Category Archives: story

Searching for a landed gentry family in my ancestry

As a family historian I was hoping that at some point I would find a significant historical figure in my family. Early on in my research I came across a possible link into the Fairfax family who had risen to significance during the English Civil War. On further investigation it proved incorrect as there were two Henrie Arthington’s living in the old West Riding of Yorkshire during the 17th century. The first Henrie Arthington (1616/7-1681) was baptised on the 2 January 1616/7 in St John the Baptists Church in Adel; his parents were William and Ann Tancred. Arthington is also a place within the parish of Adel and Arthington Hall was the seat of the Arthington family from 13th to 18th century. Henrie married Mary Fairfax (1616-1678) in 1638; Mary’s father was Ferdinando Fairfax (1584-1648) who was on the side of the parliamentarians in the Civil War and was at Marston Moor. The second Henrie Arthington (1605-1656/7) was my 10th great grandfather and he was buried in Gargrave on 19 January 1656/7. Gargrave is near Skipton in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Henrie married Elizabeth Shaw and I am descended from their son William (1630-1670) – see the following chart.

Descendant Chart for Henrie Arthingtoncropped

Descendant chart for Henrie Arthington of Gargrave

I have a copy of the transcribed Gargrave Parish Records for the period 1558-1812 which include quite a lot of records for members of the Arthington family, some of which I’ve been unable to link to my own family. For example, the register records on 10 April 1637 an agreement that the vicar and churchwardens had come to over the pew rights of Richard Arthington and that “Henrie Currar is contented to suffer the said Richard Arthington to sitt in (the pew) during his natural life”. If anyone else has been able to link together more of these Arthington records then do please contact me.

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Waterhouse family coat of arms

Turning then to another landed gentry family, the Waterhouses, it seems likely that there are connections between them and my ancestors. My first clue came when I eventually found the baptism for Bridget Waterhouse in the Braithwell parish register. Braithwell is in the West Riding of Yorkshire and Bridget had been baptised on 6 October 1635 with her father recorded as Charles, gent. Bridget married Thomas South (1629-1685) on 30 April 1655 in Braithwell and they are my 9th great grandparents.

 

StJamesChurchBraithwell

St James Church Braithwell ID 166756155 © Peter Shaw | Dreamstime.com

Bridget’s father Charles proved more difficult to find until I found a reference to Charles in the pedigree of the Waterhouse family of Braithwell (near Halifax) reproduced in Joseph Hunter’s history of South Yorkshire. Charles was one of Thomas Waterhouse and Dorothy Vincent’s younger sons and his baptism was recorded in 1580 in the Braithwell parish registers; the registers can be found on Family Search. Thomas and Dorothy had married in 1573 and the lands of the Vincent family at Braithwell passed to Dorothy, the daughter and heir of Thomas Vincent, and thus her husband Thomas Waterhouse. Very little information could be found for Charles, although he does seem to have received an inheritance when his father died. The estates at Braithwell went to his elder brother Vincent and were passed to his descendants.

OSYorks290date1854Braithwellannotated

OS map 1854 showing Micklebring and Moot Hall in the parish of Braithwell

Charles’s father Thomas (1547-1598) is descended from the Waterhouse family of Halifax whose pedigree is recorded in Foster’s Yorkshire families and can be traced back to Sir Gilbert Waterhouse (1275-1340). Thomas’s grandfather was Robert Waterhouse (1500-1581) of both Moot Hall and Shibden Hall which his wife Sibil’s (1500-1588) grandfather William Otes had owned. Shibden Hall dates from the early 15th century and was owned by the Savile and Waterhouse families before the Lister family. One of the Lister families descendants was Anne Lister, also known as ‘Gentleman Jack’.

Returning now to Bridget Waterhouse and her husband Thomas South, after their marriage they continued to live in Micklebring near Braithwell and had at least 10 children: eight boys and two girls. Three of their children died young and no marriages could be found for any of their siblings in the Braithwell parish register. It seems that some family members did marry in the nearby parish of Conisbrough. Thomas’s burial record in the Braithwell parish register records that an affidavit was sworn indicating that he had been buried in a woollen shroud. Thomas and Bridget’s son Samuel (1677/78-1729) is my 8th great grandfather. The family chart shows Thomas and Bridget and their children.

