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.
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.
- Margaret Jane Webb, 1921 -1999, born Radcliffe, Northumberland
- Margaret Jane Henderson, 1899 – 1982, born Amble, Northumberland
- Margaret Jane Thornton, 1871 – 1912, born Choppington, Northumberland
- Mary Oliver, 1842 – 1911, born Netherton, Bedlington, Northumberland
- Margaret Watson, 1818 – 1895, born Ulgham, Northumberland
- Mary Hutchinson, 1791 – ?, born Felton, Northumberland
- Mary Brown, 1769 – ?, born Felton, Northumberland
- Margaret Brewhouse, bef 1747, probably somewhere around Felton, Northumberland, but could be from further North or from Scotland.
Britain from above is a new site with aerial photos from the 1919-1953 era. Seems to have a lot of potential although it needs some tuning to speed up the searches :) Nothing much from my part of Northumberland on it yet, but there are some interesting views of Newcastle-upon-Tyne among its 16000 pictures. Had to resort to using it on the laptop as the click on the map is not functional on the ipad.
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.