Three Agnes Ellwoods: Tombstone Tuesday

Anout four years ago someone sent us a descendant chart showing the descendants of Edmund Ellwood (1700-1789) and his wife Elizabeth Robinson (1700-?) of Dufton, Westmorland, England. It actually went back a few generations to an earlier Edmund, but the main descendants shown were those of Edmund and Elizabeth. It is mainly a list of names, with a few dates, but no places indicated.

Unfortunately we don’t seem to have kept a record of who sent it to us, but we were told that it originated with a Peter Ellwood, whom we haven’t managed to make contact with.

Since retiring last March, Val has been working her way through it, trying to flesh out the outline with dates, names and places, and trying to prove the various links. In the course of doing this she has discovered several errors and omissions in the list, and also several errors and omissions in various online family trees.

She has mainly been working on the descendants of Edmund and Elizabeth’s eldest son Samuel Ellwood (1726-1796), who married Hannah Barrow at Cartmel in Lancashire in 1752. Samuel was a shoemaker, as were some of his descendants. Samuel & Hannah’s eldest son John seems to have gone back to Wesmorland for a wife, and married Jane Coulthred at Underbarrow in Westmorland, and they then had four children at Cartmell in Lancashire, but we have only been able to trace the descendants of one of them, Timothy Ellwood (1769-1867), who married Mary Withers in 1801. We are not absolutely sure of these links, but on a balance of probabilities they seem to be correct. If anyone has any better information about any of them, please let us know.

Timothy and Mary had 12 children, and it is mainly their descendants that we have been trying to follow.

The two eldest sons, John and Thomas, each had a daughter Agnes Ellwood, and each Agnes married in the 1850s, and emigrated to the USA soon afterwards.

Gravestone of John Turner and Agnes Ellwood in Towanda, Kansas, USA

Gravestone of John Turner and Agnes Ellwood in Towanda, Kansas, USA

We’ve been able to find out what happened to these descendants mainly through the very useful Find-a-Grave web site. Agnes Ellwood (1831-1908), daughter of Thomas Ellwood and Elizabeth Taylor, married John Turner in 1852, and emigrated to the USA in about 1857, living first in Illonois, and then in Towanda, Kansas. You can find their details on the Find-a-Grave site here. They seem to have several children, some of whom are also buried in the same cemetery, and they can also be found on the Find-a-Grave site.

Agnes Turner had a cousin, 15 months younger, Agnes Ellwood (1833-1896), the daughter of John Ellwood and Agnes Harrison, who married John Jackson Tallon in 1855, and almost immediately afterwards emigrated to Illinois in the USA. Unlike the Turner family, the Tallons seem to have stayed in Illinois a while longer, at least long enough for Agnes to be buried there. And again, Find-a-Grave comes up with the most useful information.

It was at this point that we discovered a lot of online family trees for Agnes Ellwood Tallon, on the soon-to-be-closed Mundia site (no links, as they won’t work after September). And every one that we looked at linked to the wrong Agnes!

They all linked to a third, unrelated Agnes, the daughter of John Ellwood and Mary Shepherd, who was born about 1835 in Oddendale, Westmorland, England. The “real” Agnes Ellwood married John Tallon in 1855, and was living in Illinois in 1860. In the 1861 English census the “false” Agnes Ellwood was still unmarried, still living with her parents, working as a dairymaid. In 1868 she married James Coulthwaite in Casterton, Westmorland, and they had a son John Henry Coulthwaite, who had a large family, and his mother Agnes was still living with them on the farm in Westmorland in 1911.

The Ellwood family seems to be a good one for showing the danger of online family trees, and of copying them without checking. We gave another example of this in our blog post on Jane Ellwood and the perils of online family trees.

