Sunday, February 25, 2007

Morris Hughes

My grandfather's great-grandfather was Morris Hughes who married and brought up his 9 children in Castleford, West Yorkshire. He is pictured here in about 1907 at a family wedding. I had found Morris in the 1891 and 1901 censuses where he was described as being a coal hewer or coalminer. I also knew that Morris married Mary Gray in Normanton in October 1881. His marriage certificate told me that his father was called David Hughes. However, Morris had not been born in Yorkshire but in Bilston in Staffordshire. I therefore set out to find out more about his earlier life.

A step-father - Charles Woolley
My first task was to find Morris Hughes in the 1881 census. I found him living in Whitwood, a suburb of Castleford where he was working as a coal miner. He is living with Charles Woolley his step-father, and his mother Jane. Charles is described as 'nearly blind' and is not working. Charles was one of the witnesses at Morris' wedding a few months later. Charles Woolley, like his step-son, was also born in Bilston, Staffordshire.

Morris Hughes' father David Hughes must have died before 1871, as during this year Morris is already living with Charles Woolley (b.1833) and his mother Jane (b.1827) at Court 10 House 3, Coseley Street, Bilston. Both Charles and Morris are described as coal miners. Also living with the family is another step-child of Charles, Morris' sister Harriett Hughes and an adopted child called Maria Morris who is only 1 year old. I have no further information about Maria Morris so I do not know what happened to her or why she was adopted.

I was able to find the marriage certificate of Charles Woolley and Jane Hughes. They married on July 25th 1866 at Trinity Church, Ettinghsall. Both Charles and Jane were widowed; Charles worked as a miner and Jane as a laundress. Charles' father was also named Charles Woolley, and Jane's father was David Lewis. The witnesses were John and Mary Ann Allen.

Morris Hughes' father - David Hughes
I was able to further deduced that Morris Hughes' father David Hughes would have died between 1861 and 1866, as I was able to find Morris Hughes living with his father in a private house on Wolverhampton Street, Bilston in the 1861 census. Morris is there with his elder sister Elizabeth, younger sister Harriett and younger brother John, all of whom were born in Bilston. David Hughes who was born in Bilston in around 1826 was working as a labourer in the iron works.

I was able to confirm this information and these relationships from the birth certificate of Morris Hughes. This stated that he was born on the 6th February 1856 at High Street, Bilston to David Hughes and Jane Hughes (nee Lewis). David's occupation is listed as a blast iron founder labourer.

David and Jane were also married and living in Bilston in 1851 at Black House yard. Also living with them is their two year old son David Hughes. As David does not appear in 1861, it is very possible that he died in infancy.

Finally, I was able to find the marriage certificate of David Hughes and Jane Lewis. The marriage took place at St. Mary's Church, Bilston, on Feb 12th 1849. David Hughes, 23, was described as a furnaceman, whereas Jane Lewis, 22, was of no occupation. Both were from Bilston and were previously unmarried. The witnesses were David Lewis and Elizabeth Lewis. This David Lewis may be the father of Jane Lewis, who is described on the certificate as a labourer, confirming what was stated on the certificate of Jane's second marriage. We also get to find out that David Hughes' father was Maurice Hughes (sic) - the inspiration for Morris Hughes' name is revealed.

Read this post to find out updated information about Morris Hughes's youngest daughter, Eveline Hughes, and extra pictures of Morris and his wife.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Hughes Clan


My maternal grandfather David Hughes (from now on I'll call David Hughes III) was born in Castleford in between the two world wars. Here he is pictured with my grandmother Doreen and my younger brother Daniel about 30 years ago!

My grandad David is the elder brother of Eric and Jack. Talking to my grandad I was able to find out initially a lot of information about the family. Their parents were Elsie Wilkes and David Hughes II. David Hughes II was born in Castleford on the 2nd June 1905. He died on the 13th February 1960. David II had a younger sister Mary born in 1907 and a younger brother Joe Hughes born on 31st May 1909 and who died on 14th December 1991. Joe Hughes married Amy Walsh and lived in Castleford. You can see an obituary for Amy Hughes here.

Also from my grandad I found out that his father's parents were called David Hughes I and Mary Garbutt, both of whom were born in Whitwood, near Castleford. My grandad also knew that David Hughes I was the eldest son and had a younger brother named Charles Hughes who had been in the army - see here for information about Charles.

David Hughes I of Castleford

Knowing the information that my grandad had given me, I found David (b.1882, Whitwood) and his brother Charles (b.1888, Castleford) in the 1901 census. Click here for a picture of David. They were living at 32 Nicholson
Street, with their parents Morris Hughes (b.1856, Bilston, Staffordshire) and Mary Hughes (b.1862, Cawood, Yorkshire). Both David and Morris are coal hewers, whereas Charles is noted as a trapper underground. Making up the family in the house are four sisters (Mary Ellen, Harriet, Elizabeth & Laura) and a younger brother named Morris after his father. Also living with the family is Thomas Gray who is described as a boarder (born 1879 Castleford) and who is working as a labourer above ground at the coal pit. Although Thomas is described as a lodger, I subsequently found out that he is the brother of Mary Hughes.

