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Poindexter Descendants Association Poindexter Descendants Association Screen readers, skip to the Table of Contents

Family History and Research

Podester varient spelling in America


There are Americans with Podester as a surname or in their linage. It had been thought this was another variation to Poingdester. However, Podester is actually from Italy, according to research reported by Alex Glendining of the Channel Islands Family History Society.

Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2001 12:08:35 EST

Dear Doris - and other Jersey Island researchers:
    You were so generous in trying to help me with my elusive Jersy Islander 
ancestor that I just want you and the Poingdexter Descendants Association to 
know that I found him !!!!  Please also forward this information to the 
Membership Secretary  (I seem to have lost his e-mail address.)

    John Baptiste PODESTER (1849-1909) was the son of Jacob Podester and his 
wife Elizabeth de Ste. Croix. Jacob came to Jersey from Genoa, ITALY, where 
the surname and spelling of PODESTER was rather common in the northern areas. 
Apparently the Jersey Island officials (birth, marriage and census recorders) 
listened to the pronunciation of PODESTER and immediately converted it to the 
more common POINGDESTRE.  This was especially true on his Maritime records.

    Alex Glendenning was instrumental in unraveling this tangled tale of 
numerous erroneous Surname spellings, to piece together the PODESTER profile. 
He is certainly a Jersey National Treasure when it comes to helping befuddled 
researchers to get on the right track !

    Nicholas Jouault and his MERITIME site has also been VERY, VERY helpful 
in finding some of John Baptiste's ship records, even a whole article about 
the CANADA and her disasterous last voyage when she wrecked, with Captain 
Podester being the ONLY survivor. Great "stuff" on Nick's web-site:

    Thank you VERY much, each and every one of you helpful people, for 
sharing your information and taking time for my research.
    Sincerely,  Vallena Munro


Alex Glendinning's report:

	  Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 18:37:45 +0000
From: Alex Glendinning 
Subject: John Baptiste Podester

For: who wrote:

In 1883 a John Baptiste Poindestre - listed on the marriage register as a
"Ship's Master" - married Sarah Munro @ Paspebiac. She was the grandaughter
of Loyalists settled at Paspebiac in 1784. Neither of them appear on the
church rolls or town records again. Later family records list a son born of
this marriage - probably in Jersey.  Sarah left her husband and family and
came back to Canada - so perhaps there was also another marriage for John B.
Poingdestre sometime about 1890 or later.  The child must have been raised
either by a "new" wife of John's, or by his parents or other relatives.  As
late as 1910 Sarah notes on the US Census that he is still alive, but at no
time was he with her after she returned to the Atlantic Coast.

First of all - go back to the original record and you will find:

John Baptist PODESTER
m. 22 Nov 1883 Paspebiac, Bonaventure, Quebec
Sarah MUNRO 
b.  23 May 1864 Parents: William George MUNRO  and Celina Eliza DUVAL
bap.  7 Aug 1864 Paspebiac, Bonaventure, Quebec
m. (2) Joseph Henry IMHOLT   1 Dec 1897 Paspebiac, Bonaventure, Quebec
d.   11 Mar 1920 Columbia Falls, Flathead, Montana
bur. 14 Mar 1920  Columbia Falls, Flathead, Montana

this came from 

Roger de Carteret also reported: ÒJohn Jean lists several
Poingdestre masters in "Jersey Sailing Ships", with the year in which he
found a reference to them including Poingdestre, J.B.  "Gladys" 1900.

I have already looked for this ÄPoingdestreõ without success but now we have
another spelling the floodgates have opened ....

I mentioned the other day that in the Jersey Archive Catalogue is  a will
dated 18.11.1905 for John Batist PODESTER of 68 The Esplanade, St Helier.
Ref: D/Y/A/68/53

It does not tell us that much - as he appointed a certain Alicia Jane Le
Touzel as his executrix in 1905 and directed that, after the customary
deductions for debts and expenses, the whole of his estate would pass to

Attached to the back of the will is a note that,  on 14th May 1909, the will
was proven by Edward Binet Renouf (a solicitor) and holder of Alicia Jane Le
Touzelõs Power of Attorney - (a procuration) given at the Gaspä on 25th
March 1909.  J.B. Podesterõs actual date of death is not recorded.

Anyway, armed with this spelling of his name, I searched the 1891 Census
Index and turned up three entries ...

My curiosity propelled me to look at the film - never just use the index
when you are researching - there is so much extra information to be had,
lots of background falls into place ...

1891 - under PODESTER St Helier District 17 Folio 76 Page 7

1 Tunnel Street (in the home of 65 year old Robert Gale and his wife Eliza):
Name        Age    Born    Relationship   Occupation
John B.     41     St H    Lodger         Seaman
John P.     6      St H    Son             -
1891 - under LE TOUZEL St Helier District 10 Folio 136 Page 16
Name                Age   Born       Relationship    Occupation
John  Le Gresley    51    St H       Head            Master Mariner
Amelia              54    St Mn       wife
Alice J Le Touzel   25    Canada    Cousin

1891 - under PODESTER St Helier District 16  Folio 66 Page 17: Plaisance
Place, Ann Street  - note Jacob is  blind.

