Visiting cousins and old haunts

This morning I left home before 5:00 am to go to Johannesburg for the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Transfiguration, It starts at 6:00 to give people enough time to get to work afterwards. And, as I sometimes do on such occasions, I had breakfast at the Wimpy in Killarney Mall (they do hake with chips and salad). And then I planned to go and do some family history research in the Mormon family history centre in Parktown, but when I got there it was closed.

I didn’t feel like facing the freeway at the tail-end of the rush hour, so I took a leisurely drive through some of the haunts of my youth — a block of flats we had lived at in Sandringham, and St Nicholas Anglican Church down the road, where on Thursday mornings (rather like today) I used to go to be an altar server with old Canon Sharman and millions of angels. Canon Sharman seemed very old then, though he was probably no older than I am now. But he is long gone, The church was still there, though, but it has been converted into a private residence.

St Nicholas Anglican Church, Sandringham, Johannesburg -- now converted into a private house

St Nicholas Anglican Church, Sandringham, Johannesburg — now converted into a private house

Then I thought, having been deprived of the opportunity of looking at the names of long-dead relatives in microfilm readers, why not go and see a living one. So I went to see my cousin Peter Maxwell, whom I hadn’t seen for over 50 years, and met his wife Mellony for the first time. The last time I met him, I recalled, we had spent most of the time talking about cars, and he said he is still a car nut, and in the past drove in races and rallies. Nowadays it has become specialised and professionalised, and only the very rich could do it, but back then, he said, if you went to Castol and showed them your rally registration, they would sponsor you by providing a few litres of oil.

Steve Hayes & Peter Maxwell, 6 August 2013

Steve Hayes & Peter Maxwell, 6 August 2013

It’s more fun to meet one living relative than to pore over microfilm records to find a few facts about a dozen dead ones.

Peter Maxwell is the son of my father’s sister, Doreen Wynn Maxwell, born Hayes.

Where does Francis Joseph Hayes fit in?

Yesterday I discovered a Hayes relation I had not known about before; he is Francis Joseph Hayes, born about 1882.

Discovering hitherto unknown relations is not unknown in genealogical and family history research — that’s what it’s all about. But the difficulty is finding where this one fits in.

Francis Joseph Hayes appears on the 1911 English census, aged 29, staying with the Nobbs familyat 11 Ashchurch Park Villas, Hammersmith, London. Most of the male members of the family are gun makers, and he is too. He is shown as the nephew of the head of the household, 62-year-old Barbara Nobbs, widow. From other sources I know that she was Barbara Rachel Hayes, born in Bristol, England, and baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Clifton, Bristol, on 15 July 1848.

name: Francis Joseph Hayes
event: Census
event date: 1911
gender: Male
age: 29
birthplace: Finsbury Park London N, London
record type: Household
registration district: Fulham
sub-district: North Hammersmith
parish: Hammersmith
county: London

Barbara Rachel Hayes married William Nobbs, gun maker, on 4 June 1870, and they had five children, Rosa, William, Wesley, Elijah and Chrisopher. By 1911 three of the five were dead: Rosa, William and Christopher all died in their 30s, apparently unmarried and leaving no descendants. At the 1911 census two of the five children were at home: Wesley, with his wife Florence and two children, and Elijah Thomas Nobbs, who was still single. And then the mysterious Francis Joseph Hayes, nephew.

Where did Francis Joseph come from?

Barbara Rachel Hayes was the eldest of eight children of Sander Hayes and Barbara Deake Clevely. She did have a nephew William Joseph Hayes, born in 1882, son of her brother Christopher Albert Hayes, but William Joseph Hayes died 18 months later, and his birth and death are recorded on a plaque in the Easton-in-Gordano cemetery. None of her other brothers had children born in the right time frame, and their children were all born in Bristol.

One brother, John Hayes, was in the right place at the right time. He married Maud Alice Rogers in Bristol in 1877, and they had two daughters, Maude and Adelaide, in 1878 and 1879 respectively, and they appear on the 1881 census living in London, where John was a builder. It is possible that they could have had a son in London in 1882. But in 1885 the family emigrated to the USA, where they show up in censuses for San Francisco — father, mother and two daughters — no Francis Joseph. Is it likely that they would have emigrated and left a three-year-old child behind?

Earlier censuses don’t seem to cast much light on the matter, so perhaps he was in America, and returned.

Perhaps it’s time to bite the bullet and order the birth certificate for this one:

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Births Jun 1881   (>99%)
HAYES  Francis  Hackney  1b 509
HAYES  Francis Joseph  Islington  1b 452
HAYES  Francis William  Upton  6c 323

But if his parents are not known members of the family, then what?

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).

