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.
I have now added three more generations to my direct maternal line. Got stuck for a couple of years at Margaret Watson as the name was so common, but have now pinned her down. So far my maternal line is confined to Northumberland, but I expect it may cross the border to Scotland or hop over to Ireland if I can get further back. This is what I have at present, taking me back 8 generations to 6th great grandmother Margaret Brewhouse.
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.
As you can see, my ancient grannies did not have much imagination in choosing Christian names for their girls. Thankful that my Mam decided to break the mould and I did not end up as the fourth in a row of Margaret Janes.
I started out focussing on the family element of family history, but have now progressed to considering the history aspect too. With the exception of Romans and Vikings I was never particularly interested in history as a subject at school, so my knowledge of the history of the past two or three centuries is seriously lacking. As I have added new people to my tree I have tried to find out more about the historical context in which they lived their lives. This has given me much more insight into the transition from an agricultural society to the industrial age and also the timeline of events in the first World War. One of the most interesting pieces of historical research has been looking into where the Northumberland Fusiliers served in 1915 and 1916 to track the path of my great uncle Edmund Webb from enlistment at Amble to his death in battle at Flers-Courcelette.
Moving on from history to genealogy I can claim four H-names in my pedigree. All four come from my mother’s half of the tree.
H is for Hall
First in the alphabet comes Hall. My Hall ancestors lived at Elsdon in Northumberland and I have been lucky enough to find good sources of information about them.
H is for Hedley
Another of my pedigree H lines is Hedley. I have not found quite so many of them. They too have lived in the Elsdon area and I found them by following up the Hall line.
H is for Henderson
The closest of my H pedigree lines is Henderson, to be found in Amble and Cullercoats. My maternal grandmother was a Henderson.
H is for Hunter
My final pedigree H is Hunter. Yet another Elsdon connection found by tracking back up the Hall line.
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.
My tree has many branches because large numbers of offspring appear to have been the norm among the mining, fishing and farming families of North-East England and Scotland. Three of my grandparents are from large families. Grandmother Ellenor Turner was the seventh child of ten. Grandmother Margaret Jane Henderson was the third child of seven. Grandfather George Crackett was the eighth child of ten. (Shown in the banner of my blog).
Taking it back one generation further the big families include: Cracket 8, Parkinson 5, Carr 5, Henderson 7, Thornton 11. Similar trends can be seen in the earlier generations too with most of the couples having somewhere between 5 and 10 children.
F is for findmypast
F is also for findmypast which is one of the resources I find most useful for my genealogy research. I find their transcriptions among the most reliable, although Cracket has on occasion been twisted to Crackel. So far I have just used the UK site, but expect I am soon going to have to take a look at both Ireland and Australia. I have not managed to figure out yet whether having a subscription for one country gives any discount opportunities for the other countries.
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.