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Military Monday - Percival Richardson. Royal Engineers Part I

I've recently added my 2x Great Uncle Percival Richardson to Lives of the First World War . I've already posted a few posts abo...

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Monday, 20 March 2017



I recently received an email from a distant cousin. We'd been in touch briefly a few years ago and he has been continuing his research into the Freeman family. We've never been able to prove our Freeman branches are on the same tree, but it piqued my interest enough to revisit my own research.

I'd only got back as far as my 3x great-grandfather William Freeman, who, according to the census records had been born around 1816 in Burton-on-Trent. The census also revealed that his wife was called Sarah and he worked as a blacksmith in Overseal on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire border. I've found four children for them so far; Sarah Jane born 1844, Anne born 1847, William Carey born 1848 and my direct ancestor George Frederick born 1853.





My distant cousin had previously found the marriage of William and Sarah so I ordered the certificate and learnt that Sarah was the daughter of John Coulton, a labourer from Netherseal. William was the son of another William, a shoemaker living in Overseal. They had married in the Baptist chapel in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in October 1841 so I knew I would need to search the non-conformist records.

Searching on Find My Past  I eventually found William's baptism which was held at the High Street Independent chapel in Burton-on-Trent in February 1816. Unfortunately there is no mention of his mother's name or his father's first name but it does give his father's occupation as shoemaker which fits in nicely with the marriage certificate. and also suggests that William Snr wasn't a permanent Burton resident.



Unfortunately there appears to be some information missing from the left of the document, possibly William's actual date of birth. The copy I requested from the Lichfield Archives also didn't have this information so the next step would be The National Archives in London where the original registers are kept.

But I think I'm happy with what I've found so far - I can now check the census records for both parents of William Freeman and Sarah Coulton and try to follow them forwards as well as backwards.




Picture Credit: https://unsplash.com/search/blacksmith?photo=66-xshuH0N0
Tuesday, 24 January 2017


I posted this list in January last year, so I thought I'd revisit it to see how I'd got on.





1.    Finish searching the French online records for my Oldham family in Calais. The Census and Birth/Marriage/Death records are all freely available online. I've found the family in 1866, but also need to look further back to see if the previous generation spent time there and also if any of them went to Australia. I've completed searching the years 1841, 1851, 1861, 1866, 1872 and have begun 1836. I've also checked the Oldham family research I've done so far & found a discrepancy which I need to check further.  So until I've done this I won't be starting items 2, 3, or 4 on this list. So until I've done this I won't be starting items 2, 3, or 4 on this list.😒

2.    Transcribe sections of Joseph Woolley's diary and finish reading/copying the remainder at the Nottingham Archives. Continuing with the Oldham family, but this time in Clifton, Nottinghamshire. Joseph Woolley was a framework knitter from Clifton, as well as his own business his diary documents he commented on his neighbours and local events. I need to transcribe the pages I've already photographed and finish reading the remaining sections in the Archives. Not started yet.

3.    Finish checking the Methodist records at the Nottinghamshire Archives. I'm mostly looking for Oldhams in these records, but other family names have cropped up too. Not started yet.

4.   Make use of the Nottinghamshire Family History Society's research room. To find more Oldham information, specifically Thomas Oldknow Oldham's birth/baptism around 1834. Also check their online databases. I've searched here for Thomas's baptism & cant find it it any Nottinghamshire registers. So I may try Derbyshire Archives as a couple of census returns suggest he may have been born in Sawley or Smalley.

5.    Finish reading Percy Richardson's war diary and finish the blog posts. Done! ✅ 😊

6.    Tidy and reorganise documents, certificate and books. Before ordering any more! Done! ✅😊

7.    Check out parish records on Find My Past. Look for my May family in Frant, Sussex from 1600 working backwards. Started this

8.   Visit some local churchyards to look for gravestones. Sawley, Moira, Donisthorpe, Church Wilne, Draycott, Basford, Ashby-de-la-Zouch & others aren't too far away to visit and record any memorial inscriptions. Not started - must make more effort! 😞

9.    Look for tithe maps and census information for Pilsley. To find out who lived in and/or owned my late father-in-law's farmhouse. I now have copies of the deeds going back to 1901 and have researched one of the owners via the census. It appears the owner later passed the property on to his son, so he's the next individual to research.

