Friday, 18 March 2016

Piecing it all Together - A Family Story Part 1

Original post published 13th February 2014 on my blog

Much of the pleasure many family historians get when researching their family is from using detective skills to discover the truth.
We gather the information and piece it together so that using the genealogical proof standards we can say that given all this evidence this is what I believe to be the conclusion.

I have one part of my husband's tree which has and still is proving difficult to  establish.
My husband's paternal gt grandmother died in Lincolnshire in the late 1960's at the age of 90.
On her death certificate the place of birth had been changed, from Gunby, Lincolnshire where she died, to Aldershot and her maiden name was recorded as Clark. This information came from her unmarried son who lived with her.

Her marriage certificate recorded her name as Elizabeth Agnes Clarke and her father as George Augustus Clarke whose occupation was Army Pensioner. The witnesses were Frederick Agustus Clarke, Samuel Gadsby, Jane Emma Gadsby and Ruth Avendar. Three of these were obviously relatives but what about the fourth one with a somewhat unusual surname.

I thought nothing more about a possible connection to the family maybe she was a friend or cousin.
Next to find Elizabeth on the 1901 census, she had married in 1900 and was found with her husband and eldest son and her birthplace recorded as Hants Farnboro. 

Farnborough is on the Hampshire/Surrey border near Aldershot which is known for its connection to the British Army and fits with information found on the death and marriage certificate. Both places are in the Hartley Wintney registration district and I found a birth registration for her and the copy birth certificate was obtained.

The date of birth matched that given on the death certificate and the parents were George and Elizabeth Clarke late Perry formerly Flowers.
The index to the 1881 census was available on the Family search website and I found the family living in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Elizabeth had 2 older siblings Frederick and Rebecca the eldest age 5. 

This indicated a marriage 6 years earlier or possibly longer all the children were born in Farnboro so this was the first place to search for the parents marriage. George was recorded as being born in Ireland and his wife Elizabeth in Marston, Lincs.

Their marriage had taken place in Farnborough and the church record is now available on the Ancestry website. 

The copy marriage certificate which tallies with the church record indicates that both George and Elizabeth were widowed her surname at marriage was Perrey and their fathers were William Clarke Pensioner and William Flowers Labourer respectively. Ages were not recorded but both stated they were of full age.

So far things are straightforward. It was relatively easy to pick up Elizabeth on the earlier census with her parents. She is recorded in the 1851 census as Eliza Flowers living in Marston, Lincolnshire.

The marriage to George took place in 1874 so I needed to find her in the 1861 and 1871 census.
I also needed to find her marriage to the first husband a Mr Perry/Perrey.
Who was George Clarke's deceased wife?
Were there any children from the previous marriages?
There were no older children on the 1881 census what had happened to any children from previous marriages?
It may have been at this point that I made contact with a fellow researcher. She is a distant cousin, a descendant of William Flowers by a brother of Eliza/ Elizabeth. She sent me a skeleton tree that she had built of the family and I set out to confirm what she had sent was correct.
At the time I was doing this research there were much less digital records available online and I had limited time to make research trips.
I shall continue this in my next blog post.

A Letter from Mother at Christmas

Original post published 28th December 2013 on my blog

I am fortunate to have in my personal collection a letter written by my great grandmother it was written on Christmas Eve and my grandfather would not have received it for several days at least.
As you can see it was sent to Portugal and it is likely that he would have read it after the Andes returned from its Argentine trip on the way home. see

The above image is of the accompanying envelope with a postmark dated 25 Dec 27
It is addressed to Mr A Buckle Deck Dept, R.M.S.P Andes, ℅ Messrs James Rawes & Co, Rna Bernardino Costa 47, Lisbon Portugal.
The letter transcribes as
437 High Street Bitterne
My dear Albert just a few lines to you hope you are well we are well. but Len and me have been home all the week with a bad chill and bad throat.  we have had it very cold. now it is dirty and wet. I am writing this on Christmas Eve.
I am in doors all by myself. I have been to town in the afternoon and had a look round I was glad to get back for the town was crowded so I am having a quiet evening to my self Queen and Bet came down today they are all right but Queen have had a bad eye wee had a letter from Nelly to night. She says she is awful busy at the shop. I hope you will have a nice Christmas I expect we shall be Quiet on our own.
Charlie and Edie are still courting strong well now my dear I shall have to draw to a close with best love from Dad and Len to I must wish you a happy new year hope to see you soon so good bye love from your mother

Across the Sea at Christmas

Original post published 28th December 2013 on my blog

As we celebrate Christmas this year I want to think about those who cannot be with their family for whatever reason and those who are without the 21st century comforts.
The weather in recent days has left many in the UK without power and at risk of flooding. We also hear that others have suffered due to an Ice Storm in parts of the US and Canada.
Christmas day was much calmer we could even see the sun.
There are other reasons why we may not have spent Christmas with our loved ones and the same reasons may have been true for our Ancestors.

