I have traced my Aiston family back to Christopher Aiston, who lived in Kent, England, during the late 18th century. Over time, the family were relatively mobile, my particular line of interest journeying from Kent through Hampshire to Somerset, back to Kent, and then subsequently to Buckinghamshire. The name Aiston itself has origins in the North East of England, so the family may have originated from here. My Aiston family were papermakers. This may explain some of their mobility and it is in this way that they connect to another of my families of interest – the Millbourns. I detail below my direct Aiston ancestors. Further information about others in the family are provided in links.

 Christopher Aiston

Christopher married Ann Wright in 1783 at All Saints, Maidstone and together they had five children: John (c. 1786), William (c. 1787) George (c. 1788), Thomas (c. 1790), and William (c. 1792). In 1793, Christopher married Sarah Barber Spencer at East Malling, presumably following Ann’s death.  This married resulted in a further seven children born between 1794 and 1805: Ann, Mary, Charles, Samuel, Christopher, Harriet and Aaron.

Christopher and Ann are my 5th great grandparents and their son George my fourth great grandfather.

George Aiston (1788 – 1865)

George was baptised in East Malling, Kent in November 1788. My knowledge of his early life is sketchy. He married a lady called Sarah sometime before 1815 and they had nine children: Sarah Matthews (c. 1815), George (c. 1817), John Brooks (c. 1818), Samuel Taylor (c.1820), Charlotte (c.1824), Eliza (c.1826), Aaron (c. 1828), Mary (c.1829) and Charles (c.1834). Use of the names 'Matthews', 'Brooks' and 'Taylor' may hold some clues to Sarah's maiden name, that of her mother or indeed Christopher Aiston's or Ann Wright's maternal lines. Typical of the time, George and Sarah's family suffered infant mortality - George, Aaron and Mary all died before their first birthday. I have been unable to trace the whereabouts of Eliza or Charles after 1841.

With the exception of Samuel and Charlotte who were born in Hampshire, George and Sarah's children were born and baptised in the Wells/ Wookey Hole area of Somerset. At the time of the 1841 census, George, Sarah, Samuel, Charlotte, Eliza and Charles are found living at Wookey Hole Lane, Wookey Hole, and both George and Samuel are employed as paper makers. It is not known whether they were employed at the famous Wookey Hole paper mill or the neighbouring St. Cuthberts Mill (previously Lower Wookey Mill/ Mendip Mill), since the two mills are situated at either end of Wookey Hole Lane. St. Cuthberts Mill still operates today. It seems then that George moved from Kent to Somerset and then to Hampshire before returning to Somerset. Papermills existed in each of these locations. Sarah, however, was born in Somerset. George was widowed in 1847. He continued to work as a papermaker, lodging in Wells, and in 1851 is shown as a papermaker journeyman. By the time of the 1861 census, George was an inmate at the Union Workhouse, Priory Road, Wells. He died here in March 1865, the death certificate stating senile gangrene as the cause of death. At this stage, George's children had retraced their father's footsteps and moved on from Somerset. Sarah married Edward Byrne and lived in High Wycombe; John married Eliza Candy in Wells and subsequently lived in Hampshire, Surrey and Kent; and Samuel (below) and Charlotte both moved to Kent where they married Abigail Milbourn and James Whitehead and later moved to Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The family trade was upheld. Sarah, John, Samuel and their children continued to work as paper pickers, sorters and makers, Sarah's husband was also a papermaker and Samuel married into a papermaking family - the Millbourns.   

Samuel Taylor Aiston (1820 - 1879)

Samuel, son of George and Sarah, was baptised in South Stoneham, Hampshire in April 1820. Samuel is my 3rd great grandfather. South Stoneham is situated a few miles North East of Southampton on the West Bank of the river Itchen. The parish includes a village called 'West-End', which was home to the Upmill/ Gater's papermill and one can speculate that this was why the Aiston family were living in Hampshire at this time.  Like his father, Samuel spent his working life as a papermaker - first in Somerset (see above), then in Kent and Buckinghamshire. By the mid 1840's, Samuel had left Somerset and was living in Sundridge in Kent. On 18th January 1847 he married Abigail Millbourn at the Register Office in Sevenoaks. Abigail, born c. 1822, was the daughter of Mark Millbourn and Sarah Tucker. The Millbourns and the Tuckers were also both papermaking families. Mark and Abigail's sister Ann were witnesses of the marriage. Samuel and Abigail had 7 children, all born in Kent between 1847 and 1865. They were: Emeline, Malina, Ernest, Alfred, Leonora, Beatrice and Percy. The three sons also became papermakers and Emeline, Malina and Beatrice were also at times employed at the mill as paper glaziers. Malina (see below) married George Lewis and is my 2nd great grandmother. The family spent some time living in Sundridge and Dartford before moving to Chepping Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. 

Samuel appears to have been particularly successful in his trade. The 1871 census records his occupation as 'Manager at papermill' and the family are living at Mill House, Mill Street, Sundridge. Eight years later in 1879, he was manager of Beech paper mill in Wycombe, Bucks. He died on the 15th April 1879 "suddenly from disease of the heart" (death certificate), the suddenness of his death illustrated by the fact an inquest was held.

Malina Sarah Aiston (1849 - ?) 

Samuel and Abigail's daughter, Malina Sarah, was born on the 26th September 1849 in Sundridge, Kent. The name Sarah was that of both of Malina's grandmothers, though the origins of the name Malina are unclear. It is suggested that it may be Italian, Hebrew or even Hawaiian but I am unaware of any such connections in the Aiston or Millbourn family so how Samuel and Abigail came to chose this name is unknown.   The name now reappears in the family tree as the middle name of my daughter, Alice Malina, born November 2007.

In her early life, Malina worked as a paper glazier and moved with the family from Kent to Wycombe. Here she married George Lewis (a carpenter) on 21st Oct 1876 at the Union Chapel, Easton Street. George and Malina had 8 children: William George, Daisy Abigail (presumably named after Abigail Millbourn), Arthur Percy (my great-grandfather), Ernest, Bertie Harry, Bernard, Frederick and Harold. Malina, George and their family continued to live in Wycombe at Tylers Green until at least 1901.