Search This Blog

Loading...

Follow by Email

17 Apr 2016

Never Understimate the Cousinhood

These are the stories of the cousins who kept in contact.  Second and even third cousins, who knew each other in the days of oral history, long before the internet.

Harriet was the niece, the next of kin shown on her uncle's death certificate, despite him having 5 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Nonetheless she was on the spot, as was her daughter Lucy (one of 12) who wrote a diary.  Lucy's daughter, born 1923, may still be living and may recall hearing of old Henry at the pub in Suffolk.  We'll never know.


 The 1911 census for Wymondham, Norfolk shows Edith Blowers living with her grandmother's childless cousin William.  Edith was born in Australia and spent a lot of time with her paternal grandmother in England after losing her mother at an early age.  Three years later, William's widow 'Auntie Bowgie' remarries.  This is recorded in the diary of Lucy as 'Auntie Bowgie marries her toyboy', farmer Robert Read.  They are together nearly thirty years.  Robert Read was I believe also in the house in 1911!
My grandfather (WH) said he knew nothing about his family, but we found snaps of his second cousins Margaret and Jean playing by the seaside.  They were similar in age, but lived in Kingsteignton, quite a long way from my my grandfather in Swansea.  I eventually found one of them living, by crawling the Kingsteignton phone book as a teenager.
 Just one of many branches 'met' over the years, the Balches from Milborne Port.  When I wrote to Mabel's daughter on the south coast, she knew about her great-aunt Julia's family (one had just won the Grand National) and had an address for Mary and information about great-aunt Louisa's three children.
In Salford 1890s, Hannah Garner witnesses the will of Ellen Carline.  I didn't know of a relationship, but they were first cousins.  Their children marry in 1893, Lilla and George, and both come to my grandparents wedding in 1930, London.  My grandmother's notes reveal that she DID know that they were cousins: odd that she never enquired further as she was making notes about record offices and repositories at this time (1960s or 1970s).
When I wrote to Rita (formerly Jacob) in north Dorset, to my surprise she seemed to be telling me that her grandfather Bart (died 1922) had a sister-in-law Belle still living (1990s) and enclosed an address for  Belle's daughter Florence, in Adelaide.  I later met both Florence and Diane at a friend's house in Bracknell, Berkshire (2002).
David Morton, boat-builder of Abercanaid on the Merthyr-Cardiff canal, had a sister Elizabeth who is named in the same breath, in her aunt's will as a cousin Mary Evans, wife of a plumber and glazier of Wind Street, Neath.  Elizabeth the aunt was Elizabeth Pengelly which explains the 'P' in the tree above.  It took some steering through the puzzling at times inadequate records of Cadoxton-juxta-Neath to sort out the relationship, not helped by Mary's missing baptism.
 Another second cousin that my grandfather (WH) knew of in south Wales, Cyril Mitchell, a methodist minister.  Cyril was the only grandson of a long deceased great-aunt (died 1879).  Neither of them had any first cousins (or at least any their age).  The boys were also technically third cousins, too.
This is the Harris tree of south Wales from the perspective of my grandfather (WH), showing all those relatives that he knew.  His father's cousins May and Thomas were childless but familiar figures from his boyhood - one a headmistress, the other family friend and provider of sweets.  He knew David, Rose and Maud (who had a farm) fairly well, and dimly recalled both Archie (quiet) and Tom (thin face).
,
 This is the Harris tree from the perspective of Doris Hanney (at the top of the tree), born in 1902 and living to over a hundred, she easily navigated the generations.  Nan was her mother's first cousin and they were very close, and the two Sues (their granddaughters) stayed in vague contact.  Mildred - Supposedly Doris was meant to go and live with the very rich Mildred in Buffalo USA during WW2, but a ship blew up and her husband forbade it.  WH (my grandfather) - Doris claimed him as a former pupil, and knew of his later teaching career, although my grandfather never remembered her.  May was a big character in the family, being the headmistress and Doris added the name of her niece, Winifred, nurse matron at Acocks Green, Birmingham, her second cousin.  She also knew that Howard Martin was a stained glass expert in Swansea, but didn't know the intervening generations.  Finally she had a vague memory or possibly photograph of John (top of the tree)'s nephew William Reynolds's wife, who lived down in Cornwall.  Great-granddaughter of John Harris born 1808 in Camborne parish, Cornwall.
 Ann lives in Pontlliw, Wales, and next door are her grandmother's cousins Monnie and Molly, granddaughters of John James Taylor born 1864 in Swansea.

