Jennie Fairs

My interest in genealogy began 30 years ago after starting research into my family history. After becoming a professional genealogist 20 years ago, I put my skills to work researching for book authors while continuing my passion of genealogy and, eventually, my obsession with a surname study.
Alongside my Edenborough surname study, I have administered the North Antrim Local Interest List for the past 8 years and I am currently a supervisor for candidates of the Diploma in Family History Studies with the Society of Australian Genealogists. I have also started a second surname study being Dempsey's of County Antrim in Northern Ireland.

Nov 302015

George Edward Sillifont

George was the last of seven children of the globe-trotting William Henry Sillifant. His father was noted as a plasterer in the 1891 and 1901 censuses for England and Wales, and George appears to have followed in his footsteps in the profession.

After returning from their travels in New Jersey, USA and Toronto, Canada, the Sillifant family settled in Lancashire, first in Chorlton and then Hulme. In 1891, George was noted as a scholar aged 6 living at 17 Belleck Street, Hulme (Source: RG12/3197/89/43) with his widowed father and five siblings (his sister Mary died aged just 14 days old in 1878).

48 - sillifont 2
In 1901, George aged 16 and his father William are both boarding at 8 Eden Street, Manchester with George being referred to as a plasterer’s apprentice – presumably his father was teaching him the trade.

Sadly, George lost his father a year later when he was just 17. Although George’s siblings were easily located in the 1911 census, George was nowhere to be found. This would seem to be because he had the globe-trotting bug and he has been found on the SS Campania shipping manifest, arriving in New York in January 1911. He then appears in border crossing manifests from Canada back to the USA, arriving into St Albans, Vermont, in September 1908 from Moncton, Canada and this crossing occurs again in 1915 but the difference here was that his wife, Gladys, was noted in the column ‘name and complete address of nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came’:

48 - sillifont 3

George Edward and Gladys’ marriage has yet to be located but Gladys is known to originate from Wrexham, Wales, being born as Gladys JONES – oh joy! This information has been gleaned for her border crossing card in January 1915:

48 - sillifont 4

George served in the Royal Navy during World War I, enlisting in March 1917, and he transferred to the Royal Air Force when it was formed on 1 April 1918.

48 - sillifont 5
Above, George Edward’s Royal Navy record and below, portions of his RAF record (ADM 188/614/29)

48 - sillifont 6

48 - sillifont 7
George and Gladys return to the USA very shortly after the end of World War I and George’s uncle – his late father’s half-brother Francis James – is referred to in the shipping manifest on their return aboard the Baltic.

George and Gladys settled in Williston Park, Nassau, New York it would seem and they are present there in the US Federal Censuses of 1930 and 1940, with their two children, Alfred Edward and Grace born in 1926 (29 June) and 1930 respectively.

At some point, George and Gladys were granted US citizenship by naturalisation though the exact date of the petition and declaration is not clear.

George died in February 1975 with his last known residence noted on the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) as 11783 Seaford, Nassau, New York.

Gladys’ death has not been located and no further information is known about Grace after 1940. Alfred still resided in New York State until at least 1996 and he does not appear to have passed away according to available records.

Kirsty Gray
Member 1002

Aug 312015

Leonard Sidney born fourth quarter of 1879 in Frome, Somerset, England1.

At St Mary, Frome on 16 November 1879. Parents recorded as Charles Ebenezer (postman) and Elizabeth Ann MARTIN of Christchurch Street, Frome [Somerset]2.

1881 Census
Aged 1, born 1880, residing at 4 Christ Church Street, Frome with parents and siblings Mary A. (age 5) and Hubert (age 3). (Hubert emigrated to Canada)

1891 Census
Aged 11 residing at 16 Gentle Street, Frome with parents and additional siblings of Ethel F (age 7) and Godfrey C (age 5).

1901 Census
Age 21, single, occupation carpenter living at 26 Alma Street, Bristol, Gloucestershire with uncle Alfred and family.

Leonard Sidney Martin

Leonard Sidney Martin

To Emily Hannah MAY in the 2nd quarter of 1905 in Bath, Somerset3.

Leonard and Emily are understood to have lived at 115 Coronation Avenue, South Twerton, Bath4.

Only Child
Gertrude Gladys born 3rd quarter of 1906 in Bath, Somerset.

1911 Census
Age 31, carpenter, living at 50 Claude Avenue, South Twerton, Bath, Somerset with wife Emily (age 31) and daughter Gertrude (age 4).

Gertrude, Emily and Leonard Martin

Gertrude, Emily and Leonard Martin

Family Emigrate to Australia
Leonard S. MARTIN, age 33, carpenter, wife Emily (age 34) and daughter Gladys G (age 7) depart port of London on the steamship Ballarat bound for the port of Adelaide, South Australia5. Date of arrival is not known.

Why did Leonard decide to take himself and his family to the other side of the world? Did they receive assisted passage? Having the skilled trade of carpenter would no doubt have been to his advantage.

Passenger manifest of SS Ballarat

Passenger Manifest of SS Ballarat

SS Ballarat

P&O Company SS Ballarat

Australian Residences
Cowandilla (outskirts of Adelaide), South Australia presumably on arrival in Australia. Much later at 25 Clarke Street, Vaucluse, Sydney, New South Wales. Gertrude Gladys BURTON nee MARTIN was living at 23 Second Avenue, Gymea in 1972 and in Belmore at the time of her death in 1989.

Leonard and Emily Martin

Leonard and Emily Martin

Family Lore
A family member once told me that great uncle Leonard owned/ran/worked an ostrich farm in Australia. 

Visit to England
Leonard is said to have visited his cousin Dorothy MARTIN in his home county of Somerset in the late 1960s with the help of his son-in-law Oliver BURTON who it is said worked for Qantas Airline.

Emily’s Passing
Hannah Emily MARTIN died aged 78 on 16 February 1958 in Cowandilla, South Australia and her final resting place is the Centennial Park Cemetery, Pasadena, South Australia. The funeral announcement (below)6 also records her forenames in reverse.

Funeral Notice for Emily Martin

Funeral Notice for Emily Martin

Leonard’s Death
Died age 92 on 23 January 1972 at the Vaucluse Nursing Home, Vaucluse, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia7. Privately cremated at the Eastern Suburbs Crematorium (overlooking Botany Bay) on 26 January, beloved husband of Emily (deceased), loving father and father-in-law of Gladys and Oliver BURTON and devoted grandfather of John8. Placed in Babcock Garden R11 on 6 April 19729.

Leonard Martin, John Burton (grandson) and Oliver Burton (son-in-law)

Leonard Martin, John Burton (grandson) and Oliver Burton (son-in-law)

A copy of Leonard’s probate file has been obtained which reveals his final wishes and a copy of his death certificate10. Although the contents of the file are a matter of public record, I have chosen not to reveal those details.

Probate File for Leonard Sidney Martin

Probate File for Leonard Sidney Martin

Leonard’s Descendant(s)
Looking to trace my great uncle Leonard’s grandson John BURTON (see above) and family.


1 Transcription England & Wales Births 1837-2006 
2 Frome St Mary Baptism 1873-1913 from Frome Hundred CMBs – Yahoo Groups
3 Transcription England & Wales Marriages 1837-2008
4 Aunt June of Derek Gough (MARTIN cousin) per email of 16 February 20065 Transcription Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960
6 Courtesy of Margaret of the Adelaide Northern Districts Family History Group
7 Copy of death record registration no 1972/042825 dated 16 Jan 2006
8 Sydney Morning Herald – Thurs Jan 27, 1972 pg. 24 col. 2 (email dated 2007)
9 Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park Grounds & Records Officer (email dated 12 Aug 14)
10 State Records Office, New South Wales thanks to Jennie Fairs of The Surname Society

Gordon Martin
Member 1210

Sep 212015

The search for my BARRATT ancestry started in the early 1990s when I lived in NW London and was able to visit St Catherine’s House for BMD indexes and Chancery Lane for Census. My father died in 1945 and I was adopted by my step-father and so became a LOGAN. My mother did not maintain contact with my father’s family and apart from snippets of information from my godmother (mother’s elder sister) I had little to go on apart from my adoption and original birth certificate.

First step was my father’s family, so by trawling through BMD indexes I managed to find father’s siblings – 7 including my father – and the fact that all had died except number 7 who was 10 years younger than number 6. I found she married, had a son and was widowed but where was she living? She was born in London but moved to Swansea on marriage but there was no trace of her in South Wales. Some lateral thinking was required and my wife suggested we look in the London phone directories at the local library – there was a name and phone number that looked good so my wife phoned and the rest is history. My aunt, now aged 100, lived not far from us and was able to put us in contact with two of my first cousins. The fact that aunt had a rare married name helped in the search but it took about 5 years to get to this point. She told me the story of how my great-grandmother at the age of 11 was painted by Holman HUNT, the pre-Raphaelite painter, on his visits to the Sussex coast, the picture now hangs in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

I now had enough information to work back through the census from 1891 to 1841. I found g-g- grandfather Benjamin BARRATT, a tailor, in Bath, Somerset, married to Elizabeth BATT in 1829. Unfortunately the 1841 census had him born ‘out of county’ and I couldn’t find him in the 1851 census to find where he was born. However, his wife Elizabeth (now a widow) was in London with daughter Catherine, her son Benjamin (g-grandfather) having moved there with her brother previously. A search of FreeBMD revealed there was a Benjamin who died in the workhouse near Bath in 1848, but with no workhouse records there was still no lead as to where he was born.

What to do? I visited Bath, took pictures of the church where he married and the street where he worked, searched archives of newspapers etc but no leads. Now, when son Benjamin moved to London and married Catherine BROWN, the middle name BAKER appeared in his name and that of his father on the certificate. Could this possibly be a mother’s maiden name carried on from the past? A random search of probate records, at the National Archives, Kew, came up with a William Baker BARRATT. Now Benjamin’s son with Catherine was William Benjamin Baker BARRATT, my grandfather. I had to go to High Holborn to get a copy of the will that showed that William Baker BARRATT was a master tailor in Sidmouth, Devon. Could my Benjamin possibly be a sibling of the master tailor as he was in the same trade? In the 1841 census Benjamin was aged 35, same as his wife Elizabeth, which, by my understanding of age recording then, meant he could have been aged 35 to 39 giving a birth year of between 1802 and 1806.

Now research began to speed up – with help from the Devon Family Society Tree House I discovered that the master tailor was born in East Budleigh (14 Sep 1790) to John BARRATT and Jane BAKER – the middle name at last!!! Was my Benjamin a son of John and Jane? A visit to the Devon Record Office Heritage Centre to search East Budleigh and Sidmouth parish records proved that John and Jane moved to Sidmouth and added to the family there. (I have since discovered, from on-line apprentice records, that a master tailor, John BARRATT, had an apprentice in Sidmouth in 1796). However, with limited time, I searched for Benjamin from 1800 to 1806 – nothing.

Then along came the “Knight in Shining Armour” (perhaps a Norman knight considering the name Barratt/Barrett) in the form of Devon parish records on-line with Findmypast. It was late into the evening when I widened the search for Benjamin. I had missed him by one year as he was born in 1799 to John and Jane. However, a bit late in the day but I checked the age on the death certificate of Benjamin, who died in 1848 in the workhouse, he was 49. This meant he was born in 1799 so I had a match and he had told fibs in the 1841 census!

All of the above sounds very convincing but is it my ancestry, as it is all based on the middle name BAKER, the occupation as a tailor and the birth date match of 1799. I am fairly certain that William Baker BARRATT was the first born of John and Jane BARRATT and was baptised with his mother’s maiden name as the middle name; so what made son-of-Benjamin introduce it into his and his father’s name on his marriage certificate? If he hadn’t, I would still be stuck in Bath!

My first cousin and I have had a Y-DNA test – a perfect match, so I am definitely a BARRATT! I have managed to list descendants of William Baker BARRATT, the Sidmouth master tailor, who I am confident is the elder brother of my Benjamin, through the 1841-1911 census and enter them in the Lost Cousins web site. I am really looking for a male descendent from the Sidmouth family to compare a Y-DNA test with – BARRATT or BARRETT. Any takers?

My Y-DNA37 results are listed in the BARRETT Project with FamilyTreeDNA and the Devon DNA Project. When I first decided to have a Y-DNA test, in the early years of ancestral research, I was a bit sceptical about its use. However, it has confirmed the relationship to my first cousin and so for those of us fascinated by our ancestry, and now with Devon parish records available on-line, it can be a useful aid to confirm research into our Devonion past.

