"Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Out of office

Probably Arboreal is currently sunning herself in Lanzarote. Normal blogging service will resume from Weds 6 June.
Happy Jubilee!
L x

Friday, 25 May 2012

U is for Unknown

For the letter U I give you my ‘Unknowns’.
These are, technically, the people for whom some or all of their name is listed as Unknown within my index up to my 5x great grandparents, which is the point to which I consistently have ‘placeholders’ set up (i.e. an index number is created for them even though I don’t have a name etc. for the individual yet).  This includes women who I only know their married name, and thus I have a Christian name for them but no surname yet.
There 157 unknowns in my direct line tree up to this point – quite a few then! Most of these occur in the 5x GG generation. I don’t know the names of 105 out of my 128 5x great grandparents). On the other hand, my earliest one occurs at the 2x GG generation (the mother of Walter Newby).
H ere I give you a quick list of some of my key Unknowns. If anybody can fill in the gaps, or suggest a way forward, please do!

1. The maiden name of James Green’s wife Esther
The Green family are to be found in the Forest of Green area of Gloucester. The issue is muddled somewhat by the existence of two James Green’s married to women named Esther, one of who is Esther Barlow. However, for various reasons, I’m reasonably sure that I am looking for the other Esther, for whom I can’t find a maiden name...

2. The family of Mary Ann Lumb, wife of Henry Hampshire
Mary Ann was born in 1830 in Flockton (Lepton?), and married Henry Hampshire in 1848. Unfortunately Lumb is quite a common name so I haven’t succeeded in identifying the family yet.

3. The parents of Phoebe Ann Hollyloke/Hollyboke/Hollyoke
Phoebe Ann was born in 1822. Her mother is called Sarah, but who was her father, and what is her mother’s maiden name?  

4. The mother of Mary Ann Birchall
Mary Ann’s father is John Birchall, musician, but he appears to have brought up Mary Ann (b. abt 1835) alone and as far as I can tell she is his only child, so no other children to work from and no further info on his family from which to identify his marriage...

5. The ancestry Richard Winter (b. 1834) and wife Sarah née Winter (b. 1839)
I haven’t yet been able to find out anything concrete about their parentage, and I’m intrigued as to whether there’s a pre-existing family relationship here...

Of course, there are 152 more, but these are just a selection of my ‘mysteries’. Any help or suggestions greatly appreciated, as always!

L x

Monday, 21 May 2012

T is for Tellick

I didn’t have much choice when it came to T. I’ve already discussed my Irish Thompsons, and the only other T in my family is Tellick – quite an unusual surname.  My Tellicks, and indeed the Tellick name in general, seem to be quite strongly based around Worthing in Sussex, in particular in the Broadwater area.
Fanny Tellick is a 3x great grandmother on my father’s side (my father’s mother’s mother’s father’s mother), the wife of William Kipping Hedgecock, whose paternal ancestry I wrote about in K is for Kipping.
Fanny was born in 1848 to parents Philip Tellick and Mary Ladd. They had married in 1839, and besides Fanny they had six known children: William James Tellick (b. 1840), Eliza Sarah Tellick (b. 1842), Philip Tellick (b. 1844), Mary Tellick (b. 1850), George Tellick (b. 1855) and Louisa Tellick (b. 1858).
Phillip Tellick was born in 1819. His father was one William Tellick, and his mother was named Sarah (maiden name unknown.)
I don’t know much more about my Tellicks unfortunately, and they are a branch that I have neglected for a while. As I’ve said before, this blogging process is great for reminding me of where more work is needed, and this is definitely one such case!
L x

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

S is for Semley

Semley is by far the most important S in my tree, though the recent discovery of the Sawkins line may change that, and there is of course the as-yet undeveloped Swift branch. We have come across the Semleys briefly in previous posts D is for Depledge and I is for Irish.
Sarah Ann Semley is my 3 x great grandmother (my father’s father’s mother’s father’s mother). She was born in 1844. In 1867 she married the Irish mason James Thompson.
Sarah Ann was the daughter of Thomas Semley and Mary Depledge. She was the eldest of eleven children: Mary Semley (b. 1846), Elizabeth Semley (b. 1848), Eliza Semley (b. 1850), Fanny Semley (b. 1855), John Semley (b. 1858), Martha Semley (b. 1860), Mary Semley (b. 1862), Thomas Semley (b. 1865), George Semley (b. 1868) and Annie Semley (b. 1870).
Thomas Semley and Mary Depledge were married on 4 September 1842 at St James church, Thornes, Wakefield. On their parish marriage record Thomas described himself as a farmer. His father’s name is given as George Semley, and he is also a farmer.
George was born in 1794 and married Ann Tummons. Besides Thomas they had eight other children: William Semley (b. 1817), John Semley (b. 1820), Joseph Semley (b. 1822), Edward Semley (b. 1824), Mary Semley (b. 1826), Henry Semley (b. 1829), Ann Semley (b. 1833) and Charles Semley (b. 1835).
The most interesting thing I have found relating to my Semley ancestors is a record from the spring court sessions held at Pontefract on 5 April 1858. The page gives the name of the accused, the offence for which they were tried, their sentence or whether they were discharged. Towards the bottom of a page of thirty names appear three Semleys: George, Ann and Sarah Ann. they were accused of larceny (i.e. theft), like the majority of those on the page. However, George and Sarah Ann are the only accused in the list to be found not guilty. Unfortunately Ann Semley was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison.

