31 December 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 52 - Resolution

Week 52 (December 24-31) – Resolution. A resolution can be something that you resolve to do. It can also be the end or conclusion of something. What ancestor do you resolve to find more about in 2016? What ancestor have you resolved conflicting evidence about?

OK, so it's December 31 and time to decide upon my 2016 genealogy research resolutions

When I wrote about each ancestor in 2015 as part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge, I made sure I was able to "prove" my thoughts with documentation.

But, as I've seen from following posts at Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over, my record keeping is pretty poor - especially when it comes to my Mother's side of the family. In my early years of information gathering I relied on other people's research (or "say so") and I have little to no documentation to cite.

So for 2016, I resolve to order at least 1 new birth, marriage or death certificate each month from the UK's General Registrar's Office to ensure I have better records.

The first records I'm going to start with are the death records of James and Mary Casey - my great-great-great grandparents.

Thanks everyone for reading my posts in 2015. I will be trying to continue writing in 2016, but it may be a monthly posting instead of weekly from now on.

18 December 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 51 - Nice

Week 51 (December 17-23) – Nice. Define “nice” however you want to

This week I am writing about a young man I met on my recent visit to Wales. As he is underage and still alive, (Praise the Lord!) I have received his parent's permission to write about him. Most of the photos that are in this post belong to him

I would like to introduce you to Dylan Dempsey Thomas, my 1st cousin twice removed (grandson of my 1st cousin). Officially his name is Dylan Thomas, but while I was in Wales he decided to adopt the middle name of Dempsey - the same middle name as his uncle, his great grandfather and family name of his great-great grandmother.

So what makes Dylan so nice?

Let's start with his recent Facebook post:
Dear Santa,
I want for Christmas a bike, new iPhone 6s, iPad Air, Segway, football. Stuff all that... all I want for Christmas is a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
Please copy and post as a status if you would rather a scientist to find a cure for Duchenne🎗

Click here to read about DMD

When I first met Dylan in late October 2015, he had bags of these wrist bands - he was fundraising to help find a cure for DMD:

Since then he has:

  • Run a raffle - here is one of the prizes:

  • Had a table at a Christmas Fayre:

  • Hosted a cake stall at his school

  • Sold numerous DMD items

  • And with the help of his school has organised a non-uniform day to end the school year

To date he has raised over £780 ($1600 in Aussie dollars).

My thoroughly nice cousin, Dylan, also had his fundraising efforts featured on the Wales Online website

One thing to remember in all this, Dylan is only 12!

11 December 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 50 - Naughty

Week 50 (December 10-16) – Naughty. We all have an ancestor who probably received coal in their stocking.

I've blogged about "naughty" ancestors before, so it was a bit of a challenge trying to find yet another naughty one.
This week's ancestor probably didn't get coal in his stocking, because the family may not have been able to buy coal for a few weeks after he paid his fine.

But let's start at the beginning.

Meet Thomas Arnold Dobson, my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Thomas is the son of Mark Dobson and Laura Maria Wyatt. He was born in July 3, 1904 in Falmouth, Cornwall, England.

Thomas - who the family called Arnold was the youngest of 8 Dobson siblings:
Ellen Annie, Laura Gertrude, Nicholas George, Ernest Mark, Florence May, John Graham, William Henry and Thomas Arnold.

A lot of time goes by before we meet Arnold again - this time in the 1939 Register - a record of every civilian taken at the end of September 1939 by the British Government.

Arnold says he is single and living at home with his father and his step-mother (his mother, Laura, having passed away in 1910)

in 1939, Arnold is an Insurance Agent, but shortly afterwards he seems to have joined, or been seconded into, war service as a merchant seaman on the Rescue Tugs and was promoted during that time to a Temporary Sub-lieutenant:

Arnold married Marjorie Bubbings in 1948 - but from another 1939 register, it is likely they were considered a couple by at least 1939

Now, while that my have been "naughty", that is not what brought Arnold to my attention.

The incident that makes Arnold fit the bill as "naughty" happened in 1941 and was reported in the Sunderland Echo and Shipping Gazette on May 1st, 1941:

It seems Thomas, who had apparently shown some bravery earlier, was AWOL overnight from his ship on April 26, 1941 and was fined 40 shillings as he "should have shown a better example" (he was first mate of the unnamed vessel at the time)

While 40 shillings doesn't seem to be a lot, it was equal to 2 pounds in pre-decimal UK currency - and probably worth today's equivalent of 100 pounds. Enough to have his family putting coal in his stocking for Christmas that year.

7 December 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 49 - Holidays

Week 49 (December 3-9) – Holidays. What ancestor do the holidays put you in mind of?

This week I'm going to go a little bit obscure:

The holiday that is coming up is Christmas. Christmas is the holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus. I don't have any ancestors named Jesus, but Jesus had more than one name....

