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23 Dec 2015

And your prize is... nothing!

For a couple of years I've had unanswered questions about my 6x-great aunt Catherine REES from the Vale of Neath, Cwm-neath, who snared a Cornishman, who died about a year after their marriage. So they have a son together, posthumously, so simple?

Except that William SMITH the boy married Janet HOGG and lives at Sully Glamorgan, and there is another couple in the parish: William HOGG and Catherine SMITH!

This lady had names that couldn't be ignored. Her burial shows she was three years William's junior, which took some explaining...

Finally, a rather long-winded path led me to conclude she was Scottish, daughter of Ralph SMITH of Pitlivie, Angus, and nothing to do with my 6x-great aunt at all.

Clue #1 was a birth recorded of Catherine Smith QUICK which eagle-eyed researchers at Azazella Proboards had linked to (Catherine's daughter) Elizabeth HOGG
Clue #2 was the 1841 census for Newcastle, that everyone at Azazella had missed, showing Catherine's daughter at the home of Scotsman William SMITH born 1790 Scotland
Clue #3 was the 1851 census for Newcastle, suggesting this William had married late in life to Miss PIPKIN
Clue #4 was the marriage record at FamilySearch, Newcastle 1841 of William, shown as Ralph's son

This led directly to the baptisms of Ralph SMITH's children on the Scottish east coast including the crucial Catherine SMITH, 1785.

So, the game changing clue was the 1841 census (Newcastle), often derided for its lack of genealogical data that helped prove decidedly that my 6x-half-great aunt did not have an illegitimate baby 55 years earlier all the way over in Neath, south Wales.

This possibility had been gnawing at me, and now, my prize is... nothing!

22 Nov 2015

Four counties, four generations of women

Esther marries in Derbyshire, at Matlock in 1839.

Ellen marries in Cheshire, at Macclesfield in 1858, erroneously as Sarah Ellen.

Mary Ann marries in Lancashire, at Atherton in 1880.

Ellen married in Yorkshire, at Wakefield in 1901.

Esther Fox the great grandmother, would be only 85, of a similar age to the queen, who lived to see her daughter's daughter's daughter marry (1900). But Esther had died, in suspected childbirth, four decades earlier.

The Fox children did scatter to Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire, in that order.

Like the queen's great granddaughter, Ellen had no issue from her Wakefield marriage, but lived near her birth in Leigh Lancashire. She adopted a daughter and a hitherto unknown sister-in-law (also childless) proved her will.

Thanks to the #1939register for helping me find Ellen. (Abandoned it seems by her father, born at back of Atherton, but with a birthdate given in the baptismal registers.)

Young husbands on the family tree

There's several young husbands.

Richard Bowman marrying at 18 in Bury St Edmunds, 1870s.

George Wright marrying at 22 in Derby to Mrs Hannah Robinson, 1870. She was 48.

James Guppy marrying at 18 in Bath to a widow Elizabeth, age 36, 1877. She tricked him into marriage, it's said.

Joseph Green, marrying at 17 in Bristol to Mrs Ellen Kingston, a young widow, about 1867. They were from a village 20 miles away.

Joseph Padfield, marrying at about 20 in Bristol to Selina Green, about 1855. They were also from a village, 10 miles away.

Arthur Smith, age 21 to an older lady Charlotte Langham, at Norwich 1878. His father (23) and brother (21) both married older ladies, in nearby towns and villages.

Marriage rights and wrongs 💑

What a silly title, but I did notice a family who slightly flipped the textbook on marrying.

Normally in modern England women change their name, couples had to stay married, and there was some longevity.

Harriet Bowman and her offering bucked this trend. She is the sister of my Henry Smith and of Richard (who divorced his first wife in an agricultural way), and William (who married their niece after circumstances left them alone together).

Generation One. Harriet is shown as a widow in the 1901 census and then disappears. The next census explains. She had married William Cadnum in 1894 but they'd clearly not got on, so she wound back her name a notch. Her truthful son enumerates her as Cadnum in 1911 and under this name she dies.

