Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Phipps 1800-1900 - Salop/Staffs

The Phipps 1800-1900

My father's mother was Mary Jane Green, born in 1911. I did not know very much about her family other than that they came from the Brownhills area of the West Midlands.

However, a genealogist got in touch with the family having been employed by a legal team to find some cousins. He was able to tell me that my grandmother's parents were Thomas Green and Mary Jane Phipps. This led me to get their marriage certificate and found out a bit more about them.

The parents of Mary Jane Phipps.
Mary Jane Phipps was born in 1870, the third of 7 children to James Phipps and Elizabeth Gibbons - Click here for more information about the genealogy of Elizabeth Gibbons. Mary Jane Phipps, like the eldest children and her parents, was born in Coseley - part of the industrial heartland of the Midlands. The youngest child, Lavinia, was born in Norton Canes, just near where the M6 toll road now passes.

The family seems to have moved here in 1881 and were still living there by 1901 as shown by this census record - taken in Watling St., Brownhills:

James Phipps in Norton Canes in 1891 Census - living in the "Thachus Building" on Watling Street.

In both 1891 & 1901 James Phipps is a Stationary Engine Driver, while his sons are coal miners. Like many other of my ancestors (well over 50%!) James Phipps and his family are involved in the coal mining process. The engine that James Phipps operated was likely involved in the process of removing coal from the pit. Even though the 1891 census says that James is 34, he is acutally 44! It is a not uncommon error made by census enumerators.

My great-grandmother, Mary Jane, is a dressmaker at this time. 4 years later she married Thomas Green.

In 1881, the family was living in a 'cottage' in Norton Canes and James Phipps was a stationary engine driver as he was in 1891.

In 1871, the family was living in "Gospel Oak Colliery Cottages" in Tipton, Wednesbury and James Phipps was described as a 'Field Engineer'. In this census, the birthplace of all family members is given as Sedgley, whereas in the previous censuses (1881-1901) it is given as Coseley. Also, an eldest son, James Phipps appears (aged 6). He is the son of James Phipps Snr but I cannot be sure from the census whether he is also the son of Elizabeth (who would have been 15 when he was born if she was his mother). I don't know what happened to him after 1871, whether he died or moved away from the family before the next census.

It is possible he might have had a son - Frank Phipps. As in 1901, his parents, James and Elizabeth Phipps are living with a a grandson Frank Phipps, born in 1894. Given he is called Phipps, he is most likely to be the son of one of James Phipps' sons - James, William or Frederick. However, at this time both William and Frederick are single. It is possibly therefore James' son, but the possibility that Frank is the out-of-wedlock child of one of the other Phipps children cannot be ruled out. I'd be interested in finding out more.

Where was James Phipps born, and who were his parents?

Most census returns state that James Phipps was born aroun 1847. His stated birthplace varies:
1851- Sedgley, Staffs
1861- Broseley, Salop
1871- Sedgley, Staffs
1881- Coseley, Staffs
1891- Coseley, Staffs
1901- Brownhills, Staffs
Also see here for more information and click here for an excellent map of the 9 villages of Sedgley Manor.

From James Phipps' marriage certificate to Elizabeth Gibbons, I found that his father was called John Phipps and his mother Mary Phipps. This enabled me to find his family in earlier censuses.

John Phipps is a widower in 1861, Living at Cinder Hill, in the village of Ettingshall, Sedgley

John Phipps and family in 1851 - "Ivy House Lane", Coseley, Staffs. Like his son James Phipps, John Phipps was also an engine worker in Staffs. John's wife Mary is still alive and is 15 years his junior.

Location of IvyHouse Lane in Coseley:

It appears that the family originated in Shropshire, and then made the move to Staffordshire for work in the mining trade around about 1846 - this was not a huge migration. Broseley and Madeley are close to Telford, and still effectively in the Black Country.

John Phipps before 1846?
I have not been able to find John Phipps in the 1841 census, beyond any doubt. However, presuming that he was still in Shropshire, then I found only two John Phipps living in Shropshire - one of these was living in Broseley! His wife is called Mary Ann and he has a 9month old daughter Georgiana. This John and Mary are of roughly the right age, although he is called a labourer. It is possible that this is the right John Phipps but I would need to confirm with parish records.

