Tag Archives: carlisle

Ancestral Profile: Margaret SEWELL (c1777-1850)

22 Nov

I wrote yesterday that I wanted to look again at my Carlisle connections in preparation for a possible visit to the archives next year and Margaret SEWELL is one of those connection, so she seems a good place to start.

Margaret SEWELL was my 4x great-grandmother and although I have written much about her husband Thomas KINGHORN (of mail coach fame), I know very little about Margaret herself.

I don’t know a lot about Margaret’s early years, from her burial record I know she was born around  1777 and from the 1841 census I know she was born in the county of Cumberland. Unfortunately she died before the 1851 census, so I don’t know exactly where in Cumberland it was.

Margaret married Thomas KINGHORN on the 5th May 1803 at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle, Cumberland. The marriage was by licence, which may provide further clues, an index of the marriage-licence allegation and bond records that Margaret was from the parish of St. Cuthbert’s, Carlisle (which doesn’t necessarily mean that was where she was born). There is a reference to a George SEWELL of Carlisle, but I am not sure whether this relates to the allegation or bond or what his relation to Margaret was (father, brother or uncle?).

Margaret and Thomas had six children, it appears that all six were born in Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland (presumably where Thomas was based whilst working as a mail guard) but were baptised at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle south of the Scottish border.

  1. John KINGHORN (baptised 30th October 1803)
  2. Mary KINGHORN (baptised 3rd August 1806)
  3. Thomas KINGHORN (baptised 13th March 1808) [my 3x great-grandfather]
  4. Abraham KINGHORN (baptised 10th June 1810)
  5. Elizabeth KINGHORN (baptised 19th March 1815)
  6. George KINGHORN (baptised 11th May 1817)

I am not yet sure what happened to their two daughters Mary and Elizabeth, but only one of their sons (George) remained in Carlisle. Both Margaret and her husband appear to have remained in Carlisle. Thomas died in 1833, aged 52 and was buried at St. Cuthbert’s Church.

In 1841 we find Margaret living in the Botchergate area of Carlisle at No. 2 King Street. Her age is given as 60 years old (presumably rounded down from 64 years) and she is of independent means, possibly some sort of pension or benefit from her husband’s time with the Royal Mail.

Margaret’s death was registered in Q2 1850 in the Carlisle Registration District (I don’t yet have her death certificate) and she was buried at St. Cuthbert’s Church (presumably with her husband) on the 4th May 1850.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 47

21 Nov

I am quite pleased with what I achieved last week, despite being away from home for a large part of it. I have got rid of a whole load of photocopies because they are now scanned and transcribed, plus I have worked through a few older ones that I have been hanging on to for too long.

This time last year I was in the middle of my Christmas Tree Project, trying to find all my ancestors back to my 4x great-grandparents and getting a chart printed before Christmas. This year in the run up to Christmas I will be taking things a lot easier, partly because I don’t have the time to do all the rushing about.

In the coming weeks I intend to focus on sorting out the last remaining bits of paper I have hanging around, doing a quick scan through my hard drive just to make sure everything is still in order and then settling down to do some housekeeping on my database.

I envisage the housekeeping part of this to consist of checking each individual in my database for the key bits of information: birth, baptism, marriage, death, burial, census, military service, probate. A lot of new records have been released online this year and I need to spend some time bringing everyone up to date.

Some of this information I can update straight away, like the census, but others will need to be put on my to-do list for the next time I visit a particular archive or record office. I am not sure if this is an achievable task within the next few weeks, but it doesn’t really matter if it isn’t because it can carry on into next year.

Apart from that, I need to start casting my eyes towards Carlisle again and the KINGHORN family. I had planned to visit the Carlisle Record Office this year, but it closed earlier in the year whilst it was being relocated. It is due to re-open in January 2011 and I hope to get up there for a few days when it does. I have no idea if it is going according to schedule, but for my part I need to start thinking about what research I want to do when I finally get there.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 39

26 Sep

Oh dear… the weeks seem to be flying by quite quickly now, I really must go back to my New Year’s Resolutions and have a laugh at what I thought I was going to achieve this year and see if there is any chance that I might complete some of them.

It has been quite a good week, with a good mix of family history activities. I deliberately sat down and added some more people to my database, and it felt really good. There were two distinct families, the KINGHORNs in Carlisle, Cumberland and the HEMSLEYs in Sussex. I seem to be getting drawn towards Carlisle again, at the back of my mind I still have the idea of visiting Carlisle and doing some research (once their new archive centre is open).

I managed to get quite a bit of organising, not of my family history (which I like to think is quite well organised already) but of all the other stuff in my life and in particular the stuff perched on my computer desk. It is a great weight off my mind, it gives me a bit more space and a bit less to worry about, plus a bit more money (I discovered a cheque that I had forgotten all about).

I have also spent some time looking at my to-do list. It is quite interesting to see how my focus has shifted over the months, and there are several things on the list that I could probably spend some time on now, and some that need to be more focused, but that is generally how it works. I think I will be doing a bit more of a thorough overhaul in the coming week, I am sure there will be a few things that I have forgotten to knock off.

I have a couple of other projects that seem to be nearing the stage where I actually need to start doing things rather than just scribbling notes and thinking about. Now is the time for action, or it should be but I will probably find some way to procrastinate for a few more weeks.

