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

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

E is for Emmett

I was wrong when I said I didn’t have any Es in my tree. In fact I had two, both wives of direct-line siblings, as yet un-indexed.
After a quick perusal, I selected Sarah Jane M. Emmett as an interesting candidate for a bit of further research (cheating a bit I know!), as I have nothing at all on her before her marriage, and a basic ancestry search doesn’t immediately throw up anything immediatly useful...
Sarah Jane is the wife of John Robert Thompson, another son of James Thompson and Sarah Ann Semley, whose ancestors were covered in B is for Buswell and D is for Depledge respectively. The marriage of Sarah Jane and John  Robert takes place in 1892, in the Sheffield registration district, and they have a son, George Water Thompson, born three years later.
The 1901 and 1911 census records give her birthdate as 1868 and 1869 respectively, in Birstall, West Yorkshire. She married at the age of about twenty-four, so it seems fairly unlikely (though not impossible) that she had had a previous marriage. Thus I would expect to find her under the name Emmett as a child in the 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses, most likely in or near Birstall or possibly around Sheffield.
The most likely entry in the initial census results in Sarah J. Emmett b. 1863 and living in 1871 and 1881 with her grandfather (and his wife in 1871). However, they are about ten miles from Birstall in North Bierley (though the Genuki page for Birstall does suggest that Bierley is close to the parish of Birstall, though it actually falls under Bradford, and this Sarah is at least five years older than the age given in the censuses.
Alternatively, I turned to family search. One strong possibility is Sarah Jane Maria Emmet born 1865 in Kirkheaton, approximately 12 miles from Birstall. The parents’ names here are Charles and Jimima Emmett (As it turns out, the baptism record is also on Ancestry as well, which just goes to show the limitations of certain search functions!)  Cross-referencing against the 1871 census reveals the most likely family is now based in Leeds, but has moved many times over the period – to Sheffield, into Lancashire before returning to Yorkshire (based on the births of the children). They have a daughter, Jane Emmett of the correct age, apparently born in Birstall, as is Jemima. On the 1881 Census the family is now based at Holbeck, South Leeds. Their eldest daughter is Sarah, aged 15, born Birstall. All things considered, this is the most likely entry.  
So, what of the rest of the Emmetts?
Charles Emmett was b. about 1838 in Birkenshaw, Lancashire, and in 1881 his occupation is Mechanical Engineer – given Holbeck’s proximity to Leeds station, I wonder if this is another family whose movements have been following the railway, like the Buswells? Charles Emmett married Jemima Jane Mercer Ward on 25 September 1864 in Kirkheaton. The groom’s father is George Emmett, and the bride’s father is Samuel Ward. We can be very sure that this is the correct marriage, as the couple’s first son, born 1867, is named Mercer Emmett (1871 census) – presumably the same child as Charles Emmett (1881 census). The Emmetts had a further two children: Mabel Emmett (b. 1868) and Ernest Emmett (b. 1871).
Obviously, the Emmetts aren’t a direct line of my tree so, for now at least, I don’t intend on taking my research on the family too much further, unless to confirm that I have indeed got the right Sara Jane M Emmett. I can’t be 100% without further proof, but I think the exactness of the name match, and the close-enough geography would tend to argue in favour. I would be very surprised if I am wrong, but you never know, as the Father of Walter Newby debacle goes show.  Assuming I am right, the background info is potentially useful, and it made for a fun little exercise for this blog post!
L x

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