 When I contacted Sandra in Macclesfield, she surprised me by giving details of second cousin Marjorie and showing me a letter from another second cousin, Ruth in USA. These are the great-grandchildren of Elizabeth Fox, born 1850, Starkholmes, Matlock.
Ernest Taudevin from Guernsey is visiting his mother's cousin Rebecca Buggins, proprietress of Buggins's Bath-house, Brunswick, Hove in the 1891 census.  Unfortunately he goes off to Queensland and dies age 22.  His name isn't really legible, but decipherable with care.  Great-grandson of Mary Speed born 1770, Ansford, Somerset.
My aunt Jane has always known a lot about the family but I can only think of one second cousin that she independently identified, Marjorie.  Great-granddaughters of John Airey born 1828 in Cartmel, Lancashire.

Every time I contacted someone on this branch, the name came up again 'Tom Golledge'.  Tom was an unmarried farmer in Hornblotton, Somerset, who passed away nearly 20 years ago.  Several members of this disparate branch had heard of him and even attended the farm auction held at his passing.  Great-grandchildren of Joseph Padfield, born posthumously 1835 in Holcombe, Somerset.


 Norah passed away in 2015, 135 years after her grandfather.  That must be some kind of record.  She knew her second cousin Joan well as children, as their homes of Southall and Egham were not that far apart and just four years separated them.  By coincidence these cousins retired to Dorset a similar distance apart, and did meet one last time before their passings.  Great-grandfather Joseph (whose grammar book I have) born 1811 in Somerset.
 Edward 'Ned' Dyke's mother's cousin Grace was also his older half-sister.  He would surely have known her children, particularly given his trade as a carrier, and they would be his second cousins.  Great-grandchildren of Edward Murrow born about 1660 in Wiltshire.
 When I struggled to find Mary's family in South Africa, I contacted her great-niece Serena hoping for a break.  I was not disappointed.  Serena had to-hand an address for her second cousin Natalie's daughter Pat in Durban, South Africa.  Great-granddaughters of Jacob Grist, born 1828 and settling at Poulshot in Wiltshire.
Cousin Richard in Gloucestershire well knew of the family link between the Haine and Corry families.  His father had worked at the company with his second cousin Leslie, who ties together a lot of people in the tree.
Norah and her brother were readily able to recall their second cousins Joan and Mary, who both grew up at Egham in Surrey.  Great-grandchildren of Joseph (born 1811 in Somersetshire), whose grammar book I have.
Florrie Jones quarrelled with her sister and moved in with her cousin's granddaughter.  She names Richard Davies in her will and Richard's daughter kindly explained the relationship.  Descendants of Enoch Jones (born about 1810) of Hendre, Llanelidan, Denbighshire.
This tree is intended to show the significant family connections of Cyril Mitchell (1918-1991), a Methodist minister from south Wales.  His really are the best-attested verbal cousin contacts all in a tight network which I found in 1995, long before the days of the internet.  Cyril's widow passed me on to his 3rd cousin Ben James in Plymouth.  Ben introduced me to his cousin Barbara, the family expert, who it later emerged had actually been married by Cyril.  Barbara also recalls Cyril's aunt Lylie, her mother's second cousin.  None of them knew WH, my grandfather, but he was the one who first mentioned Cyril - the Methodist Archives in Westminster had found an address for his widow.  Embarrassing to recall but I was actually disappointed when Ben James made it clear his Shuggs were TOO distantly related to be anything to do with my grandfather's missing great-uncles in the US.  Great-great-grandchildren of Edward Bowden born 1792 in Hayle, Cornwall.
