Tuesday 14th May - Harry HurstHere’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 - Jane and Richard Blundell from OrrellJane 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 …Saturday 16th March 2018 - Henry Grubb of LewishamSometimes you have to admit you’ve got it wrong! When I first started researching my family I identified my Henry Grubb born around 1764 in Kent as the son of Thomas Grubb and Hannah Willmott. Although he was born in Southwark, as he was aged 75 and living in Lewisham at the time of the 1841 census, I thought he had maybe forgotten his Surrey origins. Thomas Grubb was a biscuit baker (presumably hard tack not custard creams) who lived in Battle Bridge in St Olave’s parish. He married Hannah Wilmott in 1745 and they had two sons. Hannah must have died for he married another Hannah (Beaumont) in 1749, and they had a further ten or more children over the next twelve years, all baptised at St Olave. Puzzling over this rapid birth rate I discovered that the family went to the neighbouring parish of St Mary Magdalen in Bermondsey for their burials, and almost all their children died within a few months of their birth. This included their son Henry who was baptised on the 10th of May 1761 in St Olave and buried eleven days later at St Mary Magdalen. Continue to the Grubbs …Thursday 14th February 2018 - Charlotte Laird & Pearson BoydOn the 31st July 1859 Charlotte Laird gave birth to a son in Tunbridge Wells. When she registered his birth she gave him the name Pearson Boyd, and as is the way with illegitimate births he officially acquired her surname. He was baptised in Tunbridge Wells as Pearson William Laird on the 30th October that year, when his parents are said to be William and Charlotte Laird; I have a suspicion that Charlotte’s brother was standing in for the real and absent father. In the 1861 census the baby appears as William P. Laird, living in Martin’s Place, Basinghall Street, Tunbridge Wells, with his mother Charlotte, uncles William and Frederick Laird, and widowed grandmother Elizabeth, née Lawrence. Read more …Sunday 30th December 2018 - Harriet Eliza PaverIt’s taken a couple of years, but I have at last completed Harriet Eliza Paver’s story …Harriet Eliza Paver was born on 20th April 1855 at Beavor Lane in Hammersmith. Her family subsequently moved to Marshgate Lane, Stratford in Essex, and then to Rotherhithe. Harriet and her step-sister Emily Campleman spent most of the rest of their lives living and working in pubs, losing three husbands between them to possible alcohol poisoning. Harriet married three times: Alfred Jeffery in 1880, Charles Frederic Murray in 1884, and Frederick Riley Ingersoll in 1906, and had eight children, six of whom survived to adulthood. Harriet died in Lewisham in 1914, where some of her descendants were still living at least 50 years later.Read more …Sunday 7th October 2018 - Some descendants of Hannah CliffordHannah Clifford, who was born in Corsham in Wiltshire in 1784 was, as Ancestry puts it, the “2nd great-grandmother of husband of sister-in-law of great-aunt”, so not a particularly close connection! She does however lead into an interesting and somewhat complicated story involving railway navvies, Lambeth fishermen, Greenwich pensioners, multiple bigamies and even a music hall banjo player.Read more …Saturday 22nd September 2018 - George Watson Stacy Bush x 2It seems unlikely that two men who share the same combination of names as above would be unrelated but so far I can’t find a link between the two who both give this as their name in the 1911 census. Read more …Monday 17th September 2018 - The Reverend George AnguishThe Reverend George Anguish died on the 5th July 1843 aged 79. As the heir to the not inconsiderable Somerleyton estate in Suffolk most of his will with its three codicils is taken up with making sure it all passes safely to his nephew Lord Sidney Godolphin Osborne. However one section is taken up with the provision of £20,000 in trust to provide annuities for two women and their four children.Read more …Tuesday 28th August 2018 - John Robson - Coachman?Between June 1841 and March 1843 Susannah Divall had a relationship that culminated in the birth of Louisa Frances Robson at the end of December 1843 in Lewisham Village. Louisa was baptised on the 31st January 1844 and her birth was registered on the 8th February 1844. On Louisa’s baptism her parents are named as John and Susannah Rosina Robson, and Susannah, who registered the birth, names herself as Susannah Rosina Robson formerly Divall. On both occasions it says that Louisa’s father is John Robson, a coachman. Which is all perfectly as it should be, except that there does not appear to be any marriage for Susannah and John.Read more …Friday 13th July 2018 - What is it about men called Henry Armstrong? I was following up one Henry Armstrong who married into my Bradley family back in 1878. He was possibly born in Suffolk, and worked as a Coachman for a time. He married Jane Lewis two years after their first child was born, and two months before the next arrived. He was possibly strong-armed up the aisle - or to the Poplar Register Office - by her brother and sister. In the 1881 census he gives the wrong surname, and by about 1885 he vanishes, leaving Jane with five children, who all ended up in the Norwood Schools. Jane relied on the support of her sisters to keep herself out of the workhouse. The Henry Armstrong I think he probably was, was born near Stowmarket in 1854, and appears in the 1861 census as Harry, the son of James and Jane Armstrong, members of the family originally from Shelland. This Harry is not the one who went to Iowa, as some Ancestry family trees claim; that one was born in Australia, was back at a Reform School in north-east England in 1871, and working as coal-miner in Durham in 1881 before going to the States in 1882 where he continued his coal-mining. While he had two children born in the Sunderland registration district in 1880 and 1882 with the mother’s maiden name Parry, I can find no suitable marriage.So while looking at Armstrongs I thought I’d revisit others of that name in the family. This lot were descended from a family of Millwrights from Wooburn in Buckinghamshire. By the time we get to Henry John Armstrong, also known as John Armstrong, the family trade is plumbing. Thanks to the censuses we can see that he had children with two women (not at the same time!), the first called Elizabeth, and the second called Ellen. From the GRO online birth indexes their maiden names appear respectively as Freeman and Carter, unfortunately there don’t appear to be marriages listed for either of them.
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.