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Now I start getting back to the eighteenth century, starting with Richard Powell, who was born about 1791 in Bromfield, Shropshire. I haven’t been able to find a baptism. The closest found was a Richard on 23 September 1792 at Clunbury (a 3 hour walk away from Bromfield, in present times), son of William and Mary.  As there are no Williams among Richard’s children it doesn’t seem likely (but not impossible). I wouldn’t’ be surprised if Richard’s father was Richard (there are a lot of them). So, unfortunately, for now, this will be as far back that I can go with the Powells.

Richard married Martha Harris on 9 January 1818 at Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire, the place of Martha’s birth. Martha would have been born about 1792. I haven’t been able to find her baptism either.

The first child, Martha Eliza, was born about 1819 at “The Poles”, baptised on 4 August in Bromfield, Shropshire. When I found my grandmother’s handwritten family tree she had at the top “Powell, The Poles”. For years I couldn’t figure out what “the poles” meant and thought perhaps that it indicated how Powell was pronounced.  Years later, I was told it was a rural area within Shropshire, but maps seemed to place it far to the north of Bromfield. Then I found this.

 

Polesfromshropshirehistory_org_uk

From search.shropshirehistory.org.uk

Perhaps there was an earlier farmhouse (Richard was a farmer) as the above building dates from the mid-19th century.

The next child born was Charlotte, estimated to have been born around 1822, but baptised on 7 August 1824 in Bromfield. Following Charlotte was Ann (bear with me, there were nine children). Ann, born at the Poles, was baptised on 7 May 1823. Then the first boy was born in 1825, Richard, baptised on 16 September. Sadly, he died just three months later, and was buried on 5 December. The following year brought more sadness to the family as another daughter, Mary, baptised on 24 September 1824, was buried on 29 September.

There may or may not have been more children before another boy, also called Richard, was born in 1830. The family had moved northwest to Lydham, nearer to Martha’s birthplace. Richard was baptised on 27 June in Lydham.  Following Richard was another girl, another Mary, baptised on 27 November 1831 in Lydham. Two more girls were born: Sarah, baptised 3 February 1833; and Susan, baptised 20 July 1834. Sadly, she also died, buried on 17 April 1835. So Richard was the only surviving boy in a family of (six surviving) girls.

In the 1841 census the family were living at Lydham village, Richard a farmer. The surviving children were listed except for Charlotte. She may have been working as a servant somewhere. There was a Charlotte living with Elizabeth Harris at St Chad (who may or may not be an aunt) along with some other unrelated girls of the same age.

Ann married John Harris on 14 November 1843 at Lydham. Sadly, Sarah died in 1847 and was buried in Lydham on 22 February, aged only about 14.  The eldest daughter, Martha, married Thomas Bright on 12 April 1849 at Church Pulverbatch, Shropshire. This is where I had a hallelujah moment as my grandmother’s tree had ? marrying ? Bright followed by a list of five children, three of whom were named. (I found those five children and was able to confirm from my grandmother’s descriptions, eg “chemist London”, or “died a bachelor”. It was a wonderful feeling.)

Sometime between 1841 and probably 1849 the family moved to the Church Pulverbatch region. In the 1851 census they were living at Walleybourne in the parish of Wrentnall near Church Pulverbatch. Richard was a farmer of 250 acres employing one labourer occasionally. Despite that, living with them were a number of people: a dairy maid, a housemaid, two farm labourers, a waggoner and his boy, and a cow man. Also visiting was John Rhees, age 20, a nephew. Richard may have had a sister called Martha who married a Thomas Rhees, or certainly, if not that couple (who married in 1807 which seems too early) then a sister who married a Rhees (also a farmer). Living with Richard and Martha were Charlotte, Richard, and Mary.

Sadly, Ann died in 1855, at the age of about 32. She left a husband and five children, the youngest being four years old. Richard married Catherine Jones in 1858 at Church Pulverbatch. I don’t know what happened to Charlotte – whether she married or died.