 

Changes in Melmoth after 30 years

We lived in Melmoth, Zululand, from 1977-1982, so it is almost 30 years since we left. Earlier this week we visited it again while on holiday, and drove past some of the places we had known, to see what changes there had been. I’ve written about some of the general changes on my Khanya blog, but there are some changes that are also linked more closely to the family.

In 1979 we had a Christmas tree in our sitting room, with decorations, and we put Christmas presents under it. After Christmas we took it outside, and decided to plant it outside the study window. One reason for doing this was that in summer the afternoon sun shone into the window and made the study too hot and the light made it more difficult to work in. Of course when we first planted the tree it was too small to give much shade.

Our Christmas tree when we planted it in January 1980: Val, Simon, Bridget and Steve Hayes

We planted it on 11 January 1980, and it was only a little taller than the children.

A different view of Bridget and the tree

The tree grew quite quickly.

After a year the tree was a bit taller.

But after 30 years, it was enormous, and had two tops.

July 2012 the Christmas tree towers above the flat-crown tree, which in turn has spread to stretch over the house.

Other trees had also grown, and Hammar Street has a much better surface, and there is actually a pavement, which wasn’t there when we lived in Melmoth, so back then people tended to walk down the street.

 

Hammar Street, Melmoth, July 2012

On 1 January 1981 we planted three cycad seedlings in the garden. They came from Val’s mother (Dorothy Greene) who lived in Escombe, Queensburgh, and had a couple of large cycads, which produced lots of seeds, and seedlings kept growing in her garden. She gave us some, and also had to give us special certificates for the nature conservation department, as cycads are protected plants.

All Saints Rectory, Melmoth, with cycad near the chimney. 23 July 2012

I’m not sure whether that was one of the cycads we planted — I thought we had planted them in more protected places, but perhaps someone moved one, or one of them grew up and produced seeds of its own.

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.

Namibian cousins visit

Last month we had a visit from Val’s cousin Enid Ellis and her husband Justin, who were on holiday from Windhoek, Namibia. Val and Enid are cousins on the Pearson side of the family. We manage to see them once every 5 years or so, usually when they are passing through, and catch up with news of family and friends. This time we did it over lunch in Centurion Mall.

Enid Ellis, Val Hayes, Justin Ellis

Val (nee Greene) and Enid (nee Gammage) grew up in Escombe, in Queensburgh, Natal, near Durban and the families were very close, and they spent a lot of time together.

Steve met Justin when he came to Windhoek with a group of  students from Stellenbosch University to spend part of their summer vac there in 1970. Actually it was a funny summer, as for one week it was bitterly cold, and there was snow in the Cape, in December!

Steve and Justin met again in July 1972 (the real winter) at an Anglican Students Federation conference at KwaMagwaza in Zululand. Steve had been deported from Namibia, along with some other church workers, including the bishop, Colin Winter, and so Steve tried to persuade Justin to go there to take the place of some of those who were kicked out. Whether the persuasion did the trick, or whether it was something else, Justin eventually went.

A few months after that meeting, Steve met Val and Enid in Queensburgh, and in 1973 Val and Enid went to Namibia on holiday. In 1974 Enid decided to go back there, and later that year Val and Steve were married, and Enid and Justin as well. And a few years later Justin and Enid were deported from Namibia (an insidious habit), and spent a few years in England, returning when Namibia became independent in 1990.

Back in the 1970s we were all Anglicans. Now Enid and Justin are Quakers, and Val and Steve are Orthodox.

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.

Julia Bridget Hayes – ikonographer

Sell Art OnlineOur daughter Bridget the ikonographer has set up a web page to display her
ikons
.

She has been painting ikons for several years now, and is using them to
finance her studies in Greece (she is studying for a doctorate in theology at
Athens University).

What are you looking for here?

What are people looking for when they visit this blog?

According to the statistics people used the following search engine terms to find their way here:

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http://www.deadatmyage.com 6
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Some of those are fairly general, and people may have found other sites through the search term that were more interesting or useful to them.

But there are some that I wish had left a message and introduced themselves, when their search term was the name of a specific person in our family tree.

Josephine Tsegaye, for example, is my fifth cousin, so it would be nice if anyone who was looking for her had left a comment to say if they were related or not, and if she was the person they were looking for.

Joseph Theodore Chelin was my wife’s grandmother’s first husband. It would be nice to know if he was the one they were looking for, or if it was someone else of the same name.

Edward Lister Green was my wife’s great great grandfather’s brother, and we are in touch with some of his descendants, and would like to make contact with more. If would have been nice if people left a comment to say if they had found what they were looking for or not — well in his case, perhaps some did, because we have had some comments from that side of the family.

But we have quite a bit more information on some families than is posted on the blog, and if people are related and genuinely want to make contact, we would gladly share it with them.

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