Photo of Newlyn Harbour from Newlyn Beach, Cornwall

Alice Daniel Rowe – mending fishing nets in Farmer’s Meadow

Photo of Newlyn from Newlyn beach

Newlyn from Newlyn beach

Alice Daniel Rowe was born on 9 July 1862, the second child and oldest daughter of a family of eight children of sailor James Daniel Rowe and Catherine Jaco. She was baptised at Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Newlyn, Cornwall, England. After her came James in 1865 and Frederick in 1867. Sadly when she was 8, James died in early 1870; her next brother was born in September 1870 and was also given the name James after their father.

The 1871 census finds her a scholar; there was a Wesleyan Chapel school and when I start checking out school rolls that will be first on my list, for Alice, brothers and sisters and also many of her cousins.

By 1881 Alice had two more brothers and a sister and had moved out of the family home; at the age of 18 she was keeping house for her 71-year-old mariner grandfather Benjamin Jaco.

On 17 January 1887 Alice married a sailor and son of a fisherman Jabez Ash up at St Paul Church and they lived together in the Meadows, in Newlyn.

In 1892 Jabez was working on Captain Beckerleg’s crew on the Ormerod carrying coal from Gaston (Liverpool) back to Penzance; the weather started fine but worsened into a gale.  Another Penzance ship, a schooner called the Fenna and Wilhelmina, was flying signals of distress about 14 miles south west of the Smalls Lighthouse off Milford; she was almost a wreck with the men pumping and the ship washing badly.

Captain Beckerleg called for volunteers and got a ready response, but would only allow 3 men to go aboard in case the Fenna and Wilhelmina became overweighted; seaman Jabez Ash was one of the three.  They carried out a brave rescue and poured oil on troubled waters (literally) to ease the rescue, and took the survivors with them back to Penzance.  There was damage to the Ormerod which proved quite expensive, and Captain Beckerleg thought it a pity that compensation was not available for damage a boat incurred when rescuing another.

You wouldn’t have thought it would be easy to lose track of a man called Jabez, but I don’t know how it was that Alice was widowed c1898.  The 1911 census indicates they were married for 11 years so it appears he died around 1898.  In 1901 Alice was working on her own account mending fishing nets, in Farmer’s Meadow in the lower Street-An-Nowan area of Newlyn.

Her father James Rowe died in 1905, and in 1911 Alice was boarding with Catherine, her mother, still mending fishing nets in Farmer’s Meadows.  Catherine died in January 1922.

Alice lived on until October 1941 when she died at Farmer’s Meadows.  Although she had no children of her own, the Rowes were a large and loving family and she seems to have been especially close to her niece Kitty, who placed a memoriam in the Cornishman a year after Alice’s death saying “Deep in my heart a memory’s kept, of one I loved dearly and will never forget.” Alice was buried at the cemetery up at Paul close to the church where she had married Jabez almost 55 years earlier.

© Text and photos copyright Lynne Black, 4 May 2015

Photo of fishing boat leaving Newlyn Harbour

Benjamin and Susan Rowe of Newlyn: from fishing to baking

My new blog for the Worldwide Genealogy Blog collaboration is out today, I write one every two months.

“Benjamin ‘Ben’ Jaco Rowe, my great-great-grandfather, was a Cornishman who was born, lived and died in Street-An-Nowan area of Newlyn, Cornwall, England. However as a fisherman he roamed much further afield.”

Full article here.  Photos on the original via creative commons licences on Flickr; this one is Newlyn Harbour, by Tim Green.

Thanks for reading :)

Lynne Black, 21 April 2015

Sweet Susie Rowe of Street-An-Nowan, Newlyn

Photo of Newlyn Harbour from Newlyn Beach, Cornwall

Newlyn Harbour from Newlyn Beach, Cornwall

Photo of Susan Rowe (later Richards)

Susan Rowe (later Richards), 1893 – 1920

I hadn’t really been aware of my Great-Great Aunt Susan, but a few years back my mum hung a framed photo of two teenage girls on her wall; she explained one was my great-grandmother Catherine and the other was Catherine’s younger sister Susan.  Lovely to see.

Three years ago I was starting out with computer-based genealogy and Catherine’s was one of the first census records I practised with so I could get the hang of using the search engines.

And straight away it raised two issues.  First of all it showed Susan was not actually the younger but the older sister.  Secondly, confusingly, it said the family lived in Street-An-Nowan, Newlyn.

My family were really surprised when I mentioned that Catherine was the younger sister; they’d ‘known’ the wrong thing for years.

And with over 200 years between them of living in Newlyn and Penzance, my mum, aunt and uncle couldn’t actually tell me where Street-An-Nowan actually was. We chatted  vaguely about how it might be that road down over there, or maybe where the car park behind some shop is now…  But we didn’t know for sure.

Well almost straight away I got called away from my Cornish ancestors to look first at my Yorkshire, Devon and Northumberland families, and it wasn’t until this March that I found my answer, thanks to Genuki and the British Newspaper Archive.