So in 1861 there was just Richard and Martha living at Sydnall cottage, Pulverbatch, Richard a farmer of just 16 acres. Visiting them were grandchildren, Richard and Margaret Harris (the now motherless children of Ann). There was also a house servant. Richard’s age was put at 80 but according to previous census returns he would have been 70 (and was about the same age as Martha). He can’t have aged 20 years from 1851 to 1861.

Richard died on 15 July 1862 at Sydnall cottage. The probate of 1863 reads:

Powell Richard, effects under £2000

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Martha lived for another 11 years. In 1871 she was living with her daughter, Martha, and her family in Clun. Her son-in-law, Thomas Bright, was a farmer of 220 acres employing three labourers.

Martha died a couple of years later and was buried on 23 August 1873 at Church Pulverbatch.

 

Sources: family archives; findmypast; familysearch; searchshropshirehistory.org.uk; probatesearch

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.

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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.

Catherine Jones was born on 27 September 1834 in Church Pulverbatch, Shropshire.  She was the daughter of Richard Jones, farmer, and Anne Phillips.  She was possibly the youngest of 13 or 14 children, although my grandmother’s original handwritten tree says 15 children (without listing them) so I appear to have one more to find.

Church Pulverbatch used to be a market town but is now only a small village.  Occasionally the records say Pulverbatch which I found a little confusing, but apparently they are two villages less than half a mile apart.

Catherine wasn’t baptised until 12 March 1840, along with her sister, Frances, born in 1833.  In 1841, Catherine and four siblings and parents were living at Castle Place in the parish of Church Pulverbatch.  Four servants were also listed, along with Catherine’s maternal uncle.

In 1851, Catherine, and her sister, Sarah, were visiting their older sister, Elizabeth, who was living with her new husband, Thomas Mansell, and Elizabeth’s three daughters from a previous marriage, at Hopton Castle to the south of Shropshire.  Thomas Mansell was also a farmer.

Catherine married Richard Powell, a farmer’s son, on 15 April 1858 in Church Pulverbatch.  I assume they married in St Edith’s church.

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A card from the family archives

They continued to live in Church Pulverbatch until 1864.  During that time Catherine gave birth to four children: Fanny Elizabeth in 1859; Annie Marie in 1860; Henry Jones in 1861; and Richard Phillips in 1863.  In 1861 they were living at Walleybourne farm in Pulverbatch, but in 1864 or thereabouts, moved to Condover.

Catherine had four more children: Kate born in 1864; John Phillips in 1866; Emilie in 1868; and Francis Edward in 1870.  Unfortunately for the family, Richard (then an innkeeper) died in September 1870, leaving Catherine with eight children under 12 years of age.  Catherine continued to run the Condover Arms Inn, and is listed in the 1871 census, as the innkeeper, with her eight children.

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The worthy hostess, Mrs Powell

What an amazing and tenacious woman she must have been.

By the 1881 census, however, the family had moved to Rhyl in North Wales.  Catherine was a lodginghouse keeper at 3 Aquarium Street, but with only four children listed.

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Google streetview of Aquarium Street from no. 3?

Where were the other four?  Henry, age 19, was a footman at Perry Hall in Birmingham.  He was working for ACG Calthorpe, Sheriff of Staffordshire, and family.

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Perry Hall, 1907 (demolished in 1931)

Richard, age 18, was lodging at Minsterley, Shropshire and was a clerk at a railway station.  Kate, age 16, was visiting her aunt, Frances Wilkes, wife of a farmer, in Uffington, Shropshire.  Emilie, sadly, was at the Wolverhampton Orphan Asylum at the age of 13.

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Hopefully it was just a temporary measure.  Emilie died just two years later, thankfully not at the asylum.  She had died at her brother, John’s, place in Abbey Street in Rhyl.  She had chronic Bright’s disease (a kidney disease) and pthsisis (pulmonary tuberculosis, or consumption).  So sad.

