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

Thursday, 26 April 2012

L is for Lumb

The only L in my family tree is my 3x great-grandmother Mary Ann Lumb. She marries Henry Hampshire  in 1848, and one of their children, Ezra Hampshire, is the father of my great-grandmother Annie Louisa Hampshire (straight down my maternal line). I know from various census records that Mary Ann was born abt. 1830 in Thornhill, West Yorkshire. However, I haven’t progressed much further than this.
Mary Ann was an ancestor I identified early in my research, and presented a bit of a stumbling block at the time as I hadn’t managed to locate anything to help me accurately identify her parents. As this was back in my student days I was reluctant to shell out for the marriage certificate, and I obviously haven’t gone back to her since.
This is a good example of why I’m enjoying this blogging project so much – because it is reminding of half-forgotten ancestors, helping me to reconsider the research I have done so far and see where I can progress. When I went to look at Mary Ann’s Ancestry profile, there were 13 suggested records, and two member 'photos and stories'! I gave them a quick scan but disappointingly there was nothing immediately useful.
That said, I do think that with the constant release of records there must be new material out there that will help me find out more about Mary Ann. A parish marriage record would be very useful. If not, ordering her marriage certificate is going straight to the top of my ‘records to obtain’ list!
I’ll keep you posted...
L x

K is for Kipping

I didn’t have a choice about today’s K, because it’s the only one in my tree, but it’s fine because it’s a really good one – Kipping. It also takes in another couple of surnames as well – Hayward and Hedgecock, which I didn’t get to cover in my H.
The Kipping story starts with William Philip Hayward, the father of Victorine Hayward, my dad’s maternal grandmother. All I knew about William initially is that he was an alcoholic actor, somewhat older than his wife Mabel, and that he had died when Victorine was in her late-teens (in around 1930/31 we think).
When I first started on this branch of the family, William proved extremely difficult to track down. I found one census entry, 1901, for W. P. Hayward, actor, which gave his birthplace as ‘Brighton Hove’. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single potential birth entry, or any promising earlier census entries. I tried every variation I could think of on Hayward – Haywood, Heyward, Heywood, and more besides – and was utterly baffled by the whole thing. However, I had easily tracked down the marriage entry for William and Mabel, and so I ordered the certificate.
William Philip’s father’s name was given as William Kippin Hayward, and he was listed as a draper (deceased). So, I set about re-checking census entries armed with the new info, thinking that there must somewhere be a major error with William Philip’s date of birth, and this would set it right. Still no luck.
I assumed, of course, that the unusual ‘Kippin’ was a mother’s maiden name (and in this assumption I was to be eventually proved correct).
It was only when I turned to the 1911 census and by chance got the search criteria right that the correct entry presented itself. William P. Hedgcock (Sometimes spelt Hedgecock), actor, living with his father William K. Hedgcock, draper. The ages were correct, as was the place of birth for William Philip, and I was finally convinced that I had found the right record. Hayward, I assume, was William Philip’s stage name – it is only surprising, perhaps, that he should use it on his marriage certificate.
Anyway, once I had made this crucial leap, my Kippings turned out to be quite easy to track, and a fascinating bunch!
William Kippin Hedgcock was born in 1851, in Rochester, Kent, to parents Edwin Hedgcock and Emma Kipping, who had married the previous year. Obviously, I don’t want to talk too much about the Hedgecocks here, or this post will go on forever, so I’ll save them for another time.
Emma was born in 1828, in Hadlow, Kent, according to the 1851 census – which confusingly gives her the name ‘Emmer Williams’. This is because one member of the household is one Louisa Williams, housekeeper. In fact, in this census, Edwin, Emma and their newborn son are, rather helpfully, living with Emma’s father, Will Kipping (b. 1792), and her brother Charles Kipping (b. 1831-33).
By 1861, Emma and Edwin are living in Uxbridge with their children – all except William Kipping, who is unaccounted for on this census.
Further research initially revealed the existence of two sisters ­– Ann Kippin (b. 1826) and Maria Kipping (b. 1829) – living with Emma on the 1841 census, in a very small household that appears to be described as a ‘seminary’. It would seem that the three Kipping girls, then aged fifteen, twelve and eleven, are away from home for the purposes of their education. Tracking Ann and Maria, I found them in 1851 in the Barlow household in Croydon, where they are described as ‘nieces’. I have yet to identify where this relationship comes in.  By 1861, Ann is a boarder in the Carnell household, and Maria has married to an unknown spouse.
I then turned to look more closely at their father, Will Kipping. In 1841, his household includes daughters Sarah Kipping (b. abt 1825) and Caroline Kipping (b. abt 1820), a son George Kipping (b. abt 1820), housekeeper Louisa Williams, and Ann May, aged about sixty. Ann’s position in the household is not clear, but as she is the last person listed, below the housekeeper, I think she is most likely a servant or employee rather than a family member.
George marries in the early 1850s, to an unknown woman, and has three children: William Kipping (b. 1855), Francis Elizabeth Kipping (b. 1856) and Ellen Sophia Kipping (b. 1858). By 1861 he is widowed, and he himself dies in 1863. The children are, according to the probate record, left in the care of his father. What happens to them I haven’t yet established, though Ancestry seems to be suggesting plenty of records for all of them.
In 1861, Will’s household consists of housekeeper Louisa Williams; Charles Kipping and his wife Mary, and their two children Horace Kipping (b. 1858) and Charles Kipping (b. 1861), a previously unknown son of Will Fred Kipping (b. 1834), Sarah Carnell ­and her daughter, also Sarah, aged four. Sarah Carnell turns out to be Sarah Kipping, now the wife of Edward Carnell, in whose household Ann Kipping is residing on the same date.
It is as yet unclear what happens Caroline Kipping is after 1841. Nor do I know what happens to Fred Kipping after 1861.
Will Kipping, it appears, is a farmer and a rather prosperous one at that. In the 1840 Pigot’s Directory of Kent, he appears in a list of nobility, gentry and clergy in the Hadlow area, and on the 1851 census he describes himself as a ‘farmer of 160 acres, employing 15 labourers’. In 1861 he is a ‘retired famer’, yet on his death five years later he leaves ‘effects under £18,000’ – which the National Archives’ currency convertor tells me would have the same spending worth as £822,600 in 2005. This makes Will Kipping probably the wealthiest (known) person in my family ever!
In order to try and progress a little further with Will’s line, I began by searching for the baptisms of his children. This was partially successful, with some but not all baptisms identified. It revealed that Will’s spouse was also named Caroline. There is one very likely marriage, to Caroline Kettle, in Wateringbury, Kent, in 1816. Once again, there are possibly other, older children not yet identified, given that there’s potentially a four-year gap after their marriage before the birth of George.
Caroline Kipping née Kettle dies in 1832, which does raise the question of how she can possibly have given birth to son Fred Kipping in 1834. However, census ages are notoriously unreliable. One census suggests a date of birth of 1833 for their older son Charles, which is equally impossible. On the other hand, perhaps Caroline isn’t their mother. I didn’t find a baptism for either of these two boys, so I can’t yet prove that Will didn’t remarry, though if he did she must also have died by 1841.
Though the marriage didn’t give a name for Will’s parents, there is one very likely baptism for Will too – in May 1792 in Hadlow, to parents Thomas Kipping and Mary. There is scope to prove this as well, if I can find other baptisms of children to the same parents and then trace one of them forwards to Barlow family with whom two of Will’s daughters are living in 1851. (Unless of course the Barlow connection is on the Kettle side, in which case it will be equally useful on a different line!)
Intriguingly, there is also another connection that might be useful, and this time it is definitely on the Kipping line: one Thomas Kipping, solicitor, of New-Broad-Street, London. I initially found him as an executor of Edwin Hedgcock’s Will, and tentatively suggested that he might be another brother of Emma’s. When I later uncovered Will Kipping’s Will, however, Thomas Kipping, solicitor is executor of this will too, but this time is named as ‘nephew of the deceased’ – Thomas is the son of one of Will Kipping’s brothers (or potentially, but less likely, one of his sisters).
As you can see, my Kipping family is a perfect example of a typical family history ‘jigsaw puzzle’ – lots of pieces that all inter-connect to build up a picture of a remarkable, and seemingly quite close-knit, family – and these are the pieces still to find or place:
– Where is William Kipping Hedgcock in 1861?
– Who are the Barlows and how are they connected to the Kipping family?
– Who is the wife of George Kipping and what happens to his children after his death?
– What happens to Caroline Kipping after 1841?
– What happens to Ann Kipping and Fred Kipping after 1861?
– Does Maria Kipping marry Abraham Lee or Robert Bennett? What happens to her from 1860 ?
– Is Caroline Kettle the mother of Fred and Charles Kipping? If not, who is?
– Are there further children of Caroline Kettle and Will Kipping?
– Can I find out any more about earlier Kippings – Will’s parents?
– Can I find out more about the family of Thomas Kipping, Will’s nephew?
– To whom does Will Kipping leave his vast fortune after his death?
L x