One upon a time Newlyn used to be two separate villages in the Parish of Paul. Newlyn was the part of the village higher up above where the old medieval harbour was, and Street-An-Nowan is the section further round by the Fisherman’s Mission and the post office, where the water roars up the Coombe – and occasionally floods away from it (as seen on pretty much every ‘The weather went mad in…’ programme a couple of winters back).

Well it was proposed to join these two areas up for the benefit of transport links, and after much protest from the local people it went ahead after they’d been told they wouldn’t have to fund it themselves.  So the census has helped me discover a new part of Newlyn I’d been walking through for years.

But it was the British Newspaper Archive which helped me discover Susan: I managed to find the report of her funeral in The Cornishman on the BNA site.

Her father had been a fisherman and later become a baker, with his own shop, so I think they must have known a lot of people; in addition she was a dress-maker so would have met a lot of people that way.

Susan had married a local man called Henry Richards in summer 1918.  Two years after that she died, aged just 27.  So I can understand why one of the hymns they chose for her funeral in the Methodist chapel was “Who fathoms the eternal thought?” The article lists all the various tributes and messages, including “…our darling Susie, from Stephen Catherine and baby” [baby being my grandmother], there was so many and they are all so genuinely loving it was very moving to see.

So this summer when I am up at Paul Cemetery, laying flowers on her younger sister Catherine’s grave, I’ll look for Susie’s wall grave and lay some extra summer flowers for her.

© Text and photos copyright Lynne Black, 6 April 2015

From north to south: looking to Cornwall

A new chapter, a new county, a new feeling of anticipation.

Recently I’ve been trying to tease out my Northumberland shepherd family.  I’ve been able to find several branches of the same few families, and I know from addresses and naming patterns that the links are there but proof is tantalisingly out of reach.  And I’ve managed to rule out some red herrings.  But I’ve decided to park my work there for that and other reasons, and look for my Cornish ancestors.

Photo of Mousehole Harbour, Cornwall

Mousehole Harbour, Cornwall

My mother still lives in Cornwall and it’s the land of my childhood holidays. A few years back my uncle’s mother-in-law did some work on the Cornish family, but I don’t have access to all of it.  To be honest I don’t mind, I’m quite happy to do it myself, it’s interesting, absorbing and a challenge, and I can picture and visit many of the places they lived and worked and I can put flowers on my great-grandparents’ grave.  And maybe if I get stuck her notes will be there to give me a pointer.

Looking forward to meeting the family!

© Text and photos copyright Lynne Black, 21 March 2015

Worldwide Geneaology Collaboration post: Walter Hindmarsh

Kirk Yetholm, photo by Andrew Bowden

Kirk Yetholm, photo by Andrew Bowden

At the end of 2014 I signed up to do half a dozen posts across 2015 as part of the Worldwide Genealogy Collaboration.  My first post has just gone online today and it’s available here:

Walter Hindmarsh – using enlightened Scottish records for an Englishman

I hope you enjoy it.

Lynne, 21 February 2015

Intrigue and mystery with Scotland’s People in Alloa

Scotland's People area at the Speir's Centre, Alloa

Scotland’s People, Speirs Centre, Alloa

What do you mean, where’s Alloa?! It’s in Clackmannanshire.  What do you mean, where’s Clackmannanshire?!

A few months back Clackmannanshire Council Registry Office made Scotland’s People available in their family history section in the historic Speirs Centre building.  Normally I buy Scotland’s People cards from a library to use as credit for online searches at home.  However I was curious to check out the facilities and I had a lot of records to look up so thought I’d just spend a couple of hours searching for information about the lives of my ancestor’s brothers and sisters.  This is something which I wouldn’t necessarily do online as it would use up credits too easily, but having the time to do unlimited searching was great.

The building, formerly a sports and community centre, was recently refurbished and the Registrar’s Office is on the top floor.  It’s really light and airy, and there can’t be many Scotland’s People Centres where wooden dragons in the rafters keep an eye on your searches.  The searching system is straightforward and there are many local resources, although these weren’t relevant to me as the people I was researching lived in the Borders and in Argyll.

I discovered a few tantalising Kirk session entries including “The Elders rebuked them for their irregular marriage and exhorted them to behave better in time to come” and I also discovered Arthura had her son baptised named Thomas; his father, a surgeon, being abroad she took the vow herself…  Intriguing!  These stories are building up into a fine family saga.

So the Registry staff were lovely and approachable and knowledgeable, and I’ll be back when I want to spend time blitzing the family.  The one negative that really shocked me was that I couldn’t download documents and save them on a data stick.  Really!?  But it was not policy, despite the team being in support of this activity.  Council bosses, go on, go on, go on!  It’s what the customers want…

Lynne Black
14 February 2015

Hannah Drummond and the mystery of Alexander Hindmarsh

Hannah was born at Burdopecrag [Birdhope Crag], near Rochester, Northumberland, in 1834.  This is border country between England and Scotland and just outside what is now the Northumberland National Park.

Picture of River Coquet and Bygate Hall

River Coquet and (I believe) Bygate Hall, Harbottle, Northumberland, from Google Maps

Her father Thomas was a shepherd.  By the time she was 6 she was no longer living with Thomas, his wife Eleanor and their other 7 children who were aged between 15 years and 2 months.  I found Hannah instead living with Adam Hindmarsh, another shepherd, and his wife Hannah in Little Ryle, just over 10 miles to the north-east as the crow flies, 30 as the car drives.