Descendant Chart for Thomas Southcropped

Descendant chart for Thomas South and Bridget Waterhouse

I am interested in knowing more about the South family as I have not been able to trace all of Thomas and Bridget’s children. Do contact me if you know more about them.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography:

Adel, West Riding of Yorkshire. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/Adel : accessed July 2020.

Braithwell, West Riding of Yorkshire. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/Braithwell : accessed July 2020.

Braithwell, West Riding of Yorkshire. https://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/11657 : accessed July 2020.

Burke’s Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland. https://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed July 2020.

Clay, John W. ed. (1895) Familiae Minorum Gentium. London: The Harleian Society. Vol III. pp. 844-850. https://archive.org/ : accessed July 2020.

Foster, Joseph. (1874) Pedigrees of the County Families of Yorkshire: West Riding. London: W Wilfred Head. Vol II. https://archive.org/ : accessed July 2020.

Hunter, Rev Joseph.  (1828) South Yorkshire. London: Hunter. Vol II pp. 130-135.

Gargrave, West Riding of Yorkshire. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/Gargrave : accessed July 2020.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : accessed July 2020.

Turner, J. Horsfall. (1883) Biographica Halifaxensis. Bingley: T Harrison. Vol I. pp. 274-276. https://archive.org/ : accessed July 2020.

Turner, J. Horsfall. (1911) The Coats of Arms of the Nobility and Gentry of Yorkshire. Idle: John Wade. https://archive.org/ : accessed July 2020.

George Hamnette Bean (1864-1958)

I came across George while researching my Bean ancestors. In a family who often worked on the land or as domestic servants he stood out as someone with a different occupation. The 1891 census records him as a musician and I also found a record for him which described him as a bandsman on a ship. But before we get to that I would like to explain his relationship to me; George is my first cousin three times removed.

George was the third son of William Bean (b 1837) and Mary Askew (b 1832) and was baptised in the Chapel in Sowerby, Yorkshire on 10th July 1864. His father’s occupation was given as butler and their residence as Lower Brockwell. In the 1861 census George’s parents were both living in Sowerby but in different houses. William was a domestic servant in Mill House which was headed by William Henry Rawson, Deputy Lieutenant, Magistrate and woollen merchant. William’s wife Mary was living at nearby Stansfield Lodge with their first son Frederick Joshua Bean (1859-1869). In 1871 the family were at Brockwell house where William was the butler to the Rawson family (see annotated map). He was still a butler in 1881; George was then aged 15 and a wool teaser.

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1894 OS Map showing Sowerby, Brock Well House and Mill House

George enlisted in 21st Hussars as a private in 1882, served in Dublin, Ireland and arrived in Colchester, Essex on 15 July 1887. He married his wife Harriet Ann Wroe (1864-1942) on 19 September 1887 in Colchester. George went with his regiment to India and his military records show that he arrived there on 21 December 1887. Within a year he was in hospital in Bangalore. George served in the East Indies for just over two years and was back home by 19 December 1889. His military record shows that he had completed seven years’ service, and that in 1889 he was transferred to the Army Reserve and discharged in 1894. Unfortunately, the record does not confirm his occupation at the end of his military service, just that he had been a wool teaser when he enlisted. It’s George’s WWI enlistment record for the 2nd East Lancashire Brigade in 1915 which gave his occupation as a musician. It does seem possible that George became a musician during his military service with the 21st Hussars.

George and Harriet’s first two daughter, Gladys (1890-1926) and Marjorie (1892-1976), were born in Sowerby. By the 1891 census the family were living in Redcar, North Yorkshire when George was described as a musician and their address was No. 2 Beach Cottage. Between 1891 and 1901 George and Harriet had four more children, Esme (1893-1893) born in Yorkshire, and then Esme (1895-1986), George Frederick (1897-1985) and Kenneth William (1900-1901) born in Lancashire. In 1901 the family were living at 6 Molyneux Street, Levenshulme, South Manchester, Lancashire. George’s occupation was recorded as “musician orchestral”.  A record for George in the 1911 census wasn’t found, but one for his wife Harriet was. She was living with four of their children at 26 Clare Road, Levenshulme. Harriet was described as an elementary school head teacher. It is possible that George was working away from home at the time of the 1911 census.

