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

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Where’s Wally?

If you happen to have seen my Twitter feed towards the end of last week, you might have detected a scuffle of excitement as I once again turned my attention to the saga that is my great grandfather Walter Newby and his father, the mysterious Thomas Henry. (If you want to catch up on the story so far, the easiest way is probably to scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Newby tag, which should bring you all the related posts!)
Previously I had focused on finding Walter on the 1911 census, because I know that he should be aged about five at this point, and he must be alive somewhere. However, I can’t find him, either with his father or without!
Having had absolutely no luck with the son, I turned my attention to the father. My knowledge about Thomas Henry Newby is limited: He was a market gardener, and he was dead by the time Walter married in 1929. Of course, this means that I can’t even be sure that Thomas Henry was alive in 1911. But, I thought, perhaps I can find a Thomas Henry with a son of the right age who has been badly mistranscribed, explaining why my searches haven’t found him.
And, after a lot of searching, using various wildcards, I came up with something: Thomas Henry Norbury, nursery and seedsman.
 OK, so he doesn’t appear to have a son of the right age. But he is located in Clayton West, which is local, roughly ten miles from where Walter later marries. Though I don’t have any evidence to suggest that Walter was definitely born locally to where he later lived, nor do I have any reason to believe that he wasn’t. (It does give rise to questions about the assumptions one should make during a genealogical investigation...)
Now, Thomas Henry Norbury and his wife, Eleanor, have four living children in 1911 and one who has died. They have three children living with them on the census, none of which are Walter. I located them on the 1901 census, and there they have a fourth child. However, this could be the one who has died. Thus, possibly, Walter could be the elusive fifth?
One problem regarding this family is in fact that Eleanor is a little old to have a six-year-old son in 1911. But perhaps she isn’t his mother ... ? And of couse there’s the slightly bigger problem – where the heck is Walter in 1911?!
Of course, the Norburys could be a red herring, but with nothing else to go on, I reckon they’re worth investigating further. I’ll keep you posted...
L x

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