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Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

During the course of digging into any family tree, there will come a time when you are not sure you have the right person. This could be due to a name spelt wrongly, or not the way you expect it to look, or even, at times, different names altogether. The are as many reasons for the first, as there are for the last, and the searcher would be well advised, to select the phonetic or alternative options on the website of your choice. Hand written documents vary in quality, and due to poor storage conditions, even baffle the transcribers. It was also common practice, when the age was asked, for the head of the household to have to guess, and the Census taker to make his own interpretation with a quick look. Thus you can have the right name, but the wrong age. Its even more difficult, prior to 1837, when looking at Parish records, when the Clerk enters one form of the name, and another different spelling some years later, when the same person marries. Due entirely of course, to the parties not being able to read or write. Some times, the name is changed to avoid a bit of " embarrasment " and this next little piece will illustrate just how difficult, and frustrating, the process can become.


Henry Wainwright, Thomas Wainwright,


You may have read an item, in my Ultimate Crime section, under the heading, Wrong Muderer. For anyone searching for relatives of both victim, murderer, and the family, it was a long, long road. Henry Wainwright, the subject of the post, was to put it mildly, a devious reprobate, who when out on the razzle, never used his own name. He must have done when he got he married in 1862, to a woman who was discribed as a " performer of music ". Elizabeth Fanny Minshull, born in Bradford Street, Birmingham, in 1840, was, in combination with her sister, a stage act in some of the seedier concert halls of the period. Which of course, is where the debonair Henry first clapped eyes on her. He did have a slight advantage over the many who flocked around the stage doors, his fathers Brushmaking business was doing well in Whitechapel, and he always had the money for a meal and drinks. He continued this habit, even as his new wife gave birth to first one, and then four more children. Henry in 1863, Amy in 1865, Dora Rose in 1867, Sydney 1869, and Lilian Flora in 1871. Under the name of Percy King, he was introduced to yet another young woman who took his fancy, Harriet Louisa Lane, and he was soon deeply enmeshed with her. Indeed, so deeply she became pregnant with his sixth child in 1872. She had of course quickly discovered his identity, so the couple assumed the name of Mr and Mrs King, and Henry set her up in some lodgings in Mile End. Some distance I should add from his own home. This first born they called Beatrice Wainwright King, the second, born in March 1874, they named Miriam Wainwright King. After Henry had been hanged, for Harriet's murder, in late 1875, the whole scene, as far as searching goes, completely changed. Henry's proper wife, Elizabeth, not surprisingly aghast at what he had done, and no doubt seeking to shield her young children, moved away and changed the family name. She now became, Mrs Elizabeth Worthington, ( widow ) and the children all assumed this new name as well. Equally appalled by the dreadful circumstances, the family of his illegitimate offspring also entered into a name change for the two girls, using the family name of Evans. You will also know, from reading the post about the murder, that Henry's brother, Thomas George Wainwright, was sent to prison for seven years, for being an assessory after the fact, and for helping him chop up the remains of the body. Thomas served his term in Portland Prison, and is recorded up until 1881/82, when he vanishes. He had married, in December 1866, one Elizabeth Taylor, and although there were no children to strengthen the tie, she seems to have stuck by him. Now although the two girls had been named Evans, there doesn't seem to have been much of a link with Harriet Lane's family, as the two girls were looked after by Thomas's wife, Elizabeth, who also moved away. This time to Waltham Forest. It now gets a bit more complicated, as Thomas, according to the probate records, is presumed to have died, in Prison, around 1881, and a relative, Daisy Louisa Wainwright, gets all his estate some years later, valued at £100. Not so, for over in Waltham, we now find young Beatrice L Evans, ( Henry Wainwrights eldest daughter ) living with her Aunt, Elizabeth Taylor, and her Uncle, " William Taylor ", who just happens to be the same age as Thomas George Wainwright, the willam having been his fathers middle name. I did say it was bit complicated, made even more so, by the terrible deed enacted by the villian of the piece, Henry Wainwright, and the families desire to escape the shadow of the noose. So if your search gets a bit hard, spare a thought for the person who had to sort that lot out.


