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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 http://www.durhamrecordsonline.com/ 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).