Posted by on 30 March 2013 in General

The long Easter weekend is coming. A four-day weekend can be a precious opportunity to get things done. Traditionally it coincides with the start of the DIY season and bringing our gardens back under control.

Do spare a little time for your family history research though. This weekend you can enjoy free access to the 1911 and 1901 Census records – perfect for the beginners out there.

I intend on paying particular attention to a character that has eluded me for a while.

xvij daye of Maye ao 1618

Alexander Cumberbatche, horner, ys admitted into the libarties of this Citty p[er] [by] the Consente of Mr Mayor Aldermen and Com[m]on Counsell Comm[un]ities painge the fine of three poundes, with this Condic[i]on, That he himselfe onlye shalbe Free, and [his] wyfe if she survive him, for her wydowehood, and that he shall not sell drinke nor keepe victuallinge, and hath p[ai]d £3 3s.

Alexander Cumberbatch paid to become a Freeman of the City of Bristol on 17th May 1618. He was married and worked as a horner –  someone who works with horn.

The difficulty here is that Alexander isn’t a forename that I can easily associate with any particular branch of the Cumberbatches. I haven’t found his marriage in Cheshire or Bristol. Where did he come from and who did he marry? Also, a horner is again not an occupation that I can readily associate with another Cumberbatch family elsewhere.

Fingers crossed the bank holiday will allow me the time to uncover more about this fellow. If I strike it lucky I’ll report back all my findings – watch this space and good luck with your searches this weekend.

Bob Cumberbatch is researching every Cumberbatch from any time, any place or anywhere with the Guild of One Name Studies. He is a Committee member and Education Liaison Officer for the Guild, plus a member of the Society of Genealogists and a guest blogger for


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Emma Pulman is a Social Media and digital Marketing Executive for Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Emma regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page.