When we cleared out my mother’s house back in 1999 we found an object in her cupboard which we were unsure about. Since neither of us lives in England, this was packed away in a box in my brother’s house and didn’t see the light of day for a while. When we dug it out again our curiosity was piqued and we decided to investigate what it was. It turned out be a “widow’s penny” given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in World War One. This discovery set us off on the next quest. Who was this David Henderson and why did we have this wonderful memento? He was clearly a relative of my maternal grandmother, born Margaret Jane Henderson, but his name had never been mentioned before.
Further investigation showed him to be my granny’s cousin, David Taggart Henderson, son of her uncle John Henderson, born (1860-1898). Cousin David was only about 5 years older than my granny Meggy, so I assume there were quite close when they were growing up. John Henderson and his wife Mary lost another child in infancy, then Mary went on to marry John Baston and have a second family.
David T. Henderson can be found on the Amble War Memorial. He was an Able Seaman in the RNVR Hood Divsion and you can read more about him at this record on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There is also a slightly damaged headstone cross memorial to him, his parents and his baby brother in Amble East Cemetery. I will add that to the blog another time.
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.
If any of these couples belong to you to then please drop me a line as that means we are cousins.
The 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, thegenealogist.com, 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.
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.