Monday, 23 April 2012

J is for Jepson

Emma Jepson is the mother of Thomas Goulding, my mother’s maternal grandfather. She was born in April–May of 1843, and baptised on 7 May that year at Misterton in Nottinghamshire.  The entire line seems to be deeply rooted in this area, in fact, making it fairly easy to work with. Emma marries in 1867 and remains in Nottinghamshire until her death in 1893.
Emma’s father is William Jepson, born around 1801 in ‘Sutton’. He marries Elizabeth Clark on 26 November 1823. Sadly I can’t find any strong indications of who William’s parents were. In the marriage information given on Ancestry and on Family Search, no information is given on the bride and groom’s parents.
On the 1851 census William is described as ‘Victualler and Farmer of 45 Acres’, which was a smallish farm for the time (I have to admit that I have no concept of how large an acre is!). By this time enclosure of land was basically complete, and farming was entering a sort of ‘golden age’ in Britain, thanks to new technologies and scientific knowledge that allowed agriculture to prosper. So while William and his family were probably not exactly wealthy, they probably weren’t starving either. However, by 1861 William is only farming 22 acres – though he is getting on a bit by now, perhaps he had sold some of his to ease his workload in his old age?
Emma has six known siblings: Sarah Jepson (b. 1829), Elizabeth Jepson (b. 1831), William Jepson (b. 1834), George Jepson (b. 1836), John Jepson (b. 1837) and Ann Jepson (b. 1840).
I suspect there might be more, given the six year gap following William and Elizabeth’s marriage, but they are for the most part unlikely to be married, as a child born in 1823 would still be only eighteen in 1841. It seems more probably that they have left home and gone into domestic service or apprenticeships, in which case it might be possible to track them down in the 1841 census and check against baptism records to confirm that they are the children of William and Elizabeth.
Here is a brief account of what I know about each of the Jepson children:
Sarah Jepson marries in 1848 (Gainsborough, 3rd Q). There are four possible spouses: Thomas Ashton, Samuel Davies, John Fox or John Wheelwright Gagg. It may be possible to work out which through a process of elimination, but I haven’t attempted this yet.
Elizabeth Jepson seems to have married a William Butroid. I only know this because on the 1861 and 1871 censuses there is a granddaughter Elizabeth Mary Butroid living with Elizabeth’s parents. I found her baptism and her parents are given as William Butroid and Elizabeth. I haven’t yet confirmed the marriage.
William Jepson marries Martha Jefferson in 1855. The couple have seven Jepson children: Ann Elizabeth Jepson (b. 1857), Mary Jane Jepson (b. 1858), George Jepson (b. 1863), Emma Jepson (b. 1865), Florence Jepson (b. 1867), Clara Jepson (b. 1869) and John W. Jepson (b. 1877). Funnily enough, by 1861 they have moved to Brightside Bierlow near Sheffield, where Arthur Hancocks was to move from Wales twenty years later (see H is for Hancocks). He is employed
George Jepson also moves north to Brightside Bierlow sometime between 1858 and 1861, with his family – his wife Jane (who he probably married around 1857) and children William Jepson (b. 1858), Adelaide Jepson (b. 1861), Alice Ann Jepson (b. 1863), Maud Mary Jepson (b. 1867), Elizabeth Jepson (b. 1870) and John Jepson (b. 1872).
Both William and George are working as a steel welders in 1871 – Hardly surprising in Sheffield, where the main industry was steelworking.
John Jepson marries a woman named Jane in the late 1850s. They have three daughters: Emily Jepson (b. 1860), Mary J. Jepson (b. 1864) and Anne Jepson (b. 1867). Mysteriously, 'Anne' appears to read 'Amy' on the 1881 census, but I’m pretty sure they have to be the same person – perhaps it is meant to say 'Anny'? In 1871 Jane and the children are living with John’s parents. John appears as a lodger in another household. Jane dies in 1882, and John remarries at some point before 1891 to a woman named Mary, with whom he is living alone on the 1891 and 1901 censuses. John, like some of my Buswell ancestors, is employed as a whitesmith.
Ann Jepson appears in the 1861 census working as a servant to a family of – wait for it – Buswells! Unfortunately these Buswells are probably not related to my Buswells (or not closely anyway), being of Lincolnshire origins, while mine were based in Oxfordshire . It would have been very cool if they were though!  I haven’t managed to trace Ann any further than this.

