Joy Clist, d. 1935


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 What is this site about?

This site is primarily a Clist family history repository. It currently contains information for anyone connected by blood, adoption or marriage with that branch of the Clists who lived in Shoreditch, near Taunton, Somerset, but it may expand to include other branches should the interest develop. To my knowledge, there are no Clist relatives (of ours) living in Taunton now, and it appears that the hamlets of Shoreditch and its neighbour Orchard Portman have virtually disappeared from the map.

We live in an exciting age for amateur historians. Photographs and memorabilia of relatives born in the late 19th century are still to be found in the possession of various family members. They can easily be scanned and added into the website for sharing with all the family and interested site visitors. And small photos can be scanned at high resolution and thereby made more interesting than the originals. In the public arena, a vast number of historical documents are being made accessible on the internet for the benefit of anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Researching family history is a stimulating hobby. Most surnames on this site are not too common to make the task difficult, nor too rare to lack interest. Involvement in family history is strong in Britain, and in particular, I have spent many hours exploring the census databases and BMD records (births, marriages, deaths) at As a result, I now have several BMD certificates which add authority to the records.

This page contains a lot of information. To read more, click on the expand/collapse arrows at the left of the section headings below.

 The Clist and Quick families from Somerset

We start our family history with John Clist, a blacksmith who lived and worked at Shoreditch, near Taunton, Somerset, England. John was born in Hemyock, Devon, where the Clist name has been present for many generations. John Clist married Elizabeth Manfield when he was 26 and she was 25. According to their marriage certificate, Elizabeth was a servant in Hemyock. They were married in the Hemyock Parish Church on 3 April 1861, and Elizabeth's father John Manfield was a witness. Apparently he was illiterate as his testimony is noted as "The mark of "X" John Manfield". This is a reminder of our humble origins.

John and Elizabeth had 3 sons and 3 daughters (George, Ann, Frank, Ellen, Lucy, Mark). I have just one photo of John, and several of Elizabeth in her latter years. John Clist died aged 56, but Elizabeth lived to 82. Both are buried in Orchard Portman Churchyard.

My great-grandfather George Clist was the eldest of John and Elizabeth's brood, and he continued to operate the smithy at Shoreditch, and cared for his widowed mother. George married Mary Quick, who was from a farming family in Buckland St Mary, Somerset. Mary's parents were Simeon Quick and Mary Goodland and my great-grandmother Mary Quick was number 4 in a family of 12 children (James, Samuel, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, Mark, Edwin, Rebecca, Emma, William, Sidney, Frank). I am expecting that many of their descendants are still resident in Somerset and the western shires.

George and Mary Clist were blessed with 2 sons and 4 daughters (Edith, Sidney, Dorothy, John, Annie, Joy) and also raised two orphaned nephews (Charles and Edward Rossiter). This is the generation that attracts my deep interest, as there are quite a few photos and other documents which provide details of their history. But then came the age of emigration, and Edith went to South America and Sidney, John, and Charles to New Zealand. So the Clist sons did not stay to carry on the business. Instead, Edward Rossiter (Ted) carried on the trade, and my wife and I met Ted at the smithy in May 1973. You can read more about the Rossiters in the last section on this page.

My grandfather Sidney Clist was the second child and eldest son. Sidney, John, and their cousin Charles Rossiter emigrated from England in 1910 and Sidney lived in New Zealand for the rest of his life. He married Mercy Clare from Gisborne. They visited England in 1931, being their one and only visit home. But this was now the age of photography, and Sidney compiled several photo albums of his own snapshots, together with photos received from the old country, and a few photos from his older sister Edith Jenkins, who lived in Argentina. Edith's story is given in The Argentine branch feature page.

My father Eric Clist was an only child, so his parents' memorabilia are largely intact in the one collection. Eric lived all his life in Auckland. I am Eric's second son, and am likewise an Aucklander, but had the privilege of living and studying in London from 1971 to 1974, when newly married.

So on the Clist side, I trace my line of descent thus:

 Last Name, Given Name(s)   Born   Relationship 
Clist, John   c. 25 Jan 1835 Hemyock, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location   My great-great-grandfather
Clist, George  b. 12 May 1862 Shoreditch, Taunton, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location   My great-grandfather (John's eldest)
Clist, Sidney George   b. 09 Jan 1886 Shoreditch, Taunton, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location   My grandfather (George's eldest son)
Clist, Eric Leonard George   b. 12 Jan 1914 Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location   My father (Sidney's only child)
Clist, Roger Selwyn   b. 25 Apr 1946 Auckland, New Zealand Find all individuals with events at this location   Me (Eric's second son)
 The Scarlett and Mason forbears

My mother was Bessie Scarlett, daughter of Albert Thomas Scarlett and Clara Homan Mason. All were New Zealand born, of English stock. I don't have many names on the Mason side, but the Scarlett line has been well-researched by Tom Fitzsimons of Palmerston North, New Zealand. You can find many Scarlett connections on Roger Moffat's Genealogy (Roger is my second cousin).

I know very little about the Mason side of the family, or their origins. Plenty of room for research here!

