My granda, Jonathan Doleman Webb, was born 9 July 1899 at Radcliffe in Northumberland. I never heard anyone call him Jonathan. It was always Jont or Jonty. Jonty was an intelligent man, but growing up in a mining family in the early 1900s he had little opportunity for education and spent his working life down the pit. This photo shows him ready for work. Take a look at the kneepads for crawling through the pit and the carbide lamp hanging from his pocket. I scanned it in situ in the album because the caption underneath is written by my granny. I remember this bike. He used to call it “Sputnik”.
He never talked much about his childhood and now, knowing what my genealogy research has taught me, I realise it must have been a tough one. His Dad Robert Webb was a pitman, and from the few family tales that have survived was clearly not an easy man to live with. Jonty was only two and a half when his Mam, Mary Davis, died of surgical shock after suffering a brain tumour for 8 months. I can only assume that big sister Annetta, who was about 9 at the time, had to roll up her sleeves and help out with toddler Jonty and four year old Edmund. Five years later their Dad married a widow Isabella Sharp and by the time of the 1911 census father, stepmother and the two boys were together but Annetta had left home to live with other relatives. At 14 Jonty started his working life down the pit which continued until he retired from Hauxley Colliery. I suppose I can be thankful that his young age and his occupation in the mines spared him from WWI in which he lost his big brother Edmund.
Oops, missed the day. Should have posted this yesterday. My great grandparents, George MurrayTurner of Amble and Sarah Ann Carr of Radcliffe, were married 8 July 1882. The ceremony took place in the Wesleyan Chapel at Alnwick in Northumberland by certificate. The certificate shows them both as age 21 which is in accordance with the information I have on their birth dates. Sarah was born in October 1860 and George in May 1861. Their fathers are recorded as William Robinson Turner, shoemaker, and Thomas Carr, miner. However, I now know George to be the illegitimate son of Barbara Murray who married William Robinson Turner in 1864. The witnesses to George and Sarah’s marriage were Sarah Elizabeth Rogers and Leonard Watson. I currently have no idea whether these were friends or relatives.
One of the things I have learned from my genealogy research is that if you get stuck then try again from a different angle. I use several different online sources and often find that something which may not be indexed on one will turn up on another. I have also learned that it is wise not to be too restrictive on search terms. A wider search can often throw up something that will be filtered out if the search criteria are too narrow. It can also give interesting collateral information about other family members than the object of the search.
I is for Ironside
I is also for Ironside, one of my Scottish pedigree lines which starts with 3x great grandmother Margaret Ironside. Margaret was born in 1816 at New Deer in Aberdeenshire.
My 3x great grandmother, Margery Hall, was born 3 July 1803 at Elsdon in Northumberland. Margery is the 3rd daughter and 7th of the 10 children of Joseph Hall of Elsdon and Eleanor Thompson of Rothbury Parish. You can read more about her siblings on my Hall page. On 17 May I posted about Margery’s marriage to John Thornton.
My 3rd great granduncle, Robert Ironside, was baptised on 2 July 1817 at New Deer in Aberdeenshire. Robert was the youngest of the 8 children of my 4x great grandparents John Ironside and Joanna Dow. The family lived at Bonnykelly. Robert’s older sister Margaret Ironside was my 3x great grandmother.
I started out focussing on the family element of family history, but have now progressed to considering the history aspect too. With the exception of Romans and Vikings I was never particularly interested in history as a subject at school, so my knowledge of the history of the past two or three centuries is seriously lacking. As I have added new people to my tree I have tried to find out more about the historical context in which they lived their lives. This has given me much more insight into the transition from an agricultural society to the industrial age and also the timeline of events in the first World War. One of the most interesting pieces of historical research has been looking into where the Northumberland Fusiliers served in 1915 and 1916 to track the path of my great uncle Edmund Webb from enlistment at Amble to his death in battle at Flers-Courcelette.
Moving on from history to genealogy I can claim four H-names in my pedigree. All four come from my mother’s half of the tree.
H is for Hall
First in the alphabet comes Hall. My Hall ancestors lived at Elsdon in Northumberland and I have been lucky enough to find good sources of information about them.
H is for Hedley
Another of my pedigree H lines is Hedley. I have not found quite so many of them. They too have lived in the Elsdon area and I found them by following up the Hall line.
H is for Henderson
The closest of my H pedigree lines is Henderson, to be found in Amble and Cullercoats. My maternal grandmother was a Henderson.
H is for Hunter
My final pedigree H is Hunter. Yet another Elsdon connection found by tracking back up the Hall line.
My 3rd great granduncle, Peter Ironside, was born on 28 June 1813 at New Deer in Aberdeenshire. Peter was the sixth of the 8 children of my 4x great grandparents John Ironside and Joanna Dow. Peter’s younger sister Margaret Ironside was my 3x great grandmother.
It was tempting just to hop right into G is for genealogy, but I decided to challenge myself more and go with G is for Geography. This is because my genealogy research has forced me to learn more about the geography of my own home country. My knowledge of some of the midland counties was very fuzzy so I have learned a lot as I have tracked my relatives from the mines of Northumberland back through mining areas in other counties to their agricultural roots. I have started to put together information about this geographical journey on my Places page.
G is for Garden
No, I am not about to change a lifetime habit and develop green fingers. Strange really that I have so little interest in gardening as both my grandas and my Dad were keen gardeners. Garden in this instance is the name of my 5x great grandmother, Isobel Garden who married George Ruddiman. Isobel was born sometime in the mid 1700s in Aberdeenshire.
My great great grandfather Randle Thornton died on 17 June 1907 at Amble in Northumberland. Randle was a 64-year-old coal miner when he died of Bright’s disease, which I understand to be chronic nephritis (kidney problems) and cardiac hypertrophy.
Randle married Mary Oliver in 1842 and they had 11 children: 5 girls and 6 boys. So far I have only focussed on the fates of two of their girls. Two Thornton sisters married two Henderson brothers. One of these couples was my great grandparents Archibald Henderson and Margaret Jane Thornton. The other couple was Newton Henderson and Mary Phyllis Thornton who are give rise to my California Henderson connection.
My tree has many branches because large numbers of offspring appear to have been the norm among the mining, fishing and farming families of North-East England and Scotland. Three of my grandparents are from large families. Grandmother Ellenor Turner was the seventh child of ten. Grandmother Margaret Jane Henderson was the third child of seven. Grandfather George Crackett was the eighth child of ten. (Shown in the banner of my blog).
Taking it back one generation further the big families include: Cracket 8, Parkinson 5, Carr 5, Henderson 7, Thornton 11. Similar trends can be seen in the earlier generations too with most of the couples having somewhere between 5 and 10 children.
F is for findmypast
F is also for findmypast which is one of the resources I find most useful for my genealogy research. I find their transcriptions among the most reliable, although Cracket has on occasion been twisted to Crackel. So far I have just used the UK site, but expect I am soon going to have to take a look at both Ireland and Australia. I have not managed to figure out yet whether having a subscription for one country gives any discount opportunities for the other countries.