#52Ancestors #39 the lovelorn Miss Edith Young

52 Ancestors logoEdith Hannah Young, the youngest of seven known children of George Shields Young and Hannah Halliday, was born c 1873 in Gateshead into a comfortably well-off Methodist family.

When she was 5 her father’s business pottery partnership was dissolved and soon after that they moved away to Horton in Yorkshire.  Three summers later George died, aged 46.

Things may have been tough for a while, but ten years later, when she 18, the 1891 census records Edith as a secretary at the Bradford School of Music; with her education and the family’s interest in music I hope she was happy there.

However by 1901 her circumstances had changed drastically. She, her mother Hannah and two of her sisters, Marion and Mary, were all living down in Okehampton, Devon, 300 miles away.  I suspect they moved when Mary got a teaching post, but in that space of ten years Edith had also been married and widowed.  Her late husband, Mr Rowe, is a mystery; I’ve made a variety of searches on both Ancestry and FindMyPast but nothing is obvious without the purchase of birth certificates (with no guarantee of success) which I will only do if I come up on the Lottery. [I won a pound on a £1 scratch-card this week – breaking even is a rare treat so I’m not holding my breath!]

I couldn’t find Edith in the 1911 census with her mother and sister (by then in Pembrokeshire), so I started searching for a possible second marriage for her.  Lo and behold I discovered Edith Hannah Rowe marries an Okehampton man, Francis Worden, in Pembrokeshire in 1905.  Had they been pining away without each other?  Lots of Edwardian sighing going on until he came up to marry her and sweep her back to Okehampton where he worked as an architect & surveyor?

1911 Census names of Francis and Edith Worden

1911 Census names of Francis and Edith Worden

Fitting in with the 100 year rule (with which I quite agree) I can’t find any info on them until 1939. By that year Francis had retired and they were living down in Bude, Cornwall, as located via Kelly’s Directories.  Edith died in April 1942 in Stratton, Cornwall; Francis died later, in 1957.  There are other Wordens in Stratton so perhaps Francis had family there to share his last days.

© Text copyright Lynne Black 29 September 2014
First published: http://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/edith-young/

One Lovely Blog Awards

One Lovely Blog Award logoThanks so much to Cathy Meder-Dempsey (Opening Doors in Brick Walls) and also to Fran Ellsworth (Branching Out Through the Years) for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award!  I was very touched, especially once I discovered what it was!  Just glad you like it, and glad that my family get remembered.

Here are the rules for this award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to that blog
  2. Share seven things about yourself
  3. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire (or as many as you can think of!)
  4. Contact your bloggers to let them know that you’ve tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award

So, seven things about me:

  1. I’m an optimistic cynic and love happy endings;
  2. I wouldn’t be here without the NHS and the ingenuity of modern science. I’m lucky – I’ve needed to survive a lot of things, including those which have taken my ancestors;
  3. Bellydancing saved me from falling off a precipice (literally) and I have been paid to dance in a castle (this amuses me endlessly as I have no delusions of talent);
  4. I can’t function at work without making a list;
  5. The only thing that annoys me more than other people getting apostrophe’s in the wrong place is doing it myself;
  6. I love films and have waaaaay too many DVDs.  I know I’m really ill when all I want is to eat Madeira cake and all I want to do is watch The Wicked Lady (Lockwood & Mason) – as soon as I’m on the mend it go back to my normal setting of action films, Yipee Ki Yay!;
  7. I was built for comfort, not for speed;
  8. I’m thrawn, apparently.

Some of the other bloggers I like, no particular order, include:

[More to follow when my brain is awake again...]

#52Ancestors #38 George Shields Young – bright promise and the looming clouds of war

George Shields Young, 1893-1916

George Shields Young, 1893-1916, reproduced with permission from Queen’s College Oxford’s Liber Vitae Reginensium

George S Young was the grandson of his namesake George Shields Young and Hannah Halliday, through their oldest son Thomas Halliday Young and his wife Margaret J Thompson.  Born in Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1893, he was the second of three children, with an older sister Margaret and a younger sister Helen.

