The 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.
Some of you have asked me why it takes so long to find ancestors a few centuries ago. Just to give you an indication of the challenges in reading records, here is one of the more legible: Baptism of my 4th great grandmother Mary Hutchinson at Felton on 13 Nov 1791. Her parents were Joseph Hutchinson and his wife Mary. Joseph and Mary lived at Felton Moor and I subsequently discovered that her name was Mary Brown.
When I started on this journey I knew little about my Thornton line except that my maternal granny, Margaret Jane Henderson, was given the same Christian names as her mother Margaret Jane Thornton. I have subsequently tracked down another 6 generations of Thorntons back to 7th great grandfather Henry Thornton, born in the late 1600s. They lived in and around Hartburn, Northumberland.I have confirmed from the baptism of Robert Thornton, born 1703, that his father was a Henry Thornton. If I am correct in my theory that Henry married Jane Read, then this is going to open up some interesting lines going back from Henry and Jane to Civil War times and beyond. I still have some more digging to do to prove that this theory about Henry and Jane is correct before I add the new finds to my tree and publish them here.
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 !!
This rather splendid building played a significant part in my childhood. It was here that my parents were married. Their wedding photo was taken on the steps at the front. I was christened here too. We went there every Sunday morning throughout my formative years. The chapel was upstairs and underneath was a hall and stage where, as a member of the Methodist Youth Group, I had my first stage performances. I have a very embarrassing photo of me in crepe paper, acting the part of a flower, which I am not planning to post here :) I went on to become a Sunday School teacher in my teens. Many happy memories of people who had a big influence on me as I was growing up.
Unfortunately it no longer exists. It was demolished when I was in my teens and we moved to the other Methodist church in Percy St.
A big thanks to Stan from the facebook group “Amble in Old Photographs” for sharing this photo and being generous enough to allow others to use it to stir a few more memories.
- 1761: Margaret Rutherford (my 6th great grandmother)
- 1770: Eleanor Dinning
- 1782: Mary Charlton
This family seems to have provided a particular challenge to those poor clerks and ministers striving to make sense of their surname. Among the variations I have found so far are:
The latter variation makes me curious as to whether the family may have originated in Wemyss in Fife, Scotland.
I 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.)