The 'possible' 1841 John Phipps:

John Phipps appears to have married at least twice, . The last wife he has is called Jane and was born in Atherstone, Warwickshire. He seems to have married her after 1861. - He is living in 1871 with Jane at 13 Ebenezer St., Sedgley and he is still working as a colliery engine driver.

What about the parents of John Phipps?
  • Click here for more information
  • Navigating Around This Site

    I hope that I have made this site fairly easy to navigate around.

    1. One way to navigate would be to follow the link to 'My great-grandparents'. Here, you will be able to click on each of my great-grandparents and follow the pages and links within pages from there, to follow the ancestry backwards and forwards.

    2. Alternatively, follow the links by clicking on one of the category kewords in the sidebar. This will enable you to find out more about individual family names, places or histories.

    To navigate between pages, it is probably best to find the page of interest down the right hand side and then click the 'back page' on the browser to get back to the list of posts.

    Also, I've included as many links between pages and to other pages of use/interest as possible. I hope that this will make it a little easier to navigate between pages.

    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    History of Coal Mining

    Having reviewed both of my mother's grandmothers' genealogies. One striking pattern emerges, which is that ALL of the males so far have been coal miners.

    My nan's mother's family were miners in North-East England, moving to-and-forth between Durham, Northumberland and Cumberland, probably where there was work.

    My grandad's mother's family were miners in the Black Country, concentrated in West Bromwich, though after 1900 they moved to Catleford, West Yorkshire.

    I thought it may be of interest for people to read about what mining was like in 1800-1900 England. Rather than me repeat what others have written, I recommend the following links:

  • Description of a 19th Century Miner's Daily Life
  • Great information and archive material for Durham mining
  • Durham Mining Museum
  • Some Staffordshire Mining History
  • West Bromwich Mining History (scroll down page)
  • Background information on West Bromwich
  • Brief Black Country History
  • Lots of UK coal mining history
  • 'Down the Mine' - Essay by George Orwell
  • List of Individuals who died in Durham Mining Accidents
  • List of Mining Occupations

  • Within the pages of the websites linked above there are many books on the subject.

    For a more academic approach, the following paper may be of interest:

    Dov Friedlander, "Occupational Structure, Wages, and Migration in Late Nineteenth-Century England and Wales", Economic Development and Cultural Change, Vol. 40, No. 2. (Jan., 1992), pp. 295-318.

    This is a picture of a Northumberland Miner and his family, taken from the site of the first link of this post

    Evans & Oakley of West Bromwich

    Eliza Beatrice Evans was the mother of Elsie Wilkes - my great-great-grandmother.

    She came from West Bromwich originally, but moved with her husband John Thomas Wilkes to Castleford at some point after the turn of the last century.

    Her father was Thomas Evans and her grandfather William Evans. They were all miners from West Bromwich, but perhaps from Wales before that.

    Her mother was called Mary Ann Oakley, and her father was called John Oakley, also a miner.

    I have pieced this together from marriage certificates, but I do not have much census information as the names Evans and Oakley are very common names in the census and I cannot be therefore completely sure of uniquely identifying them.

    Wilkes 1800-1850

    The Wilkes family 1800-1850

    So, I had discovered that Elsie Wilkes' father was John Thomas Wilkes and that his father was Samuel Wilkes (b1852). I found that Samuel Wilkes' parents were Samuel Wilkes and Jane Wilkes (nee Cox) as I was able to get his birth certificate. I was then able to follow this family by getting their marriage certificates and census records.

    Samuel Wilkes

    Samuel Wilkes was born in about 1829 in West Bromwich and married Jane Cox on Monday, 17th July 1848. They had at least 11 children although not all survived. His father according to his marriage certificate was a Joseph Wilkes, miner, and Samuel was also a miner. Jane Cox’s father was John Cox a miner, and all lived in Tipton.

    I won't put all the census images for Samuel and his father Joseph on here, but here is the earliest census return for Joseph Wilkes in 1841:

    Elsie Wilkes (The Wilkes 1850-1900)

    The Wilkes side (1850-1900):
    Click here for a good description of the history of the areas of interest for this family.

    Again, all of this information was gained from looking at the online available census records, sending off for the marriage certificates, and monumental inscriptions from Castleford cemetery. My great-uncle Jack, my grandad's brother, was able to show me the original birth-certificate of Polly Wilkes (his mother Elsie's sister) which gave me the
    names of her parents and enabled me to find them in 1901.

