By Mary Ann Clements
Earlier this week as I was working on the webpage for Theodore Turley’s first wife, Frances, something bothered me. I’d grown up my entire life knowing that Theodore Turley’s first wife, my great-great-great-grandmother, was named Frances Amelia Kimberley. When I looked at the historical records, though, a detail was missing. I saw “Frances Kimberley” and “Frances Turley,” but where was her middle name of Amelia?
I knew that Theodore Turley and Frances had a daughter named Frances Amelia Turley, born 1 January 1825 in Birmingham, England.1 It wasn’t difficult to locate her first and middle name in historical records.2 So why wasn’t I seeing the same information for the older Frances?
I went to fellow Turley descendants in the Theodore Turley Family Organization Facebook group and asked if they were aware of historical records supporting the longtime belief that Frances Kimberley had the middle name Amelia. Researchers from various family lines confirmed they noticed the same pattern that I saw.
David R. Turley, a descendant of Isaac Turley and Clara Ann Tolton, brought up the Family Memorial that Theodore Turley created for his first wife and their children. In this document, Theodore recorded his wife’s maiden name as “Francuss [Frances] Kimberley.” A few lines below that, he recorded his daughter’s maiden name as “Francuss [Frances] Amelia Turley.”3
Ann Lewis, a descendant of Charlotte Turley and Jacob Bushman, presented Frances’ 1800 christening record and her 1847 death record. The 9 October 1800 christening record stated “Frances Daughter of Thomas & Sarah Kimberley.”4
The 1847 death record from Winter Quarters stated “Francis Turley.” Other details included her age of 47 years 2 months 8 days, the name of her husband Theodore Turley, her death on 30 August of scurvy, her birth of 22 June 1800 in Birmingham, England, and her burial in grave 20.5 Frances was buried in grave 20 with her daughter and granddaughter who’d both died on 1 December 1846.6
Bill McKeich, a descendant of Theodore Turley’s extended family in the Birmingham area, said he’d also observed the pattern in birth, marriage, and death records. Both Theodore and Frances signed their 1821 marriage record. Frances’ signature clearly stated “Frances Kimberley.”7
Do we have any historical records stating a middle name of Amelia for Frances Kimberley?
Those who have read The Theodore Turley Family book (a.k.a. Red Book) know that the name “Frances Amelia Kimberley” shows up often in later family reminiscences and personal histories.
This was also the case for the only contemporary record I could locate for Theodore’s wife as “Frances Amelia.” In a typescript of a personal history Theodore wrote in 1840, Theodore stated “Emigrated to Canada 1825 with my wife Frances Amelia and two children.”8 We know that Theodore misremembered the year of his arrival in Canada, though. The Turley family traveled sometime between August 1826 (the christening date of Frances Amelia Turley in London, England) and April 1827 (the date of Theodore Turley’s first newspaper advertisement in York, Canada).9 It appears likely that Theodore also slipped up when writing his wife’s name as “Frances Amelia.” The mistake is understandable when you consider he was summarizing travel with his wife and two oldest children. Those children were four-year-old Theodore Turley, Jr., and two-year-old Frances Amelia Turley. Years later, when writing his official Family Memorial, Theodore did not make the same error. Update 7/9/2022: Theodore Turley did NOT write “Frances Amelia” in his original autobiographical sketch. It appears that the this was a transcription error in an old typescript. Theodore’s original handwritten life sketch gives his wife’s name as “Francis Turley.”10
- There is some confusion on the year of birth for Frances Amelia Turley. The Family Memorial and her Nauvoo Temple sealing record both state that Frances was born on 1 January 1824. However, her 1826 christening record, Nauvoo endowment record, and Winter Quarters death record all indicate she was born on 1 January 1825. Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1920, Southwark, St. George the Martyr, 1823-1838, p. 225, no. 1795, baptism of Frances Amelia daughter of Theodore & Frances Thurley, 24 Aug. 1826, image at Ancestry.com; Devery S. Anderson and Gary James Bergara, The Nauvoo Endowment Companies, 1845-1846: A Documentary History (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 2005), p. 109; Nauvoo and sealing record “A”, 1846-1857, p. 245-246, entry for Frances Amelia Turley, FHL 183374; Winter Quarters sexton’s records, 1846-1848, Record book, image 14 of 51, deaths of Frances A. Daniels and Frances [F?] Daniels, 1 Dec. 1846, LR 6359 24, Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=1647eb3e-6020-4669-91a2-603820678def&crate=0&index=13, accessed April 2020.
- Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1920, Southwark, St. George the Martyr, 1823-1838, p. 225, no. 1795, baptism of Frances Amelia daughter of Theodore & Frances Thurley, 24 Aug. 1826, image at Ancestry.com.
- See Family Memorial. Original at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Theodore Turley, Theodore Turley family memorial, 1841-1847, 1871, MS 7983, Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/record/258d7723-24a5-49ce-8c47-2cbd0610f446/0?view=summary, accessed July 2021.
- Birmingham, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, Birmingham, St. Martin, 1795-1811, baptism of Frances daughter of Thomas & Sarah Kimberley, 9 Oct. 1800, image at Ancestry.com.
- Winter Quarters sexton’s records, 1846-1848, Record book, image 39 of 51, death of Francis Turley, 30 Aug. 1847,
LR 6359 24, Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=1647eb3e-6020-4669-91a2-603820678def&crate=0&index=38, accessed April 2020.
- Winter Quarters sexton’s records, 1846-1848, Record book, image 14 of 51, deaths of Frances A. Daniels and Frances [F?] Daniels, 1 Dec. 1846, LR 6359 24, Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=1647eb3e-6020-4669-91a2-603820678def&crate=0&index=13, accessed April 2020.
- Birmingham, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1937, Harborne, St. Peter, 1820-1822, p. 69, no. 206, marriage of Theodore Turley and Frances Kimberley, 26 Nov. 1821, image at Ancestry.com.
- Theodore Turley, Sketch of Life and Missionary Journal of 1840 of Theodore Turley, typescript, p.1, Family History Library, http://www.familysearch.org/library/books/idurl/1/491982, accessed July 2021.
- See Timeline. Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1920, Southwark, St. George the Martyr, 1823-1838, p. 225, no. 1795, baptism of Frances Amelia daughter of Theodore & Frances Thurley, 24 Aug. 1826, image at Ancestry.com; The Colonial Advocate, Thursday, April 26, 1827, p. 2, col. 1, Google News Archive, https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=DQNrXyjhriIC&dat=18270426&printsec=frontpage&hl=en, accessed April 2020.
- See Theodore’s Autobiography. Turley family papers, 1840; 1866–1881, Theodore Turley autobiography, MS 13176 fd. 1, Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/record/44fbc28b-9402-48df-a791-0eed8b32694b/0.