29 September 2009

Grandma's birthday

As you may have gathered from the title, today was my grandmother's birthday. She was born in the village of Stretham, Cambs, in 1889, the youngest daughter (and seventh of eight children) of Isaac & Emma and christened at St James' church in July the following year.

Sadly, Emma died in 1895 and Isaac could not look after the children so the two oldest daughters were sent to Nottingham (hopefully to relatives, although I have no way of knowing!) and the three younger children went to live with Isaac's sister in Ely. I have always assumed that the two oldest boys were sort of left in Stretham to make their own way, as ag labs or whatever. Certainly, son number two joined the army as a regular at some point - possibly then, he would have been about 16.

In 1896, my grandmother and her two brothers were enrolled at the Infants School in Market Street in Ely (now the Citizens Advice Bureau) and they are all living with their aunt's family in Nutholt Lane in the 1901 census.

Family legend has it that grandma worked in Worthing at some point and the 1911 was able to confirm this! If only all family legends worked out that simply, eh! She was, indeed, at the Dolling Memorial Home in Worthing, as a domestic housemaid. After this, she moved to Biggleswade and, still in service, became the cook for the Maythorn family in the small market town.

And then . . . . . she met my grandfather (which is more than I did). They lived in St John's Street in Biggleswade until his death in 1957, with grandma moving to Back Street at some point in the early 1970s, I think.

Just 18 months short of her telegram from the Queen, grandma died in Biggleswade in 1988 and was buried alongside her husband in the town cemetery, on one of the coldest days in Christendom. I add the last bit because I was there and it was snowing.

More soon.

27 September 2009

Pause for celebrations . . .

I'm back, so let's get stuck in to today's birthdays. Two in number, both are my second cousins; one is twice removed and one thrice.

Wilfred James Pates, he of the twice-removed, was born today in Biggleswade in 1898. The youngest of the seven children of Samuel and Mary, nee Thompson, he appeared in the 1901 census with the family in Newton, Biggleswade. And I have only found him once more - when he died in 1991.

I'm sure he appeared in the 1911 census but I haven't allocated the funds to check yet - I am, tho, thinking of the subscription being offered by FindMyPast. Bit cheeky of them not to allow it within their existing packages but, hey, I'm sure they had to pay through the nose to get it and their census-only sub looks to be good value!

End of FMP advert, let's also wish Happy Birthday to thrice-removed Francis de Montfort Culpin. Born today in Wandsworth, seventh of the eight children of George Francis and Florence Sarah (nee Culpin), he appears in the next two censuses with the family in St Albans. He was probably just too young to fight in the Great War, and he married Ada Worsfold in Willesden in 1922. The only other thing I know is that he died in Lambeth in 1987.

And then, because you deserve a long ramble today to make up for my absence, there's the marriage of my g-g-g-g-grandparents; John Fordham and Mary Taylor, for 't'is they, married today in 1803 at St James, Hemingford Grey. Variously an ag lab and a shopkeeper, John died sometime in the late 1840s, after he and Mary had begat (begotten?) five children. That is, five sons - John, George, Richard, Robert and John. As you will guess, the first John must have died young - although there is a gap of ten years between the first John and his brother George. Makes you wonder . . . . ?

The family appears to have remained in Hemingford Grey - now quite an exclusive village - throughout its collective lifetime, spawning between them quite a large number of offspring, predominantly male. Must be something in the water!

Right, I think you've concentrated enough for today. I'll try not to leave such a large gap next time.

More soon.

23 September 2009

North of the Border

Yet again, I need to put my head above the parapet and announce that "I'm still here" . . . . .

I've been in Scotland, you see, enjoying myself and quite unable to write anything genealogy-related during the last few days.

However, I did take the time to nip in to the Scotland's People place in Edinburgh for one of their "taster" sessions. Beautiful building, just opposite North Bridge and out the front is a massive statue of the Duke of Wellington on his 'orse. Worth a trip again, when I'm next up there, to search out my Scots ancestors - go back to about the beginning of the 19th century first and, oh look, there's a grandmother (with lots of greats) from Leith!

So, I'll be back with more soon, after I've finished the proof-reading, the music syllabus and other assorted things awaiting my attention . . . . oh, and I've got to put a website together too. Give me until the weekend and I should be fine!!

13 September 2009

Two times two squared times seven

So, having un-installed a certain internet security product (no names, no pack drill), my computer is now able to talk to the w.w.world again. No big 'ammer this time, just a sneaking suspicion which solidified into fact and then some swift action - ptcha!!

The title of today's entry? Read on as I introduce you to today's birthday girl . . .

