Volume I — Paternal Ancestral Line
Chapter 1 [Generation #1]
In the Mormon Family History Library, we happened across a booklet by Francis F. foster titled “A Likely Story, ancestral images of some Fosters and some others.” This author states that the name Foster was originally Forester, meaning “one who has charge of a forest.”
Mr Foster quotes the following from a genealogist named Montgomery Seaver: “It is believed that all the Fosters, except those who have adopted the name, are descended from Anacher, Great Forester of fladers, who died in the year 834 A.D. and are blood kin to one another; ‘forty-second cousins, more or less.’”
Using this as a beginning, this author then traces the ancestral line to William the Conqueror, then to Henry I and onward to other English kings. Now that you have enjoyed this day dream, let’s descend from this cloud and look at reality — - -
THE FOSTERS ARE TRAVELLERS! For the past 400 years, our ancestors moved from Buckinghamshire through five other English counties, then across the Atlantic Ocean to America where they had successive homes in eight states from Maryland to California.
Why did they move? The answer is obvious—they were millers and they looked for more rewarding opportunities in villages with windmills or water mills.
We began our search in Cambridgeshire because I know my grandfather James  was born there at Swaffham Bulbeck. This lead to finding his father Thomas  in the 1851 British census, which indicated his birth took place at Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire.
Concentrating on parish registers in Buckinghamshire, we worked backward to the village of Ivinghoe where Jacob  (or James or Joseph according to to other sources) was born ca 1556. [My Latin dictionary states that Jacobus is Latin for James.]
Jacob Foster  evidently visited the adjacent village of Aston Clinton at one time; it is only five miles from Ivinghoe. There he met Agnes Smith  who was christened there 05 February 1581. They were married, went back to Ivinghoe, and subsequently gave birth to three children:
- Francis , christened 08 September 1617
- Jacobus , christened 27May 1622
- Emma , christened 10 March 1623
Chapter 2 [Generation #2]
Francis Foster  made his way to Aston Clinton some time before 1640 where he met a young lady named Susana. The date of their marriage was not discovered but a son resulted:
- Richard Foster , christened 06 December 1640
Chapter 3 [Generation #3]
Richard  and Susanna were far more productive than Richard’s parents, bringing eight children into the world in a period of 16 years, all of them born in Aston Clinton. Sadly, three died in infancy and a fourth died at the age of 15.
- Richard , christened 03 October 1672, died 23 April 1674
- Martha , christened 02 April 1674, died 09 April 1674
- Ann , christened 12 May 1677
- Richard , christened 10 February 1679
- Sarah , christened 02 June 1681
- John , christened 07 June 1683, died 26 February 1686
- Joseph , christened 26 March 1688, died 21 February 1704
- Samuel , christened 05 February 1691
Chapter 4 [Generation #4]
The Fosters were on the move again, with Samuel  making the four mile journey from Aston Clinton to Ellensborough. There he met Ruth Allen who had been born 02 May 1695 but not baptised. They were married 25 September 1715.
The Ellesborough Parish Register contains this statement: “An account of such as are born in Ellesborough and not baptized May, 1695. William Allen of Combe (Oxfordshire) had a daughter born May 2, 1695.”
Shortly after the marriage, Samuel and Ruth packed up their clothing and household goods and transferred 2 1/2 miles to Monks Risborough, where two children were born:
- James , christened ca 1717, married Sarah Randall 16 June 1736 at Princes Risborough
- Samuel , christened ca 1718, married Sarah Eldridge 29 November 1742 at Monks Risborough
Samuel Foster’s wife, Ruth, died 11 March 1743; he was married again on 21 November 1743 to a widow, Rachel Taylor.
Samuel and Rachel evidently changed their religion from Church of England to Anabaptist. They had a child born 09 September 1745 who was buried in the Anabaptist yard at Princes Risborough. Samuel was also buried there on 19 March 1746.
Chapter 5 [Generation #5]
Samuel Foster  evidentlydecided to remain in Monks Risborough where his father lived, and he stayed there until his death 06+ June 1791. At the age of 24, he met 21-year-old Sarah Eldridge and they were married 29 November 1742. The marriage took place, not in their home village, but in Hughenden, about six miles away—possibly an elopement?
Samuel and Sarah had eight children in the 20-year period from 1744 to 1764, two of whom died in infance:
- William , c-29 October 1744, bu-31 October 1744
- William , c-07 June 1746, bu-09 July 1768
- Sarah , c-01 November 1748, married Willliam Adams of great Kimble, and adjacent parish, on 13 July 1772
- John , c-13 April 1751, married Elizabeth Lamborn on 21 May 1781
- James , c-16 March 1754; married Catherine King on 05 August 1797; bu-07 January 1821
- Samuel , c-17 September 1757, married Anne Smith on 21 October 1778; Anne Smith bu-20 February 1792; Samuel bu-09 October 1820
- Joseph , c-21 November 1760, bu-26 February 1761
- Joseph , c-07 July 1764
Samuel Foster  was buried 06 June 1791 at Monks Risborough. His wife, Sarah, was buried 10 August 1787.