The next record I found for George was on the ship Oronsa’s crew list. His address was listed as 26 Clare Road and he had signed an agreement to board the ship on 11 July 1912 at 6am as a bandsman. His wages were £3 per month and he left the ship in Liverpool on 14 October 1912. The Oronsa was a steel hulled steam ship which had been built by Harland and Wolfe in Belfast in 1906. It was operated by the Pacific Steam Navigation Company on their Liverpool to Argentina route. During WW1 it what used as a cargo steamer; it was sunk by a U-Boat on 29 April 1918.

Oronsaship

Ship Oronsa

George re-enlisted in the army, the 2nd East Lancashire Brigade, in Manchester at the age of 50 on 16 March 1915. He was attached to the 2nd Reserve Battalion of the Royal Field Artillery as a gunner and served at “home” probably in the 190th Territorial Force Depot in Manchester. He was discharged from military service on 6 July 1917. His army pension papers include a note from 26 Clare St, Levenshulme, written on 15 February 1919, inquiring about his silver war badge which he later received.

George, Harriet and their four adult children left Levenshulme not long after WWI. George left London on 1 November 1919 and arrived in Melbourne, Australia on 12 December 1919 on the ship Orvieto; a cruise ship built in 1909 by Workman Clark, Belfast and owned by The Orient Company. The arrival of the ship was reported in a number of Australian newspapers as there were a number of returning soldiers and members of their families on it.

George and Harriet’s daughter Esme married Frank Unwin Simpson (1898-1964) on 11 December 1919. The witnesses to her marriage were her sister Marjorie and brother George. Her husband Frank left for Melbourne, Australia shortly after their wedding.

Harriet, their son George Frederick, his wife Louisa Durden (1901-1984), and daughters Gladys, Marjorie and Esme followed George and Frank to Australia. They left London for Melbourne on 17 June 1920 on the ship Beltana run by the P&O Branch Line Service and they all travelled third class.

It seems from electoral roll records that George, Harriet, their children and partners settled near Melbourne. Some of the family are buried in Box Hill Cemetery. Their son George and his wife Louisa are both buried in Drouin Cemetery in the shire of Baw Baw. Drouin is about 90 kilometres east of Melbourne.

I am interested in knowing more about what the Bean family did in Australia as I know very little about their lives there. Do contact me if you know more about them.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography:

Australia Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980. https://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed June 2020.

Australia newspapers. https://trove.nla.gov.au/ : accessed June 2020.

British Army Service Records 1760-1915. https://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed June 2020.

British Army Service Records 1914-1920. https://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed June 2020.

British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920. https://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed June 2020.

Brockwell. https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/wtw/search/controlservlet?PageId=Detail&DocId=101852 : accessed June 2020.

Liverpool, England, crew lists, 1861-1919. https://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed June 2020.

Oronsa. https://uboatproject.wales/wrecks/oronsa/ : accessed June 2020.

Orvieto passenger ship http://passengersinhistory.sa.gov.au/node/933273 : accessed June 2020.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : accessed June 2020.

Sowerby. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/Halifax/SowerbyHistory : accessed June 2020.

Territorial Force Depots. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/other-aspects-of-order-of-battle/territorial-force-depots/ : accessed June 2020.

UK, Silver War Badge Records, 1914-1920. https://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed June 2020.

World War One British Army Pension Records 1914-1920. https://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed June 2020.

Bean family

I was discussing family history with a friend a little while ago; she had decided to complete the research of her eight great grandparents. I realised that in the case of one of my own great grandmothers, Sarah Ann Haw’s (1874-1944), I knew very little about her mother Ann Bean (1843-1911). This blog post is about Ann, her parents Joshua Bean (1809-1876) and Ann Smith (1808-1875) from Claxton and her seven siblings: four brothers and three sisters.The pedigree chart shown above for Ann includes her parents Joshua and Ann, and then traces the family back three further generations who were all living in this part of the North Riding of Yorkshire.

