Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A Curious Dilemma

In previous blog posts I have mentioned the Coyle family, an Irish family who migrated to Newcastle upon Tyne in the late 1840s at the time of the potato famine. The family was headed by Peter and Mary, and the household often found themselves to be the subjects of newspaper articles. 

The Morpeth Herald newspaper would report on the numerous court proceedings in Northumberland, and the Whitley Petty Sessions often throw up a few surnames in my family. On 27 April 1904 Peter, a grandson of Peter and Mary appeared at the sessions. 

Peter Coyle, a New York miner, charged with being drunk at that village on the 2nd inst.,was put into a rather awkward predicament by the Chairman. He pleaded not guilty, and the Chairman said the Bench could grant him an adjournment, but it would only avail him if he could bring stronger evidence than the constable's, to show he was not drunk, but as there seemed to be no doubt about his having made a noise, it would probably only result in the charge being altered, and his making a disturbance when sober might be considered a worse offence than doing so when drunk.
- Defendant said no more, and was fined 12/6 including costs.

A few other Coyles appeared in the newspapers over the years, mostly for gambling and schooling but sometimes for more serious charges like assault. 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Mrs Carroll's Lodger

Jane Duffy was born in around 1838 somewhere in Ireland to Patrick Duffy, a labourer and Margery Harkins his wife. Jane was my 3x Great Grandmother. It is thought that she was the youngest of seven children, and her siblings were James, Rose Ann, Hugh, PatrickEdward and William.

The Duffy siblings migrated to New Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire, Scotland shortly after 1851, and their parents were already deceased, having died in Ireland. Patrick Duffy, Junior however, went to Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 

In 1857, Jane was a witness to her sister Rose Ann's marriage to Patrick Tonner.

Jane's name, written as a witness
to her sister's marriage.
On 5 March 1858 Jane, who also went by Jean, gave birth out of wedlock. The baby girl was named Elizabeth and her father was said to be Peter White, a ship carpenter. Jane was stated to be working in a paper mill. It is unknown what happened to Elizabeth, but it is presumed that she died young.

An extract from Elizabeth White's birth certificate.
Two years later, Jane Duffy married Bernard Carroll on 6 July 1860 at St Columbkille's Roman Catholic Church, Rutherglen, Lanarkshire. Bernard was said to be aged thirty-four, whereas Jane was twenty-two. Bernard had been widowed the year previously, and had three surviving children. The youngest, Bernard Junior was only four years old. The eldest were William and Ann, who were only around eight and ten years younger than their new stepmother, Jane

Bernard and Jane's marriage record.
There have been a total of nine children found for the couple; Agnes, Patrick, Agnes, Margaret, Hugh and Margaret (twins), Marjory, Edward and Robert. Sadly, not many of their children lived to see adulthood.

Bernard Carroll died on 5 March 1887 at Bothwell, and was buried two days later at St Peter's Cemetery, Dalbeth, Glasgow in common ground. He had died of phthisis, or tuberculosis which had ailed him for about one year. Bernard was around fifty-six years old.

An extract from Bernard's death certificate.
In the years following Bernard's death, Jane lived with her two youngest sons and opened up their house for lodgers for some extra income. One lodger was Patrick Ferns or Fearon, an Irishman, who Jane went on to marry in August 1891. They married at St Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Shettleston.

An extract from Jane's second marriage certificate.

Jane Duffy died on 7 December 1908 at Tollcross, and was buried two days later at St Peter's Cemetery, Dalbeth. Like her first husband, Jane was buried in common ground. Jane had died of chronic bronchitis, which she had suffered from for over two years. 