Finding the Broken Bridge: Part One

13 Sep

One of the key sources in finding the location of the bridge where the accident that nearly cost Thomas KINGHORN his life took place has been a book called The Manchester and Glasgow Road: Vol 2 by Charles George Harper. Published by Chapman & Hall Ltd, London in 1907 it is now available for download on Internet Archive.

Chapter 34 of the book describes the road leading up to the bridge, albeit from the opposite direction from which the mail coach was travelling on that fateful night:

The old Glasgow road, that goes up from Moffat past Meikleholmside, and so across Ericstane Muir, is everything a road should not be. It is steep, narrow, exposed, and rugged, and, except as an object-lesson in what our ancestors had to put up with, is a very undesirable route and one in which no one would wish to find himself. It has not even the merit of being picturesque.

Further along the road things did improve, apparently due to the efforts of Thomas Telford:

The road that Telford made continues onward from Beattock in more suave fashion. It follows the glen of Evan Water for nine miles, and the three of them-road, river, and Caledonian Railway-go amicably side by side under the hills, to Beattock Summit and down to Elvanfoot, where the Elvanfoot Inn of other days now stands as a shooting-lodge.

Finally the author describes the bridge where the accident happened:

Elvanfoot Bridge, that carries the road over the Evan (i.e. Avon) Water, looks down upon a pretty scene of rushing stream, boulders, and ferns, or "furruns," as a Scotsman would enunciate the word.

It all sound quite picturesque and the author even includes a sketch of the scene:

The Broken Bridge

Of course if you have read my earlier blog posts (like this one) you will know that on the night of the 25th October 1808 the bridge gave way and sent the mail coach, passengers, driver, guard and horses plummeting into the swollen river below.

The author describes the incident in some detail, although it is not clear where he got his information from, or whether it can be relied on, although the facts do pretty much tie-up with the newspaper reports. This uncertainty is a shame because the book provides an excellent piece of evidence for the exact location of the bridge:

For many years the bridge was not properly mended, funds being scarce on these roads; and the mail, slowing for it, lost five minutes on every journey. The part that fell may still be traced by the shorter lime stalactites hanging from the repaired arch. It is still known as "Broken Bridge," in addition to "Milestone Brig," from the milestone on it, marking the midway distance between Carlisle and Glasgow: "Carlisle 47 1/2 miles. Glasgow 47 miles."

That milestone would be the key to finding the location of the bridge, in the days before detailed Ordnance Survey maps and long before GPS it is a fixed point on a certain route (the road between Glasgow and Carlisle) and even if it wasn’t there now it would probably be shown on earlier maps. If all else failed I could resort to tracing the route on a map and measuring the distance.

‘C’ is for Confusion in Carlisle

1 Sep

I went to bed last night (slightly later than I had hoped) feeling very pleased with myself, I had managed to clear a name off my list of unidentified wives. Every time I opened up my family history software (Family Historian) the alphabetical list of names begins with a section of seventeen women whose surname is unknown, and it has been bugging me that I haven’t found out who they are.

I hadn’t really set out to try and clear any of them last night, I didn’t really know what I was going to work on, but I ended up picking the first name off the top of the list and looking again at trying to find out who she was. The first name on the list was Alice, the first wife of George KINGHORN the son of Thomas KINGHORN the mail guard (my 4x great-grandfather).

I think George is probably the only one of Thomas’ children to remain in Carlisle, Cumberland, the rest appear to have moved down to London. The marriage of George KINGHORN and Alice should have taken place in Carlisle, the other end of the country from me, which explains why I hadn’t got around to identifying her yet.

Having reviewed the data and available online databases I found that there was still not much chance of finding her maiden name, George KINGHORN is in FreeBMD, marrying in Q1 1840 in Carlisle Registration District, but none of the spouses on the same page are named Alice. The most likely scenarios seemed to be that this was another George KINGHORN and that my George married prior to the start of civil registration in 1837, or that Alice wasn’t her real name but a nickname.

With nothing better to do I thought I would work forward and fill in some more detail on the family. It appeared I didn’t have an entry for the family in the 1851 census, but this turned out to be incorrect. I had entries for everyone except George and Alice’s daughter Sarah KINGHORN, so I decided to go in search of her. It was then that things started slotting into place.

She was living in Wetheral, Cumberland, with her uncle Thomas CARR and his mother Sarah CARR. Could Thomas be the brother of Alice? Both Thomas and Alice CARR were baptised in Carlisle, the children of Thomas and Sarah CARR (according to the IGI). Things were looking promising. Even Alice’s age was about right, this had to be her, but when did she get married and why was she not showing up as marrying George KINGHORN.

Searching FreeBMD for Alice’s marriage brought up the same details as George, Q1 1840 and Carlisle Registration District, so why hadn’t I found her before? Looking closer I noticed she was listed as being on page 25C of the register whereas George was on page 25 (both were in volume 25).

Something is not quite right with the index, there are eight people listed on page 25 and only one on page 25c, I don’t know what that extra C means, but it does mean that there is an odd number of people getting married in Carlisle that quarter.

It also means that there is still an element of doubt in my mind, there is enough evidence for me to identify the Alice in my database as Alice CARR daughter of Thomas and Sarah CARR, but I won’t 100% until I have seen a copy of the marriage certificate or the entry in the parish register.

I have solved one mystery but uncovered another. What does the C in the page number in birth index mean?

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