Since my original article first appeared in The Devon Family Historian where I indicated, with reasonable confidence, that my ancestry went back to Clyst Hydon, I have since discovered from correspondence with another BARRATT family researcher that this is most likely not the case as there were two John BARRA(E)TTs baptised and married within two years of each other in East Budleigh. Also, in the GENUKI Devon Freeholders transcripts there is a Benjamin BARRA(E)TT, a miller, listed 1753 to 1770 who I have not yet found any BMBs for. The search continues …

Paul Logan
Member 1223


Jun 152015

Family lore states that James Dempsey was born c1795 near the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim. Bushmills was originally believed to have been his birthplace although emigration papers for James Dempsey, upon arrival in Australia, record him as being a native of the parish of Derrykeighan.

Research into James’s early life has been quite difficult but there is now enough evidence to confirm the location of the family home of James Dempsey and his wife, Jane (née McLoughlin), in the parish of Derrykeighan. Nothing has been found, however, to suggest that James was actually born there. Material researched at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in 2013 revealed there was also a Dempsey family resident in the Tonduff district of North Antrim. So, could Tonduff, in fact, be the ancestral home of James Dempsey? While both Derrykeighan and Tondruff are in close proximity to Bushmills, the Tonduff district is the closer of the two and would back up the statement that James Dempsey was born “near” the Giant’s Causeway.

The location of Tonduff can be seen in the 5th square across and 2 down

The location of Tonduff can be seen
in the 5th square across and 2 down

If James was born in the Tonduff area, and if he was not the eldest son, it would be highly likely then, that upon marrying Jane McLoughlin, he sought out his own residence at Derrykeighan, which would have been leased rather than owned, for them to grow their family.

An 1836 survey map of the Ballydivity Estate, owned by the Stewart-Moores and located in the parish of Derrykeighan, mentions the name Dempsey as leasing one of the fields drawn on the map. Correspondence dated 1838 between James Dempsey and Captain [James] Stewart-Moore of Ballydivity corroborates a connection between the two men.

While there is no conclusive record having survived that confirms, beyond a shadow of a doubt, correspondence in 2013 between Jennie Fairs and the current owner of Ballydivity, another James Stewart-Moore, discussed and agreed on the likelihood that house ruins located in Ballydivity Lane were that of the Dempsey home marked on the 1836 survey.

Drawing supplied by James Stewart-Moore in 2013 matching a survey  map of 1836 showing the location of the Dempsey home immediately  prior to  James Dempsey and his family emigrating to Australia.

Drawing supplied by James Stewart-Moore in 2013 matching a survey
map of 1836 showing the location of the Dempsey home immediately
prior to James Dempsey and his family emigrating to Australia.

Dempsey house ruins, 2013 – the fence line runs parallel to Ballydivity Lane

Dempsey house ruins, 2013 – the fence line runs parallel to Ballydivity Lane










In a letter dated 1983 from Enid Hardman to her cousin Rene Dempsey, Enid writes that their great-grandfather, James Dempsey, left Ireland because “there was trouble with violence there, the same as is now. He [James] said there would be no peace in Ireland for hundreds of years.” How true his words turned out to be!

In the same letter, Enid also writes that James Dempsey was an accountant. In the 1830s-1840s, the new colony of Australia needed labourers and farmers to work the land (not accountants) and the Bounty Scheme was introduced to acquire these people. The desire to leave Ireland and start a new life with his family must have been strong, as James, to qualify for bounty assistance, deliberately recorded his occupation as ploughman on his Immigration Entitlement Certificate.

The discovery of Enid’s letter stating James’ occupation as an accountant helps to answer the questions of:

1. If James had been a ploughman, why was he able to read and write so well; and
2. How, after only being in the colony for a very short time, was he able to acquire land, something that could not have been done on a ploughman’s wages?

Whatever the reason for their departure, together with their seven children – John, Catherine, Mary, Jane, James, Ann and Roseann – James and his wife Jane boarded the emigrant ship Susan in October 1838 to start a new life in Australia. A copy of a Journal written by the ship’s surgeon, has survived giving us a rare insight into the life of a sea-faring emigrant.

On 10 October 1838, the majority of emigrants came onboard the Susan with their luggage. Once they had been allotted their sleeping quarters and sundry utensils, a pint of tea and biscuits were served to them and at 8pm they were ordered to bed. After four days of strong gales and squally showers with occasional hail, the Susan weighed anchor and headed down to Culmore Bay from Londonderry where for want of water over the flats it was necessary to anchor again. Following a further five days of remaining moored in Culmore Bay the Susan once again got underway only to anchor off Moville due to further strong gales with heavy squalls and rain. By this stage nearly all the passengers were confined to bed with seasickness, and although provisions for the day had been served out as usual, very few were in any condition to take anything.

Moville was the final Irish port where the emigrants could post last-minute letters home. Those who were able did so and among them was James Dempsey who wrote to Captain Stewart Moore Jnr of Ballydivity, “Dervock”, County Antrim.

Honord sir, being conscious that you would be desirous of assertaining some information conserning us, how we are situated, I now inform you as it is with us at present; the ship mooved down from Derry the south of Culmore on Saturday evening and the weather being unfavourable stopped there untill Thursday morning and she is now down the lenth of Movill and intends going off the oppertunity this evening; it is serious to behold in all corn[er]s of the ship the[y] are sick and women feanting but thank God we are all in good health as yet; The first and second day that we went on board there was a great deal of complaints with the emigrants of their rashions being too small and many of them wishing to go ashore and return home but I endeavred to peasify all that I had anny influance with nowing that it was impossible for two hundred and sixty four passingers to be all righted according to there wishes at once; the news reached Captain Ramsys ears and he came on board at Culmore and called all the passingers on deck and gave free liberty to all that pleased to go ashore and there was one man from Newtoun that went home and this is the reason that I write leaft the word would be carried home that we are ill treated and if it does, believe it not. For the hole passingers is put into seventeen messes and there is apointed one man head over each mess and I am appointed over one and it is there business to see the meat eaqually served out according to the number of the mess. We get our breaxfast about eight o’clock of good tea and one day pork with pea soop for our dinner and the next day beef with flour pudding mexed with suat; there is alsow rum, wine, figs and reasons for those that is sick and everything appears to be carried on in a verry judicious manner: there is six men apointed with the doctor for forseing (?) laws and if any is found pilfering from the other or giving insolence the one to the other or refusing to clean their births or sweeping upper or lower decks, the[y] are reported to the doctor and their names enterd in the registers book and when the[y] arive at Sidney, the[y] will be given up to the government and punished in proportion as their crime deservs, therefore I expect good order will be carried on. Now sir be pleased to give my kind love to my master, mistress Miss Ann and Miss Mary and little (?) Stewart and to all the men and let them know that there is no day that the[y] are out of my thoughts and let William Polock know that 1 wish that he would take word to my people to Bushmills and tell them we are all well. I now sir remain your kind and affectionate servant till death.
[Signed] James Dempsey
P.S. Let William Polock know that I forgot my reazor in the house and I wish him to go to John Mckelly as I think he must have it as he was the last I left in the house and keep it for my sake. Sir excuse the bad writing and blotting as the ship was heaving very hard the time I wrote it.

By 27 October, James and Jane Dempsey’s son John was suffering severely from [supposed] seasickness. The surgeon recorded in his journal: “John Dempsey, boy 10 years of age, suffering very much.” Several entries followed describing John’s decline until a final entry reports the sad reality for some emigrants who endured the long voyage to Australia – 6 November 1838, “Departed this life at one o’clock a.m. John Dempsey, 14 years – body served upon his bed and bedding … at 4 o’clock committed to the deep the remains of the deceased. Funeral service read by the Master.” John Dempsey was buried at sea off the coast of the Canary Islands at latitude 28.14N and longitude 19.10W. The temperature that day varied between 67 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

By 17 January 1839, whooping cough was also spreading at a mild rate and unfortunately for the Dempsey family, the eldest daughter Mary contracted the disease. Mary’s recovery was to remain slow and, by the time the Susan arrived at Sydney Harbour on 1 February 1839, Mary remained in a convalescent state.

After disembarking, James Dempsey was engaged by the Rev. Henry Carmichael from Williams River, NSW, for a yearly wage of £30 with rations. An emigrant brought out on the Bounty Scheme had to work for a minimum of one year for the person who paid the Bounty. Carmichael had been a schoolmaster and educational theorist who had been employed by the Rev. John Dunmore Lang as a teacher for the Australian College which opened in Sydney sometime after October 1831. In 1833, Carmichael founded the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, the first of its kind in the colony. Then upon his appointment as the assistant surveyor for the Hunter district he left Sydney and established the Porphyry vineyard at Seaham on the Williams River. The vineyard, which survived into the early part of the 20th century, stopped production in 1915 and Lindeman’s bought the Porphyry name and trademark.

Jane Dempsey (nee McLoughlin)

Jane Dempsey (nee McLoughlin)

James Dempsey

James Dempsey

By 1841 James had obviously fulfilled his commitment to Carmichael as he and Jane were living back in Sydney. Shortly after he purchased land at Balmain being Lot 11 of Nicholson’s subdivision (75-77 Darling St, Balmain), and in 1844 James Dempsey had his son James Jnr build a weatherboard cottage and butcher’s shop on the land. Of strong Christian faith, James also helped establish the Wesleyan Church at Balmain in 1845. In 1857, James purchased land in Rose Street, Darlington which was to became his residence until 1870 when his wife, Jane, aged 75, died on 16 July 1870 following a three-week bout of bronchitis.

It is from the record of Jane’s death that I live in hope that there may still be family back in Northern Ireland. James was the informant for registration of his wife’s death, and it is safe to assume that he would have known how many children they had had. I already knew that the family had left NI with seven children – 2 males and 5 females – and that 1 male and 2 females had predeceased their mother, leaving 1 male and 3 females living at the time of Jane’s death. BUT James recorded on the death certificate that there were in fact 2 males and 2 females that had predeceased their mother AND 2 males and 3 females still living! Who was this extra male still living at the time of Jane’s death that I didn’t know about. The family and their descendants in Australia remained close so surely we would have known about this extra son had he also emigrated. Because no-one knew about the extra son, I believe that he must have remained in NI – possibly already married and settled when James made the decision to emigrate.

When James died on 23 September 1888, also of bronchitis, he was interred with his wife in the Wesleyan section of Rookwood Cemetery.

Throughout his life, James Dempsey remained an active member of the Wesleyan Church. His obituary printed in The Weekly Advocate reported that:

In the recent death of Mr James Dempsey the Newtown circuit has lost its oldest and one of its most respected members … [at Balmain] he was the first to open his house in which to hold services. When the time came for building a church, he not only gave to the utmost extent of his ability, but he spent much time and energy in collecting the necessary funds. The most prominent name connected with the rise of our cause In Balmain is that of Mr Dempsey.

Also included was a colourful description of Dempsey’s conversion to the Wesleyan faith:

In early life he was brought up in connection with the Church of England, and until some time after he arrived at manhood he retained that connection. But, though a strict adherent of the Church, he was not a converted man. His conversion took place in a remarkable manner. His own account, borne out also by his relatives, was to the following effect:

Returning home from the services of the church he usually attended, he passed a house occupied by a Mr Hill, which had been opened for services by the Wesleyan Methodists. It so happened that as he passed, one of the Irish local preachers residing in that neighbourhood was conducting the service. Mr Dempsey listened for a short time to the sermon, and then in a derisive manner called the preacher a “Ranter”, and passed on to his home.

In the early hours of the following morning a strange and startling noise was heard in the room where he slept. Whatever might have been the cause of the noise, it was interpreted as a call from God to his soul, which only a few hours previously vented its wickedness in opposing and deriding a servant of the Lord. His conscience so stung him that he could not rest. Under a deep sense of sin and danger both he and his partner rose to pray. Through the rest of the night they continued pleading with God for mercy. And as the morning light broke on the room it pleased God to set them both at liberty … He at once connected himself with the Wesleyan Church. He became a prayer-leader, and also a leader of a society class, and remained in these useful offices until he left Ireland for this colony.

The obituary then closed with the following words written by the Rev. W.B. Boyce:

I have known the late Mr Dempsey since 1847. His character for Integrity and industry stood high, and his Protestantism was a striking characteristic of the feeling of an Irishman … I do feel the highest respect for his genuine character, and the impression of which was common to all who knew him intimately.

I have been very fortunate that there have been several spinsters among the descendants of James and Jane Dempsey in Australia and they have kept all manner of family documents and memorabilia. But it is James ancestry back in Northern Ireland that is my brick wall. Unfortunately, the parish register for Derrykeighan is among the records destroyed in the 1922 fire at Dublin’s Four Courts. On my 2013 visit to NI I spent 5 days researching at PRONI and came away with what may be a possible lead – a Daniel Dempsey was a churchwarden and sidesman of the parish church of Billy, Co. Antrim and the Billy parish encompasses the town of Bushmills as well as the townland of Tonduff and the Stewart-Moore home of Ballydivity.