Generation Two. At the truthful son's funeral the very next year who should attend but youthful Rob Read. The widow replaces truthful for youthful, "marrying her toyboy", according to the diary of a great niece.

Generation Two continued. The second son, Richard Bowman senior married three wives in a row starting at age 18. He tries to divorce the last, and believe it did make it through the divorce courts. He was a grandfather by the time the youngest baby arrives.

Generation Three. From the glitz of St George Hanover Square, a church in London ⛪ where Rose Bowman marries a wealthy sea captain... to her siblings. Amy married a Yorkshireman at 21 far from home, but ten years later settles with another man, a dangerous game that fails.

Generation Three continued. Blanche Bowman loses her first husband to a habit of dicing with prussic acid. And Richard junior is the subject of the wife swap story.

Generation Four. Richard junior's daughter, born 1922, elects not to marry her husband until she is fifty, despite having been together for years and raised a family. She'll have been influenced by her mother, who was happiest when with her partner, not her husband, and whom she wed after 15 years of union.

21 Nov 2015

Emmerdale Farm and a wife-swap: the 1939 Register

I was very sceptical that the 1939 Register would deliver anything new for me.  I have been studying family history for over 20 years, and if I needed information about the 20th century, I could mostly look at freebmd.  And then jump straight into the electoral roll, to get an address of a living relative.  I have done this countless times, so what good would sniffing around a 75 year-old summary do for my tree?
Child baptisms of around the year 1900 often gave the infant's exact date of birth - and assuming they lived another 69 years, you can then use this information to find their death record, particularly useful if they married overseas, had a common name or moved around unpredictably.

Child baptisms of around the year 1880 occasionally gave an exact date of birth, but the infant concerned is very unlikely to have lived another 89 years to produce such a record...
Believe me, I homed in on Catherine Jones (born 1881) pretty instantly, scouring the new 1939 Register for any evidence of a Catherine, but she eluded me.  I was pretty sure she had survived and was living in Manchester, but she was proving a mite tricky to locate.

I knew that she'd had a massive bust-up with her sister Florence - the only family member to produce a will.  And Florence goes to great lengths not to mention Catherine, so her archival betrayal means that Cath is utterly missing from our official family record.

Of course, I found her - and on the 1939 Register, too, but not by my own endeavour.  Who should I spy living with Florence Jones in Manchester, 1939, but Katherine Bateman.  Katherine!  My fingers quiver as I double-check the birth-date.  Yes, Katherine was born in March, and yes, she was born on 6 March 1881.  And yes, there was a marriage (one of 23 possibles) in Liverpool 1905.

So, I was looking at the 1939 household before the barney.  Katherine's two grandchildren lived nearby, and thirty years later, old Florence's heart softened and she added them to her will.  Stupidly I had never checked out this reference, as the name Bateman had no resonance for me then.

EMMERDALE?  Katherine's grandchildren both have large Irish-Manchester families.  A great-great-grandson plays a cleaner living in the village of Eccup, just outside Leeds, in the soap Emmerdale.

WIFE-SWAP? Missed the wife-swap story.  It's here.

3 Nov 2015

1939 Register - wife swap

Mr Richard and Mrs Louisa May Bowman raised four kids together but were never married.
Twenty years earlier, Richard Bowman had married the real Louisa May, and the pair had gone their separate ways.  Richard took up with another Louisa May (not her real name), while the real deal found love in a different part of the country.

The 1939 Register for Kent shows Richard with the fake Louisa May.  When he has a heart attack at the wheel of his lorry, both ladies choose to remarry under the name Louisa May.  This was the first indication of an inaccuracy in the official record - one the registrars would have missed.

I tried to understand how a lady could marry two different men in different areas at the same time, with two separate death records, with ages at least a decade apart.  Before deciding it was impossible!  There had to be two individuals.  Kent Louisa was royally faking it, putting the pretend maiden name on her kids' birth certificates.

