Chaffey or Chaffin family of Bristol

For a long time I have been trying to find what happened to Charles Thomas CHAFFEY, who was born in Bristol in 1838.

In the 1851 census of Bedminster he is shown as an errand boy, aged 12, step son of James Andrew HAYES and his wife Catherine. I later found his parents marriage – Thomas CHEAFEY married Catherine HARRIS, daughter of James HARRIS, Engineer.

But Charles Thomas CHAFFEY disappeared after the 1851 census. Then I thought I would check omn a Charles T. CHAFFIN who was staying at Skyn Yard, Cabot Street, Bedminster in the 1881 census. At the same address was James A.A. Hayes, the half brother of Charles Thomas CHAFFEY. Everything else seemed to fit, names and dates etc., so I concluded that Charles
Thomas CHAFFEY and Charles Thomas CHAFFIN were the same person.

I just wonder why he had apparently changed his name.

Here are family group records for this family:

                     Family History System            11 Aug 2012
Merged Group Reports
NAME: HARRIS, Catherine, Born ??? 1818 in Whitchurch, Glamorgan,
Died ??? 1875? at age 57; FATHER: HARRIS, James; MOTHER: Sarah,
Born ??? 1779, Died ???

MARRIED 20 Oct 1846 in Bitton, GLS, ENG, to HAYES, James Andrew,
Born Oct 1821 in Winscombe, Somerset, Died 28 Aug 1905 in
Bristol, ENG at age 83; FATHER: HAYES, Simon, Born ??? 1785,
Died Dec 1861 at age 76; MOTHER: ALLEN, Rachel, Born Feb 1787,
Died 7 Mar 1867 at age 80; Builder of Bedminster. Bapt. 7 Oct
1821, Winscombe, Somerset.

MARRIED 22 Dec 1835 in St Thomas, Bristol, to CHAFFEY, Thomas,
Died May 1840 in Bedminster, Bristol; His name spelt Cheafy in
register; Surname shown as Cheafey in marriage register.

1. M CHAFFEY, Charles Thomas, born ??? 1838 in Bedminster,
Bristol, died ???; Married 21 Jul 1864 to STALLARD, Emma;
3 children
2. F HAYES, Emma, born 16 Feb 1843 in Bedminster, Bristol,
died 11 Feb 1924 in Bristol; Married to HOWELL, John A
3. M HAYES, James Andrew Allen, born Feb 1845? in Bedminster,
Bristol, died Nov 1899 in Bristol, England; Married ???
1868 to HEALLS, Emily; 7 children
4. M HAYES, William Allen, born 29 Jan 1849 in Bedminster,
died 1 Oct 1915 in Axbridge, Somerset; Married 19 Aug
1872 to STOOKE, Mary Barber; 4 children
5. F HAYES, Sabina Kate, born ??? 1854? in Bedminster, Bristol,
died Feb 1924 in Cheltenham, GLS, ENG; Married ??? 1885
to GRIDLEY, Edward; 5 children
6. F HAYES, Adelaide Sarah Maria, born ??? 1856? in Bedminster,
Bristol, died ??? 1934 in Bristol

Residence Information

From ??? 1851
Address: 4 Little Paradise, Bedminster, Somerset, England;
In 1851 census master carpenter employing 4 men

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

NAME: CHAFFEY, Charles Thomas, Born ??? 1838 in Bedminster,
Bristol, Died ???; FATHER: CHAFFEY, Thomas, Died May 1840;
MOTHER: HARRIS, Catherine, Born ??? 1818, Died ??? 1875? at
age 57; Appears as Chaffey in 1841 and 1851 censuses, but from
1861 on is recorded as Chaffin. In 1881 census is shown as
living in Skyn Yard, Cabot Street, Bedminster with his half
brother James A.A. Hayes.

MARRIED 21 Jul 1864 in Bedminster, SOM, ENG, to STALLARD, Emma,
Born ??? 1841 in Swindon, WIL, ENG, Died ???

1. M CHAFFIN, George Thomas Charles, born Aug 1865 in Swindon,
WIL, ENG, died ???
2. F CHAFFIN, Blanche Kate, born Nov 1867 in Swindon, WIL, ENG,
died ???
3. M CHAFFIN, Albert William, born Aug 1873 in Bedminster, SOM,
ENG, died May 1932 in Bedminster, SOM, ENG; Married Aug
1902 to BISSICKS, Rosina

My grandfather, Percy Hayes

When we were on holiday recently we stopped at Paulpietersburg to visit my grandfather’s grave. It is unmarked, but I know where it is, because back in 1977, when we were living in Utrecht, we went with my mother to  Paulpietersburg. When we got there we had lunch in the hotel. Then we went to the municipal offices, and asked if they had a plan of the graves in the cemetery, and the man who was probably the parks and gardens department came along to the cemetery with us, bringing the town traffic cop with him, and together we located the grave of my grandfather, Percy Wynn Hayes. He was buried next to Dr Lipscomb, who had treated him in his last illness, and was a great buddy of his, coming from Devon. Mum said that when they came for his funeral, they said he and a lot of old men used to meet and put their stamp collections together. We returned via Bivane and Viljoenspos, after going up the mountain to look at the Dumbe mine. We asked to look at the staff records, but the office was closed by the time we got there.