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Parish of Bossall – see bibliography for reference

The Bean family came from Claxton in the North riding of Yorkshire. In 1870 it was described as a township within the parish of Bossall 9 miles North East North from York. Bossall is no longer a substantial village. This map from the Vision of Britain website has been annotated to show the approximate area of the parish of Bossall.

 

 

Joshua and Ann had eight children and continued to live in Claxton until their deaths. Joshua was recorded in different censuses as a gardener in 1841, farmer in 1851 and carrier in 1871. When he died his will was proved by his eldest son, John Bean (1836-1925), my third great uncle. By the time of his father’s death in 1876 John, a gamekeeper, was living in Hack Green, near Baddington, Cheshire. One of his sons, George Wetherhill Bean (1877-1915), also became a gamekeeper and died on 14 March 1915 in Hack Green. His death at the age of 37 was reported in the Nantwich Guardian. It included details of his employment; before his “protracted illness” he had been head gamekeeper to Mr Frank Barlow of Gestryn Colyn Hall, North Wales. When his father John died in 1925 there was also a report in a local paper, although this time it was in the Cheshire Observer. John was described as a “popular South Cheshire gamekeeper” and that he had been gamekeeper to Mr Bailey of Manchester who had had shooting rights on the estate of Mr Shaw of Hack Green. Hack Green is now more commonly known for its secret nuclear bunker.

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Brompton Cemetery ID 92209686 © Ken Taylor | Dreamstime.com

Joshua and Ann’s next three children were sons. William was born in 1837. He left Yorkshire and in 1911 was living in Blackpool, Lancashire when he was described as a Gentleman butler. He was followed by George (1839-1920) who in 1891 was described as a land steward. He had spent time outside the UK as two of his children were born in Montreal, Canada. At the time of his death he was living with one of his sons in Parsons Green, Fulham and was buried in Brompton Cemetery.

 

Their fourth son was James (1841-1898) who remained in Claxton. In 1891 he was described as a farmer and carrier. It is possible that he had carried on his father’s business after his death.

St._Mary's_Church,_Sand_Hutton_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1801565

St Mary’s Church, Sand Hutton

Joshua and Ann had four daughters. Their eldest daughter was my great grandmother Ann (1843-1911) who was baptised on 9 April 1843 in Bossall, Joshua’s occupation was recorded as a gardener. Ann married my two times great grandfather William Haw (1846-1907) in St Mary’s Church in the nearby village of Sand Hutton on 26 May 1870. William was a tailor from York and the marriage was witnessed by two of Ann’s brothers: John and James. After their marriage they lived in York where William continued to work as a tailor. In 1901 they were living at 45 Marygate in Bootham; it runs from Clifton to the River Ouse alongside the historic St Mary’s Abbey and the museum gardens.

Joshua and Ann had three more daughters. Sarah Elizabeth (1844-1921) married George Thornton (1845-1929) on 9 September 1875 in St Mary’s Church, Sand Hutton. At the time of their marriage George was a machinist. By 1911 he had become a school caretaker and they were living in Alexandra Street, Goole.

Their next daughter was Jane Bean (1850-1922), who also married in St Mary’s Church, Sand Hutton. Her husband was William Bristow (1838-1908) a local farmer from Claxton. They married on 7 June 1875. By 1881 William was farming Glebe Farm, Kirk Smeaton which consisted of 126 acres and employing 3 boys. The family had moved to New Grange, Airmyn by 1891. William was still a farmer and the family had moved to within six miles of Wressle which is where William had been born. When William died in 1908, he was living at Airmyn Grange near Goole; probate was granted to his wife Jane. She continued to farm at Airmyn Grange with two of her daughters, Ann (1876-1946) and Edith (1880-1943), until at least 1911. She was still living there when she died in 1922.

Joshua and Ann’s youngest daughter was Margaret (1852-1905). She also married in St Mary’s Church, Sand Hutton. Her husband was John Robinson Bowling (1846-1929), a cordwainer. They married on 18 May 1869 and their witnesses were William Haw and Margaret’s sister Ann Bean. In 1901 Margaret and John were living in Stockton on the Forest and John was described as a shoemaker.