Post Script added: 11th February, 2014.


My thanks to Alys Cambray, who has sent me some updated information on the Wainwright family. It concerns Henry's brother, Thomas George Wainwright, who was released from Portland Prison on 2nd August, 1881, after serving almost 6 years for assisting his rascally brother. During his incarseration. in 1877, his wife, the former Caroline Brockley, whom he had married in 1866, suddenly died. This left his two children, who are not mentioned in the records I could find, without support. This may have had a bearing on his early release, but the rather harsh regime of prison at the time, seems to have taken a toll. The two illegimate children of brother Henry, meanwhile, had gone to live with, it seems, the sister of Harriet Louisa Lane, Elizabeth, who was married to one William Taylor. Lets hope young Beatrice and Miriam had a long and happy life. The woman who I mentioned as being the beneficiary, of Thomas George Wainwrights last Will and Testament, was one of his children, Daisy Lousia Wainwright. I hope she had a happy life as well, for the sins of the father should never be heaped on the innocent, should they. Thanks again Alys.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 11, 2012 at 3:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now a great many people will have a family story, of one sort or another, which will inevitably surface during family tree research. They won't always be accurate, and sometimes they will be impossible to verify. Occasionly though, with a little help, some interesting facts will emerge. Take the case of one Absalom Walker, although living in both West Bromwich and Wednesbury, he wasn't a native of the Blackcountry, but was born somewhere around Polesworth, Warwickshire, in 1794. There's no real way of knowing what year he moved to the area, but it must have been well before 1830, for he owned a freehold house in Dudley Street, Monway Field, Wednesbury. There were a great many shallow pits dug both here, and in Wednesbury Field, and he must have made a few bob in order to buy that house. He is listed in the 1841 Census, and also the 1851 one as well, this time in West bromwich, as a miner employing 25 men. He did not though, own a mine, for he was what was known as a " Butty Miner ". For those not familiar with the term, he was the old equivilent of todays " Gang Master's ", a man who could supply labour for a specific job. To arrive at his position, he had to be a very experienced miner, for the mine owner was reliant on him for the coal, and hence the profits, of the enterprise. Walker lived fairly close to several mines in West Bromwich, The Ebenezer, Blacklake, and Swan Village Pits, and wouldn't have been short of work. Sadly, he didn't live long enough to retire on the money so hard earned underground, for he died in 1857, at the age of 63. A tale then, of a miner of who bettered himself through the years, and didn't leave a starving family when he passed away. As many will tell you, the world of research can turn up a few surprises when you least expect them, so if you don't feel confident enough to search, ask for help, there are many out there on the internet, and a few can be found on my Links page. Another example, and this time a name from Coseley, Dudley, a place now almost lost in the jumble of several boundry changes, and with not one, but two different postcodes. The name that came up is not that common, Edward Wones, ( or as in some old records, Woanes ) in fact, born when the place was in the large Parish of Sedgley, in 1834. He wouldn't have been there at all, if his grandfather, also Edward Wones, ( sometimes spelt as Woans ) hadn't moved at the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. The family came from Westbury, Shropshire, and its believed had moved to the mines around  Ironbridge, before settling in Coseley. The young Edward followed his father, John Wones, into the mines about 1850. There's a story about him in my topic, " Blackcountry Mining History ", under the heading, Mines and Owners. Not only was Edward a much respected member of the local community, but other family members were prominant as well, right up to recent times. All that from just researching a name, a piece of Coseley history that most folk will not have heard about. Keep searching, you never know what will turn up.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

