52 Ancestors #3 – William Nicholson

This week I’ll look at one of my first success stories that got me hooked. My most recent ancestors to immigrate to Canada was my Great Great Grandmother Barbara (Ferguson) Nicholson who was widowed in the First World War and married a Canadian soldier and brought her children with them when he returned to Canada after the war. I knew her name and the names of her children as well as the name of her first husband and I knew they were from Dumfries.

I had a chance to visit family friends in Dumfries in 1995/6 while I was studying in Salford and thought I would visit the local record office to see if they could help me uncover the family. We were able to locate the family members I already knew and as the Scottish statutory records are so detailed I was able to add a number of new ancestors to my tree. Being able to find out all these new names had me hooked.

One of the people I found was my 3rd Great Grandfather William Nicholson. He was born on the 8t h November 1860 at a place called Marjorybank in Lochmaben to George Nicholson and Mary Smith. He married Sarah Jane McFarlane and on the 6th August 1878 at Nethermill in Kirkmichael and they had nine children. Sometime between 1882 and 1884 the family moved from Dumfrieshire to to nearby Kircudbrightshire where he eventually died at Carsethorn on the 7th April 1931 at the age of 70.

The 1861 and 1881 census records for him raise some interesting questions.

1861 – Lochmaben – Age 4 Months. He is listed as living with his mother Mary Smith only. I haven’t been able to locate George Nicholson on this census although he appears on later censuses as being born in Yorkshire so I may need to expand my search into England. George and Mary were married on the 1st June 1860 at St Michael’s Manse in Dumfries so I don’t know why she would be showing under her maiden name a year later. Doing the math on the wedding date and the birth suggests they jumped the gun a bit – but this seems to happen several time on this line of the family so I don’t know how uncommon that would be for this time and place.

1871 – Lochmaben – Age 10 Years, Scholar. Living with both parents and his father is an agricultural Labourer

1881 – Kirkmichael – Age 20 years, Plowman. Living with his wife and their seven month old son who was born at Kirkmichael.

1881 – Lochmaben – Age 20 years, Farm Servant. Listed as married but living with both parents, three brothers and four sisters aged from one to 18 years.

WHAT!!!! How can he appear twice on the same census???? I’ve checked and can’t find anyone else this would be and asking around it seems it is not uncommon for a person to be enumerated at two addresses depending on who was asked. Looking at old maps it seems these are only a few miles apart so maybe they didn’t know where he would be staying that night when the census taker came round.

1891 – Kirkbean – Age 30 years, Farm Servant/Ploughman. Living with his wife, four sons and one daughter aged from one to ten years.

1901 – Kirkbean – Age 40 years, Ploughman on farm. Living with his wife, mother in law, six sons and two daughters aged from one to 20 years.

1911 – Southwick  – Aged 50 years, Ploughman. Living with his wife, one son, and three daughters aged from five to 14 years.

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52 Ancestors #2 William Dungan

I was up in London last Wednesday and when I returned home I saw on Ancestry that one of their new records was “England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858” . I knew from reading other people’s research that at least one ancestor had left a will in the 17th Century and was pleased to find it and see a scan of the will – even though I can’t really read the details it was nice to be able to pick out some of the names and match these to transcriptions I’d seen of the will.

Putting in other ancestor’s names from this time period (I’ll admit that when new sources appear sometimes I’ll just throw some names at it speculatively) I found a few more including today’s subject.

I have known very little about my 10th Great Grandfather William Dungan although there is a lot more information about his wife Frances Latham as she went on to be known as “The Mother of Governors”. He was a perfumer and was from the London parish St Martins in the Field. He was married to Frances Latham and had four children who emigrated with her and her second husband to New England. He died about September 1636. That’s about all I knew about him. With the will it’s still pretty much all I know for sure about him but it’s fascinating to see a document that he had such a close connection to. Searching online it seems that there is speculation about his background with some older theories being disproved so I’ll stick with my one concrete piece of evidence for now. I don’t even know if a perfumer was a maker or seller of perfume.