I am interested in Joshua’s ancestors as I have limited information about them. Do contact me if you know more about the family.

Bibliography:

Bossall. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/NRY/Bossall : accessed 18 June 2020.

FindmyPast. Collection: British Newspapers, 1710-1965. https://findmypast.co.uk : accessed 18 June 2020.

Hack Green. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hack_Green_Secret_Nuclear_Bunker : accessed 18 June 2020.

Victoria county history https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/north/vol2/pp91-98 : accessed 17 June 2020.

University of Portsmouth, History of Claxton, in Ryedale and North Riding | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time. http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/12069 : accessed 17 June 2020.

James Scaling 1808-1877

Recently I write about two Haw brothers who married two sisters from the Goodrick family in my blog post called a tale of two brothers and two sisters. Further research into the Haw family revealed James Scaling who married two Haw sisters.

James was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire to parents Thomas and Alice and baptised on 2 August 1808.  When he married the first Haw sister, Ann, my fourth great aunt on 3 August 1831 in St Helens Church in York, he gave his residence as Manchester on the marriage licence they obtained. On their marriage record James was described as a glazier and a bachelor. Tracing the family using census records has however been problematic so I may not have identified all their children; it does look like though that they had at least three boys:

  • William Haw Scaling was baptised in Manchester Cathedral on 5 August 1832. He became a gilder, married and had at least three children.
  • John Scaling was born in 1839 and baptised in Manchester Cathedral on 21 August 1839. On his marriage record he gave his occupation as a brass pounder.
  • Thomas Scaling was born in Salford in 1841, became a plumber and married twice.

James’ occupation was given as a plumber and glazier living in Salford on his son William’s baptism record. An 1855 directory gave his occupation as a gas fitter and that he was living in 5 Bury Street, Salford. James’ wife Ann died on 21 March 1856 in Salford, Lancashire as evidenced by her probate record which also confirmed her address as Bury Street, Salford.  James then went on to marry Ann’s sister Hannah (1809-1884) on 27 March 1856 in Manchester. At the time this took place this was an unlawful marriage. It wasn’t until the Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act of 1907 that this prohibition was removed. When Hannah’s first husband, Roger Arton (1806-1841), died he had left her with at least three children.

After their marriage James and Hannah lived in Trinity Lane, Micklegate, York where James continued to work as a journeyman plumber and glazier. They had moved to Dale Street by the time of the 1871 census and James died in York in 1877 aged about 69. Hannah died in 1884 aged 75 and was buried in nearby Market Weighton.

Note: the image is one I’ve taken of York City Walls.

The unidentified John Sarginson

It was probably about a year ago when my brother Tim set me a family history challenge. He is interested in a specific name on the WW1 war memorial which resides in St Helen’s Churchyard in Escrick; the village we were born and brought up in. The man’s name was John Sarginson. Neither of my parents was able to shed any light on this man who shares the same surname as we do. Our uncle Taff, one of my father’s brothers, wasn’t able to help either when we asked him about him earlier this year. Mind you he didn’t know that one of his ancestors from a nearby village had served in World War One, survived and is included in one of the historical books about Riccall; the village which he lives in.

Anyway how hard can this be to identify someone who is currently unidentified I thought to myself. Well much harder than I’d anticipated is the short answer. I started with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and found some John Sarginson’s who had not survived the war but, having carried out further research,  I don’t think it is any of them. Then I thought well perhaps he is in some of the other WW1 records: Ancestry, Imperial War Museum lives of the Great War, Findmypast and the National Archives at Kew. No luck there though.

Then I realised that there would probably have been some meetings to discuss the war memorial and discovered that some papers and meeting minutes had been lodged at the Hull history centre as part of the Forbes Adam collection. Perhaps this was going to be the eureka moment that we family historians crave. Yes you’ve guessed it, it wasn’t. A very interesting letter from Lady Wenlock written in 1921, just after the commemoration service for the war memorial, did reveal some of the local feeling around it and some of the the names which had been included on it. But no the papers didn’t provide any information about who was going to be included on the memorial. A separate sub-committee run by the Rector made those decisions; and so far it doesn’t look these papers still exist or are accessible.

