Saturday, November 25, 2006

A little more history for the Green Family

The Green Family circa 1770-1850

The Green Family 1850-1920

This previous post documented my initial research into my father's maternal grandfather - Thomas Green's ancestry.

Thomas Green, his brothers and sisters, and his parents, Thomas and Margaret left rural Shropshire (Lawley near Wellington) for the boys and Thomas Snr to work in the coal mines of Brownhills, Staffs. They moved around between 1871 and 1881 to live in the Carlins Buildings on Watling Street. Living in the nearby Lancashire Cottages in Brownhills were the Deakin family who had also moved in "The Great Trek" from Lawley to Brownhills, as did many other families.

Reading the excellent online biography of the Deakin family, available at the above link, I noticed that a John Henry Deakin married a Mary Jane Green, Thomas Green's elder sister. I recommend reading this article as a nice local family history of the Brownhills area.

The author of this article, Gillian, is my third cousin - our common ancestor is Thomas Green from Little Wenlock in Shropshire. She has a lot more information about the Green family. With her very kind help I have been able to construct the family tree above, which is still far from complete, but a vast improvement on my earlier efforts! Notably, Gillian has been able to go a generation further back than I with the Green family to a John Green, father of William Green, of Little Wenlock. She has also been able to piece together the family of Thomas Green (b1827) and his wife Margaret (nee Machin). Margaret Machin's parents were John Machin and Elizabeth ? of Dawley, Shropshire. I will post a bit more on the Green family soon.

... sorry for the small size of some of the information on the pedigree chart - I hope that all the names are readable if not the dates; I wanted to put all generations and cousins on there, but this means that I lose a bit of readability! Email me if you want to know the dates, or for a copy of the chart.

The Green Family of Shropshire

See this post for an update to this research and the family tree.

Thomas Green is my father's maternal grandfather. He was the husband of Mary Jane Phipps and the father of my grandmother - Mary Jane Green. I knew very little about this family before starting my research. All I had to go on was a report by a genealogist who was employed to find some of my dad's cousins on this side of the family who were entitled to a small inheritance. The genealogist told me that Thomas Green was married to Mary Jane Phipps and also gave me the names of the their children. Apparently, Thomas was married once before he married Mary Jane and had a child, Elizabeth Ann.

From this information, I got the marriage certificate of Thomas and Mary Jane which showed that Thomas' father was also called Thomas. I was able to find Thomas Green in the 1901 census living with his family at Watling St. Brownhills, working as a coal miner.

In the 1891 censuses, Thomas Green is living with his mother Margaret, still at Watling Street. His daughter Elizabeth is staying with a neighbouring family. Thomas Green is a coal miner. However, Thomas Green was born in Wellington, Shropshire.

Just from this information, I was then able to use the census material online and the IGI to compile the above tree. What I want to convey from this post is that while this looks very exciting, I would still hessitate to claim it as definitively 100% accurate - I would want to access more records to affirm what I've found. Some of these relationships were found using "members entries" to the IGI, which are particularly notorious for transciption errors.

Nevertheless, I have not claimed any links just based on the fact that the IGI came up with "the right name in roughly the right place" - in fact, I have been very careful to ensure that the entries are unique to the individuals involved. I was helped with this because William and Thomas Green lived in the same place (Smalley Hill, Little Wenlock) for about 70 years.

Before starting on this branch of my family, I had very little knowledge of them. By constructing the family from censuses and the IGI, I still feel as if I have very little knowledge of them, even though I know a few occupations and where they lived. This is quite a good example of where census and IGI records give you a basic idea of the family tree, but to really find out interesting information it is necessary to access all available records, especially those located in record offices. Hopefully, one day I will get the time to do some research in Shrewsbury.

This is some information on some of the other parishes mentioned in the tree:
Little Wenlock
Dawley Magna

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A mystery suitable for Dalziel & Pascoe

So What is the Mystery?

In the 1891 census, Joseph and Charlotte Garbutt were living on Ford's Row, Whitwood with Mary Pascoe and her daughter Mary Jane Pascoe. It was not clear whether Charlotte or Joseph were the child of Mary Pascoe.

I therefore attempted to search the 1881 census for Mary and Mary Jane Pascoe. I found them still living in Ford's Row with husband/father William Pascoe. William and Mary Pascoe had also two elder daughters - Charlotte and Sarah. All the children and Mary Snr were born in Knottingley, West Riding. However, William Pascoe was a potter who was born in Bovey Tracey, Devon.

I then found William Pascoe in 1871, working as a potter, living at Hill Top Knottingley. His birthplace and age match the 1881 census, as do that of his wife - however, she is called Sarah and not Mary. However, if you look at the 1891 census, it appears as if the enumerator has probably got the maiden names of mother and daughter the wrong way around here. William also has a step-daughter, Charlotte Nichols of the right age and born in Knottingley.

