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Personal Genealogy Update: Week 49

5 Dec

There was a real mixed bag of family history for me last week, a little bit of housekeeping and quite a bit of new research. To be honest the housekeeping was starting to lose its appeal, so I switched my attention to a couple of previously unexplored branches of my tree.

I completed reviewing another ten individuals, there wasn’t much to actually update on these ten people but plenty to add to my to-do list. I will probably try to complete a similar amount this week, although I keep getting distracted. That last sentence took about twenty minutes to write as I went off and searched the 1911 census for my 2x great-aunt’s husband (and I found him!).

A conversation with my father on last Sunday started me off exploring a new branch of our family tree, and in the process solving one of my long standing queries (what happened to one of the daughters of Thomas KINGHORN?) and one of his even longer standing questions (who were the two people known to him as child as Aunt Issy and Aunt Minnie?). It turns out they were relations, but not aunts. They were the daughters of John Richard KIPPS and Isabella KINGHORN. Of course this has meant a bit more exploring down that line, which I need to finish off this week.

Then for a change I started tracing some of the KINGHORN family who had remained in Carlisle, Cumberland. I know that George KINGHORN remained in Carlisle whilst his brothers headed south to London (I am not sure what happened to his two sisters, I still need to do some work on them). I have followed one of his children in the census and need to try to do the same for his other children.

Then there was George MITCHELL. After writing the Ancestral Profile post on Monday I started thinking about him and his family. His branch of my family is probably the most awkward in my family tree. MITCHELL is quite a common surname and to make things worse his wife was Mary SMITH, if you read my post yesterday you will know that he (probably) died at a reasonably young age, leaving very few records behind. There is not a lot more I can do at the moment other than review what I already know and add some more items to my to-do list ready for a visit to West Sussex Record Office.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 48

28 Nov

I hadn’t expected last week to be quite rewarding. I have decided to concentrate most my efforts of some housekeeping of my family history, and it has proved to be rewarding and enjoyable.

It is also taking quite a long time. So far I have been through the first eight individuals (in numerical order) in my database and updated as much as I could, some of the information I updated related to other individuals, but the core of the work was on those eight people. At that rate it will be nearly four years before I have revisited every individual in my database, so I may have re-think the strategy, and that doesn’t take into account that these individuals were pretty well documented already and that I have added a load more stuff to my to-do list in the process.

I do think it is worthwhile however, it has spotlighted lots of work I still need to do and thrown up lots of interesting questions such as when did someone move, or what was the relationship of the witnesses at their wedding. It has certainly guaranteed that I am never going to be short of things to do, my to-do list grew by over twenty items during the week, even though I know some of those items are unlikely to be cleared for years to come.

It has also forced me to make some decisions on how I record things in my database. I use Family Historian and it is just too flexible for someone like me who can’t decide where things should be recorded and how I want things to show up on the many different reports.

There was really only one major discovery, the whereabouts of my 2x great-aunt Ethel Mary TROWER in the 1911 census had eluded me until this week. I guess I hadn’t spent a lot of time searching until now because I was surprised how easy it was to find her in the end. She turned up in Henfield, Sussex working as a domestic servant at a house called Terrys Cross (which is now a retirement home). I have passed it many times on the bus and it is nice to know there is a family connection with it.

It hasn’t been all about housekeeping this week. I did order the death certificate for Margaret KINGHORN (who I wrote about last Monday) last weekend, which arrived at the end of the week and has provided a few more hard facts about her life. I still need to do more work on my Carlisle relations and pull together as many more hard facts as I can before I think about paying their archives a visit next year.

This week will be much of the same, I probably need to try and speed up a little (or a lot) but it is really proving to be very worthwhile. The other advantage is that I can do it pretty much anywhere with my netbook, whether I am waiting at the station, sitting on the train or whilst on my lunch break, and a lot of the time I don’t even need an internet connection.

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 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.

Where are you Martha KINGHORN?

20 Sep

I spent a couple of hours the other night searching for Martha KINGHORN, but despite all my efforts she still hasn’t come out of hiding. Martha was the wife of my half 3x great-uncle Wybrants KINGHORN and as such not a major part of my family tree, but I would really like to find out what happened to her.

Martha GARDINER married Wybrants KINGHORN on the 28th April 1852 in the parish church at St George Bloomsbury, Middlesex. Both were of full age and Martha’s father’s name was Edward GARDINER, a compositor. That is the last record I have of Martha.

I cannot find her (or Wybrants) in the 1861 census, or any later ones, I don’t know when she died, whether she and Wybrants had any children or if she re-married after Wybrants’ death in 1866. Wybrants was sentenced to eight months in prison for larceny at the end of May 1852, did she stick by him or take the opportunity to make a break leaving him and his life of crime behind.

The truth is I don’t know. I have searched various combinations and spellings of her name, (and both her married and maiden names), her baptism in 1831 is recorded under Martha Elizabeth GARDNER, the daughter of Edward and Martha. It doesn’t help that I can’t find her parents after the 1851 census either, but to be honest I probably need to spend a bit more time on them and her siblings.

For a while I confined myself to searching after Wybrants death in 1866, but then realised that she may have died before then, in fact she may have died as early as 1852 just after they married. There are far too many possible scenarios to consider, I just need a bit of luck and a few more clues.

