Wednesday 7 September 2011

Can You Help Naomi Tarrant?

Naomi Tarrant is one of our well-loved textile researchers and writers and has produced a whole host of books on textiles and costumes for us. Currently she is working on a book of Scottish Samplers and we cannot wait to open a copy of that book when it is ready. However, she needs a little help at the moment, and possibly you are just the person who can help her. A few years ago Naomi saw a family record sampler in Das Deutsche Stickmuster-Museum (German Sampler Museum) in Celle with the following family information:
Record of the Family of Mr Robert and Mrs Hannah Fossate.
Robert Fossate was born Aug 15 1779
Hannah Fossate was born Jan 6 1781
Were married Dec 29 1804
Lucy Fossate was born Oct 24 1805
Roselly Fossate was born June 8 1807
William Fossate was born May 7 1809
Hannah Fossate was born Nov 18 1810
Sally Fossate was born July 4 1812
Joel Fossate was born Sept 4 1814
Susan Fossate was born Oct 27 1816
Lockhart Fossate was born Apr 3 1819
Oliver Fossate was born Mar 26 1821
Moses Fossate was born Mar 12 1823

The sampler is unfinished and someone else has added the date 1831, a date that would fit Susan as the maker. Because it has some unusual Christian names Naomi thought it might be easy to trace, but the surname proved a problem. Fossate appears to be Italian but the sampler was obviously done by a British girl. So she tried like-sounding names and came up with Fossett and Fawcett. There is a Robert Fawcett baptised 26 December 1779, at St Mary’s Oldham, son of Thomas and Margaret, who would fit. Thomas Fawcett, Clerk of the parish, married Margaret Townson, widow, Dec 21 1777 in the same church. Even with this possible clue to the surname she still couldn’t find any births for the children or a marriage for Robert and Hannah, nor anyone in the 1841 census who might fit. Although there is a column for Deaths on the sampler none are recorded. This may well be because the maker died and no one else took up the work. Naomi says it is infuriating to have all this information and after all the effort she has put in trying to trace the family not be able to pinpoint the family - perhaps you can help her. I hope so.


  1. Well, the stitcher is probably British, but she could have had a name with Italian origin! Fossate is indeed an Italian (not very common) family name
    I don't think it's very likely the same surname was misspelt so many times, and I believe the stitcher's family name was really Fossate, not Fawcett or Fasset! The names listed sound British, but probably the family had Italian origins (maybe distant ones)

  2. Try this - 5 Fossates recorded here - Scotland has a lot of Italian links.

  3. Sorry can't help on this one but am very interested to know when her book will be published. My wife has five Scottish family samplers and about 10 years ago we took the oldest (1780) to ask Naomi about it. She was a fund of knowledge and described it as eccentric and unlike any other she had seen. As well as family details, the top half was a rural (N American) scene and the bottom half was nautical. I don't know how far on her book is but if she wanted an image to use I would be happy to oblige.