Therefore Charlotte appears to have several names -

1861 census: Cannot find her?
1871 census: Charlotte Nichols - stepdaughter of William and Sarah (or Mary) Pascoe
1881 census: Charlotte Pascoe - daughter of Mary Pascoe
1881 marriage index: Charlotte Ann Schofield - marries Joseph Garbutt???
1891 census: Charlotte Garbutt - daughter of Mary Pascoe
1891 census: Charlotte Garbutt - wife of Joseph Garbutt

It is a mystery if each of these Charlotte's is the same person. Following the census information backwards it would appears so, but it is difficult to explain why her surname changes so much. It appears that she may have had several surnames because of the death and re-marriage of one or both of her parents.

How can we resolve this mystery?
Tracing the life of Charlotte Garbutt may be a case of assuming too many census facts at face value. We need to take the steps backwards more slowly to try and find the evidence that confirms relationships. How can this be done:

1)The marriage certificate of Joseph Garbutt and Charlotte Ann Schofield may help. This appears to be the only Joseph Garbutt marrying at the right time in the Pontefract area, but another Joseph may have been missed in the index and this could be completely misleading.

2) The parish records of Knottingley and Whitwood may throw light on Joseph and Charlotte Garbutt and Charlotte's earlier life.

3) The birth certificates of Joseph and Charlotte Garbutt's children - Mary Ann, Joseph, Ernest, Gertrude & Jane - should give Charlotte's maiden name (or names).

4) Perhaps a marriage between William Pascoe and Mary in around 1865-1870.

In the IGI I found a marriage between a William Pascoe (father John Pascoe) and a Mary Schofield on 11 Feb 1866 in Pontefract. This same IGI entry claims that Mary Schofield's father was a William Harker! The marriage certificate for this is Mar 1866 Vol9c, p98, Pontefract.

So why might Charlotte be called Charlotte Nichols in 1871?, and where is she in 1861? The mystery deepens....

See here for a picture of Charlotte and here for an update to this story.

Amy Hughes - nee Walsh

Amy Hughes was born Amy Walsh in 1909; she married Joe Hughes, the younger brother of my great-grandfather David Hughes (b.1905). I only met Aunt Amy once in about 2000 when I went to talk to her about the family history with my grandad (David Hughes b.1927) at her home in Castleford. She was an extremely kind lady and very interesting to talk to. My grandad has always spoken very highly of her. I found this obituary in an All Saints, Church, Castleford Parish Newletter dated September 2004. It speaks of her long standing work in the Church, Sunday School, Mothers' Union, Local Politics and the Scout Movement. I thought that I would post it here as a tribute to her. - From a family history viewpoint, I think obituaries have to be one of the most wonderful sources of detail about the lives of individuals.

The Garbutt family - how writing on pictures can be very useful!

My grandfather, David Hughes, was born in Castleford in the West-Riding of Yorkshire, as was his father, also called David Hughes (b.1905, Castleford). His father (my g-g-grandfather) was also called David Hughes and was born in Whitwood, Yorkshire. I know a great deal about his family, but relatively little about his wife, Mary Garbutt.

What did we know initially about the Garbutt family?
What I knew initially was that David Hughes (b1882) married Mary Garbutt and had three children - David (b.1905), Mary (b.1907) and Joe (b1909). Mary Garbutt died in childbirth, or soon after, with Joe. Joe Hughes married Amy Walsh - see this post for more information about her very interesting life - and here for information on the ancestors of Mary Garbutt.

Information from family members suggests that Mary might have had a brother, Joe, and that her father may also be called Joe Garbutt. However, the real brekthrough came when my Great-Uncle Jack showed me a picture of a wedding in Castleford featuring about 20 family members that he had in his possession. I will post an image of this photo here when I am able to scan it. This photo featured members of both the Garbutt and Hughes families - and had a few names written on the back. I will write more about the Hughes names in a later post.

The picture was of a wedding between Joseph Garbutt and Elizabeth Ann Day.

Some of the Garbutt names were - Mary Garbutt, Charlotte Garbutt, Ernest Garbutt.