Jennie Fairs
Member 1006

Mar 092015

Even as an experienced researcher, I have been unable to penetrate this brick wall, and, unless there are other untried sources, I feel I may never be able to resolve it.

Subject: James Murray SMITHSON (great grandfather) born c 1835 in Midlothian, Scotland.  No birth entry or baptism has been found in Scottish archives but I believe that prior to 1855 there was no compulsion to do so by parents.

He first appears in the 1851 census in lodgings in 37 Back Newberry Street, Manchester, as a “cabinet maker” aged 19 born in Scotland.  He is at the household of Ellen Mackintosh and her daughter Sarah, aged 20, a Power Loom Weaver, born Manchester.

James and Sarah were married on 23 April 1853 at Manchester Cathedral Church. 

marriage James Smithson to Sarah Mackintosh

In the 1861 census, the couple are living at 17 Clayburn Street, Hulme, Manchester, and his occupation in this, and subsequent censuses, is Cabinet Maker.  They have three children: Albert, Margaret and Sarah.

In the 1871 census, James is living at 22 Greenbank Street, Salford, but not with Sarah who I assumed at one point had died as his “wife” was stated to be Hannah, and daughters Margaret and Sarah from his marriage to Sarah Mackintosh, as well as two more daughters Nelly and Hannah, and a son, James, aged seven.

I found a marriage to Hannah Whittle but not until 23 March 1873, after the census.

marriage 2

Note that James’s father is given as William SmithFIELD which could be an error. 

Hannah was born in 1836 in Manchester and by the time they eventually married in 1873, they had had a son William who was born and died in Salford in 1865, Hannah born 1866 in Salford, Ellen born 1869 in Manchester and Emma Murray who was born and died in 1871 in Salford.  Hannah, James’s wife died one month after their marriage at 20 Rodney Street, Salford, aged 37.

I had assumed that Sarah (Mackintosh) had died between the birth of her son John James in 1863 and 1873 but at the time (1871) Sarah was living as the “wife” of Samuel Pearson, a Boiler maker from Ashton under Lyne at 33 Cawdor Street, Manchester.  They had three children, Alfred born 1866, Melinda born 1867 and Amy aged 10 months all born Hulme, Manchester.  They eventually married as shown below.    

marriage 3

One of the witnesses above was Margaret Cowie, Sarah and James’s daughter. 

On 10 August 1873 James married yet again – to a widow, Mary Ann Holland (nee Philips) at St Simon’s Church, Salford.  Father was stated to be William WILSON no occupation.  In 1871 she was a widow, living with her parents and two children at 22 Rodney Street, Salford next door to No 20 where Hannah Smithson had died.  On 16 April 1876, they had a son (my grandfather) who was baptised Edward Murray Smithson although in the 1881 census he is called William E.   Mary Ann died on 17 May 1879 at 1 Bombay Street, Salford.

On 28 March 1880 James married for the fourth and final time to Primrose Rodgers, a widow, at St Luke’s Church, Weaste, Salford. 

marriage 4

The father was given as William Smithson deceased.  They had a son in 1881 called Beaconsfield Murray Smithson.  In the 1881 census Primrose and James are living at 11 Darley Street, Salford with James’s children James, Ellen, William E (Edward) and Sarah.  James Murray Smithson dies aged 46 on 8 July 1882 at this address.

It looks as if James has married bigamously as Sarah only died in 1896.

I then looked for any siblings of James Murray Smithson.  I found a William Murray Smithson who I thought could be related.

William appears firstly on the 1851 census, at 29 Rigby Street, Manchester.  His occupation was a Lithographic Printer and the census states that he was born in Liverpool in 1829.  He is living with his wife Elizabeth (Eliza) and son William aged eleven.  William junior was christened on 22 April 1860 at Manchester Cathedral.

He had married as below under the name of SMITH and his father’s name also appears as William SMITH (Commission Agent).  One of the witnesses was a Margaret Woodall.#

marriage 5

In the 1861 census, he is living at 8 Bombay Street, Salford (the street where my grandfather Edward Murray Smithson was born) with wife Eliza and son William.  William was their only child and he was born 1849 in Salford, registered under the name William Smithson.  He was baptised on 22 April 1860 at Manchester Cathedral under the name William Murray Smithson.  His father William again is under the surname of SMITH in this census and his birthplace is given as MANCHESTER.

In the 1871 census, the family are living at 34 Waterloo Place, Salford, under the surname SMITHSON and same occupation of Lithographic Printer.  Birthplace is given as LIVERPOOL.  William senior dies on 13 June 1875 at 7 Paradise Hill, Salford.  The informant was Mary Ann Smithson, sister in law of Bombay Street, Salford (James’s third wife).

# As stated earlier, a witness to the marriage of William Murray Smithson was a Margaret Woodall.  I found a Margaret Smithson  born c 1827 Liverpool, married to an Edward Woodall, Baker, on 6 December 1846 at St Mary’s, Prestwich. Father of bride is William Smithson – Traveller and witness William Smithson.  Edward Woodall died in 1859, they appear on the 1851 census living at 6 Mason Street, Manchester.  I have been unable to find Margaret in subsequent censuses.  A visitor to the household in 1851 was a John Murray born 1819 Scotland a Greenwich Pensioner.  He could possibly be a relation as Margaret’s brother’s James and William have the middle name of Murray.  

This is a really tangled web the main problems being:-

  1. As all three Smithson siblings were born before civil registration I am unable to find a birth. The OPC Lancashire has been searched for baptisms in Manchester and Liverpool to no avail.
  2. No trace in the 1841 censuses for any of them.
  3. In William Murray Smithson’s case for both father and son, the appearance of SMITH in some official documents and SMITHSON in others presents difficulties as Smith is such a common name.
  4. Why was James M Smithson born in Midlothian and the others in Lancashire? Family legend has it that there is possibly some connection with Portobello, which is near Edinburgh.
  5. No records of William Smithson, father of James, William and Margaret, in any censuses. No marriage either, but that would have been before civil registration and could have been in Scotland. His wife’s maiden name was possibly MURRAY? A very common name in Scotland. As he was listed as deceased at the time of James and Primrose’s marriage he could have died between the third and fourth marriages of his son. Made a cursory look at Trade Directories for a William Smithson, Commission Agent but not in great detail.
  6. About ten or eleven years ago a researcher in Scotland visited archives in Scotland but could not find any Smithsons at all.

I have a public tree on Ancestry called Smithson family tree but although there are several people related to this family, no-one except me have come up with any extra information, in fact they have copied details of mine.

Janet Rigby

Member 1314

Aug 242015
Jan Hendrik van de Waal was born in 1829. Dutch records are generally similar to English but Napoleon instituted civil registration at an earlier date, about 1811. I had no idea Napoleon didn’t just conquer people but also changed their administrative structures. All we learned in English history were battles!
The Dutch have a population record, which is like an English census but with more information, such as religion (and always includes the wife’s maiden name). But, also, the Dutch did something we in England didn’t do. Each time you left a town you had to sign out at the Town Hall and sign in wherever you went to. So we could follow Jan Hendrik round the Netherlands.
Jan Hendrik’s father was a farmer in Zoelen, in Gelderland and his mother a house servant. When Jan Hendrik was 19 he went into the Militia where he served for five years. If he didn’t already have a knowledge of horses, he learned this in the Militia and in 1853 he was employed as a groom by Hans Willem Baron van Aylva van Pallandt of Waardenburg and Neerijnen. It’s interesting to think of my ancestor working in these wonderful castles.
My information on Hans Willem is mainly from Wikipedia – I don’t speak Dutch.
He was a rich Dutch nobleman in the King’s party. In 1848 there were riots and uprisings across Europe as ordinary people strove for more democracy. The Dutch King, who had previously resisted attempts at making the Netherlands more constitutional, joked rather bitterly that he went to sleep a monarchist and arose a Republican. He made changes to the constitution. Hans Willem joined the Dual Chamber in 1840 and in 1848 was an MP but was also given “special duties”, presumably keeping an eye on any group which might show rebellious tendencies. This is the man for whom Jan Hendrik worked.
Hans Willem had married a rich noblewoman from Kollum in Friesland and on a visit there, Jan Hendrik met a pretty Friesian girl named Klaaske Geldmaker.
It took my cousin in Queensland and myself a long time to find the marriage. We knew that the eldest son, Wouter, was born in Ginneken near Breda on 24 Jan 1858 but no marriage was registered there, or in Friesland, or various other places. Eventually a kind Dutchman, as more records came onto the internet, found it for us in Leiden on 13 Jan 1858. None of Klaaske’s family is shown as witnesses. I hope someone accompanied Klaaske on her long trip from Leiden to Breda, 11 days before she gave birth. Jan Hendrik didn’t. Although Klaaske’s father registered the baby’s birth, he said Jan Hendrik lived in Breda and was a gardener. But we know from the town hall registry that Jan Hendrik didn’t come home for 7 months. Surely no ordinary groom could be so indispensable to his master. Did he help to collect information?
Why did Klaaske’s family move to Breda? They didn’t register at the Town Hall, so they were there illegally. Klaaske and her baby died in a cholera epidemic in 1866. Her parents, who had already lost one daughter in Breda, went back home to Friesland.
Jan Hendrik and Klaaske had four children, three of whom survived to adulthood. After Klaaske’s death, Jan Hendrik married Dina van der Bend in 1867 and had three more children. He died in the TB sanatorium at Loosduinen and the death certificate was signed by nurses. Was he bored as a gardener?
Did he think back to his days riding round the Netherlands with Hans Willem?

Marie Ball
Member 1030

Sep 072015

Until the early 20th century, a man’s promise of engagement to marry a woman was considered a legally binding contract. If the man was to then change his mind, he would be said to be in “breach” of this promise and could be taken to court for damages.

The following case was reported in the Evening Express on 4 May 1895.


His Love-Letters Were Many and Sweet and He Burst Into Poetry Once

Mrs Fanny Elizabeth Edenborough, a widow, living at Cadogan Lodge, Cadogan-road, Surbiton, brought an action on Friday before the Sheriffs of Surrey against Mr Lionel Rupert Brocklebank, a journalist, living at Christ Church Vicarage, Chesham, for damages for breach of promise of marriage.

Mr Wildey Wright appeared for the plaintiff, a pre-possessing young widow of ladylike appearance.

The plaintiff, said Mr Wright, was not yet 27 years of age. She was married when she was seventeen or eighteen, and her husband, who occupied a very good position in the City, died early in 1892, leaving her with two young children, and with an income of £150 to £200 a year.

In July 1894, she went to a little village near Polruan, in Cornwall, to stay with some friends, and while there she met the defendant. Defendant was very attentive to her, and took her for boating and driving excursions.

On September 26 defendant came from Polruan to the house of his brother-in-law, now Vicar of Christchurch, Chesham. The following day he visited Mrs Edenborough at Surbiton, and then and there made a formal proposal of marriage.

A few days after the engagement he wrote to her, addressing her as “My own darling Ponte,” a name he had given her after a river in Cornwall, and telling her that he was writing a short tale in “Tit-Bits”. He concluded, “With all my love and kisses, my own dearest darling, loved little girl, from your ever loving Rupert.” (Laughter.) In another letter which he wrote soon afterwards he asked her to “kiss the kiddies for me, my darling,” and concluded in the same endearing language.

In the next letter, after writing to her in similar language, he said: “My brother-in-law has just gone out to marry a couple. How I wish it were you and I! I will get him to do the job for us soon. What do you think?” (Laughter.) In another letter he said his sister had “pumped” all the news of his engagement out of him, and signed himself as “Your own loving boy.”

Other letters began in the same way as the former ones, and ended, “My own dearest, truest, darling, loved, treasured, precious pet, from your ever-loving Rupert.” (Laughter.)

On October 28 the defendant wrote the following letter: “My very own dearest Ponte – Your darling letter arrived, which I was very pleased to receive, dear heart. I am glad you agree with my sister in thinking I will make a good husband. Dearest, I will try, and if I don’t succeed it won’t be my fault. Yesterday I had a good day’s writing. I wrote an article on – what do you think, dear – ‘How to Propose’. (Laughter.) I hope ‘Answers’ will take it. I am sure it’s amusing enough, if not instructive. I have let out all the secrets of the trade, darling. (Laughter.) In another letter he said: I would rather spend one evening with you, my darling little sweetheart, than attend all the balls and amusements I could cram into a month.

