What started me on my family history search was a handwritten family tree which I found in a cupboard in my father’s study.  There were several separate sheets detailing families of the Powells and the Jones’ with extra names such as Bright, Deakin and Bromley.  I loved a puzzle so set to work filling in those gaps.

Over the years, I’ve filled in many of the gaps, while also embarking on searches of other branches of my family.

Today, I was going over what I had on paper in my ringbinder and comparing it to what I had on my online tree and ticking off those I had and making a note to add those that I didn’t have (with searches for confirmation).

The very first note was to do with the Bright family, to check that I had Richard Bright and Thomas Bright, sons of Thomas and Martha.  Martha was a Powell.  Here is the tree as I inherited it.


You can see that as it stands, it wasn’t very useful.  Some time ago I discovered that the question mark who married a Bright was Martha Powell.  She married Thomas Bright in 1849 at Church Pulverbatch in Shropshire.  From a census return I was able to add the names of five children: Martha, George, Thomas, Richard and Ada.  You can see that the only two names my grandmother had were a Patty and a John, neither of which I had found.

Anyway, I did have those two sons included (Richard was Richard Powell Bright, just to be certain it was the right one).  But I wanted to see if I could get the information I had to tarry with the handwritten tree.  So began a day of piecing together the puzzle.

I’d found three sons and two daughters.  I figured one of the daughters must have married a Lee.  It was either Martha or Ada.  I found Ada Charlotte Bright marrying Arthur Lea in 1893.  I also found the birth of Cecil Bright Lea in 1904.  Tick.

I searched for Richard Powell Bright (a farmer) and discovered that he lived at Guilden Down (not Gilded), Clun, Shropshire, and died in 1902, so that accounted for another child on the handwritten tree.  He married Elizabeth (Hamar? I don’t trust the transcript) and they seemed to have had six children including an Ada M (which could be Margaret, shortened to Peggy).  There were four sons, so I don’t know which of them stuttered.

That left the chemist in London, Patty, and John in Broome.

I searched for George Gough Bright and discovered he was a farmer, so he wasn’t the chemist.  I then turned to Thomas and found him in the 1891 census: a dispensing chemist in Middlesex.  Hallelujah!  Yes!

That left Patty and John.  Patty is usually short for Patrick or Patricia, etc, but that didn’t fit.  Then by some miracle I found a forum which mentioned someone by the name of Martha being called Patty.  Apparently “Pattern” is a name used for Martha in Shropshire!  Well that accounted for Patty – it must have been Martha.

That just left John in Broome.  George was the only one left.  He was a farmer, but mostly near Clun, quite some distance from Broome to the south.  However, in 1891 he was in North Lydbury which is just the west of Broome.  Also, he doesn’t appear to have married.  Could he be John?  Just to make it seem more likely, in one of the censuses he is listed as George Jaes (a transcription error for James or Jas?).   James and John are sometimes interchangeable.  This seemed the likely answer.

So a long afternoon solving (some of) the puzzle of one little branch of my grandmother’s tree.  And I haven’t even tackled the rest of the page of notes to tarry my physical records with the online tree.  Plenty still to do.