2013 in review

The 2013 annual report for our family history blog. Many thanks to those who commented and helped with our family history research.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Ellwood anomalies

Ellwood anomalies

Having recently discovered a whole lot more Ellwood ancestors, there are also a lot more descendants that we may be related to, and one of the things that we have discovered is that a large number of online family trees have links to the wrong families, with children who died in infancy being shown as having long lines of descendants and so on. One of the great dangers of online family trees is that they seem to encourage cut-and-paste genealogy.

John Ellwood (1748-?)

John Ellwood was born in Alston, Cumberland, in about 1748, the son of Thomas and Mary Ellwood.

Some researchers show him as married to Mary Gibson born in 1748 in Moresby, Cumberland, and having seven children, born in Whitehaven. At some point in the late 18th century the family moved to Scotland, where some of the children married, and some of them emigrated with their spouses to the USA.

Other researchers show this same John Ellwood as married to Elizabeth Hogg, and having a completely different set of children.They can’t both be right.

Eleanor Ellwood and Thomas Jaques (or Jacques)

In 1850 a Thomas Jaques (or Jacques) married an Eleanor Ellwood in Whitehaven, Cumberland.

Quite a number of online trees show Eleanor (born 1829) as the daughter of Robert Ellwood and Martha Saxton (or Saxon).

Now Robert Ellwood and Martha Saxon did indeed have a daughter Eleanor, but she was born in 1822, not 1829, and she probably died young. The Eleanor Ellwood who married Thomas Jaques in 1850 was probably born in 1829, but the one who was born in 1829 was the daughter of William and Ann Ellwood, and not the daughter of Robert and Martha.

We’ve looked at lots of online trees with Eleanor in them, in the hope that some researcher has found the antecedents of William and Ann Ellwood, to see if they link into the same Ellwood family somewhere, but so far we haven’t found any. Most of them have opted for the bogus link to Robert and Martha.

Incidentally, there was another Eleanor Ellwood, born in 1821, the daughter of Thomas and Sarah Ellwood, who married Richard Herring in 1846 and had descendants, but nobody seems to be interested in her, and she doesn’t seem to feature in anyone’s online tree.

So if you have Ellwood ancestors and are interesting in meeting cousins and other Ellwood researchers, please have a look at the Ellwood family forum. There you can share information and ask for help with research problems and so on, and perhaps we can resolve some of these anomalies if we work together.

 

The mysterious Bessie Bagot

Bessie Bagot, aged 21

For the past few days I’ve been trying to find out more about Bessie Bagot and her relatives.

In the 1861 Census of Chorlton-upon-Medlock in Lancashire, England, she is shown, aged 5, staying with her cousins John and Mary Worrall.

That means she was born about 1856.

Mary Worrall’s maiden name was Cottam, and her mother was Margaret Bagot, born in 1811. So Margaret Bagot must have been Bessie’s aunt, and since Bessie was a lot younger than her married cousin Mary Worrall, her father must have been one of Margaret’s younger brothers. None of the census records, however, give a clue to Bessie’s parentage. She was brought up by other relatives — uncles, aunts and cousins.

The 1881 Census is no more helpful. Bessie was then about 25, and it was a couple of years after the photo was taken.

Dwelling: 20 Gloucester Rd
Census Place: Birkdale, Lancashire, England
Source: FHL Film 1341896     PRO Ref RG11    Piece 3746    Folio 40    Page 46
Household:
Marr Age   Sex    Birthplace
Robert RICHMOND
U    55    Male   Lancaster, Lancashire, England
Rel: Head
Occ: Annuitant
Margaret RICHMOND
U    58    Female Lancaster, Lancashire, England
Rel: Sister
Occ: Annuitant
Betty A. BAGOT
U    62    Female Lancaster, Lancashire, England
Rel: Cousin
Occ: Annuitant
Bessie BAGOT
U    25    Female Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Rel: Niece
Occ: Annuitant
Elizabeth MASON
U    20    Female Carlisle
Rel: Serv
Occ: Gen Serv.”

The “Betty A. Bagot” is probably Betsey Alice Bagot, a younger sister of Margaret Cottam (nee Bagot). So that would make Bessie Betsy’s niece in the strict sense of the word, as the daughter of a sibling. But which sibling?

There is a Robert Bagot born in 1814, and a Thomas born in 1821. Neither of them appears in the 1881 Census. Thomas appears in 1861, as a widower, a painter, living in Chorlton, not far from the Worralls, where Bessie is staying. That makes sense. He can’t look after an infant daughter while he’s out working all day, so let his niece, Mary Worrall, married with no kids, look after her.

