This page is dedicated to the extended Cheesman family
descended from John Cheesman, born in Brighton before 1767. It has grown from my
own research into my mother's family.
The Cheesman family who
settled in America have their own page - click
Morrison's biography of her branch of the Cheesman family in America and the UK-
click hereMy family,
including my immediate Cheesman line, can be found on my Family history page -
I would be interested to hear more about any of these
entries or swap information -
I am researching names connected with my family - so far the most interesting
group has been the CHEESMAN family in the Brighton area of Sussex- not all are
related of course, but they make up the vast majority of the three hundred-plus
names on file so far!
Until recently all references were to the United Kingdom and, indeed,
virtually all to Southern England, except for one member of the Cheesman family
who emigrated to Australia, although I know little of him. However, I have
recently been contacted by Vicki Morrison who turns out to be distantly related.
she has added a large and thriving American connection. This is covered in a new
'American Cheesman line' page, and I now host
her own family biography.
As the information has built up I have found other interesting Cheesman
families in the Brighton area - these are covered very briefly in another page -
The Name Cheesman in Brighton, Sussex. There
are also useful research links on my links page,
including the Guild of One-Name Studies
Out of respect for my family's privacy, all specific family references will
end at 1900. however, I will allow more recent general references to some of the
more illustrious people.
My CHEESMAN family line (from my mother) has proved the most interesting so
far. I have built up a 'database' of some four hundred names in the Brighton
area of Sussex, although many connections are still to be established. I am
happy to swap information with other researchers. the subject is covered in an article published in the 'Sussex Family Historian',
the journal of the Sussex Family History
The line I have traced so far starts with John. In the baptism records at
Brighton, Sussex,for September 1767 he was quoted as 'John Cheesman, baseborn
son of Barbara Children'. This wording probably
indicates a reference to someone called Cheesman, but I it would be no more than
a guess that this was the name of the father. However, Barbara seems to have
come from a desperately poor family, receiving support under the poor law. John
could not have succeeded in life as he did without a good education and at least
John, although base born, went on to father a dozen children, and died in
1823 making provision for his family in a will which includes several houses and
tracts of land. He was certainly 'in the right place at the right time' as the
patronage of George IV led to the expansion of Brighton, but it seems likely
that he started out at least with a good education and some money behind him.
Perhaps his father - Cheesman? - was from a good family - perhaps Barbara was a
servant? This would fit the facts, but is currently no more than supposition.
Perhaps he was one of the younger sons of the Shoreham Cheesman family, but
records are incomplete and I have found nothing to confirm this other than a
hunch. There was also an Edward Cheesman living in Brighton in 1799. John's
first son John died as an infant. His next son, also John (born 1879), initially prospered
as a coal merchant, but never recovered from the loss of his only son John - I
have set up a page about him. This John also
made a will, having apparently invested his money. Some of the family were to
prosper, but sadly my direct line shows very limited signs of affluence!
From 1791 to 1799 the children of the family were Christened at 'North Street
Duchess of Huntingdon's or dissenting Protestants' Church in Brighton. Before
and after this flirtation the family church was St. Nicholas, Brighton.
The new workhouse built in 1822 was the work
of a John Cheeseman, presumed to be one of this family, and a John Cheeseman was
awarded the contract to 'scavenge' (clean the streets - a valuable source of
manure) in 1818. However, there were complaints, and he lost the contract!
George, the third son, known as George the elder, was a master builder,
trading with his son Charles as George Cheesman and sons, and they were both
very involved in the business life of Brighton. George's son George the younger
also worked as a builder, often designing buildings for his father's company,
but was not the son in 'George & son'. The first George also had a son
Stephen, who became a ship owner. In fact, the whole family were very active in
Sussex as builders and ship owners and operators. This line of research has
uncovered a large amount of fascinating information and is covered in four
separate pages -
George the younger was a remarkable character. Whilst in his early twenties
he eloped to Gretna Green just over the border in Scotland, and married Emma
CHANDLER. Emma was from Brighton like George, aged about seventeen, and her
father was dead. They returned to Brighton and were married under English law
three weeks later. They had three children, all girls. The second of these,
Isabella Maria, born 1841, never married and stayed closely connected with her
father and his second family all her life. I have recently been sent a copy of a
family photograph of George. My guess is that it was taken about 1870. Emma died
in 1855 aged only 37.