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Card from family archives

In 1889, Catherine’s son, Richard, married Henrietta Goodwin in Rhyl.  In 1891 Catherine was a lodginghouse keeper at 30 Abbey Street in Rhyl, living with her eldest daughter, Fanny, and (now) youngest, Kate.  Fanny married Alfred Miller later that year.

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Folded card from family archives

John married Charlotte Bromley just after the census in April 1891.  Kate married William Asher in Rhyl on 1 September in 1892.  Sadly, her younger brother, Francis, died on 26 December in Rhyl.  He died of tuberculosis.

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Card from family archives

Henry, meanwhile, had been promoted to butler at Perry Hall.

In 1900 John’s wife, Charlotte died.  He married Fanny Bromley in 1908.  She was Charlotte’s second cousin.  The couple sailed to Manitoba, Canada and their son was born there, in 1908.  They were still there in 1911.

In 1901 Catherine was visiting Kate and her family of three girls in Shrewsbury.  In 1911 she was living with her son, Richard, and his wife and daughter, along with a boarder, in Manchester.  Richard was an unemployed bookkeeper and his wife a machinist.

Catherine died on 21 November 1915 at the age of 81 in Shropshire, a good age.  Unfortunately, my younger self didn’t enter the source of this information, but a search on the registers does confirm the date of the last quarter of 1915.  Another certificate to order.

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Catherine Jones 1834-1915

 

Sources: family archives; genuki.org.uk; wikipedia; wikimedia commons; British newspaper archives; Google; birminghamimages.org.uk; childrenshomes.org.uk

Richard Powell was born in 1830 in Lydham, Shropshire.  He was baptised on 27 June that year.  He was the son of Richard Powell, a farmer, and Martha Harris.  He was one of nine children (at least two of whom died in infancy).  His only brother, who was born five years before him, was also named Richard but died that same year (1825).

Lydham is a small village in the south-western part of Shropshire, right near the border with Wales.  It must be a fairly insignificant place as I can’t find much information about it, although it appears to be quite ancient, mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1087 as having a priest, a church, and a mill.  Perhaps not much has changed.

In 1841, Richard was living with his four siblings and parents in Lydham (no specific address).  By 1851 the family had moved to Walleybourne in the parish of Wrentnall near Church Pulverbatch, Shropshire.  Richard’s father was a farmer of 250 acres.

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A search for Walleybourne just results in websites about bronze age artifacts from “the Walleybourne” (is it a valley, a river?) and a description of Walleybourne farmhouse, a listed building (with no photograph).  Did the family live there?

Richard was about 19 years old during the 1851 census, and simply listed as a farmer’s son.  Presumably he helped out.  Seven years later he married Catherine Jones of Church Pulverbatch on 15 April 1858.  He was listed as a farmer of full age.

In 1859 their first child, Fanny, was born, then in 1860 Annie was born.  On census night, 1861, Henry Jones Powell had just been born (one day old).  On the census form his name is written as Richard J.  (Henry’s brother, Richard, wasn’t born until two years later.) I had got Henry’s birth date from a fellow researcher as 9th April.  However, census night in 1861 was on 7th April, so he must’ve been born around 6th April.  Just a little confusing there.

In 1861 Richard was a farmer of 212 acres at Walleybourne, taking over most of his father’s farm.  He was employing two men and three boys.

Richard’s father died in 1862.  Richard junior was born in 1863 in Church Pulverbatch.  Between March of that year and October 1864, the family had moved to Condover.

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For some reason Richard had given up the farm at Church Pulverbatch.

I’m not sure what he did in Condover up until 1870.  Unfortunately, no mention is made of Richard in newspapers in Condover between 1864 and 1870. His wife, Catherine, gave birth to four more children: Kate, John, Emily and Francis.

