Mysterious family and place names

When you start doing family history, sooner or later you come across mysterious names that crop up among family members, and you wonder where they came from and what their significance is.

Barlow-Jones

I was reminded of this when someone asked on the South African genealogy mailing list about the name Barlow-Jones.

I’m researching a family JONES who lived in Ladysmith, Natal.

They lived in a very big, beautiful house named Barlow House/Lodge.

Can anyone help me with history of this house/lodge. ‘Barlow’ played an important part in the family as 4 of their 13 children had Barlow as a second name.

Well we have a Barlow-Jones in our family tree, a Kerry Barlow-Jones who married a third cousin once removed named Beattie, who is related on the Crighton side. The person who asked about Barlow also had a Kerry Barlow-Jones, born in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) but on a different date. No known connection between them, but one can’t help thinking that we may discover one one day. But if anyone knows about this name and its connection with the house in Ladysmith, please let us know, and we’ll put you in touch with the enquirer.

Wynn

That reminded me of a couple of other mysterious names in our family.

My grandfather was Percy Hayes, and at some point he began calling himself Percy Wynn Hayes, and he gave all his children Wynn as a middle name, and I got it too, though none of my first cousins on my father’s side did. My father’s death certificate shows his surname as Wynn-Hayes. The mystery is where the Wynn came from.

I’ve found no relatives with that name. When I was 7 we stayed at the Valley Inn, Ingogo, for a month, and it was run by some distant cousins of my father the Bradburys. There were two children there, Gillian who was about my age, and her brother Michael who was a few years older. We knew we were cousins of some sort, but did not know how. The name of the father was Wynn Bradbury, so I thought, when I became interested in family history, that if I found more about him I’d solve the mystery of where the Wynn came from. I looked up his death notice but discovered that he was actually Harry Winston Churchill Bradbury, Win for short, and that it was his wife Sheila (born Cottam) who was the relation. So the mystery of the Wynn remained unsolved, as it does to this day.

An interesting sidelight on this is where Harry Winston Churchill Bradbury got his moniker. There was, of course, a famous British Prime Minister named Winston Spencer Churchhill, though he wasn’t famous when Win Bradbury was born, back in October 1899. But October 1899 was the month the Anglo-Boer War started, and Win Bradbury was born in Ladysmith, which was almost immediately besieged by Boer forces, and Winston S. Churchill was there as a war correspondent, so perhaps he was known to Win Bradbury’s parents. And that brings us back to Ladysmith, where Barlow House was situated.

Esdaile

When thinking of names associated with houses, another name comes to mind: Esdaile.

My wife Val’s maiden surname was Greene, and a couple of generations earlier it was Green. You will find her great great grandfather Fred Green in Pioneers of Rhodesia by Edward C. Tabler, though erroneously recorded as Frederick Joseph Green. He was actually Frederick Thomas Green, but one of his daughters, I think, told Lawrence G Green (no relation) that his name was Joseph. Lawrence G. Green wrote books about African travel, several of which mentioned the Green family, and Fred Green in particular, among them Thunder on the Blaauwberg and Lords of the last frontier.

The Green family came from Canada, and spread all over the world, and
carried with them the legend that Fred Green’s father, William John Green, alias William Goodall Green, was a son of Edward, Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria’s father. Not true, of course, but his mother, Eliza Green (Fred Green’s grandmother), had two illegitimate children, one by William Goodall, a London businessdman, and the other by Marc Pictet, a Swiss army officer.

Eliza Green later married another London businessman, Thomas Esdaile, by whom she had no children, but he became the stepfather to her children by her earlier liaisons. And ever since then, throughout the world, Green descendants have named their houses, farms, and sometimes their children, Esdaile. So in our family history research the name Esdaile is an indicator of a possible relationship, even though there is no blood relationship with Thomas Esdaile.

So sometimes one discovers the story behind mysterious names, and sometimes one doesn’t.

Many years!

Today is Val’s 60th birthday, and also her name day, being the feast-day of the Great Martyr St Katherine of Alexandria.

To celebrate Val took the day off work and we went out to lunch at a fancy fish restaurant, since the feast of St Katherine is one of the days in the pre-Christmas fast when fish is permitted.

Val Hayes 60th birthday 25 Nov 2008

Val Hayes 60th birthday 25 Nov 2008

God grant you many years!

In-laws

There was recently a discussion on the term “in-law” as in “father-in-law”, “mother-in-law”, “brother-in-law”, “son-in-law” etc.

In looking up something else I came across this entry in Fowler’s Modern English usage, which provides a good summary.

-in-law, describing relationship, was formerly also used in the sense of step- . To Sam Weller [whoever he may be] his father”s second wife was always his mother-in-law; we are not told what he called his own wife’s mother after he married. Today -in-law is never so used; my mother-in-law becomes so by my marriage, my stepmother by hers. The expression in-law derives from the Canon Law prescribing the degrees of affinity within which marriage is prohibited.

The lesson to genealogists is obvious. When you see -in-law, don’t assume what kind of relationship it refers to — always check to make sure.

This happened in our family.

In the 1861 census my ggg grandfather, Simon Hayes, was shown staying in Winscombe, Somerset, with the family of Giles Williams, whose wife was Sidonia.

Simon’s relationship to the head of the household was described as
“brother-in-law”

My first thought (and that of several other researchers into this family) was that Sidonia was Simon’s sister, and that her maiden name was Hayes.

