Shirt-tail cousins and El Paso, Illinois

About 40 years ago I made contact with a Growden cousin in New Orleans, USA, who was also interested in family history, and we corresponded  fairly regularly until she died in 1993. She wrote to people with the Growden or Growdon surname all over the world, and one of them was my uncle Stanley Growdon, who told me about her.

Louise Deragowski with her great grand-niece Kristin Marie Siegrist (now Kristin Hammock) , Christmas 1981.

Louise Deragowski with her great grand-niece Kristin Marie Siegrist (now Kristin Hammock) , Christmas 1981.

She was Monica Louise Deragowski, born Growden, and eventually, after some research, we found out that we were 4th cousins, and though she died more than 20 years ago, I’m still in touch with some of her nephews and nieces in Louisiana and Texas (she had no children of her own).

In our correspondence she sometimes used expressions that were unfamiliar to me. One that she repeated several times, that she had heard from someone else, was that in their native Cornwall the Growden families “lived so close that they traded roosters”. I should have asked my mother about that — she was a Growdon, and had at one time kept a poultry farm, and even went on a poultry management course at Potchefstroom University. But I forgot to ask her, and now it’s too late.

One of the other expressions Louise Deragowski used was “shirt-tail cousin”. In one of her letters she mentioned speaking to such a cousin. I’d only just made contact with her, and was a bit too shy to ask. But I’ve wondered on and off what it meant, and whether I have any cousins that I could speak of as “shirt-0tail cousins”

At one point an English usage forum in the Internet was discussing cousins, and I thought that might be the place to ask, so I did. One of the American participants said he had no knowledge of the term and said it must be South African. I said Louise Deragowski lived in New Orleans and was from El Paso, Illinois, and had never been to South Africa in her life. I thought that someone from those two dialect areas might be able to explain the expression. But the same participant then accused me of inventing a place with a Spanish name in Illinois, so I’ve given up that as a source for learning anything about English usage. Like many other Internet forums, it seems to be increasingly populated with people spoiling for a fight, and I’m not really any the wiser about the meaning of “shirt-tail cousi9n”.

But that has now set me off wondering a bit about El Paso, Illinois.

Louise Deragowski was born there, and it was her mother’s side of the family who lived there. Her mother, Izetta Louise Porter, was born there in 1890, and she somehow met Arthur Franklin (Frank) Growden, who was born in Franklin Country, Tennessee, in 1887. So perhaps Tennessee is another place one can look to for the origin and meaning of “shirt-tail cousin”. I also wonder whether he was named after the place he was born in. But I doubt that that had much influence on Louise Deragowski’s family, as her father and mother did not get along, and he left them during the First World War, so she never knew him when growing up, and only made contact with him again as an adult. After Frank and Izetta split up he married Flora Myers Butler and went back to Tennessee.

And then at some point Izetta Louise Growden and her children moved from El Paso, Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana (why?), where most of that branch of the family still live, except for some who moved to Texas after hurricane Katrina (I think).

Louise Deragowski’s grandfather, Arthur Matthew Growden, was born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1861. He went to America to study at the Sewanee Institute in Tennessee. Afterwards became a travelling preacher and evangelist. He went to be a missionary in Papua and Samoa in about 1910, and returned to Tennessee for the last year of his life. His grandson Jim Growden (Louise Deragowski’s half brother) is a Baptist minister in Tennessee.

Anyway, Louise Deragowski, though she had no children herself, was one who, through her interest in family history, drew and held together several of the far-flung branches of the Growden family. The family scattered from Cornwall, and she linked cousins (with or without shirt-tails) from Alaska to New Zealand, from Australia to South Africa. And having a photo of her taken on Christmas day, I thought Christmas day was a good time to post it.

 

Cornwall to Morgannwg: 6 May 2005

Continued from: 5 May 2005, Cornwall

We woke up about 5:30 at the Trewint B&B near Blisland, Cornwall, where we had spent the last two nights, and packed our things. We watched the news on TV. More election results were out, and it seemed that the Liberal Democrats had made gains at the expense of Labour, which seemed satisfactory to me, as it might send a message to Tony Blair that his war mongering was unacceptable.It looked as though Cornwall, in particular, was a Tory and Labout-free zone.