10. Start scanning photos. I received a Doxie Flip as a Christmas present so I'm intending to scan and share many of my photos. I've scanned quite a few family photos & shared them via Dropbox with family members. I've also started scanning and sharing Auntie Joy's photo albums. This is ongoing though - and will take me some time.



Friday, 13 January 2017



My 3x Great Grandfather Thomas May seems to have had an eventful life.

Born in Hinckley, Leicestershire in 1819 Thomas was the fourth child of William May & Catherine Townsend.
William was working as a tailor in Castle Street at the time of Thomas's birth, he later became a master tailor & draper and hosiery manufacturer. He was also a publican and an agent for Royal Exchange Assurance.



In the 1841 census Thomas was working as a warehouseman, previously he had been in a partnership with his father as an insurance agent for Fire & Life.

By 1843 Thomas had followed his father into the hosiery business in Hinckley and had also married Sophia Lapworth, the daughter of John Lapworth and Mary Ann Hunt, in Coventry.

During the next ten years Thomas is noted in the local trade directories as a hosier; by the 1851 census he is a master hosier employing forty men, so obviously doing quite well for himself and his family. At this point he and Sophia have three children; William, Alice and Mary Ann.

Their eldest son, William, was born in Manchester in 1844, which seemed odd, so I researched a little further to find a reason for this. I found that Thomas's older sister, Elizabeth, had married John Evans in 1833. In the following years John had many varied occupations in different parts of the country, railway porter, inspector of police (I find that a little difficult to believe!), sawyer, labourer and publican. In 1843, Elizabeth and John had a daughter, Catharine, in Manchester, so it's possible that Thomas and Sophia were with them around this time.

Between the years 1846 and 1854, according to the local directories,Thomas May was also a publican; he had the Star at Stockwell Head in Hinckley.

Stockwell Head, Hinckley

In 1854 Thomas and Sophia had twins, Louisa and Richard Henry, both baptised on the 29th June at St. Mary's Hinckley. Thomas's occupation is noted here as hosier and grocer. Sadly, Richard died on the 4th December the same year and was buried at St. Mary's.


Following this there is no further trace of Thomas in Hinckley. The Star's landlord in 1855 is John Huston. There is a mention of a Thomas May as a landlord of The Grapes in Leicester in March 1856, but there's no proof that this is the same man. if it is him, he's running a disorderly house!


The proof of where Thomas & his family ended up is in the 1861 census. They were living in Dale Street, Sneinton, Nottingham. Thomas was employed as a warehouse man and there was a new addition to the family, a daughter, Julia, born in Nottingham in February 1857. So they must have been in Nottingham by early 1857.

I found a possible mention of Thomas in the newspaper court reports of 1858. It appears that Thomas had bought some shop fixtures from a Mr Slingsby in 1856 that were not actually his to sell. Thomas ended up paying the shop landlord for the items and was attempting to reclaim his money from Slingsby. Thomas lost this case, which may have been quite a blow to the family finances.



If this is the right man then he must have arrived in Nottingham sometime in 1856. I'm reasonably confident that it is him; there are other Thomas Mays living in Nottingham in both the 1851 and 1861 census but none of their occupations fit and my Thomas was working in a warehouse in 1861. He may have been trying to set himself back up in business in his new city.

In 1862, his wife Sophia died aged 42 of a malignant disease of the womb and was buried at St Stephens in Sneinton.



Thomas was an executor of his Uncle Richard May's will in 1869, he swore an oath in Leicestershire and was described as a hosier living in Belgrave.

In the 1871 census 52 year old Thomas was recorded as a visitor at the Pump Tavern in Aston, Birmingham. His older sister Elizabeth & her husband John Evans were the keepers of the pub.






Thomas's son, William, had married Emma Carr; they spent a few years in Nottingham and later moved back to Leicestershire. His daughters Alice, Mary Ann, Louisa and Julia remained in Nottingham and were living together in 1871 at High Pavement.









In September of 1871, Thomas married Sophia Staples, a widow, nee Sault, at St Pauls in Aston. John & Elizabeth Evans were the witnesses.









I have been unable to find much information about Thomas's life after this time. In 1873 his daughter Alice married William Oldknow Oldham in Nottingham and gave her father's occupation as publican.