Paulpietersburg cemetery: Percy Hayes’s grave is just to the left of the two Lipscomb graves in the picture, which belong to Dr Lipscomb and his wife (who died a few months before my grandfather).

Percy Hayes died on 6 May 1948, and I remember travelling to his funeral from Ingogo via Utrecht and Vryheid. I was 7 years old at the time. We asked about the location of his grave nearly 30 years later, and that seemed an impossibly long time ago. Yet 1977 is now longer ago than 1948 was back then.

Lipscomb graves and Percy Hayes’s grave with Dumbe mountain in the background

Paulpietersburg is at the foot of the Dumbe mountain, and Percy Hayes was mine secretary of the Dumbe Colliery there. In earlier years, between the Anglo-Boer War and the Second World War, he had been a stockbroker in Johannesburg. There is more information about him on our Family Wiki here.


Frank Wynn Hayes (my father) with his father, Percy Wynn Hayes (my grandfather)

One of the minor mysteries of this branch of the family is where the name Wynn came from.

My mother told me it was an old family name, and very important. My father, Frank Hayes, and his sisters Vera and Doreen all had Wynn as a middle name. So did Percy — when he died. My father, when he died in 1989, had even taken to hyphenating it, and called himself Frank Wynn-Hayes.

But on his birth certificate Percy Hayes is listed as plain Percy Hayes. He was born in Bedminster, Bristol, England on 4 August 1874, and I’ve been looking, so far without success, for his baptism in Bedminster or Bristol churches. Not that it will help much, because English Anglican baptism registers, unlike South African ones, do not record the names of the sponsors (godparents). I wonder if one of his godparents might have been named Wynn, or if it was someone he had encountered whom he particularly admired. Certainly we have not discovered any earlier member of the family who bears that name. He grew up in Axbridge, Somerset, where his parents ran the Red Lion Hotel, and came to South Africa shortly before the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902).


Hayes in North Curry, Somerset

After my recent post about my “brick wall” in genealogical research on my great great great grandfather Simon Hayes, who was born in North Curry, Somerset about 1784, someone drew my attention to the fact that there is a “Hayes Cottage” in North Curry.
I wish I’d known that when we visited North Curry six years ago. And if I were a millionnaire I’d buy it and move there like a shot.

HayesCottage.pdf Download this file

The changing scenes of life

Yesterday I went to Johannesburg to do some research in the Family History Centre, and after it closed I had a couple of hours to kill before fetching my son from work in Fontainebleau, and so revisited some of the scenes of my childhood and youth.

Glenhazel Court, 1959

We lived at Glenhazel Court at 2 Long Avenue, Glenhazel from August 1958 to August 1959. It was then the only building on the top of the hill. The place where I was standing when I took the photo was a vacant piece of land. It used to be a riding school, run by Mr and Mrs Groos, and they also ran a nursery school there, but they left in about 1951 because there was no water. It was then outside the Johannesburg municipal area, and the relied on a borehole, which dried up, so they sold their horses and moved to Bramley. For a long time the house and stables stood derelict, and at the time of the photo was taken someone had just bought it for sevelopment, and graded a road down the middle of the property, now called Tancred Road, where I stopped the car to take the second photo on my cell phone.

Glenhazel Court, 2010

Now it is surrounded by other buildings and it is hard to imagine what it looked like before. There were some houses behind it, to the wewst, when we lived there, but there were lots of empty plots in between, and none of the roads were tarred. The photo below was taken from the balcony behind the building when we lived there.

Sunset from Glenhazel Court, 1959, looking towards Fairmount

When we first went to live there in 1948 the whole area was called Sunningdale, and the part now called Glenhazel did not exist. We lived around the corner, in what is now Ridge Road, from 1948-1954, and the house is now unrecognisable. Perhaps it was demolished and rebuilt. The only thing I recognised was the deodar trees.

The Fifties

In 1956 I got my first colour film for my camera.

Back then colour film was rare and expensive. I was 15, and my mother let me use her camera, a 1936 model Exakta VP single-lens reflex. It was made in Nazi Germany. It took 8 pictures 6,5 x 4 cm on 127 film, and had an f4.5 lens.

My aunt gave me a Ferraniacolor reversal film for my 15th birthday. I took a photo of my mother with our new car, which she had got about the same time.