Once again, they’re not the most exciting bunch, but I think there’s nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned, working-class ancestors!
L x

I is for Irish

As I don’t currently have any names beginning with I in my tree, I had to come up with another topic begging with I for today’s blog.
I chose ‘Irish’ simply because it is a part of my heritage that I don’t know a lot about. There are two Irish lines in my tree so far: the Geoghegan line, which I discussed in G is for Geoghegan, and the Thompson line via my dad’s paternal grandmother, Margaret Thompson. However, Irish genealogy isn’t something I have done much of, so it will be a new challenge for me.  Here I’m going to investigate what I already know about my Irish ancestors, and where I think I can find out more. As I am very new to this, I’d love to get some feedback or suggestions from those of you with a bit more experience in this particular area.

Geoghegan, obviously, is an Irish name. However, my first ‘Irish’ Geoghegan – by which I mean born in Ireland – is James Geoghegan. Even this is somewhat uncertain. The 1841 census states that he was born in Ireland. The 1851 census states that he was born in Dublin, Ireland. However, the 1861 census simply says ‘CY Lancashi’, which I interpret to mean county of Lancashire. I suspect that the earlier censuses are more accurate, but whether Dublin is correct or just an approximation is uncertain.
In any case, James was born in about 1791. His wife Mary is English (I haven’t yet identified her maiden name, but the 1851 census gives her birth place as Manchester, also around 1791). All of James’ known children seem to have been born in England also, suggesting that James moved to England before his marriage, which probably took place around 1810–1815.
This, of course, means that James didn’t move to England following the Irish famine of the 1840s like many other immigrants. Research seems to suggest that immigration from Ireland, caused by poverty and unemployment, was quite common in the early part of the twentieth century, albeit on a smaller scale. There were known crop failures in 1800 and 1807, which could, of course, have been contributing factors in my Geoghegans' departure from Ireland.
Finding out more about James Geoghegan’s early life with so little to go on is likely to prove quite tricky. Ideally I need to find the parish marriage record for James and Mary Ann to see what else I can glean from this. Hopefully it will give me his father’s name and possibly occupation, which will then equip me to tackle the Irish records. I haven’t had any luck finding this online yet, and with Mary Ann’s birthplace simply given as Manchester, narrowing down where to look (marriages usually taking place in the bride’s home parish) might be tricky. This is going to be a test of patience!
Another possible strategy might be to see if there are other Geoghegan families living close to James on the censuses. If he did emigrate with other family members, chances are they would have settled quite close to one another, so it might give me some clues. If I can identify potential siblings and further records for them, for example, it might give me a bit more info to go on...

My Thompsons are a completely different kettle of fish.  Margaret Thompson’s father Albert Thomas Thompson was born in Lisburn, Antrim, on 11 September 1870, according to a record in the collection Ireland Births and Baptisms 1620–1911 on Ancestry.
However, this isn’t a case of straightforward birth and later emigration either. Albert’s mother, Sarah Ann Semley, was born in Sandal near Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, and was living in the Yorkshire area until 1861. In 1867 she married James Thompson in Manchester. Later census records reveal that James was born in Antrim in about 1843 – immediately prior to the start of the Great Famine. However, I haven’t been able to find any trace of James in England prior to his marriage to Sarah Ann, so I don’t think he left Ireland with his family. It seems most likely to me that he came to England as a young man for work. Sarah Ann’s family remain in Yorkshire consistently on the censuses, so my guess is that Sarah Ann went away from home to work, possibly in domestic service, and met and married James, who was perhaps also working in the area?
The couple’s eldest son, John Robert Thompson was born in Salford ‘abt 1869’ according to most censuses. But presumably he was in fact born in 1868, as Walter Thompson was born in Antrim on 20 March 1869. So, the couple married and were living in Lancashire, but went to Ireland sometime in late 1868 or early 1869. Of the children born after Albert, Wilfred Thompson (b. 1876) and Edmund Thompson (b. abt 1879) were both also born in Antrim. Only James H. Thomspon (b. 1885) was born in England, thus it seems likely that the family remained in Ireland until shortly before the 1881 census, when they are once again living in England, in Worsborough, close to Sarah Ann’s family.
The Thompson men seem to have been almost exclusively employed as ‘stonemasons’ or sometimes ‘monumental masons’ – that is to say stonemasons working mainly on headstones and other monuments.
I have been unable to find a parish birth record for James – sadly the Irish civil birth records don’t start until the 1860s. My best bet to get more info on James Thompson’s Irish background then is probably the 1867 marriage certificate initially. Hopefully this will give me his father’s name and occupation to work from.  
L x
p.s. There is a particularly informative post on researching Irish ancestors on Niall McMahon’s blog.

