My most complete quarter

The quarter of my tree that has proven easiest to follow through on paper trail is from my maternal grandmother, Margaret Jane Henderson (1899-1982), born in Amble. Perhaps this is because she was the one who knew most about her own ancestors so she gave me lots of good clues when I had to prepare a family tree at school when I was eleven.

In the composite picture of my 4 grandparents on the right hand panel of the blog she is at the bottom left.

Here is a snippet showing the first few generations. It is the only section of my tree where I can get to 4th great grandparents with no gaps, and as you can see from the little black arrows I can go even further on 9 lines.

My Henderson tree

If any of these couples belong to you to then please drop me a line as that means we are cousins.

Headstone: John Henderson & Harriet Miller Newton

IMG_0384 3For several years I hunted for a headstone for my 3rd great grandparents, John Henderson (1811-1894) and Harriet Miller Newton (1814-1893).

I acquired their death certificates and knew that John drowned at Lesbury in 1874 and Harriet died in Amble in 1893. They could not be buried with other Henderson relatives in Amble West Cemetery as that opened in 1905, but I still kept my eyes open to see if they might have been mentioned on a subsequent memorial there. The death dates made it possible for Harriet to be in Amble East Cemetery, but that opened a little too late for John. However, I still had a wander round the cemetery and checked an online list of burials. No luck there either. My next thought was Warkworth St. Lawrence’s Church. There were Hendersons there too, but not this couple.

Then finally the penny dropped. There was another cemetery in Warkworth too, on the road up to the beach. There they were, together with two of their boys: Henry Henderson (1846-1871)  and Archibald Henderson (1836-1874) – so easy to find once I finally got myself into the right place. TIt must have been tough on Harriet as she lost her son Archibald only 4 months after losing her husband.

Autosomal DNA relationship calculator

RJLOne of my distant genetic cousins is developing an autosomal DNA relationship  calculator. This is a work-in-progress at the moment, so he is happy to have folks test and offer suggestions on improvements. You can find more information about his development activities on Robert James Liguori’s Blog. Beta-testing of the basic functionality is now started and he is adding more Relationship Range Providers so that we can calculate with various theoretical assumptions as the basis.

Robert and I have a genetic relationship proven by DNA testing, but have yet to find the paper trail that will point us to our common ancestors. We know that they are on our respective maternal sides as we have an autosomal match between his mother and my maternal aunt. I rather suspect that these distant grandparents are lurking behind brick walls due to illegitimacy on both of our relevant ancestral lines. Best guess so far is that our ancestral paths crossed somewhere in Durham, Yorkshire or Lancashire. Possible names under investigation so far: Whitehead, Horsfield, Bailey, Shepherd, Mitchell, Manners, Webb.

28 Leslie Row, Radcliffe, Northumberland

granny-and-granda-webb.jpgA question from my Canadian 1C1R about her father’s origins triggered me to dig out this wonderful photo of my grandparents standing in the yard of their house in the colliery village of Radcliffe. Looking across the road from where they are standing they would see the communal water standpipe, the coalhouse, the outdoor “netty”, the midden and their garden. The picture was taken by brother at some stage after he left home, so I am guessing it can be dated close to the end of the 1960s. Radcliffe village was demolished in 1971 to make way for opencast coal mining. The whole community were moved to a new council estate in the neighbouring town of Amble.

The people in the picture are

  • My granda: Jonathan Doleman Webb, 1899 – 1981. Jonty was born in Stobswood and worked at Hauxley pit. His hobby was his garden and in particular growing prize leeks.
  • My granny: Margaret Jane Henderson, 1899 – 1982. Meggie was born in Amble and is related to the Henderson fishermen. She was very houseproud and could often be seen with a paintbrush in her hand, sprucing up her home.

Looking at a problem with fresh eyes

20150901_205116I treated myself to a new pair of specs a couple of week ago. Perhaps they will give me some new insight into this little conundrum. I am trying to find proof of whether my theory about a Gowans connection is correct. This death certificate is for William Gowans, aged 74, who died of typhus fever at Alnwick on 12 June 1841. His death was witnessed by Eleanor Gowans. I am trying to figure out whether William was my 4th great grandfather. This hinges on whether or not my probable 3rd great grandfather William Cracket married an Isabella Gowans. If that theory is correct, then the next question to work on is whether William was her father. Paper trail for these folks in the border lands is a bit thin and so far there is nothing substantial popping up in DNA matches to say yea or nay.

Where to find my tree

TreeThe master version of my tree has been developed on my laptop using FTM (Family Tree Maker). I synchronise it regularly with my public tree on Ancestry: Crackett-Webb-Turner-Henderson. I also have versions of my tree on My Heritage,, genesreunited and a couple of other sites, but these versions are a little out of date.

If you are interested in my family, drop me a line and I will send you an invitation to view my tree on Ancestry. You do not need to have a subscription. It is possible to establish a free guest account if you want to view an existing tree.