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Has anyone else tried to find out if people with the same first and surnames were related? With John Smith or William White this would be almost impossible but if the surname was reasonably uncommon and the first name even more uncommon? There are very few records of men in Sussex with the name Ambrose Steer. We know that in the past children were usually named after someone, so were the Ambrose Steers all related?
The earliest record of an AMBROSE STEER is Ambrose Steere who married GILLIAN BIRDFEELD on 24/5/1592 in Sompting. Ambrose was buried in West Tarring 4 March 1637 and left a will he states he is a miller in Salvington in the parish of Tarring. It is almost certain he remarried on 29/11/1630 JOAN GARRETT in New Shoreham. The Broadwater parish registers give us the following born to Ambrose Frances baptised 3/4/1602 and Beatris baptised 19/5/1608. BEATRICE STEER married John Older in Broadwater on 17/11/1631 and on 24/1/1631/1632 FRANCES STEER married John Carter in Lancing. However Ambrose had more children. There was a son Nicholas buried 26/9/1619 at Broadwater. He had been baptised 19/9/1619. Ambroseís will is in poor condition but as well as Frances and Beatrice it mentions two other daughters, the wife of John Dudman (first name not readable) and Agnes Mead wife of John Mead. The first of these is LUCY STEER who married John Dudman in West Tarring on 2/8/1630. The four daughters were each left 60s and the rest of his estate was left to his widow Joan, and, again the condition of the will makes this unclear, on her remarriage or death to pass to his grandson John Dudman. John had been baptised 17 October 1631 in West Tarring. Joane could possibly have remarried Nicholas Roadin in West Tarring on 21/5/1638 (or John Trice on 25/7/1644 in Broadwater). It is likely that Ambrose was the brother of NICHOLAS STEER buried in Broadwater 17/1/1622. Who was the father of Ambrose and possibly Nicholas? He could have been RICHARD STEER buried in Sompting 12/3/1592, although there were no other Steers recorded in Sompting at this time (apart from Ambroseís marriage). There was also the family of JOHN and ALICE STEER in West Tarring at the end of the 16th century, but John and Alice were their only children baptised there.
The story next moves to Shipley where Ambrose son of RICHARD STEER was baptised 24/4/1646. This Ambrose also had the following siblings baptised in Shipley (the Shipley register still used the Latin name at this time); Anna (baptised 27/7/1623; Marierey (baptised 26/12/1628); Richardus (baptised 25/12/1632); Johannes (baptised 31/7/1642). Ricard Stere was buried Shipley 5/2/1664, Joan Steer widow buried Shipley 9/5/1679 could have been his wife. He could in theory have been the son of Ambrose who had married in 1592, although neither he nor his children are mentioned in Ambroseís will. Of course it did sometimes happen that a child wasnít mentioned in a will for example if they had already been given an inheritance. Nicholas Steer, Ambroseís probable brother didnít marry until 1607/1608 ruling him out as a possible father (unless he had an earlier unrecorded marriage). From a geographical point of view it was more likely he might have been the son of Elizabeth Stere and baptised at St Maryís Horsham on 26/3/1594, from Sedgwick (in Nuthurst parish). AMBROSE STEER, Richardís son, married MARIA HERBERT April 1669 in Shipley. Ambrosius and Maria had Richardus (baptised 17/3/1671); Maria (baptised 22/6/1674); Ambrosius (baptised 14/1/1676); Elizabetha (baptised 25/4/1680 buried 21/7/1680); Wilhelmus (baptised 26/2/1781 buried 5/1/1684); Alice (baptised 26/4/1685 buried 29/4/1685); Joannes (baptised 12/9/1686). Ambrose was buried 15/5/1687.
