Sunday, 15 April 2018

Week 15 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


Whilst our ancestors will have been liable for taxes the records may not still exist or may not hold any clues to help our research. As I have not used any of these records to aid my research I am going to write about how taxing it can be to discover or uncover the relevant records to aid our research.

Rebecca Ellis 1844-1921

The registration of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales started on 1 July 1837.
However, there was no penalty for failing to register any of these events until a much later date, and as a consequence, many events went unregistered particularly in the early years.
Although I have found a baptism for Rebecca Ellis I can find no record of her birth having been registered. There are no births registered between 1841 and 1845 for girls who could be her. The same is true for her sister Jane. They were 2 of the 14 children born to her mother Rebecca within a 20 year period.

In 1848 the mother Rebecca died of phthisis or pulmonary tuberculosis. Her maiden name was Bouthway according to her marriage record but I have been unable to find any record of her baptism to prove her parentage. She is presumed to be the daughter of John and his wife Mary Thorold who are living in the adjacent property in 1841 census.

The marriage of George Ellis and Rebecca Bouthway in Edenham

1841 Census Edenham, Lincolnshire

Burial register for Edenham 1848-1849

George Ellis remains as a widower on both the 1851 and 1861 census records. His daughter Mary having taken over the role of her mother keeping house and bringing up her younger siblings. By 1861 his children have all left home and he is found as a boarder

1851 Census Grimsthorpe, Lincolnshire

1861 Census Scottlethorpe, Lincolnshire

If we take a further look at the burial register it struck me that on these 2 pages and within less than a year this family had seen 4 burials in this churchyard. Little more than a month after Rebecca died her brother Charles followed and on Christmas day her father John followed. In January 1849 Joseph the illegitimate son of Rebecca was also buried. This is likely to have had a significant effect on the family.

The marriage of George Ellis and Mary Deacon

By 1863 George is remarrying in Swinstead to widow Mary Deacon and in 1871 census we can see why he has remarried. He has now got a 7 year old daughter Lucy Ann. Her christening in May 1864 given that her parents married in October 1863 would indicate the reason for his marriage.

1871 Census Swinstead, Lincolnshire

Christening of Lucy Ann Ellis Swinstead, Lincolnshire

My original conclusion regarding the maiden name of Mary Ellis was Scoles as her father was given as Charles Scoles. However, in revealing more about her past several documents came to light.
First I looked at the 1861 census in an effort to find her first husband and her previous marriage.

1861 Census Swinstead, Lincolnshire
However, by 1861 she was already widowed.

1851 Census Swinstead, Lincolnshire

Looking at the 1851 census her husband is a Swithun Deacon. But the only marriage I can find is this one in Swinstead.

The marriage of Henry Swithin Deacon and Mary Haines

The bride does not give a name for her father and is using a different surname and the groom has used Henry Swithin and I note he is a widower.
Can I find out more and confirm this is correct?

When I looked for a Mary Haines on Find My Past I found a transcription from Lincolnshire Parish Bastardy Cases which had been supplied by Lincolnshire Family History Society. There was a Maintenance Order against Charles Scoles of Grimsthorpe labourer in 1817 by Edenham Parish for a female child of Mary Haines.

Baptism Ann Haines Edenham, Lincolnshire
This is the only baptism I could find that would fit. When she died the death was registered as Mary Ann Ellis which would fit with both of the first names that were used.

Burial Mary Ann Ellis Swinstead, Lincolnshire

I also discovered that her first husband had been christened Swithin and had been married previously. The older children on the 1851 census were from his first marriage.

Looking in other record sets and thinking around a problem can be time-consuming but can ultimately lead to a result.
Maybe I will find a record that confirms who are the parents of Rebecca Bouthway or should it be Botherway.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Week 14 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The Maiden Aunt

This week I shall look at someone who I have written about before her name Ruth Ellen Gadsby.