December 26, 2012 at 3:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

There are a few names that come up, that are straight out of the Bible. Hepzabeth for instance, is another form of Elizabeth, and which obviously, later on, reverted to the modern way of spelling. No good looking then, for the old form of the name, in say 1881. Gullious, or Gwillious, or even something that resembles it, depending on how well the Vicar could spell, was an older form of William, not much seen in the records much beyond 1800. What make's searching a bit of fun at times, is stumbling across a name not heard much today. Mercy, was quite popular around the 1830s, as was Faith, Hope, and yes, inevitably, Charity. Some folk may have used the name Innocence, in the hope she would remain in that condition for some time, fat chance. Patience and Prospect I came across some years ago, but what kind of parent would name their child Fortitude. Mind you, with some of the names selected today, I could ask the same question. In my own family, I have three females called Lowley, four males with the name Ebenezer, three Enochs, but only one Eli, one Absalom,  one Luther, and one Isaac. Perhaps, when they all went over to the Methodists, they started reading a different Bible.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 9, 2013 at 4:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Names can crop up in the most unlikely places, and a brief mention in a Parish Magazine can set you off on yet another search. It may be that a relative gets a mention, due to an accident, and the burial and the sad loss to the family is recorded. It's a fact of life though, that you may struggle to find out the exact details of the unfortunate deceased's demise. " Drowned in the Canal ", or " Fall of Coal in a Mine ", and even " Burnt in Ironworks " , gives little indication as to what actually happened. The main problem, is that today, most people expect far more in the way of explanation than there was then. We live in an age of blame and compensation, concepts that were well known at the time, but which, due to the social structure in  the Victorian period, were very hard to persue. Jobs were scarce at times and it's not surprising that witness'es to some of the worst excess'es refused to speak out. This is not to say that every death was caused by negligence, although there were very few safety rules, some workers contributed greatly towards their own death. Coroners, mostly local J.Ps or Doctors, dealt with at least one Mining or Ironworkers death a week, and unless there was a clear case of someone acting outside the Law, simply recorded  " Accidental Death " as routine. The results of many inquests never made the local paper, or if they did, it was a one line affair, recording the name and verdict. A great many of the records, are in the National Archives at Kew, and, if you know the details of the deceased, and can find the record file number, can be ordered online. Otherwise it will require a pre-arranged visit. Newspaper Archives, where they still exist, are a good source, but finding out the names of which papers, covered which areas, is a search all by itself. It's a strange thing, but even after 150 years, some folk still have the desire to attach the blame for a long gone relatives death on someone. I have had a geat many requests for information on the subject of deaths in mines, and the advice I offer is to consult the Death Certificate first.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 3, 2013 at 11:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

What is also sometimes frustrating, is finding a correct name and intials, only to discover there are several more that are identical. A few years ago, there appeared online, an article on one 2nd Lt. John C Reynolds. ( taken down earlier this year ) It gave the year of birth, and the County, and to all intents and purpose's, was factually accurate. Someone though, who contacted me to do a bit research, remained puzzled that another subsequent article, had failed to be completed. Comparing the background information, ( taken from the Royal Irish Constabulary records) with the scant information on John C Reynolds, it quickly became apperant, that there were some details that failed to tally. How for instance, does a poorly educated, visually challenged, medically dificient Lift attendant from Blackheath, Staffordshire, suddenly become a commisioned Officer, a leader of men, and a trusted member of the Irish Free State Army. If you may be thinking that somethings not quite right, you will be correct. We may be into the intriging world of spy and counter spy, that is a feature of warfare, including the old troubles in Ireland between 1916, and 1925. Who is who, in this shadowy world of plot and counter plot, murder and assasination, will possible never be known. Intelligence Services, are by their very nature, secretive and hidden away, indeed some records remain under wraps, for at least 100 years, many more of course, have already been destroyed. There are little clues, that can be followed by the intrepid genealogy student, all you need to do, is spot where they are. I have already highlighted, the sometimes dubious nature of family stories, some of which have been quite deliberated planted, because someone couldn't make two plus two add up to four. The true story of 2nd Lt John C Reynolds, is a case in point, for the real one, described as an officer and gentleman, would never have addressed himself as Capt John C Reynolds, for he never achieved that rank, in the 3rd Training Battalion of the South, or North Staffordshire Regiments in the first place. I have said it before, to go on and join the Irish Free State Army, the man had to be Irish, and this fact is re-inforced more so, when you concider that he applied to join the new Irish Police force, The Garda. Any information on the subject will be, as ever, much appreciated, and of course, treated with privacy if required.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