Gravestone of Agnes Ellwood who married John Jackson Tallon. Hieronymus Cemetery, Armington, Illinois, USA

Gravestone of Agnes Ellwood who married John Jackson Tallon. Hieronymus Cemetery, Armington, Illinois, USA

But the truth about the “real” Agnes Ellwood who married John Jackson Tallon was there on her gravestone all along. She was born in 1833, not 1835, and so is much more likely to be the Agnes Ellwood, daughter of John Ellwood and Agnes Harrison, who was baptised in Colton, Lancashire on 10 February 1833 than she is to be the Agnes Ellwood who was born in Oddendale and baptised on 14 June 1835 in Crosby Ravensworth, Westmorland, daughter of John Ellwood and Mary Shepherd.

We have gathered quite a lot of information on this branch of the Ellwood family, and would gladly share it with other researchers, as a lot of other researchers have helped us. If you would like to have more information please ask, letting us know how you are linked to this family. Unfortunately, while there are many helpful family historians out there who are willing to exchange information, there are also a few “data leeches” who take whatever they can get and give nothing, so we will only give full information to those who can demonstrate their own link to the family. You can ask either in the comments, or on the Ellwood family forum here, or by using the form below:

 

We’ve been busy

We haven’t reported much here for a while, but it’s not for lack of research. We’ve actually been busier on family history research in the last couple of months than we have for a long time.

Val has been going through a family tree on the Ellwood family that someone sent us a while back, trying to verify and extend the descendant lines, mainly from Samuel Ellwood, son of Edmund Ellwood and Elizabeth Robinson of Westmorland, England. Samuels descendants seemed to live mainly in the Cartmel area of Lancashire, and spread out from there.

I’ve been chasing up some loose ends on the Cottam and Bagot families of Lancashire and will write more when I’ve checked some of the them.

A couple of Ellwood mysteries

One of the long-standing mysteries in our research into the Ellwood family history is the appearance of a Mary Ann Disno in the 1881 Census of Whitehaven, Cumberland.

She is shown as staying with John Ellwood (1819-1892) and Ann his wife, and is listed as their niece, aged 23, and born in Liverpool. Presumably one of her parents was a brother of sister of John or Ann Ellwood, or possibly even of John Ellwood’s first wife, Bridget Anderson (1819-1876). But Mary Ann Disno seems to come out of nowhere. There is no mention of such a person in the 1861 or 1871 censuses. So who was she, and who were here parents?

We can only conclude that her name was misspelt in 1881, and was actually something else. Someone pointed to a Mary Ann Dyson, born in Liverpool in 1857. Perhaps she could fit. Her parents seem to have been William Westword Dyson and Mary Ann Ellis, but it seems unlikely that they would connect with Ellwoods in Whitehaven. They seem to have been Roman Catholics, and John Ellwood’s second wife Ann was a Primitive Methodist, and seems to have converted him to that faith. Back in those days Roman Catholics and Primitive Methodists had little in common.

And then there is John Ellwood’s second wife herself. Who was she?

We haven’t been able to find a likely marriage of John Ellwood to an Ann after the death of Bridget in 1876 and before the census in 1881. Someone drew our attention to an Ann Kidd who married a John Ellwood in that period at Ulverstone, but we know about her, and she seems to have married a different John Ellwood closer to her own age. And even the first wife, Bridget Anderson, is something of a mystery. We have her birth date from family Bibles, and we have her father’s name from her marriage certificate when she married John Ellwood in 1839. But there is no record of a baptism for her, and we don’t know the names of her mother of any of her siblings, so that is no help in solving the mystery of Mary Ann Disno either.

So there are three mystery people linked to John Ellwood
  • Bridget Anderson, his first wife, born 19 Nov 1819 in Whitehaven
  • Ann, his second wife, born about 1824 in Hensingham, maiden name unknown
  • Mary Ann Disno, niece of one of them, born in Liverpool about 1857

Tombstone Tuesday: Pearson of Whitehaven

This Tombstone Tuesday I’m adding some pictures of tombstones of the Pearson and Ellwood families of Whitehaven, Cumberland. They relate to the Pearson and Ellwood families featured in the post immediately below this one.

Gravestone of Daniel William Pearson and Sarah Jane Walker in Whitehaven Cemetery

Daniel William Pearson (1855-1929) and his wife Sarah Jane Walker (1857-1959) are buried in Whitehaven Cemetery, Ward 1, Section O.