For years, whenever I’ve passed through Trafalgar Square I’ve looked at St Martins in the Fields and every time I wonder a bit about him. The church isn’t the same one he would have attended as it was rebuilt in 1726 and looking through the crypt (thich is now a cafe and gallery) the oldest stones and monuments I can see date from around this time. It’s well worth a visit if you’re going through London though and they often have concerts or exhibitions there as well as doing a lot of work with the homeless.

For those wondering where the pigeons are in the shots of Trafalgar Square they’ve disappeared in the last decade or so with banning the sale of bird food and then banning the feeding of the pigeons at all as well as the use of birds of prey.

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52 Ancestors #1 Susan Webb – The perils of being given work done by others

When I began my research I was lucky that there had been work done by various relatives on pretty much every side of the family. That’s great – isn’t it? Well maybe not, especially since none of them really recorded where the information had come from and if the information had errors, even small ones.

So my week one entry (technically it is week two but I’ll ignore that) for the 52 Ancestors Challenge is my third Great Grandmother Susan Webb. She married George Odell and the two of them emigrated to Canada with their children in about 1870 settling in Lambton County.

I’m not going to name names on who gave the information on them but I knew he was from Tingreth in Bedfordshire and she was from Stepney which is in London. So far so good and it pretty much made sense. I’m not sure how a woman from London married a man from Bedfordshire but they aren’t that far away so it could be possible.

As I’m now living in the UK I hoped I’d be able to visit Tingrith someday and found it on the road atlas – just off the M1. While I was looking at the map I noticed something interesting. There was a small village near it called Steppingley. It made me wonder if there may have been some misremembering or mistranslation along the line. When I checked the 1861 census I found them – and her birthplace was listed as Steppingley. Following this I was able to locate their marriage in Steppingley on 30 Sept 1853.

This made me realise I needed to use a much more critical eye on what I’m accepting. Unfortunately, I know I have fallen into the trap of grafting people to my tree and having to prune them out when I look at the logic later. I know I need to have a good clear out and am working to add sources to my information and evaluate with a clearer eye. I’ll still be interested in the research others have done but I think I’ll use it as a starting point for my own research if the sources aren’t clearly stated.

In an effort to pull together the sourced records I have for Susan Webb I’ve located the following:

Susan Webb

Father: William Webb

Mother: Ann Bunker

Married: George Odell (Son of James Henry Odell and Mary Mayles)

Marriage Date: 30 Sep 1853

Death: 27 Nov 1895, Enniskillen Township, Lambton County, Ontario, Canada

Cause of Death: Heart Disease, 30 minutes

Susan Odell (37) arrived in Canada from Liverpool on 27 Apr 1870 at Quebec on the “Austrian” with her husband Geo (37, labourer) Odell and children George (15, labourer), Phoebe (13, spinster), Henry (11), Susan (7), Wm (6), Jane (5), Anne (3), and Sarah (infant). There are several other Odells on the same page of the register that I will need to look into in the future.

Census Records:

1841 (England): Susan Webb (8) – living in Steppingley with her parents William (35) and Anne (35) Webb and siblings Sarah (15), Ruth (13), Amelia (10), Phoebe (5), and John (2)

1851 (England): Susan Webb (17, plaiter) – living in Steppingley with her parents William (48, Farm Labourer) and Ann (47) Webb and siblings Ruth (23, Pauper), Amelia (20, plaiter), Phoebe (15, plaiter), John (12, Labourer), and their grandson Daniel Webb (11 months)

1861 (England): Susan Odell (27, Lab Wife) – living In Woodend, Westoning (very close to Tingreth) with her husband George (28, Ag Lab) Odell and children James (9, Ag Lab), George (6, Scholar), Phoebe (4), Henry (2), and Susan (7 months)

1871 (Canada): Susan Odell (39) – Living in  South Fredericksburg Township, Lennox and Addington County, Ontario with her husband George (39, Farmer) Odell and children James (19, Farmer), George (16, Farmer), Phebe (14, Servant), Henry (12), Susan (10), William (8), Jane (6), Anna (4) and Sarah (2). All are listed as being Wesleyan Methodists and born in England

1881 (Canada): Susan Odell (48) – Living in Enniskillen Township, Lambton County, Ontario with her husband George (49, Farmer) Odell and children George (27), Henry (23), Susan (21), William (19), Janie (16), Annie (14), Sarah (12), and Thomas (9). Thomas is listed as being born in Ontario but the rest are all born in England and are listed as Episcopal Methodists.

