There is good news for Pafford family researchers - it is a relatively uncommon surname
in England. When the 1881 census was analysed, it was ranked the 25,627th most common
surname in Britain. There were just 66 examples, two in every million, and even more
good news is that 63% of Paffords were living in Hampshire: notably, Portsea (25),
Portsmouth (12) and Alverstoke (which is just across the waters of Portsmouth Harbour)
(5). The remaining Paffords were living in the West Country: Somerset (5), Gloucestershire
(5) and Herefordshire (2). Add to this, that the International Genealogical Index
notes only 227 Pafford marriages in England since 1538 and the researcher might be
forgiven for thinking he is on a roll.
The euphoria is only pricked by the knowledge that the name, Pafford, has been corrupted
by parish clerks and transcribers which poses its own problems. So, the name may
be rendered: Pasfoot, Pufford, Putford, Pasford etc. Nobody said genealogy should
Introducing the Paffords
My greatx4 grandparents were George and Mary Pafford. They had at least five children
who were baptised at Alverstoke or Holy Trinity, Gosport. However, although the family
was probably living at Alverstoke/Gosport between 1786 -1793, little else is known
A likely birth-year for George Pafford is around 1760 but the Hampshire Indexes contain
no baptism details that relate to him. A note of their marriage has also not been
found, but it is possible that Mary Pafford’s maiden name was Mills. This may be
deduced because one of their children was given Mills as a second name and Mills
was substituted as the family name instead of Pafford (as we will see).
There is a probable sighting of George in the books of Goliath, a hulk ‘in ordinary’
at Portsmouth Harbour during the first half of 1800 - the first of three known generations
of Paffords who found this type of work. He worked for 4 months and 10 days and was
paid a net amount of £3 2/-(see below). He was discharged on 30 June 1800. He is
described as an ‘Ordinary Seaman’. As he was probably aged about forty at the time,
this would seem to suggest that he had not previously served in the Royal Navy as
he surely would have been an ‘Able-bodied Seaman’. He is my ancestor, George Pafford,
this information confirms that he was alive in 1800.
George and Mary Pafford
A few notes about the family tree shown above: I haven’t found any details of George
and Mary Pafford after their marriage. James and Lydia May had five children and
had probably moved to Brighton by 1826. Charlotte Pafford was privately baptised,
instead of a Church ceremony - which is often a sign that there were fears about
the survival of mother or daughter when she was born. John and Charlotte Antrim had
two sons who were baptised at Brighton. A witness at their marriage was William May
- probably a brother of James May who married Lydia. Charlotte signed her marriage
document. John and Maria Romane had two children who were baptised at Alverstoke.
However, John died before 1839.
The Hampshire Burial Index does not record George’s burial but a Mary Paffard (aged
56) was laid to rest on 20 December 1818 at St Thomas, Portsmouth. As she would have
been born in around 1762, it is possible that she was my ancestor, however no Mary
Mills was born in the district around this time.
So, George Pafford is my Melchizedek, being ‘without father, without mother...having
neither beginning of days, nor end of life’ and with this ephemeral person, my direct
maternal ancestral trail ends - for the moment at least.
Some information has surfaced that may give a clue about when George Pafford
snr died. We will examine the facts, enlarge on them and draw some conclusions.
The Naval Act of 1795 allowed seamen to remit part of their wages to their mothers,
wives or families to sustain them while the man was at sea. The National Archives
has a record of these agreements covering the years 1795 to 1852. They show the name
of the seaman, his rating, the ship on which they were serving and the beneficiary.
The allotment record of George Pafford jnr (born 1786) indicates that he served on
Lily until 1 November 1808. Then in 1810, he joined the newly-commissioned Pyramus
(42-gun frigate). On 14 May 1810, he arranged to give his mother, Mary, the monthly
amount of 10/6d (about a quarter of his wages). The allotment finished/discharged
on 20 November 1813 (George married on 15 June 1813).
James Pafford also made an allotment to be paid to his mother, Mary. He had served
on the Royal William (which was laid up ‘in ordinary’ at Portsmouth Harbour) until
June 1809 when he was assigned to Ildefonso which was also ‘in ordinary’. (Ildefonso
was formerly San Ildefonso which was the ship Defence captured at Trafalgar with
the young James on board and which was taken into the English Navy). James allotted
the monthly sum of 11/8d to his mother Mary. This was discharged on 19 July 1814.
So for a few years the two brothers, George and James Pafford, arranged some financial
support for their mother, Mary, which amounted to £1 2s 2d a month - at a time when
a farm labourer might take home about 10/6d a week to support his entire family.
This appears to be an act of responsible, filial kindness towards their mother.
Why was Mary in this situation? The likely reason is that she had been left without
any means of support by something that had happened to her husband, George. Perhaps
he had died just prior to May 1810, or been taken ill or injured - or simply separated
from Mary. Another piece of the jigsaw which was George’s life may have been found.
Original marriage certificates of George and Mary’s children