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 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/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 www.oodwooc.co.uk - 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

13 November 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 45 - Free

Week 45 (November 5-11) – Free. (Pick your own theme!)

OK, so because this week is a Pick Your Own theme and because I just happen to be in Bermuda today as I am writing this post (Nov 12 and 13, 2015), I am going to write about the Porteous Family who moved from the UK to Bermuda in the mid/late 1920s.

Me in Bermuda Nov 12, 2015

This photo, sent to me by a Casey family member says this is Mary Ann Casey and her 4 Porteous daughters. I can only assume that these are daughters Agnes, Mona, Veronica and Mary Ann as they remained in Bermuda. Daughters Norah and Evangeline married in the UK, but seem to have moved to Bermuda with the family at least for a while. Daughter Eileen married in Bermuda, but eventually moved back to the UK on an unknown date. (Of course, I could be wrong - and if any of my Casey family know the real story of this picture, please let me know)

Anyway, to the story...

Mary Ann Casey was born about 1870 in Sunderland England, the daughter of Thomas Casey and Maria Crine. Thomas was the brother of Catherine Casey, my great-great-grandmother. This makes Mary Ann Casey my 1st cousin 3 times removed

For those of you who weren't with me then, here is a photo of Thomas Casey from my week 11 post on The Luck of the Irish

Mary Ann married John William Porteous in Sunderland in 1894

Mary Ann died in Bermuda on July 9, 1937.
John William died in Bermuda on March 20, 1940

According to the 1911 census, John and Mary Ann had had 9 living children during their 16 year marriage, but only 5 were still alive at the time:
Norah Eulalia b 1897, Evangeline b 1897, Eileen Isabelle b 1899, Agnes May b 1902 and Mona b 1903. Son Thomas was born and passed away in 1901 and there are 3 other children I am yet to find.

They added to their family with Veronica b 1911, Christopher (who was born and died in 1912) and Mary Ann b 1914.

I have no idea why the family decided to move to Bermuda, but most of them seem to have regularly travelled between Bermuda and the UK - though the passenger list records are a bit "spotty" e.g. we have more records of them travelling to Bermuda than records of them travelling back to the UK.

Norah Eulalia Porteous married Frederick Jeffrey in Sunderland in 1923. They had a son, Frederick J Jeffrey born in about 1925. Norah died in 1965 in Plymouth, Devon, England

Evangeline Porteous married Charles Stuart in Sunderland in 1925. They had a son Charles born in about 1926 in Sunderland then daughter Paula about 1932 and son Keith about 1934 (both possibly in Bermuda)

Eileen Isabelle Porteous married Robert Parry on July 2, 1928 in Bermuda. They had 3 children:
Leo William born about 1930, Margaret born about 1931 and Robert born about 1932.
Eileen died in 1969 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England

Agnes May Porteous never married. She died on December 22, 1967 in Bermuda

Mona Porteous married Lewis Lindley on September 3, 1930. She died on April 14, 1960

Veronica Porteous married Edward Scales (apparently known as Ned) on November 4, 1940. They had a son called Michael John born about 1942

Mary Ann Porteous never married. She died in February 1997 in Bermuda.

Here are just a few of the passenger lists that mention at least one of the family
3 September, 1925 - John with daughter Mona - going to Bermuda
17 June, 1926 - Eileen and "Molly" (assumed Mary Ann her sister) - going to Bermuda
16 September, 1926 - Mary Ann with daughters Agnes and Veronica - going to Bermuda

16 July, 1928 - travelling from Bermuda to Liverpool:

  • John William, Mary Ann, Agnes May, Veronica and Mary Ann Porteous
  • Norah Jeffrey and her son Frederick
  • Eileen Parry
  • Evangeline Stuart and her son Charles

(there is no record to show when Norah and Evangeline went to Bermuda)

14 October, 1928 - travelling from Liverpool to Bermuda:

  • Eileen Parry
  • Norah Jeffrey and her son Frederick
31 July, 1929 - travelling from Liverpool to Bermuda:
  • John William, Mary Ann, Agnes May, Veronica and Mary Ann Porteous
13 July, 1933 - travelling from Argentina to Liverpool
  • Eileen Parry and her children Leo, Margaret and Robert
25 April, 1938 - travelling from Chile to Liverpool
  • Evangeline Stuart and her children; Charles, Paula and Keith
14 July, 1938 - travelling from Liverpool to Bermuda
  • Evangeline Stuart and her children; Charles, Paula and Keith
22 July, 1938 - travelling from Bermuda to New York
  • Norah Jeffrey and her husband Frederick
14 August, 1938 - travelling from Bermuda to Liverpool
  • Veronica and her sister Mary Ann Porteous
13 October, 1938 - travelling from Liverpool to Bermuda
  • Veronica and her sister Mary Ann Porteous

And that's just part of the list - it goes on and on until 1960 - when Veronica had started flying back and forth between Bermuda and the UK.