She even stuck to names that the real Louisa had given to her kids.  As the real Louisa was using Bowman for her kids by the new man, and the fake Louisa (calling herself Bowman) was recording the real Louisa's maiden name on her kids' birth certificates, and they were BOTH using the same Christian names for their kids - it was a right royal mix-up.

Richard and Louisa May are in Kent in 1939.  The real Louisa was miles away with her new partner.  Richard's migration path is in orange.

It's only, as ever, on the fake Louisa May's deathbed, that honesty prevails.  Well, mostly.  She is still listed as Louisa May Bowman.  She still tells a small porky about where she actually dies.  But the probate entry reveals......

ALSO KNOWN AS Millie!  Then the obituary says she's Millie, and the burial clerk calls her Millie as well.  There's no hiding place, girl....

The 1939 Register gave me July 1901 as the birth date for Millie. Searching all the women born July 1901 with the forenames Millie H E yielded only one birth.  I've found you, Millie.  But, she disappears utterly from the records, not even showing up in 1911, until she 'becomes' Mrs Louisa May Bowman circa 1930.

While the real Louisa has evolved into someone entirely different, quietly playing the piano and nurturing musical talent at another southern location.  Her grandson had no idea of the family in Kent.

Thanks to 1939 Register for quietly resolving these potentially awkward family mysteries.
(Note, as this 90 year-old wife-swap is still pretty recent, Bowman is a pseudonym.)