    Elsie Wilkes
    Elsie Wilkes was the third child of John
    Thomas and Eliza Wilkes. She was born on the 10th November 1907. We believe that she was born in Castleford – her parents moving from West Bromwich to Castleford between 1902 and 1907.

    Her elder brother was John Thomas Wilkes who was born in 1900 in
    West Bromwich but died in infancy. Her elder sister was Polly Wilkes who was born on 4th May 1902 in West Brom, and who married William Haigh in Castleford parish church on 26th March 1921. Her younger brother, Albert, was born in 1909. We believe this is the Albert Wilkes who was awarded a bravery medal for saving some boys from drowning in a brick pond in Castleford.

    Elsie’s father was John Thomas Wilkes and her mother was Eliza Beatrice Evans (see here), who were married in 1899 in West Bromwich.

    In 1901 John Thomas was working as a coal miner driver underground living at 68 Walsall Street, West Bromwich and had had his first child, also John Thomas, with his wife Eliza Beatrice (nee Evans). . The houses on Walsall Street have now been partly demolished and the A41 now intersects where it once stood.

    In Castleford cemetery, John Thomas Wilkes' grave says that he died in 1916. He was recorded as a miner (deceased) on the marriage certificate of his daughter Polly Wilkes to William Haigh. Sometime after 1916, Eliza Beatrice Wilkes remarried, becoming Eliza Beatrice White, marrying Jack White. His MI in Castleford cemetery says that he died in 1933, Eliza living until 1954.

    Prior to 1899, John Thomas Wilkes was living with his parents Samuel and Susannah Wilkes in West Bromwich, to whom he was born in 1878. Before being a coal miner hewer, he also worked as a 'hollaware caster' when he was 13 (in 1891), which I presume was involved a job given to boys involved in the mining process.

    The parents of John Thomas Wilkes
    His father, Samuel Wilkes was born on
    20th July 1852 to Samuel and Jane Wilkes (nee Cox), and they lived at Wood Lane, West Bromwich. I obtained his birth certificate which showed that his mother was the informant of birth and that she was illiterate (she did not sign her name). His father's occupation was a miner (like nearly everyone else who was living in this part of West Bromwich at this time).

    Samuel Wilkes married Susannah Baggott on 19th May 1872 in West Bromwich. She was three years older than him. Samuel had at least 11 children, although not all of them survived infancy. Susannah Baggott’s family has been researched by someone else See here for more Baggott information.

    Baggott and Wilkes are very highly concentrated surnames in the West Midlands area, and it is likely that they have long roots in this area. See here or here for example.

    Samuel worked as a coal miner between 1871 and 1901, living at 32 Wood Lane in 1881 and 40 George St. between 1891 and 1901, all in West Bromwich. In 1871 he was living unmarried at home with his parents in the Wednesbury district of West Bromwich. He worked below ground between 1871 and 1891, but in 1901 he was working above ground as a colliery watchman.

    Samuel Wilkes in 1871

    Samuel Wilkes in 1881
    (Wood Lane, West Bromwich)

    Samuel Wilkes in 1891 (GeorgeSt, West Brom)
    (this census entry was over two pages)

    Samuel Wilkes in 1901 (George St, West Brom)

    Samuel stayed and worked in West Bromwich, even after his son John Thomas Wilkes had left to Castleford, presumably to find more coal mining work.

    Follow these links for more information about Eliza Beatrice Evans (Elsie Wilkes’ mother) and Samuel Wilkes (Elsie’s grandfather).

    My great-grandparents (Read this one first)

    Thomas Curley - his mother, his father.
    Mary Driscoll - her mother, her father.

    Thomas Green - his mother, his father.
    Mary Jane Phipps - her mother, her father.

    David Hughes - his mother, his father
    Elsie Wilkes - her mother, her father.

    Harold Wright - his mother, him/his father.
    Catherine Annie Hughes - her mother, her father.

    A blog such as this is not the ideal website format to store and present genealogy and family history information. However, as I am not particularly computer-savvy it is going to have to suffice in the short-term. Nevertheless, it does have some advantages over other family history websites which just describe family trees and details of individuals. I hope to be able to describe using this blog 'how' I found out this information, something which may be of interest to other family historians. Also, it enables readers to easily post comments, which I hope you do.

    Also you may like to see this entry, which describes why I started doing family history in the first place.

    Click on the names of each great-grandparents' parents above to find out more about their families. From each page you should be able to get back to this page or go on to find out more about their ancestors.