And that was wrong.

After more research I discovered that Sidonia’s maiden name was Sweet.

Simon’s wife was Rachel Allen, and her sister Hester Allen had been Giles
Williams’s first wife, but she died before the 1861 census.

This is not a “step-” relationship, but it is a caution against jumping to
conclusions about the meaning of -in-law.

Don’t assume, always check.

Who visits here?

Some statistics about recent visitors to this blog:

Num Perc. Country Name
drill down 113 25.57% United States United States
drill down 105 23.76% South Africa South Africa
drill down 61 13.80% United Kingdom United Kingdom
drill down 49 11.09% New Zealand New Zealand
drill down 40 9.05% Australia Australia
drill down 17 3.85% France France
drill down 16 3.62% Canada Canada
drill down 9 2.04% Denmark Denmark
drill down 6 1.36% Germany Germany
drill down 5 1.13% India India
drill down 4 0.90% Norway Norway
drill down 4 0.90% Netherlands Netherlands
drill down 2 0.45% Brazil Brazil
drill down 2 0.45% Russian Federation Russian Federation
drill down 1 0.23% Malaysia Malaysia
drill down 1 0.23% Indonesia Indonesia
drill down 1 0.23% Finland Finland
drill down 1 0.23% Greece Greece
drill down 1 0.23% Egypt Egypt
drill down 1 0.23% Paraguay Paraguay
drill down 1 0.23% Argentina Argentina
drill down 1 0.23% Philippines Philippines
drill down 1 0.23% Sweden Sweden

Family visit – Pretoria June 2008

Val’s sister Elaine Machin and her son Alan came up from Pinetown for the Youth Day long weekend, and this afternoon we gathered with Lesley Machin and her boyfriend Johnny O’Neill on their farm east of Pretoria. We were joined by Elaine’s other son Greg Machin and his daughter Abby.

Family 15 Jun 2008

In the picture: Johnny O Neill, Alan Machin, Lesley Machin, Jethro Hayes, Greg Machin, Val Hayes with Abby Machin, Elaine Machin – 15 June 2008

Picture above: Greg Machin, Abby Machin, Jethro Hayes

And below are some of the eland on the farm:

eland

The old school tie

Last Saturday I went to the Founders Day Service at my old school, St Stithians College. I’ve put the details and some photos on my Khanya blog, for anyone interested. I went to St Stithians when the school started in 1953, and did matric in 1958, so this is the 50th anniversary of my matric year, and I wondered if I’d see any old classmates there, but there were none.

I know of some other family members who went to St Stithians, and perhaps there are others who went there that I don’t know about. If any of them see this, perhaps they could leave a comment about their time there.

Family WikiSpaces

You may have heard of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit, which is one of the most useful sources of information on the Internet.

Now we have started a family history Wiki on Wikispaces, and we invite all members of the family to have a look at it and join it.

The Hayes and Green family history space

This WikiSpace, called “hayesgreene” is for members of the Hayes, Greene and related families to post family news, history and anecdotes, and to make contact with other members of the family, and learn about the family history.

Who is it for?

It’s for any members of our families, that is, anyone who is related to us in any way. That means, in the first place, anyone descended from any of our ancestors — uncles, aunts and cousins. That includes 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, up to and beyond 15th cousins seven times removed, and their spouses, parents of spouses and children of spouses.

Who are we?

We are Steve and Val Hayes, and we live in Pretoria, Tshwane, Gauteng, South Africa. You can find out more about who we are on our family web pages, and also on our blog (which you’re reading now!)

How do I participate?

You participate by clicking on “join this space”, which you will find somewhere on the left (not here, but in the WikiSpace page). If you are already a member of WikiSpaces, your application will be sent to us. If you are not already a member of WikiSpaces you will be invited to join (and then you can create your own WikiSpaces as well). When we receive your application, we will check to see whether you are related to us in any way, and if you are, your application will be approved and you will be able to add to and edit the information on these pages. But even if you are not related, you can still read the pages.

How does this compare with a blog?

A blog is for changing information that quickly gets out of date. While you can find old blog posts, you have to search for them, and they are not always easy to find. A family history blog can be good as a record of new information found, meetings with family members, reports of family reunions and so on.

What a blog is not so good for is things like anecdotes by and ancestors, biographies, research problems and dead-ends and so on. Updating biographical information on a two-year-old blog post is not much use, because few people will know that it has been updated, and so few will read it. But in a Wiki such information can be updated and added to as more information is found, and it can be found much more easily.

So, if you are related, go and look at the HayesGreene Wikispace, and think of stuff you can add. There’s not much there yet, but there will soon be if we all get working on it.

Bridget Hayes -graduation

Our daughter Bridget graduated yesterday at Athens University as a Master of Theology (I think).

Pictures here (the pictures are on Facebook, and you have to be logged in to see them).

Simon’s birthday

It is our son Simon’s 30th birthday today, and to celebrate he didn’t go to work.

Here he is with our puppy Fluffy Lumpkin, three and a half months old.

Family visits


Val’s sister Elaine Machin (nee Greene) came from Durban on the bus to visit family in Gauteng over Christmas, and we had tea with her and her son Greg and granddaughter Abby this afternoon.

The picture shows Greg with Abby, Elaine and Val.

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