WALLACE SARGENT – NOT RELATED TO ME, BUT HE’S SARGENT’S ICE CREAM’S COUSIN

Guest blog, by Ian Sargent 

 

WALLACE SARGENT – NOT RELATED TO ME, BUT HE’S SARGENT’S ICE CREAM’S COUSIN

Have you ever wondered when there is someone famous with the same birth name as you living nearby, whether they are related? With uncommon and regional names it might be quite likely, but with a name like Sargent or Sergeant you are quite likely to fail to prove a link. The name Sergeant means ‘servant’ and there are loads of us all over the country. The chances of two Sergeants being related are not quite as small as two Bakers being related, but you get the idea.

Wallace Leslie William Sargent was born in Elsham in 1935 and grew up in Winterton. He was the first person from Scunthorpe Technical High School to go to university, and he moved to California to become a famous astronomer, and, according to Wikipedia, he ‘carried out research in many areas of astronomy including stars, galaxies, quasars and active galactic nuclei, quasar absorption lines, and the intergalactic medium’. A clever man indeed. But could he be a relative?

 

Prototype of the Winterton 2022’s planned Wallace Sargent Sculpture

The signs weren’t good from the start. Being born in Elsham might suggest him being a Brigg Sergeant, as in Sergeant’s brewery and the solicitor HF Sergeant (who lived at Wortley House, hence the Sergeants Suite). They are not related to me – Antonie Sergeant, who founded the brewery, came from Linton in Cambridgeshire, whereas my family are from Marshchapel between Grimsby and Maplethorpe. But you never know – could I link Wallace’s ancestors to the east Lincolnshire coast?

Bill Sargent, who would become famous for the best-known ice cream in 20th century North Lincolnshire, I had researched before. As any local over 50 will know, Bill operated his ice cream business from Hibaldstow with vans going across the region and being stationed outside markets. He handed his business down to his son, also Bill. But looking at the 1911 census, Bill senior is in Manton near Kirton aged four having been born there – but his father was from Walesby. Where’s Walesby, you all ask? It’s near Market Rasen. That’s closer to Marshchapel than Scunthorpe, but not an obvious candidate for a relative.

I followed Bill’s family back another generation, only to find that his grandfather, William, was born in Bleasby, also near Market Rasen. This proved to be a dead end, as I couldn’t find records for William before 1881. I then turned my attention to Wallace Sargent.

Wallace’s father was Leslie W Sergeant. I didn’t take long to become excited – I found his baptism record in Walesby! Two generations back I found myself at the same William Sargent born Bleasby, so I was able to build the tree below:

 

Here we see that the two best known Sargents from North Lincolnshire were first cousins once removed. As for me – well maybe I’m related to Sir Malcolm Sargent?

 

 

Guest blog, by Ian Sargent