Yeomans of Brum

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St Philips Church, Birmingham c.1829 (where William & Catherine Yeomans were wed)

While tracing back through the life of James YEOMANS recently, I came to a standstill at his birth.  There were two likely baptismal records of Josephs whose fathers were both called William but which one was the correct one? One had a mother called Mary, the other, Elizabeth.  Never mind, I thought, I’ll just use the censuses.

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Possible baptismal records of Joseph Yeomans side by side

The problem was however, that I couldn’t find Joseph YEOMANS in the 1841 census – the one that could give me his parents names and take me another step back in the line. I had Joseph’s marriage record so knew he was married in St. Philip’s Church, Birmingham in 1845 (now Birmingham Cathedral) and the ’51 and ’61 censuses located him there. A general name search (variants on and off) and an area limiting search came up with nothing. It’s possible he was living/staying elsewhere that night but also possible the transcription was askew.

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Marriage certificate of Joseph YEOMANS & Catherine SANDFORD

The marriage certificate gives his father’s name as William YEOMANS – a tin plate worker. Joseph’s precise age is not given, only ‘of Full age’ to indicate he was at least 21. The 1851 census gives 27 which means he would only be 17 in 1841 and likely (although not guaranteed) still living at home. Locating it would hopefully solve the issue of which mother was his.

William and Mary YEOMANS were found quite easily, yet I could not find William and Elizabeth.

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1841 census entry of a William and Mary Yeomans

Presuming it was likely a different spelling of the name, Yeomans, I searched using a variety of name combinations.  Finally, I searched for Jos* Yeomans and huzzah! There he was WITH his father William and mother, Elizabeth, who had been recorded as Wm & Elizth. For further proof this was the right family, both Joseph and his father were recorded as Tin Plate workers AND they were living on Summer Lane (the address given on Joseph’s marriage certificate).

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1841 census entry of Joseph Yeomans, with his parents William and Elizabeth

His age was a couple years out from the birth years given on subsequent censuses but it fit very well with the 1822 baptismal record.

Interesting to note that he gives his age as 1 year younger than his wife, Catherine on the 1851 census and 1 year older than her on the 1861 census which are both 2/3 years younger than his actual age. 

Killing Off William Wreford

On the hunt for William’s death certificate, I realised I hadn’t attached an 1861 census record to him yet.
The Wreford Pedigree recorded his death date as November 1866 and the last census I had him on was the 1851.  The only appropriate death record I could find was registered in East London but didn’t know whether it was the right guy.  So I searched for William WREFORD and found one in the house of his sister, Sarah BROOKS:

Knowle Downe Bishops Nympton 1861 BROOKS & WREFORD
1861 Census – William WREFORD staying with his sister, Sarah BROOKS

I checked that William did indeed have a sister called Sarah (baptised 18 Apr 1797 in Morchard Bishop, Devon to the same parents, John & Mary) and then checked for a marriage between a Sarah WREFORD and a man named BROOKS.

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Sarah WREFORD baptism
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Marriage of Charles BROOKS & Sarah WREFORD (Chulmleigh, Devon)

It all checked out and I am confident that the William living with his sister in 1861 IS my William WREFORD (b. 1793).  I ordered the death certificate and hoped there was some clue as to how he ended up in London.  Unfortunately there was not.  Since then, I learned that both his eldest son William (1817) and his daughter, Elizabeth lived in London at the time and am still tracing his other children.  More information can be found in my ‘Wrestling with Death‘ post.

Next steps:
  • Trace all of William’s children
  • Find out who Thomas Cusiok/Cuscok

Buried Alive

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Holly Bank Colliery, Essington

One good thing about researching family with an uncommon name is that it can make trawling through newspapers a bit easier.  Such was the case, when I did a blanket search for EBBANS in the British Newspaper Archive.  Among the genealogical gems found (more on those in later posts), was a coal mining accident that killed a relative in 1909.

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ESSINGTON MINER BURIED ALIVE.-An inquiry was held by Mr. T. A. Stokes (County Coroner) at Newtown, on Wednesday afternoon, concerning the death of Thomas Ebbans (31), lately residing at Walsall Road, Newtown, Essington, who was accidentally killed at Holly Bank Colliery on Monday, owing to a sudden fall of coal. – Mr. Felton, Deputy-Inspector of Mines, was present; and Mr. H. H. Jackson (Messrs. Stanley and Jackson) represented the widow. Mr. J. C. Forrest, manager of the colliery company was also present. – William Mitton, a miner, engaged at the colliery, said he was working with the deceased man when the accident occurred. He was loading, and deceased was working on the face of the coal. Deceased put a hole in the face in proparation [sic] for a shot to be fired, and then asked for a “sprag” to put into the coal. Before witness could hand over the “sprag” some tons of coal fell, and the man was buried. Witness had to jump away to save his life. An alarm was raised, and Ebbans was got out. Replying to the Coroner, witness said it was customary to undermine the coal in the way described. Everything was done in the usual way. – Questioned by the Deputy-Inspector of Mines, witness said he could not account for a pick which was found on the ground immediately after the accident. He did not see the deceased using a pick. -Edwin Thomas, night fireman, said he examined the district between five and six o’clock on Monday morning, and found everything in order. So far as his observations went the coal was then safe. -Police-constable Albert Buckham, stationed at Essington, said he examined the body after the accident, and found that the man’s right thigh and ribs were fractured, and the neck apparently dislocated. -The Coroner remarked that the deceased appeared to have taken every precaution. – “Accidental death” was the verdict returned.