They were Val’s maternal great-grandparents.

Daniel William Pearson was the son of William Pearson, a butcher of Whitehaven, and his wife Sarah Johnson, who was born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

Sarah Jane Walker was born in Sylecroft, Whicham, in the south of Cumberland, and was the daughter of William Walker, a spirit merchant of Sylecroft, and his wife Agnes Duke, who was born in Ulverston, Lancashire (which is now part of the new county of Cumbria.

Daniel William Pearson started is career as a butcher, like his father, and then became Whitehaven’s Sanitary Inspector and Inspector of Nuisances (lovely title, that!) Two of ths brothers, Charles and Henry, were Anglican clergymen, while another brother, John Johnson Pearson, was an apothecary of sorts, and wrote books about his travels in the Middle East.

M Ellwood grave

Gravestone of Margaret Pearson (nee Ellwood), in Whitehaven, Cumberland, England

Our second tombstone is of Margaret Pearson, the daughter-in-law of Daniel William and Sarah Jane Pearson.

Ernest Pearson (1892-1975) was a plumber and electrician of Whitehaven, and married Margaret Ellwood (1892-1958), the daughter of Thomas Ellwood and Mary Carr.

They had three sons, Gilbert, Ralph and John, and a daughter, Edith Margaret Pearson.

The Pearson and Ellwood families of Whitehaven

In the early 20th century three members of an Ellwood family from Whitehaven, Cumberland married three members of a Pearson family from the same town.

We’ve been scanning old photos, and it is good to have them in electronic format, so that they are less likely to fade and be damaged. But in electronic photos it is not possible to have the stories written on the back of those photos, so this blog post is really to help preserve the stories of the photos. In our family we call them “whozit” photos, because when we look at them everyone says “Whozit? Whozit?” And when the back of the photo just says “William” or “Henry” or “Uncle Joe”, I think many people will forget whose uncle Joe it was.

The Pearsons

Charles Pearson, a shoemaker of Whitehaven, born about 1768, married Ann Gatey in 1799, and they had several children.

One of their younger sons, William Pearson (1820-1895), became a butcher, and married Sarah Johnson (1819-1894) in 1845. Sarah Johnson was born in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, which is quite a long way from Whitehaven, so one of the mysteries of the family history is how they met.

They had six children, two girls and four boys. Two of the sons, Charles and Henry, became Anglican priests, and Charles was a pioneer missionary in Uganda, travelling up the Nile to reach that country. A third son, John Johnson Pearson, was a mysterious character, and we are not sure what happened to him. He travelled quite a bit in India and the Middle East, and was a keen supporter of the British Israelite movement, and wrote books on that topic.

The remaining son, Daniel William Pearson, was prosaic by comparison with his brothers. He followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a butcher, and spent most of his life in Whitehaven, and ended up by becoming the town sanitary inspector and inspector of nuisances.

The eldest daughter, Margaret, married Thomas Binks Cooper, who died young, and their daughter Sarah Johnson Cooper was brought up by her grandparents, and married Charles Stewart, a railway engine driver from London.

The youngest child, Sarah Johnson Pearson, married Joseph William Peile, and they had several children.

Daniel William Pearson

Daniel William Pearson (1855-1929) was the stay-at-home Pearson brother. In 1883 he married Sarah Jane Walker (1857-1929) and they had nine children, eight boys and one girl.

  1. William Walker Pearson (1883-1956)
  2. Edith Pearson (1885-1956)
  3. Henry Pearson (1886-1905)
  4. Charles Pearson (1888-1967)
  5. Frank Pearson (1890-1974)
  6. Ernest Pearson (1892-1975)
  7. Gilbert Pearson (1894-1969)
  8. John Pearson (1895-1918)
  9. Victor Octavious Pearson (1897-1971)

Children of Daniel William Pearson & Sarah Jane Walker, about 1902: William, Edith, Henry, Charles, Frank, Ernest, Gilbert, John, Victor

Henry died within a couple of years of these picture being taken, and so these are the only pictures we have of the whole family together.