June 19, 2013 at 11:31 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Following on from the above post, I will now demostrate how not to handle an exchange of information. A read through the page in question, will give anyone the information, that the article is about the identification of an individual Soldier, from 1915. It is not about an end story, for anyone can make up one of those, it's about a beginning, for which the process of invention is far more difficult. I have always welcomed contact for anything that appears on the website, as indeed, anyone researching  their family tree, would also hope to attract. For someone to express their comments via a Facebook page, invite a reply, then inexplicably prevent the other party from making any further comment on the page,is not only rude, but extremely petty. You have, by adopting this method, already lost the debate. My advice to anyone who has this happen to them, and it's far more frequent than you think, ( judging by the numbers of stories I have received on the subject ) is to ignore the petty insult, and carry on with your research. No one wants to be proved wrong, but when it does happen, some of us, I feel sure, will accept it with far better manners than that. To err is human, to forgive devine. It's all a bit academic now, we have passed the story to an Author for inclusion in a forthcoming book.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

June 22, 2013 at 10:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Another problem the intrepid researcher will come across, is being unable to find a birth or death record. That whoever you may be searching for existed, is beyond dispute, as you may already have a marriage certificate. The difficulty mainly arises from a poor education back in time, or an argument later on over the name chosen. You couldn't of course, unless you had a very good reason indeed, change a name after it had been registered. The simple solution was to call the baby something else, or add a middle name, and use that. All very confusing for the modern researcher. Now take for instance a man I researched after a mining accident in 1869. It's always nice to add dates, as it helps others to find relatives. For a start, I couldn't find a birth, which should have been around November or December 1847. The penny dropped when a birth turned up for the right time period, with the same initial, J, but this was a John, and not a Joseph. Nonetheless, it was the right man, and  now, Joseph Bowater, had at least a start in life. The next problem you may encounter is finding a death record. This of course should be easier than the first part, as his date of death, is recorded in the mining records. Not so, and as far as the records go, he isn't officially dead, and is now lord knows where, probably enjoying a pint, awaiting his 144th birthday party. Now we all know that things were not as efficient back then, as they are today, ( I hope ) but as he had to be buried as well, the Vicar should have asked to see a death certificate, someone has obviously slipped up. His wife, who seems to have re-married, in what could be concidered to be a bit of a hurry, may have left it to the poor mans family, for she certainly didn't bother to report and record the death. Maybe it was a bit of blunder by the Register Office, for after years of research, I can say with confidence, it isn't the only one that is missing.

Postscript.  It's quite possible of course, ( according to several explanations made )  that the two bodies were never recovered, they were so badly crushed it was said to be impossible to recognise either man, and they are buried deep underground beneath the present day housing, for the other listed dead man, Simon ( actually Simeon ) Rudge, 28, also hasn't got a listed death either. The better explanation however, is that the recorded name of the deceased was spelt differently, or their real name was used on the Certificate.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 29, 2013 at 12:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

There will come a time when researching your family tree, that you find a relative who ends up in Australia. Do not automatically assume, that they went there against their will, armed with nothing more than a Transportation Order. Convicts ceased to be sent to New South Wales in 1840. Van Diemans Land, ( Tasmania ) did not accept any convicts after 1853, and the only Penal Colony still operating after this date, was at Perth, Western Australia, which itself closed to fresh convicts, in 1868. It was recognised quite early on, that proper settlement was needed, and regular ships plied the route to Australia, carrying settler families. The item below will be of some interest to many.