From Shipley the trail of Ambrose Steer moves to Edburton. AMBROSE STEER surely the one baptised in Shipley married by licence (East Malling peculiar) in Stanmer Anne Lipscomb (Lipscum) widow also from Edburton on 2/6/1702. Ambrose and Ann are recorded as having two daughters born in Edburton; Elizabeth (baptised 4/10/1702) and Ann (born 11/9/1706, baptised 12/10/1706. buried 29/10/1706). Ann had previously married Richard Lipscom in Edburton 10/10/1695. She was buried 11 March 1733. Meanwhile Ambroseís brother RICHARD STEER, married in Shipley December 1694 ELIZABETH MILES and they too moved to Elberton where they had Ambrose born 8/11/1696, baptised 21/1/1697. He must have died young as another son was baptised Ambrose 18/3/1703. Other children of Richard and Elizabeth were Tabitha (born 11/5/1695 baptised 24/5/1695); Elizabeth (born 24/4/1698, baptised 25/4/1698 buried 26/4/1698); Richard baptised 9/2/1700/1701; John (born 1/8/1706 baptised 7/9/1706); Henry (baptised 21/5/1709 buried 9/10/1709. AMBROSE STEER born in 1703 (or possibly but unlikely his uncle) married September 1733 ELIZABETH WATTS in Edburton and they had William baptised 7/6/1740 Edburton buried 10/3/1747. An Elizabeth Steer widow was buried 6/5/1775, but I have not been able to find the burials of Ambrose Steer baptised 1676 or his son baptised 1703
The next Ambrose found is the first direct link with my known family. AMBROSE STEER baptised 10/4/1803 in St James the Less Lancing was the second son of my great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Steer who settled in Lancing after his marriage to MARTHA MERRITT in 1798. Thomasís parents were THOMAS STEER and FRANCES GOBLE. Thomas and Frances had another son baptised in Sompting 9/3/1777 as AMBLEHURST STEER. Amblehurst? The only Amblehurst we have been able to find is a farm in Wisborough Green. One can speculate why this name was chosen, was Thomas Steer born there? But no Thomas Steer is recorded as being baptised in Wisborough Green in the right years, around 1742 (Thomas was buried 2/5/1819 aged 77). Could the name Amblehurst have been recorded instead of Ambrose? The fate of Amblerhurst is unknown but an Ambrose Steer was buried 9/1/1801 St Peter the Less Chichester. His age was not given but could he have been Amblehurst? And could Thomas and Martha have named their second son after him, if he was Thomasís lately deceased brother? There was no-one in Marthaís family with the name Ambrose.
Where was Thomas Steer born? It could still have been Wisborough Green given the Amblehurst link, and the baptism not been recorded. On the other hand could Thomas be the son of either John or Ambrose Steer of Edburton? Thomas would have been born about 1742. Looking at the baptism of Johnís children, James 13/7/1735; John 1737/38; John 2/12/1739; Richard 25/3/1744; William 1/6/1746; Sarah 18/2/1749/50; William 17/2/1750/51 there is a gap between John and Richard where a Thomas could have been born. Ambrose and Elizabeth married in 1733 and only have one child recorded, William in 1740.
AMBROSE STEER baptised in Lancing in 1803 married in Lancing on 23/3/1833 EMMA LAWSON born 1815 in Sompting. Ambrose lived all his life in Lancing, working as an agricultural labourer and gardener. He was buried at St James the Less on 8 April 1876. In 1841 he, wife and children were residing Upper Lancing Street; 1851 Orchard House, 1861 Myrtle Lodge and 1871 Monks Farm. By the late 1860s he was a rate payer. Emma was buried 19/11/1881 in Lancing. Ambrose and Emma had six sons and three daughters, and all but the eldest son and daughter survived childhood.
The last occurrence of the name Ambrose which I could find in the family was ERNEST AMBROSE STEER baptised in St Mary de Haura, New Shoreham 2 July 1882 the tenth and youngest child of Ambroseís eldest surviving son Charles. In 1901 Ernest Ambrose was a boat builder in Hampton, Surrey, lodging at 3 Malvern Road with Jane Gladman and her daughter Alice. Ten years later he was still a boat builder in lodgings 27 Tudor Road Hampton lodging with Fred Rooke a carpenter from Southwick. He died 19/2/1966 in Kingston Hospital and had been living 96 Ditton Road, Surbiton. He does not appear to have married.
What can I conclude? A link between the Broadwater Ambrose Steer and the Ambrose Steer of Shipley seems unlikely, but could there have been an unrecorded Thomas born in Edburton around 1741 or 1742 who continued the name Ambrose Steer in Sompting and Lancing? What do you think?