The Pearson family about 1902. Back: Edith, Henry, William. Middle: Frank, Charles (kneeling), Daniel William, Sarah, Ernest. Front: Victor, John, Gilbert.

William, the eldest, was the first to leave home. After working for a shipping firm in Whitehaven, he applied for a job in the Port Captain’s Office in Durban, Natal, and emigrated there about 1909. His fiancée, Martha Ellwood, joined him there, and they were married at St John’s Church, Pinetown, in 1913.

With William overseas, and Henry dead, another picture was taken of the remaining six brothers in Easter 1913.

John, the second youngest, worked for Whittle & Co in Whitehaven, and in the First World War he joined the Border Regiment, and was killed in France in May 1918.

Charles worked for the Bell Telephone Company in Whitehaven, and then for its successors, GPO telephones which became British Telecom. He married Dorothy Roff in 1926 and they lived in Wragby Road, Lincoln.

3 Pearson brothers in Easter 1913: Back: Gilbert, Frank, Ernest. Front: John, Victor (on ground), Charlie.

Frank Pearson served in the army in the 1914-1918 War. He was Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Egremont, near Whitehaven. He married May Dobbins and they had two children, Janet and Anthony. May was said to go off her nut occasionally, and their son Anthony, who never married, seemed to be eccentric, to say the least, but probably harmless. When we asked him about the mysterious John Johnson Pearson, he told us that he had taught at the Sorbonne in Paris, and had a harem of Sikh ladies, and one of their sons was Joseph Stalin. In addition he (Anthony) had invented a wave-actuated boat, which was stolen by the Norwegians). Janet married twice, first to Thomas Birkbeck the headmaster of the Cleator Moor School, and secondly to John Sharp. There were no children of either marriage.

Ernest was originally an acetylene welder at Lowca Engineering Works, near Whitehaven. He served in the 1914-1918 war in the Royal flying Corps (Service No 163675) at Halton, Bucks and at Blandford, Devon. In 1916 he married Margaret Ellwood, the sister of Martha Ellwood who had married his edler brother William. In about 1923 the Lowca Engineering Works closed down, and Ernest went to work for his brother-in-law’s company, John Ellwood & Co as a plumber and electrician, and remained there for the rest of his working life.

Gilbert trained as a watchmaker and jeweller. He served in the Black Watch Regiment in the First World War. After the war he started his own business as a watchmaker and jeweller in King Street, Whitehaven. He married Maud Dixon, and they had two daughters, Joan and Barbara.

Victor worked for Pattinson’s Flour Mill in Whitehaven. After his parents died he lived until his marriage (in 1929) with his brother Ernest Pearson. He married a niece of Ernest’s wife Margaret, and so became the third Pearson brother to marry into the Ellwood family. After their marriage they lived with Edith’s parents, John and Kate Ellwood, and then at Henry Street, and finally at Loop Road (South), Whitehaven. They had no children.

Martha Ellwood and William Walker Pearson about the time of their marriage at Pinetown, Natal, in November 1913

In the meantime the eldest brother, William, and his wife Martha (nee Ellwood) lived in Pinetown, and later in Durban. She had their wedding pictures printed on postcards, and wrote to the family. One of the cards, dated 23 Dec 1913, and sent to her brother John and his wife Kate, read

My Dear John & Kate,

It is rather late but we wish you every good wish for the New Year. We are getting a bit more settled down now & I like Pinetown well, it is a fine life. You will have heard all about our house etc. from Senhouse Street. Tell Edith I see plenty of “niggers” but am not a bit frightened of them.[1] How is May tell her to write & tell me all the news. It’s not a bit like Xmas to me, it is so hot today. Love to all from us both.

Your loving sister Mattie.

In 1915 William and Mattie’s first child was born, William Ellwood Pearson, known as Billy, followed by twins Mary (Mollie) and Arthur in 1918, but Arthur died young. Another daughter, Dorothy, was born in 1923, but before she arrived Mattie travelled back to Whitehaven in 1921, to see her family, and the children were able to meet their cousins for the first time.