On November 29 he broke out into poetry:

I cannot work, I cannot play,
There’s nothing left worthwhile to say,
The hours are long, the days are dear,
Oh, how I wish my love were near –
My love’s away.
The time will come, also the day,
When I shall go down Kingston way,
To see my darling once again,
And join the links of an unbroken chain –
With love away.


Towards the end of December the defendant’s letters got cooler. Before this, however, defendant had told plaintiff that he had previously been engaged to another lady, the daughter of a wealthy lady in Manchester. Owing to the parent’s objection, the match was broken off. The defendant also bought plaintiff two rings, which the other lady had returned to him, but she indignantly refused to accept such second-hand goods, and he apologized for offering them to her. When plaintiff wrote asking the reason of his coolness, he replied on New Year’s Day that he was afraid he had made a mistake in engaging himself to her, and his thoughts were constantly reverting to the other young lady at Manchester.

The jury awarded the plaintiff £250 damages.
Judgment accordingly.


The humiliation of having been conned by a man who was quite obviously only interested in her money must have made Fanny extremely wary of further proposals of matrimony as she remained the Widow Edenborough until her death in 1942.


Jennie Fairs
Member 1006

Apr 132015

I drew up 52 potential ‘residents’ (or other people of importance in the history of the Springhill area of Higher Cloughfold, Rossendale, Lancashire) and put them into alphabetical order for my blog. That meant that the first entry in my 52 residents challenge was one John Ashworth …

John Ashworth bought the land on which Springhill house now stands and the surrounding area in 1835. The house is seen on the OS map of 1840 and John Ashworth is enumerated as being there on the 1841 census – occupation ‘coal merchant’ (HO/107/509/6 folio 18 p29). There is also a reference in the obituary of his son-in-law, Charles Patrick, to Ashworth having been a woollen merchant but I can find no further reference to this (Obituary Charles Patrick RFP 23 Feb 1895).

A coal merchant he definitely was however, being one of the major partners of Ashworth Hargreaves & Co, the major pit owners in Rossendale with at least 17 collieries in Rossendale and a further four in Baxenden. These were small scale pits working seams in pats no more that 18 inches thick and in the main, supplying local mills for steam production. This is an example of how developments in one field, in this case the mechanisation of the textile industry and the steam engine, led to business opportunities in related areas. The coal had to be moved somehow and Ashworth was a shareholder in the local turnpike companies. This didn’t stop his coal company creating two access roads from one pit (Old Meadow in Bacup) to the main road so customers from both directions could avoid the toll bar. No wonder the turnpikes never made money!

Having money didn’t prevent the family from tragedy, with one child dying in 1810 aged one year and another in 1844 aged 35.

John Ashworth died in 1850. His will described how he was charged under the will of his father Richard to pay an annuity to his sister Ann during her spinsterhood and John in his will left instructions that this should continue after his death. His land and shares were left to his spinster daughter Mary Ann.

He remained connected with the church of St Nicholas all his life and left his pew there to his daughter Mary Ann. I’d love to know which one it was …


John Ashworth was baptised on 25 Dec 1777, the son of Richard and Betty Ashworth of Cloughfold, in Newchurch St Nicholas by the Rev J Shorrocks (Bishop’s Transcripts p2 entry 57 LDS film 1040340 via Lancs OPC). He died on 25 Mar 1850 at Cloughfold (Burials 1848-1860 p33 entry 259, original parish register via Lancs OPC).

John’s sister, Martha Ashworth, was baptised 26 Aug 1776, abode Newchurch (Bishop’s Transcripts p1 entry 44 LDS film 1040340 via Lancs OPC) and his sister, Ann, was baptised 11 Jul 1782 when their abode was given as the wonderfully named ‘Top of Huttock’ (LDS film 950353 via Lancs OPC).

John married Betty Ormerod, of Whitewell Bottom, in St Nicholas on 11 Jun 1805 (Baptisms (sic) 1802-1812 entry 879, LDS film 950354 via Lancs OPC) and the couple had four children:

  1. Elizabeth, baptised 2 Nov 1806; married Henry Slater 15 May 1828; 2 children (Baptism LDS Film 950353, Marriages 1825-1837 p66 entry 197 LDS film 950394 via Lancs OPC).
  2. Ormerod, baptised 25 May 1808; died 29 Mar 1810 (Baptism LDS film 950353, Death LDS film 950393 via Lancs OPC).
  3. Mary Ann, born 15 Sept 1809; baptised 29 Oct 1809 (Baptism LDS film 950353 via Lancs OPC).
  4. John, baptised 7 Jun 1812; married Mary Howarth; 3 children; died 15 Aug 1846 (Baptism LDS film 950353 via Lancs OPC, Death date from MI St Nicholas).

                                             MI-St-Nicholas-Ashworth MI-St-Nicholas-Ashworth-detail

Janet Barrie

Member 1132

Apr 202015

The religious faith of Edenboroughs in the United Kingdom were, in the main, of the Established Church (Church of England) so it was of great interest to find a record of one Edenborough appearing to be of the Quaker faith.

Clawson quaker burial

The above photo, “Clawson. John Edenborah buryed ye 11th: 10th mo: 1716”, is taken from RG6/1397 – General Register Office: Society of Friends’ Registers, Notes and Certificates of Births, Marriages and Burials; Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Rutland – Monthly Meeting of Leicester, Old Dalby.

Among the large number of religious denominations that emerged during the early-to-mid-17th century in England was the Seekers. And while Leicestershire-born George Fox has been considered the founder and leader of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the Seekers are best thought of as the forerunner of the Quakers, with whom many of them subsequently merged.

George Fox’s journal attributes the name “Quaker” to a judge in 1650 calling them Quakers “because I bid them tremble before the Lord”. Quakerism gained a considerable following in England and Wales during and after the English Civil War (1642-1651) increasing to a peak of 60,000 by 1680.

By 1657, a Friends’ meeting had been settled at Long Clawson and in 1673 a cottage and close for a meeting house and burial ground had been secured.

Fox’s movement ran afoul of Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan government, as well as that of Charles II, when the monarchy was restored, because Fox’s followers refused to pay tithes to the state church, would not take oaths in court, declined to doff their hats to those in power, and refused to serve in combat during war.

The 1753 published book, A Collection of the Sufferings of the people called Quakers, by Joseph Besse, reports of the hundreds of atrocious accounts forced upon the non-conformist society. Just one such example at Long Clawson being:

quaker 1

Quakers used plain language and dating practices to avoid using the names of months derived from heathen gods and goddesses so that “ye 11th: 10th mo: 1716”, translates to the 11th of December 1716.

So just who was the John Edenborah buried at Long Clawson?

I’m pretty sure that this John Edenborah is the same person as John Edenburrow of Hose, Leicestershire, who left the following will dated 15 December 1716.

will 1In the name of God Amen I John Edenburrow of Hose in the County of Leicester Webster being of infirm health of body but of a good and perfect memory (praised be God) do make this my last will and testimony hereby revoking all former wills by me heretofore made in manner and form following (that is to say) I give unto my loving sister Ann  Burton twenty shillings which my executors hereafter mentioned shall pay within six months after my decease and as for all the rest and remainder of my goods and chattels of what kind soever it be which I shall be possessed of at the time of my death after my debts legacies and other expenses are discharged I do give unto my loving wife and son Charles and do make them sole executors of this my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand and seal this sixth day of December in the second year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George by the grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland king defender of the faith etc Anon Domini 1716


Although I have no proof at present, he may also be the Jno Edinborow of Hose who in 1683 gave a Quaker Intent of Marriage to Mary Blake of Harby. This would also tie in with the son Charles mentioned in the above will and I have a record of a Charles Edenborough born approximately 1686 in Hose, Leicestershire. My records show, though, that Charles practised the faith of the Established Church.

So was John a one-off? Perhaps acquiescing to a Quaker wife?


Jennie Fairs

Member 1006



Mar 162015

Sometimes a person just gets under your skin somehow for no apparent reason. I have just such a soft spot for Jordan Bridge.

  • I don’t know when he was born.
  • I don’t know who his parents were.
  • I do know he had brothers Adam and Christopher.
  • He may have been a bit of a dodgy character.
  • I do know he died in 1546.
  • I don’t know where he is buried.

Jordan was one of the first residents of the Springhill area after deforestation in 1507. He delivered a piece of land 90 feet x 40 feet unto Henry Durden in, or before, 1515. I would love to know where it was.

He, together with the other tenants of Deadwenclough, was elected Greave of Rossyndale in 1516. Why the office of Greave was allocated to a group rather than an individual and how this worked in practice is sadly not recorded.

In 1527 there was an entry in the Halmote records of the manor describing how Jordan, by ‘Synister labor, Craft and subtilite’ … ‘fined and connveyed’ to deprive Adam his brother of his share of the lands on deforestation ‘value of xxs’ in Deadwenclough. The ‘false and untrue delying’ was ‘openly Kawne’. As a consequence of mediation by their friends the matter went to court which found for Adam. Jordan was ordered to compensate Adam which Jordan refused to do ‘contrariety to all gud Right and conciens and his faith and fidelity and contrary to his seyd agreement thereof’ and the Halmote ‘pray … for … Reformacien’. (Farrer vol III pp 58-9).

Then, the following year (1528) he was sued together with his brother Adam and other tenants of Deadwenchough for trespass with beasts, a common offence in the area. The common pasture was largely in the west of Rossendale and the modern rights of way numerous and complex, reflecting the various routes taken by farmers in moving their animals.

In 1534 he was fined 4d (together with seven others) for making a ‘marle pyt’. Marl Pits field later became part of Springhill Farm and is now a sports complex. It has notoriously bad drainage, not surprising given its name.

In January 1536/7 Jordan, together with three others, sued four neighbours over partition of land in Deadwenclough called ‘The Edge’, just above Springhill. Four others were ordered to divide the land equally amongst all the parties.

The year 1541 finds Jordan together with Adam, and John Bridge, being sued for obstructing a right of way and was bound over for 6s 8d to repair it before the feast of St John the Baptist. The vicar was charged with deciding which man had to clear which bit.

Jordan Bridge died in 1546. His son, John, was admitted tenant (fine 16s 3d, probably one year’s rent). Christopher and Frauncis Bridge forbade fine by right of inheritance. This was to granted, but John Bridge surrendered the land to Christopher shortly afterwards.

It appears that Jordan may not have been above a bit of dubious dealing. It also gives a flavour of how hard life was in the early part of C16, with people trying to exist in pretty unpromising terrain and the squabbles which emerged as the land was deforested (in 1507) and began to be inhabited.

And today? The old highways are still impassable. Rights of way are still being blocked. Marl Pits is still boggy. The vicar doesn’t usually deal with highway obstructions now, though.

Janet Barrie

Member 1132

Jun 012015
Margaret MURCH as Helga

Margaret MURCH as Helga

On 2 December 1907, The Prodigal Son opened in the prestigious Coronet theatre in Southwark, London.

Hugh Montgomery played the elder son, Magnus ‘with rugged manliness’, as the London Standard put it. Herbert Hewetson made Oscar (the prodigal son of the title) seem attractive, but innately weak. And the temptress, Helga, was played by Margaret MURCH.

The story is based on the parable from the Bible – adapted, of course, for the modern audience of 1907. In the Bible, the elder son stays home and helps his father, while the younger son takes his inheritance and wastes it all in ‘riotous living’. He later regrets his actions deeply.

In the twentieth-century version, however, it begins in Iceland, where the younger brother marries his sibling’s sweetheart, Thora. He then leaves her to die in childbirth while he enjoys himself in Monte Carlo, but he too later deeply regrets his actions.

The Prodigal Son was written by Hall Caine, one of the most popular and well-paid authors of his day. The play moved from Douglas, Isle of Man via Drury Lane to Margaret’s performance in Southwark. She later reprised her role at the celebrated Northampton Opera House.

She was described as “charming as the temptress Helga”. Of course, a temptress would have to be ‘charming’, wouldn’t she, in order to be able to tempt?

Ros Haywood
Member 1324
Murch One-Name Study –

Oct 122015

My Study of Micklethwaites wasn’t planned – once it started, it grew of its own accord. I had (and still have) a huge brickwall with my great great grandfather, John Micklethwaite, who died in 1849 aged 44 in a cholera outbreak in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. I couldn’t (and still can’t) find a baptism for him, so I expanded my search area. My initial searches found five possibilities for him, and the Study has eliminated just two of them. But the Study had started growing, and 12 years later it has now gone worldwide.

Over the years, several fellow researchers have individually come to see me. About two-and-a-half years ago, I was contacted by someone in Barnsley, Yorkshire (the ancestral home of Micklethwaites). His wife (a Micklethwaite) and her brother wanted to meet me, but they weren’t well enough to travel far (he has sadly died). So my contact arranged for us to meet for lunch at the Ardsley House Hotel just outside Barnsley. The location was chosen because it was the home of the Micklethwaits of Ardsley for many generations.

