MF1 - THE MAY FAMILY.
M1/1 David May = Betty Staples.
( ? - ?) [m.1744] (1725- 1795 )
This is as far back as we have been able to trace the May family who lived in Lyme Regis. David May was married to Betty Staples on 28th.July, 1744. She was apparently born in 1725 because she died aged 70 on 24th.November, 1795.
We visited Lyme Regis in 1978 and found the Methodist Church and graves around it, but sadly, many of the gravestones were missing, as the cliffs were eroding away and, consequently, many of the stones had fallen into the sea below. The Parish Church of St Michael the Archangel is where some of the May family were buried in the 17th and 18th Century and we found two gravestones there. We also met the Padre, Rev. Nicholson and obtained a little information from him.
We found Lyme Regis to be a not very large, but attractive town on steeply rising ground, with a small enclosed harbour, called 'The Cobb' and while there we met a young man called Harry May who took out fishermen in the summer and did leatherwork in the winter, but were not able to make any definite connection between him and our family.
Peggy Groves wrote on 8.12.1971: "Some years ago - I think it was before World War II, - Nina Leach Lewis, who is your [Phillip's] father and my Mother's cousin?. embarked on a search [for family roots] which took her to Belgium and Lyme Regis, Dorset. She had little luck in Belgium as the parish registers had been destroyed in World War I. I cannot remember why the records at Lyme Regis were incomplete but I do know that, even then, the tomb stones were tumbling into the sea and that some relevant ones were missing."
It would seem that David and Betty May had six children and all these records refer to Lyme Regis unless otherwise stated:
M1/2.1 Mary May, who was born on 29th April, 1745 and died on 29th May, 1749
M1/2.2 Samuel May, who was born in 1756 and died on 27th February, 1836.
M1/2.3 Sarah May, who was born in 1758 and died on 28th May, 1816. She was married on 22nd October, 1772 to William Champ.
M1/2.4 Mary May, who was born in 1759 and died on 16th March, 1848. She was married on 15th December, 1780 to John Urquhart, who was a mariner and he died on 16th January, 1791
M1/2.William May, from whom our family are descended; [see M1/2. to follow for details].
M1/2.6 Betty May, who was born on 25th January, 1766 and died on 29th January 1766.
M1/2 William May = Grace Jacobs.
(1761-1837) [m. ? ] (1751-1843)
William May was the fifth child and second son of David and Betty May. He was born on 10th April, 1761 in Lyme Regis and he died on 24th May, 1837 in Ostende, Belgium. Our family are descended from him and his wife Grace May nee Jacobs, who was born in 1751 and died in 1843 in Ipswich, England. She was the daughter of John and Grace Warren of Ipswich. William and Grace May had four children and most of this family lived and died in Lyme Regis.
M1/3.1 Elizabeth May, although no record has been traced of her birth, she died 11th October, 1838 and she married John Freeman.
M1/32 Wlliam May = (1st) Ann Shepherd.
(1787 - 1869) [m. 1808] ( ? - 1809-11 ?)
= (2nd) Mary Oliver.
[m. 1812] (1779? - 1848?)
William May, was born in 1787 and he married (1st) Ann Shepherd of Stanton St. Gabriels, Dorset on 18th December, 1808 in Lyme Regis and they had one child,
M1/4.2A Anna May, born on 1.10.1809 and it is possible that the mother died at childbirth or soon afterwards.
It is probable that he was a grocer. William May married (2nd) on 17th March, 1812 Mary Oliver, who it is believed was born in 1779(?) and died 18.3.1845(?). Neither of these dates have been confirmed. They had eight children:
M1/4.2B Benjamin Oliver May, born on 3.5.1813 and he married Mary Anne England on 20.4.1843, who was the daughter of Eli England, a baker of Lyme Regis.
M1/4.2C William Oliver May, born on 9.8.1814 and died 6.12.1819
M1/4.2D Mary Ann May, born on 25.9.1816 and died on 7.10.1818.
M1/4.2E John Oliver May, born on 3.7.1818 and died on 30.4.1819.
M1/4.2F Elizabeth May, born on 24.4.1820 and died 10.3.1910 who possibly married a Mr Beere (?) or that may have been her second name as all the other children had two Christian names.
M1/4.2G Eliza May. There is also some confusion here as there was an Eliza May born in 1821 and who died in 1916 and an Eliza Goulton May born in 1817, who died on 29th.December, 1915. No marriages were traced for either of them. [The latter may not, in fact, belong to this branch of the family or she may have been a second wife of Benjamin Oliver May (?) as he was the only boy traced of that generation]
M1/4.2H Mary May, was born in April, 1824 and died 27.6, 1825 in Lyme Regis
M1/4.2I Emily Wilson May, was born in 1828 and she died on 7.5.1887, also in Lyme Regis
William May died on 14th April, 1869 in Lyme Regis and his second wife, Mary May nee Oliver probably died on 18th March, 1845. If this date is correct and refers to her, then she would have been born in 1779, as the record shows Mary May aged 66 died then, and that would make her eight years older than her husband
M1/3. John May was the third child of William May and Grace May nee Jacobs. No dates for his birth or death have been traced, but our family are descended from his second marriage, see M1/3. below.
M1/3.D Anna May, was the fourth child and second daughter of William May and Grace May nee Jacobs. She was born in 1797(?) and died 19.1.1818 in Lyme Regis