Tranter v Tranter

Having established that my Gt Gt Grandfather, William Tranter (centagenarian), had parents James Tranter and Eleanor Tranter who married 25th December 1837 at Lewknor in Oxfordshire, the next question – who were they, and, were they related to each other.

James and Eleanor Tranter marriage 1837

To recap, James and Eleanor Tranter, lived at Stokenchurch Oxfordshire with their family until around 1857. Then they went to Kensington, Middlesex, where they had more children, lived and died. The descending family remained there for several generations.

Tranter is an Ango Saxon name, generally found in the West Country, and also large groups in West Midlands and Shropshire (often using similar forenames). Were these groups related?

Research so far, has revealed large families, using the same common Christian names for their children. (Richard, James, Thomas, Henry and William, seem to appear in most families!). This makes sorting them complicated, as brothers or cousins, give their children the same names, at the same times, and in the same locations.

According to the marriage certificate, James was of ‘full age’, censuses give his year of birth as 1820. He was a chairmaker, before becoming a tallow chandler (candlemaker) in Kensington.

His father was given on the marriage certificate was Thomas, also a Chairmaker.

Further research has thrown doubt on Thomas’ occupation. The most likely Thomas Tranter was born in Stokenchurch in 1797, he married Susannah Rixon in 1819 at Stokenchurch, baptism and census records give his occupation as Tailor (taylor):

except the 1851 census,

Eleanor was a ‘minor’ at marriage, with census records giving her year of birth also as 1820, and sometimes her age is given greater than James’.

On marriage certificate, her father was Richard a ‘woodman’.

There appear to be quite a number of other researchers of this Tranter family from Stokenchurch. It may be that several of the researchers have copied the information from other family trees.

With the liklihood of James and Eleanor being related, DNA research will probably help, and there are number of ‘matches’ to me in this line. This may prove a useful tool.

Unfortunately the Stokenchurch parish records are not included on the ‘ancestry’ site, so I joined the Oxfordshire Family History Society. (Following county border reorganisation, Stokenchurch is now in Buckinghamshire). I purchased the transcribed records. It appears that Eleanor’s descent is a little easier to follow than James’, which is more elusive, with as yet, no solid evidence for his ancestry. There is also a suggestion of Gypsy links.

Children of James and Eleanor

Susan 1838 – Born Lewknor Oxfordshire, Lacemaker. In 1841 aged 3, not with her parents, but with Richard a woodman, and Sarah Tranter, at Sturridge Common. As we know from the marriage record, Eleanor’s father was Richard, a ‘woodman’, and both James and Eleanor lived at Sturridge. So we can presume that Susan is with her grandparents, and that Eleanor’s mother was ‘Sarah’. Perhaps even though aged only three, young Susan and ‘Mary’ Tranter (a cousin?) also in the household, were being taught lacemaking by their grandmother, which seems to have been a female family occupation.

Unable to find GRO reference for her birth.

In 1851, Susan was with her family, and must have moved with them to Kensington. In 1857, she married William Webb in Camden, (also born at Stokenchurch).

1841 Census Richard and Sarah Tranter.

Susan may have been named after her paternal Grandmother (as many researchers have James mother as Susanna Rixen).

  • Richard 1840 Born Lewknor Oxfordshire presumably named after Eleanor’s father.
  • Sarah 1842, born Stokenchurch. (Named after Eleanor’s mother?).
  • Thomas 1844, born Stokenchurch. (Named after James’s father?).

These four children appear to follow traditional naming patterns.

  • Henry 1846, Born Lewknor Oxfordshire
  • Georgiana 1852, born Stokenchurch
  • Eleanor 1857 born Kensington, Middx. (Name after her mother?).
  • Alfred James 1860 born Kensington, Middx. (Named ‘James’ after his father?).
1841 James and Eleanor Tranter
1851 census James and Eleanor Tranter

A search in the 1851 census for Richard and Sarah Tranter, brings up some interesting information.

1851 Richard Tranter

The 1851 census shows Richard aged 64, as a widower (therefore Sarah must have died 1841-1851, according to the GRO, the death of a Sarah Tranter aged 65 (1782), was registered at Wycombe in 1847). Richard had three very young children with him, said to be his own.

David, 2 yrs, (baptised 7th May 1848 as David Bird to mother Jane, living at Stutteridge Lewknor).

Moses, 1yr (baptised May 27th 1849 to Jane Bird of Stutteridge, ‘supposed father Richard Tranter’),

Ann, 3 months (this was infact a son Aaron, baptised 26th January 1851 to ‘Jane and Richard Tranter’, a woodman, of Stutteridge).

Also in the household was Jane Bird aged 25, a ‘visitor’, lacemaker born (Ibstone Bucks ?).

Searches, reveal that later in the year, Richard Tranter married Jane Bird at Lewknor on 10th September. Further searches detailed the baptisms of the three children.

Richard Tranter and Jane Bird Marriage 1851.

The Marriage entry shows Rimchard aged 60 a widower, and Jane 29, that they both lived at Stutteridge, and that Richards father was Thomas Tranter a labourer. Jane’s father was James Bird, and witnesses, ? Messenger and Sarah Tranter.

By 1861, they were living at Stokenchurch. Richard was 73, Jane 39, and their family had grown to include Jonathan aged 8 and Eva 6.

1861 Census Richard and Jane Tranter
1861 census James and Eleanor Tranter (1)
1861 census James and Eleanor Tranter (2)
1871 Census James and Eleanor Tranter
1881 James and Eleanor Tranter
1891 census James and Eleanor Tranter.

Birth dates for Richard Tranter, according to sources

1841 aged 50 1791,

1851 aged 64 1787,

1861 aged 73 1792,

Marriage 1851 aged 60 1791,

Death certificate,

Family Relationships

according to other researchers

Eleanor Tranter c1820 ( Parents – Richard Tranter c1787 and Sarah Sears).

Richard Tranter c1787 (Parents – Thomas Tranter c1752 and Elizabeth Messenger).

Thomas Tranter c1752 (Parents – Edward Tranter 1727 and Mary Austin).


James Tranter c1820 (Parents – Thomas Tranter c1797 and Susannah Rixen)

Thomas Tranter c1797 ( Parents – Richard Tranter c1761 and Elizabeth Pearce).

Richard Tranter c1761 (Parents – Edward Tranter 1727 and Mary Austin).


Which would make James and Eleanor 2nd cousins.

To be continued…