Friday, 20 April 2012

H is for Hancock(s)/(x)

Choosing my H was tricky – I have five major ones in my tree. However, I decided on Hancock / Hancocks / Hancox in the end, so here goes.
The first Hancock in my tree is, in fact my mum. Given that she is alive though, I don’t want to go sharing her personal details with the entire internet, so I’m just going to skip ahead to her father, Horace James Hancock.
Horace was born on 11 July 1909, in Tredegar, South Wales, to parents Philemon Hancocks and Miriam Webb. He was followed by a brother Harry Hancock (b. 1915) and a sister Violet Hancock (b. 1920). I’m not sure why there is such a large gap between Horace and Harry, as I’m not aware of any other children. Philemon died in 1922, leaving thirteen-year-old Horace as the ‘man of the house’.
You will notice already that there is a discrepancy in the name. My mum said her father always used Hancock. However, on Horace’s birth in the BMD index he is Hancocks, as he is on the 1911 census, and this, or the variant Hancox, is the name most consistently used by the family in previous generations (with a few exceptions). The first instance of Hancock appears on the record of Horace’s first marriage, to Doris Ross in 1941. However, I don’t believe that Horace himself changed the family name, because his mother’s death is also registered as Hancock. However, on her marriage in 1942 Violet did register herself as Hancocks, so it isn’t clear where the discrepancy arose. I’ve come to the conclusion that the two were used more-or-less interchangeably, as there is no discernable pattern! Beyond my mum I have tended towards Hancocks in my record keeping, as this occurs most frequently.
Horace married my nana, Margaret Goulding, in 1963 after Doris had died. He and Doris had never had children. I’m not sure why – presumably she was unable to. Margaret was in her thirties by this time, and had never previously married. Horace was in his fifties. My mum was their only child. Sadly, her father died when she was just eleven. We know very little of Horace’s life before he married Margaret. Supposedly he was a fireman in Brighton during the Second World War – however, his marriage to Doris took place in 1941, in Wakefield.
Though there has never been any indication of how or why Horace came to be in Wakefield, I discovered in the course of my research that his uncle Arthur Hancocks (b. 1860) moved to Brightside Bierlow, an area just north of Sheffield, in the early 1880s, where he fathered five children with his landlady Clara Chatterton – they married in 1891, but their first child appears to have been born in 1885. In Yorkshire, Arthur also dropped the ‘s’ from Hancocks. So, Horace had cousins in Yorkshire, the youngest of whom, Cyril, was the same age as him. Perhaps these family ties were conducive to his move to Yorkshire?
The Hancocks, you will notice, appear to be Welsh. My mum was always quite proud of her Welsh heritage. Sadly, the 1911 census reveals that her Welsh family were English-only speakers. And, it transpires, her maternal grandfather Philemon was born in Cinderford, in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire – roughly 25 miles from Cheltenham, where I currently live.
Philemon was one of ten known children born to Charles Hancocks and Comfort Green. The eldest, Arthur, we have already come across. The others were Sophia Hancocks (b. 1862), Henry Hancocks (b. 1864), Frederick Hancocks (b. 1865), Jane Hancocks (b. 1866), Charles Hancocks (b. 1867), John Hancocks (b. 1871), James Thomas Hancocks (b. 1874) and Ellen Hancocks (b. 1883).
The family moved around the Forest of Dean area, and seem to have been primarily engaged in coal mining. It would seem that it was this that also took them into South Wales, and took Arthur north to Sheffield as well. Philemon moved from the Forest of Dean between 1891 and 1901. However, his older sons had already made the move. Henry Hancocks was living there by the time of the 1891 census, as was his brother John (going by Hancock without the ‘s’). His sister Sophia had married in 1883 in Gloucestershire, but by 1891 she was widowed and living in Wales with her younger brother Charles – already a collier at the tender age of sixteen.
Charles Hancocks was born in 1839, in Longhope, Gloucestershire. On the 1841 census he appears in the household of Thomas Hancox [sic] and his wife Ann, along with seven other children: Mary Hancox (b. 1822), Charlotte (b. 1827), James (b. 1829), Susan (b. 1831), Caroline (b. 1833), Sarah (b. 1835) and John (b. 1836). Ann is aged about fifty so it immediately struck me as unlikely that she is Charles’ mother.
This is borne out by the 1851 census, which seems to confirm that Mary Hancox is the mother of Charles; he is ostensibly listed as son of the head of household, but an ink marking linking him to Mary in the row above seems to indicate that he is her son. She is listed as unmarried and the daughter of Thomas and Ann, so presumably Charles is illegitimate. The household also contains another granddaughter, Mary Ann Hancox aged seven (b. 1844), who may or may not be the daughter of Mary also. As I am struggling to find further records that are identifiably her, I am unable to prove anything either way. Otherwise, it seems most likely that she is the daughter of James Hancox – unless of course there are unidentified older children who don’t appear with their parents in 1841.
As you can see, my Hancocks, thus far at least, are not a particularly exciting bunch  – just hardworking miners mostly!
They’re not without their challenges though. And I now rather appreciate the fact that they are relatively local to me – I intend to visit the Forest of Dean soon, to check out where they lived and worked, and to investigate some local records, to see if I can add a few more pieces to the puzzle! I also joined the Gloucestershire Family History Society recently, so here’s hoping they might have some useful tips for me as well.
L x