 

Ytewing B&B at Waterloo, near Blisland, Cornwall

Trewint B&B at Waterloo, near Blisland, Cornwall

We had breakfast at 7:30, and left Trewint at about 8:15, driving up to St Breward again, and then across the moors to Camelford, and down to the church at Lanteglos, and took a couple of photos of the outside, but did not go in and take pictures in the churchyard or inside the church, as we only knew of one family member who had been born there, my great granduncle Richard John Tilley Greenaway, younger brother of my great grandmother Elizabeth Greenaway, who married William Matthew Growdon. Richard was born and baptised at Lanteglos-by-Camelford in 1847, but as the family seemed to move around a lot at that time, his siblings were all born elsewhere.

North Cornwall coast at Tintagel, 6 May 2005

North Cornwall coast at Tintagel, 6 May 2005

We went on to Tintagel, where William Matthew Growdon’s mother, Christiana Dyer, had lived with her first husband, John Pope. Her two eldest children, Thomas and Philippa Pope, were born there in 1838 and 1840, but seem to have disappeared, as we could find no record of their subsequent marriage or death.

"King Arthur's Castle" hotel at Titagel, Cornwall. 5 May 2005

“King Arthur’s Castle” hotel at Tintagel, Cornwall. 5 May 2005

At Tintagel there was a large block of a hotel, calling itself King Arthur’s Castle, a rather kitsch Disneyland type of thing, with an “Excali-Bar”. We drove to the church, a little outside the village, and found a couple of Sandercocks buried there, and took photos of the church and of the island from the cliffs.

UKtrip59Those Sandercocks were probably not related, as  ours seemed to have lived mostly in Cardinham, on the south side of Bodmin Moor, and the ones on north-eastern Cornwall seemed to be entirely separate.

Tintgel village, from the churchyard. 6 May 2005

Tintagel village, from the churchyard. 6 May 2005

Then we headed east along the north coast, driving through Devon, and stopped at Barnstaple, where we found an interesting market, where we bought some batteries, and a newspaper at the newsagents,
and some roast beef rolls with horseradish sauce.

Market in Barnstaple, Devon

Market in Barnstaple, Devon

We drove through Exmoor forest and stopped for a picnic lunch at the side of the road, eating the beef rolls we had bought in Barnstaple.

Exmoor Forest, Somerset. 6 May 2005

Exmoor Forest, Somerset. 6 May 2005

.We joined the M5 at Taunton, and stopped at the Gordano Services centre for petrol. My great grandparents William Allen Hayes and Mary Barber Stooke had been married at Easton-in-Gordano, and some other members of the Hayes family had been buried there, but we did not go off the motorway to have a look since they did not seem to have lived there very long. We drove on and crossed the Severn Bridge to south Wales.

Crossing the Severn into South Wales 6 May 2005

Crossing the Severn into South Wales 6 May 2005

There were now two bridges, and we took the eastern one, which I had walked across in 1968, after visiting my college friend Chris Gwilliam at Chepstow when on a “seeing people” hitchhiking tour during the college vacation.

We tried to get off the M4 and go to Whitchurch, which we reached by a rather roundabout route, and looked for somewhere to stay near there, and there didn’t seem to be anywhere suitable, so we drove up to Caerphilly, with lots of roadworks on the way through the rush-hour traffic. We saw the castle there, and settled for a hotel on the edge of town, one of a chain similar to the Formula I hotels in South Africa. It was bland and boring, and looked like any such hotel anywhere in the world, but at least there was a table where one could put the computer. In spite of their name, laptop computers don’t really work very well on laps, and tend to slide off onto the floor. At the Trewint B&B we had managed to balance it on a bedside pedestal, after moving all the fluffy toys and dolls onto the bed.

