Desperately seeking Susan

No, not that Susan!

The one I’m looking for is my great grand aunt, Susan Greenaway, who was born at Lanteglos-by-Camelford in 1844, and yesterday I confirmed the relationship when I found the baptism record for Susanna Greenaway, baptised on 26 January 1845, the daughter of Richard and Mary Ann Greenaway.

I needed the confirmation because I couldn’t find a census where she showed up with the family.

I first found her in the 1851 census, aged 6, where she was listed as the niece of William and Mary Tilley. The 1841 census shows a William and Mary Tilley, children of John. Then Mary Ann Tilly, daughter of John, married Richard Greenaway at St Breward in 1842. So the baptism is pretty convincing evidence that 6-year-old Susan is the daughter of Richard and Mary Ann Greenaway (nee Tilly), and that William Tilley is Mary Ann’s brother.

In the 1861 Susan Greenaway shows up again, but still not with her family. This time she’s a servant with another family.

But there are TWO of them, both shown as born at St Breward!

And FreeBMD shows:

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page

Births Dec 1843   (>99%)

Greenaway Susan Camelford 9 56

Births Mar 1845   (>99%)

GREENAWAY Susanna Camelford 9 57

Well, St Breward is in the Camelford Registration District, as is Lanteglos. And by then the rest of the Greenaway family was living at St Breward anyway, so her boss could easily assume that she was born there and tell the census enumerator so.

But that raises another question — if there were two Susans in 1861, where was the other one in 1851?

And in 1871 there were none.

The simplest explanation for that is that the must either have married or died between 1861 and 1871.

But there were no Susan Greenaways who married or died in that time. Nor were there any under the alternative spelling of Greenway.

But there was a Susan Greenway, aged 26, a cook in the household of a Fanny Little at Maker in Cornwall. And this Susan was shown as having been born at Nantaglas, which could be the census enumerator’s interpretation of Lanteglos.

And that is the last sighting of Susan Greenaway.

But there is a follow-up.

In the 1881 census Mary Ann Greenaway, born Tilly, is shown as a widow, aged 63, living at East Stonehouse in Devon. With her are her youngest daughter Rebecca, unmarried, aged 21, and a granddaughter, Ellen L. Chapman, aged 6, born in Bodmin, Cornwall.

Could Susan Greenaway have married a Chapman and lived in Bodmin?

But there’s no sign of such a marriage.

And there’s no sign of an Ellen Chapman, aged 16, in the 1891 census either.

So I’m wondering what happened to them.

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.

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 couple 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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