Abel Joy & Sarah Richardson
1834 to 1864
Abel was born in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, UK in December 1834 , eldest(?) son of William Joy and Sarah Bunker. The family had lived in this area for over 100 years and never strayed far from the townships shown on the map: Ampthill, Maulden, Flitwick, Haynes, Clophill, Marston Moretain, Houghton Conquest and the immediate surrounding area.

We know According to the shipping records in 1873, Abel was a ploughman.

Sarah Richardson was born in nearby Maulden, Bedfordshire in March 1834, daughter of George Richardson and Mary Lettin.

Abel and Sarah were married in Maulden on the 18th Dec 1855 and had four children, Mary Ann, Emma, Anna Elizabeth and Alfred, between 1858 and 1864.

In 1861 (census data opp.) they were living in George Street, Maulden. Abel was an Agriculral Labourer and Sarah a Straw Plaiter (makers of straw hats) - as were their neighbours (if not Straw Plaiters the women were Bonnet Sewers).

1861 Census for George Street, Maulden, Bedfordshire
Abel Joyabt 1835Houghton Conquest, BedfordshireHeadAg Lab
Sarah Joyabt 1834Maulden, BedfordshireWifeStraw Plaiter
Emma Joyabt 1860Maulden, BedfordshireDaughterScholar
Mary Ann Joyabt 1858Maulden, BedfordshireDaughterScholar
Note that Abel's birthplace is given as Houghton Conquest (just north of Ampthill), rather than Ampthill itself. Houghton Conquest is probably the correct location.
Family Tree - Abel Joy & Sarah Richardson
G3 Abel Joy
(1834 - 1907)
= (1) 9 December 1855 Sarah Richardson
( - )
= (2) between 1875 and 1895 Emma Rosina
( - )
G2 Mary Ann Joy
(1858 - 1864)
Emma Joy
(1861 - 1864)
Anna Elizabeth Joy
(1862 - 1864)
Alfred Joy
(1864 - 1864)
William James Joy
(1867 -1935)
= 3 June 1896
Emma Louisa Harper
(1871 - 1953)
Harry Joy
(1870 - )
Sarah Ann Joy
(1874 - 1874)
William Joseph Joy(1895 - ) George Thomas Joy(1896 - ) Daniel Samuel Joy(1898 - )
Bedfordshire, 1864 to 1869
In 1864, only about 4 weeks after the youngest, Alfred, was born, all four children died in quick succession, Emma aged 3 on the 20th May, Mary Ann, 6, on the 24th May, Alfred,30 days, on the 30th May and lastly Anna Elizabeth, 2, on the 4th August. The spread of the deaths over several days and then after two months implies that the deaths were due to an infectious disease rather than a single event.

Their 5th child, William James, was born 3 years later in 1867.

Emigration to New Zealand, 1869
In 1869 Abel, Sarah and William James emigrated to New Zealand in the Caroline Coventry, departing from London on 25th February 1869 and arriving at Lyttleton on 8th June 1869.

One of the last things they did before departing England, on 9 February 1869, was to get William christened.

One of the first things they did on arrival, on 13 June 1869, was to get William re-christened, this time at the Immigration Barracks in Lyttelton, Christchurch by Bishop Henry John Chitty Harper (the first Anglican bishop of Christchurch, from 1856 to 1890).

Shipping Records for the Caroline Coventry, 1869. the Joys were listed under "Government Immigrants, Families & Children"


Records of St Michael's Church, Christchurch:

NameJoy, William James
Born20 April 1867
Baptised13 June 1869
ParentsAbel & Sarah
ResidenceThe Barracks, Christchurch
OccupationImmigrant by "Caroline Coventry"
ChurchImmigration Barracks
MinisterBishop Harper
ReferenceSMC2 / 2144
Christchurch, New Zealand, 1869 to 1874
In 1870 and 1874 they had two more children, Harry and Sarah Ann and then about a year later in December 1874 Sarah died (in Christchurch hospital) and was buried in the Barbadoes St Cemetery in Christchurch. On the burial record, Abel is shown as a labourer.

The Joys lived in Opawa, possibly Hassals Lane, his address when he died.

1875 to 1907
Between 1875 and 1895 (probably the 1890s) Abel remarried, this time to Emma Rosina and they had least 3 sons:
Daniel Samuel, b 16 1 1898,
George Thomas b 3 7 1896 and
William Joseph b 17 3 1895.

Abel died in May 1907 and is buried with Emma in Sydenham Cemetery.

Abel & Emma Joy Gravestone
The story of the Joys is continued with Abel and Sarah's son William James Joy.
Notes & References
  1. IGI
  2. English Census 1861
  3. St Michael's Church, Christchurch records in the Christchurch Public library