According to the book of Matthew - chapter 1 (NIV version):

21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."
Immanuel is Hebrew, Emmanuel is the Roman version of the same name - and I have nine Emmanuel/Emanuels in my tree. All associated with the same family line.

I'll start with Dorothy Defty born about 1823 in Durham England. Her father was Emanuel Defty and her brother also an Emanuel Defty (possibly both known as Manuel) - brother Emanuel also had a son called Emmanuel with his wife Sarah.

Dorothy married Robert Richardson in 1844 in South Shields Durham England and they went on to have at least 10 children:
Emanuel, Ann Defty (whose son was Emmanuel Richardson Boyd) , Mary Jane, Isabelle, Dorothy Emma, Sarah Frances, Elizabeth, John Robert, Elizabeth Ada and William Boyd.
- Sarah Frances married another Emanuel Defty and they had 2 sons called Emmanuel

Emanuel Richardson, Dorothy's son married Mary Jane Dixon - according to the 1911 census listing for Mary Jane they had 12 children, 4 of whom had passed away (their names remain unknown to me. The other 8 were:
Robert, Emmanuel, Henry Gibson, Mary Eleanor, William Boyd, Anne, Martha Dixon and Thomas
Unfortunately Emanuel Richardson (Dorothy's son) had been admitted to the Sunderland Borough Lunatic Asylum - as recorded in the 1911 census and Mary Jane had to work as a servant to support herself

Emmanuel Richardson (Emanuel's son) married Margaret Ann Lee in 1904. Margaret is the sister of my great grandmother Maria Annie Lee (so now you can see where all these Emmanuel/Emanuels fit in)

On the 1911 census, my grandfather Charles Frederick Farley was staying with his Uncle Manny and Aunty Meg:

Here is a picture of my grandfather Charles Frederick Farley (Freddie) with his Uncle Manny and Aunty Meg - taken around the time of the 1911 census or shortly afterwards

And lastly Uncle Manny Richardson with his great nephew Andrew "Andy" Farley (Charles Frederick Farley's son and my uncle) taken in about 1936 shortly before Emmanuel Richardson passed away in 1937.

5 December 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 48 - Thankful

Week 48 (November 26-December 2) – Thankful. November 26 is Thanksgiving in the U.S. Interpret the “thankful” theme however you’d like.

This week's blog is not going to be about Ancestors, but more about their Descendants - the ones who have let me visit and helped my update my family history over these past 6 weeks I've been travelling around the globe

But I am thankful for the Martins and Farleys and Dempseys and Dobsons and Mullens and Caseys without whom none of us would have met (either in person or online) and caught up with. I'm also thankful for my Martin/Farley family back home in Australia too.

First cab off the rank is my sister - who helped me pack, took me to the airport at stupid o'clock in the morning and will pick me back up again once I arrive home (at stupid o'clock at night)

I'm also thankful for my brother and nephews and all the cousins who have messaged me while I've been away - I'm looking forward to boring them with photos and names and dates when I get home.

My first port of call was Glasgow where my cousin Carol (Martin side) took me in. I met the next generation of Martins and the one after that as well - along with meeting my Aunty Betty, one of the few in-laws left of my Dad's generation

It was also lovely to catch up with Kenna - the oldest "Martin" first cousin

Then it was on to Cardiff where my Aunty Barbara (another in-law of my Dad's generation) welcomed me into her home. Her daughter Gina showed me the sights and took me to the Cemetery to "meet" my uncles (and a guitar playing Jesus) and young Alex helped me add all the next generation (and the one after that onto my tree)


They also took me over to see my 2nd oldest "Martin" first cousin and her son

Then I hopped on a cruise from the UK to the US via Bermuda. You'd think that I couldn't do much with relatives from there, but you'd be wrong:

Bermuda is where I caught up with information on part of my Casey line who immigrated there in the 1920s. I didn't get to meet any relatives, but a very helpful lady at the Bermuda General Registrar's office was able to help me with some marriage and death information - and I was very thankful for her assistance.

Then online while on the cruise, people ("cousins") looking for the Porteous line in Bermuda (my Casey married a Porteous), got in touch and we were able to share a whole heap of information. I even was sent information from Porteous Associates - a sort of one name study on people named Porteous. With my new information, they were able to consolidate a whole lot of other detail that they had and have now sent me a document that I'll use to flesh out that side of my tree when I get home.

While in the US, I was able to catch up with another group who are part of my "spiritual family" if you will - people I worked with years ago when I was in Papua New Guinea and in Bible College. I'm thankful for Bill and Lesley for picking me up and running me around and organising my visit

Then on to my final stop - Baltimore Maryland - where my 2nd cousin once removed (on the Dempsey/my Dad's side) and her family welcomed me into her home and showed me the sights - and took me up to visit my 3rd cousin once removed (on the Casey/my mother's side) and her husband. This cousin also gave me my 1st ever full American Thanksgiving!

