John Percy & Elizabeth Young

For some time on my Walton/Street tree, John Pursey was a non-entity. I originally had him down as having died in Walton as a child – the perils of having, when I started the project, used others’ research in trying to put together as full a list of descendants as possible.

Then I came across an old post by Ronae Pursey on Genealogy.com on whether the Purseys and Percies are actually related. She said: “I even had a great great Uncle who changed from Pursey to Percy, reason not clear but one story is he went from Australia to New Caledonia and they refused to accept the Pursey spelling (French colony).”

Coincidentally, I was looking up Canadian records and came across one John Percy on the Find a Grave website. The details of the inscription are quite detailed: “John Percy Oct. 10, 1872 aged 62 yrs 4 mo’s A native of Somersetshire England.” A check on the Pursey Project database threw up one obvious contender – John Pursey, born in May 1808, to William and Ann (Taylor) in Walton, Somerset.

What made me believe the two hitherto unconnected Johns were one and the same was the fact that John’s older sister Frances also married a ‘Young’ – John Young. Also, not so very far away Durham, Ontario where John is buried, is George Gallop Pursey (son of Francis Frampton Pursey and Ann Gallop). He emigrated to Canada in 1857 and settled in York County, Ontario. Then there is the fact that both John Percy and George Gallop Pursey were committed non-conformists – as were a good number of the Purseys from Walton. Finally, there is the fact that a number of John’s cousins from related branches of the same tree also left England to find their fortune overseas.

None of the above makes it an absolute certainty that the two Johns – Percy and Pursey – are in fact the same person. But I believe it is more the possible.

John Pursey and Elizabeth Young married on 19 March, 1832 in Walton, Somerset. Their children were all  christened Percy. Eleven in all, they were: Uriah (1833), Archibald (1834), William (1836), Frances (1838), Mary Ann (1840), James (1842), Sylvanus (1844), Uriah (again) (1846), John (1848) and Fred (1850).

A note of caution re the above: Family Search has a John Pursey, christened 15 May 1808 in Walcot, Somerset, son of William and Ann. It also has John Pursey, buried 2 Oct 1808, Walcot Somerset, also the son of William and Ann. (Some records on Family Search confuse Walton and Walcot – both different places in Somerset.) So, I guess John’s ultimate parentage must remain in doubt. If you find out, do let me know!