In 1891 the family are also living in Castleford at 24 Love Lane. From this census we also find two other children - Jane and another Morris, who must have died in infancy as Morris and Mary had another Morris by the time of the 1901 census. The 1891 census also listed Sarah Gray as living with the family as a domestic servant - she is also listed as the sister-in-law to Morris, confirming that Morris' wife Mary Hughes' maiden name was Gray.

The marriage of Morris Hughes
Having found out the names of Morris Hughes & Mary Gray I was able to obtain their marriage certificate:
  • On October 8th 1881, at the parish church of Normanton
  • Morris Hughes, aged 24, bachelor, miner, of Bensons' Lane, father Daivd Hughes a labourer
  • Mary Gray, aged 19, spinster, of Bensons' Lane, father Thomas Gray a labourer
  • Witnesses - Charles Woolley & Annie Clayton

My grandfather's great-grandparents were therefore married in 1881 in Normanton, West Yorkshire. Mary Gray was born in Cawood in between York and Leeds in Yorkshire, whereas Morris Hughes had come to Yorkshire earlier in his life having been born in Bilston, Staffordshire. In the next entry I shall discuss the earlier life of Morris Hughes.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Commonwealth War Graves

John Richard Goodall 1892 - 26/9/1916

In this previous post I wrote about the Goodall family of Castleford, where three brothers went off to serve in France in WW1. I said that I had no idea what happened to the brothers after they enlisted in 1915. However, after reading George G. Morgan's article in his Along Those Lines column - "In search of the Graves of our War Dead" - I decided to have a look in the Commonwealth War Graves database. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was established in 1917 to mark and maintain the graves of the war dead from Commonwealth countries.

I was amazed by the depth of the database and the extremely useful genealogical information that it contains for some of the entries. Searching for the three Goodall brothers, I only found an entry for John Richard Goodall - hopefully the other brothers survived.

Therefore less than one year after the triumphant news article in the local Castleford 'paper annou- ncing that three patriotic brothers had enlisted JR Goodall had died in France. It appears as if John Richard received a promotion prior to his death as he is recorded as being a Corporal.

He is buried in the Sains-en-Gohelle cemetery based in an old mining settlement (just like Castleford). It is 20km North of Arras and 10km West of Lens. It was started in April 1916 and men continued to be burried there until 1918. A total of 472 casualties are laid to rest, 257 from the UK, 214 from Canada, and 1 Australian.

The 10th batallion of the York & Lancaster regiment was formed in September 1914 in Pontrefract, West Yorkshire. I presume JR Goodall must have joined soon after this date if he was already in action in France in 1915. I have tried to find out information about which battle this batallion was fighting on the 26/9/1916 but have been unable to so far. It could well be the Battle of the Somme which lasted from June to November 1916.

The Commonwealth War Graves database is an excellent resource. In my family history I think I am unusual in having so few solider ancestors. Most of my relatives were in reserved occupations so did not serve overseas. Of those brothers and cousins who did serve, most came back. Nevertheless, the Commonwealth War Graves website is certainly deserving of our support for their excellent work.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Castleford Patriots - For King and Country

Over the next few posts I plan to write about my mother's father's paternal ancestry - the HUGHES family of Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Wales. I thought I would start this area by showing this news cutting from a local Castleford newspaper in 1915. This is an excellent piece of wartime propaganda cum celebration journalism about the local lads going off to war.

My 2xgreat grandfather was called David Hughes and he was born in 1882 in Whitwood, West Yorkshire. He was the eldest of 9 children, with one of his middle siblings being Charles Hughes who was born in 1888 also in Castleford. In 1910, Charles Hughes married Rachel Ann Goodall in the Pontefract district of Yorkshire - of which Castleford was a part (GRO: Jun 1910, Pontefract, 9c, 152). Rachel Ann Goodall was from a very large family.

In the 1901 census (pictured) she is aged 10 and is living with 7 brothers, 3 sisters and her parents George Goodall and Sarah C. Goodall. The family lived at 13 Mill Lane, Allerton Bywater, where George was a grocer shopkeeper.
Fourteen years after this census was taken, England was a very different place as many family members had to go to war:

Another patriotic Castleford family is that of Mrs Sarah C Goodall of 19 Beaucroft Road Castleford who has three sons and two sons-in-law in the Army. Lance-Corporal John Richard Goodall, of the Yorks and Lancashire Regt. is now at the front. Private Wilfred L. Goodall 12th Batt. K.O.Y.L.I. is still in England. Private Percy Goodall, K.O.Y.L.I., is also in training in England. Pte. J. B. Waring (son-in-law) of the R.A.M.C., has been in France for over 12 months; Sert. Charles Hughes another son-in-law is with the K.O.Y.L.I. still in England."

Click on the image for a higher resolution:

I know very little about Charles' time in the war, but I aim to follow up this research to find out more. I have been able to get his army draft registration card from the National Archives pictured here. He was a Sergeant in the K.O.Y.L.I. (King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantrymen). Please see this webpage for more information about this regiment. It appears as if the 12th battallion which Wilfred Goodall joined was formed in Leeds on the 5th September 1914 by the Yorkshire Coalowners Association. This battallion was known as the Miners Batt. It may also have been the one to which Charles belonged. Finally, I do not know anything about what happened to the Goodall brothers or their brother-in-law JB Waring. I really would like to find this out. (See here for update). I do know, however, that Charles died on the 11th May 1935. We believe that it was as a result of the accumulating effect of residual injuries that he sustained during the war.