In January of 1870, Elizabeth Wood, landlady of the Condover Arms Inn died, and I think Richard took over at that time.  There were quite a number of auctions held at the Condover Arms but no mention of Richard between January and his sudden and early death on 10th September at the age of 40.  Such a short life.  He died of “dropsy”, an old word for oedema which is fluid retention, which seems an unlikely cause of death, but I guess it affected his heart, or he had heart problems to begin with.  His death certificate said he died at the Condover Arms and was the innkeeper.  I have found no death notice or probate for him.  His young son, Francis, was just one month old.

I turn to Catherine in the next post.

Sources: “Domesday Reloaded” BBC; placenames.org.uk; Google; findmypast; British newspaper archive; family archives

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I’m having a frustrating time trying to get beyond Richard Powell, born around 1791 in, he says, Bromfield, Shropshire.

I can only find two likely Richard Powells, neither of whom was born or baptised in Bromfield. One was baptised in Clunbury on 23 September 1792, son of William and Mary.  The other was baptised in Chirbury on 8 January 1792, son of John and Sarah.  Which one, if either?  Richard did not name any of his children William or John but he does have a Mary and Sarah (common names anyway).

I searched for any Powells baptised in Bromfield about that time (+- 5 years) and came up with just four:

Jane 15 May 1796, daughter of John and Martha; Joseph 6 October 1793, son of John and Martha; Mary 16 December 1787 daughter of Jeremiah and Martha; Mary 13 January 1788 daughter of Jeremiah and Martha.

This doesn’t really help.

In the 1851 census he has a nephew visiting – a John Rhees.  So he must have had a sister who married a Rhees.  So I searched for a Powell marrying a Rhees (or Rees).  Unfortunately, there are a lot, mostly (as you’d expect) in Wales.  I limited the search to Shropshire and the only likely one is Martha Powell marrying Thomas Reese on 13 December 1807 in St Leonard, Bridgnorth, Shropshire.  Witnesses include Richard Phillips and Elizabeth Jones, names that appear in my family (but no link here).  Tantalising.

I then did a search for the 1841 census for the Reese family but no results for Shropshire.  The only likely candidates were Thomas (a labourer) and Martha Rees born 1791 and 1796 respectively, with a son, John, and two other children but all, apparently, born in Pembrokeshire.  In the 1851 census, John’s birth place is Montgomeryshire and his father is a farmer.  I searched for Thomas and/or Martha in the 1851 census for Pembrokeshire, Montgomeryshire or Shropshire but none of the Thomas’ found were farmers.  There are too many results for other regions.  I tried a few but no luck.  No luck, either, for 1861.

I had a little more luck with finding the death of Richard’s wife, Martha.  The last census I could find her in was the 1871 census (a widow) so I searched for deaths after that and found the burial of Martha Powell, resident of Clun, on 23 August 1873 at Church Pulverbatch, age 82.  Finally.

As for Richard’s death, the last census he appeared in was 1861, therefore he died between 1861 and 1871.  I hadn’t been able to find a death record because there were so many Richard Powells and the two likely records didn’t give any further clue beyond year and quarter.  I, therefore, did a search at probatesearch starting with 1862 and found him listed under 1863, having died on 15 July 1862.

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Thomas Bright was a son-in-law.  Brilliant.  I achieved something.

My great-grandmother, Kate Powell, was born in Berriewood Lane (also spelled Berriwood and Berrywood) in Condover, Shropshire on 28 October 1864.  Condover is an old village (the name appears in the Domesday Book) just south of Shrewsbury.  In about 1870 it had a population of 1,871.

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Condover 1882

I’m not sure where in Berriewood Lane they lived.  (Today there is a Berriewood Farm which is a riding school.)

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Kate’s parents were Richard Powell, a farmer, and Catherine Jones.  Kate had seven siblings: three sisters (Fanny, Annie, Emilie) and four brothers (Henry, Richard, John, and Francis).  Three of her siblings were younger than her.  Kate was christened on 2 April 1865 in Condover, presumably at the St Andrews and St Mary’s (or St Mary’s and St Andrew’s) church (no mention of the church on the christening record).  The entry immediately after hers, is the christening of her cousin, Eliza Jones, daughter of her uncle Timothy (her mother’s brother).

