Susannah was the wife of Henry Emptage. They married in St John’s church, Margate in 1787.
They were the three times great grandparents of David Emptage and the four times great grandparents of Pat Johnson and me. So, three of the founding members of Team Emptage have a keen interest in discovering who she was and where she came from.
I searched the internet and found nothing. I asked on genealogy sites if anybody knew of her and received a resounding silence.
Of course, with Henry being a mariner, it was highly possible that he had met Susannah during his travels but, if so, surely it would have been more likely that they would have married in her home country.
From her burial record, we knew that Susannah was born c1765 but that was all. I was resigned to never knowing anything else about her but then…
I remembered my brother’s advice: “Never mind the spelling. Listen to how it is pronounced.”
On a whim (otherwise known as lateral thinking) I decided to search the parish register records on Find My Past using Leb* and a birth date of 1765 +/- forty years in Kent. There were 76 results, including Susannah’s marriage but nothing else that looked likely.
I repeated the search using Lab* and that gave 206 results though, for some reason, they included places outside of Kent. So I began looking through, at the names and the places and found the name Labrosse.
Searching on the name Labrosse, birth 1765 +/- forty years gave 8 results in Kent. I widened the search to 1735 with the same span of years and got 12 results and then again with a birth date of 1700.
Given that spelling was not standardised and that people wrote down what they thought they heard, I think it quite feasible that the vicar had written Le Brush instead of LaBrosse when he married Susannah and Henry.
And, of course, brosse is actually French for brush
All things considered, I think it highly likely I have found the family of my 4 times great grandmother, though unfortunately, we still don’t know where they came from originally.
Below is the summary of my findings on the Labrosse family
1700 Labrosse Jacque born, place unknown
1724 Labrosse Elizabeth born, place unknown (probably former Elizabeth Riqueborgh)*
1763** La Brosse James married Elizabeth Riqueborgh* in Canterbury, witness: Susan Riqueborgh
1764 Labrosse Marte Anne married Jean Micheland of Lorrain, France, in Margate. Witness: J Labrosse
1765 Labrosse Susan Elizabeth born in Margate, parents James and Elizabeth
1769 Labrosse Jacque died in Margate, aged 69, born c1700
1787 Le Brush Susannah married Henry Emptage in Margate
1796 Labrosse Elizabeth buried in Margate, aged 72 = born c1724
1826 Emptage Susannah buried in Margate, aged 61 = born c1765
* spelling/writing open to interpretation, could be Rignebourgh but see also marriage of Mary Riquebourgh in 1754, signed clearly Riquebourg and witnessed Riquebourg
** first parish register entry
See other Canterbury entries for Requeburgh and Riquebourge
Jacque was born in 1700, place unknown. He married xxxx, place unknown. He died in 1769 in Margate.
Jacque and xxxx had a son James who married Elizabeth Riqueborgh* in 1763. James’ death is unknown. Elizabeth died in 1796.
Jacque and xxxx had a daughter Marte Anne who married Jean Micheland in 1764.
James and Elizabeth had a daughter Susan Elizabeth in 1765.
After Jacques died, the name was misheard, and Susan Elizabeth Labrosse became Susannah le Brush.
She married Henry Emptage in 1787 and died in 1826.
Jacque may have married in France but without knowing the area we won’t be able to track their marriage and won’t be able to discover his wife’s name.
It is possible that she died in France after giving birth to James and Marte Anne and Jacque brought his family to Margate.
Susannah le Brush was actually Susan Elizabeth LaBrosse, baptised in Margate in 1765, parents James La Brosse and Elizabeth Riqueborgh.
Her aunt was Marte Anne and her grandfather was Jacque laBrosse, grandmother unknown, (possibly died in France).
So, whilst we may not know the place and country of Susannah’s ancestors, at least we have a family for her and she’s no longer an ‘orphan’.
24 January 2015