Monthly Archives: December 2014

Alice Elizabeth COLEMAN

Alice was one of my great-grandmothers. She was born on Christmas Eve 1878 to George and Emily (née Freeman), in Northiam, Sussex.

In 1881, the 2 year old Alice was living with her parents and older siblings, Samuel aged 7 and Lucy aged 3, at the Smith’s Shop in Northiam. Also in the household were 2 servants who worked for George and a mystery 8 year old girl, Alice Jenkins, listed as visitor.

By 1891, the family were living at Laurel House on Main Street, Northiam – visiting them was Emily A Freeman aged 24. I think she must be related to my great great grandmother, as Emily Coleman’s maiden name was Freeman, but I have as yet been unable to find the link.

In 1901, Alice had moved out of the family home, and was a live-in barmaid at the Royal Hotel in Hastings. I believe that it must have been at around this time that she met my great-grandfather John Goodwyn Jefferson, because they married the following year.

By 1911, Alice and John were living at 3 South Street, St Leonards on Sea, Sussex. They had 3 children, Hilda Alice (aged 7), 6 year old John Coleman and Phyllis Kathleen aged 1. I also know that at this time, Alice and John would have been expecting the pitter-patter of tiny feet again – my maternal grandfather was born in October 1911.

John Goodwyn JEFFERSON

John was one of my great-grandfathers. He was born in the third quarter of 1881 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, son of John and Harriett (née Bates).

By the time the 1891 census was taken, overnight between March 31/April 1, the 9 year old John was living in Luton, Bedfordshire with his parents (both aged 37) and sister – Margaret A (aged 11) and 6 month old Janet.

In 1901, John was boarding in St Leonards, Sussex, with John and Constance Wallis, working as a bicycle salesman. It must have been at around this time that he met his future wife, Alice COLEMAN, as she was working as a servant at the Royal Hotel in Hastings; by early the following year they were married.

John and Alice had 6 children between 1903 and 1913. My great aunt Hilda Alice (born in 1903) died in 1937, my great uncle John Coleman (born in 1905) died in 1940, and my grandfather Maurice Herbert (born 1911) and great uncle Alec Hugh (born 1913) both died in 1996.


Maud was one of my great-grandmothers. She was born in the third quarter of 1886 to Thomas and Jemimah (née Bradley), and her birth was registered in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

In 1891, the 2 year old Maud was at home (near the Milton Brampton Iron Works in Hoyland Nether) with her parents, aged 27 and 23, and her uncle Arthur – her mother’s brother, aged 32 – who was visiting at the time of the census.

By 1901, the family were living at 12 High Street, Hoyland, and 12 yr old Maud had been joined by two siblings – George aged 9 and Marion aged 7.

They were still at 12 High Street in 1911, with no further additions to the family.

Maud’s marriage to George Arthur Chambers was registered in Barnsley in the first quarter of 1913.

Cathcart, Lanarkshire

This is a map of the location of Cathcart.

Cathcart is an area of Glasgow between Mount Florida, King’s Park, Muirend and Newlands, situated less than a mile from the Scottish national stadium at Hampden Park. The White Cart Water flows through Cathcart, downstream from Linn Park. In 2014, Cathcart was rated one of the most attractive postcode areas to live in Scotland.

Originally part of the Burgh of Govan in Renfrewshire, most of the ancient parish was annexed by the City of Glasgow in 1912, but it retains a distinct local identity. Cathcart is mainly a residential area, containing a mix of tenements, terraces and villas built from red or blonde sandstone. There are some historic buildings, including the Couper Institute (a public hall and library) and the Snuff Mill.

George Arthur CHAMBERS

George Arthur Chambers was the eighth of ten children born to John Chambers and Paulina Green. He was born in 1886 in Barnsley, Yorkshire, and appears there on the 1891 Census with his parents, four brothers (John Thomas born in 1871, Joseph in 1873, Charles in 1878, all in Attercliffe; and Albert, born 1888 in Barnsley) and four sisters (Annie born in 1875, Beatrice born in 1877, both in Attercliffe, Yorkshire; Paulina Maud born 1881 and Ada born 1884, both in Worksop, Nottinghamshire). John and his two eldest sons were Coal Miners.