I have previously mentioned that my grandfather was in the Merchant Marine. see some family connections to the sea

These are images of a book in my possession which details information regarding my grandfather's voyages to the Argentine in the 1920s.
It is also a great source for a physical description of him.
He married in 1924 but as can be seen from the dates he was away from home at Christmas and I am sure he would have been missing his family.

For more information on the Andes below are a few links I have found.

Please see my post A Letter from Mother at Christmas.

Bread - The Everyday Staple

Original post published 28th November 2013 on my blog


The above picture is from the book Yesterday's Warminster  by Danny Howell. I was fortunate to obtain a copy of this book which is now out of print.
Now what, I hear you ask, does the above picture have to do with the title of this post.
The person on the far right of this picture was Walter John Compton b 1 July 1891 and he was employed by the Warminster Co-op.
From page 54-55 of the book "At the back of the Market Place store, the Co-op had its own bakehouse, where Harry Barber began working in 1910 when he was 16. He recalled 'Work started at 4 am, baking 40 or 50 loaves at a time and also cakes in two coke ovens, which we filled from the back. We did this over and over again until dinner time, and in the afternoon I pushed a barrow along Portway, Church Street and West Street, selling bread at twopence-halfpenny a loaf. I then went home for a couple of hours until 7.30 pm, when I returned to the bakery to make the dough for the next day. We were really working about 16 hours a day, from four in the morning until nine or ten o'clock at night. The bakery staff also included Albert Hinton, Walter Compton,Vic Oram and Jack Turner. After baking in the morning, Walter and Vic went out in the afternoon with the horse-drawn vans, delivering bread, and it was nothing for them to go out again at 6 pm, taking bread to the villages like Corton, Codford, Corsley and Crockerton in the evenings'. 

The picture below, also in this book, shows the bakery

These pictures must have been taken prior to WW1 as Walter Compton, like many young men, joined up at Devizes in August 1914. He was discharged in November the same year. I have however found a pension record for him. He was a victim of the flu epidemic. 

Later in the same book there is mention of a family Mr and Mrs Roland Curtis who had 22 children, 3 of whom died. There is quite a long piece about the family who made the newspapers.
I will not repeat it all here but Mrs Curtis is quoted as having said"it really does seem as if the bread alone takes up all the money coming in.Three gallon loaves every day! We use up 18 shillings of flour every week. We make the dough ourselves in a tin bath but we send it to the bakehouse to be baked and that costs 2s 6d a week. There's a quarter of a pound of tea every day and one pound of sugar and 1 5d a week for the baby's milk. Most of the tea and sugar is used before six in the morning". 
For this family bread and tea were the staple diet but for them there was no alternative in the early twentieth century before the days of the welfare state you had to survive on what you could afford.

Walter Compton was my mother's uncle and I was not aware of him until I started doing my research. Roland Curtis was Walter's half uncle. When Walter died he left behind a wife and 2 children and another on the way. Times were hard for many after WW1 but both these families will have relied heavily on that staple and versatile ingredient BREAD.

Some Family Connections to the Sea

Original post published 16 July 2011 on my blog

Having been born and living in a major port you would expect to find some connection with the sea in the occupations of your family.

My grandfather and my father's younger brother however both made a career in the maritime industry as did one of his son in law's.
I have been fortunate to have all of my uncle's discharge books and a book of my grandfather's used when he entered Argentina in the 1920's as a merchant seaman on the Royal Mail Steam Packet service.
My Uncle worked on the great Cunard liners and I have found him on a number of passenger lists travelling between New York and Southampton. I also have a number of photographs of him taken with other members of the crew and some of the passengers he served as a steward.

My maternal grandfather had a more shortlived connection with the sea as he served on HMS Amphirite (see photo) during WW1.
His step grandfather and fathers half brother also had connections to the sea. His grandmother's husband was a fisherman and his son has been found in Cornwall, Sussex and the Isle of Wight on census night with occupation of mercantile mariner.
I have found the following website useful for researching my family in Southampton. There are also sites for some of the other major UK ports which may be useful for others wanting background information on the lives of this maritime ports.

I have recently found a naval record for my maternal grandfather so I will be adding another blog post to update this story.

The First Captain of the Titanic - Herbert James Haddock

Original post published 27th January 2010 on my blog

The wife and children of Herbert James Haddock

Lieut Geoffrey Haddock
24th Batln Victoria Rifles
2nd Canadian Division
Killed in action at Courcelette France Spt 17th 1916

Mabel Eliza Bouchette

Herbert James Haddock and Mabel Eliza nee Bouchette

My gt grandmother lived in Bitterne Southampton and these are photographs passed down to me.
She worked for the family probably helping with the upkeep of the family home.

