Saturday, 17 July 2010

Geoffs Genealogy Update 17 July 2010

I’m rather late with this blog entry. I’ve been working on several projects at the same time, and resolved to finish them before blogging. Sometimes I have to discipline myself in this way, in order to get things done. Anyway, I’ve just completed my last task - the preparation of the next edition of the Shropshire Family History Society journal - so am able to revert to what passes for “normal”.

A few weeks ago Mrs GC and I went on a guided walk, looking at the remains left behind by what used to be a thriving mining industry on the outskirts of our home town of Newport, Shropshire. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in what is now woodlands, men used to mine limestone, transporting it by canal to the River Severn for on-shipment, or by means of the main road to Wolverhampton & Chester, which still runs past our town.

I’ve lived in the town for over twenty years, and had been aware that that there had been mines in the area in the past, but have never really delved into local history, and was very surprised to see the number of shafts and kilns in the area, and also the remains of an engine house that probably dated from the 1790s. We also saw one of the canal basins associated with this industry, and learned about the course the canal took from Pitchcroft to nearby Lilleshall This was certainly an evening well spent, and opened my eyes to the fact that what is now a beautiful country area was once a hive of industry.

Moving on to the Banks Pedigree, I have recently found some information about the Jacobsons.

Esther Jacobson was a daughter of William Jacobson & Mary Gutteridge, being born on 25 November 1770. A few months ago I traced her on the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses. Throughout this period Esther was living with her sister in law – Sarah Jacobson - the wife of Esther’s brother, another William Jacobson (1776-1834). They lived at 6 York Place, Shoreditch, which was William’s address at the time of his death. In William’s will, proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in October 1835, Sarah inherited all his leasehold estate, and that presumably included the York Place residence. Thus, Sarah was shown as the household head on all these entries. I also note that on all these entries, the two ladies had servants in the household, one in 1851, and two in 1841 and 1861.

Sarah died in the September quarter of 1863. I found the relevant entry in the Civil Registration index. In the June quarter of the following year, Esther also died, at the ripe old age of 93. When I was at Kew in May I found the entry for her probate in the National Probate Registry Calendar, which enables us to pinpoint the precise date of her death, and also her address at that time.

More grist to the mill!

Another area of research I’ve ventured into recently concerns Thomas Geary and his spouse, Louisa, nee Hunt. Thomas was a London barrister, and he married Louisa, the eldest daughter of Thomas Hunt, Surgeon, in 1860, when she was 31 years old. Until quite recently we knew little of these people, except their approximate birth dates and the fact that they married in 1860. We have never traced any children of this couple, and it seems that there were none – at least to judge from the relevant census entries. I have traced Thomas & Louisa on all the censuses between 1861 and 1901, and nowhere is there any record of children.

The 1861 census was taken only seven months after Thomas and Louisa were married, and shows them living with Thomas’s parents in Fulham. Thomas senior had been born on the Isle of Wight, and was a fund holder, aged 90, but there is no record of his occupation during his working life. He must have been prosperous, though, to judge from the fact that there were three servants in the household.

By 1871 Thomas’s father had died, and his mother was living as a widow (aged 88) in the household in Kentish Town, then in Middlesex but now part of North London. Thomas and Louisa “only” had one servant, - a lady who had seen service in his father’s household in 1861.

In 1881 Thomas and Louisa’s Paddington household was smaller – just Thomas and Louisa and Louisa’s sister – Esther Maria Hunt. By 1891 it was smaller still – just Thomas and Louisa – no relatives or servants, and the 1901 entry is similar. On both these censuses the household was at Kilburn Park Road, Willesden, in Middlesex.

I have tried to find the family on the 1911 census, but without success. I thought maybe they had died before 1911, but then I found an item in The Times newspaper of 27 May 1922 which gives Thomas’s date of death. It was a letter, written by a great nephew of Thomas named A Bernard Geary, and states that Thomas Geary died in Bath in 1916. As Thomas’s father had been born in 1770, the writer of the letter cites this as an example of inter-generational longevity in that the combined lives of father and son spanned 146 years. Armed with this information I looked for Thomas Geary’s death in the Civil Registration Indexes of 1916. It was not there, so I extended the search range and found the entry in the March quarter of 1914. The registration district for this event was Bath, in Somerset, so presumably Thomas had died in or near that lovely town.

I have not obtained Thomas Geary’s death certificate, but have wondered why he was in Bath at the time of his death. Maybe there were other family members living there? I can’t find any on the 1911 census. Possibly he was in a home for the elderly in Bath.

I still have not managed to find the death of Louisa (Hunt) Geary, although I keep on going back to this from time to time. Quite possibly her surname was mis-spelt, which may also explain why I have not found either of these people on the 1911 census.

I leave you this time with a really great website that I came across a couple of weeks ago. If you are interested in 18th century London, as I am, take a look at Lucy Inglis’s Georgian London blog. It is full of interesting articles about Georgian London, and was voted History Website of 2009 by the readers of History Today magazine. I’m finding much to interest me there, and I’m sure you will, as well. There are also a number of interesting sites in the Links section.