An extract from Jane's death certificate.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Private Storey - ANZAC Day

In May 1916 my Great Grandfather, Robert Mavin Storey joined the 8th Field Ambulance, Australian Imperial Force. He enlisted at Teralba, NSW where he was working as a bricklayer at the time. The 8th Field Ambulance was only formed in January 1916 after the failed Gallipoli campaign. 
Private Storey.
On 29 March 1918, Robert was apparently "Acting in a manner prejudicial to good order & military discipline in that he created a disturbance." This just so happened to be Robert's thirty-first birthday. For this, he forfeited fourteen days pay. Throughout February and March of 1919 Robert was being transferred to and from different military hospitals, being treated with a "nasal obstruction." On 31 March 1919, he was discharged from hospital and granted furlough (or leave) and told to report back to Headquarters on 14 April. That date came and went and Robert was formerly declared A.W.L (Absent Without Leave), before he finally walked through the door on 23 April. He thus forfeited nine days pay.

Private Storey in
the 8th Field Ambulance, A.I.F.
On 11 September 1919, Robert married Minnie Metcalf at Morpeth, Northumberland. He married while on extended leave, which soon became an indefinite leave as he and his bride were awaiting a family ship to take them to Australia. In March 1920 Robert and Minnie boarded the Zealandic, where they would get off at Melbourne. Minnie was already pregnant with the couple's first child. 

From the Newcastle Sun on
3 June 1920.
Found on Trove.
Robert was formerly discharged from the A.I.F. on 22 July 1920. The couple lived in Weston, a small town in the Hunter Valley area of New South Wales where Robert returned to being a bricklayer.

Nine years later, Robert was looking into getting a refund on his fines he had paid during his service, as friends of his had been able to do the same. A rebate would be gladly welcomed as at the time he was out of work, and was the married with four young children.

In later years Robert, Minnie and their four children emigrated to England after learning that Minnie's mother was unwell. In 1951 Robert inherited a small café shop from his father which he opened and started up for one of his daughters. The café was renamed 'The ANZAC Café'. Robert truly loved Australia, and he returned there in 1953. In December of the same year, Robert died suddenly at Kurri Kurri Hospital after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage. Robert was cremated and his ashes were brought back to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland to be buried with his parents.

The Storey grave in March 2015.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Dear Nellie...

Another treasure belonging to Auntie Nellie I have, is a postcard sent to her near the end of World War One. 

The postcard was from a man named Ben, who was serving in France at the time. The postcard was dated 11 July 1918. He writes to tell Nellie that he is "still in the land of living" and he hoped the same of her. Apparently they were having some good weather over in France, but he wished it "would allways be the same." Ben did not like the idea of winter arriving again, and hoped the next would be the last.

On the front of the postcard are a group of twelve soldiers posing for the photograph. Some are wearing slouch hats, and others service caps. I imagine Ben is one of the soldiers in the photograph, but have no idea which one. 

Auntie Nellie's birthday book possibly holds a clue about Ben. The entry for 27 March has B. Hoffman 2683 10th Batt. A.I.F.

A search for a man in the Australian Imperial Force with the number 2683 brings up records of a soldier named Carl Frederick Benno Hoffman of the 10th Battalion. Now the records don't say if Private Hoffman went by the name Ben, but due to him signing his name with the initial 'B', I can assume he did.

Only a page after that entry in my Auntie Nellie's birthday book is that of my Great Grandfather, Pte R. M. Storey 17834 A.I.F. A guess is that my Great Grandfather became friends with Private Hoffman and brought him up to Northumberland to show him where he was from. It's interesting to think that this also could have been the first time my Great Grandparent's met, in the Masons Arms pub, Morpeth.

The postcard is not stamped so Ben may have posted this to Auntie Nellie with an envelope, or perhaps he gave it to my Great Grandfather to pass on. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Ann the Pauper

On 9 August 1789 at St Mary the Virgin, Stannington a baby girl was baptised. She was born illegitimately to Ruth Hedley and William Pyle and they named her Ann.

Ann's baptism at Stannington.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.
A few years later Ann's mother Ruth married a man named William Sharp, whose family came from the nearby Bothal. William took little Ann in as his own, and soon Ann became the elder sister of five siblings. Unusually Ann retained the name of her birth father, and went by Pyle. 

