Tag Archives: 52ancestors

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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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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