1891 (Canada): Susan Odell (59) – Living in Enniskillen Township, Lambton County, Ontario with her husband George (60, Farmer) Odell and children Harry (32, Farmer), Annie (24, Dressmaker), Sarah (22), Thomas (18) and their daughter Susan Preastby (30) and granddaughter Ruby Preastby (9 months). Thomas and Ruby are listed as being born in Ontario but the others were all born in England and all are listed as Methodists. Susan Preastby is listed as married. All the adults are listed as able to read but Susan Odell is not listed as being able to write.

I also have:

Born : About 1834, Steppingley, Bedfordshire, England – deduced from various census records/marriage etc.

Baptised: 01 Jul 1849, Steppingley, Bedfordshire, England – I’ve noted this and I know it would have been from a trip to the Bedford Record office but I’ve not put the source clearly so I’ll put it as a probable for now

There is a story that the ladies of the Tingreth Manor House (the Misses Trevor) gave the family a trunk to be opened when they reached Canada but that this was lost over the side of the ship when disembarking. Makes for a good tale at least.

There is information about the family (including some photos) on http://www.petroliaheritage.com/odell.html

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What have I been up to

Well it looks like I was just about to go to Summer School in 2009 when I was last active so here’s a very brief update on the last few years.

2009 – Summer School was great and we had a lot of fun with the dying. Went up to Scotland over the New Year but all the rivers were frozen and the only paddling the group did was on the Wii in the lounge of the cottage we were staying in.

2010 – Had a great trip to Canada in June as I became an Aunt again – to a beautiful little girl. One of each flavour now. Had a brilliant time as part of the Crew at KnitNation. Had a great time in August at my Grandma’s five yearly reunion in North Bay.

2011 – Trip back to North Bay in February for Grandma’s funeral, it was nice to see everyone again but I wonder if we’ll have the reunion again without her. Didn’t go to the Association Summer School but went to the Heritage Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers conference in Calgary. Volunteered again on the KnitNation crew and managed to win a lovely prize at the Bingo while there. Celebrated ten years of marriage by DH going to a paddling symposium in the US – Not sure we’ve managed to be in the same place (or even the same country) for very many of the anniversaries so it’s now a tradition. Went to Top Gear Live and really enjoyed the show.

2012 – Spent far too much time at the Hendricks venue at the Brighton Fringe (well they had some great shows, and lots of gin). Had a holiday in June with my family in Tofino, BC for my Parent’s fortieth anniversary. I was a Gamesmaker for the Paralympics and had a great time in Event Services for the Archery and Shooting at the Royal Artillery Barracks. I also got to go to the technical rehearsal for the opening ceremony for the Olympics – although my knitting was confiscated by security so I had to sacrifice my needles for both my projects. We managed to get tickets to the Women’s Quarterfinals for the Beach Volleyball – great day out and a fun time. Had a fun time at Lee Valley when DH got his new boat in November – a custom paintjob of a Union Jack on a 2013 Jackson Star. Lots of interested looks and it was fun taking photos of him on the Olympic Slalom course. Another trip to Tog Gear Live in October then a Spinning weekend in the New Forest in November. Became an Auntie again (another nephew) and spend the New Year in Wales – where this time there was lots of water for the paddlers.