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St Andrews and St Mary’s church, Condover

Unfortunately for the family, Richard died in 1870 when Kate was not quite six years old.  By the 1871 census Kate’s mother was an innkeeper at the Condover’s Arms with eight children aged between 11 months and 12 years to look after – not an easy task.

It’s no surprise, then, to find that 10 years later they had moved to Rhyl in North Wales where Kate’s mother is listed as a lodging house keeper.  Kate,  however, is not among her siblings in the 1881 census.  She visited her aunt Fanny (her mother’s sister) in Uffington, Shropshire.  Fanny Jones was married to William Wilkes, a farmer of 372 acres, employing five men and one boy.  Kate was 16, and her cousins (two girls and a boy) were aged 6-11 years.  I wonder what she did there and how long she stayed.

Strangely, I inherited some small paintings of Jones women.  One of them is of Fanny Wilkes.

FannyWilkes

I have no idea who painted them.  I grew up thinking my grandmother did, but as she wasn’t born until 1894 this doesn’t seem likely.  Did Kate paint them?

In 1891 Kate was back living with her mother and her older sister, Fanny.  They were living at 30 Abbey Street in Rhyl.  The property’s long gone.  Since the Google picture was taken, I imagine all the houses along that street have been pulled down.

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Abbey Street, Google street view

On one side where number 30 was, there’s a barren park.

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“Progress” they call it.

Kate’s sister, Fanny was five years older than her and in 1891 was working as a tobacconist manageress.  Kate had no occupation.

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Undated photo, Kate Powell

In 1892 Kate married William Darlington Asher on 1 September at the church of St Thomas in Rhyl,

St thomas church, Rhyl KateWm

the same church in which William had been a bellringer.

Between 1894 and 1897 Kate gave birth to three daughters: Gwendoline (my grandmother), Dorothy, and Winifred, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and Crewe, Cheshire.  They lived in Shrewsbury for some time and then a promotion took William and the family to Ilford in 1919.  Winifred married that year.  The other two girls married in 1921 and 1927.

I have this lovely photo of William and Kate with two of their daughters.  Gwen is on the left.  I’m not sure if the other is Dorothy or Winifred.  It could be just after Winifred married, so perhaps it’s Dorothy.

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William died in 1930.  Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened to Kate or where she went.  I wonder if she visited Gwen in North Wales or whether Gwen visited her?  They must have.  It would be nice to have the census returns for 1921 and 1931.  I don’t yet have a subscription to the 1939 national registration index.

In any case, Kate was living in Epsom, Surrey, in the late 1940s.  Her address at the time of her death was 51 Ashley Road.  According to Google street view that’s one of the houses to the right.  Rather a nice tree-lined road today.  Her daughter, Gwen, must have stayed there when she sailed for England in 1948 (her ultimate destination being Epsom). (I do wish I could have asked my mother about her grandmother!)

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Kate died on 21 March 1949.  Cause of death was myocardial degeneration and arteriosclerosis (with senility also listed on the death certificate).  She was 84.

 

Sources: Wikipedia; family archives; findmypast.co.uk; oldmaps.co.uk; http://forebears.io/england/shropshire/condover; http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/maps/default.htm

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William Darlington Asher (along with his twin brother, John Darlington) was born on 20 August 1869 at Bank Street in Claines, Worcestershire, to John Asher and Elizabeth Darlington.  John was a Post Office clerk.  There only appears to be a “New Bank Street” in Claines, but I can’t find any information about whether it’s the same street renamed.  The picture below is of New Bank Street from one end.

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The family were still living there in 1871 and John is listed as a Class 2 Post Office clerk.

I have not been able to find any other siblings apart from Elizabeth who was born and died in 1864 and Frank Darlington who was also born, and died the same year, in 1883, quite a long period after the twins.

Ten years later, 1881, the family had moved to Northampton, and lived at 19 Somerset Street.