We tried to phone my cousin Simon Hayes, who lived in Cardiff, but at first got no response, and left a voice mail message for him, and he phoned back a bit later to say he was driving home from work. He commuted each day to work in Bristol.

My cousin Simon Hayes outside his house in Cardiff. 6 May 2005

My cousin Simon Hayes outside his house in Cardiff. 6 May 2005

We drove over the hill to Cardiff to meet Simon and his wife Gill, and their younger daughter Jessica, aged 7. Their elder daughter, Sophia, aged 10, had gone to a Guide vigil.

Gill, Jessica and Simon Hayes. Cardiff, 6 May 2005.

Gill, Jessica and Simon Hayes. Cardiff, 6 May 2005.

We had supper with them, and spent a very pleasant evening chatting about family history, and politics and various other things. Simon was the son of my second cousin Roger Hayes, who had been a marine engineer. We drove back to the hotel in Caerphilly, and went to bed about midnight.

Simon & Steve Hayes, Cardiff 6 May 2005.

Simon & Steve Hayes, Cardiff 6 May 2005.

Continued at Wales and Ellwood cousins.

UK Trip 5 May 2005: Cornwall

Continued from Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

We had breakfast at 7:00 am, and by 8:00 set off to explore the Bodmin Moor villages where some of my ancestors had lived. We went first to Cardinham, where William Growden and Elizabeth Sandercock had
got married in 1792, and the first of their children were born. Just over the road from the church was the village hall, where they were setting up the polling station for the general election.

Cardinham parish hall, Cornwall, being set up for use as a polling station in the General election, 5 May 2005

Cardinham parish hall, Cornwall, being set up for use as a polling station in the General election, 5 May 2005

Cardinham village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, where the Sandercock family had lived for several generations 5 May 2005

Cardinham village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, where the Sandercock family had lived for several generations 5 May 2005

The grass in the churchyard was dewy, but we found a number of tombstones of Sandercock and related families, and took photos of them with the digital camera and also of the interior of the church, where the pews were very ancient indeed, and it was quite a thought that ancestral bums had sat upon those pews.

St Meubred's Church, Cardinham, where William Growden and Elizabeth Sandercock were married in 1792.

St Meubred’s Church, Cardinham, where William Growden and Elizabeth Sandercock were married in 1792.

The Sandercock family went quite a way back in Cardinham, but William Growden appeared from nowhere, and we have not been able to find where he was born or who his parents were. You can see more about the church and these families here, and the gravestone of the earliest Sandercocks is here. The church is also known for its Celtic style wheel-headed crosses, which are said to be the oldest in the area.

Celtic-style Wheel-headed crowss in Cardinham churchyard

Celtic-style wheel-headed cross in Cardinham churchyard

If you are reading this because you are interested in family history, and would like to learn more about these families and discuss them with others, you can find a discussion forum for the Growden family here, and one for the Sandercock family here.

Carvings at the end of one of the pews in St Meubred's Church, Cardinham, where ancestral bums had sat. Each pew seemed to have a different carving.

Carvings at the end of one of the pews in St Meubred’s Church, Cardinham, where ancestral bums had sat. Each pew seemed to have a different carving.

From Cardinham we drove in to Bodmin, about 6 km away, and bought some more detailed Ordnance Survey maps, and then went to take some photos of the Growden family home at 3 Higher Bore Street, where the Growden family was living in 1861. My great grandfather, William Matthew Growden, was ten years old when they were living there. His father, Matthew Growden, was shown in the census as an agricultural labourer. His mother was Christiana Dyer, originally from Roche in Cornwall.

M4034S-4211

We also went to Scarlett’s Well, not far away, where my great grandfather, William Matthew Growden, was born in 1851. It was very interesting, as the well was a holy well, reputed to have healing powers.

Scarlett's Well, Bodmin, Cornwall. 5 May 2005

Scarlett’s Well, Bodmin, Cornwall. 5 May 2005

Next to it was a cottage that could well have been where the family lived, because it was the only dwelling in the vicinity. Though there had been some modern additions, the basic house looked very old, and it also made sense of Matthew Growden’s occupation as a “woodman”, someone who took care of the woods on the land. For more pictures of the area, including the cottage and William Matthew Growdon, see here.