2013 – Kind of a mixed year…

On the negative side, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in March so had six sessions of Chemo from April to July followed by a mastectomy at the beginning of September and Radiation throughout November. The oncologists said it looks to have been successful so it’s Tamoxifen for five years and reconstruction surgery (including a free tummy tuck) sometime in late 2014. DH and I both lost our jobs – finding out on the same day which was a bit annoying. Mine wasn’t a surprise – we’d been advised they were proposing this in February and in May we found out that our department was being outsourced so my last date of work was Dec 27th although I’d been off on sick leave since June. DH finished at the end of May but started a new job in High Wycombe in the middle of July. I’ll be starting to look for work in High Wycombe as we’re renting a flat up here but we’ll be keeping the Brighton flat for the time being.

Treatment wasn’t too bad – Chemo was the worst but apart from one stint in the hospital with low blood counts it was OK. Occasional nausea and tiredness as well as the hair loss were the main side effects. I didn’t bother getting a wig – just used head scarves – and it was actually really comfortable since it was right in the middle of a huge heatwave in July. It’s grown back and is looking good now. I had a port-a-cath put in so that I could have blood tests and treatment more easily. It makes everything so much easier as they don’t need to look for veins – just put the special needle through the port – I’d recommend anyone going through any kind of long term treatment to ask their doctors about them. I was surprised at how little pain there was after the surgery and I was back on my feet (although taking it easy) really quickly. Make sure you do the exercises they gave you – I did for the first week or two then slipped into the habit of just using it as normal and making sure I stretched it when I had a chance. It worked for me – it might not work for others though. Radiation was the easiest treatment – it’s a lot of sitting around waiting for your turn on the machine – then they pose you on the table, read out a series of numbers to each other while they position you, then leave the room while the machine buzzes. I can’t thank the nurses enough – they do an amazing job and I’ve been really impressed with the treatment I’ve had from them and the NHS throughout this.

On the positive side for 2013 – I became an Auntie again in July – a little girl this time so my brother and sister have one of each now. I had a great visit back to Calgary in January and again for Christmas. My parents both came for a visit in May and Mom came again for three weeks around the surgery – although luckily I didn’t really need too much help getting around. I went to Summer School again – dying with Madder for the week and we made Turkey Red.

Hopefully 2014 will be better.

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Welcome Back

It’s been a while since I dipped my toes into blogland but I ran across an interesting challenge that I think will bring me back to it.

The challenge posted on www.nostorytoosmall.com/posts/challenge-52-ancestors-in-52-weeks/ is to do a blog post a week about an ancestor throughout 2014 – it could be something interesting about them or they could be causing a roadblock in your research, or it could just be a way to share something new.

I’m going to ignore the fact that I may have already filed the challenge as the first week of the year is almost over. Since I’m starting out with the blog I’ll dedicate the first week to sorting it out and giving my general research interests. I guess that means that my first week’s ancestor may be myself

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I’ve been busy

I’ve been a lazy blogger recently (but at least it gave me more knitting time) and I’m sure I have a few finished projects that I haven’t shared.

I’m noticing that although I continue to largely be a process knitter and have chronic Startitis that I actually seem to be finishing projects and I don’t seem to have quite so many hanging around. I’ve posted Ravelry Links for now as I am due to leave very shortly for Summer School.

Finished off:
2 Shawls (a Forest Canopy for my Mom and Cleite for my Grandmother). Both of these have been started and finished since the end of May.
1 Pair of Socks (Over the Garden Wall from the March Socktopus Sock Club)
1 Toddler Sweater for my nephew (Tulip… it was meant to be his Christmas present but luckily he is quite skinny and the pattern is easy to enlarge by adding more stripes)

Almost Finished:
2 Pairs of Socks (Outside In from Knitty, and Heart and Sole from the May/June Socktopus Sock Club)

1 Shawl (Aurantium Blossom, a Mystery Shawl by Socktopus through Twitter)

These last 3 are going to Summer School with me as well as a couple Spindles to Spin. I’m not quite sure I’ve grasped that they plan to keep me busy learning to eye.

