, from Brevillers, in France, born about 1530. I scored this tidbit of information from another Ancestry researcher:

The family appears to have dispersed in France and the Low Countries prior to their arrival in England - one son was recorded as being from Flanders, and another from Orleans. Two sons and one grandson are known to have been weavers, a common occupation for the Protestant immigrants, so it is likely that Philippe was a weaver as well. His wife (her first name was not recorded) died in Canterbury in 1590. He remarried twice, in 1592 and 1597 - both wives were from the Low Countries. Philippe was described as 'vieul homme' (old man) when he died in 1605. 

They ended up in the Spitalfields region of Canterbury:

The Huguenot settlement in Canterbury in Kent, South England, started when the authorities considered the community in Sandwich, Kent, to have grown too large. 100 families were accepted in 1575. Its numbers continued to swell in the years following the Massacre of St. Bartholomew in France and the second revolt in the Netherlands, and it came to represent the largest foreign population outside London.

The welcome extended to Huguenot refugees in part reflected the perceived benefit to the English economy, particularly the potential for developing the textile industry. Using the textile processing and weaving techniques learnt on the continent, New Draperies were established in textile towns such as Canterbury. They produced lighter fabrics, made from a mix of fibres, suitable for export to Europe, rather than making traditional woollen fabrics. The benefits led the Privy Council to protect Huguenot weavers in Canterbury when they were attacked by locals. Many successful Spitalfields weavers established the viability of their businesses in Canterbury. As Spitalfields weaving flourished in the 18th century, the Canterbury industry went into decline, ceasing entirely in 1837 as a result of mechanisation.

So while, the Nays (Nez, Nee, de Neu, De Noeud) are not my blood relation, I think it is really interesting to see how names change over time; anglicised, morphed, aduterated! And I learnt another little piece of history from tracking down a branch of my family tree - I really do find it fascinating to think that here we are in Australia, but we've come from convicts and then silk weavers from France. The world is an amazing place.

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52 Ancestors - Unusual Name

In this week's post, we have been asked to look behind an "unusual name" and I've chosen my great-aunt's husband, Fred...