    Alternatively, click on each surname in the sidebar to find all posts relevant for that family.

    Zachariah Hughes

    Catherine Annie Hughes' (my gt grandmother) father was John William Hughes born somewhere in the North East in about 1872. I know his father was called Zachariah Hughes, as it is mentioned on his marriage certificate in 1895. However, by this time Zachariah is deceased. It is possible that he died quite early on in John William's life as JW Hughes does not appear to know his birthplace.

    I have not managed to find JW Hughes in the 1881 or 1891 census (the name is far too common to isolate the correct entry). I have also not managed yet to find the birth/marriage/death certificates related to Zachariah. Since the name is unusual, I would have thought it might be quite easy to locate Zachariah, but so far it has not been possible.

    JW Hughes was a coal hewer, and it is likely that his father was also. Given the use of the name Zachariah, and the family oral tradition, it is also possible that this family was involved in Methodism.

    Finally, I have a photo of JW Hughes' younger brother Zachariah Hughes. We think that he served during WW1, so it will be interesting to get his army details

    See here for an update on this research

    Friday, October 27, 2006

    Hughes, Carr, Padley, Young - Northumberland

    Catherine Annie Hughes
    The above image shows the family tree of Catherine Annie Hughes (known as Kate) - my mother's mother's mother, who was born in 1897 in Walker, Northumberland.
    I will post more above on what I know of this family at a later juncture, but first here is the outline of the names and dates of the family:

    I think it may be useful for people to know how I found out this information. I have done relatively little on this branch of the family. My starting point was finding Catherine Annie Hughes in the 1901 cenus online (Ancestry.co.uk). I knew about Catherine from family, she died around 1975 a couple of years before I was born. We knew she was from the North-East of England and that her family may have been Methodists.

    1901 Census image:

    I found 'Kate' Hughes aged 4 living at 9 Athol St, Whick
    ham, County Durham with father John William and Margaret Ann Hughes. This census return does not have Catherine's middle name, but refers to her by her familiar name. Her brothers are Mathew and Zachariah, which fit with the religious family. Her mother's younger sister, Mary Carr, is also at the house at this time.

    I then got the birth certificate of Catherine Annie, confirming her birthdate and place, and the marriage certificate of her parents. It appears that John William Hughes' father died early as he was deceased by the time of his marriage. JW Hughes also appears not to know where he was born. JW Hughes spent his life moving around the Northeast as a coal miner hewer (picking at the the pit face).

    I then used census returns back to 1841 to piece the maternal lines back. All of the information here is using that method. I was able to find Margaret Ann Carr's family from her marriage certificate.

    Below is a summary of the female members of the family (click on the links to find out how I found out these relationships):

    I have established that Catherine's mother was Margaret Ann Carr, who was born in Crosby or Maryport, Cumberland in 1872 to Matthew Carr and Anne Padley. Indeed, I have found an IGI baptismal entry for 16 Dec 1871 for Crosscanonby (i.e. Crosby) for a Margaret Ann Carr born to Matthew and Ann Carr - The church of Crosscanonby (St.John the Evangelist) is shown in the picture - The village is the site of historic saltpans and an old Roman settlement.

    Following the female line, Anne Padley was born in 1854 in
    Sherburn Hill (or Hetton or Moorsley or Rainton) in County Durham to Joseph Padley and Ann Young. Ann was born in 1824 in Wapping? (or Longbenton) in Northumberland. I do not know her father, but her mother was also called Ann and born in 1796 in Newcastle.

    1851 Census, Haswell, County Durham
    Showing 'Ann Young' - mother-in-law to Joseph Padly

    As someone who is very interested in 'maternal effects', it is very pleasing
    to have got some good information about my maternal lines - upto my 5xgreat-grandmother. I have not yet visited these areas, but would hope to in the future.

    Also, it is interesting to see that the name "Ann" in its various forms has been passed from mother to daughter for 7 generations, just skipping my grandmother:

    1)Ann ?, 2)Ann Young, 3)Ann Padley, 4)Margaret Ann Carr, 5)Catherine Annie Hughes, 6)Doreen Wright, 7)Doreen Elsie Anne Hughes - my mother

    The first post.

    A much younger version of me
    Hello, this is my blog. I aim to post articles about researching my and other people's family history, a hobby that I have been involved in for about 10 years.