Billy was 6 years old, and Mollie 3, when they met their double first cousins, Gilbert (4) and Ralph (nearly 2). They travelled by ship from Durban in January 1921, and the voyage lasted about three weeks. Martha and William met their brothers and sisters again, but John Pearson, William’s younger brother, had been killed in the First World War.

Pearson double first cousins, 1921. Molly Pearson (3), Billy Pearson (6), Gilbert Pearson (4), Ralph Pearson (nearly 2).

Gilbert and Ralph Pearson were the children of William Walker Pearson’s brother Ernest, and Martha’s sister Margaret.

There were also plenty of other cousins to meet.

There were also plenty of other cousins to meet. William Ellwood Pearson’s sister Edith had married David James Elson, and they lived in Liverpool. Their daughter Marjorie Pearson Elston was born in 1917, and was 5 when the South African cousins came visiting. Her brother Gerald was born in 1922. In 1939 Marjorie Elston herself married a South African, the Revd Terry Blake, a Congregational Minster, and her mother Edith went to live with them in South Africa when David Elston died. The Blakes had four sons and two daughters.

Another family with several links was the Nicholsons.

Samuel Nicholson and Isabella Frears had several children, who of whom married into the Ellwood family. Their daughter Catherine (Kate) married John Ellwood, and had two daughters: Mary Isabella Carr (May) Ellwood who married John Kelly and went to Canada; and Edith, who, as we have seen, married Victor Pearson, The son, Isaac Nicholson, married Elizabeth Renney Ellwood, and had two children, Doris and John Nicholson.

John Nicholson, Martha and Billy Pearson, Elizabeth Nicholson, May Addison, Ernest Pearson (holding Ralph, who is partly obscured), Maggie Pearson, Doris Nicholson, Grandmother Nicholson (Isabella Frears), and in front, Mollie, Billy and Gilbert Pearson.

This picture has four Ellwood sisters: Martha who married William Pearson, Elizabeth who married Isaac Nicholson, May who married Jonathan Addison, and Maggie who married Ernest Pearson.

John Ellwood Nicholson was about 14 when the picture was taken. He later became a draughtsman, and lived in Barrow in Furness. Isaac Nicholson, his father, was an iron moulder.

Mary (May) Ellwood married Jonathan Addison and from about 1910 they lived in Belfast, Ireland, where their two youngest children were born. They had seven children, three girls and four boys. One of the girls (not in the picture), Bessie, who later married Len Jupp, became legendary, at least in the South African branch of the family as the one who won a pissing contest with her brothers. The oldest, Mary Addison, married John Hayes and they lived in Belfast. They had no children. We wrote to them a few times before they died in the late 1970s, and those were the times of troubles in Norther Ireland, and on one occasion John Hayes wrote “Tempus fungus – times are rotten.” The second, Thomas Alexander Addison, emigrated to the USA in 1930, and married Elli Link from Latvia. Jack Addison married Mary Brown. Arthur married Margaret Hills. Ada married William McAlpine, and their daughter married Norman Little and livers in Canada, while their son Roderick married Margaret Banyard in Birmingham and lived in Suffolk.

Martha (Mattie) and Margaret (Maggie) Ellwood, two Ellwood sisters who married Pearson brothers.

Ernest and Maggie Pearson had two more children after Gilbert and Ralph in the picture – John (born 1923) and Edith (born 1929). Gilbert was killed in the Second World War in Burma, as a result of an accident when an ammunition lorry was being unloaded. Ralph served in the air force in the Second World War, mainly in personnel management, and at one point visited Durban, and made contact with his cousins there. After the war worked for NAAFI, which ran recreational services for the British armed forces, which meant they led a somewhat wandering life. He married Jean Mary Bearn and they had three children, Joseph, Susan and Gordon. When we became interested in the family history after we were married in 1974, Ralph was one of the people we wrote to, and he got interested, and did a lot of research, collecting a great deal of information, especially on Charles William Pearson, the missionary. He died in January 1996, just before Val won a ticket to see the cup final between Manchester United and Liverpool, but while she was there she visited Jean Pearson, and met their daughter Susan, whose son Kevin is the same age as our Jethro, and both being crazy about cars, they wrote to each other and swapped video tapes.