Barbara was very knowledgeable about the family and able to provide me with names for her second cousin Phyllis's daughter and granddaughter, even knowing that Kathryn was in London.  She didn't know the intermediate generations but did recall another great-aunt Lylie (Eliza).  Kathryn's daughter in London is called Eliza after all these Cornish connections.  Great-granddaughters of David Shugg born 1827 in Deveral, Cornwall
Both Sues were at school with each other in Cardiff, I believe.  Their grandmothers had been, and still were, very good friends.  When I wrote to Sue (daughter of my grandfather's cousin Douglas) in 1991, she immediately put me on to the other Sue.  Third cousins, great-great-grandchildren of John Harris in south Wales, born 1809, Camborne, Cornwall.
 More third cousin connections.  Jimmy recalled once playing tennis with Margaret Green at South Cary in the 1930s.  This connection had stood the test of the generations.  Jimmy's grandfather Cornelius lived to 95 and for many years was close neighbour of Margaret's aunt Ethel in Castle Cary.  He would certainly have known of the family connection and took an interest in history, writing of his memories of the Crimean War nearly 90 years later in the 1940s.
 Nora James of Holcombe was the maven who knew everything.  She was once in a hall where my great-aunt Lowry, a retired headmaster, was speaking.  She was too shy to approach him.  I don't believe he knew of her existence, actually, but would certainly have enjoyed speaking with her.  He compiled a list of the 50-odd cousins of his father that he could remember, but missed out Nora's mother, not quite recalling her name.  Great-grandchildren of Benjamin, born 1808 in Holcombe.
 This tree shows the knowledge of Nora James, late of Holcombe.  She had a first cousin called Jack (who at one time taught the young John Lennon in Liverpool).  Now Jack's aunt was named Betty Jackson (born 1901 at Durslade Farm, Bruton).  As you can see there was a connection with the family, and Nora James knew this.  She was quoted as saying 'two brothers had married two sisters', Betty coming down from one side and her brother-in-law Jim from the other.  Great-great-grandchildren of Joseph Padfield, born 1761 at Holcombe in Somerset.
 In an old address book of James Brown (died 1930s, Bexhill, Sussex) was the name and address of his cousin Daisy Skinner, a hotel proprietress in the town.  James's granddaughter somehow divined that Daisy was indeed a cousin and google her, coming across my website and thus contacting me.  How otherwise would we have known of the continued contact in the family.  James was born in Somerset, parents married in London and grew up in Belfast.  Great-grandchildren of Samuel Flowers born 1786 in Deopham, Norfolk.

Rosa Lane left a decent will in the 1830s.  She was a draper, a Quaker, operating successfully in Wymondham, Norfolk, naming her cousins Samuel and Frances among her heirs.  Her information also led us to another cousin (long ago deceased), named Charles Squire, who was a printer at Furnivals Inn Yard in Holborn and who retired to Limehouse.  Her death duty records name all four of Frances's children as they were now the heirs of Rosa.


 This tree is designed to illustrate a postcard received by Ann in Salford in 1911.  The writer described herself as 'cousin Emma' in Sheffield but the address was not helpful and only family history gave me the answers, in time.  Emma Turner (by name) was keen to have an address for Martha and Florrie in Manchester.  History does not recall if an address was provided, but we suspect it was.  Emma passed away a year or two later.  In the previous generation contact was maintained with Hannah, youngest of the cousins by forty years, who passed away at her medieval cottage, Holly Cottage, in Eyam just after the war (WW2).  Great-granddaughters of William Bagshaw, born 1771 in Eyam, Derbyshire, a hundred years after the plague afflicted this village.