The list of ships contains some real stars of the bygone age of Sail, and some true legends of a golden era of Seafaring. Marco Polo is a notable example, as are Lightening, and Champion of the Seas. All these vessels were active on the Australia run, during the 1850s and beyond, and most set some kind of sailing record during their lifetimes.Sovereign of the Seas, in 1854, set a record which still stands today, 22 knots, ( 25 mph ) the fastest Clipper ship in the World.



Most of those listed in the advert, were hired by the Government in 1857, when the need for more troops in India became necessary.  It has been calculated, than 1 in every 20 Australians, can trace their families journeys from the ships listed by James Baines, for his Black Ball Line. Ships also left from London, but by far the most famous are those that set sail from the Port of Liverpool.



Sadly there are not many  preserved today, save for the Cutty Sark, and only a few paintings and rare photographs exist to illustrate the hardships that despite the advertisements and claims, must surely have been endured by the passengers. I like the mention of the supply of a cow, although I can't see just the one, providing fresh milk for nearly 800 passengers every day.


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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 20, 2014 at 2:21 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

When you get a request for help, one of the first things you assume, is that the person is at least in possesion of a Death Certificate. Finding the death of Coal miner isn't always as easy as it would appear, for online details merely record the date, not the occupation. This time, in response to the question, I was told that this mans body was never recovered, he didn't have Death Certificate, and there was it seems, no Inquest into his death. All of this is supposed to have happened in the 1920s, I smell a family story of a cover up, and I was right, although I don't as yet know what caused the bust-up.


The man in question was called Joseph Hughes, and he was born in the lovely surrounding of Netherton, Staffordshire, in October,1861. He had a choice of jobs when he was old enough to work, stoking boilers, bashing hot iron, or working in the mines. He chose the mines. In 1890, he felt confident enough to get married, which he acomplished with one Mary A Little, tying the knot at St Lukes Church, Dudley. Between then and 1905, the pair produced nine children, although only five, Olive, 1895, Dorothy, 1897, Joseph, 1899, Alfred, 1901, and William, 1905, lived to become adults. His last recorded job in a mine, was as a Horse driver, in 1910, for most of the mines in the area had already closed down. Whatever caused the problem, happened in the 1920s, hence the family story to cover the rift in the relationships. This rift wasn't one sided, for he must have kept in touch with some of his children, who were probably still living at the old family home, 55, Round Street, Netherton. This is why, in his home in nearby Rock Villa, Buffery Road Dudley, when he penned his last will and testement, he named his youngest son William as the beneficiary of his estate. It came to a grand total of  £358. 5s, which on the 25th September, 1953, would have purchased you a virtually new house. As I said before, you should never trust some old family stories, particulary ones where you are told there is no death certificate. It just isn't possible, unless you do away with someone, and succesfully hide the body. In this case, it never happened.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 21, 2014 at 3:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now I don't know, how the readers of this website, get on with the never ending stream of Agricultural Workers, Labourers, Nailers, and a whole host of other unrewarding workers. The Nobility in this Country were always made up of a tiny minority of the population. They were far outweighed by the peasents, and if you have found a genuine connection with a Duke or Earl, I envy you your luck. After the first series of a popular Television programme, " Who do you think you are ", someone posed the question of just how many famous names did they start with, and more to the point, how many didn't get to the production level. The answer is, far more than you think. Like hundreds of thousands of others, I have, in many years of searching, never uncovered anyone remotely famous in my family tree. Nor indeed, did I expect to . While this situation may surfice for most folk, this is not the case for a few, who, shall we say "add" a few names to raise their standing in the community. As long as the name is the same as their own family, they will happily attach a link, never mind that such a link doesn't actually exist. Trawling through some public online family trees, they will also attach relevent details as well, giving the impression that they have indeed, done a great deal of research. They haven't, as some, who have inquired of the person to state what the link is, have sadly found out. Intelligent guesswork, part of the armoury of the good researcher, tends to be missing from these egotists claims, ( for by using other peoples research, they don't need intelligence )  where the only aim, is to have the most impressive family tree to brag about. Many folk in my home town, for some years now, have been aware that we have  such an idiot in our midst. The wise ones, now avoid any claims of a name connection to this particular tree, much preferring to do a few checks first. A wise move indeed, for although the name maybe the same, it doesn't follow that you might be connected to a noble Earl, an Industrialist, a local Civic Leader, or even a Religious fanatic.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 4, 2014 at 11:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