And then the Worralls start having children of their own and move to London, which would be too far away for Thomas to see her regularly, so he asks his unmarried sister Betsy to look after young Bessie.

Betsy is living with unmarried cousins Robert and Margaret Richmond, and that seems to be a long-term arrangement, at least as far as Robert was concerned, and young Bessie seems to have been brought up by them after the Worralls moved to London.

This was confirmed by Robert Jordan, a descendant of Bessie, who had a copy of her baptism entry at St Peter’s Church, Liverpool, where she was baptised on 15 September 1864, and her parents are recorded as Thomas and Ann Bagot.

But that raises some more questions: Bessie was in fact born in Liverpool, but she never grew up there. In 1861 she was living at Chorlton, in 1881 she was at Birkdale, near Southport, both quite some distance from Liverpool. So why did someone, presumably her aunt Betsy Alice Bagot, take her all the way to Liverpool to be baptised at the age of 8?

Anyway, Betsy was married in 1890, at the age of 33, to James Smith Breeze, and they had two children, James Hedley Breeze and Robert Bagot Breeze. The Breeze brothers married two Taylor sisters. James Hedley Breeze’s only child died young, but Robert Bagot Breeze has several descendants, among them Robert Jordan, who helped unravel some of the mystery, but also to deepen some of it. Among other information he sent a transcription of a gravestone, which confirms a lot of the above:

In Loving Memory of Robert Richmond who died 29 October 1895 aged 70 years. “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty.” Isaiah XXXIII 17. Also of Betsy Alice Bagot who fell asleep at Birkdale 6th July 1905 in her 88th year. “In my father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you.” St. John XIV 2. Also of James Smith Breeze born 15th of June 1858. Fell asleep 25th of August 1916. [Biblical quotation is illegible].

Betsy Bagot and Robert Richmond were related, but how?

Robert Richmond was born about 1825, and there was a Robert born around then who had a sister Margaret, children of Thomas and Alice Richmond. In 1851 Robert was staying with an uncle Henry Richmond. But which one of Robert’s uncles or aunts married a Bagot, or, possibly, a Mashiter? Or was his mother Alice possibly a Mashiter or a Bagot?

Just to confuse things still further, there is another Robert Richmond, born about 1833.  His sister Betsy Richmond married John Cottam in 1852, and that John Cottam was the brother of Richard Cottam who married Margaret Bagot, the sister of Betsy Alice Bagot who lived with her cousin Robert Richmond. And there is the possibility that one or both of the Roberts’ middle name was Casson.

If anyone can help us to find our way through tat tangled web, please join us on the Bagot Forum!

 

More Cottams in Lancashire

When we first started researching our family history 35 years ago, we made rapid progress. Every couple of months we discovered an earlier generation on one or other branch of the family. But then we got stuck. And so it was with the Cottam family. But now we have discovered two new generations going backin as many months. First was my great great great grandfather Richard Cottam — I discovered his parents, John and Mary Cottam, of Oxcliffe Hall in the village of Heaton with Oxcliffe near Lancaster, as described here.

Yesterday Rick Cowey, of the Cottam Connections mailing list, sent me a copy of the 1851 census page for Oxcliffe Hall, showing that John Cottam was born in Kellet in Lancashire. I’d already copied records from the Cottams there (in the parish of Bolton-le-Sands), thanks to the hard work of the Lancashire Online Parish Clerks (OPCs), and so once the link was clear, bang, instant family. John Cottam was clearly the son of Thomas and Isabella Cottam

Baptism: 27 Jul 1777 Holy Trinity, Bolton le Sands, Lancashire, England
John Cottam – Son of Thomas Cottam & Isabel
Abode: N Kellet
Register: Baptisms 1737 – 1812, Page 42, Entry 16
Source: LDS Film 1849647

and it looks as though the Henry Cottam, also found in Heaton with Oxcliffe, who married Alice Edmundson, was probably John’s brother:

Baptism: 7 May 1775 Holy Trinity, Bolton le Sands, Lancashire, England
Henry Cottom – Son of Thos Cottom & [Isabel]
Abode: Nether Kellet
Register: Baptisms 1737 – 1812, Page 39, Entry 19
Source: LDS Film 1849647

Unfortunately Henry decided to annoy future generations of the family by inconsiderately dying in 1848, before the 1851 census, so it isn’t possible to confirm this, but it seems likely.

