The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

The Big One!

Progress Report

For some years I have had the intention to start writing up my records and depositing the resultant reports with the Society of Genealogists.

Progress 2009

I made a start in 2009. Following attendance on regional meetings of the Guild of One-Name Studies (the Guild), I decided to tackle one name at a time. I designed a template and made a start on 3 "minor" names:


Following a presentation to the Guild by another member I changed the Template to fill in gaps identified. I put the idea of scanning documents on the back-burner.

Progress 2010

Following a further meeting at the Guild, I revised the template again and updated the existing reports on the 3 minor names.

I made a start on reports for the first 3 of the main family names:


and completed reports on Ransome(e) and Peryer/Perrier.

To give me a break, I completed reports on 2 family names where there has not been a great deal of documentation:


Once again I found the need to change the template which meant amending the reports to date again!

At another Guild meeting I got the idea for a schedule to add to the document: Things we wish we knew; then had to do 7 schedules for the completed reports!

Opportunities to Develop the Family Tree

Writing up your records provides one more opportunity to try to develop the Family Tree while the informatiuon is fresh in mind, and I ordered 3 certificates as a result:

Eliza Gardner (birth certificate)
- to obtain the maiden name of her mother (and also Charlotte's)

Fenn Bradbrook (death certificate)
- to find out where he was living and his age when he died.

Charles Collier (2nd marriage certificate - to Maria Sanders)
- to find out his father's name.

I also traced:

- the birth and baptism of Elizabeth Counter and a potential entry in the 1841 Census for John & Elizabeth (Counter) Jones

- the baptism of Martha Tunstill or Tunstell (Edward Gardner's wife) and a potential second marriage for Edward at St Giles in 1852.

Progress 2011

I completed the Hayes, Gardiner and Smith reports.

Following the exciting and fundamental discovery that Mary (Somes) Brecht died in 1819 before the birth of a number of Henry Brecht's children, I obtained some new information about Harriet Piper who may be the mother of George Frederick Brecht my great grandfather.

I decided to collate the exisiting and new information in a report on the Piper family.

Progress 2012

Whilst typing up my records for the Somes Family as part of the Big One! project, I went into Ancestry to check some of the London Parish Records and found an isolated entry:

Christ Church, Spitalfields

John Somes bp 5.10.1783 (21 days old)
(parents John Somes, Victualler of Fashion St & Elizabeth)

Unfortunately as yet I have not been able to trace John & Elizabeth’s marriage and whether they had any further children.

This entry may well explain why Heinrich Brecht married Mary Somes (born 1783/4) and moved to Fashion Strett, Spitalfields.

Progress 2013-2017

Looking back I should have concentrated on writing up my records and resisting the temptation to look to develop the family tree, which is a lot more fun!

As I have said to Chris, it is a nuisance if I find out something new!

I have made progress with individual families over the years including some which I had written up; particular progress has been made with the Jones family.

It has proved problematic to maintain 2 sets of records - Word documents etc in ring binders and website files. At times I have copied and pasted website files into Word!

The intention was to complete the project in the Autumn and Winter months!

Progress 2018-2020


Progress 2021

The website came into its own in 2020 when the country was locked down due to the worldwide coronvirus pandemic,Covid-19.

Last year, I spent a lot of the time on the Sinking of SS Britannia 1941 project but towards the end of 2020, I picked up my Big One! Project again.

The first thing I did was to conduct a review:

Review January 2021

Progress 2022


Progress 2023

I started the year compiling the Parish Records for the Seabourn(e)/Saban/Holbrook Family.

I separated the files and prepared a Big One! report for Holbrook.

I undertook another search for the parents and grandparents of Mary Somes.

It is possible that Mary's grandparents were John & Mary Somes. Also it appears that John was part of a dynasty of Thames Watermen named Somes.

I completed 2 further pieces of research:

Search for John Somes, Thames Waterman

Analysis of the Tombstone above including Watermen named Somes

I also summarised the Somes files to date in an Index.

To Do List

The original next step was to take on two of the bigger studies, Collier and the Brecht One-Name Study, before undertaking Reports for the remaining Main Names:

Bower/Brecht (Main Names) plus:


Collier/Hunt(Main Names) plus:


Because of the years of inactivity on this project, I decided that it was probably best that I start back with some of the smaller names like Farrow and Marjoram.

Colin Bower
14 January 2023

The Big One! Index

The Big One! Introduction

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