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Monday, 12 December 2016

Jeremiah Owen - a long life

In 2005 I sent for the death certificate of who I thought was my 4th great grandfather, Jeremiah Owen(s) but it wasn't clear that it was the right one - the certificate said that he had died after an accident and that an inquest had been held but I hadn't been able to find evidence to back that up. Checking up recently on Findmypast,  I found the following from the Shrewsbury Chronicle of  22 Nov 1862 - it's his granddaughter's evidence that clinches it:

Fatal accident: On Saturday last, an inquest was held at the Bear Hotel, before Dr. Slyman, coroner, and a respectable jury, to inquire into the cause of the death of Jeremiah Owen, an old man, residing in the Pool Road, who had met with his death under circumstances which will be gathered from the following evidence.
Mr. W Baird said: I am Chief-constable of the county of Montgomery. Deceased had been in my employ for seventeen years. He was in his ninety-first year, and latterly he has been rather more frail than usual. No man could be more honest and straight forward than he was. On Sunday he was in his usual good health. I saw him on the street on Tuesday morning, but did not speak to him.
Harriet Jones said: the deceased was my grandfather. He lodged with my mother. He rose on Tuesday morning about eleven or twelve o’clock and had his breakfast as usual. He dressed himself to go to a funeral at the New Inn about one o’clock on that day. When he returned home about five o’clock he said he had had a very foul fall, and cut his eye-brow, and Mr. Hall had sewn it up. He went to bed without complaining much. Next day, he did not rise. His eye was much swollen, and he was very ill. Mr. Hall saw him on Wednesday morning. Finding he was not the club doctor, my mother sent for Mr. Owen, who is the club doctor.  On Thursday night he was very restless. I was up with him every night. He died on Friday afternoon at four o’clock.
John Evans said: I am one of the stewards of the Newtown Friendly United Society. The late Jeremiah Owen was a member of that society. He had been a member about thirty-five years. A rule of the club is to invite twenty-two members of the club, with two stewards, to attend the funerals of deceased members. Jeremiah Owen was one who was selected to attend the funeral of the late Richard Davies to the parish church of Llanllwchaiarn. I attended the funeral. The members started from the new Inn. They were all orderly and soberly. The allowance of drink is a pint for each man and deceased did not have more than a pint. I cannot say he was not the worse for liquor. I should say he was not drunk. He did not go further than the pump, next to the National Schools, near Severn side wall. There were several slides there, and they were dangerous. As I was appointing four to carry the coffin, the deceased fell just opposite the pump. He fell on one of the slides, in the middle of the road, which had been made by children. I and another steward assisted him up, and took him to Mr. Hall’s surgery. Mr. Hall dressed the wound which he had received in his fall. The wound was on the left eye, and he had a cut upon his cheek. I left the deceased at Mr. Hall’s surgery and did not see him afterwards.
Mr. Hall said: I am a surgeon residing in Newtown. I saw the deceased on the day of the accident at my surgery. I should think it was about four o’clock in the afternoon. He had a lacerated wound above the left eye, dividing the soft parts quite to the bone, of about two inches in extent. There was a slight bruise also upon the left cheek. I dressed the wound, and after having asked him whether he was capable of walking home, he left my surgery with that intention. I saw him next on Wednesday morning about ten o’clock when he appeared abut as well as I could expect. I directed his daughter to send for Mr. Jones, who was the medical officer of the district in which he resided. I saw him again on Thursday night, at the request of Mr. Baird, when he appeared feeble and rather drowsy, but he knew me, and answered my questions correctly. I did not give him any medicine, because I was informed that he had taken some from Mr. Owen. He appeared quite sober when he came to my surgery. I don’t think he had suffered much from loss of blood occasioned by the wound. My opinion is that he died from the combined effects of congestion of the brain and exhaustion, consequent upon injury to the head.
Mr. J. Owen said: I am engaged to attend the sick members of the Newtown Friendly United Society. I have attended the members about three years last July. I don’t know whether my name appears or not in the list of the Medical registers.
The Coroner then said he could not therefore receive any medical evidence from Mr. Owen. The Coroner then called Mr. Evans, the steward of the club, and told him that a recent Act of Parliament required that all medical practitioners should have their names registered on an authorised medical list. Mr. Owen, by practising, not having complied with this, rendered himself liable to a penalty; but the effect upon those who employed unregistered medical practitioners was, that no fees could be legally claimed from them by these practitioners. It was much to be regretted that a public body did not employ properly authorised medical men, and that they did not offer to pay them a sum which was worthy of their receiving; the labourer was worthy of his hire, and the contemptible small sums which were offered to medical men by these clubs was disgraceful. He then addressed the jury, and in referring to the cause of the death of the deceased, said, there was no doubt was traceable to the fall upon the slides. Those slides were made in the middle of the road by boys, who indulged in this dangerous and mischievous practice with impunity, and which he was sorry to say they were encouraged by their parents. He hoped an example might be made of some of them as that might have the effect of preventing its repetition. Mr. Hall had seen the deceased at first, immediately after the accident, and it would have been better in his opinion if Mr. Hall had continued his attendance; as it was the poor man seemed to have had both too little and too much medical advice. He was sorry that he was obliged to speak of Mr. Owen’s interference in the way he had, but it was his duty to do so, and he was anxious to take every public opportunity of protesting against the interference of unauthorised medical practitioners.

