Sunday, 4 June 2017

Getting closer to the truth - Dealing with conflicts

This morning I saw a post that another Geneablogger wrote about how much evidence is required to prove a genealogical fact. She used as her example an English birth.

I have discussed a similar case in a blogpost last year.

In this post I will be following on from my previous post with results from my research trip earlier this year.

At the end of March I travelled to Hampshire, England for a research trip, genealogy conference and catch up with family.

Whilst I was unable to find some of the records that may have furthered my research I did find some new publications that have assisted in clarifying that my conclusions may be correct or require modification.

Whilst perusing the shelves in Hampshire Record Office I came across 3 books published in 2015. Since it has been several years since my last visit these were new to me. Had I looked in the online catalogue I would have found them they are TRA286/18-20. 
Whilst only being transcripts they are at the present time the best that is available. In fact they are to some extent better than just having the original records for most researchers. 
I say this for 2 reasons 
  1. Many of the originals were written in latin
  2. The records have been supplemented by reference to other records which may not be readily available e.g records from the undertakers regularly used by catholics in Southampton.
I would also note that there are numerous pages given over to the history of catholism in Southampton at the beginning of at least one of these books. They have been written by someone with a great knowledge of these records and it must have taken a considerable time and effort to collate the contents of these books.

In my earlier post I included this image of a letter from the office of the parish priest of St Joseph's Church Southampton.

I transcribed the baptism records from TRA286/20, relevant to my research, into a Google sheet and reviewing the 2 shows some inconsistencies and demonstrates the danger of relying upon transcriptions alone.

I have discovered more from these records but will discuss these in future post(s).

In conclusion it appears that my previous assumption that my ancestor may have lied about the date of birth is false and it may be that the person in the priest's office transcribed the dates incorrectly when writing to my cousin.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Illegitimacy, Divorce and Emigration Part 2


In my previous post I discussed how I figured out the parentage of children discovered in the census with grandparents. This was quite common as women could not get help from the parish without disclosing who was the father of the illegitimate child.
I have a photograph of a copy of one certificate where an amendment was made.

It is interesting to note that a few years later the census actually shows him as grandson.

So parish records and birth certificates may tell you who the parents were but unless you have a direct line ancestor it can become expensive to get certificates for all the extended family.

Henry and Mary Ann Dennis nee Gadsby had 3 children according to the 1911 census. Rebecca (who was born prior to their marriage), Elizabeth Ann and Lucy.
Elizabeth Ann Dennis married John Harris who is also a relation via another branch of the tree.
Rebecca is the mother of George Henry Dennis and is proving to be elusive.
Lucy married Frederick William Harby in 1891 and is with him in the 1891 census.
I could not find her in the 1901 census so was wondering if she had died.
However a look at my Ancestry tree hints suggested she may have divorced him. 
Documents pertaining to this divorce can be found in this record group on Ancestry. 
The National Archives has a research guide to help anyone who has not used divorce records for their research. It is important to note the years covered are very limited.
The file revealed in quite a lot of detail who the family were and what had happened. There were 2 children from the marriage and custody was granted to the mother.

Why was only one child, the daughter, living with the grandparents where was the other child?
A search in the 1901 census showed him living with his paternal grandparents.
I also found Lucy Harby as I now had a better idea of where she might have been living in 1901 just a year after the divorce case.

In the next part I will reveal where she was and how this linked up with an emigration.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Illegitimacy, Divorce and Emigration Part 1

Finding the missing links?

I want to discuss some of the challenges I have encountered. 
Trying to find out the parentage of illegitimate children and whether a relation on my husband's tree had left any descendants.

Sarah Gadsby, sister of my husband's 2xgt grandfather William Bemrose Gadsby had 3 illegitimate children Mary AnnThomas Richard and Emma.
Her eldest daughter Mary Ann also had a child Rebecca born several years before she married her husband Henry Dennis.

Trying to piece together relationships with the census and BMD records can be quite a challenge with these illegitimate children and it can be expensive to get birth certificates for them all.

The 1841 census did not include relationships but as these events took place in Lincolnshire I am able to access many parish baptisms online making the task somewhat easier.

Here is a table I created to help me explain

Census Year
Head of Household
Birth Registration
Betsy Gadsby
(Mary Ann)
Nathaniel Gadsby
1839 Bourn
Dec qt
Vol14  p274
Ann Gadsby
(Mary Ann)
Mary Plowright

Rebecca Gadsby
John Robinson
1858 Bourn
Dec qt
Vol7a p254
Rebecca G Dennis
Henry Dennis

George Dennis
Henry Dennis
1877 Grantham
 Mar qt
Vol7a p516
George H Dennis
Henry Dennis

Mabel Harby
Henry Dennis
1894 Melton Mowbray
 Mar qt
Vol7a p337

So Mary Ann has different names on the census but a search in the christenings for Castle Bytham finds these entries
8 Nov 1839 Mary Ann Bastd Daug of Sarah Gadesby Counthorpe  Page 91 No 723

29 October 1843 Thomas Richard Bastd Son of Sarah Gadesby Counthorpe Castle Bytham page 104 No number Entry 6.

Emma is not in this register and by 1861 she has taken her stepfather's surname.
In the register for Swayfield we find this entry
18 April 1858 Emily child of Sarah Gadsby single woman Page 47 No 373 (with a margin note Aged 11).