Thomas died aged 55 on the 9th August 1874 at the home of his sister, Elizabeth in Belgrave, Leicestershire. Her husband John Evans was present at his death and was the informant. Thomas was buried at St Peters church, Belgrave.



The cause of death was hepatic dropsy; related to the liver and possibly cirrhosis.

I've been unable to find out why Thomas & Sophia left Hinckley in 1854/5. It seems quite a fall in status from an employer of 40 men in 1851 to a warehouse man in 1861. The May family did have money; they were landowners in Sutton Cheney, Leicestershire. Thomas's father, William, had been described as gentry in one local directory, and he owned his own house in Hinckley. Thomas was the eldest surviving son so it would be usual for him to have inherited the majority of his parent's estate.

I suspect that alcohol may have been part of it exacerbated by his run of bad luck beginning with the death of his infant son in 1854, his loss in status, loss of money in Nottingham and then the death of his wife. His lifelong proximity to alcohol is obvious and the cause of his death most likely alcohol related.



Credits:
Tailor; https://unsplash.com/search/tailor?photo=FQ83tBxftJc 
Stockwell Head; http://www.hinckleytimes.net/news/local-news/appeal-photos-peoples-album-9200190
Richard May death; The Leicester Chronicle. 16 December 1854
The Grapes; Leicester Journal 14 March 1856
May vs Slingsby; Nottingham Daily Guardian, Nottingham October 1858
Sophia Lapworth death; Nottingham Daily Guardian, Nottingham, 24 January 1862
High Pavement Nottingham; my photo
St Pauls Aston; https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/File:Aston_St_Peter_%26_St_Paul_Birmingham.jpg
Thomas May death; Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury August 22, 1874

Wednesday, 30 November 2016



A few more people from Great-Aunt Joy's photo albums. I'd be very grateful for any information on the people in these photos as I am only able to identify a few of them myself.




Eric ? East Africa 1943
Frank ? Cairo 1942
George ? 1943



George ? and Frank ? Cyprus 1944



Kingy
Leslie ? Nov. 1940
Mr. Grice. Royal Observer Corps



Freda ? 1948
Maidie J Bucknall & Pam ? 1942



Mr. Rench's wedding. St. Swithun's Church, Bournemouth. 19th July 1939

I believe this is the wedding of Basil A. Rench (born 30th November 1913) and Patricia E. Slade. I found Basil in the 1939 Register on Find My Past. On that particular night (29th September) he was on duty with the Poole AFS (Auxiliary Fire Service) on Bournemouth Road. His usual occupation was an estate agent. I've been unable to find Patricia on the register.



Wednesday, 24 August 2016


Places in Great-Aunt Joy's photo albums, dating from around 1938-1943.


Castle Mill, Linby, Nottinghamshire c1940


Milton Abbey & Durley Chine, Dorset  1938


Round the Isle of Wight
Ryde, Cowes, Southsea c1938


Portland Ships c1938

Monday, 15 August 2016


Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Following Armistice in November 1918, Uncle Percy continued with his Unit. I haven't been able to find much detail of this period but they were working in camps at Longpre, Oissy and Dreuil les Amiens.



At the end of April 97th Field Company returned to England via Havre and Percy was given fourteen days leave. Following this he rejoined his unit and was promoted to Acting Corporal and then to Acting Sergeant.

On the 27th October 1919 Percy was transfered to the 14 SAT Company RE and then to the 219 Field Company RE Rhine Army on the 28th November. So Uncle Percy was part of the British Army of the Rhine - set up to occupy the Rhineland as part of the Armistice deal.

Royal Engineers manning a searchlight on the Rhine 1919


The British were based in and around Cologne and remained there until 1929. Percy wasn't there for that long though; in January 1920 he was discovered to have a hernia and was demobbed back to the family home at 605 Berridge Road, Nottingham on the 3rd January 1920.

Percival Richardson 1889 - 27 August 1965





Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Another handful of photos from Great Aunt Joy's albums. These date from around 1938-1939.


Baby Joy & Chummy




Derek (aged 6) & Margaret (aged 4)

Bubbles at Lulworth Cove 1939
Two Joys at Lulworth
Little Moira Holland aged 2

Margaret & Mrs Tatham