The family unit soon moved to Seaton Sluice, where her stepfather and brothers worked in the glassworks. A couple of decades later, Ruth Sharp died there aged 59. After this Ann mainly resided with her stepfather and youngest brother, Joseph. When Joseph married Dorothy Hindmarch in 1843, Ann remained with her brother. Joseph and Dorothy went on to have five children and it was around this time Joseph became a baker, but still carried on working in the glassworks. 

Although she had a home, Ann was without work and due to his large family, I presume Joseph was not able to help her out. Ann was described as a Pauper in the census returns, and in 1852 she died aged 63. Ann had never married, nor had children.

Joseph's second daughter was given the middle name, Ann

Monday, 20 April 2015

Inconsistent Quinnins

On my Martin Quinnin's birth certificate his birthdate is recorded as 15 September 1881, and he was registered on the 28 October.

An extract from Martin's birth certificate.
Martin was baptised on 13 October only fifteen days before he was registered, yet his birthdate is written as 2 September. So which is it? I think it's quite interesting to see a thirteen day gap, not simply one or two which I think could be forgiven.

Martin's Catholic baptism entry.
Under Queenan.
Everything else is correct, the names of his parents and the family's abode of Melton Terrace.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Auntie Nellie's Birthday Book

Fairly recently I came across a Birthday Book which belonged to my 2x Great Aunt, Nellie Metcalf. Nellie and her husband were not able to have children, so when she died her belongings were shared amongst her three sisters and their children. 

Auntie Nellie Metcalf

On the very first page was written - To Nellie, from Tom. On her seventeenth birthday. 
So I know Nellie received this book on 10 February 1913. The following pages had the details and the address of a T. W. Weatherly who was in the Royal Marines. 

In 1913 the Metcalf family were living in Morpeth, possibly in the Masons Arms public house. Nellie's mother Ann was from Bedlington, Northumberland, while her father Joseph was from Stanley, Co. Durham where his family were still living. 

The Birthday Book is beautifully illustrated, along with poems at the start of every month and a small extract of one or more poems on every individual day. In the book I found the birthdays of Nellie's parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, and noting down Nellie's relationship to everyone in the book became my goal.  

On the entry for April 23 I found Nellie's mother's birthday. In the book she was simply Mrs Metcalf - a sign of the formality of the times. Her father was under J. Metcalf. The only grandparent alive in 1913 was Nellie's paternal grandmother, Mary Ann MetcalfOn the entry for December 10, Grandmother Metcalf is written alongside it. 

Nellie's sisters Cassie and Lily's names were written down on their respective dates of birth but my Great Grandmother Minnie's entry was a little different. A small, aged feather was placed in between the pages along with Minnie Metcalf, written in Minnie's own handwriting

Like she did with her mother's entry, Nellie often recorded people in their titled form. So in the book you can find entries for Mrs Robinson, Nellie's maternal aunt and also Mrs Burrows, Mrs R. Logan, Mrs Harrison and Mrs Reed. Another of Nellie's aunts was written as Katherine Knox Keeley, so this could imply that she was closer to her than she was to 'Mrs Robinson', but I'm not really sure. It appears the names of the other ladies were the mothers of Nellie's friends.

I soon turned my attention to the man who gave Auntie Nellie the book. Tom W. Weatherly was born 30 July 1890, and his family lived in Choppington and later Bedlington. I was shocked to discover that poor Tom died on 24 June 1915 at Gallipoli, aged only 25. 

At the back of the birthday book are the names of two people along with their death dates. Mrs J. H. Harrison died on 26 October 1914, while Trooper A. White was killed in action on 20 February 1915. 

Auntie Nellie did not continue writing in the book, as the names of her husband and later nephews and nieces are not recorded. The last date I know she wrote in was February 1915, and I know Tom Weatherly was killed in June of the same year. A thought of mine is that Nellie possibly could not bring herself to use the book after Tom died. I'm not sure, but I wonder if Tom was a beau of Nellie's, but if that were the case I'd expect that she would have written his date of death down.

Robert Hall of Ulgham

On 4 June 1773 my 4x Great Grandfather Robert Hall was baptised at St John the Baptist, Ulgham, Northumberland. He was the son of John Hall and Jane Potts. The family lived at Woodhouse, a farm not far from Ulgham. Here I believe they farmed, and were also foresters. 

