Family History - tales around the tree
© 2019 smhopkins. While every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information provided on this site is accurate, no guarantees for the currency or accuracy of information are made. If you do make use of any of the information here or have anything to add or correct, please let me know. sue [at]


Blundell - Wigan & Wirral Bradley - Suffolk & Essex Campleman - Hull & SE England Catt/Cattley - Kent & London Courtney - Wirral & Liverpool Cox - Dorset & Sussex Coyne - Ireland & Chester De Normanville - France, London & South Australia Divall - Sussex & Lewisham Greenway - Sussex & London Griesel - Germany, London & Essex Grubb - Lewisham Holbrook - London & Essex Hopkins - North Shields, Wirral & Liverpool Hurst - Hounslow & Rhyl Laird - Surrey & London Lovel - North Shields Milleman - Holland, Kent, London & USA Molnar - Hungary & London Morgan - Devon Murray - Kincardineshire, London & South Australia Paver - Hull & London Pearl - Suffolk & Essex Robson - Lewisham & London Skinner - Essex Smart - Essex, London, Canada & Seattle Starr - Norfolk & Westminster Still - Kent/Sussex, Essex Tales around the tree unrelated stories I’ve come across in the course of research and too good to ignore
Tuesday 19th November 2019- Shadrach Nash, Obadiah Cox and Robert Bastard Morgan There are only a couple of men called Obadiah Cox in the English records of the late 18th century, and only one in Sturminster Marshall in Dorset. This one had been baptised in Blandford Forum with a father called Daniel on the 3rd August 1754. By the 18th April 1786 he was working as a tailor in Sturminster Marshall when he married his first wife Christian Carter. They had two children, Daniel born in 1787 and Betty in 1791. Christian died in February 1792, and Obadiah married Ann Foot on the 17th December that same year. Ann brought her illegitimate daughter born in 1791 and also called Ann Foot into her new family, and had five children with Obadiah: Charlotte in 1793, William in 1795, Henrietta (or Harriet, who married Edmund Greenway) and Leah (presumably twins) in 1800, and Richard in 1807. This is turning into a long story - for a part of Leah’s story click here. Monday 23rd September 2019 - Honnor Gregory and a (probably) unrelated diversion … It’s been puzzling me for a while just where Honnor (or Honour, Hannor, Hanner) Gregory, Edmund Greenaway’s second wife, sprang from. They had a daughter born in 1867, and her birth registration gives the clue to Honnor’s maiden name; however I can’t trace a marriage for the couple, or them on the 1871 census. Subsequent censuses consistently show Honnor to have been born in about 1826 in Windsor. She doesn’t apparently appear in any earlier censuses and neither does there seem to be any baptism recorded under this name anywhere let alone Windsor. There was however an Edward Gregory baptised on the 6th June 1830 in Old Windsor to parents James and Mehetabel. So I thought I’d follow him up just on the off chance … James Gregory married Mehetabel Mitchell in Dogmersfield, Hampshire on the 22nd February 1814. She is of Farnham in Surrey, and her father is Richard Mitchell; she had been baptised in Frensham on the 11th May 1788. James and Mehetabel had five children: Harriet, Thomas, Frederick and Emma were all born in Brighton between 1816 and 1824; Thomas died there in 1820. Edward was born in Old Windsor in 1830 where James was killed in a tragic accident the following year. A report of the inquest in the Reading Mercury of the 20th June 1831 reveals that James died at Frogmore having been thrown from a gig whose driver was intoxicated, while James who was perfectly sober, was merely getting a lift home to Old Windsor. James is described as “one of His Majesty’s servants” so it would seem that the Gregorys moved to Windsor from Brighton as part of the household of William IV on his accession to the throne. James’s age on his burial is said to be 48, which would put his birth in about 1783, and his marriage at the age of 30. Mehetabel and the children returned to Brighton, and in 1836 Harriet married John George Tweedy, and they had a son, George John baptised there in 1837. With her son she appears in the 1841 census as a Female Servant in Brighton, and in 1851 she is a widow, still with her son, but now living in Westminster and working as an upholsteress. She returned to Brighton where she died in 1856. Her son was last recorded in Malta Dockyard when on the 4th February 1865 he signed a Civil Service proof of age declaration confirming his birth on the 15th January 1837 in Brighton. In 1841 Frederick was working as a Male Servant at the Albion Hotel in Brighton; he was still there in 1851 as a Waiter. By the early 1860s he was in Rockhampton in Queensland along with his brother Edward. Frederick put his hotel experience to good use in Australia and ran various establishments in the Rockhampton area, including Tattershall’s and the Old Hector before ending up at the Normanby Hotel where he died in 1881. He had a sideline training racehorses, which Edward helped with - it’s possible that the E. Gregory lodging in North Street, Midhurst in 1851, aged 25, born in Windsor, and a veterinary surgeon, is his brother. Edward Gregory died in Rockhampton in 1872 and doesn’t appear to have married. Frederick married Mary Ann Pohlmann sometime after the death of her first husband in 1872; she had four children from her first marriage, but none apparently with Frederick. Emma Gregory was working as a Maid to a dressmaker called Mehetable Dash in Brighton in 1841. She married Thomas Lye early in 1851 though they don’t seem to appear anywhere on the 1851 census. She next appears in the 1861 census as a widow and dressmaker living with her mother at 12 Richmond Hill, Brighton. In 1868 she married William Henry Bird at St Botolph’s in