Ten years later, John and Paulina were still in Barnsley; – John was still a miner. John Thomas, Joseph, Annie and Beatrice had all left home, and Charles, Paulina Maud, Ada, George and Albert had been joined by Mary Ethel, John and Paulina’’s youngest daughter (born in 1892 in Barnsley), and Ernest, who was listed as Grandson of John and Paulina. I ordered his birth certificate, and found that he was the illegitimate son of Beatrice. It is believed that he was the product of an incestuous affair between Joseph and Beatrice.

John Thomas married Mary Ann Hunter in 1893 – by 1901 they had three daughters: Eva Mary, Elizabeth Annie and Ethel May; Joseph married Isabella Staniforth in 1899 in Sheffield, Yorkshire – baby Phyllis was born just before the 1901 census; Annie married Albert Penty in 1899 in Barnsley; and Beatrice married Benjamin Townsend in 1898 in Barnsley – their son Joel was born the following year.

The 1911 Census for John Chambers Sr. threw up something of a mystery: he is listed, with Ada, George, Albert, Mary and Ernest… but where is Paulina? I checked the census returns for the older children, and found her visiting Benjamin and Beatrice – who by now had had 3 daughters in addition to Joel: Paulina (born in 1901), Elsie (born in 1904) and Tizzy/Lizzie (born in 1909). Also with the Townsends was Beatrice’s widowed sister, Paulina Maud. She had married Frederick Smith Hague in 1904 in Barnsley, but just six years later he was dead.

John Thomas and Mary had a 5 year old son, also named John Thomas; by 1911 – Eva had left home and was working as a live in maid in Barnsley.

Joseph and Isabella had moved to Fernie, in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada, with Phyllis, and they had another 2 daughters by 1911, both Canadian-born -– 5 year old Doris and 3 year old Gladys. Annie and Albert were still living in Hoyland. Charles married Ada Maude in 1907 in Halifax; by 1911 they were living in Birdwell, Barnsley. George married Maud Burgin in 1913 and they had six children, one of whom was my paternal grandfather, Horace Chambers.

So far, I have only found military records for Joseph and Albert. Joseph served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in WW1, and Albert fought as part of the Royal Army Medical Corps. I believe Joseph made it safely through, but alas the same cannot be said of Albert. He was gassed only 8 months before the end of the War, and is buried in a war cemetery at Étaples, about 65km south-west of Calais on the northern French coast.

Albert’’s service record gives address details for all his siblings -– both his parents were dead, and Ada was his Next of Kin as of October 1919: John Thomas lived at Hill Street, Elsecar; Joseph was in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Charles lived on Sheffield Road, Birdwell; George lived at High Street, Hoyland; Annie lived on Broad Street, Hoyland; Beatrice was living at 1 Wilton Lane, Holmes, Rotherham; Paulina had married a Joseph Laycock in 1916 in Rotherham and was living at 5 Florence Road, Masborough, Rotherham. Ada’s address was given as ‘The Infirmary, Strood, Rochester, Kent’, and Mary Ethel’s home address was given as 3 Broad Street, Hoyland. Mary Ethel, known as Meth, married a William Lodge in 1916 in Barnsley and they had a son, Albert, in 1918, who was also born in Barnsley.

Gateshead, Durham

This is a map of the location of Newcastle and Gateshead. This post was inspired by a comment from a friend of a second cousin of mine in Canada who assumed that our great grandfather, David Harrison BRENNAN, was a Geordie because he came from Gateshead.

*I* thought that only people from Newcastle were classed as Geordies – so I did some Googling and it appears I am wrong!

Gateshead’s Wikipedia entry states that “the town of Gateshead is situated in the North East of England in the ceremonial county of Tyne and Wear, and within the historic boundaries of County Durham. It is located on the southern bank of the River Tyne at a latitude of 54.57° N and a longitude of 1.35° W. Gateshead experiences a temperate climate which is considerably warmer than some other locations at similar latitudes as a result of the warming influence of the Gulf Stream (via the North Atlantic drift). It is located in the rain shadow of the North Pennines and is therefore in one of the driest regions of the United Kingdom.”

“One of the most distinguishing features of Gateshead is its topography. The land rises 230 feet from Gateshead Quays to the town centre and continues rising to a height of 525 feet at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Sheriff Hill.This is in contrast to the flat and low lying Team Valley located on the western edges of town. The high elevations allow for impressive views over the Tyne valley into Newcastle and across Tyneside to Sunderland and the North Sea from lookouts in Windmill Hills and Windy Nook respectively.”