I’m a bit worried as I think I may be catching a bit of a sewing bug as well. I have made the The X Bag Pattern by Four Corners Designs in a couple prints I picked up in Calgary to take for my purse for Summer School. Although they are not actual Shibori pieces that look like them. I also designed and made myself a padded spindle bag yesterday for no particular reason at all.

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Spinning Fun

It’s been a while since I posted and I have been busy spinning this month for the Tour De Fleece group on Ravelry. I’ve also taken the Superspin 2 class offered by Diane through Socktopus and have learned loads and the talk at the Guild this month by Jan Blight on A Diagonal look at Spinning was so much more relevant than it would have been a month ago.

I still haven’t replaced the camera so here are a few things I’ve been doing:



Row 1 L-R 1. BFL Singles, 2. BFL Singles, 3. Two Ply, 4. Two Ply closeup
Row 2 L-R 1. Three Ply, 2. Three Ply closeup, 3. Navajo Ply, 4. Navajo Ply closeup
Row 3 L-R (All spun on the train on the way up) 1. Camel – long draw, 2. Camel closeup, 3. Cotton – spun from the seed, 4. Cotton closeup
Row 4 L-R 1. Spindlefrog Batt, 2. Batt closeup, 3. Batt closeup, 4. Knitting Goddess Roving – for future spinning

I’ve had more good new – I’ve also won a prize on Ravelry for the Tour De Fleece in the Great Random Prize Thread, can’t wait to see what my prize will be.

I’ll have to post again before the weekend as I am off to Summer School and I’ve been insanely productive on the finishing front as well.

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Confession time…

I’ve been sorting through my purchases and acquisitions from my trip home and I think I can see why I needed another bag coming back.

Aside from the yarn (12 skeins) and fabric (at least 6 meters) I acquired a few books, a new spindle, niddy noddy, swift and ball winder.  I could pretend I’ve not been to Socktopus since and haven’t been shopping, but I went for the Superspin 2 class last weekend and will be back up on the 12th for the second part of the class so this may not be over yet…

Check out Tripping Yarns for a contest she is running. She’s doing a 100km walk in 30 hours and my feet are hurting even thinking about it. I’ve donated a prize and you can see it here.

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Back home again

Well I’m back, and after a week and a half I pretty much have caught up with work again so I should really catch up with the blog as well. It was a great holiday and a chance to relax. Unfortunately the camera didn’t turn up so I’m waiting for all the confirmations from the airline that they haven’t found it now.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the things I got up to:

  • Got to spend time with my parents, sister, and brother
  • Played with my nephew (he’s good at sharing his food with me now – even yummy food like popsicles and lollipops)
  • Had a lovely visit with my Grandma who was also visiting
  • Stood outside a yarn shop on a Sunday morning drop spindling from 6:30am to 11am then gave up and went home because they weren’t opening until 1pm… OK I was marshalling the marathon and my post on the 10K and 5K route just happened to be outside Make One Yarn Studio
  • Saw that you can kayak Elbow falls – so maybe DH will need to come on the next holiday
  • Finally managed to see bluebirds
  • Had afternoon naps
  • Cleared out some of the boxes of stuff still in the basement
  • And finally, went to a *few* yarn and fabric shops… but more about that when I can either borrow a camera or find the really old one we have and see if it still works

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Across The Sea

It is so nice to have the week off – I’m sitting here enjoying the Canadian sunshine and having a great time seeing all the family. I’m not sure the tan is advancing much but the knitting is – I’ve started and almost finished a Forst Canopy Shawl for my Mom and have picked up my Tulip Cardigan for my nephew. It was supposed to be his Christmas present so it is lucky he is quite skinny as I will just need to add some extra stripes to the body and arms for it to fit him.

We had a great visit to Shuttleworks yesterday so I now have all my Christmas presents from my parents… I wonder if this means I can open them and start using them now? Today I’m spending the day with my nephew and tomorrow I’ll be going to the quilt festival at Heritiage Park.

Unfortunately there are no pictures yet as I managed to leave the camera in the UK. Luckily since I’m with family I can borrow others though so I should have some pictures at some time.

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