We went on to Penpillick, near Tywardreath, whiere my grandfather, William George Growdon, had been born, and seeing an advertisement for cream teas went to a farmhouse and had some, but like so many other such places, the people were not Cornish, but had moved here from elsewhere a few years ago. They had a nice smooth dog, called Manic Mabel. We took some photos of the parish church in Tywardreath, but did not stay very long, because the family had not lived there very long either. We went to Par to look at the beach, and drove East along the the south Cornwall coast towards Fowey.

South Cornwall coast near Par. 5 May 2005

South Cornwall coast near Par. 5 May 2005

There was a footpath along the coast, but we did not walk along it, as we did not have enough time. If we ever win the Lotto and can afford to have a return visit it might be fun to do that. We turned inland at Fowey, and drove through Lostwithiel and St Neot. St Neot was where another Growden family had lived, though we have not found any link between it and ours. From there we went past the Dozmary Pool, where King Arthur’s sword was supposed to have been thrown after his death. It did not look much different from the Colliston Lake on the other side of the road.

Dozmary Pool, Cornwall, where King Arthur's sword is said to have been thrown after his death.

Dozmary Pool, Cornwall, where King Arthur’s sword is said to have been thrown after his death.

It was lunch time, and we went to Jamaica Inn nearby, but it looked too touristy, and very crowded. It was on the A30, the main road through the area, and it looked as if every passer-by had had the same idea. Instead we went to look at the parish of Temple, where Mary Ann Tilly had come from. She was my great great grandmother, and had married Richard Greenaway of St Breward, and their daughter Elizabeth Greenaway had married William Matthew Growdon.

Temple Church, Cornwall, 5 May 2005.

Temple Church, Cornwall, 5 May 2005.

Temple was a tiny village, but there were lots of cars there, and at first we thought that the entire population had come to vote all at once, but then we saw strangely dressed people, looking like druids or something, though some were dressed as friars or knights in suits of armour. They seemed to be coming up from the church, and it turned out to be a medieval wedding, and we spoke to some of the guests.

Medieval wedding at Temple, Cornwall. 5 May 2005.

Medieval wedding at Temple, Cornwall. 5 May 2005.

We then drove to St Breward, thinking to have lunch at the pub there. We drove across Bodmin Moor from Temple, and the road was on the surface instead of in a sunken lane, so one could see the horizon, and there were ponies that appeared to be wild wandering about on the moor.

Ponies on Bodmin Moor

Ponies on Bodmin Moor

It was 2:30 by the time we got to St Breward, and they stopped serving food after 2:00 pm, so we went back to Bodmin, to Weaver’s tea room, over the road from the Weaver’s bar where we had eaten the previous evening, and there at last they did have Cornish pasties on the menu. The woman running the place was from North London, however. There don’t seem to be any Cornish people around. She said she worked part time, and lived in Blisland, near where we were staying, and she said there were still some Greenaway families in the village.

Bodmin, Cornwall, 5 May 2005

Bodmin, Cornwall, 5 May 2005

We walked around the churchyard of St Petroc’s, where all the tombstones had been placed around the
walls, but there were no Growden ones. The church was closed at 3:00 pm. Though it was supposed to be western Ascension Day, there didn’t seem to be any services at any of the churches we had visited. There was a museum with exibits showing the history of Bodmin, and and we went up to The Beacon, a hill with views all around, but the day wasn’t clear enough to see very much. There was also an obelisk, a  memorial to Sir Walter Raleigh, on top of the hill.

St Breward Church and pub. 5 May 2005

St Breward Church and pub. 5 May 2005

We returned to St Breward, and wandered round the churchyard, taking pictures of tombstones, as there were several Greenaway ones, some quite recent, and had supper of sausage egg and chips at the pub, which was quite good. The sausages were real, and not like the bread-filled Walls sausages that were all one could get in England 40 years before.

