The Marnhull Letters

Genealogy! – an easy subject to talk about at parties, meetings or over lunch with a friend. Most people, I believe, are interested in their own family history and will listen politely to others’. A good number of people want their family tree all laid out for them, without providing any contribution. Then there are people like the founders, executives and officers of LONGSHOT who not only have done research on their families, but are dedicating much time and energy to encourage others to share their family records for the enjoyment and interest of all potentially related parties. To them, I offer my heartiest congratulations for their unselfishness, perseverence and outstanding work in making the Lin(d)field One Name Group a successful undertaking and publication. As a proud member (no. 46), a profound “hello” to other members and a warm welcome to all new members.

I became serious about my origins about 25 years ago and started doing something about it. It was amazing! My immediate family were not the only Linfields in Canada as I had thought. I “discovered” cousins in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. I corresponded with cousins in Montana, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon and New Hampshire.

I eventually had the good fortune and pleasure to “meet” my cousin Betty “Linfield” Kaiser (1934-1981) from New Hampshire through the telephone and post. Betty was also gathering genealogy information on her family. As it happened, she was missing my records and I hers. When we “found” each other, we immediately exchanged all our records which probably gave us the most complete history of the descendants of Robert Linfield of Twillingate, Newfoundland, my Great, Great, Great Grandfather who migrated from Marnhull, England in 1793. It continued to be amazing! Every contact we had could be traced to Robert! Betty, her husband Bill, and I eventually arranged for a monument to be erected on Robert’s original homestead in Twillingate. It was dedicated on behalf of his descendants.

Although my letters are many, it appeared that there not many Linfields, or descendants thereof, in the rest of the world. Then came the first letter from Alan Lindfield (member no. 20), secretary of LONG. Was he for real? He was telling me that there are Linfields or Lindfields galore! – in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States! A computer database apparently has some 3000 names of potential relatives!!! Wow!!! The Lin(d)fields have obviously been busy over the years, but have kept it a secret until the founders of LONG got busy, (but in a different way.)

I have been honoured to have been accepted as the Canadian Agent of LONG. I hope to share with our members some of my family history which I trust you will find interesting. My first contribution appears below. Over the past 25 years, I was sent copies of original letters that Robert Linfield of Twillingate received from both his father and brother of Marnhull, Dorset, England. I hope you will find them as profound and rewarding as I have.

Transcript of letter to my Great, Great, Great Grandfather, Robert Linfield (1774-1860) of Twillingate, Newfoundland from his father Robert Linfield (1753-1836) of Marnhull, England dated March 27, 1831

Dear Son. I embrace this opportunity of writing these few lines, hoping that this will find you in good state of health as it leaves me and your brothers and sisters at present, thanks be to God for it. I receive your letter last fall and was glad for to hear that you was well and that the times are getting better at Twillingate. Please when you write me again please to send by the vessels that are bound to Pool or by someone that are coming home as your letters cost me 4 shillings and 8 pence it is a hurt to me as I am get (spart?) my labour and the Parish will not allow me more than 1 shilling and 3 pence per week. Your brother Alfred has been home this winter and are going out again in Mr. Berts employ at (fortian?) on the Labrador and should be glad to hear from you all opportunity as they mean to call at Twillingate the first opportunity.

The times here in England are very indifferent. I saw John Keandell this winter, he is at work on the roads for 4 shillings and 6 pence per week. I do not know whether he is going out again or not.

Your brothers and sisters remembers their kind love to you. I remain your loving father until death.

Robert Linfield

Transcript of letter to Robert Linfield (1774-1860) of Twillingate, Newfoundland from his brother Alfred (1786-?) of Marnhull, England dated April 10, 1851

Dear Brother, I take this opportunity of sending you these few lines hoping that it will find you in a good state of health, better than I am at present. I rec’d your kind letter and was glad for to hear that you was all well. I am much obliged to you for what you sent me.

I have sent you some garden seeds which I hope that you receive safe to hand and some for Cornelius of which you will please to it him have them and a small parcel for William Hammon. You can charge him for freight if you like to for his bundle.