Without further information it is impossible to say how George and Ann fit into my tree – are these my 5x great grandparents, now in their sixties, or two of their children or grandchildren? However, I have found no evidence for the existence of a second Sarah Ann Semley in the area at this time, so there can be little doubt that Sarah Ann Semley, found not guilty, is my direct ancestor, aged just fourteen at the time.
I intend to explore particular story further, though how much more I will be able to uncover I have no idea...
L x

On the Newby conundrum

I interrupt this alphabet to bring you an update on the Newby conundrum (see: On the father of Walter Newby) I spent a bit of time this weekend attempting to track down Thomas Henry Newby and son Walter.
If you remember, my plan was as follows:
1. Identify probable deaths for Thomas Henry Newby ­– probably pre-1911, since there’s no sign on the census.
2. Find him on the 1901 census – with a bit of luck he’s already married!
3. From this, identify a likely birth for Walter based on location
4. Order birth certificate to find mother’s name.
5. Tie it all together by accounting for them on 1911 census.

So, I tried this and had absolutely no luck, falling at the first hurdle. It proved almost impossible to find a likely death – most seemed either far too old or far too young. So then I changed tack. Long story short, I tried a LOT of other searches: variations on Newby, variations on first names, other surnames where the rest of the info matched, possible children living in institutions/with single mothers/with other family...
I went down a few dead ends and was on the verge of giving up when I came up with a new plan: Search for other Newby children with the same father – Thomas Henry Newby, market gardener.
This threw up just one real possibility: Thomas Newby, born 1861. He lived with his wife Eliza Hawkesford in Tanshelf, Pontefract and worked as a gardener. The couple had two children Harriet Newby (b. 1889) and Stanley Newby (b. 1899). I was able to expand this family somewhat and establish that Thomas was the son of Thomas Prince Newby, born 1812 in Pontefract and his second wife Sarah A. (maiden name unknown). However, I found the family in 1911 and there was no sign of Walter, nor does it seem likely that Walter was born to Thomas and his wife, as the 1911 census tells us that they had five children, of whom only two are still living – Harriet and Stanley. I could only find the baptisms of these two living children to the couple, and nothing at all for Walter. Nor could I find a likely birth for Walter in the Pontefract area.
There is however a 1904 birth of Walter in Wakefield, which I had thought might possibly be the right one for my ancestor, though it is earlier than the birth given on the marriage certificate (late 1905–early 1906), and doesn’t tally with the death record I have identified (but not yet ordered, so unconfirmed). It is possible that Walter’s birth was recorded in Wakefield but not likely – Tanshelf births should have been registered at Pontefract, but perhaps he was not born in Tanshelf? I certainly can’t find another Walter Newby in the Wakefield area to whom it could be relevant, so I can’t discount it that way.
The other problem with the link between Thomas Newby of Tanshelf and Thomas Henry Newby father of Walter, is the absence of the second Christian name, Henry, in any of the records for the former so far. However, I haven’t managed to find a baptism record, which I think should show the full given name even if it was subsequently dropped by Thomas on other records. On the other hand, I have found a brother of Thomas Newby (another child of Thomas Prince, that is) who has the middle name Henry, so I’m not sure how likely it is that the same middle name has been reused within the family.
Also,  nowhere does Thomas of Tanshelf use the words market gardener to describe himself, always just gardener (and on one occasion simply ‘labourer’). This doesn’t so much imply someone growing and selling their own produce as someone employed to take care of gardens – a fundamental difference. However, I do need to check the occupation codes for the 1911 census to confirm this.
On the plus side, I know that Thomas of Tanshelf is dead before 1929, when Walter marries and declares his father Thomas Henry deceased. Thomas seems to be living on the marriage of his daughter in 1911 but dead by the marriage of his son in 1915. However, I haven’t yet found the death record (it’s on my to-do list).
I even surmised that perhaps Walter was the illegitimate son of Harriet Newby, later to be brought up by Thomas and wife as their own. However, I can’t find any evidence for this. If this was the case, where is Walter in 1911? With his father? If so, why doesn’t he remain there? Harriet marries a couple of months after the 1911 census, and I even went so far as to track down her husband to be and check his 1911 household for young Walter – no luck.
To be honest, my gut feeling is that Thomas Newby of Tanshelf isn’t Walter’s father. If he is, however, I strongly suspect that his wife Elizabeth is not Walter’s mother. Is Walter perhaps living elsewhere with his unmarried mother, under another name and unrecognised by his father? It’s one possibility, but it does feel a bit like I’m fitting my lack of info into a theory rather than a theory to the known facts, which is not ‘best practice’!
So what next?
I can of course continue to investigate Thomas of Tanshelf and family. If I can build up a fuller picture of the Tanshelf Newbys, this may turn up a possible candidate for Walter, perhaps living with extended family. On the other hand, I’m reluctant to spend too much time building up a picture of another set of irrelevant Newbys – I want to find the right one! Therefore I think I need to strongly focus on finding something to link Walter to this father before I start getting too involved in the tree.
As a first step, I may consider ordering the Wakefield birth record, just in case it does happen to shed some light on the matter. It might also be worth ordering the death certificate I’ve identified, to check that it is the correct one and thus confirm a more concrete age for Walter. Beyond that, I’m a bit stuck, unless I can track down a baptism for Walter, or indeed confirm that Thomas of Tanshelf was definitely Thomas Henry.
I mentioned the struggle on the phone to my mum, and she says she knows someone who may be able to help (apparently the Newbys are somehow distantly related to her hairdresser!) so when I’m back in Yorkshire this weekend I’m going to get this ladies details and give her a call. Hopefully she might be able to remember some more detail that my dad and his siblings don’t! I’m also going to take the opportunity to dig around in our photo albums and stuff, which I haven’t done in a long time.
I’m starting to think there’s something fishy going on here... who knows, maybe it will turn out that I’m not really a Newby after all!
L x

