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The Kearvell family "Brick Wall"

Family historians and those interested in

genealogical research often talk about

"brick walls". What they mean is their

inability to go further back in time with a

particular piece of research - they have

reached a potential dead-end. Inevitably,

as records do not go back infinitely, there

will be a dead-end. But we always live in hope!

For our Family there are still many "brick walls" within our Tree that, over time, may be eventually broken down. However, the most important of these is that surrounding the origins of our oldest known ancestor, Francis Kervil. He didn't come from an alien planet (at least I hope not!) but in many ways he does seem to just surface in West Sussex with little or no earlier evidence in that area. Unfortunately his probable birth date would seem to fit into the time known as the 'Commonwealth' period - when the religious upheavals meant that many clergy stopped recording christenings, marriages and burials.


However,  I have come across two burial entries in records of Bosham Parish Church that may throw a 'chink of light'  against the Family "brick wall". I have spoken with Gordon Kearvell from Slough, who was one of the architects of the earliest family tree compiled in the 1970/80s, and he was unaware of these entries from his research.


The two burial entries are:-


1690 Henry Kervill 4 May 1690 son of Francis alias GRILL

1708 Martha Kervill 3 Sept 1708 daughter of John


What could these entries tell us?


Firstly, the existence of a son of Francis in 1690 points to the 1st marriage to Mary Wiles (at Chidham West Sussex in February 1687) not being childless as previously believed. Secondly, and more excitingly, if the entry refers to our Francis it reveals that he was also known by an alias. At that time of religious and political unrest it was not uncommon for people to use an alias and maybe we are now also looking for someone called Francis Grill.


The entry for Martha points to a slight possiblity of John being another child of Francis's 1st marriage - he would be in his late teens and it was not uncommon for teenagers to marry in those days. More likely I believe, it may signify a previously unknown (younger?) brother of our Francis. A fact that is further borne out by the discovery from a Sussex Marriage Licence Index of a licence granted in 1728 to a John Kervill and Mary Screvens of Angmering. One of their sponsors is a John Kervill (groom's father?) and this indicates that there was a John Kervill living in and raising a family in West Sussex in early 1700s.