So it was back to the drawing board. After extensive further research, including also looking at the other soldiers on the war memorial and who they served with, I am no further forward in identifying the unidentified John Sarginson. I am loathe to leave him as a mystery so have written to the local historian who wrote a book about Escrick to see if he can help.

If you know anything about this John then do please contact me. I have also posted this blog to my other genealogy website https://sarginsonfamily.com/.

Postscript: it looks like John may no longer be unidentified. He was probably Corporal John Sarginson of the West Yorkshire regiment. It would be good though to know more about his connection to Escrick as he wasn’t born there. If you have any further information do please get in touch.

Beware of what you find

Researching my ancestors has become something of a passion for me and I really enjoy writing stories about the people I’ve met in this way. From time to time though, I find things out which result in me having a more sombre view of life in a rural village.

A recent example of this relates to the Richardson family; my great grandmother was a Richardson. I was surprised to see that I hadn’t completed all the birth, marriages and deaths information for part of this family who lived in Yorkshire in the late 19th century. As I progressed with the task I came across Mary Ann Richardson, my first cousin three times removed, who as a young child was injured in a fire and subsequently died. The accident happened when both her parents were at work and her two brothers were playing outside in the yard. It looks like she got too close to the stove and her clothes caught on fire. The inquest record explains that one of their neighbours saw her “with her clothes blazing all around”; and that Leonard Smales, a farm labourer, “seized her and rolled her on the floor” to put out the flames. Mary had burns to her legs, body, chest, chin and ears and although her wounds were attended to, she died. Rather poignantly the 1875 burial record for Mary records that she died aged four and three quarter years.

Life in rural Yorkshire wasn’t easy; both of Mary’s parents were working as labourers, Joseph on the railway and her mother Elizabeth on the land. They were at work the day the accident happened, a Saturday. By 1881 they had moved to a nearby village and Joseph was described as a railway platelayer for the North Eastern railway who perhaps had moved with his job?

Sometimes even brief records can pack an unexpected punch. On a recent visit to the East Yorkshire archives in Beverley I handled a small document which recorded the indictment and sentence of my five times great grandfather. Elias was given 7 years transportation for stealing a variety of grains; perhaps either to sell and/or feed his family. He never made it to one of Britain’s colonies though. Elias died in 1812 in a prison hulk ship moored off Portsmouth, probably of hulk fever. I tried to find out more information about his burial but it looks like prisoners were just put in unmarked graves or worse.

Seeing both these records gave me an almost visceral connection to the past, something which I was really surprised about. Sad those these stories are, it won’t stop me doing my research; and their stories deserve to be told, it has also made me more aware of the conditions my ancestors endured in a part of rural Yorkshire which I experienced very differently as a child. To me it meant freedom, fresh air and the chance to read and learn. For them it was more about the daily grind and being able to feed their families. Despite the current climate, in comparison to their lives, I feel very lucky to live in the present time.

A couple of challenges for family historians

I have recently been lucky to exchange emails with someone who was interested in my Palframan relatives and helpfully provided me with some information which has led me to revise my story on Michael Palframan and opened up a new area of possible research – those Palframan’s who went to South Africa in 1850’s and 1860s.

Collecting enough evidence to be sure that someone is an ancestor can be challenging. The further you go back in time the more likely it is that surnames will not be consistently spelled correctly and I’m sure that many people have come across census records where someone’s age looks suspect. I try and stick to finding at least three pieces of evidence for someone and definitely the more the better.

The second challenge is tracking down information for people, particularly if they have emigrated to another country. The lady I’ve been emailing kindly told me that five of William Palframan (1794-1840) and Ruth Sisson’s (1798-1871) children went to South Africa. The first one to go was William (1824-1905) in 1851, followed by John (1930-1895) and Thomas (1832-1926) in 1858, Michael (1832-1920) in 1861 and Catherine (1840-1912) in 1862 with her husband John Brunyate. Only Michael returned to Yorkshire and died there. Helpfully she also provided details of the Family Search records which I hadn’t found before. I do use this site, but not as often as I should by the looks of it.