Annie Beasley, the oldest of the seven children of William & Emma (nee Billington) was my second cousin twice removed and was born today in 1871 in Ampthill(Beds). However, within a few years, the growing family had decamped to Staffordshire with their Station Master father.

I don't know much about Annie - she was living with the family in Aldridge, Staffs, at both the 1881 and 1891 cenuses - but, as yet, any further info on her eludes me.

Ernest Albert Pates was also born today, also in Bedfordshire and was also my second cousin twice removed. The second of the seven children of Samuel & Mary (nee Thompson) he came into the world in Biggleswade in 1883 and lived in the small market town until at least 1911. One of a long line of ag labs, he married Fanny Wright in 1911 and they begat two sons. Their younger son Cyril lost his life in Burma in the Second World War.

So, two similar sets of statistics but Annie stands out because she's related to me twice; so she's also my third cousin three times removed - meaning she's related through her parents and through her maternal grandparents. I think she's on my website so you could look there to see what I mean.

More soon.

12 September 2009

Checking In

Just to say that I am still here . . . . but my computer is playing games with me again. I will be applying the big hammer shortly and hope to be back properly later in the weekend!

More soon.

4 September 2009

It was 150 years ago today . . .

No birthdays today but a wedding anniversary. I wonder what you get for 150 years?

Seriously, tho, Samuel Cherry married Ann Meeks today in 1859 in Biggleswade, Beds. He was the sixth of the thirteen children of John & Ann (nee Pair) and the union went on to produce at least six children - three girls and three boys - before 1875.

Samuel, my first cousin four times removed on my maternal side, was a labourer, in common with so many in my family and the family appeared to stay in Biggleswade, other than Samuel's appearance in the 1891 census in Ealing. Why? He is listed as the lodger of another Biggleswade family and is down as a general labourer. Given that he is also listed as married, Mrs Cherry is probably still in Biggleswade . . . . but she eludes me at present.

Their two older girls have already achieved "general servant domestic" status by 1881 and oldest son Charles is a market gardener's labourer.

And that's where my research on them ends. Bit sparse, I agree, and I will add to them as soon as I can.

But . . . . I have a very good book on the go at present and may just be distracted for a few days.

Today's title, with apologies to the Fab Four, is a variation on a certain well-known album - I think their version was something to do with teaching the band to play??

More soon.

3 September 2009

Across the sea?

A puzzle for one of today's entries: how do you get into America without attracting the notice of the record keepers? Stay tuned for the story . . . .

John James Bullard, my 3rd cousin three times removed, married Louisa Beldain Curtis today in 1875 in Edinburgh. Not sure why Edinburgh, even though it is a beautiful place, because John was born in St Ives and Louisa in Swavesey (Cambs). They then moved quite quickly southwards again, to Manchester where their first son John Curtis was born in 1877; then back to the home town (St Ives) for the birth of their other children.

You wouldn't know but I slowed down considerably when typing that last sentence. Because they had five further children after John Curtis and my records say "St Ives" for all of them. Which would be quite a trick . . . .

You see John, his brother Charles, and John's sons (Harry) Ernest, Jack (John C) and Percy all emigrated on the vessel Scythia to the US of A, arriving at Ellis Island on 5 March 1885. The information I found states that their ultimate destination was Canada.

Well, they didn't quite get there for the 1900 US Census has them in Lewiston, Montana, where John snr is a dealer in musical instruments, Percy is a compositor and Ernest is a harness marker.

And so are his wife Louisa and the three youngest children Arthur, Gilbert and Nellie! How did they get there? I've checked the Ellis Island site and also the outgoing passenger lists on Find My Past. Nothing.

Plus, if these three were born in St Ives, where are the birth registrations, eh? Hiding from me, I reckon. Wonder if the family ever got to Canada??

Moving on (ho ho) to today's birthday girl Agnes Mary Sparkes . . . my 3rd cousin 4 times removed was born in the small village of Tuddenham St Mary in 1851 and christened there four weeks later. Between July & September 1870 she married William Mace in the village and they begat a further three children.

Ah, now, were you paying attention? Of course you were - I said "a further three"; I omitted to mention their first child. He's already had a mention on his birthday (21st February 1870) and was christened Arthur John Mace Sparkes. The clue to his father lies, methinks, in his final christian name! Of course their marriage legitimised his birth and he was known in the 1871 census and thereafter as John Sparkes Mace.

Back to his mother - she sadly died in the village in 1883 at the age of 32, soon after the death of their youngest child Emma Elizabeth at the age of just 2.

William remained in the village, at least until 1901; daughter Laura married George Rumbelow in 1897 and produced at least three children - the oldest of whom died in the Great War.

More soon.