Research into the Sarginson surname and its many variants often results in interesting references to members of the family in unexpected places. Searching the Findmypast subscription site for specific collections of documents with York in the title resulted in more than just collections of parish records; it also has the following collections from York City Archives and the Borthwick Institute:
- City of York Apprentices and Freemen 1272-1930.
- City of York Deeds Registers 1718-1866.
- City of York Hearth and Window Tax 1665-1778.
- City of York Militia and Muster Rolls 1509-1829.
- Prerogative and Exchequer Court Probate Index 1688-1858.
The Sarginson surname itself is an example of an occupational surname which, according to Redmonds (p. 643), means ‘son of the sergeant’ where sergeant has a range of meanings from ‘serving man’ to ‘court official’. It also has many variants (Reid, 2018) makes finding records challenging.
For this project the aim was to identify:
- Members of the Sarginson family who were apprentices in York in the 18th century and their occupations.
- What other records could provide further information about Sarginson family members who were apprentices in York.
An initial search of the apprentices and freemen collection was carried out using four different search terms which included the wild card *: sarg*, serg*, serj* and sarj*. A total of 19 records were found with the earliest dated 1543-4 and the latest 1740-41. From this two specific individuals were identified: James Sargeson and Thomas Sargeson. (Their surnames were also spelt Sargison in other records.)
Similar searches were carried out on the other four collections to see what else was available for James and Thomas. The York parish registers were also examined for information about their baptisms, marriages and burials and an enquiry was made to the Borthwick Institute to see if there were any reference to them in the Church Wardens or Overseers of the Poor Accounts for the two York parishes mentioned in James and Thomas’ apprenticeship records.
Two potential members of the Sargeson/Sargison family are mentioned in City of York apprenticeship and freemen records: James and Thomas. In addition, both their baptism records name their father as Edward. The following information has been collated for them.
James was baptised on 28th July 1720 in Holy Trinity Church, Kings Court, York and his father named as Edward. This church is also often called Christ Church and the two names for it seem to be used interchangeably. The church was first mentioned in 1268 and in 1767 two of the chantry chapels were removed to make the hay market for York. The ancient building was demolished in 1861 and the replacement church demolished in 1937 (Tillott, pp. 373-4). Its remains are known to lie under Kings Square in York.
On 18th April 1734 James, a “poor boy”, was apprenticed for seven years as a barber surgeon to Martin Pickering with the means described as servitude (Durie, p. 245). At this time barber surgeons were barbers who also offered medical services like blood-letting.
Once James had completed his apprenticeship he became a newly franchised freeman of the City of York in the year 1740/1 and he was one of the 184 admitted that year (Tillott, p. 217). Details of the fee he paid are not available and fees varied depending on whether part of it was remitted.
James went on to marry Christiana Shepherd on 25th October 1742, by licence, in Holy Trinity Church (Christ Church), Kings Court, York. Although James does not appear in the deeds register for York there are entries for him in the 1751 and 1752/3 window tax returns. James appears in the section for Monk Ward against the heading for the parish of Christ (Church) where he was responsible, with James Marshall, for assessing and collecting the window tax.
James and Christiana only appear to have had one child: William, who was baptised in Holy Trinity Church, York on 19th March 1743/4. James died in 1767 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church on 27th February 1767. His occupation was listed as a barber. His wife Christiana applied for a grant of administration for his estate dated 4th March 1767. From the records it is likely that James and his family lived within the parish of Holy Trinity Church.
Thomas was baptised on 12th August 1725 in St. Crux Church, Pavement, York and his father named as Edward, a saxton. St. Crux was first known in about 1087 and was close to The Shambles, a street then of butchers shops and abattoirs. The church which survived into the 19th century was probably built in the 15th century. Part of the church was taken down and the ruins remained until 1867 when it was cleared away (Tillott, pp. 377-378).
On 21st December 1738 Thomas was apprenticed as a butcher to Solomon Preston. The record describes him as a poor boy from the parish of St. Crux. There is also an entry for Solomon Preston in the City of York deeds register dated 29th December 1748 which confirms his occupation as a butcher.