Walsall AdvertiserSaturday 29 May 1909, p11

sprag
A sprag – a prop to support a mine roof.

As if the event wasn’t tragic enough, a little bit of research showed that his wife was left with at least one young child, possibly two, under 4 years of age. They had only been married 5 years.
The 1911 census had her and her young child staying with her parents.  Interesting to note that it says she had 3 children born alive – 2 still living. Had she been pregnant at the time of the accident?

Sarah EBBANS Dutton
1911 Census – Sarah EBBANS (widow of Thomas EBBANS)

I’m interested in what happened to Sarah Jane (nee DUTTON) and other wives who found themselves in similar tragic situations.  Did the coal companies look after them in any way?  Was the fact that Thomas’ widow had a solicitor usual in these cases?  Unfortunately, the fantastic ‘Coalmining History Resource Centre‘ didn’t seem to list this particular accident – although I may have searched it ‘incorrectly’ as the search function seemed a bit limited.  If you have coalmining ancestors, I recommend you give the site a look.  And if you know of any resources that might help me, please let me know.

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Holly Bank Colliery brick
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West Midlands Division Map 119 A & B

The ALLEN Key

Kent, Faversham, St Mary's of Charity Church

William Henry ALLEN, son of Henry & Susanna ALLEN, was born around 1790 in Faversham, Kent.
I can state this for sure because of Bishop’s Transcripts.  Before this discovery, I only knew that William Henry ALLEN was a carpenter and the father of Mary Ann Allen since he appears on his daughter’s marriage certificate in 1848 (also seen in this post).

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Marriage Certificate of George Wright PALMER & Mary Ann ALLEN

This information backs up the 1851 census record I had for the family (although the names of the visiting grandchildren made me pretty confident anyway):

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1851 census entry for ALLEN family

So I now know that the family lived on Chatham Hill, Chatham between 1848 and 1851 (at least) and that Henry was a carpenter born in Faversham, Kent around 1790.  (I also know the names of a few more children but I’m focusing on William for now).  Next stop, parish records…
Unfortunately, the Medway Ancestors project doesn’t seem to have the parish registers for Faversham online but I recently did a search on Find My Past and it came up with the Bishop’s Transcript record.  Bishop’s Transcripts were a copy of the parish records, often summarised, that each church sent to the Bishop.  Information can vary from the register and the transcript so it’s always worthwhile to check out both if you can.

Canterbury Baptisms - Bishop's Transcripts
Canterbury Baptisms – Bishop’s Transcripts (St Mary’s of Charity, Faversham)

…William Henry Allen, son of Henry & Susanna Allen [May 30, 1790]…

Yay! I now know the name of William Henry’s parents and have unlocked a few more avenues of research for this family.

Next steps:

Looking for Lovell

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A GIPSY ENCAMPMENT IN ESSEX” c.1889

Carnation LOVELL was born into her gypsy family in Willenhall, 1889. Finding her family has led me on a bit of a run around over the years and I have decided I need to find some solid records and check my information is correct so far (a previous post can be found here).
She appears on the 1891 census with her parents (Matthew and Maria LOVELL), and elder brother Chandos, living in a gypsy tent in Darlaston, Staffordshire.

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1891 Census – Lovells

She reappears on the 1901 census, living in a caravan on Sneyd Lane, Bloxwich, as Carnation FLETCHER with brother Chandos, younger sister Elizabeth and what appears to be her mother listed as married to Eli FLETCHER.  All the children and Maria now carry the name, FLETCHER.

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1901 Census – Fletchers/Lovells

I started to wonder if this was the same Carnation.  Carnation’s birth certificate cites her mother’s former name as Maria ANSLOW.  Her marriage entry to Eli (7 years after their appearance as a family unit on the census) also records her as Maria ANSLOW, spinster.  So, this is clearly the same woman.  This also indicates that Carnation’s parents were never legally married.  This makes me curious about gypsy marriage customs – was this usual?  Was Eli a gypsy or not?
I am yet to find Carnation in the 1911 census. I’m presuming her name was mistranscribed but all the variants I’ve come up with so far have given me no joy.
Instead, I have decided to gather more family records and information about gypsy life paint a clearer picture of Carnation’s life in my mind.

Next Steps:
  • Find Carnation in the 1911 census
  • Research gypsy ancestors