Knowing this enabled me to find out more from the 1891 & 1901 censuses:

In the 1901 census of 4 Pottery Lane, All Saints, Whitwood, I found Joseph and Charlotte Garbutt with their children Joseph, Ernest, Gertrude and Jane. Whitwood is within the ancient parish of Featherstone and about 3 miles from Castleford and Whitwood. Knowing that the elder child were born in Castleford, I searched the 1891 census and found the family living at 57 Fords Row, Whitwood. This confirmed that Mary Garbutt also was their daughter and told me that she had the middle initial 'A'. They are living with a Mary Pascoe, who was born in Knottingley like Charlotte, is the parent of either Joseph or Charlotte - though the census enumerator also seems confused - see here for information about Mary Pascoe. I was then able to find Mary Garbutt in the 1901 census. She was working as a cook in a household in St. Phillips, Whitwood, belonging to a Hannah Lacey. In both 1891 and 1901 Joseph was a coal miner - it is likely that he came to Yorkshire like a lot of those who were born in Staffordshire to work in the coal mines.

Most of the information found here matched the names on the family photo (Charlotte and Ernest Garbutt being unique among census entries to this family), and the information supplied by family. What was new to me was that the Garbutt family came from Staffordshire - Joseph Garbutt was born in Brockmore, Staffordshire. I had expected that the Garbutts would be a Yorkshire family as other Garbutts down my maternal grandmother's line had been from the North Riding of Yorkshire.

This data also needs to be corroborated though with certificates and parish records which I aim to get imminently - particularly:

Marriage of Mary Ann Garbutt & David Hughes - Mar 1904 Pontefract, 9c, 164.
Birth & Death certificates of Mary Ann Hughes (nee Garbutt) - cannot find!

Marriage of Joseph Garbutt & Charlotte Ann Schofield - Dec 1881 Pontefract, 9c, 144 - (probably the marriage of Joseph and Charlotte).
see here for an update

I have not yet managed to find out much more about the Garbutt family. However, looking at some of the material available online about Whitwood, I notice one page that lists a memorial to an E.Garbutt who died in WW1. I wonder if this may be the Ernest Garbutt who was Mary's brother and who was pictured on the wedding photograph my Uncle Jack showed me?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The elusive Zachariah Hughes

Every family historian has at least one elusive ancestor. I have several, but I find this chap particularly interesting - and elusive! One reason why he is a source of fascination for me is that the family stories I am aware of describe the Hughes family as quite strict Methodists. I have managed to find out something about John William's later life, but nothing about where he was born - he himself did not know, he says he is born in NK (not known) in the 1901 census. This means that I did not know very much about his early life. I do know, however, that his father is called Zachariah, as this was the name given on John William's marriage certificate - though he had died by this time - 1893. Therefore I have set out to find this Zachariah...

Where to go looking for Zachariah Hughes?
Knowing that Zachariah Hughes existed, I had to think of which records to find him in. I presumed that he lived in the North East of England, either in Northumberland or Durham, as his son, John William Hughes, got married and worked in this area - Whickham to be precise.

1) Church Records:
Perhaps I could find a baptism, marriage or death record for ZH? I have not had time or access to look at every single parish register in this area. It would be wise to start at Whickham and move outwards, probably concentrating on non-conformist registers as family tradition has that they were Methodists. Nevertheless, I looked at two incomplete indexes - the IGI and Durham Records online - to look for a Zac* or Zec* Hughes. As you may imagine, Zachariah is a name that lends itself to many variants. However, I could not find ZH in the Northeast region. The IGI gives 19 matches in England - mainly in Stafford and Worcester. There is also a Zachariah North Hughes from Clapham, Surrey - he began to pop up in a lot of places in my searches.

2) Vital registration records:
Perhaps I would be able to find ZH in the vital registraion records. I have searched the freeBMD index and done a search throug the original records on ancestry. The birth and death indexes drew a blank, however, the marriage index did have one possibility:

Marriage: Zachariah Hughes Dec1873 Darlington Durham Vol 10a, p38. There are two females on the same page - Hannah Spence & Catharine Close - one of these could be his wife. See here for an update.

3) Census records:
For a long time I thought that there were no possibilities of any census entry for Zachariah. That was before I learnt to search for Zecariah & Zechariah as an alternative spelling! I have found who I believe to be my ZH in two censuses in 1861 and 1871. He is the only ZH living in NBD or DUR in these two censuses, and significantly disappears in the 1881 and 1891 censuses. An early death of ZH and his wife might explain why John William Hughes did not know his own birthplace.

These census records show that a ZH was living at 41 Consett Terrace in 1861, in Conside & Knitley, a part of Consett, County Durham. He was born in approximately 1854 in Walker, Northumberland. His parents were Josiah (b. 1812, Carmarthenshire) and Eleanor (b. 1817, Gloynoe?, Carmarthenshire) Hughes - Josiah was a 'Rail Mill Furnace Man'. In 1861, ZH was also living with other siblings - Adah, Isaiah, Gomer, Rachel, and Miriam. This appears to be a very religous family, just like the family tradition had.