Robert's baptism entry.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.
Robert was born the year following his parent's marriage. His mother, Jane had been widowed a few years earlier and had two young sons, John and Thomas Straker. Robert's father John was appointed as chapel warden of St John's and also the parish clerk over the next few decades.

St John the Baptism, Ulgham, Northumberland.
February 2014.
On 9 August 1819 Robert married Ann Hepple in the village chapel by license, and together the couple had four children. Sadly, Ann died just ten years later aged only 32. Robert never remarried.
Robert Hall and Ann Hepple's marriage entry.
Robert soon fell into hard times and got himself into debt. In 1832 a notice appeared in the Newcastle Courant detailing that Robert had assigned all of his personal estate and effects to a set of Trustees, for them to deal with his creditors. An auction was also arranged to sell off Robert's furniture and other possessions. 

Robert died on 26 October 1862 at the good old age of 89. His death notice described him as the former woodman to the Earl of Carlisle

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Lost In The Tyne - A Sad Tale

My 3x Great Grandmother was a lady named Mary Ann Steel who was from Ovingham in west Northumberland. When she was around twenty years old, she married Thomas Metcalf, whose family were originally from Cumberland. 

Mary Ann's elder brother, William was an innkeeper at the Blue Bell Inn, Mickley, Northumberland, which he ran with his wife and children. When William died the business was carried on by his two children, Joseph and Mary Jane

The following is an article from the Sunderland Daily Echo from 3 September 1910;

The body of a woman was discovered by a boy floating in the Tyne a little below Ovingham. The body was recovered and taken to the Garden House. A piece of paper with the name Mary Jane Steel was discovered in the pocket of her dress, and the body was afterwards identified as that of Mary Jane Steel, an unmarried woman, who resided with her brother, Mr Joseph Steel, the landlord of the Blue Bell Inn, Mickley.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Gannon To Gaol

On 17 July 1850 my 4x Great Aunt Catherine Quinan (Or Quinnin/Queenan) married Dennis Gannon at St Andrew's RC Church, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Catherine was the widow of John Costelloe, who had died two years previously.
Dennis and Catherine's Catholic marriage entry.
Note the mistake - 'Gallon'.
Dennis and his family lived in Durham city in Court Lane, and had lodging houses. In the year following the marriage Dennis' father Patrick appeared in court on the charge of "having suffered common prostitutes and idle and disorderly persons of bad character to continue and lodge in his house." Patrick had repeatedly been cautioned by the police before, and was fined 5s and costs. He didn't pay however, so was committed to gaol for fourteen days. Obviously not liking prison, Patrick paid the fine and was released. A couple of years later, Dennis was also in court for "harbouring common prostitutes" in his house and was also fined 5s and costs.

Dennis and Patrick often appeared at the courts together, one example being when they were charged under the Lodging House Act for not properly white-washing the walls and ceilings of their respective houses. The houses were said to be in a "most filthy condition, and unfit for habitation of human beings." They were each fined 10s and costs.

In 1858 Dennis and James Gannon were attacked by Thomas Fawcett and Thomas Wilkinson. They struck the Gannons numerous times and were noted to be using "bad language". Thomas Fawcett appears to have been quite a racist and bigoted man, as he declared "they would drive all the Irish out of the land." As Dennis had hit Fawcett in self defence, he was also fined 10s and costs.

Patrick Gannon appears not to have learnt his lesson, as in the following year he was again charged with harbouring prostitutes in his house. Police had found "a man who is a thief, and a woman who is both a prostitute and a thief." The same year, Patrick Gannon died.

In 1861, Dennis appeared in court a few times. He was charged with assaulting one of his lodgers, John Wright and for this was fined 2s 6d and costs. Dennis was then in court for allowing "several unmarried persons, of opposite sexes" to sleep in the same room. The police officers also found a woman in a cupboard, who had went there to hide when she saw them approaching. In the end Dennis was fined 5s and costs. Dennis' mother Catherine was also charged with this offence in the same year. Her excuse was that the lodgers were elderly. Catherine was discharged after promising not to offend again.