Just to finish off - and just because I am in Bermuda, here are a few of my happy snaps - and a picture of the ship I've been travelling on between Southampton and Bermuda

9 November 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 44 - Frightening

Week 44 (October 29 - November 4) – Frightening: Do you have an ancestor who did something frightening or lived through a scary event? Do you have your own ghost story in the family? Now is the perfect time to share!

I have 3 relatives who went through the same frightening event - unfortunately one of them, my Uncle Eddie Martin did not survive.

Eddie Martin was my father's youngest brother and the 2nd youngest child of James Martin and Annie Dempsey. He was born on January 11th, 1937.

Also involved in the incident were Eddie's brother Alex and his brother-in-law Angus. What you're going to read in the newspaper articles is something that most of us would think would only happen in the movies.

What makes the incident perhaps worse than it is (once you read the newspaper articles), is that it happened on the night that Alex's wife, Betty, gave birth to their first child.

The news of the event starts of simply enough - no real detail:
Glasgow Herald June 6, 1960

But then we get more and more detail - and it was a pretty horrific incident. I won't go into what happened in detail here, but you can read the newspaper articles below:

Here's the 2 parts from the Glasgow Herald on September 21, 1960 about the trial and sentencing:
Part 1
Part 2

The following is the recollection of what happened that night from Alex's wife Betty, passed on to me by her daughter:
8 yrs ehh! Nothing for what they done,,,,they lied through there teeth, as they already had attacked Eddie when my da and uncle gus went after them,,,,,as my da n gus was in the house when it happened, and that's when they took the weapons because they had been told that they had hit Eddie with a hatchet, poor Eddie, poor poor guy
My da had a name, he was a very very tough guy in Glasgow, but that was when he had been younger, these guys where very well known from a gang, I think from Castlemilk, a notorious area in Glasgow, they came to the Calton area to kill my da, and poor Eddie who was a quiet guy was mistaken fir my da,,,,,,as far as my mum tells me, my da had had the argument previously with one of them,
My da fought and got the knife off one of them, but the other hit my da with the hatchet also, on his head and back, by all rights my da should have died also, but he survived,,,
My ma also said my da had ran out the house with no shoes on,,,,as Annie (Alex and Eddie's mother) told her,,,
My ma said Eddie was a very very quiet guy, not a fighter,

7 November 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 43 - Oops

Week 43 (October 22-28) – Oops. An ancestor who made an "oops," or one that you made while researching one of them. (We've all done it, believe me!)

2 weeks ago, during my blog post "Colourful", I mentioned Ethel Cairns. I also briefly mentioned her way back in week 12 in my blog post on "Same".

Ethel was one of those "naughty", colourful women in my family. She is my great grandmother's sister-in-law:
My Mother
Her Mother, Mary Agnes Dobson
Her Mother, Mary Mullen
Mary Mullen's brother, Matthew is Ethel's husband

Ethel was born in February 1884, the daughter of Alexander Cairns and Margaret Dunbar. She married Matthew Mullen about 1904. My Mother's oral family history only has one thing listed about Ethel and Matthew, that is that they had a large family.

(Actually, going back to the "Oops" theme, I originally had Ethel's parents listed as John Cairns and Mary Ann Graham - because their daughter was the only Ethel Cairns of the right age I could find in the 1891 census. It wasn't until I had a few emails back and forth with one of Matthew and Ethel's great granddaughters and also emails from someone related to the Keers' family line that we worked out the correct parents)

In the 1891 census, Ethel is listed as Ethel Keers and is staying with her grandmother and step-grandfather's family (though she is incorrectly listed as their daughter)

This photo, sent to me by a great granddaughter of Ethel's, is apparently Ethel with her Aunt Rachel Keers

In the 1901 census, Ethel is listed with her father - there is no sign of her mother in either the 1891 or 1901 censuses.

By 1911, Ethel had been married to Matthew for 7 years and lists on the census to having 3 children born alive and 3 still living - but only 2 children living with them

Daughter Catherine is listed with her grandparents (Thomas Mullen and Catherine Casey).