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19Somerset

Still no other children, which is unusual for 19th century families.

In 1883 the family had moved to Rhyl in North Wales.  William and his brother were involved in entertainment, taking part in various performances, acting and singing.

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The above mentions WD and JD Asher and JD’s future wife, Amy Vaughan

There was another YMCA performance in October of that year:

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Rhyl Advertiser, 31 October 1885

I also found William mentioned in a newspaper article about the performance of “The Trial of John and Jane Temperance” at the Rhyl Town Hall in February 1886.

In 1886 William was working as a Post Office sorting clerk and telegraphist (following his father’s footsteps).

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Entry from British Postal Service appointment books

William was also a bellringer at St Thomas’ church in Rhyl.

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St Thomas’ church, Rhyl

I found this treasure at the Rhyl history club blog.

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Next to William is John Phillips Powell, brother of his future wife, and further along is the brother of John Darlington Asher’s future wife, Amy Vaughan.

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JP Powell and WD Asher

I found articles about three concerts in 1889 in which William performed (example below).

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William also participated in debates!

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Another concert in 1891:

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By the 1891 census, William was lodging at New Street, Frankwell in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, employed as a Post Office sorting clerk and telegraphist.

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New Street, Shrewsbury

I also found him listed in the British Postal Service appointment books for 1892,

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but he received a promotion.

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In September of that year, William married Kate Powell.

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William and Kate continued living in Shrewsbury for a while.  Kate had two daughters in that time: Gwendoline in 1894 and Dorothy in 1895.  The last daughter, Winifred, was born in Crewe, Cheshire in 1897 but the family returned to living in Shrewsbury by 1901 at Delamere, North Hermitage, Belle Vue.  William is listed as a civil servant, travelling clerk, Surveyor’s department, GPO.

In August 1901 William visited Conwy.

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Weekly News and Visitors’ Chronicle, 9 August 1901

Ten years later the family are living at the same address in Shropshire and William holds the same position.

During the war William became a food control inspector.

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Lancashire Evening Post, 2 March 1917

Then in 1919 William became the new postmaster for Ilford (north-east of London).

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Chelmsford Chronicle, 7 March 1919

William’s youngest daughter got married in 1919 and the eldest in 1921.  Dorothy married in 1927.  William’s mother died in January of that year.  I found no more entries in newspapers until 1928.

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Chelmsford Chronicle, 1 June 1928

The online newspaper search went cold, but I had three obituaries in the family archives, cut out and kept from 1930.

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Ilford Recorder, 26 September 1930

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Possibly no. 6 Selborne Road, Ilford (next to no 4)

And lastly, a very brief entry under Wills and Bequests in the Essex Newsman, 24 January 1931.

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The probate entry is more revealing.

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John Wotherspoon was a son-in-law.

In the excitement of finding so many newspaper entries, I had forgotten family photos of the man, with and without a moustache.

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WmDA

 

 

Sources: Google; family archives; ancestry.com; Welsh newspapers online; rhylhistoryclub.wordpress.com; British newspapers at findmypast.com; historypoints.org

 

I received the death certificate for Thomas – died at age 80 in Northampton of “senile decay”.

I also received the birth certificate of his son, John, who was born in 1845.  Nice to have a firm date instead of “about 1846”.

Not knowing what to do next, I waited until I had membership of the state library to search their British newspaper database.  Unfortunately it’s not the same database as the British Newspaper Archive, which is brilliant.  The search engine for the library database isn’t great so I used the above archive website to search, got details, then tried to find the article on the library newspaper database.  They have a limited number of newspapers which don’t appear to include Suffolk newspapers or such newspapers as the Hampshire or Shropshire Chronicles.  Damn.  Welsh newspapers are useful but only for a handful of ancestors who lived in and around Rhyl.