There is one area of research however, that can have you pulling out your hair in frustration. It may seem to some, to be very proud to be associated with a branch of society called " Travellers ". Searching for those in a Romany family can be very rewarding, for a lot of stories are handed from each generation to the next. They tended to be quite law-a-biding folk, and recorded events in their lives in a proper fashion. ( BMDs )  Not so for another section of Travellers, discribed by many as Tinkers, Vagabonds, and Rogues. They frequently changed their names, failed to record a Birth or Death where it occured, and, ( shock, horror ) openly lived as man and wife. Not all though. Take the man I was asked recently to help trace, Lovine Boswell. He was well known in and around Willenhall, having a pitch near the Clock in the Market place, where he sharpened knives and scissors. He was still there in the mid 1950s, so there are many who will remember him, he died in 1959. The problem is, that his birth is not recorded, well at least not under the name he lived by. He first appears under the name in 1901, living with a wife and daughter in a Caravan on some open land in Salford, Manchester. He is listed as a Basketmaker and Tinker, as is the whole family. The daughters name is Marina, but it transpires she isn't at this point his only child, for his older child, Rhoda, is living with her Mother and Grandfather, James Boswell, at 59, Dunstall Road, Wolverhampton. At some point in 1901, he has indeed married the woman who gave birth to Marina, giving his age as 22, and a birth year of 1879, one can only assume that he has abandond the first woman. He next appears in the 1911 Census, this time in Wolverhampton, and he gives his birthplace as Altringham Cheshire. Rhoda is now living with him as well, for her Grandfather died in 1909. There is no recorded birth of Lovine Boswell in 1879, but a trawl through the life of James Boswell reveals he was born in Altringham Cheshire, and moved to Wolverhampton where he became a Draper. giving up the travelling life. Among his sons, is one name that goes missing from the records, Arthur Boswell, and I have suggested, that the Certificate of Lovines marriage, may hold the clue to his real identity. As I said, a tough area to research.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 2, 2015 at 4:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

I am always grateful to receive information about the subject of Coal Mining. A kind gentleman, whom I will allude to only by his first name, Paul, has very kindly sent me details of three of his relatives, all of them, at one time or another, refered to themselves as " Coal Masters ". The family name is Chavasse, not a common name in this region, and he is searching for any information regarding their lives. Lets see if this small offering is any good to him.


We have three brothers, Samuel Chavasse, the eldest, was born in Brierley Hill in 1795, and died in 1862. Joseph Stokes Chavasse, born in 1801 in Brierley Hill, and died in Woodsetton, Sedgley, in October 1841. The third one is Benjamin Chavasse, born in 1803, and died in Sedgley, in 1871. The most successful of the three, was Samuel, who left an estate worth over £7,000, and a business that his family carried on at least up to the end of the 19th century. The other two simply didn't have Samuels talents as a good businessman, Benjamin being ruined by a Court case for failing to pay his debts, and Joseph dying at 41 when he was up to ears in financial trouble. At this stage though, another Coal Master appears on the scene, one Henry B. Whitehouse snr, who, to some extent, partly rescues the situation for the penniless family.


