Frederick Oaten was born 1813 in Pitminster, Somerset, England, United Kingdom to John Oaten (1776-1850) and Hannah Cheek (1773-1854) and died 22 January 1888 in 27 Gladstone Street, Bristol, England, United Kingdom of bronchitis. He married Dinah Bradbeer (1811-1888) 11 March 1832 in St.Giles Church, Thurloxton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom.

The Story of the Oaten Family

It was in 1858 that Thomas JOINT, a shipwright, working in the maritime city of Bristol, and Theresa OATEN (the daughter of Frederick Oaten and Dinah Bradbeer), originally from Taunton in Somerset were married at St. Jude’s Church, Bristol. Here we trace their ancestors; the OATEN [or WOOTTON] family over a period of 400 years.

The earliest known OATENS came from the villages of Corfe, Pitminster and Otterford, situated a few miles to the south of Taunton in Somerset. However, like so many British families in the 1800’s, they endeavoured to secure a better life for themselves by migrating further afield. The U.S.A., Canada, Australia and New Zealand appear to have been favoured countries for the OATEN ancestors. However, some have been traced to France, Hong Kong, Brazil, Angola and even Russia.

Our earliest known OATEN ancestor was Ralph OATEN, who was born about 1606 at Otterford in the county of Somerset. His son, Michael OATEN was born about 1632 and the family line was continued when his son, also called Michael was baptised on 6th January 1674/75 at Corfe. In 1711 Michael married Amy PARKHOUSE at St. James’ Church, Taunton.

In 1743, William OATEN, son of Michael, married Hannah NEWBERRY and from 1776 until 1790 William was the Innkeeper of the “Cog Wheel Inn”, later called the “Holman Clavel”. The inn still stands today and with its low pitched roof, neatly whitewashed stone walls and pitch black window casements, it appears to have changed little from the days of William and Hannah. Their son Thomas OATEN was baptised in 1747 at Pitminster and at the age of 28 he married Susanna GUMMER. In 1776 Susannah gave birth to their first child, John OATEN and in 1803, still remaining in Pitminster, John married Hannah CHEEK.

John and Hannah had seven children, the fifth being Frederick OATEN, baptised 21st May 1813 at Pitminster and on 11th March 1832 he married Dinah BRADBEER at St. Giles Church, Thurloxton, near Bridgwater (Dinah was the great-great-granddaughter of the infamous Sarah Bradbeare of 1664). Between 1832 and 1855 they produced thirteen children, all born within a ten-mile radius of Taunton. However, the need to provide for such a large family meant that Frederick had to look further afield in order to improve his chances as a coach spring maker. At some point after the birth of their last child in 1855 and before the 1861 census, Frederick and Dinah took their large family and joined the many country people who were hoping to make a better life for themselves in the West Country capital of Bristol.

This was just the beginning of the OATEN migration for although some of Frederick and Dinah’s children remained in Bristol, others moved to other parts of the country and even other parts of the world.


Offspring of Frederick Oaten and Dinah Bradbeer (1811-1888)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Oaten (1832-1877) 1832 Pitminster, Somerset, England (Pitminster+ Somerset+ England) 1877 Bristol, England Mary Ann Luxton (c1834-1892)

Maria Oaten (1834-1909) 6 October 1834 Wiveliscombe, Somerset, England, United Kingdom 31 March 1909 Red Oak, Iowa, United States George Thomas Trapnell (c1838-1911)

Theresa Oaten (1836-1918) 1836 Taunton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom 1918 Bristol, England, United Kingdom Thomas Joint (c1834-1911)

Eliza Oaten (1838-1910) 2 April 1838 Bridgwater, Somerset, England, United Kingdom 3 January 1910 South Omaha, Nebraska, United States Thomas Bell Draper (1838-1905)

Emma Oaten (1840-) 2 August 1840 East Reach, Taunton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom William Harris (c1839-)

Frederick Oaten (1842-1892) 31 August 1842 Queen Street, Taunton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom 1892 Chepstow, Wales, United Kingdom Clara Horwood (1843-1919)

Mary Ann Oaten (1844-) 10 April 1844 East Reach, Taunton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom Thomas Bussell (c1844-)

William James Oaten (1846-) 4 March 1846 Mount Lane, Taunton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom Emma Victoria Frankcom (c1840-1880)
Caroline Lee (c1851-)

Jane Oaten (1848-) 31 July 1848 Mount Lane, Taunton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom James Morse (c1845-)

Robert Oaten (1850-1866)
Henry Oaten (1851-1907) 3 November 1851 Mount Lane, Taunton, Somerset, England, United Kingdom 30 April 1936 Dartford, Kent, England, United Kingdom Mary Ann Davis (c1854-1926)

Francis Walter Oaten (1853-1911) 16 March 1853 Taunton, Somerset, England (Paul Street+ Taunton+ Somerset+ England) 28 February 1911 Bristol, England (31 Barton Road+ Bristol+ England) Elizabeth Rebecca Griffiths (1851-1933)

Edward Oaten (1855-1936) 16 January 1855 Taunton, Somerset, England (Paul Street+ Taunton+ Somerset+ England) 1936 Bristol, England (Bristol+ England) Evangeline Louisa Willsman (1855-1936)

Robert OATEN was born 16 March 1850 at Mount Lane, Taunton and sadly died on 12 December 1866 at 8 Leigh Street, Bristol, aged 16 years. The cause of death was consumption of the lungs and the informant was his sister Mary Ann Oaten (1844-?).


Frederick OATEN died of Bronchitis on 22nd January 1888, at 27 Gladstone Street, Bristol, aged 74. His son Fred, who lived a short distance away at Lawrence Hill, was the informant. Less than four months later Dinah OATEN died in 13th May 1888 at the home of her daughter, Theresa JOINT, at 6 Brandon Street, St. George’s Road, Bristol. Dinah was 77 years old. A romantic might say that this was the result of a broken heart, after losing her partner after a marriage lasting 56 years, and they may be correct. However, the physical conditions that brought about her death were Bronchitis and a weak heart.

During their time together, Frederick and Dinah had achieved the near impossible for those times. They had produced a family of thirteen and with one exception, all had reached adulthood, had married and had families of their own. When Frederick and Dinah decided to uproot themselves and move their family from the relative tranquillity of Somerset, to the grime and squalor of the industrialised city of Bristol, they could little have realised the consequences of their action. The move was instrumental in providing a springboard for the future of the OATENS. Some remained in Bristol and prospered, whilst others chose to seek opportunities in the New World. The journey from Taunton may have been one small step for a man, but was one giant step for the future generations of OATENS.

Gordon Oaten

Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
  • Records and History predominantly searched out and written by Gordon Oaten



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