I have traced the Garnars back to Edward Garnar who appears in the 1841 census aged 60 living at Rockingham Court, Newington, Surrey. In 1851 he was aged 68 and living with two of his children at 5 Grantham Place, Camberwell. This census indicates that he was born in Canterbury, Kent about 1783. The parish records of St Peter's Canterbury show that a Martin Garner, son of Martin and Elizabeth was baptised there on 11 July 1784. As the name Martin appeared frequently amongst Edward's descendants (including his oldest son Edward Martin and a younger son who was also called Martin), I am fairly certain that this must be our Edward Garnar and that his full name was Edward Martin. In fact he is called Martin Garnar in the baptismal record of his son Charles in 1809, which initially led me to think that Charles was maybe a cousin of the other Garnars until the evidence pointed conclusively to Charles being another son of Edward. It may also be significant that Edward gave the name Elizabeth to two of his daughters, both of whom died young.
Despite repeated searches I have not been able to find Edward's death which must have occurred some time between 1853 (when he was granted Letters of Administration of his brother's estate) and 1861 as he does not appear on this census. My only conclusion is that maybe he died abroad, or possibly at sea, while visiting his eldest son who had emigrated to New York in 1836.
Edward's father Martin Garner married Elizabeth Watson on 16 April 1781 at St George's, Canterbury. The only other Garner baptism I can find in the Canterbury records was Elizabeth, daughter of Martin and Elizabeth, baptised at St Dunstan on 12 July 1786. I can find no further trace of her, nor can I can find any trace of the baptism of William Garnar who was Edward's brother (confirmed by letters of administration granted to Edward in 1853).
It is possible that Martin Garner was born in Silkstone, Yorkshire and baptised there on 12 January 1756, the son of Edward Garnar and (possibly) Elizabeth Rogerson. I have not yet been able to confirm this information.
However, it is very likely that the Canterbury/London Garnars were related to the Garnar family who lived in Grantham, Lincolnshire, as a family letter dated 1903 indicates a link between the Grantham Garnars and those in Bermondsey. The Grantham Garnars go back to the 17th century in the records and also in memorial stones in Grantham Parish Church. The stone in the photo commemorates John Garnar who died in 1808. He had been a Chief Magistrates of the town in the 18th century as had other Garnars, including his brother Wildbore.
Edward and his wife Ann were living at Rockingham Court as early as 1820 as the parish record gives this as their address when two of their children were baptised at St Mary, Newington in 1820. It would appear that Ann had died by 1841 as on the census of that year there is just Edward with his 3 youngest children. It was fairly unusual for a family to live at the same address for this length of time in the early 19th century as they tended to move to larger accommodation as their families grew.
Edward and Ann had at least 8 children, all born between 1807 and 1825, and baptised at St Mary Newington.
- Edward Martin born 11 November 1807, baptised 20 March 1808
- Charles born 23 April 1809, baptised 21 May 1809
- George born 12 August 1812 (unconfirmed as a child of Edward and/or may have died young)
- Elizabeth baptised 4 December 1814 and buried 14 July 1816
- James born 12 December 1816, baptised 15 October 1820
- Mary Ann born 21 August 1820, baptised 15 October 1820
- Martin born 26 May 1822, baptised 7 July 1822
- Elizabeth born November 1823, buried 5 December 1823
- Thomas born 12 March 1825, baptised 8 May 1825
The following pages give more details about those children who survived to adulthood.