I am sorry to inform you that sister Mary is crippled. She cannot walk without two sticks and brother Josiah is but very little better though Mary is the worse of them both. I am almost weary of living in this world if it would please God to take me out of my troubled life here upon earth. There is so many without work and everything is dear here.

Butter 14 pence per pound, cheese from 4 pence to 8 pence per pound, Pork and bacon from 9 to 11 pence per pound, Bread 6 pence, flour 4 pound (bbl no8?) and potatoes 14 shillings the sack, beef and mutton eight per pound.

The potatoes was hurt with the disease last year and what was not hurted was very small and not very good to eat. It’s very bad times in England with a great many of people at present.

William Clark remember his kind love to you and all the family. I shall be glad to hear from you all opportunities.

Your brother and sister remember their kind love to you and all the family. Please remember me to Robert (1811-1890) as I should like to see him here in England once more if he could make it convenient to come.

So I now conclude with your health and happiness. I remain your loving brother until death.

Alfred Linfield

Transcript of letter to Robert Linfield (1774-1860) in Twillingate from his brother Alfred in Marnhull, England dated April the 16, 18??

Dear Brother. I take this opportunity of writing these lines it will find you in a better state of health than I am present. I received your kind letter and was good for to hear that you was well. I am much obliged to you what you sent me. I sent you some garden seeds and some for Cornelius of which I hope that he will receive safe. I have sent you a letter in the bundles with the seeds. The times is here with some bad enough at present. I cannot scarce get about. I am so crippled with rumatik in me back that I cannot scarce get up when I am down with the rumatik in limbs and I do not think that I shall be able to get about more and sister Mary and brother Josiah both crippled. I have no one to do for me and the rest but sister Lucy. I hope that it will be for me better in the next world. I should be glad if I could get about once more. I shall be glad to hear from you all opportunity. I am in so much pain back and shoulders.

Will Clark remembers his kind love to you. Your brothers and sisters their kind love too and your family. Please remember me to Cornelius his family. I should like for to see Robert (1811-1890) once more if I could. I must conclude with wishing you health and happiness the sincere wish of your loving brother. Alfred Linfield

2 thoughts on “The Marnhull Letters”

  1. Jerald:
    A friend, Dwayne Lund, who has access to my family tree on Ancestry, recently sent me an old note from you, stating that Robert Brownlee [b.1799] was your GG grandfather. Well, he is mine too!
    You were questioning the other names of Rockeney [b. 1833 by Ann Magee and Robert, in Balston Spa, near Saratoga Springs, NY.
    YES she had 3 names in a variety of records.
    in order of most used:
    Roxena, Roxana, Rokeney……..but all the same person !
    I have a copy of Robert’s Will, in which he called her Roxana.

    But more importantly, Robert had 3 wives.
    1. Margaret Nichol, mother of James b.1819, Ireland.
    2. Elizabeth Marshall, mother of Margaret b. 1824, Ireland
    3. Ann Magee, mother of Roxena, NY., William NY., and then 5 more kids in Ontario, Canada.

    Now maybe you can help with this problem:
    The only Mary Brownlee I have in my family tree is a daughter of James Brownlee and Clara Morrish b. 1874
    Your Mary Velma Brow nlee, b. 1911 I have never heard of.
    Would you kindly e-mail me with her info re parents, siblings, children, location etc. please.

  2. Wondering if any of you have information on Robert Linfield (1811/1812). I am looking for the connection between him and the ANDREWS family.
    The line I am researching is Charles ANDREWS and Mary Ann LAW. They had a son names Robert Linfield ANDREWS (1858). They later in 1881 census have an elderly “boarder” living with them named Robert LINFIELD (1812). On this Robert LINFIELD’s death certificate the person who notified about his death was Albert ANDREWS, who happens to be a younger half brother of Charles ANDREWS.
    I believe there is a family connection between Robert LINFIELD and the ANDREWS family, just can’t find it.

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