Last Saturday I finally received William Burnett’s naturalization papers from the National Archives… JOY! All the records relating to William that I’ve found so far give his birthplace as simply “England”. There are dozens of William Burnetts born in England in the same time frame, so not surprisingly I was no closer to learning who William’s parents were.
But I had a very exciting surprise when I opened the envelope and discovered that the papers gave a specific place of birth in England: Woolwich, Kent, England. A quick search online and I found his birth/baptismal record, William Burnett, born 26 Feb 1828. His parents are given as John and Janet Burnett, and the amazing bit of info, his father John was a gunner in the Royal Artillery:
Wonderful, now I finally had confirmation of William’s birthdate and the names of both parents. I now also have an answer to a question that I’d been puzzling over; the birthplace of William’s father is always given on census records as Scotland, his mother’s as Nova Scotia…so how did he end up being born in England? Because his daddy was a soldier in the King’s army, that’s how! =)
Armed with the names of William’s parents I found another amazing document last night, the original marriage bond of John and “Jennet” Holman (given as “Allman”), dated 17 Jan 1821 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Attached to the marriage bond was a “permission slip” from his commanding officer in the Royal Artillery.
I then found a record of their son William’s death in Lowell MA, 1901, one which was more complete than another I’d found as I was able to use both parents’ names in the search. In this record his mother’s name is given as Janet Holman.
So far, so good. But then I was dismayed to find several family trees contributed by ancestry.com subscribers which connected a Janet (Jennet) Holman, daughter of John Scott Holman and Janet Fisher, married in 1821 to John Burnett. Along with a birthdate for Janet as 23 Jun 1811!
Now, I haven’t any problem that this particular Janet (Jennet) Holman was born in 1811. The huge problem is assuming that this is the same Janet Holman who married John Burnett in 1821…at the very tender age of ten! And had (according to various family trees) her first child at the age of 11.
The search for the parents of Janet Holman (or perhaps Allman) continues!