In 1871 census Emma is to be found in the workhouse for Bourne with 4 year old John Gadsby.
If we turn to the next page in the register for Sway field we find
1858 26 Sep r John William child of John and Sarah Robinson Swayfield Laborer Page 48 No 377

1858 23 Dec r Rebecca child of Mary Ann Gadsby Swayfield single woman Page 48 No 379

Did the birth of another child persuade Sarah to get Emma christened?

So I have managed to ascertain the parents for four illegitimate children but who are George H Dennis and Mabel Harby.

Again the registers provide the answer for George this time the Heydour parish
Page 33 No262 1877 January ? George Henry child of Rebecca Gadsby Oasby Received into the church March 29 77 (In margin Privately)

Mabel Harby was not born in Lincolnshire and her parentage came to light through a different set of records altogether. In fact I had overlooked that she was there with her grandparents in 1901 until I found her mentioned in records created regarding the divorce of her parents.
I will continue with this in my next post as the story is still unfolding.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Piecing it all Together - A Family Story Part 1

Original post published 13th February 2014 on my blog

Much of the pleasure many family historians get when researching their family is from using detective skills to discover the truth.
We gather the information and piece it together so that using the genealogical proof standards we can say that given all this evidence this is what I believe to be the conclusion.

I have one part of my husband's tree which has and still is proving difficult to  establish.
My husband's paternal gt grandmother died in Lincolnshire in the late 1960's at the age of 90.
On her death certificate the place of birth had been changed, from Gunby, Lincolnshire where she died, to Aldershot and her maiden name was recorded as Clark. This information came from her unmarried son who lived with her.

Her marriage certificate recorded her name as Elizabeth Agnes Clarke and her father as George Augustus Clarke whose occupation was Army Pensioner. The witnesses were Frederick Agustus Clarke, Samuel Gadsby, Jane Emma Gadsby and Ruth Avendar. Three of these were obviously relatives but what about the fourth one with a somewhat unusual surname.

I thought nothing more about a possible connection to the family maybe she was a friend or cousin.
Next to find Elizabeth on the 1901 census, she had married in 1900 and was found with her husband and eldest son and her birthplace recorded as Hants Farnboro. 

Farnborough is on the Hampshire/Surrey border near Aldershot which is known for its connection to the British Army and fits with information found on the death and marriage certificate. Both places are in the Hartley Wintney registration district and I found a birth registration for her and the copy birth certificate was obtained.

The date of birth matched that given on the death certificate and the parents were George and Elizabeth Clarke late Perry formerly Flowers.
The index to the 1881 census was available on the Family search website and I found the family living in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Elizabeth had 2 older siblings Frederick and Rebecca the eldest age 5. 

This indicated a marriage 6 years earlier or possibly longer all the children were born in Farnboro so this was the first place to search for the parents marriage. George was recorded as being born in Ireland and his wife Elizabeth in Marston, Lincs.

Their marriage had taken place in Farnborough and the church record is now available on the Ancestry website. 

The copy marriage certificate which tallies with the church record indicates that both George and Elizabeth were widowed her surname at marriage was Perrey and their fathers were William Clarke Pensioner and William Flowers Labourer respectively. Ages were not recorded but both stated they were of full age.

So far things are straightforward. It was relatively easy to pick up Elizabeth on the earlier census with her parents. She is recorded in the 1851 census as Eliza Flowers living in Marston, Lincolnshire.

The marriage to George took place in 1874 so I needed to find her in the 1861 and 1871 census.
I also needed to find her marriage to the first husband a Mr Perry/Perrey.
Who was George Clarke's deceased wife?
Were there any children from the previous marriages?
There were no older children on the 1881 census what had happened to any children from previous marriages?
It may have been at this point that I made contact with a fellow researcher. She is a distant cousin, a descendant of William Flowers by a brother of Eliza/ Elizabeth. She sent me a skeleton tree that she had built of the family and I set out to confirm what she had sent was correct.
At the time I was doing this research there were much less digital records available online and I had limited time to make research trips.
I shall continue this in my next blog post.