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Pinterest

Dear all
Too mentally shattered and busy to blog today. Please pop back tomorrow for H is for Hancock(s)/(x)
In the meantime, if you’re on Pinterest, please check out my new Family History board
L x

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

G is for Geoghegan

G was tricky, as I have two major G lines in my family – Geoghegan and Goulding – as well as a couple of smaller lines. Sadly for my Gouldings, however, it had to be Geoghegan; probably my favourite line in the entire tree and probably the most fascinating. It has proved incredibly difficult to keep this post to a reasonable length! As such, I have skimmed over where some of my information comes from, but should anyone be interested, please let me know and I’ll be happy to supply more detail.
My Geoghegan line begins with Kathleen Birchall Geoghegan, my 3x great-grandmother (straight down my father’s maternal line), and wife of Matt Hall. Kathleen was born to her unmarried mother Mary Ann Birchall in 1854. No father’s name appears on her birth certificate.
In fact, Mary Ann was the ‘mistress’ of Joseph Bryan Geoghegan. Joseph Bryan was born on April 13 1815, according to some sources, at either Barton Upon Irwell or Salford, Lancashire. You may have noticed my Twitter tribute to him a couple of days ago.
He already had a wife, Elizabeth Hopwood (m. 1833, Eccles, Lancashire), with whom he had nine children. Harriett, his eldest daughter with Elizabeth, was the same age as Mary Ann Birchall (b. 1835). His last daughter with Elizabeth would be born two years after Kathleen, in 1856. In fact, Kathleen wasn’t his first child with Mary Ann. She had given birth to a son, Henry Birchall Geoghegan, in 1853. Mary Ann and Joseph Bryan went on to have a further eight children: Thomas Birhall Geoghegan (b. 1856), Annie Birchall Geoghegan (b. 1859), John Birchall Geoghegan (b. 1860), May Birchall Geoghegan (b. 1863), Mary Birchall Geoghegan (b. 1867), Amy Birchall Geoghegan (b. 1868), Marion Birchall Geoghegan (b. 1870) and Ellen Birchall Geoghegan (1872).
This, in case you’ve lost count, gives Joseph Bryan a total of twenty children! (In fact, I have heard twenty-two quoted, so there may well be more!) Joseph Bryan married Mary Ann Birchall in 1871, just months after Elizabeth’s death.
I am compiling a descendancy of Joseph Bryan Geoghegan, in fact. It was something I had never tried before, and I thought it might be rather fun. It is still very much a work in progress and has a lot of gaps, but at present it has 148 people in it, including only direct line descendants and the associated spouses. It’s a very different ball game to going backwards!
His father was James Geoghegan, born in Ireland in about 1791. He worked as a Fustian Cutter, and died in 1862. His wife was Mary Ann, also born about in 1791. Besides Joseph Bryan, they had known daughters Ellen Geoghegan (b. 1826) and Martha Geoghegan (b. 1831). They may also have had a son named John Geoghegan, and it is likely that there were other children as well.
However, the most interesting thing about Joseph Bryan is that he was, if not famous exactly, certainly well-known in his field. He was a prolific writer of popular music hall songs, beginning in about 1841, and early in his career he styled himself ‘travelling singer’. He also worked in, and was later proprietor of, several music hall establishments:
‘Geoghegan’s itinerary can be traced esp. in The Era. From 1845 to 1858 he worked in the Star Hotel in Liverpool ... and from 1860 to 1864 in several music halls in Sheffield ... After that he moved to Manchester and Bolton where he worked as Chairman in the Star and as manager of the Victoria Variety Theatre. He finally bought his own music hall in Hanley.’
(From The Victorian Music Hall: Culture, Class and Conflict by Dagmar Kift)
Sadly, particularly given Joseph Bryan’s profession, several of his children are listed as ‘deaf and dumb from birth’ in various census entries. The exact numbers aren’t known, as there is a lot of variation across the censuses, and even some of Joseph Bryan’s children who aren’t noted as such in the census actually attended the Manchester School for the Deaf, according to newspaper features – though as far as I know Kathleen wasn’t affected.
It is also worth noting that he outlived many of his children. All of his sons, it would seem, died before their father. (*please note, this is not wholly verified)
Record hunting for Joseph Bryan was fairly straightforward for the most part, given his unique name and unusual occupation. There were a few hiccups though. For example, one of his children listed his father as Joseph Benjamin Geoghegan on a parish marriage record, which wasn’t particularly helpful. Furthermore, the entire family of Joseph Bryan and Mary Ann appeared to be absent from the 1881 census. Eventually it transpired (after I tried the address from the 1885 death certificate of their son Henry) that they were using the name Heyes!
There was abundant source material for his career, in particular. For example, this reference to a document in the National Archives, which I have yet to order:
Poem, printed c.1866 GEO GHEGAN'S/GUIDE TO BELLE VUE GARDENS... BY J.B. GEO GHEGAN SUNG ALSO BY ALBERT DE VOY. 6 Stanzas. G. Jennison's 'Season 1866' Pencil note Date To be had wholesale of J.B. GEOGHAN, Dog Inn, Deansgate, Manchester.
(Chetham's Library: Belle Vue Zoological Gardens [F.4.4 - F.6.9])
The National Archives also holds a photograph of Joseph Bryan Geoghegan, which you can see here. The copyright on this photograph was registered at the Stationers’ Company on 2 February 1889 by the photographer James Tildesley. This was just 13 days after Joseph Bryan Geoghegan’s death. My theory is that he was hoping to benefit from anyone wishing to publish the photograph in an obituary or similar.
Joseph Bryan Geoghegan’s funeral was held on 27 January 1889; he was buried at Heaton cemetery. The guests are reported as:  Mrs Geoghegan, Miss Amy Geoghegan, Mr and Mrs Barnes, Mr and Mrs Bennett (daughters and son-in-law), Mrs Hodson (daughter) – this information provided much of the starting point for my descendancy, though I haven’t yet ascertained who was Mrs Hodson. There was also Mr E. Abrahams, ‘missionary for the Bolton, Bury and Rochdale Adult Deaf and Dumb Society’.
After his death, the notice of his Will gives his personal estate as £518 7s 9d, which would today have the spending power of over £31,000. This doesn’t include his business interest or property. I have yet to order Joseph Bryan’s Will, which I’m sure will prove to be fascinating! His wife and one of his daughters, Dot (who turned out to be Ellen), took up the running of the Gaiety in Hanley, with Ellen becoming ‘the youngest directress in the profession’. Joseph Bryan’s widow died later that year.
Of Joseph Bryan’s descendants, some went on to theatrical careers – Kathleen’s husband Matt Hall, of course, was a Comedian and Theatre Manager. Others lived quieter married lives.
Happily, Joseph Bryan’s songs live on today. One was recently mentioned in a speech at the BBC Folk Awards, which took place on Joseph Bryan’s home turf in Salford. I nearly deafened my poor boyfriend by squealing ‘my ancestor wrote that!’ in his ear!
Researching this line, and Joseph Bryan in particular, has been one of my most exciting genealogical journeys. He was probably the first ancestor to lead me away from the traditional records and into unfamiliar territory, which has been incredibly rewarding and taught me to think outside the box in my research. Excitingly, there is still more to discover, I’m sure, and I hope one day to be able to tell an even more detailed story about his extraordinary life.
A massive thank you here to everyone who has helped me with the Geoghegan line, particularly the people at Mudcat
L x