In 1871, Josiah is now a widower and he and ZH are living with an Ann James, born in Carmarthenshire, who is a house servant. They are living at 363 Consett Terrace, Conside & Knitsley. A large proportion of this community appear to be from South Wales. It seems as if a large community of traveling labourers moved from South Wales to the Northeast. In this census, Josiah says he was born in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. After this census, both Josiah and Zechariah Hughes do not appear anywhere that I can find in future censuses. I need to find further information on this Hughes family and what might have happened to them.

When did Josiah and Eleanor Hughes come to the Northeast?
Assuming that this is the right family - and more evidence is needed to confirm this - it is interesting to find out when Josiah and Eleanor came to the Northeast. Looking at the births of their children from the censuses, it seems as if they lived in Dowlais, Glamorgan (now Merthyr Tydfil) up to 1844, before coming to Consett, County Durham between 1844 and 1847. Between 1847 and 1849 they moved to Walker, Northumberland, before moving back to County Durham by 1861. It has also been possible to find the family earlier in the 1851 census living at 155 Cambrian Row, Longbenton, Walker. Josiah is a 'heater in iron factory' - both Consett and Walker were centres of Iron mining and production in the mid 19th century.

This census also appears to give detailed birthplaces for Josiah and Eleanor - however, I have found them quite difficult to read - so I have magnified them here and if anyone can read them I'd be delighted to hear from you.

I think the top one is "Clydey" - Pembrokeshire, but I'm not sure what the script above the 'pemb' is. This is the birthplace of Josiah Hughes. The bottom one is place in Carmarthenshire and is the birthplace of Eleanor! I haven't yet identified this family in the 1841 Wales census!

As with many lines, I need to uncover extra records to confirm or refute these relationships, but I think that this evidence is encouraging.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Padley & Young families 1800-1860

Ann Padley, born 1852
Ann Padley is my mother's mother's mother's mother's mother! That is, she is my 3xgreat grandmother. I have attempted to piece together her life and family from mainly the census, IGI records and parish records available from Durham records online. I have yet to obtain the vital registration certificates, but hopefully they will confirm these relationships.

I originally found that Matthew Carr had married Ann Padley from the 1891 census image, which showed that Matthew Carr was living his wife, Ann, and his mother-in-law, a widow, Ann Padley. That Matthew's wife was called Ann Padley was confirmed when I found the index of their marriage: Matthew Carr & Ann Padley - Mar 1871, Sunderland, Durham, 10a, 644. - though I have still have to obtain the original document. See here for an update.

I started to piece together the Padley line:

Ann's birthdate in the 1871-1901 censuses, when she was living with Matthew Carr was always given as about 1853-4. However, the place of birth varies widely. I have found the following birthplaces given in the various censuses:

1871 - Rainton, Durham
1881 - Sherburn, Durham
1891 - Roker, Durham
1901 - Hetton, Durham

Searching the vital registration index on freeBMD, I found one possible match - Ann Padley, Jun 1853, Houghton-le-Spring, Durham - which I shall obtain - Most of the places above are townships of Houghton-le-Spring.

Who were Ann Padley's parents?

However, knowing her birthplace and age, and those of her mother, I searched for Ann Padley jnr, in the 1861 census. I found them living at Brick Garth, Hetton-le-Hole, daughter of Joseph Padley (b. ~1825, Houghton-le-Spring, Dur) and Ann Padley (~1825, Longbenton, Northumberland). The only thing here is that the birthplace of Ann Padley Snr does not match that which I had already found on the 1891 census. It was not a matter of it being the wrong parish, but it was the wrong county entirely. However, I have already talked about this particular enumerator of the 1891 census! He seems to have been either completely incompetent or lazy - he also got Matthew Carr's birthplace wrong by about 80 miles! Therefore, I was quite happy that I had the right census entry. This census also gave another birthplace entry for Ann Padley jnr, which was Moorsley, Durham - another township of Houghton-le-Spring.

I was able to gather more information about Joseph and Ann Padley from the 1871 census at 18 Australia Row, Seaton Colliery, Seaham, Easington and the 1881 census at 22 Ogle Terrace, Southwick, Sunderland. This enabled me to find out about the siblings to Ann and that Joseph Padley was a coal miner during this period. Joseph Padley died at some point between 1881 and 1891, as Ann Padley Snr was a widow living with Matthew and Ann Carr by the 1891 census. She died between 1891 and 1901 (nb see here, she may have lived longer). I think Joseph Padley died in Dec 1881 as I have found a death certificate indexed for Dec 1881, Sunderland, Durham, 10a-319, for a Joseph Padley of the right age.

