Thursday, 21 August 2014

Hong Kong Research - The Wesleyan Methodist Historic Roll

Towards the end of the 19th. Century the Wesleyan Methodists wanted to celebrate the Centenary of the death of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement.  They came up with “The Twentieth Century Fund” a project aimed at collecting a million guineas from a million Methodists throughout the world in order to expand the work of the Wesleyan church.

Every person who contributed signed within a “circuit register” and was presented with a certificate :

The pages from the local circuit registers were then bound together to form the Methodist Historical Roll – the 50 volumes of which can now be found at the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London where they can be viewed on microfiche.  The volumes include not only circuits within the UK but also around the world including China and Hong Kong.

Of special interest to genealogists is the fact that many of the donations were “In Memoriam” and these entries often show a date of death. 

Perhaps it is not surprising to find the Hong Kong Circuit Register headed by the most prominent Methodist families of Bone and Piercy.  The Piercy family entries are as follows:

The late Jane Wannop Piercy,  Canton
Geo. Piercy Jr,   Hong Kong
Jane Piercy,       Hong Kong
Richard Smailes Piercy,  Hong Kong
James Edward Piercy,    Hong Kong
Arthur Piercy,     Hong Kong
George Harold Piercy,    Hong Kong
Mary Frances Piercy,     Hong Kong

The late Jane Wannop Piercy of Canton would have been wife of the Revd. George Piercy of the English Wesleyan Mission.    She died in Canton in June 1878.

George Piercy Jnr was one of the children of the Revd. George and Jane.  From 1878 to 1917 he was headmaster of the Diocesan School and Orphanage in HK.  His wife was Jane and they had 7 children - two of whom died as infants.  The five surviving children are all named in the HK Circuit Register i.e. Richard, James, Arthur, George and Mary. 

The grave of the babies survives in Hong Kong and shows the inscription:

Jane Wannop Piercy
born 4th. September 1880
died 8th. September 1880

John Guy Piercy
born        April 1895
died    24 May 1895
Burial records show that John Guy Piercy was buried with his sister on 25th. May 1895 aged 54 days.

Grave of Jane Wannop Piercy and John Guy Piercy 

If your ancestor was a Methodist in the Far East then get yourself along to the Methodist Central Hall and be awe struck by the sight of these 50 bound volumes – then consult the microfiche to see if you strike gold.