A verdict of ‘Accidental death’ was then returned. 

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Martha Fair Tweddle (Stratford)

Martha Tweddle
My great, great grandmother, Martha Fair was baptised in Stockton's parish church on 10th January 1823, the fourth daughter of William Fair and Ann Jackson. William (a butcher) and Ann had married in the same church on 31 January 1814 and had eight children, seven girls and a boy: Mary, Jane, Ann, Martha, Sarah, Isabella, Priscilla and William Jackson Fair. 

Martha married John Tweddle (a solicitor) on 14 August 1840 at Bishopwearmouth by licence - Martha was still a minor. And an orphaned minor at that - the marriage bond was signed by a Robert Fair.

I found her in the 1840 census in the household of William and Mary Laing (grocer) in New Elvet Durham. John Tweddell, in 1841 was in Durham Gaol and House of Correction - a prisoner. I had wondered whether that was some sort of mistake - he was an attorney after all - but no, other cousins have done much research and found evidence that although he was a solicitor, Tweddell was also a crook. 

Their first two children, Anne and George were born in London, daughter Mary back in Stockton and a son, John was born in 1850 (about whom I currently have no further details. Martha doesn't show up anywhere in the 1851 census but whether that's due to mistranscriptions or evasion, none of us are sure. John Tweddell is living in York Street in Stockton with his daughter, Mary aged 4. The other children are living with their Tweddle grandparents. We have no trace of John after this.

And what of Martha?

My great grandmother, Hannah was born on 27 March 1854 in Drypool, Hull. The father was named as Bryan Stratford (occupation, millwright), the mother, Martha Stratford, formerly Fair.
Margaret was born in Houghton-le-Spring in March 1857, Sarah in Stockton in 1860 and William, also in Stockton in 1862.

For some reason, in 1861, the family was in Leeds, boarding in Brick Street with a family called O'Reilly. Perhaps at this point, Bryan was still working (Bryan will have an entry of his own, later when all will become clear).

In 1871, Bryan is living in lodgings in Housewife Lane, Stockton; Martha and the 4 children (and 2 Welsh puddler lodgers) are in York Street, Thornaby

In 1881, Bryan is in the Stockton Workhouse; Martha, now styling herself 'solicitor's widow' is in Queen Street East, Thornaby with her son, William and a niece, Elizabeth Westerman.

In 1891, Martha is in Hutchinson Street, living on her own means and sharing the house with a Welsh family.

Martha died on 11 October 1899 at 29 Hind Street, Stockton (was this her own address?) and her occupation is listed as Widow of John Tweddell, Solicitor. At 76, her cause of death was 'Old Age. Congestion of lungs'. The informant was Sarah Bailey, daughter, present at the death.