The Gannon family rarely appear in the newspapers or courts after this, but in 1877 Dennis' son, Edward and son-in-law, Patrick Lavy were both charged with assault. The Mayor described the assault as "a most cowardly and unprovoked attack", and Edward and Patrick were each sentenced to two months hard labour, and ordered to pay the costs or fourteen days in gaol.

Dennis Gannon died on 5 September 1889 after falling in Mr Chapman's shop, Market Place, Durham. Mr Chapman was the local grocer. The cause of death was heart disease. 
The death of Dennis Gannon, in the
local news section.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A Link To Queen Victoria?

In the past I have mentioned a distant branch of my family who married into the gentry, and thus along with their descendants appear in the Peerage. 

My 5x Great Grandparents were Alexander and Sarah Barrass, who lived all of their lives around the Earsdon area of Northumberland. Together the couple had ten children. Their youngest son Matthew married his first cousin, Ann Hempseed, and they lived in Killingworth, Northumberland. By trade Matthew was a farmer, although later in life hw was a shipowner. 

Presumably it was through the shipping trade that his daughter Sarah Ann met and married John Rogerson who was a civil engineer, iron merchant and a shipowner. John Rogerson the man behind Rogerson & Co., opened a shipbuilding and repairing yard on the river Tyne and also founded an improved line of steamers, the Red Star Line. The Rogerson family soon moved into Croxdale Hall, Durham.

John and Sarah Ann's marriage notice.
Married on 18 August 1863 at Longbenton.
John and Sarah Ann's children led quite a privileged life in comparison to some of their cousins whose fathers were still very much working class, remaining as farmers or butchers. The Rogersons' daughters married into other wealthy families and their sons had the best education possible at Durham, Harrow and later Trinity College, Cambridge. Their eldest son John Edwin Rogerson in later life was a Conservative MP for the Barnard Castle constituency.

In March 1921 the engagement of John Edwin Rogerson's daughter Aileen Mary, to Captain Griffin Wyndham Edward Hanmer, the son of Sir Wyndham C H Hanmer, 6th Baronet, was announced. The couple went on to marry in November of the same year, and so Miss Aileen Mary Rogerson became Lady Hanmer.

The engagement.

Griffin Hanmer known as Edward, was the great-grandson of Victoria, or Victoire Conroy the daughter of the notorious Sir John Conroy. John Conroy was close friend (and possible lover) of the Duchess of Kent, Queen Victoria's mother. 

He was also the creator of the Kensington System, which Princess Victoria lived by up until she became Queen. The Kensington System was a cruel one which did not allow Princess Victoria to sleep alone, or even walk down the stairs without holding an adult's hand. She was kept isolated from other children, except for Victoria Conroy and her siblings. Princess Victoria grew to hate her mother and the Conroys.

Showing the connection to
Sir John and Victoria Conroy.
Lady Aileen Mary Hanmer was the third cousin of my Great Grandmother, Margery Rudd. The current Baronet Hanmer is my 5th Cousin Once Removed.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Easter Sunday at Stamfordham

I first started my journey into family history six years ago this year, and Easter always acts as an Anniversary for that. For Easter Sunday this year I went to St Mary the Virgin, Stamfordham, Northumberland.

After a couple of months of searching my family history, I had acquired a few certificates concerning my Quinnin family. I now knew when and where my Great Grandparents, Martin Quinnin and Margery Rudd died, but not where they were buried. I asked some family members, but they did not seem to know either. 

The Quinnins were Catholics, but I knew the Rudd family were Anglicans. The nearest burial place for Catholics from where the family lived is St Francis Xavier, Cheeseburn Grange, but after contacting a priest he told me my ancestors were not buried there. 

I then turned to Anglican churches in the area, of which there were quite a few. After asking family members again if they knew anything at all, a suggestion of Stamfordham was given. Stamfordham lies just ten minutes south of Wallridge Cottages, where the Quinnin family lived.