Then yesterday I went to the Mormon family history library in Johannesburg and looked at the films for Overton, and especially for the period 1800-1812, looking for the baptism of an Isabella Cottam. I had one who had died young — born in 1809, daughter of Henry and Alice Cottam, and she died in 1818 at the age of 9. But there was another one who married a John Bagot, who was a brother of the Margaret Bagot who married Richard Cottam, my ggg grandfather.

There were two films, one the actual register of St Helen’s, Overton, and the other a copy that was sent to St Mary’s, Lancaster, of which St Helen’s was a chapelry, so I compared both. The copy had an Elizabeth Cottam at about the right period , daughter of John and Margaret Cottam, coming immediately after an Isabella Mashiter. I checked the original and found that it was what I was looking for — Isabella Cottam, daughter of John and Mary, only it was very faint, so I had missed it the first time.

So a Cottam brother and sister had married a Bagot brother and sister.

So two Cottam family mysteries were solved on the same day.

Of course it also produces more mysteries. Just as Cottam families suddenly appeared in Heaton-with-Oxcliffe towards the end of the 18th century — and we now know they came from Kellet — so they suddenly appeard in the parish of Bolton-le-Sands in the middle of the 18th century, and apparently came from somewhere else. That’s the thing about family history. You never finish.

Computer tools for genealogists

This looks as though it will be a useful research tool for those who have British ancestry: Connected Histories: Sources for Building British History, 1500-1900 | Institute of Historical Research:

the project will create a search facility that adapts to each resource (depending on whether and how the data is tagged, and on the text structure) to allow searching across the full range of chosen sources for names, places, and dates, as well as keywords and phrases. Background information about the search results will be delivered to the end user, and a facility to save and export search results for further analysis will also be provided. An online collaborative workspace will allow users to document connections between sources. The search facility will be expandable as new digital resources become available.

New Growden marriage discovery

I’ve found a possible marriage in FreeBMD for Elizabeth Ann Growden (RIN 3976), my great-grandfather’s older sister.

Marriages Mar 1869   (>99%)
GROWDEN     Elizabeth Ann          Bodmin     5c    122
Kendall           Nicholas Dunn     Bodmin     5c    122
PARSONS     Elizabeth                Bodmin     5c    122
Sturtridge          Thomas                Bodmin     5c    122

It seems to be confirmed by FreeCen 1871:

Piece: RG10/2268 Place: Mevagissey -Cornwall Enumeration District: 1
Civil Parish: Mevagissey Ecclesiastical Parish: -
Folio: 13 Page: 18 Schedule: 105

Where her age fits with Elizabeth Ann Growden (b. 1849)

They are in the 1871 Census as Kendall, but in the 1881 Census the spelling is Kendle, which appears to be an enumerator’s or transcriber’s mistake. I could find no trace of them in the 1891 census — perhaps they had moved away, or it hasn’t been fully transcribed yet.

My great-grandfather, William Matthew Growden (he later used the spelling Growdon, as did all his South African descendants) came to the Cape Colony in about 1876 to build the railway line from East London  to the interior.

At the time of the 1861 Census he was living at 3 Higher Bore Street, Bodmin, aged 10, with his father Matthew, aged 61, his mother Christiana, aged 51, his step-brother Thomas Pope, aged 23, his sister Elizabeth Ann (12), and brothers Mark (7) and Simeon (5).

Higher Bore Street, Bodmin, Cornwall (Photo taken 5 May 2005).

His brother Simeon died a couple of years later at the age of 8, and Mark died at the age of 28, within a few months of his marriage to Elizabeth Dymond. So I didn’t expect to find any relatives from that generation, so it was quite exciting to find a possible marriage for great-grand aunt Elizabeth Ann, and they appear to have had four children by the 1881 census, so there are possibly more third cousins just waiting to be discovered!

Not far from Higher Bore Street is Scarlett’s Well, where the family lived at the 1851 census, and I can imagine the children playing in these leafy lanes after school, or helping their father gather wood (which, as a woodman, was how he earned his living).

ScarWell

Near Scarlett's Well, Bodmin

Sandercock family forum

We started the Sandercock/Saundercock family history forum for people of Sandercock descent in October, and by the end of the month we have had some very useful discussuions.

Several members have been helped to make new family connections, or to solve mysteries with existing connections.

There are now 15 members, representing several different branches of the Sandercock families.

If you haven’t yet joined, please respond to this invitation to do so, and pass on the invitation to others who may be interested. The forum is open to anyone with the name of Sandercock, Saundercock and vatiants, or who is descended from Sandercocks, or married to someone descended from them.