 The Clare and Osborne lineage

My father's mother was Mercy Clare, daughter of Samuel Clare and his wife Eliza Osborne. They had a family of 6 boys asnd 2 girls, so the Clare descendants are numerous. A comprehensive family tree and history was compiled by Howard Samuel Clare in 1985 and published by Henry Clare subsequent to a family reunion in 1984 (see Bibliography below). This research principally covers the descendants only as it was compiled before the days of personal computers and internet access to the UK census databases and other records now so easily searched.

Samuel was just a boy of X when his parents emigrated to New Zealand from Beaminster, Dorset.

We don't know much about the Osborne family, but we believe that Eliza was aged about 5 when her parents emigrated from Middlesex to New Zealand. My father's first employer was his Uncle Charles Osborne, Eliza's brother, who had a plumbing business in Auckland. I can remember passing their premises in the early 1970s, during my lunchtime walks from DSIR in Albert St to the Farmers Trading Company in Hobson St.

Eliza died in the influenza epidemic in 1918. My father Eric was aged 4 at the time, and he recalled one of his earliest memories of witnessing his mother's grief at receiving the news. Mercy was only 27 when her mother died, and she received her last letter from her mother in the post on the following day.

 The Chappell and Gallon families from Australia

My wife is from the Chappell family of Brisbane, Australia, and her mother was a Gallon. We are hoping to add these family lines in the near future.

 The Carruthers and Bell connections

Watch this space.

 The Lineham links

Watch this space.

 The Jenkins branch in Argentina

Edith Clist, who was 11 months older than my grandfather Sidney, emigrated to Argentina in 1909 and married Alfred Jenkins and settled there. We know a little about Alfred's family from census records, and that he was an orphan from Bristol, England. Both were missionaries, but Alfred died leaving Edith to raise her four daughters. I don't think Sidney ever met Edith again (or any of her children) but they corresponded regularly by mail, and as a child I remember Edith's daughter Dorothy Jenkins sending me postage stamps from all over the world, which she had rescued from letters received at her work in New York City. Dorothy was a point of contact with several in the wider family, and she was the one who passed on to me her grandfather George Clist's Family Bible.

In recent times, through the wonders of internet searching, one of Edith's grandsons living in Jujuy, Argentina, established contact with me, and we are enjoying a growing relationship through email and Skype conversations as we try to bridge the years and miles that have separated the families for over a century. In March 2009 my wife and I visited Córdoba and Jujuy in central and northern Argentina and met many previously unknown second cousins, as well as Edith's youngest and only surviving daughter Betty Sipowicz (English pronunciation "Sipowitch") neé Elizabeth Ilda Jenkins. So we are building up our knowledge of our American relatives (now in both North and South America and elsewhere) and reconstructing the history of the Argentine branch.

 The Rossiter mystery

Edward Rossiter (Ted) and his younger brother Charles were raised by my great-grandparents George and Mary Clist, and were treated as part of the family. It was Ted who worked with George in the Shoreditch Smithy, and he carried on the blacksmithing business after George retired. We always knew that Ted and Charles were orphans, but that was all. I obtained a copy of Charles Rossiter's birth certificate which gave his parents as Edward Rossiter and Elizabeth Quick. Census data reveals that Elizabeth was my great-grandmother Mary's immediate older sibling in a large family.

There is a photo in my grandfather's collection in which the young mother looks exceedingly like Mary Quick, so I am guessing that she is Elizabeth. There are 5 children, including two boys whose age difference looks like they could be Ted (Edward, jnr) and Charles Rossiter. You can see this photo in the Most Wanted page.

Ted Rossiter married and had at least two children, Charlie and Lizzie, neither of whom married, as far as I know. We met Ted and Charlie on our visit to the smithy in May 1973. I think Lizzie was out shopping, so we missed seeing her. Charlie was shy to the extreme, and non-communicative. But Ted was very clear in his mind, and described all relationships from my perspective. You can see some photos of Ted in The Forge and the Ivy Cottage. We later learnt that Ted died just a few weeks after our visit. How I wish I had asked Ted all the questions that I am searching answers for now. For instance, who was Ted's wife?

Charles Rossiter emigrated to New Zealand in 1910 along with his foster-brothers Sidney and John Clist. We believe he settled in Christchurch, and some descendants might still be living in the area. The New Zealand Marriages 1836-1956 CDROM has only one record of a Charles Rossiter, who married Gladys Sarah Lord in 1923 (Folio 04862). And I have found a Christchurch cemetery record which matches his birth year. But what was his occupation? Has he left descendants? There are plenty of Rossiters living in Christchurch, so maybe some of those will be related.

My grandmother Mercy Clist (Clare)'s Birthday Book contains the name Rita Rossiter b. 24 Feb (year not given). She might be the wife of Ted, or a daughter of Ted or Charles. I'm seeking details on this.

It was sad that the parents Edward and Elizabeth died so young. I wonder what were the causes of their premature deaths? And it was sad that the children had to be separated. Who were the girls, and what were their histories?


Books and other items not listed in the Documents and Repositories sections of this website.

  • The Book of Hemyock, Heart of the Blackdowns, compiled by Brian Clist and Chris Dracott, Halsgrove Community History Series, 2001, ISBN 1 84114 1907.
  • North Curry, A Place in History, by Angela E Dix, ISBN 0-9531141-1-2.
  • The Clare Family Dossier, by Henry Clare, 1984, based on notes compiled by Howard Clare.

Roger Clist, Auckland, New Zealand 16 July, 2019

This page is added to TNG.