John, the third child of Ernest and Maggie, married Nora Lees, and we had quite a lot of correspondence with Nora, who wrote wonderfully informative letters, not only about the family history, but also current news about the family, and happenings in Whitehaven. In 2005 we visited her in Whitehaven (John had unfortunately died by then), and also met their daughters Maxine Wincott and Zania McKenzie, who were living in Edinburgh.

Edith Pearson married Ted Worsley and they had two children, Michael and Caroline, and lived in Northumberland.

Doris Nicholson married Reynolds (Rennie) Bonnington, a photographer, and they had a son Ian.

To be continued, as there are more photos of the Ellwood and Pearson families. Other members of the family may have copies of these photos, so we hope these stories will help, and if there are other stories, please tell them in the comments.


[1] Edith was Mattie Pearson’s niece Edith Ellwood, then 12 years old, who later married William Pearson’s brother Victor. May was Edith’s older sister, then aged 19. Senhouse street was the home of the Ellwood family.

2011 in retrospect

During the second half of 2011 we concentrated mainly on the Ellwood family of Cumbria in our research. We found a link to Bruce Morrison’s online family tree, which took our Ellwood family several generations back to Dufton in Westmorland, England, which enabled us to also link up to several other Ellwood families we had previously thought were unlinked. We started an Ellwood family history forum in July, and by the end of the year it had 19 members, most of them known to be related.

In May we went on holiday to the Western Cape, and visited several relations on the way, mostly of the Growdon and Hannan families. In the first part of the year we were mainly working on the Bagot and Cottam families, from Lancashire in England, and also started a Bagot family forum.

We’ve seen a gradual greowth in the number of visitors to our Family Wiki, but still practically no interaction, which is the main purpose of a Wiki — a collaborative effort at building up a family history, but apart from us, only one other person contributed to it in 2011.

Perhaps one of the problems is that most of the visitors seem to have come from the USA, though the families we are researching are mainly in the UK, South Africa, Germany and Australia.

Another historical project that Steve, in particular, has been involved in is a mailing list on the history of the Anglican Church in Namibia. Steve worked in the Anglican Church in Namibia from 1969 to 1972, and had been in touch with some other people who had worked there in the same period, and have been comparing notes.

On New Year’s Eve we were visited by Val’s cousin Enid Ellis and her husband Justin, who have been in Namibia for the last 20 years, and were also there in the 1970s.

Val Hayes, Enid Ellis, Laura, Justin Ellis, 31 December 2011

 

Jane Ellwood and the perils of online family trees

Do you keep your primary genealogy data in an online family tree?

My advice is: Don’t.

If you use an online family tree, you should use it only as a back-up for you main data, or as a way of contacting other researchers. It is best to keep your data in a reliable genealogy program, on your own computer (with back-ups, of course).

We’ve been looking at a lot of online family trees lately, especially in connection with the Ellwood family, where the discovery of a link to several generations has opened up a lot of possibilities for more research, and shown a lot of people interested in various branches of the same family.

But we have also discovered that a lot of the online trees are full of errors, and the people who run the sites make it easy to propagate the errors by encouraging you to copy faulty research to your own tree. It also seems that in the some cases  online software actually creates and introduces errors that weren’t there in the first place. We’ve sent people GEDCOM files and when they’ve uploaded them to Ancestry.com, Geni.com, MyHeritage.com and other sites, they are full of errors that weren’t in the GEDCOM files we sent.

Here is an example where about 80% of the trees on Mundia/Ancestry were simply wrong.

There was a Jane Ellwood born about 1834/35 in Dufton, Westmorland, England.

She was the daughter of John Ellwood and Nancy Bell.

The majority of online family trees show her as married to Anthony Brunskill.

A much smaller number show her as married to John Ellison.

Since polygamy was illegal in England in that period, it is unlikely that she was married to both of them. So which is right?

