Balls Family Page


Harriet CREASY (nee BALLS) pictured with her grandaughter, Beattie WOODS.

Our research into the Balls family started back in 1998 when Beattie Woods told us that my husband had relatives who lived in Norfolk. Beattie was a first cousin, once removed to Roger and she knew a lot about Roger's maternal family that he was unaware of.  Over the next year or so Beattie wrote down what she could remember and passed on memorabilia. It was a good job that we were able to talk to Beattie and accept her  photographs and documents because the search for Harriet's family was not easy due to misinformation, transcription errors and omissions. 

Beattie told us that Roger's great-grandmother was Harriet BALLS who had married George CREASY in 1878 in Effingham,Surrey. We also learned that the BALLS family had lived in and around Caister, Norfolk and that Harriet was the daughter of Samuel BALLS who came from Irstead, Norfolk. Beattie had passed on a rather tattered and torn document that had belonged to her mother, Melinda. The eight pages entitled "Family Register" had entries of births, marriages and deaths for the CREASY and BAllS family. On this document Harriet's birthdate was given as 31st March 1847. She also gave us a newspaper cutting , the obituary for Charlotte BROOKS who was Harriet's sister.

Not many records were available online back then.  The 1881 census had just been released on CD-ROM but we couldn't find George and Harriet and neither could we find Samuel Balls born in Irstead. Shortly afterwards the 1851 Census for Norfolk was released on CD-ROM and this afforded us a little more luck, we discovered a family that matched what we knew about Samuel and his wife Mary Ann except that Harriet wasn't mentioned.  Instead there was a daughter Hannah accredited to them with a birth date of c1849, a son John had been born to them in 1847. We made several visits to the Record Offices at Norwich, paid a visit to the church at Irstead and scrutinised the 1851 and 1881 CD-ROMS. At the church in Irstead we found a gravestone for James Balls that matched the dates written on the "Family Register". The 1881 Census showed a Samuel BALLS born in "Yarsted", Norfolk. This family were living at "Frocks Hall" Caister along with the family of John and Charlotte BROOKS. We also found George and Harriet in the1881 census - their name had been transcribed as "Crealy" and Harriet's birthplace as "Laister". We couldn't find a birth registration for Harriet or a baptism entry.  The other children of Samuel and Mary Ann Balls had all been baptised but there didn't seem to be a baptism record for Harriet.  Eventually other census years were released on microfiche and online and we were able to find Harriet along with Samuel and the rest of the family on the 1861 census, the birthdate still suggesting that she had been born around 1849.  Searches of the Birth Registration indexes did show that a "female" BALLS had been registered in 1849 at Flegg. The entries for George and Harriet on the 1891 census and for Harriet, by now a widow, on the 1901 census both indicated a birth in 1849 but on the 1911 census, which Harriet filled out herself again suggested that she had been born in 1847.  As for the absence of a baptism entry maybe Harriet never was baptised as a child as a further document suggests that she was confirmed into the church in 1891.  It was a good job that Beattie had given us so much family information or we probably would have never been sure that we had found the right BALLS family.

More About the Balls Family

The BALLS line of ancestry lies mainly in Norfolk. 

James BALLS was born c1738 in Norfolk, probably in or near Ludham.  James married Elizabeth REMMONDS at Ludham on 20th October 1763.  They had seven children: James (1765-1843,) Thomas (1771-1847), William (1775-1867), John (1777-1861), Mary Ann (1780-1783), Samuel (1782-1866) and Mary Ann (1784-) James died in 1822 and was buried at Irstead, Norfolk.  Elizabeth died in 1827 at Scottow, Norfolk where she was probably living with her son William.  James left a will in which it states that he had land in Neatishead, Norfolk having previously had land in Irstead. The will lists his children and wife as beneficiaries.

James BALLS, eldest son of James BALLS and Elizabeth REMMONDS was baptised at Ludham, Norfolk on 6th January 1765. On 11th October 1789 he married Judith (Durrant) ABBOTT at Potter Heigham, Norfolk. They had three sons: James (1789-1872), William (1796-1869) and John (1798-1871).  Judith died in 180 and was buried on 11th November in Potter Heigham. John then married Elizabeth STUBBS on 22nd October 1801 in Potter Heigham.  A daughter Elizabeth was born to them in 1804.  Elizabeth died in 1841 and was buried at Potter Heigham on the 30th September.  James died and was buried in Potter Heigham on 14th May 1843.

James BALLS, eldest son of James BALLS and Judith (Durrant) ABBOTTS, was born in Potter Heigham and baptised there on 20th November 1789. He married Ann TURNER on 7th November 1814 at the pretty little church in Irstead. James and Ann had seven children: Samuel (1815-1905), James (1817-1889), John (1820-1847), Mary (1822-1853), Thomas (1824) William (1826) and Judith (1829-1848).  In 1841 James was working as an agricultural labourer and lived near The Shoals in Irstead with his wife Ann and three of his children: Thomas, William and Judith.  In 1851 they are listed as living at The Shoals, Irstead and their son William is still living with them.  Both James and William are employed as agricultural labourers.  James and Ann are still living at The Shoals in 1861 and James has become Clerk of the Parish.  In 1871 their address is given as 1, The Shoals and James' occupation given as agricultural labourer.  James and Ann both died in 1872 at Irstead, their entries are listed consecutively in the Church Register.  Ann was buried at Irstead on 9th January 1872 and James on 9th June, James is listed as being the Parish Clerk.