I then decided to take Joseph Padley and Ann Padley's lives backwards in the census. In the 1851 census, Joseph Padley is a coal miner at Haswell, living with his mother-in-law, Ann Young (b.1796, Newcastle) and two sister, Rachel and Elizabeth Young. I am presuming that they are sisters of his wife, Ann Padley (nee Young). Although Ann was born in Northumberland, her two younger sisters were born in Rainton, Durham. It appears that her family moved into Durham around 1826. I then looked for Ann Young in the 1841 census, knowing that her mother was also called Ann Young and that she had two named sisters, but was unable to find a suitable match. I did find possible matches in Haswell though -Ann Snr and Elizabeth living together; Ann jnr living with a different family; but no Rachel.

I also looked in the IGI for potential Young births in Rainton (church pictured on the left), and found the following, which matches with the census data and what I already know - these are potentially the siblings of my Ann Young - though I am always cautious of over-interpreting the IGI, it is an incomplete index after all:

22/11/1826 Rachel Young, dau of Robert and Ann Young, W. Rainton

10/7/1831 Elizabeth Young, dau of Robert and Ann Young, W. Rainton

This then prompted me to re-search the IGI for the baptism of Ann Young, and I found one match:

about 5/9/1824 - Ann Young, dau of Robert & Ann Young, Longbenton, Northumberland

Checking the Tynemouth marriage index and the IGI gave two possible marriages for a Robert Young to an Ann in the right date range:
13 Sep 1818  Robert Young = Ann Canlish
25 Nov 1818 Robert Young = Ann Morton

What about the parents of Joseph Padley?

I have not definitively found Joseph Padley in the 1841 census yet, though there was a Joseph Padley living in Haswell (as he was in 1851) working as a coalminer, who is of the right age. He is living with a John and Matthew Padley who could be brothers. Interestingly, I found at the Durham Mining Museum Records that it looks as if this John Padley died in a mining accident at Haswell where 95 people lost their lives following an explosion on 28 Sep 1844. This web page gives the names of others who lost their lives in the disaster and some rememberance poems.

Joseph Padley consistently gives his birthdate as 1824 and his birthplace as Houghton-le-Spring in the censuses - you can see an image of St. Michael's church, Houghton-le-Spring above.

Therefore I searched the IGI and I found a strong candidate for his baptismal entry:

15 AUG 1824 Houghton Le Spring, Durham, England, Joseph Padley son of John and Margaret Padley. Houghton-le-Spring

This was confirmed by searching Durham Records Online:
Baptisms, Houghton le Spring District - Parish/Church: Houghton le Spring (St. Michael & All Angels) 15 Aug 1824 Joseph Padley, son of the late John Padley & Margaret, abode Houghton-le-Spring.

This gave me the extra information that Joseph Padley's father had died by the time he was born, meaning he must have died in early 1824 (given that he was born in August!). Searching the baptismal entries for Houghton-le-Spring, I found two potential siblings,

07 JUL 1822 Houghton Le Spring, Durham, England Sarah Padley dau of John and Margaret Padley. Houghton-le-Spring.

4 June 1819 Houghton Le Spring, Durham, England Matthew Padley son of John and Margaret Padley. Houghton-le-Spring.

I also searched the Durham Records Online for other Padley records in Houghton-le-Spring and found this marriage:

1 May 1815 John Padley = Margaret Moralee

It is possible that my Joseph Padley is the son of John Padley and Margaret Moralee, and that he has a sister, Sarah, and a brother, Matthew, which may be the Matthew Padley that he could be living with in the 1841 census. I haven't found a baptismal entry for the John Padley who was also living with him in the 1841 census.

Can we piece all of this work together?
What conclusions can we draw from these various strands of evidence? Well, using the various parish records, census entries, IGI records and vital registration certificates enables me to tentatively draw out the family tree above. However, I have used a hashed line for the Padley line as I still need to confirm these relationships. In particular, I need to find -

- the baptism of Ann Padley circa 1853 in Durham, in any number of parishes?
- the marriage of Joseph Padley and Ann Young circa 1849, in Haswell or elsewhere?
- the baptism of Ann Young circa 1824 in Wapping or Longbenton, Northumberland
- the marriage certificate of Matthew Carr and Ann Padley

This family line is a good example of where it is important to flesh out the family history - as it may take converging evidence from numerous sources on cousins, brothers, sisters, etc. to finally establish these relationships.

Matthew Carr 1853-

Who was Matthew Carr?
I previously made a post following my maternal line back 7 generations. A lot of genealogists are initially interested in tracking their paternal ancestors, and while this is also interesting to me, I think the maternal line is the most important. In that post I mentioned Matthew Carr my great-grandmother's father, but I did not discuss much of what I knew of him as I was focussing on the maternal ancestors. I thought I'd put here what I knew about him.

