Joseph Lemuel Chester: Papers

Scope and Content

MS.Add.5351: Transcripts or extracts from Cambridgeshire church registers, in Chester's and other hands, compiled c. 1873-1876, 1 volume, 464 folios.

The papers include material extracted from the records of the General Baptist Church, Wisbech; Thorney Abbey; Landwade; Stapleford; Ickleton; Babraham; Cambridge St Botolph, St Andrew the Great, All Saints, St Mary the Great and St Mary the Less; Ely St Mary and Holy Trinity; Isleham; and Haddenham. There are a few notes added by George Edward Cokayne, whose bookplate is in the volume. Pp. i-lxx and 193-end are blank.

MS.Add.5352: Copies of monumental inscriptions in Huntingdonshire churches, in Chester's and other hands, compiled c. 1875, 1 volume, 510 folios.

The inscriptions are arranged in alphabetical order, Alconbury to Waresley, followed by Huntingdon All Saints and St Mary. At pp. 51 and 53 are 2 letters from J.C. Ebden, vicar of Great Stukeley, probably to Chester, 1 and 3 December 1868. The volume has the bookplate of George Edward Cokayne. Pp. i-cvi and 73-end are blank.

MS.Add.5353: Genealogical correspondence and notes relating chiefly to Cambridgeshire, 1863-1881, 1 envelope, 9 folios.

There are letters to Chester from John Bell, Fordham, 14 November 1863; W. Joy, Shudy Camps, 2 December 1869, with extracts from parish registers regarding the Bridge family; Dudley G. Cary Elwes, 9 and 11 February 1880; and George W. Marshall, 'sunday evg'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Joseph Lemuel Chester (1821-1882), genealogist, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on 30 April 1821. In 1838 he moved to New York, where he found employment as a merchant's clerk, and published verses under the name of 'Julian Cramer'. He moved to Philadelphia in 1845, and worked again as a merchant's clerk, before becoming a journalist and newspaper editor. Chester became aide-de-camp to James Pollock, governor of Philadelphia in 1855. In 1858 he moved to London, where he began to research the history of American families. He died in London on 26 May 1882.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Brien Cokayne, 1st Lord Cullen of Ashbourne, 1912.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Chester in Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds, Dictionary of national biography, Vol. IV (London, 1908), pp. 201-203.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.

Custodial History

The papers belonged to G.E. Cokayne, which he possibly acquired as Chester's literary executor.

Family Names