105 years ago today

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.

53 years ago today

Memorial to Newton Henderson at grave of wife Mary Phyllis

My great granduncle, Newton Henderson, died in Long Beach, California on 13 June 1959. Uncle Newt was born in Amble in Northumberland in 1874. He and his sons emigrated to USA after the death of his wife, Mary Phyllis Thornton. Although his grave is in California there is a memorial to him on his wife’s grave at Amble West Cemetery. When I was a child my granny used to take me with her regularly when she went to place flowers on this grave on behalf of her American cousins.

With a little help from my friends

I was planning to figure out where my Cullercoats ancestors might be buried before my next trip to Northumberland so I could plan a photo shoot. However,  a chance conversation with a friend who mentioned that there was a cemetery near Billy Mill roundabout that he passes on his way to his allotment triggered my curiosity and answered my question. It turns out, after he has investigated further, that  a section of Preston Cemetery has been set aside for headstones moved from Cullercoats. Does not sound very promising with respect to legibility, but there could be some little research gems hidden under the ivy. Among the names I will be looking for there are Henderson, Newton and Miller.

A late addition to this post: Forgot to mention before I hit the publish button that the post title not only reflects the topic, but was chosen because the friend who checked this out for me likes Joe Cocker.

Local books

I have added another 5 local books that have helped my genealogy research to my Publications used page. The pictures of old Northumberland help to develop a better understanding of the world my ancestors lived in. Topics include Amble, RAF Acklington, Tynemouth, Cullercoats and Alnwick.

245 years ago today

My 4x great grandparents, Adam Carr and Jane Nesbitt, were married on 6 June 1767 at Longbenton in Northumberland.

That makes this “xxx years ago today” post among my oldest events. Jane was a Longbenton lass and Adam was from Belford so I cannot help wondering what made him travel 47 miles south and marry a girl from there. Whatever the reason, I am glad he did :)

I wonder what they would have made of how far their descendants are scattered around the world. Doubt if they even knew where Norway is.

172 years ago today

Andrew Oliver and Margaret Watson - "of age"My 3x great grandparents, Andrew Oliver, resident of Choppington, and Margaret Watson, resident of Morpeth, were married 30 May 1840 at Morpeth parish church in Northumberland. Their marriage certificate shows Andrew’s profession as husbandman, but I know that later on he worked and died in the mines. Their fathers are Thomas Oliver and William Watson who are also shown as husbandmen. The certificate shows them both to be “of age” which was not very helpful.

151 years ago today

George Murray 1861 – illegitimate

My great grandfather, George Murray Turner, was born 27 May 1861 in Coldstream in Scotland. It took me quite a while to figure this out as I was initially off on the wrong trail with respect to name and place. I was looking for George Murray Turner with a birth year about 1862 in Northumberland. I realised I needed to think again after discovering that his mother Barbara Murray did not marry William Robinson Turner until 1864. This set me off on the trail of Barbara’s journeys from her birthplace at Alford in Aberdeenshire to her burial at Amble in Northumberland. In the 1861 census 20-year-old Barbara, who must have been heavily pregnant at the time, appears in the household of her father George Murray in Gas Lane, Coldstream. This gave me the clue I needed to search for my great granda as just George Murray in Coldstream records on ScotlandsPeople. The clip from the record shows an illegitimate boy George Murray born in Gas Lane. I wonder if my granny ever knew this about her father. It was never mentioned, so maybe it was the family secret.

122 years ago today

Granda George Crackett – taken in the yard at Church St.

My paternal grandfather George Crackett was born 26 May 1890 at Choppington in Northumberland. George’s parents Leonard Crackett and Mary née Parkinson baptized him in the Primitive Methodist Church on 18th June 1890. In 1915 he married Ellenor Turner of Amble, my grandmother, and they spent the whole of their married lives there. They had three children, my Dad George William, Sydney and Evelyn.

Crackett: Granda George and 3 of his sisters

This second photograph shows Granda George as a young lad with three of his six sisters (Elizabeth, Nellie, Bella, Dorothy Ann, Jane and Mamie). He also had 3 older brothers (Jack, Will and Len). I am guessing he may have been about 10 at the time the picture was taken.

My granda died in 1978 at the age of 88, having outlived granny by a couple of years. He was a keen gardener and man of few words. I remember when I was 11 having to do a little family tree as homework from school. I asked him what his mother’s name was and he answered “Mam”. Fortunately, my granny knew that her mother-in-law had been called Mary so I was not stuck with a complete blank.