You could take a majority vote, and say that since the majority of trees show she was married to Anthony Brunskill, that would be the correct conclusion, and the others must be wrong.

But that would be wrong.

A look at FreeBMD shows that Jane Ellwood married John Ellison in 1857.

And Jane Elwood married Anthony Brunskill in 1863.

So, logically, one should look at the 1861 census, when one Jane would be
married and the other wouldn’t.

But unfortunately in 1861 the unmarried Jane was not staying at home with her parents, but was staying with Robert Bellas Brunskill, and she is described as his sister-in-law, before she married his brother Anthony, who was also staying in the house.

That means that Robert Bellas Brunskill’s wife Bridget could be Jane’s sister, if we’re lucky.

Or, more remotely, that Robert had another sibling who married one of Jane’s other siblings.

It turns out that Bridget Brunskill’s maiden name was Ellwood, and she was
Jane’s sister.

Their parents were John Ellwood and Ann Bellas.

Note that a marriage certificate would not have solved this problem, because the father of both Janes was John.

So two Brunskill brothers married two Ellwood sisters, and what is more they were first cousins on the Bellas side. That doesn’t affect the identification much, though it does help to confirm it.

What is more, in 1861 Jane was staying with Bridget, in 1871 Bridget was staying with Jane.

So the Jane Ellwood who married Anthony Brunskill was the daughter of John Ellwood and Ann Bellas, and NOT the daughter of John Ellwood and Nancy Bell. The daughter of John and Nancy married John Ellison, but only a minority of
online family trees showed that.

Do you have these Janes in your family tree?

Make sure you have them attached to the right parents and the right husbands!

And be very careful with what you copy from online family trees. Ask the person who posted the tree where they got the information, and that they didn’t just incritically copy it from somewhere else. Unfortunately one of the other problems with family tree host sites is that they make it difficult for you to contact other researchers. They encourage you to use their own internal messaging system rather than regular e-mail, and sometimes to contact other researchers you have to pay to join that site. That is why they recommend it, of course. They want to get you to pay. But if one researcher you want to contact uses one site, and another uses another site, and yet another uses a third site, it can become quite exorbitantly expensive and time wasting.

Ellwood-Rushton connection

A couple of days ago I discovered a connection between the Ellwood and Rushton families.

A message on the Rootschat Message Board told of the children of Michael Ellwood (1770-1853) and his wife Mary Atkinson (1771-1872).

Most of their children died young, except for two – Mark Ellwood (1807-1849) who married Jane Powley and lived in London. Their son Mark Ellwood went to Canada.

Another surviving child of Michael and Mary was Anne Ellwood (b. 1801 in Appleby, Westmorland) who married Thomas Rushton (1805-1850) in Appleby in 1826. Thomas was the son of Mark Rushton (1772-1851) and Mary Yarker (1772-1836).

That reminded me that I had been at school with a Mark Rushton, though we have lost contact since leaving school. One of the interesting things about this, however, is that seems that this Mark Rushton and Mary Yarker may well have been his ancestors.

Thomas Rushton and Anne Ellwood had at least seven children, most of whom died young. But two survived: Ellwood Rushton and Yarker Rushton.

You’d think that with names like that they would be easy to find in the various online indexes, but not a bit of it. The trouble is, I think, that
the transcribers and compilers of online indexes could not believe that anyone could have a name like Yarker, so they wrote Yorker,  Garker, Yasser, Yanker and various other things.

I thought of my old schoolfellow and thought “what if I search for his full name?” Perhaps he’s become interested in family history and has it all sorted. So I typed “Mark Morland Rushton” as a search argument and there was a fairly full family tree. It wasn’t his, but it did have someone who could well have been his grandfather. It’s the Marking Time web site.

I followed up some of those, and managed to find a few more children and grandchildren, some full names and the names of some spouses.

This branch are among the descendants of Mark Ellwood (born in Dufton in 1734) and married Ann Loadman of Brough under Stainmore.

