George the Absconder

A young bachelor George EBBANS (far right) with two of his brothers (c1910)

The family story goes that George Ebbans (b. 1893) left his wife and children around 1927 and started a new family with another woman.

In my mother-in-law’s words:

George Ebbans married Sarah Ann Crossley. They had 2 children, Irene and George. For some reason, my mother-in-law says George spread it around and Sarah Ann (known as Sarann) was no angel.  George left their home and could not be traced for quite a few years. It later emerged that he had gone to live in Wolverhampton and lived with another woman (can’t find any record of a divorce or remarry). They raised a family, don’t know how many but one was christened George just to complicate matters. (It was also known that Sarann and her mother didn’t want George around so his reputation could well be made up).

Sarah Ebbans (nee CROSSLEY) in centre

This information seemed to come from family members who had first hand knowledge of the people, so I have no reason to doubt it.  However, I have also been unable to find any evidence of this desertion…

Until now.

Found in the Birmingham Daily Gazette, 25 November 1930, p3:

£174 ARREARS.

“I should have liked to give you another chance, but it is impossible; this has been going on for five years,” said the Mayor of Walsall yesterday in sentencing George Ebbans, aged 34, labourer, 35 Farringdon-street, to three months’ imprisonment for owing £174 maintenance arrears and costs due to his wife and two children.

Ebbans pleaded, “I have not been picking up a lot of money, and I have had to pay for my lodgings.”

The trail still ends there really.  Still no evidence of a second family in Wolverhampton – marriage or children – and I am yet to even find a death record for George himself.

But we now know that he did indeed desert his family and had done by at least 1925 – the same year his second child was born. It probably was hard for George to find enough money to support himself but I’m sure it was even harder for Sarah looking after two children and working as a hospital laundry maid (source: 1939 register).

National Registration Identity Card of George EBBANS (b.1922) showing his address listed as Farringdon Street

I’m a little confused by his address being listed as 35 Farringdon Street as his son lists it as an address on his National Registration Identity Card (c1945 – 1951) which leads me to believe it was actually the family address.  George mentions lodgings – presumably at a different address away from the family and therefore NOT Farringdon Street? Sarah (and I presume her 2 children – names currently redacted) are living on nearby Blue Lane in the 1939 register so this is unclear.

We may never know what really happened to George – the Ebbans name has been written in error and transcribed in so many different ways that it’s possible he’s hiding in the records under some alternative spelling I’ve yet to come across. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed…

Next Steps:

  • Find prison records/more details
  • Find George’s death record

 

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Annie, are you okay?

Thanks to the free Fold3 access for this weekend, I’ve been able to pad out a bit of the extended EBBANS tree.

A blanket search for ‘Ebbans’ threw up the name of Annie Ebbans. It turns out she was listed as wife on the WWI military file of Edward Williams, which also gave their marriage date and place as well as their present address (33 Portland St, Walsall).  The file also listed names of nine children.  A goldmine, right? But was this Annie Ebbans actually linked to my focus Ebbanses?

Ebbans is a fairly uncommon name but is also very often recorded under a wide variety of spellings or just plain mistranscribed so can be difficult to research.  It has appeared as Ebbens, Ebbins, Ebans, Evans, Ettans, Hebbans, Ebbon and Ebben; to name just a few.

There was an Ann Ebbans, born circa 1874 on my tree who was a sibling of a more direct ancestor.  Until now I had been unable to find any info on this Ann Ebbans after she stopped appearing on her parents’ census records.  Now this military record led me to her marriage record where she had been recorded as Ann Evans.  Luckily ‘findmypast’ hold the Staffordshire parish registers which showed her father’s name, William and residence, 20 Augustus St.  These details both match information I hold so I can safely say this is indeed the sister Annie in my Ebbans tree and am able to trace her life further. Viva la free record weekends!

1894 marriage entry of Edward Williams and Annie Evans (EBBANS)
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Cairnglass

While trawling through the parish registers of St Combs, I came across a record for a Charles Gordon BUCHAN.  It was quite rare to come across a middle name in this family (as opposed to a tee name) and wondered if it was reference to the mother’s maiden name.

Baptism of Charles Gordon BUCHAN, 1785 – Lonmay parish registers

Alexander Buchan (Skipper) in Cairnglass had a son baptd named Charles Gordon. W[itnesses] John Strachan (*sley) & James Buchan.

It was the first time I’d come across ‘Cairnglass’ and found more about the place in the Ordnance Survey Books:

A superior farmsteading on the estate of Cairness. The property of Jas W Gordon Esqr.

I recall reading somewhere that tenant farmers sometimes named their children after land owners so it’s highly likely that Alexander Buchan of Cairnglass names his son in honour of the owner of his farm.  However, this seemed based on the valuation roll of 1869/70 – 85 years later – so proof would be needed that this property was in the Gordon family for some time.

A search for the Gordon name and Cairness brought up a page for Charles Gordon, 7th of Buthlaw and 1st of Cairness. He lived at the correct time and therefore lends credence to the idea Charles Gordon BUCHAN was named after him.  If anyone knows anything for or against this conclusion, I’d be very interested to hear about it.