Monday, 14 May 2012

R is for Rayner

Rayner is really the only major R in my family tree. It occurs quite early on as the maiden name of my father’s mother, Fay Rayner – confusingly known as Pat in the family. She had a brother, Victor. Although both are dead, I’m conscious that they have rather a lot of direct family still living, so I’m not going to dwell too much on them here.
Fay and Victor were the children of Leslie Gordon Rayner and Victorine Hayward. I spoke a little about how they met and married in the post Fearless Females 2012: Meeting and marrying. Suffice to say that early in their married life the couple had relocated from East London/Essex to Wakefield for Les’s job, and Fay was born there in 1938.
Leslie was born in 1910, in Leytonstone, Essex, and was the youngest by some way of five brothers:  William Henry Rayner (b. 1897), Alec Maxted Rayner (b. 1894), Herbert Victor Rayner (b. 1897) and Edgar Stewart Rayner (b. 1900). Their parents were William Henry Rayner (sr) and Emma Winter. The couple seem to have married in 1889, so it struck me as rather strange that their first child was not born until eight years later.
It becomes apparent that the couple are living apart in 1891. Emma is at home with her parents in Surrey, while William Henry is (eventually!) to be found living in barracks at Isleworth (and claiming to be unmarried – but then all his fellow servicemen are too!) Presumably it was his military service that kept the couple apart and prevented them having children. I would like to find out more about this, but haven’t as yet.
Leslie’s older brothers, of course, were exactly the right age to have been called up during the First World War, and I have succeeded in tracking down some records for Alec Maxted on Ancestry. Alec joined the Royal Fusiliers in 1908, when he was apparently aged just fourteen. Later he married Kathleen Moran and had eight children, according to one of their grandchildren who contacted me via Ancestry.
Unfortunately, further information on Leslie’s other brothers has not been forthcoming.
 Their father William Henry Rayner was born in 1871 to parents William George Rayner and Ellen Sawkins. They had two other children that I know of: Leonard Rayner (b. 1872) and Arthur Rayner (b. 1875). Leonard married Mary Elizabeth Fenby in Islington in 1899. I have very little further information on Arthur at the moment.
There was an alternative possible marriage for William, to Ellenor Good, who could of course easily have been known as Ellen. However, this took place in Bethnal Green, whereas the marriage at St George, Hanover Square is more in keeping with the couple’s residence in 1871, also at St George, Hanover Square, and the registration of William Henry’s birth in Chelsea.
L x

Q is for Questions

Q was, unsurprisingly, a bit tricky, but here I present a list of the ten questions I would ask any of my ancestors if I could meet them.