I had been wondering for some years about some sort of reunion/meeting. My thoughts had somehow turned towards a seminar, with various people talking about various aspects of our families’ history. However, my own ill-health meant that I could no longer contemplate arranging that sort of event.

Then we had a discussion at the Derbyshire regional meeting of the GOONS. Siann (who runs the Hurt Study) talked of her “reunions” where she had laid out all her research for visitors to peruse. Again, this sort of event was beyond me, but it opened my mind to other possibilities.

Then I remembered the lunch in Ardsley. If we all met for lunch, then I wouldn’t have much organising to do. What I forgot to think about was how stressful being interviewed by local radio can be, even if it is by telephone, and how many people would want to tap into my research. By this time I was producing a newsletter about the Micklethwait(e)s which I circulated to my contacts, so the proposed lunchtime meeting was announced there, as well as on local radio and in newspapers.

So that’s what we’ve done for the last 3 years. We’ve met in Dodworth, near Barnsley, which is about as close as possible to the “ancestral home”, the settlement once called Micklethwaite which is the one most of the Micklethwaite branches appear to be named after. The venue has a carvery for lunch and a sitting/drinking area for afterwards. Some people come for lunch (we had 21 this year, the best yet), some just for the drinking and nattering. The first year, more than a dozen people just turned up for a natter because they had heard about it on local radio – that was fantastic as I got to know how they fitted into the various branches. This year, the novelty has worn off and we didn’t get any media coverage, but someone brought me a family Bible to look at, and that disclosed something I didn’t know about. Earlier this year, I had reunited a photo album with another family (see – they came too.

Will I do another? I don’t honestly know – I’m not getting any younger or fitter! Everyone seems to enjoy them but I do find them exhausting. I get into discussions with people about their branches, with usually two or more wanting information at the same time! Perhaps a venue where we could have our own space and display the trees might be less stressful. Who knows what the future holds, but they certainly have been a big help to my research.

Andy Micklethwaite
Member 1027

Nov 162015
While I breathe, I hope.

While I breathe, I hope.

The village of Goosnargh, which lies in Lancashire, in the north west of England, is situated seven miles from Preston the nearest market town. It is a very old parish first named in the Domesday Book of 1086. It has an ancient church, the village inn (there once was two) and a village green, the archetypal English village scene, hardly changed today.


In the north eastern part of the Churchyard are tombstones which mark the family vault of the Oliverson family, built in 1846 by Christopher Oliverson, a Yeoman of Westfield House, who died in 1852.

One such inscription reads:

Sacred to the memory of Richard Oliverson, late of Goosnargh, who departed this life on the 24th of November, 1799 in the 53rd year of his life.

Such was their affection for the village, those members who had long since moved away had chosen Goosnargh churchyard for their final resting place such as

Sacred to the memory of Richard Oliverson, late of Portland Place, London, son of Richard and Elizabeth Oliverson, who departed this life on the 28th of February, 1952 in the 77th year of his age.

Who were this family so revered in this small village? The first recorded Oliverson in the parish records is the burial of Elizabeth Oliverson, daughter of Richard Oliverson on 2 December 1644. There may have been Oliversons in Goosnargh before this as the first recorded Oliverson in the lineage in Burke’s Family Records is Richard Oliverson who died before 1668 who could have been her father. Their line of descent goes down to the twentieth century in Goosnargh. The parish records show their occupations as yeomen, husbandmen and gentlemen and in 1778 Christopher Oliverson is listed as a churchwarden. Christopher and Richard Oliverson were also members of the 24 sworn men in 1877. In the 1851 Barrett’s trade directory, Christopher and Thomas Oliverson are named as two of the principal landowners of Goosnargh along with such worthies as Thomas Batty Addison, the Recorder of Preston and James Sidgreaves Esq. The Oliverson family were known as the “Patrons of Goosnargh” as they were constant donors to the church and the school which was eventually named after them. In the church tower was a clock given by William Shawe Esq. and Richard Oliverson in 1846. An organ was presented in 1856 which bore the inscription:- “This clock erected AD 1861 at the joint expense of William Shaw Esq. of Preston and Richard Oliverson of Goosnargh and by them presented to Goosnargh Church. Simpson Makers, Preston.”

The largest benefactor to the village was Richard Oliverson of Portland Place, London but formerly of Goosnargh, one of the five sons of Richard and Elizabeth Oliverson. He gained an MA at Exeter College, Cambridge and was a Director of the Scottish Fire and Life Insurance Company. Although he was based in London he was the principal benefactor of the family, one of his achievements being in 1840 he founded a school for girls at Goosnargh funded by subscription and the list included donations by his siblings Christopher, Agnes, Richard, Thomas and Robert Oliverson of London of £94 10s. The total amount raised amounted to £324 8s 0d. Back in 1834 he purchased land on the north side of Goosnargh Lane near to the church for the erection of a school house and prior to his death in 1852 he had conveyed to trustees for the use or benefit of the Master of the Free School for the time being. The subscription list for the girl’s school included donations by his siblings Christopher and Miss Agnes Oliverson of Goosnargh, and Richard, Thomas and Robert Oliverson of London, amounting to £142. Richard also made generous contributions to the establishment of a School Lending Library, adding 400 volumes of books from his own library. Further donations included a dwelling house for the use of the mistress of Goosnargh Girl’s School and about 12 months previous to his death he proposed to invest money, the interest of which to be applied in purchasing reading books for the use of the scholars of the Masters’ Free School. Although his life and work was in London, he never forgot the education he received at the school and his gratitude can be summed up by the impressive total of £2334 19s 1d he invested in the village.

His brother Robert was one of the largest brokers and underwriters in the city of London, his connection with the Lloyds establishment going back to 1817 and his wealth was estimated as about a million sterling.

In 1867 when the church was in much need of repair a subscription list was raised to fund the necessary work and three of the Oliverson family, Robert and his nephews Richard and Thomas were the main donors, their donations amounting to £250.

In 1869 there was great excitement in the village when Christopher Oliverson, the 34-year-old son of the late Christopher and Elizabeth Oliverson was to be married in the local parish church. The Preston Chronicle in an article headed “Marriage Festivities at Goosnargh” said that “there were great rejoicings in the village … Early on the Wednesday morning the place assumed a lively aspect, and as the day advanced, affairs wore quite a holiday appearance. At half past ten several persons-principally females were in the church; and as the hour approached the sacred edifice was comparatively crowded.” One of the reasons for the rejoicing was that Christopher was to marry Jane Graham, the fifth daughter of John Graham, the Governor of Goosnargh Hospital. The paper went on to describe the scene: “From the steeple of the old church the union jack floated bravely; from each gable of the church yard there was an arch of evergreens, flanked with banners, and bearing in the centre the motto ‘May they be happy’. People had come from Preston and other parts of the district. The church looked especially well as it had recently been much improved, much of it from the benefice of the Oliverson family. The bell ringers were mentioned; five having been in the ‘trade’ for between thirty and forty years pulled bravely at the ropes. And if the chimes they rung out were not very harmonious, they were at least strong and hearty.

“Mr R Cookson, the schoolmaster who had helped to ring the bells when the first child of Mr Graham was born, pulled ‘jubilantly’ for a time one of the ropes in the ancient steeple and infused a spirit of festal hilarity into the school children who gathered to witness the marriage. At eleven the wedding party appeared, five bridesmaids who were the sisters of the bride were attired in lavender coloured silk dresses. The bride wore a dress of white silk; upon her head was a wreath of orange blossoms. In the chancel were Mr & Mrs Graham, Mrs Oliverson, Mr R Oliverson, London; Captain and Mrs Berry, Canterbury; Mr Alderman Arkwright, Preston; Mrs Hudson, Preston and others. The service was officiated by the Rev. Thomas Benn, vicar of Inglewhite. The organist for the day was Jane’s brother, Daniel Graham who played an appropriate musical prelude on the organ – a neat instrument given by Mr Robert Oliverson (uncle of the bridegroom) in 1836.”

It was said that a spirit of festivity prevailed in both the Hospital and the village, and there was no doubt that in the nineteenth century Goosnargh was renowned for its festivals which attracted people from the surrounding districts and beyond.

Christopher was the only one of the younger generation to settle in Goosnargh. After attending school in London he returned to marry his wife Jane and in 1871 is a landowner living at Whittingham House. After his death in 1877 at the age of 41, his widow moved to Goosnargh Lodge with her three children. Goosnargh Lodge was once the summer seat of the Oliverson family. She did not stay long, moving first to Blackpool and then to Southport where she died in 1918. Christopher’s brother Richard Oliverson was educated at Oxford and was barrister at law of the Inner Temple and married in 1863 Frances Ellen, daughter of Richard Almack of Melford Suffolk. He was also a JP in Lancaster. One of his sons Cecil Henry, was also a barrister at law of the Inner Temple and gained a BA Christ Church, Oxford.

Towards the end of the 19th century the last of the Oliverson family left Goosnargh, leaving behind a lasting legacy to the village and as Richard Cookson writing in 1887 in “Goosnargh Past and Present” said “When will we see their like again”.

For such a prominent family who had such an influence in the area it seems strange that no photographs appear anywhere of any of their members and they seem to have disappeared without trace after leaving the village. I have scoured family trees but information on the Oliversons is very scant indeed.

The tombstones in the churchyard and the village school to which they gave their name “Goosnargh Oliversons C E School” are the only permanent reminders.


Janet Rigby
Member 1314

Dec 142015

Hiram Archer was born in 1825 in Yorkley, West Dean, a parish in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England. His mother Elizabeth was a widow and was forced to take in a lodger at their house in Pillowell to make ends meet. Hiram started work at the local colliery at Parkend at the age of thirteen and without any discipline from a father, he proved to be a very wayward boy, constantly in trouble. On the night of 29 July 1851 he had been drinking at the Nags Head in Yorkley with his friend James James. The other young men who joined them were George Charles, Richard Kear, Thomas James, Henry Shapcott and Thomas Stephens. They all worked in the local mines and often drank together. Fights were always breaking out in the pub and this night was no exception, the landlord William Charles having to send for the local constabulary again to break up a fight. A middle-aged woman called Mary McCarthy, who was visiting the area looking for her brother, was warming herself by a brazier outside the pub. Then events took a terrible turn. Mary was raped by each of the young men in turn, Hiram Archer being the ringleader.

Nags Head, Yorkley

Nags Head, Yorkley

On 1 August 1851 two of the men, Richard Kear and Thomas Stephens were arrested and taken to Littledean House of Correction, near Cinderford. James James and George Charles were arrested a couple of days later. The police then set out finding the other alleged offenders as Mary McCarthy had said a total of nine men had raped her. The Gloucester Journal reported the arrest of yet another man at Blaenavon in Wales. “We have now to announce the apprehension of another collier on the same charge named Hiram Archer, resident of Pillowell, who had absconded on the morning after the outrage. Mary McCarthy positively identified the prisoner as the man who first committed the assault upon her.”

The news of “The brutal outrage in the Forest” spread from house to house and filled the newspapers for many weeks. Seven of the nine men accused of rape on that Tuesday night of the 28th July 1851 had now been detained at Littledean House of Correction and were taken to the court at Newnham. It was no wonder that Hiram Archer had absconded as he had previously served a sentence of ten days for “absenting himself from his master’s service”. His previous record showed him to be of good character but he was now described as being “of bad character” and his description is given as 5 ft 2 in tall with black hair, dark eyes and a long dark face pitted from smallpox. He was also said to have been “the principal actor in the case” and was committed for trial at Gloucester along with the others.

Hiram Archer, James James, Richard Kear, Henry Shapcott and George Charles were sentenced to transportation for life. Thomas James and Thomas Stephens were each sentenced to fifteen years transportation. In 1853 they all left England for Bermuda after having served time in Millbank Prison, London.

Both Hiram and Thomas James died in October 1853 having contracted yellow fever. George Charles eventually returned to England in 1861 to serve the rest of his sentence there and died in 1875 in Oldcroft, Forest of Dean at the age of 47. James James was released in August 1863 and settled in Australia where he died in 1882. Thomas Stephens arrived back in England for release in 1857 but no more is known of him. Richard Kear and Henry Shapcott were released in 1863 and 1864, returned to the Forest, and both married and had children. They were able to tell the families of the other men of the trials and tribulations of the Bermuda imprisonment and the time spent in Millbank and Portland prisons before leaving England. Hiram’s widowed mother Elizabeth introduced the two men to her grandson and was proud to tell them that he had been named Hiram, after his uncle. Both were accepted back into the community and spent their days quietly until Richard’s death in 1901 and Henry’s in 1906. (The full story of the Forest of Dean convicts is related in ‘Bermuda Dick’ by Averil Kear.)