This photo, also sent my Matthew and Ethel's great granddaughter, apparently includes Ethel on the far right.
Correction about the above photo - apparently the lady on the far right is Ethel and Matthew's daughter who also was known as Ethel (her full name was Ethelreda and I didn't know she went by Ethel when I wrote this blog) - Nov 22, 2015

Based on census, freebmd and family stories, I had the children of Matthew and Ethel listed as:
Thomas, Catherine, Margaret (Peg), Alexander, Matthew, John Sylvester, Mary, Ethelreda, Agnes and Anne. (10 children)

But then I got another email from Matthew and Ethel's great granddaughter:
Finally, a little skeleton was outed from the closet this week about our Matthew and Ethel. A while ago I wrote to a cousin called XX. She is a granddaughter of Matthew and Ethel. I wrote to her to ask her if she had any info or stories she would mind sharing with me, as well as pictures as I was advised she would have loads! Anyway this was over two years ago and she had never gotten back to me. Well, my Aunty Mary was in town last week and bumped into her. Aunty Mary was quite excited about what she had learned of Thomas Mullen and how he left Ireland and she was telling XX. She also asked her about the letter I had sent. Aunty Mary was advised by XX that she wasn't interested and had no one ever told her that Margaret (Peg) wasn't Matthew's daughter??!!!!  (hence why she wasn't interested and never replied to my letter) It appears that whilst Matthew was working away for a couple of years Ethel had an affair of which Aunty Peg was the result! Apparently she had been brought up by her Maternal Grandmother ( which my Aunt remembers but never questioned why) as Matthew would not have any thing to do with her.

That apparently is Ethel's oops - BUT.....

I did a lookup on FamilySearch.org for Mullen children with a mother of Ethel/Ethel Cairns and I only got one record - the baptism record of Catherine Mullen:
Catherine Mullen's baptism record

This record lists Catherine's parents as Thomas Mullen and Ethel Cairns, not Matthew Mullen and Ethel Cairns.
In 1911, Catherine is living with her paternal grandparents but Margaret (Peg) is with her parents.

Catherine's birth is possibly is another oops of Ethel's or perhaps the baptism record is wrong.

A bit more investigating to do it seems!

5 November 2015

#52Ancestors - week 42 - Proud

Week 42 (October 15-21) – Proud: Which ancestor did something that made you proud? Which ancestor are you proud of finding?

This week I’m going with which Ancestor I am proud of finding, as I have already blogged about my Great Grandfather Nicholas Dobson who was made an Honorary Freeman of the City of Newcastle Upon Tyne and of whom I am very proud.

When you are dealing with my family tree, you are dealing with names that are very common – my Scottish line has Martin, Dempsey, Kennedy, Hunter, and Wright just to name a few of the surnames.

One of my most proud moments was when I found the marriage of Robert Hunter. Robert is my Great Grandmother, Rosanna Hunter’s, brother

But let’s start at the beginning - Working up my tree
My Dad, John Martin
His father, James Martin,
His mother, Rosanna Hunter - whose brother, Robert, is the feature of this story
Her parents, Alexander Hunter and Rosana McLuckie (my favourite female ancestor)

Robert was born on September 27, 1860 in Stirling, Stirlingshire Scotland

In 1861, the family consisted of just Robert and his parents - an older sister, Margaret Ure Hunter, had died just before her 1st birthday in December 1859.

By 1871, the family had expanded and Robert now had 2 younger brothers - Duncan and John. A 3rd brother, James, had died at 6 months old in 1870.

By 1881, the family had expanded once again - adding sisters Agnes and Rosanna and brother Alexander into the mix.

The family had also moved from Stirling to Glasgow between the 1871 and 1881 censuses.

You'll notice in this census that there is also another person in the family - Mary, a daughter-in-law aged 22 from Dundee in Forfarshire

Do you know how many Robert Hunters there were who got married between 1877 and 1881 just in Glasgow? Countless! As I didn't know when the family had moved to Glasgow, Robert also could have married in Stirlingshire. That's what I was dealing with when I set out to find this marriage.

As Robert was only 20 in the 1881 census I made the incorrect assumption that the marriage was recent.

I had to keep expanding my search range to earlier and earlier periods of time.

I don't know how many months of searching it was before I stumbled upon the marriage - in September 1878 when Robert was still 17! (though the marriage record lists him as 20)

And finding that record was one of the proudest moments I'd had in my family research to date (in July 2008) - you should have heard me cheering from my lounge chair.