Thomas himself is not recorded in the Freemen of the City of York register or in any other parish records for York. It is possible that he avoided petitioning the corporation for his freedom and managed to avoid detection; this despite there being a number of inquiries set up by the corporation to catch those trading without paying to enter the register (Tillott, p. 216).
Thomas does though seem to have subscribed to “The Association” on 1st October 1745 (Tillott, p. 242). This had been set up as an independent anti-Jacobite body to raise funds to defend the City of York. The Jacobite rebellion bypassed York and a year later there was an exercise to decide what to do with the money which had been collected.
While it is possible that Edward was the father of both James and Thomas that cannot be confirmed from their baptisms records alone. The two boys were also baptised in different, although adjacent, parishes in York. An Edward Sargantson married Elizabeth Scot in Fulford, York on 29th August 1715 and an Edward Sargeson had at least two other children baptised at St. Crux Church: Ann on 22nd January 1722/3 with Edward described as a labourer and Mary on 8th September 1731 when his occupation was not given. Ann died, a single woman of the parish of Holy Trinity, on 25th December 1797 aged 76 and was buried at St. Crux on 28th December.
A James Sargeson also witnessed the marriage of Mary to William Jackson, which took place at St. Crux Church, on 31st August 1761. It does seem possible that Edward was the father of James and Thomas although further genealogical proof (Osborn, p. 242) would be advisable.
While the records consulted so far for this research have been able to identify two members of the Sarginson family who were apprenticed in the City of York in the 18th century, what is less clear are the circumstances which led to their apprenticeships. Their indenture records indicate that they were “poor boys” so it is unlikely that they were apprenticed to a trade which their father practised. However, whether or not their apprenticeship was arranged by the parish is unclear. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be any surviving Church Warden Accounts or Overseers of the Poor records (Tate, pp. 189-196) for the period in question for the two parishes concerned. The only surviving records for these parishes are the parish registers containing baptisms, marriages and burials.
The National Archives at Kew has a UK Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices’ Indentures 1710-1811 which can be searched on the Ancestry subscription site. Masters paid stamp duty on indentures with two exceptions: when the trade did not exist when the Statute of Apprentices was passed in 1563 or if the apprentice had been placed with the master under the Poor Law arrangement. A search of this collection by apprentice and then by master did not find any records for the two boys. It seems possible therefore that they had been apprenticed, or “farmed out”, by the Overseers of the Poor, although without the original records this cannot be categorically proved. It remains though the most likely explanation for their apprenticeship and indicates that their social background was poor.
A variety of different historical records were used to identify two individuals who were recorded as apprentices in the City of York records and their potential family relationships. This research has highlighted the need to consult a range of sources which are valuable to the historian. Two limitations though are the use of transcripts of parish records rather than the originals and the absence of poor law records which may have been able to provide further information. In addition, the rest of the family are still to be foun.
Ancestry. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed March 2019.
Collins, Francis. ed. (1900) Register of the Freemen of the City of York: Vol. 2, 1559-1759. Durham, Andrews and Co. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/york-freemen/vol2 : accessed March 2019.
Durie, Bruce. (2013) Understanding documents for genealogy & local history. Stroud: The History Press.
Findmypast. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed March 2019.
Osborn, Helen. (2012) Genealogy: essential research methods. London: Robert Hale. p. 242.
Oxford Reference. http://www.oxfordreference.com/ : accessed March 2019.
Redmonds, George. (2015) A Dictionary of Yorkshire Surnames. Donnington: Shaun Tyas. p. 643.
Reid, Joan. (2018) Sarginson surname variants and deviants. https://sarginsonfamily.com/2018/08/22/sarginson-surname-variants-and-deviants/ : accessed March 2018.
Smith, Margaret, E. (1985) The Parish Register of St. Crux, York Volume II: Baptisms 1716-1837, Marriages and Burials 1678-1837. Yorkshire Archaeological Society: private publication.
Tate, W. E. 2008. The Parish Chest: a study of the records of parochial administration in England. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tillott, P. M. ed. (1961) Victoria County History: A History of Yorkshire, The City of York. London: Oxford University Press.