3 Oct 2015

Searches on my site this month

Keyphrases used on search engines
170 different keyphrases
joe haywood of hurst road longford coventry
redcroft gaudick road eastbourne rollason uk
fowlie rhodesia
oetzmann horning
8 treffry wy par
george arthur day dublin
annie shore draper oldham
http //
john allan 72freckleton street blackburn lancs
hulbert cranham gloucestershire
jason takirau
190 loxley road stratford upon avon
photos of albert william smith solicitor 1911 coniscliffe road darlington
timms tilsworth
colmans farm elmstone hardwicke
hannah holman accrington
beach family corton denham
percy john millican argentina
taylor 39 clifton road salisbury wiltshire
council houses high road roydon diss norfolk
isabel hawthornthwaite christopher townson
arthur hugh wilson
highlands marlborough road ryde
fleming draper westgate newcastle upon tyne
claude hamerton rowe
uplands revidge road blackburn
eric reginald fearn
henry squarey hodding gawcott
wheelwright perkin maesbury
lionel s lightfoot solicitor
henry alfred cable probate
leven st kirkdale liverpool 1939
thomas street holyhead
arthur howitt saddler new street oundle
woolton liverpool alfred cross furrier draper colne road
molloy bestwood
sycamore st james road tylers green bucks
diane jobes painter and decorator newlyn wast
abode 4 russell street atherton lancaster
61 willow bridge street leicester george dawkins
german prisoners marching down grove road hardway gosport
victoria jenkins landore swansea
william pryse bach birmingham
jane typhrena
wills 1939
wern mill vainor uchaf cardiganshire
samuel henry wesley lovett
46 milton road sheffield
st nicholas vicarage strood montfort road
horatio meldrum wearmouth sunderland
haseldine kingsthorpe
haine snajg
rosa hutton penselwood somerset
robert reginald boreham
ernest george sumpter
joyce howle white court middle warberry road torquay
marriott bower cottage ashby road loughborough
jocelyn house macclesfield
smallcombe swansea
pipe line laid in somerset in 1950 s
joseph edwin reid weymouth
annie thurza theresa stallard
blackpool deaths gertrude mason 1933 of 41 ashburton rd
lillian kissack nee gawne iom
agnes guthrie fairlie
sparks hall sutton valence kent
susan harriman hogsthorpe loncs 1940
birtley berkeley herefordshire
albert alexander coal merchant
swansea uk buckingham terrace
cleasby . gaythorne hall appleby
uwchlyn cottages ffynnongroew
mabel tidman
richard william harvey born 1857 gwinear
thomas jones croesonnen egglwysbach
address for oram murton co durham
henry mitchell colonial chaplain ceylon
joshua bowden blackpool
frederick john squire hosken
14 harold terrace dover
moat house bardwell suffolk
jack brocklehurst macclesfield
william rodda and elizaneth pascoe
alice gibson bollington
james townsend 1833-1888 portskewett monmouthshire
mary giles court farm marksbury
charles raymond abson
probate granted for greta phillips formerly of 10 oakside crescent leicester
thomas david bufton
dowding penpergwm abergavenny
briggs priestley worsted manufacturers
baresyke backbarrow
henry poole stalbridge
51 sutton court skegness
john albert ratley wadman
percy heal smalldown farm
notter curryglass
ralli caterers london
arch street hartlepool
scott killoh
suffolk towers george street ryde
kingaby hingham
annie sanger-davies
cefn maenllwyd kerry
penleigh pond westbury
cogswell trowbridge wiltshire
proctors yard morpeth northumberland
gordon stuart riddoch
gordon house fullerton road
jennings ludgvan cornwall
tym. edale uk
lawrence smales blackpool
roger edward laugharne thomas
hafoty llanfrothen meirionethshire
creed s. haynes
haine online
theobald butler teacher in kerry
eden-a-grena belfast
madeline jane wells cornwall pl26
7 hazelhurst terrace daisy hill bradford. shires
music lamp jobbers inbody mail loc gb
edna alice jenkins st annes on the sea
charles a somerville shipowner
115 gathurst road glen orrell cottage orrell
christine joyce ettle midsomer norton
fuchsia cottage castletown road port st mary
old killyleagh savage toye
lovelace bicycle henstridge
warwick grange farm humshaugh
major gibbons of tilehurst
reverend lillycrap
61 willow bridge street leicester 1935
nixon field head
73 rhyddwen road insurance
bert hoddinott
michael henry ainsworth finch chartered accountant
dudley hopton-jones sims & freeman pllp
ernest victor walton
sutcliffe and coulthurst
bramfitt of leeds
recoman site haine online uk
emile poulson barclays
thorn house johnstone renfrewshire
lucknow villa whitehaven
greenall shoe bolton
lucy stait highleadon
alexander hill mcroberts esq belfast
edward moore valletta malta farm
cook and blight house for sale cae brynton road newport
anna maria symes
george maidment
norris name somerset
ann corke solicitor
lenham southover high street lewes
roxwell buckingham
tyncwm capel dewi
brick kiln farm birtley
charles stanley mastin the manor house moulton lincs
whinneyhill farm cottage choppington desaster
the history of the white lion starkholmes
munroe norman street hendon sunderland
james and thomas wright of kilmarnock ayrshire scotland fish mongers
wilkins lottisham baltonsborough
ada evelyn padley
11watsons lane blackpool
mountain row pengarnddu

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Wisconsin Whispers: Grandma's tales are Better than Telephone

Francis Harris, born Crowan, Cornwall, 1818, was the youngest surviving child and the baby of the family. He made plenty of money, settling at Hazel Green 13 miles from his sister, but decided to make even more by becoming a gold adventurer. He was very successful, clasping the gold ore in his hand as he lay dying age 36 (or so) in a foreign lake. His sensible older brother produced a large family in Wales, from whom I descend. Harris himself has many descendants from his infant boy, including a Methodist minister.  Compare these two accounts of his death, one from 1854 and the other from 1957. Can you spot any differences?

