Genealogical Jurisprudence

Professor John Glaister (1856 – 1932)

Professor John Glaister (1856 – 1932) was a Scottish forensic scientist who often appeared as an expert witness in famous legal cases of the time. He authored A Text-book of Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology which was apparently quite an important reference work in those medical/legal circles of the time.

There has been a long held belief in my family that we are related to him, however I have never been able to find evidence of this.  My grandmother had first mentioned it to me but there is also a reference to the relationship in a letter my grandfather wrote to his son in 1979:

When we were in N.Z. someone told us that Aunt Amy when she was in Scotland looked up the Glaisters & Gerard Glaister is one of our relations. My maternal Grand-father was the only Glaister that wasn’t a Dr – [written above: (he was a blacksmith & my cousin Tom Allan showed me his coach-builders hand book when were in NZ.) ] & we had one of his books on veterinary [surgery] with coloured plates of horses insides when I was a kid. Tom Allen had a photo of my Grand-dad Glaister’s FATHER’s house on a Scottish estate – the house was given to him on his retirement as vet. So it looks something like this:

Incidently my uncle Murray Glaister met Prof. Glaister before the war.

+ one of his two sons (my cousin) was in the N.Z. New Years Honours list for his contribution to the meat industry.

*I believe the uncle he refers to as Murray is actually William David Murray Glaister (a solicitor in Auckland) as he was the only boy of William Murray GLAISTER & Alice Ann WHITE that lived; Aunt Amy is likely Amy Glaister/Pile; Gerard Glaister seems to refer to the British television producer and director ; I’m not sure who cousin Tom Allen refers to or the ‘meat industry contributor’.*

Seemingly lots of family information to help me piece things together but unfortunately, I know immediately that Grandad was mistaken in a few things:

  1. It was actually his maternal great great Grandfather who was a vet (Robert GLAISTER).
  2. His grandfather’s father, William GLAISTER (missing from this sketch) was also a blacksmith and it was actually HIS father who was the vet.
  3. The DR S recorded as a brother to the coach builder (William Murray GLAISTER) does not exist (at least not as this relationship – He had a brother called Stephen Glaister who was also a blacksmith.)
  4. Professor John Glaister’s grandfather was a John Glaister NOT Robert GLAISTER the veterinarian
  5. ‘…only Glaister that wasn’t a Dr…’ – no known doctors in this part of the family apart from a few veterinary surgeons

So my general assumption was that the family were mistaken and there is no link to my family.

HOWEVER:

While trawling the NZ Papers Past website for the Glaister name, I came across this article from 1932:

 

Auckland Star – 19 December 1932

 

…His death reveals a link with Auckland and New Zealand. When his daughter, now Mrs. Woodruff, was passing through Auckland to Melbourne to be married in 1919, she accidentally came into contact with the name Glaister, and made the acquaintance of Mr. W. P. M. Glaister,barrister, of this city. Subsequently Professor Glaister, who was compiling a history of the Glaister clan, communicated with Mr. Glaister, and as a result was able to furnish a genealogical history of the New Zealand branch of the Glaister clan from about 1800. Besides his specialist work in criminology Professor Glaister had wide interests, medical and scientific.

So according to this, ‘Uncle Murray’ had contact with Professor Glaister’s daughter and eventually communicated with him.  It doesn’t say ‘met’ but this was certainly ‘before the war’ so there WAS some truth to that statement.  The comment, ‘as a result was able to furnish a genealogical history of the New Zealand branch of the Glaister clan from about 1800’ isn’t exactly clear but does seem to imply that there WAS some link between both families. So for now, my search goes on…

Next Steps:

  • Determine exactly who cousin Tom Allen was & the ‘meat industry contributor’
  • Contact relatives who may still hold the books, papers and photographs referred to in the letter
  • Prepare tree of descendants of Robert GLAISTER to compare to Grandad’s sketch
  • Find link to Professor John Glaister’s family

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

 

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)

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

 

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.