Samuel BALLS, eldest son of James BALLS and Ann TURNER was born at Irstead 15th May 1815 and baptised there 21st May. On 30th March 1841, in Great Yarmouth, Samuel married Mary Ann HORTH from Lound, Suffolk.  Samuel and Mary Ann had eight children: Mary Ann (1840-1890), Charlotte (1842-1828), Samuel (1843-1924), James (1845-1893), John (1847), Harriet (1849-1921) Judith (1850-1916) and Sarah Ann (1853).  At the time of their marriage Samuel was a labourer living at Ferry Boat Row, Great Yarmouth and Mary Ann was a servant living at Goal Street.  At the time of the 1841 census they are livig at West End, Caister Port and have a 7 month old baby girl also called Mary Ann, Samuel is an agricultural labourer.  1851 sees them living near West Road, Caister with six children and Samuel is working as a farmer's labourer. They have moved to Frog Hall, Caister by 1861. Samuel is a Gardener Master of three and a half acres. Seven children are living with them.  Samuel is listed as a market gardener in the 1871 census and the address is given as West End, Caister. Just two children remain living with Samuel and Mary Ann, their son Samuel, who is working as an agricultural labourer and Sarah Ann.  Samuel is still working as a market gardener in 1881 and is living at Frocks Hall.  Samuel and Sarah Ann are still living with them. Mary Ann died in 1883 and is buried in the cemetery in Great Yarmouth, Section 17, Grave No. 2, Interment 122. 1891 Samuel and son Samuel are living at Low Road, Caister, Samuel is 75 and still working as a market gardener while Samuel junior is an agricultural labourer.  The two Samuel's are still living together in 1901 at Clink, next to Low Road, Samuel junior is still working as an agricultural labourer but Samuel, 84, is receiving parish relief.  Samuel died in 1905 he is buried in the cemetery at Great Yarmouth with his wife, Section 17, Grave no. 2 Interment 735.

Harriet BALLS was probably born 31st March 1849 at Caister, Norfolk, the sixth child and third daughter of Samuel and Mary Ann BALLS (nee HORTH).  Harriet seems to have been entered under the name of Hannah in the 1851 census when her family were living at West Road, Caister, Norfolk. In 1861 she is living at Frog Hall, Caister.  I can find entries for a Harriet Balls on the 1871 census but none that I can confirm are her given the uncertainty of her birthdate. On 30th January 1878, in Effingham, Surrey Harriet married George CREASY. In 1881 Harriet and George are living at Raglan Road, Reigate, Surrey.  George is working as a coachman and they have two children George Samuel born 1878 and Melinda born 1880. 1891 census sees them living at Worcester Cottages, Reigate. George is a gardener and they have three more children: William born 1882, Annie Louisa born 1886 and  Edwin born 1890. Records show that three further children had been born to them. Louisa was born 3rd January 1882 but died 11th January 1882 from accidental suffocation. Frederick and Edward were born in 1888 and died that same year.  Further tragedy befell the family before the next census.  George died in 1893.  His body was found early in the morning on 12th February 1893 beside the railway track at Nutley Farm Bridge just down the road from where they lived. George had been ill for the past year and had not been well enough to work for the past two weeks because of swollen hands.  It was apparent from his injuries that he had been hit by a train.  An inquest was held at The Anchor, Nutley Lane and after hearing evidence of George's character and the circumstances under which his body was found the Jury returned a verdict that the deceased was "wandering on the railway line whilst temporarily insane and was knocked down by a passing train".  Harriet was left with 5 young children to bring up on her own. She never remarried.  In 1894 she was called as a character witness for a young girl, Minnie Wells whom she befriended. Minnie was on trial at the Old Bailey accused of double infanticide. In 1901 Harriet is living at 4 Worcester Road and working as a charwoman.  Annie Louise and Edwin are living with her along with a lodger. Harriet's address in 1911 is given as 17 Worcester Road and she is still working as a charwoman, Annie Louise is living with her and working as a general domestic servant.  The census has been filled out to state that she gave birth to eight children with five of them still living.  Harriet died on 11th October 1921 and was buried in Reigate Cemetery on the 15th October.


harrietReg Harriet with Reg Creasy HarrietWill Harriet and Will Creasy
SamSamJack Samuel Balls with sons, Sam and Jack MaryAnnBalls Mary Ann Balls
Harriet Charlotte Balls HarrietGeorge Harriet Creasy (nee Balls) with her husband, George
IrsteadChurch Irstead Church Potterheigham  Harriet Creasy (nee Balls) with her husband, George