2 Oct 2015

LostCousins: Using iMacros to upload information quickly

Some time ago I paid for FindMyPast's transcriptions for a number of 1911 census entries, and stored the resulting information in a text file.
I then pasted this into Excel (image 1).   I was then able to populate each entry with the necessary reference numbers (enumeration district/ folio) which it can be seen I have placed in the second and third columns.
I then deleted the superfluous columns and arranged for an automated process (certainly not me typing) to carefully place these entries one at a time into the LostCousins database.  I have not yet received any leads from these, nor do I expect to, as most LostCousins users do not use the 1911 census, but rather the 1881 or 1901.
I might repeat the operation with the 1881 census; although I find this the most boring of censuses imaginable, and cannot think of a single interesting entry from this year for my entire family tree!
The earlier censuses are exciting (1861, 1871) as they were for so long unindexed; while 1851 holds the promise of very early ancestors' siblings captured clinging onto life.  The subsequent (1891-) censuses show a move towards the civilised Edwardian age and consequent urban immigration.

The battle of the Smith men

The battle of the Smith men
The 1851 census records Henry (left) and Mary Smith and absolutely no kids having arrived.  This might look suspicious as the bride is 32, but actually she'd only been married 3 months.  Three babies would come along within two winters and all five children would be baptised at Mulbarton parish church, Norfolk, but we lacked a single census entry that showed them all.

It will be seen that by 1871, only one child is at home; and in fact, the husband has remarried.  Were there any other children?
So where can this census be found showing all the happy Smiths together?  Right here, at High Common, South Lopham in 1861. 

William Smith (the son) appears only in this census.  In 1869, the mother died and a stepmother (Ann) arrives the following year.  In 1871, the four eldest children (all under 20) have left home; William is a carpenter in a nearby village.  William marries age 21 and uses his £180 inheritance (minus tax) to begin a new life in Jamestown, New York.

A few genealogical researchers, including myself, linked him to Norfolk, as his bride's uncle was a noted early settled of Chautauqua county.  I pinned William down to Jamestown by the simple expedient of looking for all the Williams with a wife named Anna in the entire censused world, noting only the one in Jamestown.

It all seemed most preposterously unlikely, until I found the photo (top right) which was embossed by a studio in Jamestown, and which turned up among the effects of his British niece.  William's father, Henry Smith, was less well-loved, his photograph nonetheless hanging in a frame reserved for forebears at my grandparents' home.

It is worth noting that neither photo indicated a name; but it was possibly to identify the subjects from the manner in which the photo was stored or found.

(Henry had great-grandchildren in Jamestown by the time he came to die, age 78, full of years at his niece's pub, the Greyhound Inn at Ilkesthall St Margaret.  He was lucky to find a home - his children sadly never forgiving him for removing himself so fully from their beautiful childhood at Mulbarton Old Hall.)

Henry was the first forebear to disappoint by leaving no will - more on wills is here.

More Goodies from FindMyPast probate index 1858-1959

My relatives prove two Chard wills back-to-back: both Thomas Tabor and Sidney Creighton were relatives.
A young deceased daughter of Eliza Pittard (Dening) is revealed with her cousins, now grown up, sorting her estate after Mrs Dening had died (24 years later).
A big find here with news of William Indoe Smith.  This entry enabled me to find the family in the 1911 census for Lambeth.
Welch - a significant moment in the girls' lives as they take stock.  Fourteen years later and there would be no trace of them in England - the waters closing in behind them.
Nice to see Elizabeth's death finally found, for 1868.  I must have combed through the rotting volumes several times.  She was the only one of her sisters still in England and the sister in Australia had dreamt of Elizabeth dying - a few days later confirmation came.  Good to have this tidied up.  I'm not sure how I missed this.  Nathaniel, the guardian of her children, dies ten years later, and the eldest child barely 20 manages to gives birth to twins the same year.
Mary Biging is named and could possibly be a relative, as Davis was hardly conveniently situated to prove this will.  But she was a wealthy lady.  It is good to find wills like this - no doubt an interesting read.

Various sightings of Edwin Haine Padfield proving wills and confirming his address on several occasions, even providing a detailed address.  No sign of the will he proved in 1914 for Charles Clark, perhaps the OCR didn't capture this.