A Letter from Mother at Christmas

Original post published 28th December 2013 on my blog

I am fortunate to have in my personal collection a letter written by my great grandmother it was written on Christmas Eve and my grandfather would not have received it for several days at least.
As you can see it was sent to Portugal and it is likely that he would have read it after the Andes returned from its Argentine trip on the way home. see

The above image is of the accompanying envelope with a postmark dated 25 Dec 27
It is addressed to Mr A Buckle Deck Dept, R.M.S.P Andes, ℅ Messrs James Rawes & Co, Rna Bernardino Costa 47, Lisbon Portugal.
The letter transcribes as
437 High Street Bitterne
My dear Albert just a few lines to you hope you are well we are well. but Len and me have been home all the week with a bad chill and bad throat.  we have had it very cold. now it is dirty and wet. I am writing this on Christmas Eve.
I am in doors all by myself. I have been to town in the afternoon and had a look round I was glad to get back for the town was crowded so I am having a quiet evening to my self Queen and Bet came down today they are all right but Queen have had a bad eye wee had a letter from Nelly to night. She says she is awful busy at the shop. I hope you will have a nice Christmas I expect we shall be Quiet on our own.
Charlie and Edie are still courting strong well now my dear I shall have to draw to a close with best love from Dad and Len to I must wish you a happy new year hope to see you soon so good bye love from your mother

Across the Sea at Christmas

Original post published 28th December 2013 on my blog

As we celebrate Christmas this year I want to think about those who cannot be with their family for whatever reason and those who are without the 21st century comforts.
The weather in recent days has left many in the UK without power and at risk of flooding. We also hear that others have suffered due to an Ice Storm in parts of the US and Canada.
Christmas day was much calmer we could even see the sun.
There are other reasons why we may not have spent Christmas with our loved ones and the same reasons may have been true for our Ancestors.

I have previously mentioned that my grandfather was in the Merchant Marine. see some family connections to the sea

These are images of a book in my possession which details information regarding my grandfather's voyages to the Argentine in the 1920s.
It is also a great source for a physical description of him.
He married in 1924 but as can be seen from the dates he was away from home at Christmas and I am sure he would have been missing his family.

For more information on the Andes below are a few links I have found.

Please see my post A Letter from Mother at Christmas.

Bread - The Everyday Staple

Original post published 28th November 2013 on my blog


The above picture is from the book Yesterday's Warminster  by Danny Howell. I was fortunate to obtain a copy of this book which is now out of print.
Now what, I hear you ask, does the above picture have to do with the title of this post.
The person on the far right of this picture was Walter John Compton b 1 July 1891 and he was employed by the Warminster Co-op.
From page 54-55 of the book "At the back of the Market Place store, the Co-op had its own bakehouse, where Harry Barber began working in 1910 when he was 16. He recalled 'Work started at 4 am, baking 40 or 50 loaves at a time and also cakes in two coke ovens, which we filled from the back. We did this over and over again until dinner time, and in the afternoon I pushed a barrow along Portway, Church Street and West Street, selling bread at twopence-halfpenny a loaf. I then went home for a couple of hours until 7.30 pm, when I returned to the bakery to make the dough for the next day. We were really working about 16 hours a day, from four in the morning until nine or ten o'clock at night. The bakery staff also included Albert Hinton, Walter Compton,Vic Oram and Jack Turner. After baking in the morning, Walter and Vic went out in the afternoon with the horse-drawn vans, delivering bread, and it was nothing for them to go out again at 6 pm, taking bread to the villages like Corton, Codford, Corsley and Crockerton in the evenings'. 

The picture below, also in this book, shows the bakery

These pictures must have been taken prior to WW1 as Walter Compton, like many young men, joined up at Devizes in August 1914. He was discharged in November the same year. I have however found a pension record for him. He was a victim of the flu epidemic. 

Later in the same book there is mention of a family Mr and Mrs Roland Curtis who had 22 children, 3 of whom died. There is quite a long piece about the family who made the newspapers.
I will not repeat it all here but Mrs Curtis is quoted as having said"it really does seem as if the bread alone takes up all the money coming in.Three gallon loaves every day! We use up 18 shillings of flour every week. We make the dough ourselves in a tin bath but we send it to the bakehouse to be baked and that costs 2s 6d a week. There's a quarter of a pound of tea every day and one pound of sugar and 1 5d a week for the baby's milk. Most of the tea and sugar is used before six in the morning". 
For this family bread and tea were the staple diet but for them there was no alternative in the early twentieth century before the days of the welfare state you had to survive on what you could afford.

Walter Compton was my mother's uncle and I was not aware of him until I started doing my research. Roland Curtis was Walter's half uncle. When Walter died he left behind a wife and 2 children and another on the way. Times were hard for many after WW1 but both these families will have relied heavily on that staple and versatile ingredient BREAD.