His father Thomas was a merchant’s cashier who seemed to have done quite well.  Maybe George inherited a talent for figures as after seven years at Bradford School for Boys he won a scholarship for the Queen’s College, Oxford where he read Mathematics.

While I knew of George when researching his grandmother’s story, I hadn’t intended to research his life in any depth as I thought he may have children still alive, and I don’t generally dig down more than one generation as it sometimes feels a bit intrusive.

I discovered his story by accident when trying to find a date of death for his uncle (also a George Shields Young, his dad’s younger brother). The search engines flagged up a military record and I checked it out.  I did a bit more work then found an obituary which named his parents – and found out they were Thomas and Margaret rather than the expected Hannah and George.

The obituary mentioned that ‘my’ George had received a BA from Queen’s College. I was amazed and really pleased for him.  His well-educated family must have been so proud of him, the first in the family to go to university.

52 Ancestors logoIt seemed so unfair to find out about his greatest achievement whilst reading about his family’s greatest loss that it really made me angry.  It was strange, feeling anger and grief for someone I’d only ‘met’ less than 2 days before.

After graduation George had gone back to Bradford and enlisted into the Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment), 6th Battalion, as a Private.  He was posted to France where he died, less than 18 months after graduating, on 29 November 1916 of his wounds.  He’s buried in Warlincourt Halte British Cemetery, Saulty, France.

I was curious about George’s time at University so I googled Queen’s College Oxford war records and discovered their Roll of Service which gave me some information:

“1911 Young,* G. S., B.A. (June 21, 1915). Pte. 6th W. Yorkshire Regt. France. Died on Nov. 29, 1916, of wounds received in action.”  The asterisk denotes membership of the University Contingent of the Officers’ Training Corps prior to 1915.

After that I looked up Queen’s home page and discovered they have an archivist, Michael Riordan, for St. John’s and The Queen’s Colleges.  We spoke on the phone and he was kind enough to look up the subject of George’s BA for me. He checked George’s biography in their Liber Vitae Reginensium which also included a portrait of George (above).

He also discovered some notes written shortly after George started at Queen’s:

“Young, George Shields.
born 9th April 1893 at Bradford.
Son of T.H. Young of 1 Ambleside Avenue, Bradford.
Educated at Bradford Grammar School 7 years.
Entered College October 1911.
Hastings Exhibitioner (Honorary Scholar) (Mathematics); elected December 1910.
Hon. Mods & Greats. I.C.S. Prob Physics & Mod Langs.
Knows a little Fr. & German. Will row, but light, q.2. 2nd 15, no cricket
Has joined Terrs. Plays a little but doesn’t sing. Congregationalist.”

Michael explained that ICS was the Indian Civil Service and this almost certainly means that this was his intended career, which was a popular choice amongst graduates at this time.

But it was not to be.

This week there was an email from FindMyPast about adding membership of Lives of World War One to the subscription package.  I have tried it to search for George, but didn’t find it particularly easy or intuitive to use.  However I will go back and fill in the information for George.  I think I’ll also complete the profiles, if I can find them, for three other Queen’s graduates, Warren, Wolfe and Collins, whose information was also on the same page of the Liber Vitae Reginensium as George, and were lost in action or to illness.

First published 27 September 2014: http://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/george-s-young/

#52Ancestors #37 Hannah Halliday – entrepreneurial sons, educated daughters

I recently took advantage of a half-price subscription with FindMyPast and have been having a fascinating couple of weeks finding out about my Northumberland and Durham ancestors.

I last used FindMyPast briefly over a year ago, too far back to remember how the old search engine worked.  I’ve heard a lot of negative comments about the new set up, but as I was coming to it effectively fresh I’ve found it has worked well.  Part of this appreciation is that they have the record collections I was after, but it has also come up with suggestions of a few newspaper announcements about the family, intimations and also one about a business partnership finishing.