Ruth is my father in law's aunt and I wrote about her for the Worldwide Genealogy blog in 2016.

The story I told in that post was about how I went about confirming who she had worked for as another of her nephews had told me that she had worked for a grandson of Gladstone the well known British politician. Finding her on the 1939 register in the place where I had been told she worked was only the start of my journey.

Whilst I have not yet found anyone famous as a direct ancestor I have found that the lives of the Gadsby Family including cousins, aunts, and uncles have been touched by others who have a place in history. The added interest from knowing your family shared experiences with these notables can help bring history closer and adds to the joy of finding elusive family members.

One thing I didn't include in my earlier post was her headstone. This is in the village of Gunby St Nicholas, Lincolnshire, England just across the road from the house where she lived in her later years with her mother and brother. I would expect this to be where she is buried but I have not confirmed this and it is possible that she was cremated and only her ashes are here.

Headstone of Ruth Ellen Gadsby taken 2006 by Hilary Gadsby 

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Week 13 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

The Old Homestead

With a background of labourers, there is no single place that my family could call "The Ancestral Home". 
Whilst a single generation may have stayed in the same house, once they had married and had children, no property has been passed down the family.

Therefore, I will discuss the houses where my grandparents lived when I was a child.

Home of Alfred and Florence Ann (Compton) Roberts (Grandma)

Grandad in his back garden

My grandparents' house about 1935 with Nan (paternal grandmother), Dad and his younger brother.

The first picture is the house where my maternal grandmother lived when we were children. We always called her grandma. She was the stricter grandparent possibly due to her time living in the orphanage. 
The front room was for visitors and we rarely used it when we visited grandma as we were family. I do remember it was where the family bible was kept.
The bedroom above was not used though I think grandma slept there if we stayed overnight. This was the room which received a hit from some shrapnel during WW2. Southampton and the surrounding area were subjected to a number of air raids.
The rear of the property backed on to the railway line for trains to the New Forest and Bournemouth and we would sometimes go down to the bottom of the garden and wave at passing trains. The rear bedroom was where we slept if we stayed over and we would "top and tail" as it gave us more room. We also had what was affectionately known as a "gosunder" or a chamber pot when we stayed as there was no indoor toilet.

Photos of chamberpots courtesy of Pixabay 

We even had to use a tin bath (see one hanging on the fence in my paternal grandparents garden), should we want to have more than a wash when we stayed with grandma, it would be placed in front of the fire in the kitchen. This would be quite a thing, having to heat sufficient water, then a quick in and out, before the water went cold.

My paternal grandparents (Nan and grandad) also had an outside toilet which is the part of the building with the tiled roof in the first picture. However, they did have a bath inside the house. Only once did I stay overnight when my youngest sister was born.
It is not visible in the above pictures but the following 2 pictures show part of the concrete bunker in the garden.

This was the air raid shelter and was still in the garden when the house was sold after my uncle died.

My grandmother did not have any air raid shelter in her garden but the house had a large cupboard under the stairs big enough for a bed which could be used during any raids and would have protected the occupants from flying glass or other debris.

Life in these houses would have been cramped for both my parents were one of five and both of these houses had only 3 bedrooms. No central heating so you may wake up with ice on the windows in winter. When war broke out in 1939 my parents were only aged 7 or 8 old enough to realise what was happening.
We would spend Christmas with my paternal grandparents and I remember fondly the clockwork Father Christmas and the Christmas Tree on the table in the front room window. We would meet up with cousins, aunts, and uncles and have Christmas as a family. I also remember my Nan making delicious apple pies using dinner plates.

My grandma was quite frugal and had been taught how to get the most out of a loaf of bread. Once the crust had been removed she would butter the slice before cutting it from the loaf. She also would not allow us to eat sweets before our meal.

Growing up at a time when there was no rationing it is difficult to visualise the impact this had on the lives of our parents and grandparents but some things did have a hangover effect.