Janet Rigby
Member 1314

Aug 172015

Robert MURCH was born in 1687 in Ottery St Mary, a town later described by White in his 1850 directory as “…an ancient and irregularly built market town … picturesquely seated on the east side of the river Otter, sheltered on the east and west by boldly swelling hills.” This makes Ottery sound as if it is a typically sleepy town, where nothing ever seems to happen. However, in the 17th century, the population was swept up in the battles and skirmishes of the Civil War between the supporters of King Charles I and Parliament (Oliver Cromwell).

Names of battles at Nottingham, Edge Hill, Marston Moor, and Naseby are familiar to most. But the Civil War was fought not only in faraway counties, it was also fought in Devon. Royalist regiments under Lord Wentworth were camped at nearby Bovey Tracey, with Parliamentary forces under General Fairfax at Crediton and Moreton, and on 9 January 1646 was the Battle of Bovey Heath. Able men were expected to join the fight, so it is likely that while Robert’s father, Richard, was still a small boy, his grandfather and male relatives participated. The fighting was fierce, and it was said that up to 10% were killed, far more than had previously died during the dreaded cholera and the bad harvests, more even than in the plagues of the Black Death in 1348-1350 and the Great Sweat in 1551.

William Frederick Yeames

“And when did you last see your father?”
By William Frederick Yeames

Struggles between the monarchy and Parliament were ongoing and evident – Charles was beheaded, while his son was exiled to France, and England was briefly a republic; then Oliver Cromwell died at last and his son, Richard, was dismissed from office, while the monarchy was returned to power, with Charles II as king. Charles died following a stroke in 1685, converting to Catholicism on his deathbed; only two years later, an Act of Parliament made Catholics unable to inherit the throne, while ironically another act – the Act of Toleration – granting freedom of worship to dissenters was passed.

But in 1688, when Robert was one, there was a revolution in England of a different kind. This was a revolution of religions. In 1689 the Declaration of Rights confirmed that Catholics were barred from the throne of England. The Act of Toleration granted freedom of worship to dissenters – but upon conditions. Dissenters were allowed “to hold services in licensed meeting houses and to maintain their own preachers (if they would subscribe to certain oaths) in England and Wales.” (David Cody, The Victorian Web). The term “Dissenters” is misleading, however; the Toleration Act applied to Baptists and Congregationalists but not to Protestant Dissenters like Robert, which is why he had to marry in the local Anglican church.

Ros Haywood
Murch Surname Study

Oct 252015

When I trawled newspapers online for any Winningtons, my surname study, I was somewhat surprised to see this man’s name. It did not feature in the database of Winningtons that I had, but there was a John Myles Wennington from a north Lancashire and Cumbrian family. This illustrates a common problem as the two surnames are often mixed up. Even more fascinating was the fact he was called Sir, as far as I know there were no knights or baronets in this family. So, intrigued, I dug deeper and came up with a fascinating tale, which is not yet complete.

John Wennington was baptised at St John’s, Liverpool on 27 May 1797, the son of Miles Wennington, Gent, and his wife Jane, of Ulveston, Lancashire. However, it also records he was born on 15 November 1794. Ulveston registers have a baptism for him on 22 November 1794, so why was he baptised twice? Both churches were the Established church so he was not changing sect. The Wenningtons can be found in this area of north Lancashire and the southern Lake District for two hundred years before this and were of middling wealth. John’s father Miles Wennington died in Liverpool and is buried the same day his son was baptised, 27 May 1797, and he is described as Gent. of Union Street, aged 30 years.

The next paper trail for John Miles Wennington is when he is articled as a clerk to Thomas Windle in 1811, and is described as the son of Jane Wennington, widow, of Devonshire Street, London. On 18 November 1816 Samuel Austice, Attorney, Tavistock Place, London, files Articles of Clerkship for John Miles Wennington. This is the last time he uses Wennington as his surname. He appears to have finished his articles and to have practised as an attorney.

On 23 August 1820 there is a newspaper report of a marriage at St Margaret’s, Westminster, between Sir John Miles Winnington and Miss Henrietta Antonia, second daughter of the late Bedingfield Pogson Esq, and great niece of the present Earl of Glencairne. However, in 1823 she is suing for divorce in the Consistory Court in London on the grounds of her husband’s adultery. They apparently only lived together for a few months. This case drags on for several years and it is not entirely clear whether or not she gets a divorce. She keeps returning to the Court because she gets no alimony. He pleads poverty. But he is also cited in the divorce case in 1831 brought by Mr Le Fevre, as the guilty party and has to pay 600 guineas.

The next occasion he can be found in public documents is his conviction for theft in 1842 and being sent to Australia for seven years, arriving in Tasmania in mid 1843. He was also an insolvent bankrupt partly because of the debts contracted over his contested divorce from Henriettta, although these were discharged in 1848 after a relative left him £1600. This may have been his mother but no record of her death as been found yet. It is not clear if John Miles Winnington remained in Australia after he served his term, but he is still there when he is declared solvent in 1849.

A tree on Ancestry offered another clue to John Miles Winnington’s later life, as it has him marrying a Jane Nash, date unknown, and having a daughter Maria Nash Winnington, born 1828. This can be partly verified by documents from Australia. Maria married John Gemmell, a surgeon, of the Ovens River, on 5 September 1848 at Parramatta, New South Wales. In the newspaper notice of this event she is described as the grand-daughter of Mr Andrew Nash, of Parramatta. After John Gemmell’s death, date so far unknown, she married Grainger Muir Brough, son of Constantine Brough, on 7 January 1868 at All Saints, St Kilda, Victoria. She is described as Marie Laura Gimmell in the transcription of this record but her parents are John Myles Winnington and Jane Nash so it is obviously the same woman.

So far I have not found a death for John Miles Winnington, but the fact that he keeps using both John and Miles has allowed him to be followed more easily than if he were just John. And the knighthood? He says he was awarded one by Pope Pius VII but I suspect this was a fiction as there is no indication he was ever a Roman Catholic and in the early nineteenth century Pope Pius was having a great deal of trouble with Napoleon Bonaparte, so was unlikely to be honouring a Protestant Englishman. The other notable thing about this tale was that the divorce proceedings were reported in many of the regional newspapers across Britain. It obviously was seen as good copy to fill up any spaces in a newspaper.


Naomi Tarrant
Member 1119

Nov 092015
Teresa Edenborough nee Persiani

Teresa Edenborough nee Persiani

On 4 June 1881 Edwin EDENBOROUGH of Stanley Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney and Teresa Ann PERSIANI of Palmer Street, Darlinghurst were married. The marriage took place according to the Rites of the Church of England at St Peter’s Church, Darlinghurst. Both parties were under age and the consent of Jane Edenborough, mother of the bridegroom, and John Pye, guardian of Teresa Persiani, was given to the marriage.

I have been very fortunate that descendants of the couple have retained a huge amount of ephemera including family bibles which confirms the marriage. However, while the ancestry of Edwin has been easy to research, that of Teresa has resulted in a couple of major stumbling blocks.

The death certificate for Teresa Edenborough (nee Persiani) states that her parents were Peter Persanna (sic) and Eliza Rollins. But the only birth certificate that has been found for this couple is for that of a Pleasance Elizabeth Persiani born 11 March 1862 at Palmer Street, Darlinghurst. The birth date has been confirmed by the grandchildren of Teresa as being correct. But nobody has been able to supply the reason why Pleasance changed her name to Teresa Ann.

Her father, Peter Persiani, was involved with seafaring: family lore being that he was a sea captain who went down with his ship. He certainly disappeared after his daughter Teresa was born in Sydney in 1862 but whether he perished at sea or deserted his family remains a mystery.

I have tried to research this Peter Persiani but he remains a huge brick wall of mine. At the time of Teresa’s birth on 11 March 1862 he was 30 years of age, a sailor, and stated he was born in Leghorn, Italy. The previous year, on 17 June 1861, he stated on his certificate of marriage to Eliza Rollins, that he was a mariner, of full age, and was born in Stockholm. I believe him to be the Peter Persiana, an able bodied seaman, who had deserted from the ship Hollinside while docked at Sydney in 1859.

Oil painting of Peter Persiani, undated, held by family descendants.

Oil painting of Peter Persiani, undated, held by family descendants.

Notice of his desertion appeared in the New South Wales Government Gazette of 1 Aug 1859 which recorded him as being 5ft 2in high, of dark complexion, black hair and dark eyes. It would appear this wasn’t the first time that Peter Persiana had deserted. An earlier notice appeared in the NSWGG of 5 Sep 1855 listing his then desertion from the ship Euphrates. That time a £4 reward was offered to be paid if he was apprehended while the ship was in harbour.

Using the Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters website, I located Peter Persiani on the 1862 crew lists of March and May for the steamer Eagle although he gives his birthplace variously as British or New Orleans! The Eagle appears to have plied its trade between Sydney and Rockhampton. And there the trail goes cold. I have searched Trove and other websites for any shipwrecks or related happenings but haven’t been successful in finding anything more on Peter Persiani. So, was he lost at sea? Or did he once again desert ship (and family) this time in another state or country?

Peter Persiani’s disappearance supposedly happened when his daughter Teresa was a baby with family lore stating that Eliza Persiani nee Rollins married again but that Teresa’s step-father was very cruel to her so she ran away to her Auntie Pye who looked after her and brought her up. It is also believed that she was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith but switched to Church of England upon her marriage to Edwin Edenborough.

Sadly, Teresa’s death, at the age of 57, was on 1 July 1919 – one of the many thousands of people who succumbed to the worldwide Spanish flu epidemic.


Jennie Fairs
Member 1006

Jul 272015

I started my Atherton One-Name Study to try and break down one of my brick walls. It took me about five years, but I did eventually break it down – of sorts!

Peter Atherton had always been my “problem child”. My Great Great Grandfather Peter Atherton was shown on the 1841 census as being aged 12, living in Bamford Street, Stockport, with his family: James Atherton, 45, Head, Bobbin Turner, b. Cheshire; Mary Atherton, 50, Wife, b. Cheshire; Ellen Atherton, 15, Dau, Weaver, b. Cheshire; James Atherton, 13, b. Cheshire; and Peter Atherton, 12, b. Cheshire. Common Christian names have also been a problem with my ancestors and this was to be no exception.

I have not yet found Peter on the 1851 census to this day – any thoughts?

Peter Atherton married Mary Wright at Norbury Church, Stockport, on 29 Nov 1851. Both were “Of Age”. Peter was a Bobbin Turner and Mary was a Baker. Residences for both were shown as Bosden. The fathers were James Atherton, also a Bobbin Turner, and John Wright, also a Baker! Witnesses were Nicholas Cookson and Robert Sutcliffe.

So I still did not have any certainty about his age, though I did discover that they had 2 children – Alfred Atherton, on 17 Sep 1852, and Elizabeth Ellen Atherton, on 10 May 1857. Elizabeth Ellen sadly died of measles aged one.

Peter then dropped off the radar completely. I did have a “possible” in the 1891 census (RG12/2798), where he is shown as being born in 1831 in Stockport , Single[?], Lodger, Wood Turner, living at 18 to 22 Hillgate, Stockport (St Thomas) – 1 of 47 lodgers! That query still remains “open”.

As I could not find Peter, the obvious follow up was wife and child. I (eventually) discovered that Mary (Wright) had re-married on 1 Sep 1859, aged 24: Mary Atherton, “Spinster”, married Thomas Proctor, 23, Bachelor, a Tailor, at the Parish Church, Heaton Norris. Residences for both were shown as Heaton Norris. The fathers were recorded as Edward Proctor, a Tailor, and John Wright, a Baker. Witnesses were Thomas Jackson and Olivia Lomas.

The 1861 census revealed the now Mary Proctor (28) living at 7 Withens Row, Brinnington, with husband Thomas Proctor (23), a Tailor, and son Arthur [Alfred] Proctor, 9 months, born Portwood, Stockport. This child was in fact Alfred – aged 9 Years – not 9 Months!

Alfred joined the army in 1870. Regt No 1823, Pte Alfred Atherton, enlisted at age 19 on 4 Jul 1870 into 109 Regiment of Foot (109th Bombay Infantry Regiment) at Manchester and saw army service in India before being medically discharged on 30 Apr 1877 at Netley with heart problems. Total army service was 6 years 290 days. His army trade was Bleacher. Note: Alfred’s place of discharge, Netley, is within 2 miles of where his Great Great Granddaughter Julie Ann Davies (nee Atherton) lived with her husband Paul Davies and daughter Kate Margaret Davies 125 years later!

