You would have thought the Purse and Pursey were not too far apart in the league table of family surnames. Well that may be the case, I haven’t been able to find a definitive link between the two.

A good number of Purses are to be found in Somerset and Devon as well as London and Surrey. In Somerset, there was a major concentration in and around Chard.

The earliest I can find is Mary Purse, b 1669 in Orchard Portman, the daughter of Simon and Elizabeth. Two particular names that recur are Bernard and Gabriel.

One Gabriel Purse married Betty Edwards in Taunton on 22 April, 1794. It seems likely they are the same Gabriel and Betty that witnessed the will of Adrah Nelson in Accomack County, Virginia in May 1783 (http://espl-genealogy.org/MilesFiles/site/p241.htm)

Also likely, that Gabriel and Betty moved to Chard after their marriage where they had six children, amongst them Daniel b 1798. Daniel also a travelled, seeing service in New South Wales and Madras after he had enlisted in the 46th Foot Regiment (according to the examination in 1820, of his wife Elizabeth (Cornish), whom he married in Taunton in July 1816). Both were minors.

Gabriel and Betty returned to East Street, Taunton where they died – Elizabeth, aged 50 in 1821 and Gabriel, aged 77 in 1837 (under the name of Gabel Pursey).

It is likely that the transcriptions of Purs and Purss relate to the same family.