25 May 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 22 - Commencement

Week 22 (May 28 – June 3) – Commencement: Countless schools will be having their commencement ceremonies around this time. Think not only about school, but also about commencement meaning “a beginning.”

According to Plato:
The beginning is the most important part of the work.

So, "Let's start at the very beginning" - or the beginning as I have currently found it. This week I want to talk about where it all began for the Martin Farley families.

Who was the very first Martin, the first Farley, the first Dempsey and the first Dobson?

On some of my lines I don't go back many years. I am yet to embark on any Irish research, so when I meet an ancestor from Ireland there my current journey ends.

But let's have a look anyway

Dad's side - Martins and Dempseys

The first Martin I have met is Joseph Martin. He is my great-great-great grandfather, born in Ireland. His wife, my great-great-great grandmother, was Elizabeth Smith. Joseph and Elizabeth only make an appearance on the death record of James Martin, my g-g-grandfather. Joseph and Elizabeth don't appear to have ever left Ireland.

The first Dempsey I have a real record for is Thomas Dempsey my great-great grandfather. He too was born in Ireland around 1835. His parents are variously listed as Patrick Dempsey and Mary McAuley (on Thomas' death record) or Thomas Dempsey and Mary Collie or Colly (on his marriage record). Again it doesn't appear as if my g-g-g-grandparents ever left Ireland.

Mum's side - Farleys and Dobsons. The Farley and Dobson families have a much longer history in the UK

The first Farleys on my list are Charles Farley and Ann Langley my great-great-great-great-great-grandparents born about 1760 and from the East Preston area of Sussex

And lastly, the first Dobsons I have found are Thomas Dobson and Frances Strong, again they are my great-great-great-great-great grandparents born about 1760 in the Durham England area.

So that's it, my beginnings.

17 May 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 21 - Military

Week 21 (May 21-27) – Military: This week, the United States will be observing Memorial Day. Do you have any military ancestors? Were any ancestors affected by the military or by war?

A number of times in this challenge I've written about ancestors who were in the military:
My Mother, My Father, My Grandfather, My Great Grandfather and a number of other different relatives - most of whom came home from their service.

Today however, I thought I'd share the sad story of Matthew Dobson, my grandmother's brother.

I'm not sure which of the 3 sons in uniform in this photo is Matthew, but it is likely the last time the whole family was together.

Matthew was a Sapper for the Durham (Fortress) Royal Engineers - with service number 1479. In July 1915 he signed paperwork that agreed in the event of a National Emergency he would serve in any place outside the United Kingdom.

On July 27th, 1915 at Usworth Colliery he was certified as being a "Very Good" Engineman by Robert Turnbull an Engineer at the Colliery ("Very Good" was the highest level of certification available on the Certificate of Trade Proficiency document

According to the forums on 1914-1918 invisionzone website, the Durham (Fortress) Royal Engineers were originally based at Jarrow as part of the North East Coast Defences. Converted to a Field Company and in September 1915 attached to the Regular Army 4th Infantry Division which was Part of Hunter-Weston's VIII Corps in July 1916.
They were later Renamed the 526th Field Company.
There is also more information about the unit here: Wikipedia - 1st_Durham_Engineers

Matthew, his service number changing to 470973, joined the 1/1st Durham Field Company on 19/12/1915 and within a week is listed as being sent to Hospital - apparently for a Hernia. He was back with his unit by 2/1/1916.

He had another period in hospital in 24/10/1917 though the reason is not listed. He was back with his unit on 4/11/1917.

He was also granted 2 periods of leave during his service 14/1/1917 - 24/1/1917 and 9/2/18 - 23/2/18.

He was wounded on 24/03/1918 during Operation Michael in the East Arras area of France suffering gun shot wounds to his back and scalp which eventually turned into Septic Spinal Meningitis.

Australians would better know this battle in Arras as one leading to the Battles of Dernancourt and Villers-Bretonneux.

Image from http://www.anzacsinfrance.com/1918/

He was originally treated at the 7 Stationary Hospital at Boulogne but ultimately transferred to the Keighley War Hospital in Yorkshire England

The records of his condition lead to some very uncomfortable reading - large open wounds, herpes, incontinence, delirium, paralysis of the legs

He died on 02/05/1918 and is buried at Our Lady Immaculate Roman Catholic Church Washington England and remembered on the Usworth Memorial

12 May 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 20 - Black Sheep

Week 20 (May 14-20) – Black Sheep: Each of us has an ancestor who was the troublemaker or the ne’er-do-well. This is their week.

For this week's blog my focus is on Isaac Ramsey, my 2nd cousin twice removed - great nephew of my great great grandmother Ellen Steward (AKA Mary Ann Ellen Garrett) who I wrote about in week 18.

Isaac was born about 1876, then son of John Ramsay and Mary Ellen Carr.

He enlisted with the 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers on Dec 27 1897 - this seemed like a good thing, but as his military career shows, he really was a bit of a black sheep.

His record reads like this:
16 March 1899 - Awaiting Trial
25 March 1899 - Tried and convicted of "using insubordinate language to his superior officer" and sentenced to be imprisoned with hard labour for 28 days.