F is for Feaster... Or is it?

So, this is a bit of an odd one, because today’s F actually comes from the Newby line that I have had to temporarily disregard. However, it’s really my only F, and it’s also not uninteresting. (I hope!)
Rachael Feaster (b. about 1819) marries George Newby on 4 Aug 1848 in Settrington, near Malton in Yorshire. Rachael, according to later census records, was born in nearby North Grimston. The record gives Rachael’s father as Thomas Feaster. For some time I was a bit confused, because there didn’t seem to be any Feasters in the area
And then it dawned on me: as this record comes from  the collection England & Wales Marriages 1538–1940 on Ancestry (and indeed on Family Search), I can’t see the original image, only the transcription. I’d had this problem before. George and Rachel’s son, according to the marriage record in the same collection, married a Jane Beadley, which turned out to be Jane Bradley when I located the marriage in the BMD. In this case, however, the BMD backed it up, giving Rachael Feaster as the name of George’s wife.
But North Grimston was a very small place. In the nineteenth century its population was approximately 139, according to the Genuki entry. I turned to the 1841 census initially, thinking ti would give me the most chance of finding Thomas Feaster alive. It didn’t take much hunting to establish that there were definitely no Feasters there. However, there was a Thomas Fewster (b. about 1779). He is listed as an ‘Ag Lab’ – unsurprising, given that North Grimston is described as ‘small and wholly agricultural’. (The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, 1868)
Thomas is living with his wife Rachel (b. about 1785). Also in the household were Jane Fewster (b. about 1811), Isaac Fewster (b. about 1827) and John Fewster (b. about 1834).  The 1841 census, of course, gives no indication of the relationship between these people. Based on their ages I assume that Jane is a daughter, but John is very unlikely to be a son and Isaac could go either way. Further investigation would probably give me some clues, but I hadn’t started to work on it by the time I put the research on hold.
What I had established is that by 1851 the household only consisted of Thomas and Rachel, and both were still living in 1861, but did not appear in 1871. My best guesses, based on the BMD entries, are that Thomas died in the last quarter of 1861, and Rachel died in the first quarter of 1865.
Isaac Fewster married Ann Burrell in 1850 (BMD), and lived and worked in North Grimston, as census records show. There is a rather sad entry in the Malton Messenger in August 1864, which records the death of Isaac’s son William, aged three.
John Fewster proved slightly more difficult to pinpoint, as there are a couple of possibilities for him – most particularly a marriage to Mary Gill in Malton in 8153. However, this doesn’t then produce any likely census entries. Before I stopped research on this line I hadn’t progressed with John.
For Jane Fewster, I found a baptism record for 7 October 1810 at Settrington, but nothing else conclusive. I can’t find an obvious marriage for her, but as she isn’t at home with her parents by 1851, it seems most likely that she either married or died in the intervening period. There is a possible marriage in Leeds in 1846 to Stephen Gray, with Jane’s address on marriage given as Oswaldkirk. Though this is about 17 miles from North Grimston, it is just 2 miles from Gilling East, where her father claims to have been born. However, this means Jane would have been thirty-six, and while I’m sure marriage at that age was not unheard of, it does strike me a little unusual. Alternatively, there is death in the third quarter of 1841 that may be her. I haven’t narrowed either of these down any further as yet.
There is an interesting investigation of this family line here, which provides a bit more useful information, but I’ve chosen to focus only on my own research in this post.
I also found this rather interesting bit of early history that puts the Fewsters in the area of Gilling East and Oswaldwick from 1688 – Wasse presumably refers to Wass, Yorkshire, some 6 miles from Gilling East.
L x

