The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Brecht One-Name Study

Search for Mary Somes

Heinrich/Henry Brecht married Mary Somes at St Mary’s Church, Islington in 1808. Tragically Mary died young in 1819 (age 35), i.e. born 1783/4.

One way that I hoped to find out more information about Heinrich/Henry Brecht was to trace from where Mary Somes originated.

1. Other Entries in records of St Mary's, Islington

I found other entries for St Mary's Islington in the IGI and Parish Records:

Parish Records - St Mary's Islington

In addition to the marriage of Heinrich Brecht and Mary Somes, I traced 3 other marriages in the Parish Records of St Mary's Islington which may be relevant:

Potential Marriages at St Mary's, Islington

Henry Aldwin Soames (of Parish of Stoke Newington) married Ann Eley 25.4.1809
Elizabeth Soames married Joseph Richardson 4.7.1809
Frances Aidwin Soames married Revd. Richard Meade (Clerk, Rector of Princes Risborough) 22.5.1811. Witnesses N. & Sarah Street Soames. Also see 5. below.

Heinrich Brecht was a witness at Elizabeth's marriage and I have taken it that Mary & Elizabeth must be sisters despite the name variance! Also see 5. below

Potential Baptisms in IGI - St Mary's, Islington

There are 2 baptisms of interest in the IGI:

Parents Henry & Elizabeth Soames

Harriot Soames bp 27.3.1797
Charles Soames bp 24.10.1793


There was a German community in Islington and there were residents of Islington named Somes.

2. Potential Family of Henry & Elizabeth Soames

It is possible that the parents of Harriot & Charles married at St Mary's Harrow:

Potential Marriage at St Mary's, Harrow

Henry Soames (of Parish of St Olave, Old Jewry)
married Elizabeth Aldwin 18.6.1782

and there may be additional children:

Potential Baptism at London Wall, Scotch Church

Henry Aldwin Soames bp 7.2.1786

Potential Baptisms at St Olave, Old Jewry, London

Sarah Soames bp 13.11.1787
Mary Ann Soames bp 20.11.1788

3. Family of Nathaniel & Sarah (Aldwin) Soames

There is another Soames/Aldwin marriage and subsequent baptisms:

St Olave, Old Jewry, London

Nathaniel Soames married Sarah Aldwin 12.2.1784

St Gregory By St Paul, City of London

Frances Aldwin Soames bp 14.9.1786

St Martin, Ludgate, London

Nathaniel Soames bp 8.9.1791

William Aldwin Soames born 21.8.76, bp 16.5.1804

4. Problem in Solving the Question

The problem is that as yet I have not traced an Elizabeth Soames in Henry & Elizabeth's family.

5. Potential Family of William Somes, Waterman & Elizabeth Somes (nee Stanley) of Lime Yard, Virginia Street, Shadwell

My cousin traced a potential family of a Thames Waterman William Soames who lived in Shadwell:

Baptisms at St George in the East (one of the local churches serving Shadwell)

John Stanley Somes b 1783 bp 16.2.1783 (33 days old)
Mary Somes b 1784 bp 4.8.1784 (21 days old)
William Somes b 1786 bp 23.6.1786 (19 days old)
Elizabeth Stanley Somes b 1791 bp 24.6.1792 (6 months 2 days old)
Joseph Somes b 31.1.1794 bp 3.8.1794
Sarah Somes b 29.12.1796 bp 12.2.1797
Rebecca Somes b 1.1.1799 bp 27.3.1799

This is likely to be the right family as Mary's baptism tallies with her death details. My cousin went on to trace the potential marriage and baptism of William:

Potential Marriage at St George, Hanover Square

William Somes married Elizabeth Stanley 26.5.1782

Potential Baptism St George in the East

William Somes b 1762 bp 9.1.1763 (28 days old)
(Parents John Somes, Waterman and Mary of Virginia Street, Shadwell)

It does seem that John & Mary are the more likely parents as their first born were named John and Mary. There is a possible marriage:

Potential Marriage at St Luke’s, Old Street, Finsbury

John Somes married Mary Trimball 13.6.1748

But also see Conclusions, Possible Fly in the Ointment.

As luck would have it, there was a second baptism of a William Somes in 1763 and his father William Somes was also a Waterman of Virginia Street who later became a Victualler:

6.Potential Family of William Somes, Waterman & Isabella of Virginia Street, Shadwell

Baptisms at St George in the East

William Somes b 1763 bp 13.3.1763 (18 days old)
Elisabeth Somes bp 24.7.1768 (15 days old) – William now a Victualler of Virginia St

Potential Marriage at St George in the East

William Somes married Sibella Hunt 18.5.1757

7. Conclusions

Potential Baptisms

In the search for Mary Somes, there are 2 potential baptisms:

St George in the East

Mary Somes bp 4.8.1784
(Parents William & Elizabeth Somes - see family in 5. above.)

St Olave Old Jewry London

Mary Ann Soames bp 20.11.1788
(Parents Henry & Elizabeth Soames - see family in 2. above)

I am taking Somes/Soames as the same.

Potential Family Tree

If William & Elizabeth are Mary Somes' parents

If William Somes & Elizabeth Stanley are the parents of Mary Somes, it seems reasonable to amend the family tree as follows:

?John Somes born circa 1725
Married 13.6.1748
?Mary Trimball born circa 1725

?William Somes b 1762 bp 9.1.1763
Married 26.5.1782
?Elizabeth Stanley b circa 1762

Mary Somes born 1783/4 bp 4.8.1784
Married 10.7.1808
Heinrich Brecht b 1783/4

Possible Fly in the Ointment

There is a possible fly in the ointment:

Potential Baptism at St George in the East

There was another baptism at St George in the East of William Somes (Age 6 days) on 2.4.1758 (Parents John Somes, Waterman of Virginia Street and Mary). This earlier William may have died young.


Court cases have been heard at the Old Bailey about the importation of colours/dyes into the Shadwell area involving Thames Watermen. This may be how Mary Somes met Heinrich/Henry Brecht a colour maker from nearby Spitalfields.

If Henry & Elizabeth are Mary Somes' parents

If Henry Soames & Elizabeth Aldwin are Mary Somes' parents, the family tree would be as follows:

(?)Henry Soames born circa 1760
Married (?) 18.6.1782
(?)Elizabeth Aldwin born circa 1760

Mary Somes born 1783/4 bp 20.11.1788
Married 10.7.1808
Heinrich Brecht b 1783/4

but it seems less likely.

Colin Bower
1 March 2011 (Updated 1 April 2023)

Somes Index

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