It’s Easter this Sunday. And for at least one of my maternal ancestors, that would have been a very busy time of year.
According to my great-grandmother’s handwritten notes about her family, her grandfather, William Noah Marsh, was “a Baptist clergyman in England.”
That really isn’t a ton of information to go on, but I’ve been trying to track him down none-the-less.
He was born on Christmas Day in 1821 in the tiny town of Seend, Wiltshire, England. In 1844, he married Sarah Griffen in Bath Abbey, Somerset, England, and in the seventeen years that followed they had six children: Dan James (1847, Seend), Jesse (1849, Worcester Down), Hannah (1851, Westbury), George Henry (1855, Keevil), Ellen (1858, somewhere in Wiltshire), and Samuel (1861, Melksham).  So, I’ve been concentrating my church search around these towns (Figure 1).
As you can see from Figure 2, there are a lot of old Baptist churches within a 20-mile radius of Seend.  And, while I’m contacting all of them to see if they have any old records of their clergy, the churches within a 3-5 mile radius seem the most likely contenders. 
From past experience, not everyone appreciates inquiries made by folks doing genealogical research. So, wish me luck.
Sources & Notes
- All of the dates (birth and marriage) and locations have to be taken on faith. The data comes from other Ancestry trees researching the Marsh family, and, presumably, they have a reliable source for their information. However, because I do not currently have an International subscription, I have no access to the British records I would need to positively confirm the dates/places listed (add another destination to my Research List). I will note that there doesn’t seem to be a place today called Worcester Downs, nor could I find any historical information about said birthplace of second son Jesse. Bath Abbey is about 20 miles from Seend. Westbury is about 12 miles from Seend. Keevil and Melksham are 4 to 5 miles from Seend.
- I have identified eight possible churches in the surrounding area: Ebenezer Church (Melksham, 5 miles), Station Hill Baptist Church (Chippenham, 12 miles), Warminster Baptist (Warminster, 15-20 miles), Corsham (Corsham, 12 miles), Melksham Baptist Church (Melksham, 6 miles), Ebenezer Baptist Chapel (Devizes, 7 miles), Penknap Providence Baptist (Penknap, 14 miles), and Brattan Baptist (Bratton, 10 miles).
- The 3-5 mile range is based on the average walking speed of a horse and buggy [Source: Reference.com; How Fast Does a Horse and Carriage Go? ], the most likely mode of transportation for Noah and his family to and from church. That makes the two Melksham churches and the church in Devizes the best bets.