What I find particularly frustrating is that the further out I go on the branches of my family tree, the harder it becomes. I wouldn’t mind spending hours searching for someone who was more closely related or a direct ancestors but the wife of my half 3x great-uncle is not someone I would want to invest a lot of time and effort into, let alone her parents of siblings. Of course the very fact that she can’t be found make it all the more intriguing, was there something more sinister gong on, or did she just fall through the gaps in the system and not get recorded anywhere?

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 38

19 Sep

I need to stop thinking about family history in terms of only adding things to my database. If I was to measure my family history activity in terms of just adding things to my database then I would have achieved nothing (or almost nothing) last week.

Instead if was to measure it in terms of what I have written about family history, the websites I have read, the files I have downloaded and the maps I have examined, then I would find I have had quite a productive week. That doesn’t include all the time spent just thinking about genealogy and adding things to my to-do list.

I had originally been planning to spend last Saturday at an archive, but the urge for a lazy weekend got the better of me, plus the lure of the second-hand bookshop meant I spent the day with my wife in Worthing, West Sussex doing very little. Sometimes family history does need to take a back seat!

Much of my work seems to have been focused on places rather than people at the moment, I spent a lot of my time looking at maps last week, both old and new, and the problem is that it is very hard to include them in my family history database.

I have also spent a fair amount of time thinking about this blog, it does seem to be taking up most to my family history time each week, so it is only right that I should consider it’s role. I won’t be giving up blogging anytime soon, if anything my blogging output will hopefully increase over the next few months.

I do feel that I need to getting back to looking specifically at people this week, I still have to pull together some material on Thomas KINGHORN’s mail coach accident, but this time next week I would like to be able to say that I had actually been adding more people and more details to my family tree.

I still need to get more organised if I am going to be able to spend more time on family history and blogging. I like to think that my family history is pretty well organised, but the rest of my life is in need of some attention, especially the pile of stuff on my computer desk which threatens to bury me every time I sit down to do some work.

Making the News: Wybrants KINGHORN on trial

16 Sep

Wybrants KINGHORN is one of the few black sheep in my family tree, he is my half 3x great-uncle (perhaps more meaningfully described as the son of my 3x great-grandfather Thomas KINGHORN and his first wife Alicia DALTON). On several occasions I have written about Wybrants and his appearances in the Criminal Registers on Ancestry.co.uk and his rather unusual (and gruesome) cause of death.

    I have been spending some time looking into the mail coach accident that his grandfather was involved in, making use of the 19th Century British Library Newspaper Collection, and decided that the chances of finding a mention of Wybrants KINGHORN in the newspapers ought to be quite good. I wasn’t disappointed.

I found two reports in London newspapers of Wybrant’s activities from December 1853. The first is from The Standard (Monday 5th December 1853 edition) and provides only the briefest of details. It does include the word "burglariously" though which I am finding is a real tongue-twister to say.

MALBOROUGH STREET.

BURGLARY.- Wybrants Kinghorn was brought before Mr. Hardwick, on suspicion of having been concerned in burglariously entering the premises of Mr. Evan Astley, tailor, 72, Regent-street, and stealing therefrom property to a considerable amount. -The prisoner was remanded.

The second report is from Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper (Sunday 18th December 1853 edition) and it contains much more detail, than the first one, and makes fascinating reading.

SATURDAY’S POLICE NEWS.

MALBOROUGH-STREET.

EXTENSIVE ROBBERY. -Wybrants Kinghorn, a journeyman tailor, was brought before Mr. Hardwick, for final examination, charged with stealing a quantity of doeskin cloth, the property of Mr. Evan Astley, tailor, 72½, Regent-street. -John Foster deposed that he was in the employ of the prosecutor, and that on the night of Thursday, the 1st inst., about twenty minutes to ten, he locked up the workshop in King’s Arm-yard, and at a little after six the next morning he went and found the door open, and missed several coats, pairs of trowsers, and other articles, also three pieces of doeskin cloth, altogether of the value of 50/. The three pieces of cloth now produced he believed to be the same stolen from the workshop. -Mr, Evan Astley identified the cloth as his property. -Julia Pallett stated that she resided at No. 27 Broad-street. On Friday the 2nd inst., the prisoner came to her shop and produced three pieces of cloth, and told her he had got two waistcoats to make for a party, and asked her to lend him 4s. on them till Saturday, as he was hard up. She did so, and he left the cloth, which she subsequently gave up to Police-constable Ryland. -Sergeant Godfrey 5, C, said, he took the prisoner into custody on the night of the 2nd inst. He said he had taken the cloth, but knew nothing about the other property. Silverton, 323 A, proved that in May, 1851, the prisoner was tried and convicted of felony at the Westminster sessions, and sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment. -The prisoner, who denied the charge, was fully committed for trial.

 

There is one obvious discrepancy, Wybrant’s previous trial and conviction was in 1852 not 1851, which does make me question the accuracy of the report, but considering the official records may not have survived it is possibly the closest I am going to get to finding out what Wybrants KINGHORN got up to.

There is so much information in there, almost enough to create a re-construction of the crime. I shall certainly want visit the locations mentioned and find out about the other people involved. It also highlights the fact that I need to try and find some more details on his other criminal activities, to see what else he got up to.

For whatever reason though he was actually acquitted of the charge, despite having admitted to taking the cloth (according to the report). I would love to know how he managed to get away with it!

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