Young Charlie Carr was keen not to follow in his father's (four-times-married) footsteps.  Although Joe did find lasting love with his final wife, Charlie just married the once, picking one of Joe's cousins for the honour.  He lived and raised his family in Salford, staying in close contact with Tom Garner, his cousin, who had the successful motor business in town.
 When I met Alison the day after running the Marathon, in Canary Wharf, in 2011, she knew (of course) of her father's cousin Bronwen, but also of her second cousin Eiddion, though was unsure of the exact relationship.  Great-grandchildren of John James, born Morriston Swansea 1864.
It is nearly 100 years since Richard Martin mis-navigated the bend on the road at Arthur's Bridge in 1917, not far from Castle Cary station, on his motorbike.  I attempted to find the site earlier this week.  His surviving son (then an infant) spent a lot of time with grandfather Cornelius and also Cornelius's cousins once-removed Amy and Ethel.  Amy came to live with Richard's mother (now remarried and no relation) for a while, and Ethel and her husband were key characters in the town in the 1920s.
Second cousins marry.  In this case, Annie Edwin and James marry their second cousins William Arundel and Ellen.  We assume they did know of the family connection, as all were still in Somerset and both parents were living and would have known they were cousins.  Annie's son Leonard was given the middle name 'Scott' which was passed on to his daughter in South Africa.  Great-grandchildren of James Scott born 1752 at Chewton Mendip, Somerset.  Sadly, no contact was retained with the third sister Sarah and her family, the Boyces, meat salesmen at Smithfields London.
 Second cousins marry.  Elizabeth and William Creed were second cousins and again must have known of the connection.  They marry at Shepton Mallet in 1840, likely at the Methodist chapel there.
Second cousins marry.  Mary and Stephen Symes marry at East Pennard in 1832 and emigrate to Bloomfield, Ohio, very shortly thereafter.  They are the first of the family out there, but Stephen was reportedly not friendly to his other cousins (also migrants).  He also allegedly survived to fight in the American Civil War aged fifty-plus.  His family by Mary are now mostly in Texas,  though he did remarry, having further offspring in Ohio.
When George Maidment died at Plot Street Farm, Glastonbury in 2005 or so, his farming equipment was immediately given to the Somerset Museum of Country Life nearby.  Neither he nor his sister had ever married and in fact his closest heir was the great-granddaughter of his cousin Gus Maidment, who had emigrated to South Africa over a hundred years earlier.  Way back in 1868, when his father Fred was a boy, Fred's grandmother had apparently died falling down the stairs at Plot Street Farm.  I would at some stage like to see these stairs - morbid perhaps.
 Over a glass of wine I was given a reading from the family journal of Thomas in the above tree.  Written in Irish, it names in its pages cousins in America, including Miss Loretta Brodie and her brother at an address in South Boston, USA.  Diligent family history research later established that Loretta and Thomas were second cousins.  When visiting Boston I did my best to 'reach' Loretta's family through phone, doorstepping and Facebook, but was not successful this time.  But I did get to South Boston before it was de-Irished completely, thank goodness.
 Adrian told me he admired his cousin Rosemarie when she was a teenager, similar in age.  They were second cousins.  Great-grandchildren of Edward Harris, born 1851 in Swansea.
 When I 'phoned Joanna at home in 1992, she gave me details of her second cousin's daughter Rosemary later sending me a lovely postcard of her village with news that Ann had passed away in Holland (daughter of another second cousin).  Rosemary sent me a marvellous letter later that year, detailing her meeting with Gladys, her grandmother's cousin, in Cornwall.  'Tiny, dynamic and a very great talker' was how she described my great-grandmother.  Great-(great-)grandchildren of Henry Lowry, born 1810 in Truro, Cornwall.
 My father (DP) met his second cousin Miha on the beach at Enniscaul in 1950.
 To keep all of this in order.  I wrote to Hilda and Dick in 1992.  Hilda gave me up-to-date details for her second cousin's son Roger, then a canon at Winchester Cathedral.  She also had information (and a photograph) for second cousin Gladys, who had been a nurse in Weston-super-Mare.  Roger himself gave me an address for his mother's cousin Ernest.  I was somehow able to put second cousins Victor and Paddy in touch with each other, they had known each other as children and were both born 1909.  Their mothers, touchingly, were in the same household in the 1891 census!  Kingsley was ultimately Hilda's executor and know of to Dick (both being farmers), while Kingsley recalled his father's cousin Margaret coming to visit him in Kent some years ago.  Great-grandchildren of Benjamin, born 1808 in Holcombe, Somerset.