Name        Age    Born    Relationship    Occupation     Disability
John Baxter  41    St S    Head            Porter
Julia        36    St H    Wife
William       7    St H    Son             Scholar
Albert        5    St H    Son             Scholar
Edmond        4    St H    Son             Scholar
Mabel         2    St H    Dau             -
Edith        6m.   St H    Dau             -
Jacob        71    Italy   Father-in-Law   -               Blind

so going back to the next available index I have ....

1871 - under PODESTER St Helier District 32  Folio 177 Page 12: Hampshire
Gardens, Aquila Road

Name        Age    Born    Relationship    Occupation
Jacob        50    Italy     Head          Labourer
Elizabeth    44    St H    Wife            -
John         20    St H    Son            Seaman
Julia        17    St H    Dau            General Servant
Amelia       13    St H    Dau            Scholar
Matilda       9    St H    Dau            Scholar

No lodgers or visitors in this household.

This is enough to consult the Civil Registers - which turned up ...

Jacob Podester aged 25  (labourer) son of Carlo Podester of Genoa, Italy (a
farmer)  and Elizabeth de Ste Croix aged 22 daughter of John of St Helier (a
shoemaker) m. (St H) 28.10.1846

Elizabeth Mary  b. Ann Street (St H) 17.4.1847.
John Baptiste b. Pier Rd (St H) 18.8.1849.
Mary Jane b. c. 1852  d. St James Place (St H) 21.8.1857 aged 5 of a fever.
Julia b. 18 Pier Rd (St Helier) 22.2.1855 m. John Baxter circa 1884.
Amelia Pauline b. 7 Wesley Street (St H) 25.6.1857.
Louisa b. circa 1859  d. 30 Pier Rd 12.10.1860 aged 1 of convulsions.
Matilda b. Rosemount (St H) 23.2.1862.

Jacob Podester dies of general debility at age 72, Ann St (St H) 21.1.1893

John Pearley b. 4 Val Plaisant (St H) 13.9.1884 son of John B. Podester and
Sarah Munro.

1861 Census - under PODESTER St Saviour District 6  (around Bagatelle) -
this is from the transcript not the film.

Name        Age    Born    Relationship   Occupation
Jacob        40    Italy   Head           Agricultural Labourer
Elizabeth    35    St H    Wife           -
Elizabeth    13    St H    Dau            Scholar
John B.      11    St H    Son            Scholar
Julia        6     St H    Dau            Scholar
Amelia P.    3     St H    Dau            Scholar

This all indicates they should show up in the 1851 too and eventually they
did - under another name!

1851 - under POSTER St Helier District 8  Folio 186 Page 9 11 Pier Road
Name        Age    Born    Relationship     Occupation
Jacob       30    Italy    Head            Labourer
Elizabeth   27     St H    Wife            -
Elizabeth    4     St H    Dau
John         1     St H    Son
de la Mare   16    St H    Lodger          Labourer
de Ste Croix 70    St H    Mother          Annuitant
Mary Picot   37    Gsy     Visitor        Labourerõs wife

Anyone want to add the 1881 census? I don't have the CD at home.

As John Baptiste was a seaman - I consulted the Jersey Merchant Seamenõs
Benefit Society records - see

Interestingly his entry is headed: ÄPodester John B. alias Poingdestreõ. His
career began in 1871 on the Gem and between then and 1894 he served aboard
the Reaper, CRC, Homely, Adelina, Miss George, Eagle, Sultana, Diton,
Herratrope and the Cornucopia. On the whole he made one or two voyages per
ship, his longest service was aboard the Sultana, where he worked his way up
to the top of the crewlist (First Mate) between 1885 and 1890. After 1894 he
must have become a Master as there are no further entries and we know he was
captaining a ship by 1900. Most of these ships were on the Newfoundland run.

JBõs executrix: Alicia J. Le Touzelõs cousin John Le Gresley (from the 1891
Census) also appears aboard the Sultana - which probably explains how they
met - but their connection after this point would have to be speculation.

Exploring Podester and Genoa on the Net - eventually I discovered a common
name in North West Italy is Podesta (accented a to the left) - which means
mayor in English. See the Catholic Encyclopaedia at

There are a lot of entries for PODESTA at 
but none for the family we need - so someone is going to have to go to

Be prepared for a hard slog - the records are still in the churches and
there seems to be little in the way of centralised records. You might
want to start with the John the Baptist Church in Genoa!!!

At least I can now categorically state that John B. was NOT a Poingdestre -
even though he used the name from time to time!




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