To join, just send an e-mail message to:

sandercock-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

or visit the web page for the group at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sandercock/

Group Email Addresses
Post message: sandercock@yahoogroups.com
Subscribe: sandercock-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Unsubscribe: sandercock-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
List owner: sandercock-owner@yahoogroups.com

The Sandercock family seems to have originated on the Cornwall-Devon border in south-western England, and have spread from there down and around Bodmin Moor. Some of the towns where the family has been established are St Gennys, Poundstock, and Jacobstow in north-eastern Cornwall; Altarnun, Launceston and neighbouring towns in Eastern Cornwall; Cardinham, Braddock, St Tudy and St Teeth on the south and west of Bodmin Moor, and various towns across the border in Devon.

Sander is said to be a nickname for Alexander, and so Sandercock probably originated as meaning “son of Alexander” — Sanderson is another name with a similar derivation. We hope by pooling our resouces, to track the various families back to the original hypothetical Alexander, though of course there is always the possibility that there were several unrelated ones whose children were given the epithet Sandercock.

Tombstone Tuesday: Greenaway in St Breward

Though our Greenaway family lived at St Breward in Cornwall (and in nearby Blisland), we are not sure of the link between this George Greenaway and our family.

Grave of George Greenaway in St Breward Churchyard

Grave of George Greenaway in St Breward Churchyard

We are not sure whoch of two George Greenaways this one might be, because there were at least two George Greenaways born around 1834.

One was born at Cardinham, son of Thomas Greenaway and Elizabeth Pearse, married Mary Jane and had nine children, the youngest, Horace Oscar Greenaway, being born at St Breward shortly after this George Greenaway died, so that makes it seem likely that his father is the one buried here.

The other George Greenaway was also born at Cardinham, the son of George Greenaway and Marianne Matthews, and is related to us (the elder George Greenaway was born at St Breward too), though we don’t know who this George Greenaway married, or where he lived. He was the right age ot have died in 1883, but the other George seems more likely to be the one buried in the grave.

Does anyone have any more information about these families?

Tombstone Tuesday: Greenaways in Blisland

William Ead Greenaway

William Ead Greenaway

Our Greenaway family came from Blisland and St Breward in Cornwall, England, so when we visited Cornwall on 5 May 2005 we took photos of any Greenaway tombstones we saw, whether or not we knew if they were related.

This one was in Blisland churchyard. We don’t know if William Ead Greenaway was related to us… yet. But if anyone who was related to him sees this, please get in touch!

My great great grandfather was Richard Greenaway, born in Blisland in 1817. He married Mary Ann Tilly (or Tilley) in St Breward in 1842 and they had seven children, two of whom are known to have died young.

Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth Greenaway (1842-1927), married William Matthew Growden, and they came to the Cape Colony in the mid-1870s. Elizabeth’s younger brother William Greenaway (1848-1912) also came to South Africa.

Blisland Church, 5 May 2005

Blisland Church, 5 May 2005

We do know a little more about William Ead Greenaway, though. From the parish registers we know that he married Bessie Long on 11 June 1898, and that his father was George Greenaway, and they were both teenagers when they married.

In an earlier period the parish priest appears to have had the fixed idea that Greenaway should be spelt “Greenway”, and entered their names in the register with that spelling, even though, when they could write, they signed the register as “Greenaway”.

Greenaway and Michell additions

I was looking in search engines for the Greenaway family and came across a new cousin, I think.

My 3 great grandparents were Richard Greenaway and Mary Michell, who lived on Bodmin Moor (mostly in the adjacent villages of Blisland and St Breward). So when I came across a web site that had both names, I looked more closely, and found that Muriel Trendell was indeed researching the same families as me, and had taken my family tree back a could of generations back on the Michell side, adding Lego and Gelly branches to my family tree, which I had not known about before.

That was quite exciting, and finding new cousins is always interesting. But some family mysteries remain.

Muriel’s web side shows a Caroline Greenaway, born 1814, as a daughter of Richard Greenaway and Mary Michell. There is a Caroline, aged 26, staying with the Greenaway family in St Breward in the 1841 census. That census unfortunately does not show relationships in the household, but it looks as though she was more likely to have been a niece or some other relation. There was also a baby, apparently hers, named Reynold Greenaway. The only likely candidate on Free BMD seems to be a William Reginald Renney Greenaway, born at about the right time.

In the same census and in the same household there are a Thomas, aged 12, and a George, aged 6. Trying to find their families in subsequent censuses and other records is not easy, however. It appears that there were two Thomases born in St Breward about the right time, neither of whom was baptised there.

Anyway, if anyone is interested in these families, and trying to solve some of these mysteries, please get in touch.

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