I’m finding it helpful having two sites to work between (currently FMP and Ancestry).  Previously I’d shared sites with a friend, I paid for Ancestry and she paid for Genes Reunited and it’s really helpful doing that, one can point to clues on another, and each have different specialist record sets.

So this week, thanks to the hard transcribing work of the Durham and Northumberland FHSoc I’ve found a 19th century branch of my family with many strong educated women.  I’ll feature a few of her family members over the next couple of weeks.

Hannah Young, nee Halliday

Hannah Young, nee Halliday

And I’ll start with Mrs Hannah Young, nee Halliday, the aunt of Sarah E Halliday who featured in my previous post. Hannah is my G-G-G-Aunt.

Hannah was the second child and eldest daughter of Thomas and Jane Halliday. Altogether I’ve found 6 brothers and sisters for her.  Thomas was a soap agent and travelled around for his work.

Born on 10 November 1836 in Gateshead, Hannah was baptised a month later in Methodist New Connexion denomination chapel.  She lived in Gateshead until she was at least 16. Although she married aged 21 in early 1857 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, I suspect that may have been her fiancé’s  workplace/home because soon after the wedding they were both found in Gateshead.

Her husband was George Shields Young and I’m so glad he was, as having the middle name Shields (after his mother) has been invaluable identifying his own children and grandchildren.  George was an agent and later recorded as an earthenware manufacturer.

Photo of Tom, Dora, Lizzie, Mary and Marion Young

Tom, Dora, Lizzie, Mary and Marion Young

They settled down and had their first child, Dora, 10 months after the wedding in Gateshead, Low Fell, County Durham. Daughter Marion arrived in summer 1860, with George recorded in the census the next spring as a commercial clerk and dealer.  Four more children followed: Lizzie in Newcastle in 1862, Thomas Halliday back in Gateshead (1864), Mary Sarah (1867) and George Shields (1870).  By April 1871 George Snr was working as an earthenware manufacturer in Leeds, but Edith Hannah was born back in Gateshead in 1873.

In 1877, four years after the birth of George and Hannah’s youngest child Edith, Edith’s oldest sister Dora got married at the age of 18 to George Rollet with Hannah’s first grandchild Norman arriving in Thorne, Yorkshire in 1878 with Ethel following in 1879 and Maud Hannah early in 1881.

Hannah’s father Thomas Halliday died on 22 December in 1877.

Shields Daily Gazette, 21 January 1878, copyright FindMyPast

Shields Daily Gazette, 21 January 1878, copyright FindMyPast

In 1878 George and his business partner formally dissolved their business partnership and the April 1881 census records him as a bookseller.  Only four months after that George died, in Bradford where he and Hannah were living.  His estate was worth £259 8s, the equivalent of £12,531.61 in 2005 money.

Another grand-daughter, Dora Rollett arrived in 1882, but there was more sadness in 1883, when young Dora’s older sister Maud Hannah died in Hunslet, Leeds, aged about 2.

The next time I encounter Hannah it’s 1889 when her son Thomas Halliday Young marries Margaret Jane Thompson.  [Thomas and Margaret have their first child, Margaret, in 1890, Hannah’s fourth known grandchild, followed by another George Shields in 1893 and Helen in 1898, all in Bradford.]

In January 1891, Hannah’s mother Jane Halliday died.  Jane left Hannah a gold watch and half-share of her personal effects in her will, of which Hannah, her brother Thomas and sister Sarah Ann were executers.

Hannah’s second daughter Marion married in 1895 to a mysterious Mr Joslin, of whom I know nothing apart from his surname, which I suspect may have been mis-spelt at some point.  She was widowed and married her second husband John Ogden, a widower, in September 1914 in Keighley, Yorkshire.