Anyway, back to my search for Peter Atherton! (You will see later why I include Alfred’s army details).

After many months of searching, I discovered through the military records on FindMyPast and at The National Archives, that Peter had joined the army just 2 months following the birth of his son Alfred! That is why I could not find him in the census records!

19 - Peter war service

The details that I found on Peter were as follows:

Peter Atherton (1438 Pte) joined 80th Regt in Manchester on 15 Nov 1852 aged 22 years.

Transferred to 28th Regt 1854 and also served in 51 Foot (LI) from Mar 1863.

He was medically discharged to Bow Lunatic Asylum (Grove Hall in Fairfield Road) on 13 Oct 1868 aged 37 years 10 months having served a total of 12 years 247 days – Malta 2 yrs 183 days, Turkey & Crimea 2 years 40 days and East Indies 8 years 24 days.

In possession of three Good Conduct Badges.

In possession of Turkish & Crimea Medal and clasps for Inkerman and Sebastopol.

His name appears nine times in the Regimental Defaulters Book and he had been tried by Court Martial!

He was to be entitled to a deferred pension on 13 Nov 1880.

You may think that would then be the end of the story and that I would be able to pick him up in the census records thereafter – not quite so!

As stated above, he was committed to the Lunatic Asylum at Bow on 13 Oct 1868. Peter, being Peter, decided it would be a good idea to leave Bow and “escaped” on 5 Mar 1870! This confirmation was in a written reply to the War Office that, as he had not been recaptured, his name was struck off the books of the Asylum. I have to assume, as this correspondence was dated between 1878 and 1880, the War Office may have been looking for him to pay him his deferred pension?

Other than the possible sighting in the 1891 census, I have no knowledge of where he might have “escaped” to in 1870. I have not found any trace of Peter in the 1871 or 1881 census, nor have I found his death – again, any thoughts?

I also thought it strange that Alfred joined the army at about 3 months after his father Peter was escaping from Bow. What do you think?


Derek Atherton
Member 1047

May 042015

Edward Tivey, stocking weaver by trade was born in the town of Melbourne, Derbyshire 6 Feb 1782. His birth is mentioned in the registers of Melbourne Baptist church though no parents were listed – it was usual for the children to be baptised in early adulthood and unfortunately, records for the late 1790s/early 1800s have perished. Edward married Sarah (Sally) Dolman, 27 Apr 1800: Edward and Sally had 6 children that survived infancy:

Ann 1801, Edward 1804, Joseph 1809, Sally 1812, John 1813 and Samuel 1814

Edward’s wife Sally died at a young age. Although Edward probably found it hard to cope with bringing up his children and working, unlike many men of his era, Edward chose not to remarry until years later.

Apprenticeship papers confirm that at the age of 14, eldest son Edward was apprenticed out to Joseph Dolman, a stone mason of Loughborough, Leicestershire, while second eldest son, Joseph, was apprenticed out to John Perry, a steel toy manufacturer of Aston, Birmingham at the tender age of 12. Edward also married off his daughters as soon as it was possible to do so: Ann marrying John King aged 16 and Sally marrying John Elsey on her 16th birthday. It is thought that John, the second youngest child, was also apprenticed out at a young age, as by the 1841 census he was residing in Birmingham, a shoe maker by trade.

Tivey - SamuelSamuel (left), the youngest child of Edward, became a lace maker, he married in Derby in 1833 to Phoebe Wilde (right). By 1841 Samuel was residing in Nottingham St Peter. Family rumour 18 - Phoebe Wildehas it that Samuel and Phoebe inherited part of a lace manufacturing business, John Wilde & Co, in Nottingham from Phoebe’s side of the family during the 1840s, though the author personally hasn’t seen any evidence of this. It is thought that once mass industrialisation of lace making was being introduced, they sold their shares in the business to help pay for passage to Australia.

In 1848 the family travelled to London and set sail from Deptford bound for a new life in Australia. Samuel and Phoebe’s eldest child Joseph, aged about 14 at the time, wrote a diary of the voyage which is now kept at the State Library of New South Wales. The following is a word for word transcript of the diary – the spelling and grammar has not been altered in any way:-

This account of the voiage to South Australia is written by Joseph Tivey, a passenger in the Ship called the Bermondsey which started from Deptford on Wendsey August 23rd 1848 at ½ past four Oclock she was toed down the Thames by the Steam Packet the Fairy and a merry crew we are dancing and singing. There is 200 of us to say there is so many of us I never saw such good regulation in my life. The beds are buettiful she is 600 tons Burthen. There are fowls and pigs on Board. We stopt at Gravesend all Night. Thursday August 24th at Anchor all day at Gravesend. Friday August 25th still being at Anchor at Gravesend nothing of particular account. Saturday August 26th we heaved Anchor at 3 Oclock in the Morning and we are going at a good rate. Stopt at Deal for the Night. Sunday August 27th tremendous rough winds but we were tacking about all day but did not sail three miles. Monday August 28th. Nothing remarkable to day. Tuesday August 29th heaved Anchor at four Oclock and are sailing buetiful between Dover and Calais. Wensday August 30th still sailing along the Kentish Coast. We have been out of sight of Land Once to day but came in sight again about 4 Oclock and past Brighton at ½ past 6 Oclock, we are sailing delightfully to night. Thursday August 31st we have been sailing fast all night, there are but 15 English on board they are all Scotch. I have heard of sunrise at Sea I have seen it this Morning it is Grande we have been Sailing fast all night we Sailed about 100 Miles to Night. Friday September 1st we have taken our Last Farewell of Old England we left it at 5 Oclock this Morning we shall not see Land again for a Long time. We are sailing slowly. September 2nd. This morning we entered the Western Ocean and are going at a good rate we have seen neither Land nor Birds this day or two. We are sailing at a good pace to Night. Sunday September 3rd. We are sailing at a extra good pace to day. Monday September 4th. Sailing Moderately. Tuesday September 5th in the Morning the sea was very calm till about 10 Oclock and the wind rose and the Sea was very Boisterous the remainder part of the Day. We sailed very fast all the Day. Wensday September 6th. Sailed Slow all the Day. Thursday September 7th. Sailed Slow all the Day. Friday September 8th. Sailing very Slow all the Day. Saturday September 9th the Sea being very calm we Sailed very Slow all the Day. Sunday September 10th to day there has been several Porpioses and a Shark 12 feet long. Sailing Slowly all the Day. Monday September 11th Sailing faster to day. Tuesday September 12th. In sight of the Island of Madeira from 7 Oclock-A.M. till 4 Oclock P.M. There is a Buetiful Bresse to Day we are sailing Delightfully to Day. Wensday September 13th. A strong wind and Sailing very fast all day and night. There has been several large fishes caught to day merely by a strong hook and a piece of white rag fastened to the hook and a Strong rope. They were cooked and were very good not much unlike Salmon. Thursday September 14th. Sailing faster to Day. Friday Septem 15th. Sailing at a good pace to day. Saturday Septem 16th. We Overtook a Vessel that had been six weeks coming from London bound for Port Adelaide. She is a very Slow Sailing Vessel. We soon got past her. Sunday September 17th. The Wind is very rough to day and a heavey Sea Sailing About 10 miles an hour and raining all day. Monday September 18th. Sailing at a middleing rate to day. Tuesday September 19th. In the Afternoon we saw 2 large Whales both together twas a buetiful sight to see them spirting the water into the air. Sailing Slowly today. Wensday September 20th. Sailing rather faster to day. In sight of one of the Cape de verd Islands. Thursday September 21st Sailing at a good pace to day. Friday September 22nd. Sailing at a good pace to day. Saturday September 23rd Sailing Slowly to day. Sunday September 24th. Sailing Slowly in the Morning but in the afternoon there was heavey rain and sailing faster. Monday Sepr 25th. Sailing at a good pace to day. Tuesday Sepr 26th to day there has been a many large Porpises playing about the head of the Vessell. Wensday Sepr 27th. Sailing at a good pace to day. Thursday Sepr 28th. The Same. Friday Sepr 29th . The Same. Saturday Sepr 30th the Same. Sunday October 1st. Sailing Slowly to day. Monday October 2nd. There has been a many large porpises near the head of the Vessell the Mate struck two of them in the Back with the harpoon one of them very bad when the last was struck they all disapered. Tuesday October 3rd. This Morning a little girl died at 5 Oclock and was buried at 12 Oclock on the day. Sailing at a good pace to day. Wensday October 4th. Another little girl died at 7 Oclock in the Morning and was buried at 4 Oclock in the Afternoon at night there was a many large Grampus[4] near the Vessell. Sailing rather Slower to day. Thursday October 5th. Sailing at a good pace to day. Friday October 6th. To day we have crossed the Line. To night there have been a good deal of Merryment with throughing water as it is a general custum at crossing the Line. We carried it on from about ½ past 7 till 10 Oclock almost all were wet to their Skin both Men and Women it was all done on Deck. Satury October 7th. Sailing at a good pace to day. Sunday October 8th. The Same. Monday October 9th The Same. Tuesday October 10th The Same. Wensday Octr 11th The Same. Thursday Octr 12th. Rough winds and rather Squally. Friday Oct 13th Rough winds and very Squally. Saturday Octr 14th Sailing Slowly to day. Sunday Octr 15th. Sailing at a good pace to day. Monday Octr 16 The Same. Tuesday October 17 The Same. Wensday October 18 The Same. Thursd Octr 19th The Same. Friday Octr 20 Sailing at a very good pace to day. About 6 Oclock P.M. There was a heavy Puff of wind which sent the Vessell upon her beamends but she was soon recovered again. Saturday Octr 21st. We have now got into the Cape Weather it is very rough and heavey Sea the waves almost every 2 or 3 minutes coming over the bulwarks on to the Deck. This Morning we came in sight of a Ship but the Wind being so rough we could not speak to them. Sunday Octr 22 To day there are many Cape pigeons and Cape hens flying about some of them[5]are all black and some are black and white[6], the latter are very pretty. Monday Octr 23 About 9 Oclock A.M. The Vessell struck on a sand bank which shaked the Ship very bad and it caused a curious sensation throughout the Ship, but as she was going at a good pace it did not stop her. Tuesday Oct 24th. Sailing at a good pace to day. Wensday Octr 25th The Same. Thursday Octr 26th The Same. Friday Octr 27th The Sea is Calm to day and very little wind so we are sailing slowly to day. Saturday Octr 28th The Sea being calm a line was put out at the stern of the Vessell with a hook bated with a piece of Pork to caught Cape Hens. A bird took the bate and was hauled into Vessell. It was larger than a full grown goose it was Measured across the wings and was 6 feet 8 inches it was webfooted and its feathers were very thick it did not seem at all frighted at being caught when it was hauled up it was followed up to the Stern by all its other Companions it was killed and eat and was very good. Sunday Octr 29th. Sailing at a good pace to day. Monday Oct 30th. The Same. Tuesy Oct 30th. There has been 4 Cape Peigens caught this Morning the Sea being Calm. We are in sight of 2 Vessells one ahead of us and one astern the one ahead of us we have been in sight of for 2 or 3 days now and then the Breese has freshened again about 7 Oclock and are sailing at a good pace still in sight of the Vessells. Wensday November 1st To day there is a very heavy Sea, and have lost sight of both Vessells. Thursday November 2nd. Sailing at a good pace to day. Friday Nover 3rd This morning there is a Vessell ahead of us and about 12 Oclock we began to Signalise her her name is Sarah Ann Wallace from Liverpool and we have been 4 days longer out at Sea than them in the Afternoon we passed her and we came in sight of another Vessell. Saturday November 4th Very heavey Sea to day and a rough wind. About 6 P.M. Oclock we saw 2 large Whales not many yards from the Vessell. Sunday November 5th. We are in sight of a Vessell by the side of us going the same road as us but at night She got Ahead of us and got out of sight. Monday Novemr 7th Another Child died this Morning and at Sunset was slung into the deep. Wensday November 8th. Sailing at a good pace in the Morning but in the Afternoon and night the sea was very Calm. Thursday November 9th Sailing at a good pace to day. Friday November 10th Nothing remarkable not till Wensday November 13. To day there has been a large Albatross caught with a line put out at the stern bated with a piece of pork it was measured across the wings was 10 feet 6 inch. Thursday November 16th today there has been 4 large Albatross caught today there has been 9 large hooks broken the Albatross one that was hauled up very near the Vessell and it broke the hook and got off and it was so very much fatigued it sunk in the water and was drowned. Friday November 17th— Saturday November 18th — Sunday Novembr 19 — Monday November 20th to day the Sea is very Calm and we are not sailing above 2 miles to the hour. Tuesday November 21 the Sea being Calm we are Sailing very Slow. Wensday November 22 The breeze has freshened up to day and we are sailing very well. Another Albatross has ben caught this day. Thursday November 23rd. Sailing at a good pace to day. Friday Novr 24 Sailing at a good pace to day. Saturday Nover 25th The Same— Sunday December 4th Another Child died this Morning and was buried at 4 Oclock. Monday December 5th. To day about 5 Oclock we entered the Straits with a fair wind. To day we have had a very heavy Sea and about 6 Oclock P.M. we had a very heavey Sea gale of Wind and had a Thunder Storm. The Sea rooling almost Mountains high. Tuesday December 6th This Morning we were Surraunded by large and Small Islands or Rocks there were 7 of them. Several of them we passed within about 50 yards it was a bueitiful sight to see them. About 10 Oclock we lost sight of them and came in sight of another Island called hog Island lost sight of it about 11 Oclock a very heavy sea to day. Sailing at a good pace to day. Wensday Decr 7 To day we are sailing along the Australian Coast called Long Beach this morning we saw the Masts of a Ship but lost sight of it again it being a misty day. Thursday Decr 8th. To day we came in sight of Twofold Bay Lighthouse about 3 Oclock we entered the Bay at 4 Oclock and a pilot came on Board and we droped Anchor about 5 Oclock and we were soon surrounded by small Boats full of men to look at us. Wensday December 14th Landed at Eden at Twofold Bay. Stoped at Eden all day and Night and started with the bullock drays for Maneroo[7] we Travelled 14 Miles and stopt at Pambula for the Night.

