Wow so it’s time for the second blog already. Doesn’t time fly… It’s been a really busy week at work so I hope I get the time to keep this blogging going. Or run out of people to talk about, which is a real thought as many of mine lived in the same place as each other and did the same thing for generations.
So I will be talking about my husband’s Scottish ancestors as well at some point, many of whom have really interesting histories. I’ve done a lot of work on them and Scotland is great for genealogy work, and actually accessible for me living in central Scotland.
But today’s Star Ancestor is Lucy Rawson, again of the same North Yorkshire mining area north-east of Leeds as her in-law Mary Bulmer about whom I wrote last week in Mary of Rothwell – life around the Pit.
Lucy, born c1776, is another brand-new discovery dug up (not literally, like) this week. I’m getting to a time that’s erratic in terms of record keeping and availability and so it’s always a pleasure to find someone.
I’ve spent half the week humming ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ (bear with me!) and I couldn’t work out where this was coming from! It’s probably my favourite carol (when it’s sung at a reasonably fast speed and not some dirgey slow pace). It would go away, and then come back and I’d catch myself humming it. And then the lights came on: it’s because I keep typing about the little town of Methley. Ah!
I’m not at all familiar with West Yorkshire, I’ve just had a week in and around York many years back. I knew my grandparents lived in Leeds but I’ve not visited yet, I’ll do a bit more research first so I don’t waste a visit. Methley seems to be a very small place as there are hardly any street names.
I’ve just come across this Methley Village website which appears to be a labour of love from a Methley resident so I’ll get in touch with him; the site contains the type of information you can only get from someone who’s lived in the area for many years. Some great maps too.
In 1784, her their village church, St Oswalds, was struck by lightening and the spire damaged. I love the idea of Lucy and her friends as wide-eyed 8-year olds running round talking about it – was it exciting for them, scary, the wrath of God? Exciting I hope!
Just this morning I thought I’d discovered the name of Lucy’s father – hence the chirpy start to this blog post – which had been something I’d been going to ask people for help with.
I hadn’t found her name in the baptism lists for Methley as later records suggest. So I hoped that Lucy wasn’t too common a name and did a search, for each year of the 1770s, for baptisms of children called Lucy in Yorkshire. Nothing for her matching exact spelling. But then I repeated it and there she was in 1774, with a different spelling of Lucey (there were also Lucianas, Lewces and Luces) in the different parish of Hawath, but ‘definitely’ the correct person as I’d seen her surname listed that way before. However, when I looked at the map for Hawath it was miles away from where I expected. Gutted. So I searched other trees on Ancestry and a few have popped up with baptisms closer to Methley. So I’ll check those out, a couple look promising.
Lucy herself seems to have lived to the ripe old age of 80, which I think is quite impressive for that time and the hard physical duties living at that period involved. Sadly I suspect her later life was probably as grim as Mary Bulmer’s as Lucy’s husband David Wright died a couple of years before her with his last census entry describing him as a ‘pauper coal miner’. I’ve found 6 children so far (other Ancestry trees for her list 13) with many grandchildren. So hopefully one of her many descendants would have been able to support her in some way.
But in the meantime I will keep searching. And I’m sure I’ll be singing O Little Town of Bethlehem until Easter…