Hannah’s third child, Lizzie, is a bit of a mystery. The only child born in Newcastle, she wasn’t with her parents for the 1871 or 1881 census so I feared she’d died young.  However then I found her in Shipley, Yorkshire, in 1891 working as a governess.  And once I’d found that she was staying in 1881 with the Rollett family it helped both solve the mystery of Lizzie’s missing years, and confirm I had correctly identified Dora Young’s husband.  In 1881 the census, staying with Dora in Nottinghamshire, Lizzie was again working as a governess.  But I lose track of her after the 1991 census.

Mary Sarah Young, her fifth known, child was a teacher, and will be the subject of a later blog post.

Hannah’s second son (6th child) George Shields Halliday had been born in Gateshead in 1870 but died young, aged only 17 in 1887.

52 Ancestors logo

Youngest daughter Edith Hannah also got married, to a Mr Rowe, but I have little information about him.  I do know however that she was widowed and married again and I’ll also write about her another week.

By 1901 there had been a dramatic change of location – Hannah was living down in Okehampton, Devon, with daughters Marion [Joslin], Mary Sarah Young and Edith [Rowe].

They were visited in October 1908 by oldest sister Dora [Rollett] but shockingly Dora died during her visit, leaving widower George, son Norman and two daughters Ethel and Dora who continued to live in Essex, where they were living by 1901.

By 1911 Hannah and Mary Sarah Young had moved on again to Pembrokeshire, the first time I’ve found any of my family at all in Wales.

The strange thing is, I have all this information about Hannah Young and her descendants, but I don’t actually know for sure when and where Hannah died. She was 74 by the time of the 1911 census. 74 doesn’t seem very old to me, living in the 21st century, I have family older than that, but it must have been a good old age then.  But now, by broadening my searches and my time frames, I’ve found a Hannah Young who died in Gateshead in 1933, at the grand old age of 96.

I so hope that was my Hannah, my G-G-G-Aunt, it would just seem fitting for a woman whose family had been so independent, one of the most educated with children – daughters more remarkably – travelling round for work and establishing themselves by independent means.  I hope that her mind stayed with her until the end as intelligence and education was such a defining feature of her family.

Hannah certainly had a fascinating life, and I love that I know what she looks like.  I also know, from the contents of her mother’s will, what she would have seen as she went to visit her parents Thomas and Jane Halliday: the suite, the sewing machine, the black marble clock and of course the treasured gold watch Jane passed down to her dear oldest daughter.

© Text copyright Lynne Black 21 September 2014
First published: http://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/hannah-halliday/

#52Ancestors #36 Sarah E Halliday, Yorkshire beauty

My great-grandmother, Sarah E Halliday, c1900

My great-grandmother, Sarah E Halliday

My great-grandmother Sarah ‘Sallie’ E Halliday was born in 1863 in Leeds, the youngest child of Thomas Halliday and Mary Ann Howe.

In her day Sallie was considered a great beauty.  Her father, a commissioning agent, seems to have done alright for himself as he was able to provide her with the opportunity to enjoy music, a talent she inherited from her mother and in turn passed down to her own family.

The 1901 census finds her as a tailoress, sewing edges.  The following year she married my great-grandfather Michael Brown at the Church of St John the Evangelist in Leeds.  Michael was a postman and army reservist who later fought in some of the major battles of the first world war and kept his love of the army all his life.

They had a son together 3 years later, William, who inherited his mother’s talent for music but not his father’s fighting skills, as a near-miss with a grenade shows (when one falls in your trench you’re best throwing it out the trench, not high up in the air directly above you!).

52ancestorsSallie and Michael lived on for the rest of the lives in Leeds, Michael working his way up in the Post Office.  Sallie died in 1950.

© Text copyright Lynne Black 5 September 2014
First published: http://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/sarah-halliday/

#52Ancestors #35 Hugh Forbes and Isabella Simpson – tugboats and Grandpa Simpson        

52ancestorsHugh came from rural beginnings in Alness, Ross-shire, where he was baptised in April 1831. He was the third of six children and grew up speaking both Gaelic and English.

Isabella, the fourth of the eight children of gardener Douglas Simpson and Elizabeth Wilson; she was christened on 30 October 1836 in Greenock.  Like her husband, she also grew up speaking both Gaelic and English.  By the time she was 14 Isabella was working in a cotton mill.