From Catherine Annie Hughes' birth certificate I knew that her mother was Margaret Ann Carr, and from her marriage to John William Hughes, I knew that her father was Matthew Carr. This enabled me to track the family in the censuses:

In 1891, just prior to Margaret Ann's wedding in 1895, they were living at 5 Henry St., Whitburn, County Durham and Matthew Carr was a coal miner at Marsden Colliery. He was living with Ann, his wife, 8 children, his mother-in-law Ann Padley, and 2 coal mining boarders! Quite a household! His mother-in-law Ann Padley is a widow, so it is possible that she lives with them permanently, but given that his youngest daughter, Isabella, is only 9 days old, Ann Padley may have come to help her daughter with her newborn child. In this census, Matthew and Ann Carr are said to have been born in Roker, Durham (a part of Monkwearmouth) - but this turns out to be wrong (probably laziness on the part of the enumerator).

In 1901, Mathew Carr and family are now living at Seaham, County Durham, and Matthew Carr is a coal miner. It appears that he has moved around a great deal working as a coal miner. In this census we see that he was actaully born in Whitehaven, Cumberland, whereas his wife was born in Hetton, Durham. From his child birthplaces he seems to have been in Easington Lane (-1881), Monkwearmouth (1880-1884), South Shields (1884-1887), Marsden Colliery (1887-1891), Durham City (1891-1900) and Seaham. All the dates are approximate obviously. Also, 9 days old Isabella now appears to be named Sarah. I'm pretty sure that it is the same child, it is not uncommon for parents to settle on a different name for their child after they appear in the census - as long as they hadn't already registed the birth.

From the 1881 census in Wingate, Durham, we can see that Matthew Carr had been moving around prior to Easington. He had been working in Ryhope and Murton in Durham, each for about 3 years. He had also had his first child, my great-great grandmother Margaret Annie Carr in Crosby, Cumberland. (Other records suggest Maryport, Cumberland, but the two places are very close to each other). I have, however, 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, which I'm sure is the right entry. Matthew's wife Ann's birthplace is given as Sherburn Hill, Durham in this census. Given that Margaret Annie Carr was born in Cumberland, I'm not sure how Matthew and Ann met one another - if the Padley family moved to Cumberland or if Matthew Carr moved to Durham. From my Padley work it seems as if they stayed in Durham, so perhaps Matthew came to Durham, moved back to Cumberland with his wife, and then moved back to Durham.

The image below tracks the movement of Matthew Carr and family between 1874 and 1901 across the North East of England. This website provides great information on this history of mines in this area.

What about the early life of Matthew Carr?
I have not found definitive information on the marriage of Matthew Carr and Ann Padley yet, or on the parents of Matthew Carr. I need to get more information from marriage certificates and parish records before I will be able to find that out. See here for an update.

I have one strong lead for his parents, however. Searching in the 1861 census for a Mat* Carr born in Cumberland, I find only one Matthew Carr born in Whitehaven around the right date (1852). The census image abovet shows that his parents might be Joseph (b. 1820 Whitehaven) and Margaret (b. 1821 Workington) Carr. They are living in the Weston Quarter of Whitehaven and Joseph Carr is a coal miner. A good indicator that this is the right family is that all the names are family names, especially that one of his sisters is called Margaret Ann, the name that Matthew Carr gave to his eldest daughter.

Following Joseph and Margaret Carr into the 1871 Census, finds them living in Ryhope Colliery, Durham. It therefore seems as if Matthew Carr may have come with his parents to live in Ryhope in Durham and met his future wife Ann Padley there. The Padley family were living in Hetton in 1861 and in Seaham in 1871, so it is very possible that at some point the two families lived nearby each other.

I've found the reference for the marriage certificate, so this mystery should be resolved once I receive the copy: Matthew Carr & Ann Padley - Mar 1871, Sunderland, Durham, 10a, 644 - See here for an update. I've also found two Matthew Carr's that are born in Whitehaven in 1851. Once I am certain of the name of Matthew's father then I can get the right birth certificate.

Given that Matthew Carr and Ann Padley seemed to marry in March 1871 then I tried to find them in the 1871 census, as I had previously not found either of them living with their parents in this census. I found a Matthew Carr (b. 1851, Whitehaven) and Ann Carr (b1852, Rainton), who were living in Ryhope with a John Hardey (b.1851 Hensingham, Cumberland) and Margaret A. Hardey (b 1853, Whitehaven). Matthew Carr is a coal-miner and is described as the brother-in-law of John Hardey. Ann Carr is described as the sister of John Hardey, but I believe her to be the sister-in-law and it was a mistake by the enumerator. Margaret A Hardey is I believe the younger sister of Matthew Carr. This is confirmed by me finding that in the Sep 1870 marriage index, a Margaret Ann Carr married a John Hardy in Durham.

