Last week I promised you a story from the sibling tidy-up of one of my ancestors.
The ancestor in question is Thomas Goulding, my maternal grandmother’s father. I already knew from my original research that Thomas moved from Nottinghamshire where he was born to the Wakefield area, sometime between 1891 and 1901. He didn’t move to marry my great-grandmother as they didn’t marry until 1910. However, his sister Amelia Goulding had married a local man, Charles Edward Coop in 1892, and in 1901 Thomas was staying in her household. Frustratingly, I haven’t been able to find Amelia on the 1891 census, so I don’t know whether she was in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire or elsewhere. Also, while I know that Amelia and Charles married in Amelia’s home town of Gringley on the Hill, I have found evidence that the Banns were read in Charles’ parish of Ossett Holy Trinity, which I’ve never seen before. Their eldest daughter was born in Gringley in 1892, but by 1894 they were back in Ossett.
My mum was able to confirm that she had heard the name ‘Milly Coop’ mentioned in the family without knowing what the relation was. With no indication of how Charles and Milly met, but the certainty that she was the earliest of my Gouldings in the area, I had simply conjectured that it was simply a case of Thomas moving for work and living with his sister, or even just visiting occasionally, meeting my great grandmother and then settling more permanently in the area.
However, when I started investigating his siblings, it seems he wasn’t the only one to follow his sister to Wakefield.
Their sister Nellie Goulding moved there sometime between 1901 and 1904, and their brother Arthur Goulding had moved there by 1907. Again, there’s no indication as to why, but presumably they did ‘follow’ Milly and Thomas. It also seems likely that their father may have died around this period, so perhaos this had an impact on their freedom to move?
It’s funny, because while I knew that my direct maternal line was very local, I’d never heard other Gouldings in Horbury mentioned, so I’d never thought that there were local relatives on that side, whereas now it seems quite likely that there are.
However, it would explain why, when in the early days of my family research I briefly made contact with a Goulding descendant of the Nottinghamshire branch, she was convinced that she had also been contacted by someone else in the area, but the names she gave didn’t quite add up with what I knew about the family – chances are, it was a descendant of Arthur Goulding she had encountered.
There’s another fairly interesting aspect to the story as well. Thomas Goulding’s wife-to-be Annie Louisa Hampshire might not have been considered the ideal bride for many. She had had an illegitimate daughter at a relatively young age. To this day the father is unknown, and the daughter was brought up by Annie Louisa’s parents, even after their daughter’s marriage. Also, unusually, Thomas was about 10 years older than Annie Louisa.
Interestingly, of Thomas’s other siblings who moved to the area, both had similar stories. Thomas’s sister Nellie had an illegitimate daughter of her own in 1896, eight years before she married yorkshireman James Thorpe at Horbury Bridge. They went on to have two sons.
And Arthur Goulding’s Wakefield-born wife Mildred Ambler had also had a an illegitimate daughter two years before she married Arthur – though the daughter went on to take the name Goulding, so perhaps Arthur was in fact the father? They went on to have four more Goulding children.
Is this just an odd coincidence, or is there a connection to be gleaned here? Did Thomas and Arthur have more sympathy towards the unconventional lives of their brides because of their sister’s experience? Or, perhaps, having moved away from their parents and being new to the area, with no longstanding family reputation to worry about nearby, they just worried less about any ‘stigma’? Perhaps the entire Goulding clan was just of a rather more ‘modern’ mindset than some of their contemporaries? Or maybe it really was just a matter of chance? I also can’t help but wonder what Mr Coop made of his wife’s slightly scandalous family? We’ll probably never know, but if I hadn’t investigated Thomas siblings’ movements, I would never have had these questions to ask!