Another of the children of Michael Ellwood (1770-1853) and his wife Mary Atkinson (1771-1872) who left descendants was Mary Ellwood who married John Dufton. The family moved to Birkenhead and later to Liverpool.

If anyone is interested in this part of the Ellwood family, please let us know, and join the Ellwood Family Forum.

Ellwood family history

Since we added 8 generations to our Ellwood family tree a couple of weeks ago we have spent every spare moment of leisure time updating the Ellwood family tree, and trying to make contact with Ellwood cousins and researchers we hadn’t known about before. We have started a mailing list for Ellwood researchers and family members at 

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

and hope that others will join us there as a way of getting and keeping in touch and exchanging family information.

Keeping in touch with emigrants

I’ve been reading The Oxford Companion to Family and Local History and one of the articles raised the question of how long families that have emigrated keep in touch with those back in the country they came from.

Most of  of our ancestral lines have immigrants from somewhere else, and it is quite interesting to look at how they maintained contact, and how and to what extent we have re-established contact, mainly because of an interest in family history. A recent post about a Canadian Growden family is a case in point — they seem to have little or no contact with any other branches of the family, and little or no memory of where they came from.

Pearson-Ellwood

One of the clearest cases is Val’s maternal grandmother’s family. She was Martha Pearson, nee Ellwood, and both she and her husband William Walker Pearson. They came to South Africa from Whitehaven, Cumberland, England about a century ago, and were married in Pinetown, Natal, in 1913. They lived just down the road from Val when she was young, within walking distance, and when her grandfather died her grandmother came to live in a granny flat that they built on to their house in Escombe, where she lived with them for 12 years until she died in 1968.

So Val grew up with her grandmother’s stories of Whitehaven, and Martha (Mattie) Pearson kept in touch with her brothers and sisters who lived there, and some of them had also married into the Pearson family. During the Second World War some of Val’s mother’s cousins were soldiers, and visited when troopships called at Durban on the way to south-east Asia. Martha Pearson occasionally returned to Whitehaven to visit family, and we have some of her old passports. Val’s mother and aunt went with her as teenagers, and remembered some of their English cousins, though they did not stay in touch with them. Val and her sister visited England in 1971, and passed through Whitehaven, and had thought of visiting relatives there, but it was late and they thought they were old and would already be in bed, so they drove through.

When we got married in 1974, six years after Val’s grandmother had died, and became interested in family history, one of the starting points was some of Val’s relics from her grandmother — her birthday book, cuttings of newspaper marriage and death notices, and obituaries of her father Thomas Ellwood (1845-1914)  and grandfather John Ellwood (1819-1892). We wrote to the Whitehaven News, asking if any members of the family still living in Whitehaven would get in touch. From that we discovered that Val’s great-uncle Ernie Pearson had died the previous week. But his daughter-in-law Nora Pearson wrote to us regularly for the next thirty years, keeping us in touch with news of the family, so the contact was maintained for another generation, and thirty years later, in 2005 we visited Nora, and her daughters who live in Edinburgh. Whether our children will keep in touch with their children after we die remains to be seen. We also visited another second cousin who lives in Wales.

But our letter to the Whitehaven News also brought contact with a forgotten generation of emigrants, about whom Val had heard no stories as a child. A Mrs Mary Ann Tumilty, nee Ellwood,  had been visiting Whitehaven from the USA in the week that our letter was published, and when she got home she wrote to us, and sent extracts from the Ellwood family Bible, which she had, and it gave all the children of John Ellwood, Val’s great great grandfather, who was born in 1819. Mary Ann Tumilty’s parents had lived in Northumberland, and emigrated to the USA in 1923.

Hayes-Stooke

On this side of the family I’ve told in another post how my father visited England for a Scout jamboree, and met a cousin with the unusual name of Herrick Hayes, and that helped us to make contact with second cousins that we had not previously known about, though attempts to make contact with Herrick Hayes’s descendants have so far been unsuccessful.

In general it seems that, unless there is a conscious interest in family history, contact seems to be lost in the generation of the great grandchildren of immigrants, and family history research can lead to the re-establishing of contact.

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