In the newspapers I searched for Powell (Richard and his children), Kercher, Rose in Mendlesham, and Bromleys.  I found nothing of interest except for Richard P Powell listed as a wine merchant.  While searching for Richard P, I found his mother, Catherine, mentioned in a case of theft from a neighbour.  Luckily this was in a Welsh newspaper, so I retrieved it from the Welsh newspapers online website.

I tried to search for Charlotte and Fanny Bromley, wondering if they were related at all.  Charlotte had a sister but her name was Alice.  I did a search for them on familysearch and found Charlotte and Alice in census returns staying with their grandmother, Maria Deakin.  I figured that was their mother’s mother.  I then found them staying with Mary Meredith.  Husband, John, listed the girls as stepdaughters, so Mary must’ve been their mother, who remarried after the early death of Penry.  The girls also stayed with their uncle, Francis Bromley, who was a farmer.  That was all useful but I still didn’t find anything on Fanny Bromley (to find out who her parents were).

Funnily enough, I remembered there was a Deakin mentioned in my grandmother’s handwritten family tree, so went back and had a look at it… and talk about confusing.  There seem to be Bromleys and Deakins all over the place.  She had a Bromley married to a Deakin who then had Frank, Richard, Edward and Penry.  Well Penry and Frank (Frances) were brothers and a Richard Bromley turns up in the articles about Richard P Powell.  But for Penry, she had the offspring as Dick and Lilian, not Charlotte and Alice.  She also had a Deakin married to a Jones who in turn had Richard Jones, father of Catherine who married Richard Powell.  And Catherine had a brother, Richard, who apparently married a Sarah Bromley.  And if that wasn’t enough, my grandmother’s tree also had a Jones of Upton Magna who had a daughter who married an Edward Bromley (the same Edward as above?).  Oh dear!  I think my next move will be to try and find as much as possible on all the individuals mentioned to see how they tie up.

 

I haven’t been able to get much further on the Asher side.  I think I do the same searches all the time, and they all end up as blanks.  I need to keep a more detailed spreadsheet of my searches, so I know exactly what I searched for, where, and what the results were (if any).  I still haven’t got this right, still scrawling notes in a notebook (or two!), which I find difficult to read at a later date.

Since the last post, I used some free credits at Scotlandspeople again, but again drew blanks.  I really, really loathe the payment system there.  Why should I pay to view when what I’m viewing is probably not relevant?  For example, I would have to look through 13 John Sutherland death records between 1825 and 1848 to try to find the right one, or nine Archibald Sutherlands between 1861 and 1871.  It’s ridiculous.  If they had an annual payment, such as ancestry, then I could happily look through all of them, but to pay for each one – sorry but no.

I tried familysearch again for the death of Samaria Asher but only found a Mary.  Perhaps Samaria was pronounced Sameeria, Mary for short?  Her siblings had unusual names, such as Reuben and German – were her family Jewish?

I started on the Powell biographies while I wait for a death and birth certificate from GRO for Ashers.  Again I tried to fill in gaps, not really getting anywhere (see above about doing the same searches at the same places and still not finding anything).  I went onto British newspapers online, which at least give you something to go on for the results, even if you don’t click on them.  You can see if they’re relevant which is really useful.  I signed up and got three free searches (ie I could click on the result and view it).  I’ve used two.  I have to choose the last carefully.  I didn’t find a great deal but looked at results for the Condover Arms which an ancestor was innkeeper of before his death.  Apparently it was established in 1860.  My ancestor was there 10 years later, dying in 1870.  His wife took over for a while but then sold it a short while later.  The children were scattered.  Two were servants, one ended up in an orphanage.  I would love to find out more about the family, but I must create a proper spreadsheet for my findings.

I tried finding the baptism for Richard Powell, born about 1791 in Bromfield, but there’s nothing.  The closest I could find was a Richard Powell, baptised in 1792 in Clunbury (on one site) with an additional Richard baptised in 1792 in Chirbury (on another site).  Clunbury is closer but is it him?  This is the problem often.  I have nothing much to go on so can only guess if one is the right one.  Not knowing the parents names is a bugger.  Is he son of William and Mary or someone else?  Often they name their kids after parents but he didn’t name a son William.  No idea.

