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”.

Calling all Growdens

Here’s a call to all members of the Growden / Growdon family to help us find links between our families.

If you go to the Growden discussion forum you can find a database where we are trying to collect Growden links.

If you have any Growdons or Growdens in your family, please try to enter at least one parent-child link in the database. If you don’t want to enter your own information there because of privacy concerns, please at least add some dead relatives.

Tim Growden, on the Growden Group on Facebook, recently asked: “Is there a chance that we could figure out some sort of family tree, i know my dad would appreciate it”.

Well, here is a way to figure out some sort of family tree — if every Growden/Growdon contributes to the database.

I’m doing a one-name study on Growden/Growdon, and I hope to link the major family branches together before I die.

You will have to join the forum before you can see the database or add to it. If you are already a member of the forum, you can see the database here.

FreeCen and researching Cornwall families

Thanks to the hard work of volunteer transcribers, the FreeCEN and FreeBMD web resources are a boon to people researching British genealogy.

Having another look at my Greenaway family from Cornwall, I decided to follow up some of the descendants of brothers and sisters of my ancestors, and FreeCEN made it easy.

FreeCEN means free census lookups and the volunteer transcribers are busy transcribing all the 19th century British censuses from 1841 to 1891.

In the case of Cornwall, the transcription is complete, and if you go to the FreeCEN site you can find charts that show what progress has been made on transcription for the various counties. You might even like to volunteer to transcribe some entries, and so help fellow genealogists.

Anyway, here’s what I did with the Greenaways yesterday. You might find this method useful in your own research.

My great great great grandparents were Richard Greenaway and Mary Michell. From the marriage register of St Breward, Cornwall, I knew that their daughter Mary Ann Greenaway married John Joel Wiliams on 27 December 1852.

So I went to the FreeCEN Search Page and entered just a few items:

Year: 1861
Surname: Williams
First names: Mary
Age or Birth Year: 1832 (with +/- 2 years)
Birth County: Cornwall
Census County: All Counties
Census Place: All places

After getting a list of possible hits, I chose the one born at St Breward, and clicked on “Household” to see who was there, and having noted the information, clicked on “Revise Query”, and changed the census year to 1871, 1881 and 1891.

In the space of about 40 minutes I had a picture of the family at ten-year intervals over a period of 40 years. I discovered the names and other information about their children – John George born on the Scilly Isles about 1857 (I’d never have thought to look there!), and Augusta, born at St Beward in 1861.

Before FreeCen I would have had to order a census microfilm from the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and travelled 70 km to Johannesburg to read it in the local library, and trawl through the whole film in the hope of finding the whole family. I might have managed to do that once a month or so, so it would have taken me 6 months or more to trawl through all the films for each census.

And if I had belonged to an earlier generation of family history researchers, I’d have had to travel to London to look at the original census records, and 30 years ago only the 1861 and 1871 ones woudl have been open for public viewing. Truly, this generation of researchers has never had it so good!

I did the same thing with the next generation. Mary Ann Williams’s brother was my great great grandfather Richard Greenaway who married Mary Ann Tilly (or Tilley).

Among their children was a Mary Jane who married Richard Pascoe, also at St Breward, in 1869. So there were only three censuses to look at, but following the same procedure, I’d found them all within about 20 minutes, and, again, new information: the names of their children.

  1. Edith, born at St Breward in 1871
  2. Martin, born at Barrow, Lancashire, in 1877
  3. George, born at Stoke Climsland, Cornwall, in 1882
  4. Richard, born at Budock, Cornwall, in 1885

Who says ancestors didn’t move around?

So my grateful thanks to all the volunteers who trasncribed the census records for FreeCEN. Even if I want to check the originals or the microfilms, just to make sure there are no transcription errors, I now know where to look.

Growdens in St Neot

I went to LDS Family History Centre in Parktown and looked at St Neot burial records. and found the deaths of Joseph and Elizabeth Growden (nee Cocker).

There were also several Growden children, I presume their grandchildren, who died in a typhus epidemic that struck St Neot around 1830. There was a dramatic increase in the number of burials in that year.

Linking the Growdens

I spent another few hours in the LDS family history centre in Johannesburg yesterday looking at marriage registers for St Neot, Cornwall.

I knew that some Growdens came from there through my third cousin once removed, Monica Louise Deragowski of New Orleans, USA.

When we started researching our family history we didn’t know anything about the Growdens (though ours all used the spelling Growdon) beyond the fact that my great grandfather William Matthew Growden came to the Cape Colony from Cornwall and worked on the railways, first as a platelayer, and then as a permanent way inspector.

I found some British phone books in the Durban public library, made a list of the Growdons in Cornwall and Devon, and wrote to them. I got a reply from a Mrs K. Growdon in Brixham, Devon, and she said that she had had a letter from Monica Louise Deragowski asking about the Growdon family. So I wrote to her, and we corresponded for about 15 years until she died in 1993. She had written to Growdons all over the world, and sent me some information from a Sylvia Reebel in Pennsylvania, who had traced her Growden ancestors to the St Neot and Warleggan parishes in Cornwall.

Sylvia Reebel was connected to them, but her family didn’t seem to be connected to ours. What was interesting was that they had the same names, almost.

On Sylvia Reebel’s side there was a William Growden who married Ann Cocker and had children

William born 1784
Joseph born 1789
Jane born 1790
Matthew born 1792
Elizabeth born 1795
John born 1797
Thomas born 1800

On our side there was William Growden who married Elizabeth Saundercock at Cardinham, and had children:

Jennifer born 1793
William born 1794 (Monica Deragowski’s great grandfather)
Joseph born 1796
Thomas born 1798
Matthew born 1800 (my great great grandfather)
Ann born 1802
Joanna born 1804
Jenifer born 1806
Elizabeth born 1807
John born 1811

The boys’ names match — there was

William, Joseph, Matthew, John and Thomas in one family
William, Joseph, Thomas, Matthew John in the other

There are similarities in the girls’ names too, though not as great. The similarity might, of course, indicate nothing more than that those were popular names at the time, but it could also indicate that they were family names perpetuated down the generations.

There might have been difficulty telling them apart in later life had the first lot not emigrated to Pennsylvania and married and died there.

What I’m trying to do is put all the Growdens and Growdons I find into one Growdon file, and gradually link them up. I’ve got a long way to go yet, but if we collect all the snippets of information together, eventually we might join together different parts of the jigsaw puzzle.

If you’re a Growden or a Growdon or have Growden relatives, please consider joining our Growden forum, and trying to make the links.

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