Sometimes, in the pursuit of our ancestors and the process of entering names, dates and places on tree charts, it is easy to forget that our ancestors were more than a list of facts but were individuals, living their lives just as we do today, to the best of their ability, with hopes and dreams, joys and sorrows, with all the cares and concerns which we, as humans, experience.
This website is about our ancestors and their lives. We want to learn as much as we can about them and, when able, to set them in the context of what was happening at the time.
Check out the Index to see if we have published any articles which include the name of the person in whom you are interested. As so many first names were repeated across the generations, when known, the year of baptism or circa year of birth is noted in brackets or, if it is a person named in a will, the date of death/probate of the testator. Click on the name to see the articles.
We do not have a database attached to the website but have grown a very carefully researched tree on Ancestry.com, to which many people across the world, who are descended from the Emptages of Thanet, have contributed their own research, all of which has been carefully checked.
The tree is private but if you can demonstrate that you are descended from any of the Emptages who appear on the 1841 or subsequent censuses, or are descended from Emptages in other countries, David Emptage, our aboriculturist (tree grower) will be happy to exchange information with you. You can contact him via email using the Contact details.
We are developing a similar database and tree for the Emptages from the Isle of Sheppey and their descendants who moved to Portsmouth, Devon, Filey in Yorkshire and then to Grimsby.
Trees and Branches
Our research began with the 1841 census and we have established that all the Emptages in England at that time were descended from one of just three Emptage lines: two in Thanet and one in Sheppey. Each of the three lines have their own tree, with an additional tree for the Emptages of Grimsby, who, by 1841, had begun to be established by descendants of the Emptages from Sheppey.
In addition, we have trees for Emptage branches which existed in the 1500s, 1600s and 1700s. We will add to these as our research progresses.
Humphrey Emptage and Catherine Pearce/Pierce
Humphrey Emptage married Catherine Pearce/Pierce in 1753 in Minster, Thanet. They had two sons and two daughters. We know little about the second son but Henry Emptage married Susannah le Brush in 1787, in Margate. They had twelve children. Three of Team Emptage are descended from Henry and Susannah.
When Catherine died, Humphrey married Rachel White, by whom he had two sons who died in infancy, and a further son and daughter. As yet, we have not determined any information about them other than their date of baptism.
We believe that Humphrey was baptised in 1733 in Minster, aged eight, so born c1725. Unfortunately, no parents were given in the register and, so far, we have not been able to identify them. However, we live in hope that our extended research will allow us to find his family and so allow us to connect the two branches in Thanet.
Henry Emptage and Ann Peal
Henry Emptage and Ann Peal married in St Nicholas at Wade in 1763. They had five sons and three daughters. Five members of Team Emptage are descended from Henry and Ann Peal.
Henry was baptised in St Nicholas at Wade in 1737. His parents were John and Ann. We believe his grandparents were William Emptage and Jane Hobday, William’s second wife. We think that William was baptised in St Peter’s, Thanet (now Broadstairs) in 1654 and, through the parish registers and the wills, are in the process of establishing his ancestors. So the tree for Henry Emptage and Ann Peal starts with Henry’s grandparents, William Emptage and Jane Hobday.
It is our dream that our research will eventually enable us to unite the branch of Humphrey and Catherine with that of Henry and Ann, somewhere back in their roots. DNA testing between Team Emptage members descended from the two branches is underway in the hope of establishing the link even if we fail to find the paper trail.
We have an ongoing study to discover as much as possible about the earlier Emptages in Thanet, through studying the parish registers which go back to 1560 and the wills, which go back to 1489. There were branches at St Peters (now Broadstairs), St Lawrence (now Ramsgate), Minster, St John’s (now Margate) and St Nicholas at Wade.
With Henry having been baptised in St Nicholas at Wade in 1737 and then married Ann Peal there in 1763 it was originally thought that he was descended from that branch of the family but we now think that he was from St Peters.
However, there are two memorials in the church at St Nicholas at Wade, to the wives of Emptages, who, confusingly, were both named Joan (with various spellings) and so we have made a particular study of that branch. We have drawn up a tree/chart which we believe represents the family, according to our latest findings.
Richard Emptage and Joan Allyne
Richard Emptage and his wife, Jone (Joan) Allyne married in Margate in 1565. Richard died between 1567 and 1571, which was when Jone married John Sackett and, after he died, married Richard Knowler. Jone’s memorial is in the church.
Richard and Jone had two sons, Thomas and Edward, and two daughters, Alice and Martha.
From the order in which they were named in Richard’s will, we think that Thomas was the oldest son. Because many parish registers for St Nicholas at Wade are missing, it is not clear who Thomas married but we have made a reasoned supposition and included him, his wife and descendants on the tree.
Edward, married Joan Terry in Herne, in 1591. They had eight children, as noted on the memorial to Joan in the church. Five were named in the will of their grandfather, John Terry, in 1615 and so we think that the other three children probably died in infancy.
Edward junior was born c 1598. He became the vicar at Postling, a village about four miles inland of Hythe, about 22 miles from St Nicholas at Wade. With his first wife, Susanna, he had four sons and with his second wife, Amy Plummer, he had three sons and two daughters.
The tree identifies the Emptage family at St Nicholas at Wade and then goes on to chart the family at Postling and the surrounding area.
The Emptages of St Nicholas at Wade article is here.
The Migration of Emptages from Thanet to Sheppey
DNA testing has shown a genealogical connection between a descendant of the Emptages of Sheppey and the Henry and Ann Peal branch of the Emptages of Thanet. Although we are unlikely to be able to prove it via a paper trail, by studying the parish registers, we have developed an hypothesis on the migration from Thanet to Sheppey in the late 1660s, early 1700s.
The article is here.
William Emptage and Anne Fisher
William married Anne Fisher in 1746, in Queenborough, Isle of Sheppey, Kent. They were the ancestors of the Emptages in Sheppey from that date onwards and their great grandsons began the Grimsby branch of the Emptages.
James Emptage and Charlotte Messenger
James was the grandson of William and Anne. He married Charlotte Messenger in 1816. He was a coastguard whose career took him to various stations around the country, meaning that their children were born in Sheppey, Sussex, Devon and Yorkshire. Two of his sons married two women from Grimsby and so began the Grimsby branch of the Emptage family.
Humphrey Emptage and Mary Fell
Humphrey married Mary Fell, in 1675, at the Devonshire House Society of Friends, without Bishopsgate, in the City of London. Humphrey was a malster, from Deal, in Kent. His son John was the joiner and cabinetmaker featured here, and his great grandson John was the young man who was convicted of felony at the Old Bailey. In addition, we believe that young John had other connections, currently being explored.
It also seems likely that Commodore George Emptage also had connections with Humphrey or his descendants as, when Elizabeth, the widow of Thomas, George’s father, was granted probate in 1741, one of the probate bondsmen was John Emptage, of St Mary Aldermay, London, cabinet maker. This connection is currently being investigated.
To access the trees
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