“The Office for National Statistics defines the town as an urban sub-division which largely shares the same boundaries as the historic pre-1974 County Borough of Gateshead.However, the administrative divisions of the larger Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead do not correspond to these borders, meaning the town is almost entirely indistinguishable from surrounding areas in regards to local governance.”

“Unofficially speaking, the town of Gateshead typically refers to the urban area directly to the south of Newcastle City Centre as well as various surrounding suburbs. Felling, Heworth, Pelaw and Bill Quay, in a separate ONS urban sub-division and not part of the historical County Borough, are sometimes considered to be within the town of Gateshead due to their closeness to the town centre and because they are in the same contiguous urban area.”

“Given the proximity of Gateshead to Newcastle, just south of the River Tyne from the city centre, it is sometimes referred to as being a part of Newcastle. Gateshead Council and Newcastle City Council teamed up in 2000 to create a unified marketing brand name, NewcastleGateshead, to better promote the Tyneside conurbation. When outside the North East of England a resident of Gateshead would most likely say they are from Newcastle, as it is largest and most recognised city in the region. Within the North East however, they would usually state that they live in Gateshead or more specifically give their neighbourhood within the town, such as Deckham or Dunston, for example.”


Janet was born on 7th May 1891 at 16 Lamb Street, Glasgow, to Robert and Annie (née McGunnigal).

I believe that by 1911 she was living south of the border. Having been unable to trace a Janet Conway of the right age either side of the border, there is a Glasgow-born Jenny Conway of roughly the right age listed on the English 1911 in Huddersfield working as a nurse in an asylum.

Janet, who had already fallen pregnant with a baby girl, married David Harrison BRENNAN in Darlington in the first quarter of 1916; and they went on to have another 3 daughters, among them my paternal grandmother.

David Harrison BRENNAN

David was one of my great-grandfathers. He was born on 30 July 1892 and baptised three and a half weeks later in Gateshead, Durham, to Thomas and Georgiana (née Harrison).

At the time the 1901 census was taken, overnight between March 31/April 1, the 8 year old David was living in Gateshead with his parents and siblings – Thomas W (14), Sarah A (10), William S (5), Robert (3) and 2yo John.

By 1911 (the census having been taken on Sunday 2 April), the family had moved to 11 Oakland Gardens, Harrowgate, and had been enlarged by another 3 children – George aged 8, 6 year old Georgina and Violet (3).

David signed up to join the British Army in October 1915, enlisting in the Royal Engineers – he again gave his home address as 11 Oakland Gardens.

Shortly after joining up, he married Janet Conway, who had already fallen pregnant with their eldest daughter! The marriage was registered in Darlington in the first quarter of 1916; and they went on to have another 3 daughters, among them my paternal grandmother. David died in 1981 in Sheffield, almost 3 weeks after his 89th birthday.

So, where *do* I come from?

I was born in February 1979, 2 and a half weeks after my father’s 30th birthday, six days before my due date – which also happened to be my mother’s 33rd birthday – in a city in the northwest of England called Chester, although I grew up just over the Welsh border. In fact I now live less than 3 miles from the house my parents brought me (eventually… but that’s another story!) home to when I was first born.

BUT… neither myself nor my parents have any ancestral links to the northwest… my father was born and raised in Yorkshire, as was his father before him; and my mother was born in Surrey and raised in Somerset.

So although the northwest has always been my home, I always dread answering one of the first questions that comes up when I meet someone new – “Where are you from?” Do they mean “Where do you live?” or “Where were you born?” … often I add a third option into the equation – “Where do you feel at home?” The answer to this third question is simple – God’s own county of Yorkshire. I went to university in Preston, Lancashire, and loved it, but if you cut me I bleed white not red 🙂 I visited my father’s middle sister near Barnsley recently, and heaved a sigh of relief as she drove us back from Manchester over the Pennines.

As the year comes to a close…

…I’ve been starting to think more about trying to make my dream of self-employed genealogist a reality. I’ve recently completed an on-line blogging mini-course run by Stacy Rust which was really great, and it has really inspired me to become more of a business blogger going into the next year. She also recently ran a webinar on finding your target market which I was unfortunately unable to attend live, so I look forward to watching that soon.