Therefore it looks like shortly after marrying in County Durham in March 1871, Matthew and Ann Carr were living in Ryhope on census night 1871 with Matthew's younger sister, husband and 2 day old son. By December 1871 they had gone to Crosscanonby, Cumberland to have their eldest daughter Margaret Ann Carr (probably named after Matthew's younger sister). However, they must have been in Cumberland for only a year or two before moving back to Durham and moving around the various coalfields.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Negro Comedians

In the 1881 census my great-great grandad, John Driscoll, was listed as a 'negro comedian'. Obviously this is quite an unusual occupation and I wanted to find out more about it.

Simply put, the minstrel show was a performance where white actors would darken their faces and mimic the perceived behaviour of black people. These first became popular in the 1830s in the United States, particularly New York. An example from the mid-nineteenth century can be seen above. Their popularity continued until the turn of the nineteenth century, being replaced by the more popular music hall. This is probably why after 1900 my ancestor John Driscoll starts to refer to himself as a 'comedian' and not a 'negro comedian'.

The links above are quite nice summaries and histories of minstrel shows, so rather than repeat those I thought that in this blog I'd put some extra things pertaining to family history:

Firstly, in various census entries, I have found individuals named as negro comedians, negro performers, negro actors or negro minstrels. In the 1881 English census where you are able to perform an occupation search, I found 63 records matching 'negro' as a keyword. Of these, about 10 refered to black people. As a side issue, it is interesting to note that the term negro was used here to mean Indians, Africans and Caribbeans.

One man, 'Jack', from the Transvaal is a 'negro servant indoors' in Somerset and has no surname - Another man, a lodger in Wandsworth appears not to have a name altogether and is simply referred to as 'one negro man'.

Nevertheless, I find 50 to be a very small number of negro minstrels. It is possible that those who did perform in these shows may just have called themselves actors. However, of those who did put minstrel or some such as their occupation, there only appears to be a handful living in any one town. In Birmingham at this time (1888) there were four theatres -

"Days Crystal Palace" 75 Smallbrook St,,
"Gaiety Concert Hall" 87 & Coleshill St,

"London Museum Tavern & Music Hall" 143 Digbeth,
"Steam Clock " 23 Morville St

Given that I found 5 people in Birmingham claiming to be minstrels, it looks as if that 5 would be around the number of minstrels that could find work.

I found out a couple of other things about the negro minstrels from the census records. Firstly, it wasn't just males who performed as can be seen from this husband-and-wife team in Brighton:

Also, very bizarrely, I found a group of negro comedians from Buffalo in New York performing in Hull. It is very strange to think the type of jobs that led to people from such exotic places as Buffalo going to the equally exotic Hull:

Across the internet I have also found a couple of pieces of negro comedian memorabilia including posters announcing minstrel performers and tickets for their performances.

I'm not sure how 'entertaining' these shows would have been, but it is difficult to imagine what they would be like when you live in a completely different era with different values. I'm also not sure how great the son of an Irish immigrant would be at imitating Black stereotypes - he may have been quite entertaining. John Driscoll appears to have been a comedian for at least 25 years so perhaps he did have quite a lot of fans.

Other minstrel show links:
A history of comedy, scroll halfway down the page for minstrel history
A history of Black theatre in UK
A history of American minstrels
A history of the golliwog caricature

Monday, November 13, 2006

Why I started to research my family history

The story of why I started to research my family history is a long one. I shall write a few brief details here initially, and add to them when I get time.

I've always had a long standing interest in social history, particulary in the history of individuals and families rather than of monarchs or religions. I belive this sort of history is sometimes described as being from the 'pew' rather than from the 'pulpit', or is sometimes termed 'history from below'.

Another interest I've always had has been in demography, migration and population dynamics. I've always found it fascinating to understand what motivated the movement of people. Why would some members of a family remain in the place they and generations of their ancestors were born and why would others move to the other side of the world?

I've also been very keen in trying to understand concepts of ethnicity and identity, and how one associates and identifies with other members of a group or area. For instance, what makes someone a Yorkshireman? or English? What does it mean to have Welsh, Irish or Southern ancestry? And the further back in time you go and the more direct ancestors you find, does this matter more for how you view your own identity or does it make absolutely no difference whatsoever?