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

Monday, 16 April 2012

D is for Depledge

This rather unusual surname is another one that occurs rather a way back in my family tree. On interpretation is that it is of French origin, meaning ‘of the promise’. However, I found this rather interesting entry on the Depledge message board on Ancestry, which is, sadly, probably more likely:
The last bit of the name, as in Routledge and Cumberledge, comes from an Old English word meaning boggy stream, so I was intrigued to find, inside the circle I mentioned, a place called Deepcar. Car or Carr comes from an Old Norse word meaning a wetland, and Deepcar, part of Stocksbridge, lies in a steep-sided valley where the Little Don joins the Don. But that doesn't explain away an awkward gap of five hundred years between the Viking invasions in the ninth century and the general use of inherited surnames in the fourteenth.
(By Ancestry.co.uk member Roger­_Depledge)
The entry also mentions that the name is fairly localised, with over half the occurrences between 1780 and 1839 within a seventeen-mile circle encompassing the Wakefield area.
It gives a fascinating list of 28 spelling variations in the period 1517–1922: Daplege, De Pledge, Depeledge, Deplage, Deplech, Depledge, Deplege, Deplich, Depliche, Deplidg, Deplidge, Deplige, Deplitch, Deplitche, Deplytch, Deppledge, Depplidge, Diplache, Diplage, Diplidg, Diplidge, Diplige, Dippleach, Dupelidge, Duplych, Dypledge.
My 4x Great-Grandmother is Mary Depledge is the maternal grandmother of Albert Thomas Thompson (husband of Edith Marian Buswell). She marries Thomas Semley on 4 September 1842 at St James church, Thornes, Wakefield. She is aged of 19, giving a birth date of about 1823. Her father’s name is given as John.
There is a probable baptism record for Mary at Sandal Magna on 10 May 1827, which supplies the mother’s name, Mary. On the 1851 census Mary gives her place of birth as Crigglestone, so Sandal Magna seems to be the most likely of the baptisms I can find. The only question I have why the same couple would have apparently baptised a son George Depledge in July 1823 and another son John Depledge in January 1827, but not Mary if she was already born?
I’m having trouble making out John occupation on the marriage records (see images below), so if anyone had any suggestions I would be extremely grateful. In the possible baptisms of Mary and John’s children, occupations for John are diverse: wool carder, labourer, woodcutter...  However, these might not all be the same family. This lot are definitely still a work in progress!
L x


C is for Cartman

There wasn’t much choice for C, so I’ve opted for Cartman. They’re not the most exciting family in the world to talk about as I don’t know a huge amount about them.
We start with Bess Cartman, my 3x great grandmother. She married into the Goulding family. Thomas Goulding was my maternal grandmother’s father, and Bess was his paternal grandmother.
b. 1813 in the small village of Normanby by Spital in Lincolnshire.  She has seven known siblings: Richard, Mary, John, Ann, Joseph and Thomas.  I have had limited success tracing their whereabouts in the censuses.
Their father is Matthew Cartman and their mother is Elizabeth West. They married in 1803. It seems that Matthew and Elizabeth are probably dead by the time of the 1841 census, as I haven’t been able to trace them. As such I know nothing of Matthew’s occupation. By 1841 the siblings are all scattered across the Lincoln area and working in various occupations. Ann is unaccounted for – probably due to an unknown marriage.
The only interesting thing that has come to light is this gem:

This is a UK Land Tax Redemption record, which shows Matthew Cartman living in Normanby in 1798 (right-hand page, middle column, ninth entry down). The interesting bit is that it shows his landlord as being one John West – possibly a relative of his future wife?
L x

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

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A is for Allott

Allot is the only A in my tree, so I didn’t have a lot of choice in this one. However, it’s still not a bad one to start with as there is definitely something to say, and it’s certainly apt!
I currently have six Allots in my family tree; though as they’re quite far back (5, 6 and 7 x great grandparents’ generations!) I don’t have a huge amount of detail on them, and some of them are unconfirmed.
They are Yorkshire ancestors, in the area immediately surrounding where I grew up, and indeed even today the name is most prevalent in West Yorkshire, as the map and information here at Dynastree helpfully show. However, I haven’t been able to find out that much about the surname, other than to note that most of the requests for information I see seem to be Yorkshire-based, at least within the UK!
The most interesting thing to note about my Allotts though, is that I actually have two separate branches of them within the tree. The first is actually just one individual at the moment.
Frances Allott  is my 6x Great Grandmother. Born around 1752, she married Thomas Hall, one of my paternal Hall ancestors of the Birstall area. Thomas Hall was the wealthy millowner, great-grandfather of Matthew Hall, who I wrote a detailed post about a few weeks ago.
The other branch of Allotts is on the maternal side. Isabella Allott is one of my 5 x Great Grandparents on my maternal line. Isabella is born around 1873. In 1803 she married John Phillipson, in Horbury. Their son, also John, marries to produce the immediate female line of my family all the way to me, to put it succinctly! Isabella has two siblings that I know of, Thomas and Sarah, born 1781 and 1786 respectively. Their father is also Thomas Allot, born about 1753. His father I believe to be Martin Allott (unconfirmed).
The ancestors on this branch of the Allotts are among my oldest Horbury ancestors, so I’m quite fond of them in that respect. As I mentioned in my post On the Luddites a couple of days ago, Isabella’s husband was a weaver, and quite likely to have been working in Horbury around the time of the Luddite attacks.
It is interesting in itself that there are two lots of Allotts in my tree. It seems to me quite likely that there is some connection, even if very distant, between the two families. If I can confirm this in the course of my research (I suspect this is going to be tough!), then what an interesting story it would make. Distant relatives, both with strong connections to the textile industry – one the wife of a wealthy millowner, and the other the wife of a lowly weaver, just one generation and a few miles apart...
L x
Tomorrow: B is either for Birchall or Buswell, I haven’t decided yet!