To find out more about this family see my public tree at

Ronald Ross

Original post published 17th May 2009 on my blog

The following article was sent to me by a relation of mine who is related to this person. I decided to post this as this person was the answer to a question in the Radio Times and the name struck a chord with me. I should have known the answer but I didn't twig that this was the same person.

Ronald Ross
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1902

Ronald Ross was born on May 13, 1857, as the son of Sir C.C.G. Ross, a General in the English army. He commenced the study of medicine at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London in 1875; entered the Indian Medical Service in 1881. He commenced the study of malaria in 1892. In 1894 he determined to make an experimental investigation in India of the hypothesis of Laveran and Manson that mosquitoes are connected with the propagation of the disease. After two and a half years' failure, Ross succeeded in demonstrating the life-cycle of the parasites of malaria in mosquitoes, thus establishing the hypothesis of Laveran and Manson. In 1899 he joined the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine under the direction of Sir Alfred Jones. He was immediately sent to West Africa to continue his investigations, and there he found the species of mosquitoes which convey the deadly African fever. Since then the School has been unremitting in its efforts to improve health, and especially to reduce the malaria in West Africa. Ross' researches have been confirmed and assisted by many distinguished authorities, especially by Koch, Daniels, Bignami, Celli, Christophers, Stephens, Annett, Austen, Ruge, Ziemann, and many others.

In 1901 Ross was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and also a Fellow of the Royal Society, of which he became Vice-President from 1911 to 1913. In 1902 he was appointed a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of Bath by His Majesty the King of Great Britain. In 1911 he was elevated to the rank of Knight Commander of the same Order. In Belgium, he was made an Officer in the Order of Leopold II.

In 1902 a movement was set on foot to commemorate the valuable services rendered to the School of Tropical Medicine by its originator and Chairman, Sir Alfred Jones, by founding a Chair of Tropical Medicine in University College to be connected with the School. The movement was met with enthusiastic support, and an amount of money was quickly collected sufficient to found «Sir Alfred Jones' Chair of Tropical Medicine». Ross was appointed to the Professorship in 1902 and retained the Chair until 1912, when he left Liverpool, and was appointed Physician for Tropical Diseases at Kings College Hospital, London, a post which he held together with the Chair of Tropical Sanitation in Liverpool. He remained in these posts until 1917, when he was appointed Consultant in Malariology to the War Office, his service in this capacity, and in special connection with epidemic malaria then occurring on combatant troops, being recognized by his elevation to the rank of Knight Commander, St. Michael and St. George, in 1918. He was later appointed Consultant in Malaria to the Ministry of Pensions. In 1926 he assumed the post of Director in Chief of the Ross Institute and Hospital of Tropical Diseases and Hygiene, which had been created by admirers of his work, and he remained in this position until his death. He was also a President of the Society of Tropical Medicine. His Memoirs (London, 1923) were «inscribed to the people of Sweden and the memory of Alfred Nobel».

During this active career, Ross' interest lay mainly in the initiation of measures for the prevention of malaria in different countries of the world. He carried out surveys and initiated schemes in many places, including West Africa, the Suez Canal zone, Greece, Mauritius, Cyprus, and in the areas affected by the 1914-1918 war. He also initiated organizations, which have proved to be well established, for the prevention of malaria within the planting industries of India and Ceylon. He made many contributions to the epidemiology of malaria and to methods of its survey and assessment, but perhaps his greatest was the development of mathematical models for the study of its epidemiology, initiated in his report on Mauritius in 1908, elaborated in his Prevention of Malaria in 1911 and further elaborated in a more generalized form in scientific papers published by the Royal Society in 1915 and 1916. These papers represented a profound mathematical interest which was not confined to epidemiology, but led him to make material contributions to both pure and applied mathematics. Those related to «pathometry» are best known and, 40 years later, constitute the basis of much of the epidemiological understanding of insect-borne diseases.

Through these works Ross continued his great contribution in the form of the discovery of the transmission of malaria by the mosquito, but he also found time and mental energy for many other pursuits, being poet, playwright, writer and painter. Particularly, his poetic works gained him wide acclamation which was independent of his medical and mathematical standing.

He received many honours in addition to the Nobel Prize, and was given Honorary Membership of learned societies of most countries of Europe, and of many other continents. He got an honorary M.D. degree in Stockholm in 1910 at the centenary celebration of the Caroline Institute. Whilst his vivacity and single-minded search for truth caused friction with some people, he enjoyed a vast circle of friends in Europe, Asia and America who respected him for his personality as well as for his genius.

Ross married Rosa Bessie Bloxam in 1889. They had two sons, Ronald and Charles, and two daughters, Dorothy and Sylvia. His wife died in 1931, Ross survived her until a year later, when he died after a long illness, at the Ross Institute, London, on September 16, 1932.