Val Hayes in St Breward churchyard, 5 May 2005

Val Hayes in St Breward churchyard, 5 May 2005

We went down to Blisland again, and went to the church there, and took more photos in the churchyard, where the old school was being used as a polling station. Then went to the pub which was quite crowded, and had a beer, and were joined by a couple who had been at the medieval wedding at Temple, Martin and Bemi Murphy, and chatted to them for a while. They were originally from Manchester, but now lived at St Ives, where they ran an ice cream van, and they had made most of the costumes for the wedding.

Blisland Parish Church, 5 May 2005

Blisland Parish Church, 5 May 2005

When we got back to Trewint farm we went to bed, and watched TV for a while, when the first election result was announced, which was Sunderland South, which Labour held with a reduced majority.

Continued at Cornwall to Morgannwg, 6 May 2005.

 

Growden family in Lancashire

When we began researching our family history 40 years ago, we fairly soon discovered that there were Growden families in Lancashire. I wrote to a Joseph Growden in Bolton, Lancashire, and he said trhere was a family tradition that the family had originated in Cornwall, but when they cjecked it out, the earliest member of the family they knew of turned out to have been born in Rishton, Lancashire.

Now many more records are more easily available, and I’ve been able to piece together something of  the story.

To put it in a nutshell:

Joseph Growden, a blacksmith, was born in Bodmin in 1830. He married Mary Ann Knight of Roche in 1855 and worked in various places in Cornwall. In the 1871 Census they were at Kea, where their younger children were born, and in 1875 their daughter Catherine died there, aged about 14. In 1877 the eldest son, Thomas, married a local girl, and within the next couple of years the family moved to Caterall in Lancashire, where they seem to have stayed, with the exception of Thomas, who returned to Cornwall. Some lived at Rishton, and others at Radcliffe.

This Joseph Growden was my 1st cousin three times removed — in other words, he was the first cousin of my great grandfather William Matthew Growden, though being the son of an older brother, he was some 20 years older. That generation of Growdens seem to have got wanderlust, because in the late 1870s they scattered from Cornwall in different directions. My great grandfather came south to the Cape Colony, and his cousin Joseph went north to Lancashire. Another cousin, James Growden, had gone west to Canada some ten years earlier, and yet another cousin, Henry Growden, ended up in New Zealand, with some of his descendants living in the USA, in places as far apart as New Orleans and Alaska. So in that period, 1850 to 1880, Cornwall seems to have acted as a giant centrifuge, spitting out Growdens in all directions.

But back to the Lancashire ones.

Joseph Growden (1830-1887) and Mary Ann Knight (1836-1902) had eight children:

  1. Lavinia Growden (1855-1938)
  2. Thomas Henry Growden (1857-1919)
  3. William Henry Growden (1839-1954)
  4. Catherine Growden (1860-1875)
  5. Joseph Growden (1863-1928)
  6. John Growden (1865-1904)
  7. George Growden (1856-1940)
  8. Emily Growden (1867-?) married Richard Dilworth

Lavinia never married and Catherine died young, but all the others married and had children

First World War medals for George Growden of Rishton, Lancashire. Click the link to the Rishton page for the full story, and lots more on Rishton people

First World War medals for George Growden of Rishton, Lancashire. Click the link to the Rishton page for the full story, and lots more on Rishton people

In the course of searching for members of this family I came across a marvellous web site devoted to Rishton in Lancashire, which I still haven’t fully explored yet. It has a full page devoted to the military service and medals of George Growden, son of Joseph (1863-1928), who served in the first World War. It is well worth looking at if you have any ancestors who lived in or around Rishton.

A lot of the Lancashire Growdens seem to have had son’s called George, which makes it a bit difficult to work out which ones married which spouses, but at any rate, there are now probably more Growdens in Lancashire than there are in Cornwall.

 

 

 

Growden siblings

Brad Growden of New Orleans just discovered that today (or was it yesterday?) was world sibling day. He’d never heard of it, and neither had I, but it was a good excuse for posting this photo of himself and his siblings on Facebook. Trouble is, stuff posted on Facebook is often impossible to find after yesterday, and this one was too good not to share, so to all Growden and Growdon cousins out there, here are your New Orleans cousins.