Charles Gordon of Buthlaw, Lonmay and Cairness (1747–1797) by Henry Raeburn 1790 (c) The National Trust for Scotland, Fyvie Castle

 

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The Shamrock – part II

When visiting the Derby Local Studies and Family History Library, I happened to mention my interest in ‘The Shamrock‘ and the enormously helpful staff located a map out the back – Map of the Boro’ of Derby shewing the number and position of Houses Licensed for the Sale of Intoxicating Drinks.

Map of the Boro’ of Derby shewing the number and position of Houses Licensed for the Sale of Intoxicating Drinks. c.1897

This map was produced seemingly to illustrate a problem. According to the figures, a total of 574 premises for a rather precise ‘estimated population’ of 103291 circa 1897, meant there was a licensed drinking house for roughly every 179 people.  But not only does the map give me an insight to the lifestyle and issues of the area,  it has also been helpful to pinpoint a more precise location for The Shamrock.

From research outlined in the previous post, The Shamrock was a licensed beerhouse located on Goodwin Street between 1857 and 1908.  The map shows 5 establishments on Goodwin Street alone:


The key helpfully narrows things down by identifying each type of drinking house.  Therefore, the location of The Shamrock must have been located at the triangle symbol:

The triangle symbol marks the likely location of The Shamrock

Unfortunately the area was demolished in the 1930s so I am unable to visit the actual building, but having this map somehow makes me feel a little better about that.

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The Shamrock

Oliver claimed by his affectionate friends – George Cruikshank

Since at least 1842, William LAMB of Derby, had been recorded as a bricklayer.  However in the 1871 census, he was recorded living at 59 & 60 Goodwin St “The Shamrock” and his profession was given as Bricklayer & Publican. It was common for innkeepers to have secondary jobs but it was the first mention of this family being involved with running a pub.  Goodwin Street was located within the ‘slums of Derby’ which were later cleared in the 1930s. My initial search for this pub proved fruitless but over the years, I’ve managed to glean a little more information about this ‘phantom’ pub.

The 1871 census entry for ‘The Shamrock’ and the Lamb family

In 1872, an inquest was held ‘upon the body of Rebecca Lamb, aged 51 years, wife of William Henry Lamb, landlord of “The Shamrock” beerhouse, Goodwin-street, who died on the previous day [17th April]” and the findings published in The Derby Mercury.

Rebecca Lamb’s Inquest in The Derby Mercury (24 April 1872, p5 col4)

In 1873, William Lamb of The Shamrock was among a number of ‘persons who had been called before the Bench to prove that their premises, if used for other than public-houses, would be rented at not less than 15 [pounds] a year” and received a renewal of their license.

The Derby Mercury, 27 August 1873, p2 col1

These two newspaper clippings together tell me that The Shamrock was actually a licensed beerhouse.  According to HistoryHouse.co.uk, beerhouses were “Premises which could sell only beer”.

The opening hours could be from 4am to 10pm. For a small fee of 2 guineas payable to the local excise officer, anyone could brew and sell beer. The excise licence would state whether the beer could be consumed on the premises (beerhouse) or as off-sales only (beershop).  [HistoryHouse.co.uk]

An 1874 directory also lists The Shamrock as a beerhouse:

Wright’s South Derbyshire Directory of 1874, p68

Whereas in 1878, another directory lists it as the ‘Shamrock Inn’:

Wilkins & Ellis New Borough of Derby, 1878

 

The Shamrock is also recorded twice in The Illustrated History of Derby’s Pubs by Maxwell Craven which I located when visiting Derby Central Library.  The first instance notes that it was almost certainly…

‘…named to encourage the colony of Irish families who in the early and mid-19th century lived (in some squalor, unfortunately) in this area, mainly in ‘Rookeries’ – grandish old houses split up by unscrupulous landlords. First recorded by name in 1874, but to be identified with the anonymous beerhouse listed at this address in 1857 and 1862.  The name quite probably migrated with a landlord from King Street.  Closed in 1908 after pressure from Mrs Boden and the Derby  Temperance Association.’ pp. 135-6

[NB: “First recorded by name in 1874” – does this refer to the 1874 directory entry or more official records?]

The second instance suggests it was a separate establishment located at 34 King Street from at least 1850 to 1852:

“Possibly later renamed the Mechanics’ Arms; it seems not unlikely that the landlord took the name with him to Goodwin Street, first recorded by name only a few years later.” p. 136

Although the Lambs are recorded at the same address in the 1861 census, there is no mention of the Shamrock or any publican profession.  The King Street incarnation of the Mechanics’ Arms appears in newspapers in 1862 under landlady Emily Bates [was she the Shamrock’s original landlord?]It’s still possible that The Shamrock was operating but not recorded at the time of the 1861 census and that William Lamb was the landlord who took the name from King to Goodwin Street.  As yet, there is no evidence that the Lamb family ever lived on King Street so we may never know.

Goodwin Street during demolition in the 1930s

 

 

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