Samuel, Joseph, and Benjamin were involved in a Mine at Cutlers End, West Bromwich in the mid 1830s. Samuel was also involved with the Church Lane Colliery, West Bromwich, as indeed were another local firm, H.B.Whitehouse. The elder Henry B. Whitehouse, ( he had a son with the same name ) had discribed himself as an Iron and Coal Master,  a Farmer with 200 acres, and an employer of men. He lived, in May 1841, at a large house in Hill Top, West Bromwich, called, The Hollies. That he knew the Chavasse family is certain, for when Joseph died in October, 1841, his home, Turls Hill House, Woodsetton, was swiftly in Whitehouse's possession. and he is recorded living there in the 1851 Census. The association with both familys, mainly the mining interests at Ettingshall Colliery, Sedgley, continued with Benjamin, possibly right up to Benjamins death in 1871. The records show that H.B. Whitehouse were working the pit from periods between 1868 to 1872, when Benjamin may have been short of cash, or ventured into the Beer trade. The clue for the latter change, may be in the reason why he was taken to the Court of Common Pleas, in 1869, for failing to pay his debts. The man who was granted a Sherriffs Execution warrent, and then the advertised sale of all Benjamin Chavasse's goods and chattels, was Joseph Wilkes Marsh. He was from a family of well known Wednesbury Millers and Brewers, who had no interests in Coal Mining. Benjamin Chavasse's big problem was that he had no cash reserves to pay this Bill, only the long lease of Ettingshall Colliery, which of course he had then sublet to H.B. Whitehouse, including all the equipment at the pit. He still of course owned the equipment, but if it was then sold, he would have to compensate Whitehouse for the loss of trade and profit. Two days before the sale was due, it was postponed, mainly I suspect, because H.B. Whitehouse privately purchased the equipment, ( at a reduced price of course, for after all, business is still business, no matter what the circumstances )  allowing Benjamin to pay off a large proportion of the debt to Joseph Marsh. He still though, had to sell his large home, Townsend House, Sedgley, to settle the outstanding debt. Given that he had a good standing in the community,  ( a long serving member of  The Staffordshire County Grand Jury ) it must have been a bitter pill to swallow, and may have contributed to his untimely death in 1871. Thats a fairly typical story of the ups and downs of mining coal during the mid 1800s, underfunded speculation, and a rapid loss of money.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 18, 2015 at 4:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Now here's a problem you will encounter many times during the long lonely hours of research. ( I did say it could get addictive )  Several people with the same name, roughly in the same area, and with birth dates very close together. How to seperate them out can be very time consuming, and at times impossible. So frustrating can it get, that some  folks simply settle on one person and pursue a fruitless search for the impossible. I say this, for how can a man live in two different places at the same time, with a family, and then suddenly disappear, without apparently leaving any trace. I was asked for information on a Colliery in Dudley, where a man named John Oliver, was stated to be the resident Mining Engineer. There was such a man, who worked at the Earl of Dudley's Old Park Collieries, but not as a mining engineer. A check on his birthplace would have revealed that he was born in the locality, and not in County Durham as the searcher revealed in the question. The man being sought had indeed listed himself as a " Mining Engineer ", in the 1871 Census, but was living in Bedworth, Warwickshire.  This John Oliver was born in Fatfield, Durham, in late 1843, the other one being 2 years younger, and there are three possibly mines he could have worked at. Hawkesbury, Charity, or Speedwell Collieries, all situated in Bedworth. Another missed clue was his wife, Mary Jane, who was born in Foleshill, Coventry, a place where they married at in September, 1865. He and his family are not listed in the 1881 Census, and there is a good reason for this, for late in 1871, John Oliver and his wife, the former Mary Jane Hartop, emigrated to the United States of America, and settled down in New York where 5 more children were born. ( One in late 1871 for Mary had to have been heavily pregnant when she boarded the ship in Liverpool. ) This information is contained in the USA Census of 1880, which also states where they were now residing, Brainerd, Crows Foot County, Minnesota. There was plenty of work here for John, for it was a Northern Pacific Railroad maintenance and repair depot. and the town had been rapidly growing since 1873. I don't know how old the information was that was passed on to the questioner, but there are more details online now, than there were some years back, and heres another tip, it pays to sometimes to revisit old research.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 22, 2015 at 9:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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