I just want to go back to the children she had by John Tweddle; Anne married William Hogg in 1888 but died in Sedgefield Asylum of 'mania' in 1919; William died in an accident at Shildon Works in 1861.

Mary married Richard Brown Hall in 1868; Richard was the son of George Hall and my great, great aunt, Jane Brown who married in June 1842. Strange when two branches of the family come together!  George (a grocer) died of typhus in October 1843, Jane, of dropsy, in 1853. Mary died in 1882 (aged 36) of phthisis (we know this as TB nowadays), Richard in 1900 of renal disease and cardiac disease.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Mary Jane Agar

I've been able to follow Mary Jane Agar a little further. Mary Jane was also known as Polly. There's a whole blog in the offing about names people are known by...why on earth are women called Mary Jane known as Polly?, how does Margaret become Peggy?, Henry become Harry? etc etc

Anyway, knowing that my Gran, Stella was fond of her Aunt Polly (Mary Jane Agar) leads me to think that she must have met up with her at some point and Gran lived in Hartlepool.

As we know, Polly was 'in service' and at one time was in the household of the son of Titus Salt but I've 'lost' her in between the 1891 census and her death in 1926. I'm not sure why I thought to look for  a death in Hartlepool but might have helped but I do have a death certificate now.

From thinking a couple of years ago that she might have been pretty much on her own, being an illegitimate child, it cheered me very much to see that when she died, she was living in the household of her half sister Hannah (of whom, much more to come) in Hartlepool and her death was reported by her half brother, Robert. 

The death certificate lists her occupation as: Spinster. Daughter of Elizabeth Agar, the widow of Robert Stonehouse, Innkeeper (deceased). The informant was Robert Stonehouse, halfbrother, In Attendance. She wasn't alone.

I didn't know any of this until I bought the death certificate. How much other family history have I missed?

Saturday, 26 December 2015

It's been how long?

Well, nearly two years! So much has happened, I moved back to England -I now live in Long Eaton, Derbyshire and work at Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham and there are even family links here!

Soon, I'm going to catch up with a few of the personalities I've already mentioned where new information has come to light and introduce you to a few others - some whole new branches of the family tree. 

I'm going to look at some themes; shopkeepers, musicians, sportsmen, railwaymen, clergymen,  a couple of mysteries (brickwalls), some international connections and maybe some Armed Forces stories (although that might be a whole new Blog). 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Burdett Lambton Brown

Burdett was baptised in Washington, Co Durham in November of 1820 and first appears in the census of 1841 living in the household of his brother (or so it appears due to the ages given) George, possibly George's wife, Catherine and their son, Anthony - relationships are given in the 1841 census. George is a smith (like their father Ralph) and Burdett is an engineer. Why Burdett? It's a tradition in that part of the north east for some families to 'protect' surnames by using them as given names and I suspect that is the case here.

Burdett married Ann Morgan in 1844; she was the daughter of an engine driver. They had two children, Jane and Hannah but Ann died in 1849. By this time, the family was in Chepstow, Monmouthshire.  Burdett returned to the north-east of England to marry his second wife, my great, great aunt, Elizabeth Mary Brown.
I suspect these two are cousins, because of the coincidences elsewhere in the family of the surnames they used for given names for their children, but I need to do more research on this.

Their fist child was Ralph Lambton Brown, then Lizzie Sarah, Mary Oughton Brown, George P(hilip?) and Thomas Lumsden Brown (not to be confused with my great great grandfather of the same name, Elizabeth's youngest brother).Ralph and Lizzie were both born in Chepstow, Mary in Newport (also Monmouthshire), George in West Bromwich (Staffordshire, modern day West Midlands) and Tom in Wednesbury Staffs, now West Midlands). The family moved a lot with Burdett's profession.

