Christ Church in Tynemouth was consecrated in 1668 and was the local place of worship for members of my family in Tynemouth, North Shields and Cullercoats. Many of my ancestors in that area were fisherfolk and seafarers. I am still trying to disentangle when they used Christ Church, when they used Tynemouth Priory and when they hopped over the river Tyne to St. Hilda’s in South Shields, Co. Durham. I visited Christ Church for the first time in my summer holidays and found it to be a picturesque setting. My visit was a little late in the day so I was unable to see inside the church. Most of the churchyard has been cleared and put to grass. The old headstones have been moved to form a boundary wall for the churchyard. This would have been positive, but for the fact that a high hedge has been planted in front of the headstones rather than behind. Very disappointed to think that some of my ancestors may be hidden from sight behind that hedge. Still living in doubt as to who is lurking behind that hedge and who may have been moved to another location such as Preston Cemetery.
I have several large families with 10 plus offspring in my tree, but I am now looking into what may turn out to be 15 children. The will of my 5th great grandfather Henry Miller of Whitley makes reference to his daughter Hannah Brown “the wife of Robert Brown of Southwark in the County of Durham Blacksmith”. Further investigation suggests that Robert Brown may actually have been born at Southwick.
Robert and Hannah married 13 October 1800 at Tynemouth in Northumberland and appear to have a flock of children baptized at Bishopwearmouth and St. Peter’s Monkwearmouth in Durham. Some of the transcriptions on my Brown search on familysearch.org can be confirmed as belonging to my tree since they give the mother’s maiden name as Miller, but others do not specify. I also know that there were a couple of other marriages for a Robert Brown to a Hannah in the same area and timeframe. I have therefore ruled out children baptized in Stanhope.
My next task is going to be to look at other sources to confirm whether all of these children belong to my relatives: John 1801, Elizabeth 1802, Jane born 1804 bapt 1807, Margaret 1805, Ann 1808, Robert 1807, Robert born 1808 bapt 1811, Elizabeth 1811, Hannah 1811, Mary 1813, Henry 1815, Isabella 1817, Hannah 1818, Sarah 1821, John 1825. If my theory is correct, then I also have some infant death records to chase up as some of the names have been recycled. Hannah Miller was born in 1779, so she would have been 46 when she popped out the last one if they are all hers. This little bunch of Browns should keep me out of mischief for a while.
Oh, where is the boatman, my bonny hinny?
Oh, where is the boatman? bring him to me
To ferry me over the tyne to my honey,
And I will remember the boatman and thee
I am finding an increasing number of relatives in the 1700s who found their better halves on opposite sides of the River Tyne. People who lived in Cullercoats and married in South Shields or lived in North Shields and found their partner in Boldon. I understand that before full dredging operations were implemented that it was possible to walk across the river at low tide, so maybe this explains how easy it was to find a spouse in the next county.
I now have autosomal DNA results from two companies and am eagerly awaiting the results of a third test. The discrepancy in ethnicity/origins results confirms that it is early days for this type of analysis. As a Brit, living in Norway, who had a granny who was convinced she came from Viking stock I had to smile at the difference between FTDNA estimates of 24% Scandinavian and the AncestryDNA estimate of 2% Scandinavian. If you would like to see more details take a look at Using DNA to confirm paper trail findings. I am now waiting rather impatiently for the third set of results from 23andme. Will they be half way between the other two or way out in another direction? Fascinating.
During my summer holidays I visited the Cullercoats Family History Research Group to see if they could help me with my Henderson, Miller, Newton and Oliver families from that area.
They are a very hospitable group of folks. They have local information and photos organised both by surname and by street. Worth a drop-in if you have Cullercoats ancestors. They are open on Monday afternoons and evenings at the Community Centre on Belle Vue Street.
Just added a new menu section, DNA plus paper, to the blog so that I can start to document my experiences with DNA testing. I am now beginning to see the benefits of having invested in a test and have a couple of cases where analysing matches has given me additional assurance that my paper trail research is correct. Very helpful in one case where I was not 100% certain that I was following the right line. I will be adding individual posts about these success stories.
Latest additions to the brief profiles for my end of line ancestors:
- William Watson – 4th great grandfather, born about 1792 at Ryle, Northumberland
- Joseph Hutchinson – 5th great grandfather, probably born before 1773, maybe near Felton, Northumberland
- Thomas Brown – 6th great grandfather, probably born before 1747, maybe near Felton, Northumberland
- Margaret Brewhouse – 6th great grandmother, probably born before 1747, maybe near Shilbottle, Northumberland
More details of their marriages and children and any relevant census information can be found on my end of line ancestors page.