Because of problems with the index of the English civil
records, George's second marriage details proved elusive for many years, but now
thanks to the help of a chance note from a contact on the internet, all is
revealed! George re-married in 1859 to Amelia Caroline DAVIES
(left), twenty one years his junior. The marriage took place in Hastings with
the mayor of Brighton as one of the witnesses. George and Amelia had two sons
and two daughters - Edmund George, Alfred Addison, Jessie Amelia, and Edith May.
At some stage George retired from building and moved to Tunbridge Wells. The
American line is covered in its own page.
Alfred Addison CHEESMAN (pictured at an early age on the right) fought in
the Boer War. It would seem from newspaper reports in the US 'Tonganoxie
Mirror', based on letters to his brother Edmund George, that he was in the
Cavalry: one report mentions that he had his horse shot from under him. Alfred
seems to have had a lifelong love of horses - he apparently spent many years
travelling between England and America in connection with the horse breeding
trade. My American relatives believe that he was involved in the introduction of
Arab horses to America, with his English base in Cheltenham. He eventually
married at the age of 50, and seems to have settled back in that city. I
understand that his son was Major George (known as 'Cheese') Cheesman, who was a
very distinguished airman in the Second World War. He rose to the rank of Major
in the Royal Marines and was awarded the DSO, MBE and DSC for his bravery.
Although I am proud to be distantly related to this man, I don't think it would
be correct to go into more detail here. His achievements are however recorded in
the Fleet Air Arm archive.
(The Distinguished Service Order medal is a British award for gallantry,
almost always in action. It was first awarded in 1886 and rates second only to
the Victoria Cross.)
There was another George, the nephew of George the younger (b. about 1849,
died after 1885), who was a solicitor in Brighton
The seventh child of John, Cornelius CHEESMAN, my great-great-great
grandfather, was born in 1801, and referred to himself as 'CHEESMAN
CHILDENS': this incorporation of the name CHILDENS or CHILDRENS in various forms
continued into living memory, although nobody in the family knew of its origins.
He married Mary Maria DYMOCK by licence.
The name Cornelius was retained for four generations, up to my grandfather.
The earliest ancestors I have traced with any certainty are George and
Arabella CHILDRENS. They lived in the Hartfield area (East of Gatwick, in
Sussex), and would have been born at the beginning of the 18th century, having
seven children between 1729 and 1747. Barbara was the fourth, born in 1736. In
1742 the family are recorded as living in Hartfield, but supported by East
Grinstead Parish under the Poorlaw. Barbara was 31 when her son John was
baptised in 1767. So far I can only conjecture on the identity of the father,
and the source of the given name CHEESMAN.
Barbara's son John, despite his very lowly birth, was the centre of a large
and successful family. Apparently well educated, and quite wealthy, he tended to
record his children's surname as 'CHEESMAN CHILDENS'. In later generations the
name CHEESMAN dominated, with or without a central 'E', but with the last
forename recorded as Childrens.
Frederick John Gilburd was recorded as 'brother in law' in the will of
Charles Cheesman written in 1880. That makes him a relative, although I don't
have enough information to know who he married. I know that he was born about
1818, son of William and Mary Gilburd, and married Mary Ann Chandler. The
Cheesman and Gilburd families seem to have a close connection over many years,
but it is possible that they fell out around 1882.
I would love to know more about Mary KITCHENER, who apparently was born in
1766, and died in 1822 in Brighton, having the married the 'baseborn' John CHEESMAN, mothered twelve children, and seen him rise to a
position of considerable wealth.