18 Samuel & Phoebes houseThe family arrived in Eden, Twofold Bay, New South Wales on 8 Dec 1848 and proceeded to Menare to take up land at Nimmitabel. The family became one of the pioneering families in the Australian district of Monaro, New South Wales. Their house at Mole Station is picture right.

Joseph Tivey (below), diary writer and son of Samuel and Phoebe moved away from the family home in the 1850s and joined the hunt for gold in the state of Victoria. He married Tasmanian, Margaret Hayes, 18 - Joseph Tiveyand set up as a shopkeeper and victualler in Brooke Street, Inglewood, selling food and drink to the gold prospectors. The business soon blossomed and Joseph became quite wealthy, settling in the town where he brought up a reputed 14 children (I have so far only found records for 10 of them). In 1879 he purchased three plots of land in Inglewood, and hired a local builder named William Garland to build him a property which would accommodate his large family. The house, which cost a total of £1300 to build still stands today and, in 2006, The Inglewood and District Historical Society erected a Blue Plaque outside the Tivey Mansion on Verdon Street, Inglewood:

TIVEYS HOUSE ‘NIMMITABEL’. After having purchased three allotments of land in 1879, Joseph Tivey contracted local builder W, Garland to build this fine home in 1881 at a cost of £1300. the house was built with thirteen rooms to accomodate the fourteen Tivey children and had a lavish and extensive garden. Joseph was the proprietor of a general merchandis and liquor store in Brooke Street. Following his death the house was occupied by his son, Sam Tivey.

Joseph was a Justice of the Peace in his later years and was also Mayor of the Borough of Inglewood 18 - Josephs homeon several occasions. Sadly, Joseph committed suicide when he lost quite a lot of his fortune on land deals. The Argus of Thursday, 22 June 1893 reported:

Inglewood, Wednesday. All doubts as to the cause of the disappearance of Mr Joseph Tivey, which was noticed in The Argus of this morning, were set as rest today, by the discovery of his body in the Columbian dam. Numbers of towns-people were out searching the scribe last night by means of lanterns until a late hour and the search was resumed at daybreak this morning. It was not, however, until the close upon 11 o’clock that the hat of the missing gentleman was discovered floating in the dam. A shooting punt was obtained from town, and Thomas Healy commenced to drag the dam, but without result. Attention was then called to a peculiar object in the centre of the dam, and upon investigation it was found that this was the crown of the head, the body being apparently in an upright position in from 5ft to 6ft of water. The body was quickly brought to the bank, and removed to the deceased residence. A Coroner’s inquest will be held tomorrow.

The deceased carried on a very large business as a general storekeeper and wine and spirit merchant, in conjunction with three of his sons. He leaves two other sons besides a widow and three daughters. The deceased was always looked upon as exceedingly well off financially, and he undoubtedly was so, but he lost heavily by land and in connection with different financial and other ventures, though not to such an extent as to financially cripple him. He had been in weak health lately, and suffered from sleeplessness. He was a justice of the peace and a borough councillor, and was several times mayor of the borough. The flags in the town have been flying half mast all the afternoon.

Joseph left quite a legacy despite his failing stock with newspaper’s reporting his estate was valued at £15,477.

18 edwin tiveyJoseph’s youngest son, Edwin, was born 1866 in Inglewood and as a youngster he helped out in his father’s shop. He was educated at All Saints Grammar School, St Kilda, and at Wesley College, Melbourne. He chose not to go to university, instead opting to return home and study while working to eventually become an accountant; and later joining the military becoming lieutenant in the Inglewood detachment of the Victorian Rangers in 1889. He was soon promoted to captain in 1891. In 1894, Edwin was elected to the Inglewood District Council where he served for 5 years.

In 1900, Edwin served in the Boer War in South Africa as a captain in the Victorian 4th (Imperial) Contingent. His regiment was involved in many operations and he was mentioned in dispatches on several occasions. Edwin was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for leading forty troops on a forced march to Philipstown in February 1901. His men drove back over 300 opponents, occupied the adjacent kopjes and held them there until reinforcements arrived.

After the war he returned to his hometown of Inglewood becoming a member of the Melbourne Stock Exchange in 1906 dealing in stocks and shares, he then married a Melbourne native, Annie Bird Robb, and two children Violet and Edwin Peter naturally followed. By this time Edwin was captain of the new 9th Light Horse Regiment of the Victorian militia and in 1906 he was appointed brigade major of the Victorian 3rd Light Horse Brigade becoming the regiment’s commander in 1911. He received the Volunteer Officer’s Decoration in 1910.

During World War 1, Edwin was appointed temporary brigadier general and, in 1916, he and his regiment were involved in the Battle of Fromelles. He continued to fight on the Western Front until the war ended in 1918, despite being wounded in action in 1916. He was apparently renowned among his men for his sincerity and concern over their well being and, in December 1916, his unit was responsible for the Suez Canal defences where his men were dubbed “Chocolate Soldiers” because they marched for two days through heat and sand to reach their destination. The Brigade was then fondly known as “Tivey’s Chocs”.

He temporarily commanded the Australian 5th division and was again wounded in Westhoek Ridge, Belgium, as well as suffering from a gas attack in May 1918. He was mentioned in dispatches six times during the war and appointed CB in 1917. In August 1918, in the great ally offensive his brigade captured over 800 prisoners and over 80 machine-guns and in 1919 he was awarded a Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) – an award used to honour individuals who have rendered important services in relation to Commonwealth or foreign nations.

Between 1921 and 1926 he commanded the 2nd Cavalry Division of the Citizen Military Forces, later returning to his stockbroker role and residing in Toorak a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. There are several streets in Melbourne named after the gallant General Tivey. He died in his 81st year at the family’s small mansion in Toorak, reputedly leaving over £75,000 to his spinster daughter Violet. Sadly his only son Edwin Peter – a war hero in his own right – died in Italy in 1943 after being captured.

And so we end the Tivey family’s journey from humble beginnings of stocking makers in the market town of Melbourne, Derbyshire to rich pickings and tales of military honour of the family members who settled in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Researched and written by Janet A Tivey (Member 1146),

Thanks to Monaro Pioneers, The Argus (Newspaper, Victoria), State Library of New South Wales, Roger C. Thompson (for information on Edwin’s Military Career).

Sep 282015

This is the gentleman who initiated my surname study. When I discovered him around four years ago I thought he was a STEERS, but now I’m not so sure.

The conundrum that started the one-name study (ONS) was my husband’s four times great grandfather. He was, by all accounts a Londoner; born in Bishopsgate, lived in Bethnal Green and died in Shoreditch. He worked as a hearth mat maker. His children all lived and worked in London. However, they were all born in Hull, Yorkshire. Which is not near Shoreditch, or Bethnal Green. His wife, Maria, was born in Durham, which is also not near Hull, or London. She outlived him, but appears to have died as a result of complications of epilepsy in Hanwell Asylum.

William was my husband’s three times great grandfather. His marriage certificate states his father was Thomas Bradshaw STEERS. On the death certificate of Thomas Bradshaw STEERS the informant was Maria Steers.

However I couldn’t/cannot find a baptism or marriage for him to Maria. I also couldn’t find him in 1841.

I had identified the children as Ellen (born c. 1834), William (born c. 1840), Eleanor (born c. 1841), Anna M[aria?] (born c. 1844) and Watson (born c. 1846). However I had been unable to find GRO birth index references or baptisms for them.

And thus created a brick wall, which began the ONS, and then later a DNA Study.

Fast-forwarding to the present …

The Y-DNA (37 marker) test that my husband allowed me to do have had no other hits for STEERS. His Haplogroup is I-P37 and the hits that he has appear to be Irish. However I don’t understand enough about DNA yet to fully explore this aspect.

The Society of Genealogists ran a (rather successful) series of ‘Brick Wall Workshops’, facilitated by Amelia Bennett. To this I took my conundrum. The sessions produced useful ideas and suggestions for ‘where/what next’ options.

One suggestion made was searching the datasets with the surname blank and ‘Bradshaw’ in the forename box. Another was to search the 1841 census by occupation and forename.

And herein lived the possible breakthrough. A couple of days later I received an email from a fellow attendee and one-namer, Nicola Elsom.  

She had done the above and found a marriage on 26 February 1859 at St John’s in Bethnal Green for a Thomas BRADSHAW, mat maker to Maria Griffin whose father was William Blackstone. They were both widowed.

Source: London Metropolitan Archives, Saint John, Bethnal Green, Register of marriages, P72/JN, Item 013 Accessed at

Source: London Metropolitan Archives, Saint John, Bethnal Green, Register of marriages, P72/JN, Item 013 Accessed at

In 1841 she had found an entry for a Thomas BRADSHAW, rug maker living in Reynolds Court in St Giles without Cripplegate. He was living with an Ann BRADSHAW, born in Ireland, who was probably his wife.

The problem is there are two Thomas BRADSHAW’s, both are rug makers, both are in Reynolds Court and both have a probable wife called Ann, who was born in Ireland. One of the Thomas’s was born in county, around 1814, and the other was born out of county around 1818. From Thomas’s death certificate he was born about 1814, so is most likely the Thomas born in Middlesex.

Ref: HO107; Piece: 737; Book: 2; Folio: 26; Page: 46 Accessed at

Ref: HO107; Piece: 737; Book: 2; Folio: 26; Page: 46 Accessed at

She also located GRO references for a Watson GRIFFIN, and I was able to locate Anna Maria GRIFFIN, both born in Hull in the correct timeframes.

The certificates were ordered and came back as

• Anna Maria GRIFFIN was born on the 4th of July 1843 to Maria GRIFFIN formerly FEATHERSTONE and Thomas GRIFFIN, a labourer in Green Lane, Hull.

• Watson GRIFFIN was born on the 4th of June 1845 to Maria GRIFFIN formerly FEATHERSTONE and Thomas GRIFFIN, a labourer at 46 Carr Lane, Hull.

However I cannot find a record for William or Eleanor GRIFFIN/BRADSHAW born in Hull.

There is a registration for a William Gower FEATHERSTONE in March 1840 in Sculcoates, but he died there in March 1840

I cannot find an Eleanor GRIFFIN/BRADSHAW or FEATHERSTONE, and Ellen would not have been registered as she was born before Q3 1837.

To date I have been unable to locate William on the 1841 Census. He was not with Thomas and Ann BRADSHAW.

It appears that the family as seen on the 1851 census are blended, i.e. Maria’s children from her previous marriage(s) and Thomas’s children from his. But whose is who?

Well the certificates above show Anna Maria and Watson as Mary’s. That leaves Ellen, William and Eleanor. It is possible that Eleanor is also Mary’s whereas William and Ellen are Thomas’s. William gives Thomas as his father on his marriage certificate, but I’ve not been able to marry off Ellen or Eleanor.

If Thomas BRADSHAW is ‘my Thomas’, and his wife is Ann who is Irish this would support the theory that William is Thomas’s. This would also explain the initial DNA hits.

So the new challenge is – Who is Ann? Why did Thomas change his name? and the biggest question – Should this be a BRADSHAW study?!

Carole Steers
Member 1060