The Jarrow March 1936

Marshall Riley’s Army – Lindisfarne

In October thirty-six they took a trip,
The men who made the ships,
Searching for some kind of salvation.
With heads held high, and dignified,
The towns folk and passers by,
Held them in some kind of admiration.

March on, Marshall Riley’s Army,
Marching for your rights,
You’ve surely earned them.

Any among you who grew up in NE England in the 70’s can probably quote the whole song word perfect, but I wonder how many have reflected on the meaning. I remember heading for the library at the time to figure out what it was all about. (If you are wondering why I chose to link to that particular rendition of Marshall Riley’s army on youtube, it is because I was very probably in the audience at that concert !)

For some time now I have been mulling over a couple of unconnected questions, but had not decided who to ask about either:

  1. Why are there so many Cracketts in the Midlands?
  2. Did any of my family participate in the Jarrow March?

Both were answered for me today, before I even asked the questions, by my cousin Julie Crackett-MacFarlane, who published a comment on facebook with a link to a BBC History article about the dire employment situation on Tyneside in the mid 1930s following the closure of Palmer’s Shipyard. Her grandfather, Edmund Rudd Crackett (1907-1974),  who is my 3rd cousin once removed, was born in Jarrow, County Durham. In his early thirties he joined the Jarrow March to London in October 1936 to fight for the right to work and provide for his family. It was Edmund who subsequently made the decision to uproot his family and move to the Midlands in search of employment, where they established a thriving group of Cracketts in the Sandwell area.

A big thanks to Julie for triggering my thoughts on this subject and giving me permission to publish a post about her grandfather and mention her as a contributor.

Barrington Colliery

In the latter half of the 1700s my Cracket / Crackett relatives were agricultural labourers in the Lowick, Kyloe, Shoreswood and Norham area of North Northumberland. With the opening of pits around that area many of them moved into the mines. It is interesting to see that as old pits closed and new pits opened they migrated south en masse to the Chevington, Barrington, Bedlington and Choppington collieries. My granda George Crackett (1890-1978) grew up in the hamlet of Choppington Colliery. 12042782_1664016537218452_3407140090025408738_n

This undated photo is of Barrington Colliery. I do not have a full overview of which of my Cracketts may have worked there, but one who most likely did is my granda’s uncle George, born 1833 at Cornhill-on-Tweed. In the 1871 census this George Crackett is living in the hamlet of Barrington Colliery and has the occupation coal miner. (Thanks to Geoff on the facebook group: Sixtownships History Group for allowing me to borrow his photo.)

New Crackett 4th cousin twice removed

LinkedIn snipThe power of social media :)  A young man viewed my LinkedIn profile today because we share an uncommon surname: Crackett. I looked at his profile, recognised the name and looked him up in my tree and found that he is my 4C2R. The ancestral couple that we share are my 3rd great grandfather, William Cracket, born about 1791 in the Lowick area and his probable wife Isabella Gowans, shown on some documents as Bell Cracket, born about 1795 at Holburn in Northumberland. Since they are his 5th great grandparents that gives us the “twice removed” from the two generation difference in our relationship to them.

Granny Crackett had full overview

Back door Granny CMy Granny and Granda Crackett had a rather unusual house. The front door was on Church St. and the back door was on Wellwood St. and the ground floor corner of the property was a shop (not theirs).

This photo (courtesy of Stan on facebook group “Old Amble in Photographs”) shows her back door. Opposite the Congregational church. Just past the crossroads and before the traffic sign. Those of you who grew up in Amble in the 50s. 60s and 70s may remember granny. Often to be seen at the back door. Knitting needles in hand and ball of wool in pinny pocket. And if you dared to sit on the Congs church wall she would chase you. She also sold Longstaffe’s bus tickets and vegetables from the allotment from her kitchen.

My problem as a child was that from this central position she had a full view of every possible way to go up or down through the town. Even on my bike I couldn’t whizz past her fast enough for her not to see which way I was going and ask me the next day where I had been !!

3 new topics on DNA

DNA plus paper menuI have added three new topics to my page DNA plus paper today:

  • Deciding which DNA tests to take
  • AncestryDNA circles
  • Alias Smith and Jones?

You can access them from the link in this post or from the menu line of Digging up the Ancients.

Just as an aside, the lady in the picture directly above the menu item is my great aunt, Dorothy Ann Crackett, (1888-1974). She was born in Choppington, Northumberland. She married Ralph Tweddle in 1909 and they lived most of their married life in Radcliffe, Northumberland. (Just realised that if you are looking at this on a tablet, then the menu item is under a different lady. Sorry folks, I will have to look at how to optimise for reading on other devices.)

New format on Ancestry

Course Completion New AncestryHad to smile at this rather pretentious certificate. This is what you get after a half hour e-learning course if you take the little 20 question quiz at the end. The course had the silly title “Learn About Your Ancestors Using the Latest from Ancestry“. The actual content is a run through the main features of the new format, including the Lifestory functionality. I wish they would not call it lifestory, as until you go through and edit each lifestory it can include a number of time related historical events that are totally irrelevant for the ancestor concerned. My objective in taking the course was to see whether to wait or jump in and go over to the new format now. If you are wondering about the result of this decision making process, here is a snippet of my paternal line in the new format:

Snippet new format GWC

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.