1. What is your house like?
2. Which member(s) of your family are you closest to?
3. How did you meet your spouse?
4. What was your wedding like?
5. Are you religious?
6. What is your job like?
7. What do you do for pleasure?
8. Who are your friends?
9. What makes you laugh?
10. What is the best thing that has ever happened to you? And the worst?

These of course are the kinds of questions that family history can never satisfactorily answer. They are the things that would give a much clearer picture of the individual. I’d love to hear your suggestions...
L x

Friday, 11 May 2012

N is for Newby - update

Yesterday the marriage certificate for Walter Newby and Margaret Thompson arrived. It confirmed that the name of Walter’s father is Thomas Henry Newby, market gardener, and he is deceased by the time of the marriage in 1928.
As you know, I’ve been unable to locate Walter and family on the 1911 census. So I’ve formulated a new plan:
1. Identify probable deaths for Thomas Henry Newby ­– probably pre-1911, since there’s no sign on the census, but perhaps not.
2. Find him on the 1901 census – with a bit of luck he’s already married!
3. From this, identify a likely birth for Walter based on location
4. Order birth certificate to find mother’s name.
5. Tie it all together by accounting for them on 1911 census.
I can’t see a better way forward than this, but if anyone has any suggestions I’d be glad to hear them. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

P is for Phillipson

O is for Occupation is still a bit of a work in progress, I'm afraid, so I'm going to cheat slightly and skip ahead to P, otherwise we may be stuck for a while!
My chosen P is Phillipson, yet another batch of Horbury ancestors. They are particular favourites of mine as they represent some of my earliest known ancestors in my home town.
The Phillipsons begin with Sarah Phillipson, born 1837, my 3 x great grandmother (my mother’s mother’s mother’s father’s mother, to be precise). Sarah’s parents are John Phillipson (b.  abt 1815) and Hannah Wade (b. abt 1812). John was a woollen spinner – quelle surprise! I’ve talked a little bit about this family branch in the posts On James Wade, mason and On the Luddites.
Sarah is one of only four children – all daughters – as far as I can ascertain, which seems rather unusual for the time. Her three younger sisters are Mary Phillipson (b. 1840), Eliza Phillipson (b. 1844) and Caroline Phillipson (b. 1847). I know little of their later lives, except for Caroline who goes on to marry one Trayton Wheatley.
John Phillipson’s father is also John Phillipson (b. -?-), a weaver, and his mother is Isabella Allott (b. 1783) (see A is for Allott).  Their other known children are Sally Phillipson (b. 1803), Samuel Phillipson (b. 1810), Joshua Phillipson (b. 1813), Thomas Phillipson (b. 1817) and Mary Phillipson (b. 1822). Again, I know little about their lives beyond this as yet.
There is little else to tell of my Phillipson ancestors. One thing to note is the spelling of their name, which varies between one and two Ls. I decided on two Ls for my records, as it seems to be the most common of the two.
Frustratingly John Phillipson isn’t a particularly unusual name, so it does make getting much further back rather difficult without some more definite proof of where John (sr) was born, which I don’t have at the moment.
L x

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

N is for Newby (or it will be...)

Those of you who have read On the father of Walter Newby will know that my Newby line is a bit up in the air at the moment. I have ordered the marriage certificate for Walter Newby and Margaret Thompson, so I’ll do my proper N post on its arrival.
Now, if anyone has any ideas about alternative O topics for tomorrow, since I have no confirmed O names in my tree, please let me know!
L x

M is for May

The Ms in my tree are not in my direct line. However, I have done a bit of research into one of them – the May family. Mona Hall (b. 1885), one of the daughters of Matt Hall, married Stanley Arthur May in 1906.
I knew that Mona’s married name was May, and also that her son was called Errol. So, when I was first trying to get started with my Halls and struggling, I did invest a bit of time in the Mays. I discovered that both Mona and Stanley worked in the theatre industry, like many of the Halls.
Mona and Stanley had two children that I know of – Stanley Errol May (b.) and Monica Urania May (b. 1909) – I love the unusual middle name. Apparently Urania was the Greek muse of astronomy. Monica married Arthur Noakes in 1938. Stanley and Mona may also have had a son, James, born in Manchester in 1914.
Stanley Arthur May was born to James Millward May and Charlotte Caroline Wright in 1883. His four siblings were: James May (b.1867), Charlotte Clara Madeline May (b. 1868), b (b. 1871) and Katherine Helen May (b. 1875).
However, the Mays were not of a theatrical background. Stanley’s father was a ‘solicitor’s clerk’ in 1881. I can’t help but wonder what these presumably quite well-to-do parents made of their youngest son’s decision to go into the music halls?
L x