By the 30 March 1851 census she has been joined at her Uncle’s house by her older sister Ann; they are both recorded as his nieces, and their brother Michael, a shepherd, is also there.

In contrast Alexander’s early years are such a mystery that I’ve spent many hours trying to tease out how he’s related to Adam and Hannah Hindmarsh. Census entries state he was born in North Shields, Durham.  The only birth I can find there at the right time says Alexander’s father is called William, so I have the wrong entry as that would give his uncle Adam Hindmarsh two brothers called William, and I know the other one is correct.  Why did his mysterious father travel there?  Love?  Employment?

In the 1851 census I find Alexander working as a shepherd in Grey’s Forest, Glendale, staying at Fleehope House in the College Valley, with the Black family.

Alexander Hindmarsh & Hannah Drummond's wedding announcement, Newcastle Courier

Alexander Hindmarsh & Hannah Drummond’s wedding announcement, Newcastle Guardian and Tyne Mercury, 19 April 1856, © British Newspaper Archive

It appears Alexander and Hannah are actually related to both Adam and Hannah, that Alexander is Adam’s nephew and Hannah Drummond is Hannah’s niece.  Perhaps their match was encouraged as a way to strengthen the relationship between the two families, perhaps the children Adam and Hannah didn’t have. They married in Burdhope in April 1856; their first son, William arrived later that year.

Ariel view of Carham

Carham Farm, Northumberland, from Google Maps

In April 1861 Alexander is away working as a shepherd in Carham, boarding with William and Elizabeth Elliot.  William is a farmer of 129 acres employing 8 labourers, so perhaps he was also Alexander’s employer. Carham is right by the river Tweed – if Alexander had swum across he’d have been in Scotland.

In April 1861 Hannah is back visiting her aunt and uncle at Featherwood.  She has with her their three young sons: William (6), Adam (2) and baby Thomas, just 2 months old. Perhaps she leapt at the chance for company and support for her baby.

The April 1871 census shows them in a much different location.  They’ve moved to work for Sir William and Lady Margaret Armstrong at Cragside stately home.  I visited Cragside when I was a kid and and had remembered it being hundreds of years old.  However obviously not much info had gone in that day as I’ve just been reading about Sir William and Cragside and the truth is much different.  He bought Cragside in 1863 on a holiday in an area he’d enjoyed visiting on holiday as a child.

Armstrong wasn’t a Duke but rather a polymath Victorian engineering magnate who appears to have a very wide range of interests and energy to match. He and architect Richard Norman Shaw designed and built the house.  Further info about Cragside:  History Today article and for lovers of engineering this CIBSE Heritage Group Website has lots of info.

Alexander is a coachman, the 1871 census tells me, before adding the more official ‘Domestic Servant’.  He and Hannah have 6 children living with them.  William is now a 14-year-old farm labourer, Adam (12) and Thomas (10) are scholars, John (7) and Alexander (4) are perhaps running round either helping or getting in everyone’s way, and Andrew is only a year old.  The info in the record suggests that Alexander Jnr and Andrew were born locally, the older boys born in a different registration area [in the Featherwood area], so perhaps Alexander Snr started at Cragside c 1865.

Newspaper story about Lady Armstrong

Lady Armstrong’s New Year generosity, Morpeth Herald, 1875 © British Newspaper Archive

In January 1881, Armstrong made history when Cragside was the first home in Britain to have domestic electric lights.  The lights, designed by Norman Shaw, were powered by hydro-generated electricity, but Dad remembers thinking on our own visit a hundred years after their creation that they didn’t look particularly safe!  Still it must have been a wonder for the staff to look up at the house and see the electric lights gleaming through the windows.

In April 1881 Alexander and Hannah are living at Cragside Farm with their children John, Alexander, Andrew, Michael D, Hannah E T, a 7-year-old scholar, and little Elizabeth, their 2-year-old.  By 1883 the gardens were stunning and hosted the 28th Annual Rothbury Flower Show (see news cutting).

Newspaper story about Cragside Flower Show 1883

Flower Show at Cragsidde, September 1883, from Morpeth Herald, © British Newspaper Archive

By 1891 Alexander is working as a gardener in these grounds and they still have five of their children living with them at Pethfoot College, Whitefield.  William is a married barnman – (although his wife isn’t listed on the page) – but Adam (32) is widowed and working as a general labourer.  Andrew (21) is a groom,  Hannah (17) is a dressmaker’s assistant and 12-year-old Elizabeth is still a scholar.

Next door lives their son John, now married to Barbara with an infant daughter Ann.  He’s working as a nurseryman on Lord Armstrong’s estate; his father Alexander also works on that estate.

Hannah died in spring 1894, aged only 60.  For the March 1901 census Alexander, himself only 65, was listed as ‘Formerly Coachman Dom’ so maybe he was too old or infirm to work – he died that spring.

© Text copyright Lynne Black 30 January 2015
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