He returned to duty on 22 April 1899 and then was posted to the 4th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers on 12 February 1900

On 1 July 1900 he deserted rejoining more than 2 months later on 19 September 1900 when he again waited trial.

25 Septempber 1900 - Tried and convicted by DCM
1/ Desertion
2/ Losing by neglect his equipment, clothing & Regimental ??.

Sentenced to 56 days I. D. L and stoppages 5/-
To Prison

All his former service was forfeited on his conviction for desertion meaning that his "limited service" time started again.

He once again returned to duty on 20 November 1900 but just over a month later....

7 January 1901 - Awarded 8 days I. D. L. by C.O. for absence and forfeit of 9 days pay
18 January 1901 - In confines(?) awaiting trial
31 January 1901 - Tried and convicted by D.C.M.
1/ Breaking out of Barracks
2/ Disobeying a lawful command given by his superior officer
3/ An act to the prejudice of good order and military discipline.

Sentenced to be imprisoned with Hard Labour for one year!

He served his sentence at York Castle Military Prison - one of 92 prisoners enumerated there during the 1901 census

He returned to duty on 31 January 1901

On 30 March 1901 he was discharged
"in consequence of his being incorrigible and worthless"

5 May 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 19 - There's a Way

Week 19 (May 7-13) – There’s a Way: What ancestor found a way out of a sticky situation? You might also think of this in terms of transportation or migration.

This week's post features my grandfather - Charles Frederick Farley and two different ways he was involved in transportation.

Freddie was the oldest child of John Henry Farley and Maria Annie Lee. He was born in Southwick Durham England on March 27th, 1909. He had 9 brothers and sisters.

For over 2 years from the age fo 18 he was a chauffeur. I haven't been able to find out anything about his employer or Boundary Cottage, Philadelphia, Durham, England, but the family he drove for must have been quite well off.

After he left this family, Freddie must have continued driving as he is listed as a Motor Driver for a Mineral Waters Maker on my mother's birth certificate in 1935.

Repairing his car and keeping it in good order put him in good stead for his next career; as flight engineer on Lancaster Bombers during World War 2.

According to Wikipedia, a flight engineer (FE), also sometimes called an air engineer, is a member of an aircraft's flight crew and is the person who monitors and operates its complex aircraft systems. In the early era of aviation, the position was sometimes referred to as the "air mechanic".

Flying Officer J B Burnside, the flight engineer on board an Avro Lancaster B Mark III of No. 619 Squadron RAF based at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, checks settings on the control panel from his seat in the cockpit.
Public Domain Image: Devon S A (Flt Lt), Royal Air Force official photographer
 - This is photograph CH 12289 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.
While the above photograph isn't of my grandfather, it does picture what he would have done on the flights he was involved in.

According to information provided to me by RAF Wickenby, my grandfather was part of the 626 squadron. He was part of a Commonwealth crew that included Australian and New Zealanders as well as British personnel.

P/O G. A. Green RNZAF, Pilot
Sgt. C. F. Farley, Flight Engineer
F/Sgt. W A. Stephens RAAF, Navigator
F/O K. E. F. Taylor, Bomb Aimer
F/Sgt. W. A. Dickson RAAF, Wireless Op.
Sgt. W. C. Norman, MUG
F/Sgt. G. C. Newton RAAF, Rear Gunner
F/Sgt Newton was replaced by F/Sgt. L. Cohen on the last operation

They flew the following operations;
  • July 18, 1944 to Caen in Lancaster LL918 UM-C2
  • July 18, 1944 to Schloven in Lancaster ME750 UM-X2
  • July 20 to Courtrai in Lancaster LL918 UM-C2
  • July 23, 1944 to Kiel in Lancaster PA989 UM-U2
  • July 24, 1944 to Stuttgart in Lancaster PA989 UM-U2
  • July 28, 1944 to Stuttgart in Lancaster LM596 UM-Y2
  • July 31, 1944 to Foret Du Nieppe in Lancaster PA990 UM-R2
  • Aug. 4, 1944 to Panillac in Lancaster LL961 UM-S2
  • Aug. 7, 1944 to Fortenay in Lancaster NE163 UM-T2
  • Aug. 12, 1944 to Brunswick in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Aug. 26, 1944 to Kiel in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Aug. 29, 1944 to Stettin in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Aug. 31, 1944 to St. Requier in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Sept. 3, 1944 to Eindhoven in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Sept. 6, 1944 to Le Havre in Lancaster LM290 UM-W2
  • Sept. 11, 1944 Mining in Kiel Bay in Lancaster PA990 UM-R2
  • Sept. 12, 1944 to Frankfurt in Lancaster PA990 UM-R2
  • Sept. 16, 1944 to Hopstein in Lancaster PA990 UM-R2
  • Oct. 4, 1944 Mining in the Kattegat in Lancaster PB412 UM-Z2 (according to the Aircrew Remembered website, this flight was part of Operation "Gardening")
Sadly, during the last operation, their plane went missing.

It was more than 12 months later before they finally wrote to my grandmother that the crew had lost their lives:

My grandfather's life is commemorated on Panel 229 at the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey England.