John and Francis West Family Group and the GIBBS family – what is the connection?

Long has the story been told that great grandfather Gibbs was a remittance man. Is this just an urban myth or is there a kernel of truth in the story. Thomas GIBBS or great grandfather GIBBS emigrated to South Australia in 1840 from Vernham’s Dean in Hampshire. Family lore states that he was a remittance man, often whispered behind hands at family functions, such was his notoriety. No evidence of this has ever been found. Thomas and his family arrived on the Charles Kerr as assisted migrants. Was the relationship of the GIBBS / CHING Family to John and Francis West and the charities that they set up to care particularly for their kin the basis for this belief?

Information on John and Francis West can be found on the website: http://www.west-group.org/index.html. John West was a scrivener in London in the early 1700’s. He and his wife Francis are mostly known for the charitable bequests that they established. John born in 1641 was the son of Simon WEST and Elizabeth STARE (STAIR). John and Francis West did not have any children of their own, and must have amassed a large fortune. Through trusts administered by the Clothworkers Company and Christ’s Hospital (a school). The blind and kin were identified to benefit from these trusts and indentures. Today the Christ’s Hospital administers the Kin of John and Frances West trust, while the Clothworkers Foundation administers the West Relief in Need of Charity. The GIBBS / CHING Family are kin of Frances West nee STARE through her sister Elizabeth STARE. Or through the blue line on the pedigree below.

John and Francis West Family Tree

While researching the CHING Family (sometimes written as SHIN) I came across the the petition by Lavina Ann Ching. In the petition Lavina outlines how she is related to Mrs West, the mother of the late John West. Lavina Ann was the step sister of Harriet CHING, the mother of Thomas GIBBS. This petition can be found on the West Group website. No evidence is available to determine what she wanted or whether she was successful. To find out more you need to become a member by proving kinship. (Maybe a task for another day).

Petition from Lavina Ann CHING to the Governors of the Christ Hospital London

The petition from Lavinia CHING a half sister to Harriet provides the links for the family historian to follow back to the 1600’s to determine the relationships and the line of the family. This petition can be found on the website as an example of a petition. The question we can ask is did Thomas apply for support prior to leaving for South Australia? Is this where the folklore has come from within the family that he was a remittance man. Certainly, the John and Francis West trust exits to support those in need and particularly their kin could apply for support. Christ’s Hospital administers the pensions and scholarships for those who can show a common ancestors relationship.

Below we can trace the line from Thomas GIBBS back through to Jane STARE the sister of Frances WEST.

Thomas GIBBS line back to Jane STARE and Jasper RANDALL

Membership of the John and Francis West Family Group is open to those who can demonstrate the common ancestor relationship. One of the aims of the group is to further genealogical information that they hold in their pedigrees, Certainly coming across the petition by Lavinia Ching helped me to further my understanding of the CHING Family in Hampshire.

John and Francis West Family Group Badge from Website

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