Ella Hayes with 1956 Wolseley 4/44

The car was quite pleasant , and had all kinds of fashionable features that were abandoned a year or two later, but in 1956 they seemed like an advance on our previous car, a 1948 Wolseley 8. My mother was then working for an estate agent, Arthur Meikle, and was taking a client to see a house when the car suddenly swerved off the road and hit a culvert in Athol Oaklands Road. The external damage was not much, but the chassis was bent (yes, it had a separate chassis) and it was uneconomical to repair. So when she got the insurance money she went to John B. Clarke Motors in Eloff Street and bought its successor, the Wolseley 4/44.

She brought it to school to show it to me, slightly giddy from standing on the revolving platform in the showroom while the salesman explained all the advanced features of the car. There were things like a split-bench front seat and steering column gear change, which meant that you could have three people in the front seat if necessary. A year or two later I and my friends would covet cars with bucket seats and floor gear levers — just like the old Wolseley 8. It made sense, too. The workshop manual for the 4/44 showed an exploded diagram of the gear-change mechanism, with its rods and levers, with 74 separate parts, from the knob at the end of the gear lever to where it entered the gearbox. The left-hand drive model was worse, because this all had to cross over to the other side of the gearbox.

The Wolseley 4/44 was also rather under-engined. It had a 1250 cc engine, a detuned version of one that had been designed for MG TD two-seater sports cars. The MG version had twin SU carburettors, whereas the Wolseley had only one, and far more weight to lug around, especially when fully loaded. To compensate for these disadvantages, it had an elegant interior, with real walnut dashboard and real leather seats. Unlike the Wolseley 8, it had a heater though it lacked the sun roof of the Wolseley 8.

So the picture was taken when it was new and before it acquired many scratches and dents.

Then I got my mother to take some pictures of me with my horse Brassie. He was called Brassie because of his chestnut coat, and the way it shone like polished brass when the sun caught it. I hoped that the colour film might capture that.

Stephen Hayes and Brassie

I had been told, or read in a book somewhere, that a colour photo should always have some red in it somewhere, hence the blanket on his back. Unless I was going a long way, I usually rode Brassie bareback, as soon as I was tall enough to be able to mount him without the aid of stirrups.

The pictures were taken in winter, which is why the grass was dead and brown.

They were taken in Sunningdale. The road is now called Ridge Road, and a little way to the right it crosses what is now called Long Avenue, along which I used to walk a mile along a rutted track to Fairmount School. The track had no name back then but there was a broken down barbed-wire fence somewhere along it with a bit of flattened corrugated iron on which was painted “Pad Gesluit” (Road Closed), so that was what i called it. On the corner corner of Ridge Road and Long Avenue now stands the Yeshiva College. Back then it was vacant. The Van der Merwe’s lived there in a thatched house, which bornt down one day when the paraffin stove caught fire, and they came and stayed with us for a few days.

The land behind in the picture, which was lined by pine trees on the frontage on Long Avenue and Ridge Road, used to belong to Mr & Mrs Groos, who ran a riding school and nursery school, but when the photo was taken the land was vacant and the house had been demolished. The Grooses had moved away to Bramley because their boreholes ran dry. Later their land was subdivided and houses were built there, and I think it is now called Glenhazel Extension something-or-other.

Stephen Hayes and Brassie

We used to live around the corner in what was later called Ridge Road, and the house is still there, though it now has a thatched roof, and when we lived in it it had a corrugated iron roof. It was a 5-acre smallholding, and we had cows and chickens and in school holidays I used to accompany my mother on delivery rounds in the old Wolseley 8. She used to deliver eggs, butter and cream to housewives in the nearby Johannesburg suburbs of Fairmount, Sydenham and Sandringham. Sunningdale was outside the Johannesburg municipal area then, and so did not have municipal light and water. At the time the photos were taken, however, we had moved to a flat in Sandringham, and the hourses were boarding with out former next door neighbours. In 1956 the place was rented by Howard Leslie, an amiable con man, who lived it up, threw wild parties to entertain the neighbours, and scarpered one night when the creditors got too hot.

Tombstone Tuesday: Hayes in North Curry

For over thirty years now I’ve been up against the proverbial brick wall in my Hayes family from Somerset.

My great great great grandfather Simon Hayes (or Hays) was born in North Curry, Somerset, England, about 1785, according to the 1851 and 1861 censuses. But I’ve not been able to find any record of who his parents or siblings (if any) were.

There are people with the Hayes surname buried in North Curry, like the following couple, may may be related to me, but there is no way of telling until we can get more information about the earlier generations. Until then, they are “maybe cousins”.

Hayes grave in North Curry churchyard

Hayes grave in North Curry churchyard

We visited the church about four years ago, and took the photo then. Our Simon Hayes moved to Winscombe, where he was an agricultural labourer,  and there he married Rachel Allen and had four sons: William Allen, John, Sander, and James Andrews. William Allen died young, and the others moved to Bristol where they married and had families. Sander was a vendor of milk and coal, while the other two were carpenters and builders.

I wonder if any of them knew James and Ellen, and if they regarded them as family or not.

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.


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.


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.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.