I suspect that Hugh moved away from Alness for work, although perhaps he just didn’t want to work on the land. If that was the case he certainly achieved that goal as he became an engineer and later worked on tug-boats.

They married on New Years Eve 1857 (so they could celebrate then get a day off the next day!?)

I have a lot of Isabellas in my family and had wondered where the name came from.  I was at Who Do You Think You Are Live yesterday and in a leaflet I bought I found out that it’s a variant on Elizabeth.  So there you go, things you learn!  And instantly I see the connection when their first child, a daughter, was named Elizabeth, born in 1858.

Together they went on to have 8 more children, with the birth of William in 1867 curious – the only child not to be born in Greenock – a census entry states he was born in Ireland.  Why? For his father’s work? Friends of the family?  I’m not aware of any Irish connection for Hugh, so maybe Isabella has Irish roots (via Glasgow where her parents lived).  I can’t see him on Scotland’s People and a quick search on Ancestry’s Irish pages (all Family Search records) doesn’t give me enough info to confirm.

There may have been a family ruction in 1863 – their first son was born and registered Hugh Forbes by his grandfather Douglas Simpson, Isabella’s father.  In the margin there is a reference to a corrected entry – it seems Grandpa Simpson had made a mistake and Hugh had been changed to John!  However eight years later they did have a son called Hugh, his name unchanged.

By 1871 Isabella’s widowed mother Elizabeth had moved in with them but passed away the following year.

Hugh and Isabella lived on together until 1909 when Hugh died.  The cause of death is intriguing: concussion cerebri(?) – I’ll have to find out if it’s a medical term or a blow to the head.  He’d retired by then so wouldn’t have been at work.  Isabella herself died 15 years later in 1924, in Greenock.

© Text copyright Lynne Black 30 August 2014
First published:


Who Do You Think You Are Live – Glasgow

This is a week of three cities for me: Stirling yesterday, Dundee tomorrow, and today it was Glasgow, with a great trip through to the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre to see Who Do You Think You Are Live – Scotland.

It took me about 90m to get from home to the venue, so I was so chuffed they’ve come to Glasgow. And so much cheaper than the trip to London I made in February to see Who Do You Think You Are 2014 for its last show in Olympia!

Last time I was in Glasgow it was for the Commonwealth Games, and we needed to make a 20m walking detour from the SECC railway to the SECC itself – I managed it in 5m today via the walkway, luxury!  No crowds this time, but also no sunshine.  But hey, the walkway was covered.

What I liked about the London show was that so many local family history societies were represented.  I could get such a variety of local knowledge and information in one place for so many areas, saving me a lot of travel, searches, emails and phone calls.  It was the same with this one – I came home with info from Argyll, Renfrewshire, various Glasgow parishes, the Borders and even Northumberland (they’d hopped up for a visit).  Hopefully there will be a return to Scotland next year, and if so it would be nice to have more of a presence from Highland organisations.

So I picked up about 3 reams of paper in the shape of Alan Godfrey historical maps, leaflets, flyers, more maps (no such thing as too many maps!) and discs with various collections of local monumental inscriptions, registers, oh and some Ancestry jellybeans!

I sat in on Bruce Bishop’s interesting talk on kirk session and burgh records, which managed in 40 minutes to cover a variety of sources and cheerfully feature both fines for fornication and the town layouts of burghs.  Lots of research ideas to follow up! And I caught various bits of various other talks as I walked in circles, well, squares, round the venue, with the big Ancestry banner being the only thing preventing total disorientation for most the morning.

As I use a lot of public transport and had a distance to travel I wrapped up well.  I was almost wilting by mid-afternoon!  The SECC staff were friendly, and of course everyone on the stands were really helpful.

I do feel almost dazed with the amount of information and sources I now know are out there somewhere.  One of those days that you really appreciate that the more you learn, the more you find there is still out there to discover.