Bishopsgate, and by 1871 she was widowed again, living in Woodford, Essex, and working as a dressmaker. Mehetabel Gregory, a widow aged 60, in 1851 is a lodging house keeper at 6 Grenville Place, Brighton; she gives her birthplace as Godalming. Although she married Charles Card in 1857 in Brighton - when she states her age to be 60 - she still appears with the surname Gregory on the 1861 census: she is widowed again, as Charles died in 1859, but she gives her occupation as “formerly the Queen’s housemaid”. She probably made her way to London with her daughter Emma, for she died in 1868 and was buried on the 20th May in Victoria Park Cemetery, Hackney, when her address is given as 85 Langbourne Buildings, Shoreditch. None of this helps with Honnor Gregory. I had hoped to identify her as one of Mehetabel’s daughters, but the four children mentioned at his inquest can all be accounted for …. unless the newspaper got it wrong and there were five. On the censuses she appears in she is consistent with her age and place of birth, so it is unusual for her not to appear in any - even searching just by variants of her first name and place of birth - prior to her marriage. If she has made up an identity for herself she is to be congratulated on sticking to it! Tuesday 20th August 2019 - Long memories, family stories I came across a letter from a cousin sent in 2007 that said she had a vague childhood memory that Sir Isaac Newton was supposedly an ancestor “just a family myth I am sure”. As the gentleman in question was childless, it would have to be through his parents’ lines or his half-siblings, and these have been fairly well followed up. I have however found another connection. I spent a lot of time last year researching the Essex parish registers for my Skinner ancestors, hoping that William Skinner (1800-1864) was the brother of my 2xgreat grandfather John. As I have DNA matches with William’s descendants in the USA the link is now confirmed, and it is possible to trace the Skinner line right back to Diana (Dionisia) Symes who married Richard Lancaster in 1613 in Albury in Hertfordshire. Her second husband was John Hauksbee, Vicar of Earls Colne from 1615-1640, and she married him in about 1620. Her daughters, Mary and Margaret Lancaster, were joined by Richard, Ann, William and Sarah Hauksbee. Richard Hauksbee lived in Colchester and: ffrancis Hauksbe son of Richard Hauksbe of Colchester in the County of Essex Draper was on the ffourth day of December 1678 bound an apprentice to John Hauksby Citizen & Draper of London as appears by their books this being the 17th day of October 1712. John Hauksbee was Richard’s oldest son, and he also had a son called Francis. You can read about both Francis Hauksbees on Wikipedia: So I think that probably settles the Isaac Newton link. Or does it? In another part of the same family tree I have a Hannah Smyth. Now Hannah Ayscough (née Blythe), the mother of Isaac Newton, married as her second husband the Rev. Barnabas Smyth and they had a daughter Hannah … It’s unfortunate that the name is Smith or variants thereof! My Hannah Smyth married John Lillie, the vicar of Lamarsh, and son of John Lillie (1612-1678), Musician to the King, who for some reason is not recognised by Wikipedia, but who is worth googling. Tuesday 14th May 2019 - Harry Hurst Here’s another difficult Harry. This one married my aunt Dorothy by licence in Hounslow in 1917. The certificate shows him to be aged 25 and a soldier with the British Expeditionary Force in France; his father’s name is left blank. He survived the war and they continued to live in the Hounslow area, where they had three children. By the time of the electoral registers of the 1920s Harry had assumed the middle name Herbert. They lived in Midsummer Avenue until 1934, as neighbours to two of his sisters-in-law and their families. In 1935 they moved to Byron Avenue and Harry re-invented himself as Henry Thomas Hurst, and that is how he appears on the 1939 register at 58 Byron Avenue, Hounslow as an “Established Civil Servant HM Office of Works” born on the 12th of July 1892. During the Second World War they moved to North Wales and Harry died in Rhyl in 1947. His death was registered as Henry T. Hurst, but his burial was as Thomas Henry Hurst. Read more … Thursday 25th April 2019 - Jane and Richard Blundell from Orrell Jane Blundell, the Courtney matriarch, was born in Orrell in Lancashire on the 17th of May 1801. On her baptism at All Saints in Wigan on the 7th of June she is described as the daughter of Thomas Blundell of Orrell, a weaver and Molly his wife, the daughter of John and Nancy Burrows. Thomas and Mary appear to have moved to Neston on the Wirral with their children Richard and Jane by 1812. It is probably Mary buried in Neston on the 16th April that year, supposedly aged 62. Thomas, identified as a weaver, seems to have married again, to Catherine Thomas on the 31st May 1813, and they both make it onto the 1841 census where Thomas gives his occupation as Weaver, claims to be 90, and says he was not born in Cheshire. He died in 1842 and was buried in Neston on the 4th of March, aged 92. Catherine - or Kitty, as she appears in 1841 - died in 1846, and was buried on the 15th February, aged 79. I say “appear to have moved to Neston” because that explains how Richard and Jane both turn up in the area to get married: Jane on the 30th July 1821 at St John’s in Chester to Charles Warburton, a mariner, and Richard on the 12th January 1823 to Hannah Hampson in Neston. Read more …
With family members from most of the counties of England (also Scotland, Ireland and continental Europe, and probably Wales and the Isle of Man) this is a collection of stories about people whom I have found interesting. This page reflects my current research and the sidebar lists the main names already researched to a greater or lesser extent.