All in all, a wonderful trip that gave me a lot to be thankful for!

27 November 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 47 - Sporting

Week 47 (November 19-25) – Sporting. Do you have a relative who was involved in sports?

We do have some modern day sports in our family - a couple of jockeys and an 8ball pool champion and probably a few others - but they are all living sports persons. So today I'm "going wide" if you will to talk about my grandmother's sister-in-law's brother.

William Alfred Silto is the gentleman in question. He is the son of William Silto (or Sillito) and Fanny Banks. His sister Catherine Silto was married to Thomas Dobson and Thomas is the brother of my grandmother Mary Agnes Gertrude (Maureen) Dobson.

According to family lore, the name was changed from Sillito to Silto as the children were getting teased at school (poor kids they had "silly toes")

William was born in 1883 in Usworth (Washington), Durham, England.

He married Annie Cross in 1907 in Barnsley, West Riding, Yorkshire England and that was also where their first son William was born.

William and Annie's other son, Joseph, was born in Swindon, Wiltshire England

In the 1911 census, William was a pro-footballer:

William's son Joseph was also a sportsman and went on to represent England in Table Tennis

William (Billy), played most of his reasonably lengthy career with Swindon Town Football Club - and even was part of the England squad though was uncapped.

He also played for Barnsley (and other clubs) and apparently made an appearance for Arsenal.

During World War 1, Billy was part of the Lancashire Fusiliers. He enlisted in 1916 and spent some time "at home" before being posted to France. On August 24, 1918 he injured his right knee stepping into a shell hole and was eventually discharged in 1919.

The war interrupted Billy's football career - and after his injury during the war only played 5 more games for Swindon before retiring in 1920.

He must have been fairly well known as a football player as he had his own Cigarette Card:
By Willj23 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
I was sent a photo of Billy in his uniform by a descendant of another of Billy's sisters (Billy is seated on the right):

Billy later went on to run the Ship hotel in Swindon

He died in Swindon in 1959 aged 76

Image of headstone per website - used with permission

22 November 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 46 - Change

Week 46 (November 12-18) – Changes. Highlight an ancestor that went through many changes or that you had to change your research strategies to find.

Hmm - this week's topic was tough. 

I did think about writing how I had to change my approach to finding modern relatives on my Martin side - but it would really be a blog about how the Martins are notoriously bad about keeping in touch by mail. No matter how often they promise to write you a note about their kids and grandkids births and marriages etc, you know that letter is never going to come. 

So instead of doing that (as you've got the full gist of the topic in one paragraph), I thought I would write about my great grandfather's brother Joseph Martin who for some reason changed his name to Joel.

We start off well with Joseph - he was born February 3, 1855 in Beith, Ayshire, Scotland, The first child of James Martin and Jane Fields

By the 1861 census, the family had moved to Barton-upon-Irwell in Lancashire England and our young Joseph is listed as Joel:

But then, in the 1871 census, the family is back in Scotland (in Paisley, Renfrewshire) and our young lad - now working as a Blacksmith's Labourer - is back to being Joseph:

Next we come to the day Joseph got married to Elizabeth Speirs - as Joel

As an aside, Elizabeth Speirs was actually born Elizabeth Frew and took the name of her Step-father Alexander Speirs when her mother married

Next came the birth of their children with their father listed as Joel:
James Martin on Dec 27, 1876
William Martin on Oct 10, 1878
Jane Martin on Oct 11, 1880

So you think it would all be settled? From now on we're only going to see our man listed as Joel, right?

In the 1881 census, he is back to being listed as Joseph

Then we're back to more births - and it seems like we finally settled on the name Joel in 1881 as all children have their father listed as Joel:
Elizabeth Martin on September 22, 1882
Isabella Speirs Martin on March 10, 1884
Mary Kirkland Martin on February 2, 1886
John Martin on December 25, 1888
James Miller Martin on June 20, 1890

We remain Joel in the 1891 census:

Yet more births - remember that this was one of my families with 15 children!
Joel Martin on January 2, 1892
John Allison Martin on July 22, 1893
Robert Kirkland Martin on April 2, 1895
Marion Cowan Martin on December 20, 1896
Philomena Martin on June 27, 1899

The 1901 census:

And the last birth I've found:
Rachel Thomson Martin on June 20, 1901

Now how do I know this family had 15 children? because of the 1911 census:

When I was in Edinburgh at the end of October this year, I tried looking for an unknown Martin born sometime between 1875 and 1911 - but with so many Martin's born and not knowing which area to restrict my search to, it turned out to be an impossible task - but next time I'm in Edinburgh I'm going to give it another try.

Joseph/Joel died on April 20, 1927

But this is my change - from Joseph to Joel to Joseph to Joel