I explored some of these interests during my time doing an undergraduate degree in Human Sciences in Oxford. Additionally, I developed my knowledge and interest in genetics, heredity and inhertiance. When I was looking for an underaduate project I had the idea that it may be interesting to look at the degree of inbreeding in small villages by looking at the incidences of same-surname marriages. See here for work by Prof Nick Mascie-Taylor, who has done some excellent work in this area. This led me to York Library to see what records may be available to me for this purpose. Whilst I eventually decided against doing this project (I did one instead on the evolution of emotion in man and animals), it did expose me to what records were available. This was in about 1999 just before the internet boom took off.

When I left Oxford in 1999, I had a long Summer Vacation to fill before going off to start my PhD at Cambridge in behavioural genetics. It suddenly dawned on me that a great thing to do would be to find out a little about my family tree.

I initially only had one question. I knew my great-grandfather was Harold Wright and that he was from Acomb. All I wanted to know originally was who were his parents? On this day at the Borthwick Institute, I managed to find not only who his parents were but who his grandparents were also. The next day I found his great-grandparents. A great success for two days work. This was all very exciting and got me fixed on family history. But, after starting with one question, I now had about another 10. As you continue with your family history, the number of questions (and sometimes answers) only ever increases!

While my current job is very time-consuming, the availability of online records has enabled me to do a little family history from time to time. I hope one day to be able to get back to spending time in record offices and finding out even more of the really interesting bits and pieces that you seem to forever come across in the records.

As I started doing my family history work before the internet, most of my early research took place at local records offices and so it mostly concentrated on my family in the York area. Now I have been able to do work on other branches of my family in other areas, but to fill in the details I really need to get to the record offices. I hope this blog will provide you with information on all the branches that I have researched - some with more success than others.

If you are new to family history, Randy Seaver's blog has a good page on internet guides to starting your family history, which you can find here.

The Whites pre 1800?

George White, the father of Jane White, was born in 1805 in either Tividale (Staffs), Oldbury (Staffs or Salop), or Rowley (Worcs) according to his various census entries. But as you can see from this page, this area has had a complex history with different parts belonging to, and being detached from, each of these counties at various times.

Searching the IGI for a baptism of George White between 1800 and 1810 in all three of these counties, produced this match:

George White, born 31/12/1804, baptised 10/2/1805 to Thomas and Elizabeth White, at Oldbury-by-Halesowen, Shropshire at the Presbyterian Church.

It is possible that this is the right George, however, it would be good to have other sources of evidence to confirm this. A younger sister to this George were also found at the same church - Hannah, born 5/9/1807, bapt 24/1/1808.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Whites 1800-1850

My grandfather's maternal grandparents were John Thomas Wilkes and Eliza Beatrice Evans. John Thomas Wilkes' mother was Susannah Baggott, whose father was Elijah Baggott, and mother Jane White.

I had found that Susannah's parents were called Elijah and Jane Baggott from the 1851-1871 censuses. I would ordinarily have to apply for the marriage certificate of Elijah and Jane, and the birth certificate of Susannah to follow this line. However, thanks to the work of another researcher, Peter Morgalla, I am able to find out a little about Jane. According to an IGI record, her maiden name was Jane White, and her parents are called George and Hannah White. I need to obtain the marriage certificate of Elijah Baggott and Jane White in 1851 to definitively confirm this.

In the 1851-1871 censuses, Susannah's birthplace varies between Rowley, Staffs and Tividale, Worcs. However, the two places are very close - both are sandwiched in between the triangle of Dudley, Tipton and Oldbury as can be seen from this map:

I was able to find George and Hannah White and family living in 1841 at 'Tividale', Rowley Regis, Staffordshire. George White is described as a boat loader.

In 1851, George White and family are living at Farley St., West Bromwich. George White is a a boatman for a coal mine. George White is described as being born in Oldbury, Staffs, while the other members of family are said to be born in Tividale, Staffs.

In 1861, George and Hannah White and family are living at Cop Hall, West Bromwich, and George White is a miner. George White is said to have been born in Oldbury, Salop, whereas the other children are born in Rowley, Staffs. There is also a Mary A. Baggott, a grand-daughter living here, born in West Bromwich. I presume this must be a second daughter to Elijah and Jane Baggott - who would have been born in 1853, in between Susannah Baggott (my ancestor) and Sarah Baggott.

In 1871, George and Hannah White and family are living in Farley St, West Bromwich, as they were in 1851. Enoch is the only child still living at home, and he and his parents are said to be born in Rowley, Worcs. Mary A. Baggott is still living with her grandparents, and is called a general domestic servant. George White is 66 and is a nightwatchman.

I cannot find George and Hannah White in the 1881 census, so I presume they must have died by this time. Enoch White got married to an Ann Holmes (I believe) by 1873.

See this page, for tenative evidence of George White's baptism and parents.