My April blogging project

As I’m not doing much actual research at the moment (apart from getting sidetracked occasionally), I decided I needed to come up with a new blogging strategy. So, I’ve decided to alphabetically work through the surnames in my list and tell you a little bit about my research surrounding one surname from each letter. I think this should take me through to roughly the end of April.  There are eight letters not currently represented in my tree: E, I, O, Q, V, X, Y and Z.  I’m challenging myself to come up with something these to blog about for each of these letters on the allotted day – wish me luck.
Today, A is for Allott – the post will follow a bit later on!
L x

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

On the Luddites

This week it is the 200th anniversary of one of the most destructive Luddite attacks in the history of the movement – and it took place in the village I grew up in.
The Luddite movement was primarily among textile workers, in revolt against the introduction of machinery that essentially replaced them, because it was able to do the same work more quickly and cheaply and required minimal manpower. The semi-organised movement was characterised by threatening behaviour, machine-wrecking and general disorder. It is generally considered to have begun in 1811 in Nottinghamshire, and by early 1812 had spread to West Yorkshire. The movement took its name from Ned Ludd, the ‘anonymous’ and semi-mythical leader of the movement.
Following a direct threat to Mr Joseph Foster, on the night of 9 April 1812, Foster’s Mill at Horbury Bridge came under attack from between 300 and 600 men. They had come from all over the surrounding area and were well organised. They were either masked or their faces were blackened, to protect their identities, and they carried weapons. They also surrounded the Fosters’ house. They forced the sons of the mill owner (who was not at home) to let them into the mill, and proceeded to wreck the place. They particularly focused on the shearing frames, but also on other modern machinery, as well as more traditional tools and even the cloth itself. They then set fire to the warehouse, and left two of the Foster boys tied up. The men got away over Grange Moor towards Huddersfield, or through Horbury itself and along Wakefield Road . On 14 April soldiers were sent to guard the other mills in and around Horbury,
Similar riots continued in the area throughout April. One attack left two of the Luddites fatally injured, following which the events became much more violent, and one mill owner was murdered. The Luddite movement continued, spreading into Lancashire. It finally came to an end in early 1813, following a mass trial at York Castle, which resulted in the execution of seventeen men, and the transportation of several others.  The machinery against which they had protested was here to stay, and the number of skilled croppers in the area decreased dramatically.
I have to say, I don’t know of a direct connection to my ancestors. However, what I do know is that they were definitely living in Horbury at the time, and so they would have been first-hand witnesses to the events, whether they were supporters of the Luddite cause or simply living in fear of the unruly mob that was roaming their streets. John Phillipson was born in Horbury just three years after the Luddite attacks and went on to be a woollen spinner. His father, also John, was a weaver, though whether he was originally from Horbury I don’t know. On the other hand James Wade, who was a stonemason and so not directly involved in events, and his wife Mary, were almost definitely living here at the time of the attack.
There is some debate about the Luddite movement. Is it a simple industrial dispute, albeit a very violent one, among a contained group of workers? Or, does it represent something more – an organised revolt against capitalism? An alternative political movement? These arguments are something that I am still considering, but I hope to write a blog post on them later in the week – partly as an exercise in constructing an historical essay, something which I haven’t really done since I left university nearly four years ago!
I remember learning about the Luddites at school. To be honest, at the time this sort of industrial history didn’t really grab me. I don’t remember ever being told that my own village was such an important part of that history, if we were told, I don’t believe that the teacher really took advantage of the fact in order to teach the history. Had she done so I think we might have been much more engaged by what we were learning.
I have been following the Luddite movement here. This blog posts relevant documents and some narrative of its own date-by-date, to show the progression of the Luddite movement as it happened 200 years ago – a brilliant idea that brings the history to life!
L x

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

On the Genealogical Dark Age (1921–1951)

Well, it’s been nearly an entire week since I last blogged, I think. Life slightly took over this week, as it sometimes does, but as promised, I am going to write something today. It’s been a quiet week for me on the genealogy front to be honest, so nothing exciting to reveal from my own research. However, all this talk of the 1940 census across the pond has got me very jealous.
The 1911 census release was so exciting. From when I started my research I had been desperate for the fresh batch of records and the thought of waiting 5 years for them was so frustrating. Like how people remember exactly where they were when they heard about Kennedy being shot, I clearly remember the announcement that the 1911 records were to be released early – even though I was watching TV on my own at the time, I pretty much went crazy with excitement!
Unfortunately, we really do have ten years to wait until our next census release here in the UK, and that will be the last one for quite some time. The 1931 census was destroyed by fire in 1942, and no census was taken in 1941 due to the war. This means that after the release of the 1921 census in January 2022 (when I will be 36, eek!), there will be a thirty year gap until the release of the 1951 census (by which time I will be 66, even bigger eek!)
It does beg the question of what will drive genealogy in the interim period, however, and how difficult it will be for new generations to get started with their research. However, given that more and more records are appearing online every day, perhaps this abundance of electronic data will make up for the lack of censuses?
Doing a spot of research for this post, I found out about one possible source of info for this period that I wasn’t aware of – the 1939 National Identity Cards. This was a wartime measure, designed to make tracking and managing the population easier, both for security reasons and to help with planning measures such as rationing and mobilisation.  
Approximately 46 million cards were issued. Information gathered for each individual was: their address, name, sex, date of birth, marital condition, occupation and whether a member of the armed forces or reserves. Cards were enumerated in a similar way to the census, with a district code and a schedule line identifying a household, so that the system can be used to identify other household members, much like the census.   
All the information that was recorded on the cards has been retained and can be accessed via the National Health Service Information Centre. There is a search charge of £42, and data is only available for individuals who have died and are now recorded as deceased. You can search for an individual by name, as well as requesting up to nine other individuals living at the same address, and you can also search for up to ten unnamed people at a known address.
I am tempted to put this search to use, though it’s not vital to my research at the moment, and it is quite pricey (particularly compared to a standard 1911 census search that would give much the same information). I’d like to think that this data will in future become more readily, or at least more cheaply, as it is the nearest thing we have to a census in that thirty-year ‘genealogical dark age’ between 1921 and 1951.
L x