St Mary the Virgin, Stamfordham
Soon after I went out to Stamfordham village and found it to be a very pretty village. It was small and very quiet - very picturesque. We went to the church, St Mary the Virgin and attempted to find the family graves. The later graves were down a bank near the bottom. I looked but sadly could not see the Quinnins there. There was however a Great Uncle-in-Law and his grandson buried there, so I did believe that Martin and Margery were possibly there, just without a headstone. 

On the way out I looked in the porch of the church to note down the contact details of the Vicar and churchwardens from the notice boards. To my surprise the church door was open. I went in and was met with lovely silence and such a calming atmosphere. I remember the sunlight was streaming through the amber stained glass windows along the sides of the church, and the windows at the back showing Jesus Christ and the saints were illuminated, making patterns on the floor. 

There was a small table at the front and to the left, with a ceramic bowl on top. The bowl was filled with sand, and there were candles nearby. I made sure to light a candle and I placed it in the centre of the bowl.

A few years later I went to Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn Museum and searched in the Stamfordham burial register for records on the family. There I found what I'd been looking for. I found Martin, then Margery, two Great Uncles, a Great Aunt and a second cousin. All at Stamfordham!

On Easter Sunday 2015, I went out again to St Mary the Virgin, Stamfordham and tried to estimate where exactly my relatives were buried. From looking at copies of the burial register and finding headstones of other people buried around the same time, I was able to guess the general area where my ancestors rest.

Top image - A guess at where my Great Grandfather, Martin Quinnin rests.
Bottom image - A guess at where my Great Grandmother, Margery Rudd Quinnin
is buried.
It's sad to think that I will never know where exactly the couple are buried, but at an educated guess I think I'm pretty close. At least I now know the general area where they are. From where they are, there's quite a nice view of the church and the surrounding fields.
A view of the church from the
section of the churchyard where
my ancestors are buried.
Like a few years ago, I found the church open again. I signed the visitor's book, and again lit a candle.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

This Mortal Coyle

My 3x Great Grandparents were a couple named Peter and Mary Coyle, who were possibly natives of Kilglass, Co. Sligo, Ireland and were another of my families who fled to England to escape the potato famine. Like my Quinnin family, the Coyles lived in what was the roughest and most impoverished area of Newcastle upon Tyne; Sandgate. They actually lived next door to the Quinnins, so it was no surprise that Peter and Mary's daughter, Barbara married Martin Quinnin

In the mid-1850s Peter began running the White Swan Inn, Sandgate, and in August 1856 he was brought up in the courts for not keeping good order. A man named Brown was in hospital after being mistreated and injured in the public house. Peter was fined 10s and 7s 6d costs. He had apparently been summoned and fined before on numerous occasions! 

License withdrawal list.
Two years later in 1858 Peter's name appeared on a list for innkeepers whose licenses were withdrawn and by 1861 the Coyles had moved to Murton, Northumberland, living not far from the Quinnins. 

In 1868 Mary Coyle's name appeared in the newspapers. Mary brought her neighbour Jane Murphy up in court, stating she had assaulted her by striking her in the head with a stone, then hitting her with a hoe. The quarrel had arisen after Mary had attempted to get some of Jane's chickens from her yard. According to Jane Murphy however, Mary had started the brawl by running into her house, grabbing her by the hair and slapping her about the head. 

There was quite a stigma attached to being an Irish native around this time, and the journalist who recorded the proceedings made sure to state that Jane Murphy in particular was "evidently Irish." The magistrates simply dismissed the case, and bound both women to keep the peace towards one another. 

Peter and Mary Coyle often appeared as
 Godparents to their grandchildren.
Above are their names in Latin.
Mary died on 20 October 1884 of general debility, simply meaning she was weak and feeble at the time of her death. She was 65 years old. Peter died on 7 May 1893 with the cause of death being a apoplexy coma. This possibly means it was a sudden death, beginning with a loss of consciousness. Peter was 79 years old.