While I don’t know the reasons why they all left Yorkshire, I was interested to see that Ruth, after William’s death, continued to run the family farm in West Haddlesey. In the 18141 census she is described as a farmer and by 1851 as a farmer of 135 acres employing two labourers.  Perhaps there wasn’t enough work for all of her sons?

Interestingly three more members of the Palframan family went to South Africa. William, possibly the son of Joseph Palframan (1833-1911), arrived in 1861 on the same ship as Michael (1832-1920). Then, in 1865, Thomas (b. abt. 1846) and William (1841-1924), both sons of Michael (1797-1877) and his second wife Martha Seymour (1813-1889), and William’s wife Mary Ann (1846-1906) arrived in 1865. William and Mary Ann did not stay in South Africa. They were back in the UK by the 1871 census and then went to Canada in the mid 1880s where they both died.

At some point I would like to find out more about these ancestors as they are all related to me. The five siblings are my first cousins four times removed. I enjoy reading about history and realise I know very little about South Africa in the mid nineteenth century. Do let me know if there is a good book I can read. There is always space on my shelves for another

Some thoughts on brick walls

During the last few weeks I’ve been working on one of my long standing brick walls.  Having researched my Sarginson relatives back to the mid-1800s I have been working on taking  his line further back.  I am now fairly confident that I have worked out who my five times great grandfather was. One of the challenges has been multiple possible spellings of the surname and that I found another couple with similar names. I intend to write Eliases story in the next few weeks.

My next brick wall is in one of my grandmother’s ancestors: the Barrett’s. It turns out that this can be spelled multiple ways too, including Barot and Baret. I feel another visit to an archive coming on!

Roots and connections

One of my initial reasons for carrying out my family history research was to see if I could work out where my “brains” came from. Most of my cousins and siblings have not progressed, from an educational point of view, beyond what were then called ‘O’ levels. I have gone much further than that and continue to seek out avenues to continue with my own learning and development.

I harboured for a long time a view that my intelligence must come from my maternal grandfather. A man I never met because he was a soldier in the Second World War and, although he didn’t die of injuries incurred during the war, he did die in a military hospital of a form of cancer at a relatively young age. I went to some lengths to get his war records so that I could find out more about his occupation before he enlisted, as there had been some suggestion that he had been a journalist. However, his war record confirmed that he had been a machine operator or printer for the Daily Express in Manchester; so no journalism there but perhaps an interest in words?

I have though followed his line further back into history as I knew very little about this branch of my family. I discovered that the Ellis family had come over from Ireland sometime between 1837 when their son Robert was born in Ireland and 1838 when my second great grandfather Francis was born in Herne Bay in Kent.

Francis had a successful career in the Coastguard service starting first in the Royal Navy as a seaman in Beirut working on a ship called the Renown. In the 1871 census he is a commissioned boatman in Sutton St Mary in Lincolnshire and by 1881 the chief boatman in Barrow on Humber. By 1891 he was chief officer of coast guards in Filey, Yorkshire; living with his family at 61 Hope St. This street is close to Cobble Landing where the RNLI lifeboat is currently stationed and is very familiar to me as we used to holiday in Filey when we were children; although  at that time I did not know we had had relatives living there. By 1901 Francis was described as a naval pensioner and living in York which is where I went to school.

His own father, also called Francis, had been a boatman in Ireland. When he brought his family to England he was stationed in the barracks at Fort Moncrieff in West Hythe, Kent. Sadly this station no longer exists. Francis, my third great grandfather, was born in Mullaghmore on the North West coast of Ireland in County Sligo. At the time it was part of a large estate owned by English absentee landlords – the Temple family; it is now considered a smart holiday destination. It was also off the coast of Mullaghmore in 1979 that Lord Mountbatten and members of his family were killed by a bomb planted by the Provisional IRA.

So what has this brief foray into my family history told me about my roots and connections? Two key things come to mind:

  • There is at least one example of someone in my family having a successful career moving through a profession in the way that I have.
  • There are many places in Yorkshire and elsewhere which are meaningful to me, with Filey in North Yorkshire being a good example of this.