Arthur Bruce Joseph Growden, Vicki Growden and Lori Growden Murphy at Southern Yacht Club, 2 June 2013

Arthur Bruce Joseph Growden, Vicki Growden, Lori Growden Murphy and Thomas Bradley Growden at Southern Yacht Club, 2 June 2013

For those who want to know the details, Thomas Bradley GROWDEN (& siblings) and Stephen HAYES are 4th cousins 2 times removed.  Their common ancestors are William GROWDEN and Elizabeth Couch SAUNDERCOCK, who were married at St Meubred’s Church, Cardinham, Cornwall, England on 26 November 1792.

Brad is descended from William, the eldest son of William Growden and Elizabeth Saundercock (or Sandercock), who, with his son Henry, emigrated from Cornwall to Australia. Henry Growden later moved to New Zealand, and his son, the Revd Arthur Matthew Growden was a missionary who travelled all over and eventually settled in Tennessee, USA. One branch of his descendants moved to the New Orleans area of Louisiana, while another went to Alaska. Brad’s great-aunt, Monica Louise Deragowski, who collected much of this family history, said someone had once told her that in Cornwall the Growden families were so close that they traded roosters. That certainly isn’t the case today, where the different branches are widely scattered.

My own branch are not so widely scattered. Matthew Growden, the fourth son of William Growden and Elizabeth Saundercock, seems to have stayed in Cornwall all his life, and died in the Bodmin Workhouse at the age of 83. His son William Matthew Growden (my great grandfather) emigrated to the Cape Colony in about 1876, where he became a platelayer on the Cape Government Railways, eventually rising to the rank of permanent way inspector.

So, does anyone know if there is a world cousins day?

 

Adding Growdon and Sandercock to Find A Grave

I’ve been adding pictures some of our Sandercock and Growdon gravestones to the Find A Grave web site.

You can see them here.

All our branch of the Growdon/Growden family are descended from William Growden and Elizabeth Sandercock, who were married in Cardinaham, Cornwall, in 1792, so most of the Sandercocks buried in the Cardinham churchyard are related to us too. Some Sandercocks also married members of the Riddle family, but the Riddles are not direct ancestors (so there is no chance that we might be descended from Lord Voldemort!)

St Meubred's Church, Cardinham, Cornwall -- ancestral bums sat on these pews

St Meubred’s Church, Cardinham, Cornwall — ancestral bums sat on these pews

We visited Cardinham in 2005, and took several photos of gravestones, and Find A Grave seemed to be a good way of sharing them. If you have any photos of gravestones, you might like to share them on Find A Grave too.

St Meubred's Church, Cardinham, Cornwall

St Meubred’s Church, Cardinham, Cornwall

There are other Sandercock families from other parts of Cornwall, but we have have found no links to them (yet). There are also Growden families from the nearby parishes of Warleggan and St Neot, but we have found no links to them either.

Tombstone Tuesday: Growdon, Queenstown, Eastern Cape

Having just written a blog post about my great grandfather, William Matthew Growdon (or Growden), it seems appropriate to include a closer view of his tombstone in Queenstown Cemetery.

William Matthew Growdon’s grave in Queenstown Cemetery, Eastern Cape

His wife Elizabeth Growdon (born Greenaway) died some 14 years later, and was buried next to him. She was born in St Breward, Cornwall. Her brother William Greenaway also came to South Africa.

Elizabeth Growdon, born Greenaway (1842-1927), Queenstown Cemetery

When we first visited the cemetery in 1975, we found the graves quite easily. We took black & white photos then. In 2011 we visited again, and had some difficulty in finding them. Memory seems to play strange tricks. We took a number of colour photos this time, and also noticed that several of the graves nearby had been vandalised. We took some photos to show the graves in relation to surrounding graves, to make them easier to find next time (if there is a next time).

Queenstown Cemetery, May 2011

 

 

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