Chapter 6 [Generation #6]
John Foster  was christened 13 Aril 1751 at Monks Risborough. He was married 21 May 1781 at the age of 30; his wife, Elizabeth Lamborn, was christened 06 July 1755. her parents were John and Sarah Lamborn.
John and Elizabeth had eight children, three of whom died in infancy:
- John , c-01 July 1781; bu-03 April 1808
- Sarah , c-25 April 1784; bu-14 April 1833
- Ananias , c-03 December 1786
- Rebecca , c-18 May 1789; bu-22 May 1789
- Charles , c-25 November 1790; bu-01 December 1790
- James , c-08 July 1792; married Margaret Ayers 11 July 1818
- Elizabeth , c-28 February 796; bu-02 June 1799
- Thomas , c-28 September 1800; married Rebecca Bailey 03 April 1832
John Foster was buried at the Great Kimble 02 August 1831, at age 80; Elizabeth was buried at Askett 05 July 1825, at age 70.
Chapter 7 [Generation #7]
Significant events are taking place in this generation of the Fosters. Several marriages will be celebrated, two wives will be taken by death, and three sons will leave home, two going to another country.
Before we relate all these happenings, let’s take a look at the family members. James Foster , the father, was christened 08 July 1792 at the Church of St Mary’s in Princes Risborough. Another baptism took place 01 December 1816, quoting from the “Records of the Baptized Church of Jesus Christ assembled at Princes Risborough””:
“Lords day December 1st 1816. In the morning the Ordinance of Baptism was administered to James Foster of Askett. In the afternoon he was received into the church, the Pastor giving to him the right hand of Fellowship at the Lord’s Table.”
A year and a half later, on 11 July 1818, James Foster married Margaret Ayers at the Church of St Mary’s. Margaret was 21 years old, christened 05 March 1797 at the village of Bury in Lancashire. What brought Margaret to Princes Risborough is not known, and no record has been found of her parents.
James and Margaret Foster had six children, born in the small village of Askett, in the parish of Princes Risborough:
- John , christened 16 April 1819
- Mary , christened 04 November 1822
- Thomas , christened 31 January 1828
- James , christened 18 June 1830
- Fanny , christened 23 November 1834
- Gains , christened 16 November 1835
The 1841 census shows that Thomas  and James  are still living at home, but John  has moved to Cambridgeshire. Thomas  followed his older brother there, and both are listed in the census records of 1851 at Swaffham Bulbeck, a village nine miles east of Cambridge.
A third son, James , has left home but operates his own business in Princes Risborough, where he is listed in the 1851 census as a master tailor. His wife is named Ellen, and they have a two-year old daughter named Emily.
The 1851 Swaffham Bulbeck census verifies that both Thomas  and John  Foster are achieving success as millers. Thomas married Sarah Steed on 13 October 1850 and is living with his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Peter and Elizabeth Steed. He is listed as a master miller employing one man.
John Foster  was married before 1849 to Elizabeth, last name not found, a native of Haddenham, Buckinghamshire. Three children were the product of this union:
- Alice Maud Hill, born ca 1849, died 05 December 1854 at Swaffham Bulbeck
- Mary Elizabeth, born ca 1850, died before 1873
- John Henry Hill, born ca 1852, died 27 January 1855
The 1851 Swaffham Bulbeck census verifies that John and his wife are having success in the milling trade. He is listed as a miller and farmer of 56 acres of land, employing two millers, two apprentices, two agricultural labourers, and one servant.
The Cambridge Chronicle carried the following obituary: “February 3, 1855, Aged 35 after a severe infliction borne with Christian resignation deeply lamented, Elizabeth, the beloved wife of Mr John Foster, miller and merchant.”
A grave marker in the church cemetery at Swaffham Bulbeck has the following inscription: “Behold I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke. In memory of Elizabeth, wife of John Foster, who died February 3, 1855, in the 35 year of her age.”
[Sam’s note: the mother Elizabeth died only a week after her last child, three-year old John Henry, died.]
The Staine Hundred Chronicle is a collection of newspaper clippings from the 19th century at the Cambridge City Library. The following item from this publicatin is provided through the courtesy of Mr Dan McMahon, Chairman of Staine Hundred:
February 4, 1859: “Swaffham Bulbeck — to be sold at the Swan Inn, Bottisham on Thursday, 14 April A.M., that very good Freehold Dwelling House situate as aove with extensive stabling, Hay House, Bullock Sheds and large Cattle Yard…Also that parcel of Valuable Freehold Arable Land at the back called Red Barn Close containing with the site of the premises about 4a 3r 16p, recently in the occupation of Mr John Foster or his undertenant and now in hand.”
“The house also contains an entrance passage, 2 sitting rooms, pantry, kitchen (in which there is a pump of water) and 4 good bedrooms, detached wash-house and garden, now let to Mr Foster, upon an agreement for 14 years, from Michaelmas 1847, at the rent of 90 pounds per annum.”
James Foster  the father of John and Thomas, died 08 December 1879 at Bottisham, Cambridgeshire, of gangrene senilis, age 87. The date of death of his wife, Margaret, is not known.
We have spared no expense to bring you the following note: “Sir Hugh de Bolbec, from Bolbec in Normandy, gave the village of Swaffham Bulbeck the latter half of its name.”