Somehow my great-uncle Lowry knew details of most of his second cousins and their offspring, at least on his mother's side.  On the family tree which he or his mother wrote, Peggy's married name is given, though not Una's, which slowed me down a bit finding Peggy's family.  Great-grandchildren of Henry Smith, born 1827 in Silfield, Norfolk.
Audrey (born in Walthamstow) was very knowledgeable about the family, and added in great-aunt Rosebud to my tree.  As Rose was away from home in two censuses I would otherwise have never known of her existence!  She knew the name of Rose's son and granddaughter, though sadly Janet has passed away some years ago now.  Great-grandchildren of Oscar Chappell, born 1857 in Evercreech, Somerset, married at 21 at St Leonards Shoreditch, and ranaway to Illinois USA where he died.
 In her will Doris Bishop names cousin Betty.  Eileen wrote back to me mentioning Doris and also I believe mentioning cousin Betty.  They were all second cousins of each other and great-granddaughters of Jane Chappell (1830-1925) who saw in the generation after these ladies before passing on age 95 in Somerton, England.
Margaret Pearce an accomplished artist kept some drawings she'd received as a girl from India signed off 'Nunky Charlie'.  I eventually established this was Charles Geddes a lawyer in Calcutta whose son Guy later sketched the landings on the Gallopoli beaches.  Charles confined himself to scenes more sutiable for his young niece, an umbrella blowing inside out, all his sketches being in and around the letter no wonder she was amazed.  Guy would be her second cousin and does I believe get a brief mention.  Great-grandchildren of William Pearce born 1770 in St Austell, Cornwall.
 Connie Brothers in North Carolina passed me so much good material about the family.   She was in contact with her third cousin Joy who like her was a great-great-granddaughter of Jane Pearce, born 1817 or so in Polruan, Cornwall.
My great-uncle Lowry was in touch with each of these ladies listed, his second cousins, and correspondence continued into the 1980s.  He may not have written to Joanna directly, but the other ladies did.  Great-grandchildren, a strong network of cousins, of Henry Lowry, born 1810 in Truro, Cornwall.
Leslie Haine is the anchor point here.  He had corresponded with his cousins Reverend Cuthbert Haine (in Pittsburgh) and Eva Haine (in Toronto) about the family tree.  He worked with another cousin, Maurice.  They were second cousins, great-grandchildren of George Haine of Over, Gloucestershire, born 1812.
In the family file collated by Leslie Haine, there is a letter from William Haine of Hartford Connecticut to Eva Haine in Toronto, then in hospital and not expected to live (1970).  Second cousins, great-grandchildren of Joseph Haine born 1782 in Somerset, England.
 Margaret Haine wrote a detailed letter (for Leslie Haine) in 1950 from her home in Limington, near Yeovil.  It is hard for me to believe, considering she was then a noted spinster, that I actually met her first cousin about fifty years later in Gloucestershire.  Margaret's uncle had married Frances and she was able to tell of Frances's father William Haine, met at the door of the church (on his second marriage) by creditors in the 1860s.  Her uncle and Frances were second cousins, great-grandchildren of William Haine born about 1752 in Somerset, England.
 When Florrie Jones had a quarrel with her sister, she was lucky to find a new home with her cousin's granddaughter Edna some time later (1950s).  Sadly I missed contacting Edna directly, though was in contact with her brother (my father's second cousin).  The sisters did make up in the end, by the way, and an actor in the series Emmerdale comes down through that line.  Descendants of Ann Bagshaw born 1810 in Eyam, Derbyshire.

This shows the connections of Rhoda and Joyce cousins growing up in north and south Wales respectively.  Joyce knew her grandfather's cousin William, writing of the house they had.  She also knew her second cousin Gwen, who moved onto property near her parents' old farm at Pencefnarda, Gorseinon.  Rhoda, being in north Wales, was not privy to this, but did know her second cousin Douglas Jones, born 1925 in Queensferry, who later (sadly) emigrated to Canada.