I’ve tried freereg for some baptisms but often draw a blank.  When it tells me there are no results for anyone with the surname Powell within a ten-year period in a parish, I know something’s wrong.  Even when I knew there was at least one, it didn’t find it.  What the hell?  So frustrating and so time-consuming!

I was just sorting out some files online and came across a note about an ancestor being a gardener to Mrs Gibson and that a William Westbrooke, judge, officiated.  No source, no explanation.  I get so angry with myself.  Thanks to Trove I could confirm that he was a gardener for Mrs Gibson at Tiranna, NSW, but no info on a William Westbrooke.  Was he a judge at a flower show?  Couldn’t find anything.

I also couldn’t find the source for death information that I had on my family tree, again not citing my sources.  I could go back in time and hit myself.  Idiot!  Lesson learned anyway.

So in a nutshell, nothing fresh to report.

 

A few months ago I proclaimed on Facebook that I had found a distant relative who died at Gallipoli. Yesterday, I heard about a display that was going to be put up at work for ANZAC day and mention was made of family documents.  That evening I went to a book launch of “Roly the ANZAC donkey”.  Both incidences got me thinking about that declaration I made on Facebook.  Who was it? Once I got home, I searched my family tree, and any notes I could find, to discover who that soldier was that died at Gallipoli.  I hadn’t even mentioned it on this blog.  I knew it was a distant relative and memory told me it was a Powell or Jones.  However,  my search revealed nothing. I even dreamed about the problem.  I must have noted it somewhere.  How did I find the information out?  My dreams gave me the answer, sadly the wrong one, directing me to some files on the computer.  I’d already looked through those files. This morning I was determined to find the elusive soldier.  There was a Walter Powell, who, my notes tell me, died in WWI (stupidly I have no source for that information) but he wasn’t it.  The soldier must have died in 1915 or 1916. In desperation, this morning, I began to go alphabetically through my family tree, looking for death dates of 1915 or 1916.  Luckily, the answer was in the A’s – Asher!   Not Powell or Jones at all.  Bertram Asher was his name. With the name, I could then search online for anything about him.  I discovered he is mentioned on the Helles memorial and his middle name was Gower, his mother’s maiden name.  Finally!  I’m still not sure how I got the initial information – perhaps through another researcher’s family tree.  I found another, which confirmed information I had, and I was able to add birth and death dates.  As most of them were for dates of people who are not related, I copied them down without much detail.

I tried getting some more information on Walter Powell.  Familysearch.org is truly useless.  What information they used to have that was useful is now just junk.  A search for a marriage, for example, will come up with a list of names who, presumably, were present at the wedding, but not telling you who the actual spouse was.  Completely stupid.  Also, trying to find the marriage of Walter, I searched for Walter and the results listed the name as father of the bride or groom, ffs.  Changing it to John didn’t help.  Searching for the wife didn’t help.  Refining the search did nothing.  Absolutely useless. I might have to re-subscrible to ancestry.com to find out where John or Walter were living in 1911, the closest date to the war.  I did find a possible Walter Powell on a couple of sites, but as I don’t know his date or place of birth/residence, I can’t narrow it down.  The one I found seems unlikely because of the age.  Actually, ancestry.com was very useful just with the hints they offered.  The information was enough to know you had the right person.  Way more useful than familysearch, which is really a complete waste of time.

I’ve spent nearly all day on solving the problem and trying to solve an additional one and have put off the plans that I had intended for today.  I resigned myself to donating the day to genealogy. As a tribute to Bertram, I left a ‘commemoration’ on everymanremembered.org.  It’s a lovely site.  If you know someone killed in the war (or even if you don’t), do commemorate them there.

Postscript:  Purely through curiosity at the above website, I searched for casualties from Goulburn, and found my grandfather’s second cousin, Alexander John Grunsell, who died in France in 1918..