Catching up with the family via censuses, in 1851 they were living in Chepstow and Burdett's profession is given as practical engineer. In 1861 in Wednesbury and Burdett is manager & engineer (but where is Ralph? At school somewhere?).

In December of 1861, John James Russell (as far as I know, no relation!) of the Crown Tube Works, Wednesbury in the county of Stafford, Patent Tube manufacturer and Burdett Lambton Brown of the same place, Engineer in the employ of the said JJR applied for, and were granted,  a patent 'for an invention for improvements in apparatus used in the manufacture of taper tubes'.  You can find more information about the Crown Tube Works at:

In 1871, at the same Church Hill address, Burdett is 'Wrought Iron Tube manufacturer employing 35 men and 16 boys'; Ralph has re-appeared an at the age of 19 is a wrought tube maker and they have a domestic servant. Their daughter, Mary, died later that year.

Lizzie Sarah married Samuel Hodgson in 1875, a clergyman and judging by later censuses and the birthplaces of their children, they travelled round a lot! I need to look him up in a Crockford's! I wonder if this relationship had an effect on Tom? Lizzie and Samuel's second child, William Hope Hodgson became an author and is now recognised as an important pioneer of 'modern imaginative fiction' (see: but you'll need a subscription)

George married Jane Jones in Wednesbury in 1879 and settled in nearby Walsall and became a bank clerk

By 1881 the remaining family had moved on again and were living in Hanover Square, Leeds; Burdett is an agent to a wrought iron tube depot and Ralph is a clerk to a wrought iron tube depot. Tom, who always seems to have been called Tom and not Thomas, was listed as being a theological student.

Burdett died in Leeds in February 1888 and Elizabeth and Ralph remained there sharing their home until  at least 1911. In 1891, at the census they are joined briefly by a Mary Holwell, the sister of Amelia Holwell who had married Tom who by then had been ordained as an Anglican priest and was living in Monkwearmouth (and I do have his entry from Crockford's)

Ralph died in 1914 in Leeds; the informant of his death was Tom so I don't know if Elizabeth was still living at this point. I suppose that street directories will need to be consulted if I want to take this any further or maybe cemetery records but Elizabeth Brown is quite a common name especially in a city the size of Leeds.

A really interesting sideline that make family history so rewarding!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Finding Timothy

While making arrangements for Mum's funeral, I had to go into Cardiff City Library to access an attachment to an e-mail I'd received (it was PowerPoint which I can't currently open on my PC). Since I'd booked the computer for an hour, I thought I'd use the time to use '' which I don't have a subscription for but you can access in most libraries. Findmypast and Ancestry have different resources so it's often a question of subscribing to one rather than both (at least for those of us on a budget)

Anyway, findmypast have Parish Burial Records and as a reader of this blog may remember, I've had trouble finding my ggg grandfather, Timothy Jones, the first of my blacksmithing Joneses. And there he was in the records for St Llonio, Llandinam (Montgomeryshire):

Timothy Jones, abode Kerry, buried 28 Jan 1824 aged 35

Which of course begs a few questions! Why was he buried in Llandinam when his abode was Kerry? Was he visiting Llandinam - there's a smithy there, was he working there? Did he die in Llandinam? Why didn't they take him home to Kerry?

One mystery solved, another takes its place


I've been quiet for a while as I've come to terms with the loss of my Mum; she passed away on 22 March. At some point, I'll bring myself to complete her dates on Ancestry but in the meantime, it's rather nice to still see her as 'living'.

Hers was the death certificate I least wanted to receive and on my family tree - the basic one that just includes the blood line - I'm the only one left living. And oddly (or not, perhaps someone else can comment on this) since I've just written a new tree out to sit on the wall near my desk, the vast majority of that direct line died in the first half of the year (February, March and April are particularly bad months for Family Russell-Jones). Is that reversed in the southern hemisphere I wonder?

At least now there's a new opportunity to get the family headstone restored and updated; Mam's ashes are being interred with her parents (and there'll still be room for me when I'm gone) so we can make sure they're properly identified and commemorated.

Sad times.