"Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, 13 April 2012

B is for Buswell

My Buswell line begins with the marriage of Edith Marian Buswell to Albert Thomas Thompson, my 2x great grandfather. Their daughter Margaret marries Walter Newby on my direct paternal line. Edith was born in 1882, in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and the couple married in 1900.
Edith’s father is Charles John Buswell, born in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. The details are a bit vague here, because Charles John is missing from his family on the 1861 census – if anyone can track him down it would be much appreciated! However, by 1871 he is back at home with them. He marries in London in 1876 (his wife Mary Ann Jessup is from Camberwell, Surrey, which might explain the location?). Their eldest child Alfred is born in Tredegar, Wales the following year. However, by 1878 they are living in Rotherham, and by 1889 they have moved again to Barnsley, where Charles John remains until his death.
Charles John was employed in the railways as a ‘Foreman Porter’, as revealed by the General Staff Book of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway and Canal Company. This tells us that he entered into employment with them on 17 July 1878 at the age of 22⅔ (giving us a rough birthdate of October 1855). He was based at Barnsley station. His initial salary isn’t given, but two small pay rises are recorded, in 1891 and 1894.
Charles John’s father is also Charles Buswell, b. 1819 in Oxfordshire (the name seems to run in the family, as Edith Marian also has a brother named Charles). He is a whitesmith. I had to look up this rather unusual occupation. Here is a definition (from Wikipedia):
A whitesmith is a person who works with "white" or light-coloured metals such as tin and pewter. Unlike blacksmiths (who work mostly with hot metal), whitesmiths do the majority of their work on cold metal (although they might use a hearth to heat and help shape their raw materials). The term is also applied to metalworkers who do only finishing work – such as filing or polishing – on iron and other "black" metals. Whitesmiths fabricate items such as tin or pewter cups, water pitchers, forks, spoons, and candle holders and it was a common occupation in pre-industrial times.
This interested me, because obviously we are not looking at the pre-industrial period. It seems that Charles was continuing to work in what must have been becoming an increasingly scarce craft, and was probably highly skilled in his work.
The furthest back my Buswells go at the moment is to Charles’ father William Buswell, b. 1779 in Warwickshire. By the 1861 census he is widowed and living with his son Charles and family (minus Charles John). No occupation is given here, but when I searched the Pigots 1830 Oxfordshire Directory for Buswells, he appears in Chipping Norton working as a blacksmith and whitesmith on Middle Row. I have yet to search for earlier census records for William but knowing his occupation and the fact that he was in Chipping Norton in 1830 (and probably remained there), despite being born elsewhere, should hopefully make tracking him down fairly straightforward!
L x

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