Tag Archives: personal genealogy

Georgi(a)na HARRISON – my first brick wall

My 2 x great grandmother was Georgi(a)na HARRISON. Her marriage to Thomas BRANNAN was registered in Gateshead in the first quarter of 1884, and her father’s name was George.

Across all censuses post-marriage, her husband varies her age and birthplace slightly each time:

1891 –  Georgina (surname transcribed as BRENNON), aged 26, Georgina’s birthplace given as Surrey, London; Class: RG12; Piece: 4182; Folio 109; Page 22

1901 – Georgiana BRENNAN, age 35, birthplace given as Golwell, London*; Class: RG13; Piece: 4759; Folio: 10; Page: 11

1911 – Georgenia BRENNAN, age 46, birthplace given as simply London; Class: RG14; Piece: 29538

* There is a GOSWELL Road in London

Looking at FreeBMD, there are four births between 1860-70 across all Home Counties (I think, I included Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, London, Middlesex, Oxfordshire, Surrey) that might be her:

Sept 1861
HARRISON Georgina  St James Westminster 1a 327

Jun 1867
HARRISON Georgiana Ethel Kingston 2a 231
Harrison Georgina Ethel Kingston 2a 231

Jun 1868
HARRISON Georgina St. Luke 1b 698

Sep 1869
Harrison Georgiana Agnes Guildford 2a 58

There’s a postem against the Jun 1868 birth saying that one married another man in 1888 so I’m inclined to discount that one.

I have today e-mailed all concerned register offices to see if they will tell me if any of the above births were to a father named George.


Thomas BRENNAN was born in about 1863 in Sunderland, Durham, the son of Peter and Ann (née WRIGHTSON).

On the 1871 Census, Thomas was living at 37 High Southwick with his parents, older sisters Margaret, Maria and Ann, and younger brothers Robert and Peter.

By 1881, Thomas’s father has died, and Ann, Thomas, Robert and Peter have moved to 11 Double Row in Hylton, Durham.

Thomas married Georgi(a)na HARRISON in Gateshead in 1884.

Ilkeston, Derbyshire

Ilkeston is a town within the Borough of Erewash, in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the River Erewash, from which the local borough takes its name. Its population at the 2001 census was 37,550. Its major industries were traditionally coal mining, iron working and lace making / textiles, but these have all but disappeared in the last few decades.

The town is close to both Derby and Nottingham and is near to the M1 motorway. Although Ilkeston lies within Derbyshire, it is closer to Nottingham than it is to Derby. The eastern boundary of Ilkeston is only two miles from Nottingham’s western edge. Ilkeston is considered by the Office for National Statistics to be part of the Nottingham Urban Area.

Sheffield, Yorkshire

Sheffield (i/ˈʃɛfiːld/) is a city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. With some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base. The population of the City of Sheffield is 551,800 (2011 est.) and it is one of the eight largest regional English cities that make up the Core Cities Group. Sheffield is the third largest English district by population. The metropolitan population of Sheffield is 1,569,000.

Paulina GREEN

Paulina GREEN was born in 1849 at Sheffield Union Workhouse, the daughter of Thomas aka John* GREEN and Sarah (née O’LOUGHLIN, later PIKE).

On the 1851 Census, Thomas and Sarah were listed at Spring Street in Sheffield, with Sarah’s two sons Joseph and William Pike, Paulina’s older sister Sarah, two lodgers, James and Jane Broadhurst, and a child named Sarah Plumpton who is listed as granddaughter to the head of the household.

By 1861, Sarah has apparently died – Thomas remarried to a Naomi O’BRIEN the previous year – and the family are living at Maltravers Road in Sheffield.  Joseph is now listed as a Green, Sarah is not with her father but there is also an 8yr old son of Thomas called James, and a 40yr old boarder named Matthew Green who is possibly a brother of Thomas’s.

Paulina married John CHAMBERS in 1870 in Sheffield.

* Paulina’s father’s name is given as Thomas across all censuses, but he is named as John on her marriage certificate.


John CHAMBERS was born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, in about 1849. He was the son of the rather wonderfully named Thomas Mordecai Sherwin Chambers and Charlotte (née SMITH, poor girl!).

He is featured on the 1851 census as the youngest child with three SMITH lodgers, who I believe to be Charlotte’s brother, sister-in-law and nephew, and his older sisters Sabina and Mary.

In the 1861 he is still living with his parents in Ilkeston, along with his sister Mary and 4 younger siblings – Hannah, Thomas, Samuel and William.

He married Paulina GREEN in 1870 in Sheffield. In 1871 the newly married couple were living in what looks to me like Hayle (or Hazle?) Road in Attercliffe-cum-Darnall and  their first child John Thomas arrived the following year.

By 1881, John and Paulina had moved to Worksop, Nottinghamshire, and were living at 112 Potter Street.

In 1891, they were back in Yorkshire, at West Bank in Hoyland.

By 1901, they were still in Hoyland, on Broad Street, where they remained in 1911, at number 3, which went on to be the home of their grandson (Mary Ethel’s son) Albert Lodge. I didn’t know this at the time, but after Albert died, the wake took place at 3 Broad Street.

Tonna, Glamorgan

Tonna (Welsh: Tonnau) is the name of a village and a coterminous electoral ward and community in Neath Port Talbot, Wales, located to the north-east of Neath town, of which it is effectively a suburb. Once mainly agricultural fields, the name derives from the archaic Welsh tonnau, meaning grassland and not, as is sometimes assumed, the modern Welsh for “waves”. Some areas of pasture remain.

Well, I did it…

I gave a reading of ‘Calon Lân’ at my maternal grandmother’s funeral service in Somerset. As one of her sisters had died just before Christmas, and both her (Welsh-speaking) daughters are teachers who didn’t feel they could take more time off work, I was the only person attending my grandmother’s service who felt confident and comfortable enough to give a reading in Welsh. The English translation of ‘Calon Lân’ is ‘Pure Heart’ and the Welsh and English words are posted below:

Nid wy’n gofyn bywyd moethus,
Aur y byd na’i berlau mân:
Gofyn wyf am galon hapus,
Calon onest, calon lân.Calon lân yn llawn daioni,
Tecach yw na’r lili dlos:
Dim ond calon lân all ganu
Canu’r dydd a chanu’r nos.

Pe dymunwn olud bydol,
Hedyn buan ganddo sydd;
Golud calon lân, rinweddol,
Yn dwyn bythol elw fydd.


Hwyr a bore fy nymuniad
Gwyd i’r nef ar adain cân
Ar i Dduw, er mwyn fy Ngheidwad,
Roddi i mi galon lân.


I don’t ask for a luxurious life,
the world’s gold or its fine pearls,
I ask for a happy heart,
an honest heart, a pure heart.A pure heart full of goodness
Is fairer than the pretty lily,
None but a pure heart can sing,
Sing in the day and sing in the night.

If I wished for worldly wealth,
It would swiftly go to seed;
The riches of a virtuous, pure heart
Will bear eternal profit.


Evening and morning, my wish
Rising to heaven on the wing of song
For God, for the sake of my Saviour,
To give me a pure heart.