02 December 2017

Welcome to my Surrey Family Heritage

I first visited Hampton Court Palace in the year 2000, ten years after I permanently migrated to Australia.  Little did I know, at the time, that my Surrey ancestors had lived nearby.  I did not even know, back then, that I had any Surrey ancestors.

At the beginning of the 19th century, my Surrey ancestors lived around Richmond and East Molesey. You may know those areas better than I do.

Even as one of the geographical, historical and ceremonial counties of England now known to be associated with my family history, Surrey is still an area I do not know very well at all, having never lived there.  My view of it has always been as the home of rich commuters to London.

The local borough council, Elmbridge, has a few family history resources.  In fact, East Molesey is close to many other family history resources.  It is not particularly far from Heathrow Airport, or from the National Archives at Kew.  Perhaps I should fly there again sometime soon.

The Elmbridge Museum has an interesting historical overview of the area.  The Surrey History Centre also has plenty of information.  There is also a useful site called exploring surrey's past.

Since 2009, I have welcomed many people here, hoping they will become acquainted with Ancestors Within.

Welcome is a friendly word.  I hope all visitors here are friendly, too.

Are the people of Surrey friendly in the 21st century?

Were the people of Surrey friendly in the early 19th century?

Throughout my family history research, I have made many discoveries through the friendliness and helpfulness of other people.  Although I have never lived in Surrey, neither have I lived in the main county of my mother's heritage, namely Shropshire.

Have you ever been welcomed to Surrey or Shropshire or both?  They are very different areas of England, of course.

What are the locations most associated with your family history?

I have always considered Surrey to be a place of affluence.  When I lived in London, I only once went to Richmond, probably in 1983.  I remember buying a bright orange pair of cotton trousers there.  I frequently wore them on my subsequent travels.  But I remember little else of the place.

But how affluent were my ancestors?  What were they doing in Richmond and East Molesey and why did they move to central London?

I hope the men amongst my ancestors with the first name of Welcome were kind, friendly people.  They all had the surname of Cole and they all lived in London and/or Surrey during the 19th century.

Is there at least one Welcome Cole in your family history?

Many people, quite rightly, do not welcome coal in the 21st century, but none of my Surrey ancestors were involved in coal mining, unlike the Shropshire ones.

In November 2014, I mentioned Shropshire pitmen, poachers and preachers.  My mother's considerable Shropshire heritage has immense differences from the experiences of my paternal ancestors, in many ways.

My mother's great-grandparents were all born in the same county, namely Shropshire.  My father's great-grandparents were born in Ulster, Belgium, Huntingdonshire and London.  The London branch of the family tree originated in Surrey.

At the end of 2010, I invited you to have a genealogical look around this blog and make a comment or two of relevance to my social and cultural history interests.

The earliest record I had of a Welcome Cole, until recently, related to an event at the church of St George in Hanover Square in London.  The church is certainly a wonderfully historical location.

The marriage of that Welcome Cole to Elizabeth Wilson took place in the church in Hanover Square on 21 September 1789.   I have since found out that Welcome was probably born some time around 1756 so he would have been around 33 years of age when he married Elizabeth.

I have been wondering whether his father was called Welcome.  I know his son certainly was.

Welcome and Elizabeth Cole welcomed their son, Welcome, who was christened on 27 December 1805 at Saint Mary Magdalene in Richmond, Surrey.  The family must have lived in Richmond for several years.  A son, Charles, was earlier christened in the same church on 5 April 1790.  Another son William was christened there on 10 May 1795. 

On 5 November 1800, a sister had been christened in the same church, Ann Cole.  Another daughter called Ann had been christened on 21 December 1798.  Presumably that baby died before the other Ann was born.

Welcome and Elizabeth had another daughter, Elizabeth Mary Cole, who was christened at the same church.  The baby was born on 9 July 1803 and was christened on 3 August of that year.

Elizabeth therefore gave birth to several children before the birth her son, Welcome.  Another son, George, was born on 13 August 1807 and christened on 30 September 1807.  Later, on 16 January 1810, James Cole was born.  He was christened at the same church on 9 February 1810.

Were your ancestors living in or around Richmond-upon-Thames during the Napoleonic Wars?

I have no idea why Welcome and Elizabeth Cole and their family lived in Richmond.  Did they have family there?  Did they have a business there?

The local council has a few history notes.

There is a local studies collection there.

There is also the Richmond Local History Society.

There is the Surrey History Centre to explore, too.

There is a possibility that Welcome  and Elizabeth Cole and their family were part of the Cole brewery family of Twickenham.  The Borough of Twickenham Local History Society may have further details.  It has an interesting overview of local 19th century history.

Do you know much about the history of Twickenham?

Have you been to the Twickenham Museum?

In Richmond, there is an area known as Cole Park.

The younger Welcome actually became a publican when he grew up.  He married Sarah Elizabeth Nash in Egham in Surrey on 29 March 1824.   Egham is near Runnymede.  That is historic in itself.  Perhaps the publican Welcome worked in Egham at some point, though that town is a considerable distance from East Molesey.  Do you know much about Egham?

I have long been wondering if there were already publicans in the family in the early 19th century and even in the 18th century.  That would certainly account for Welcome being given as the name of a son in each generation.

In 1824 there were about 230 people living in East Molesey.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate any mention of Welcome Cole as a publican in an online history of the public houses of the East and West Molesey

The son of Welcome and Sarah, another Welcome Cole, was baptised at the church of St Mary the Virgin in East Molesey, Surrey on 19 September 1824.  There is a history written about East Molesey and the church of St Mary the Virgin.  It is available through the website of Surrey bellringers.

There is also website about the area around East Molesey.  I have also found information about the inns and public houses also has an interesting map, photographs and many other resources.

In 2009, I briefly introduced you to the post office Welcome and several of my other employed ancestors.  My 19th century family members mainly did very ordinary jobs.

At the beginning of 2010, I welcomed you to the second year of this blog.  I had made many exciting new discoveries over the preceding months.

In June 2010, I mentioned the earliest known Welcome Cole in relation to my fair ancestors in Mayfair.  Family history is often an exciting cultural journey.

Are you familiar with my Continual Journeys blog?

In August 2011, I welcomed your comments in relation to internment in Australia during World War Two.  Learning about the contrasts in family histories can bring the past to life in so many ways, especially when considering policy options for today.

In my view, there is never a place for stereotypes and prejudices in the study of real people, real lives and real societies.  In July 2013, after successfully researching the lives of ancestors, I welcomed you again to Ancestors Within.  I had, by then, been sharing my knowledge of history through this blog, and my other blogs, for quite some time.

In December 2013, I welcomed your knowledge of history in relation to my ongoing investigations.

Were you here in 2012 at all?

The possible age of the earlier Welcome was discovered in relation to a burial record at St Sepulchre in Holborn, London.  The record is dated 15 August 1837.  Welcome was 81 years of age when he died and his residence was listed as Crown Court.

The church of St Sepulchre is just across the road from the Old Bailey, where London's Crown Court is situated.  The court is known as the Central Criminal Court.  I have no idea why the court was listed as Welcome's address in the parish.

His son, Welcome, apparently later worked as an inspector of London post offices but I am yet to find a confirming record of that in the a new postal museum in London.  All I have is a census record.

My local library has a subscription to Ancestry.com so I will probably pop down there to have a further look soon, and to explore Surrey links.

The publican/post office Welcome lived until the age of 87.  He died in Witley near Hambledon in Surrey in 1891.

In January last year, I provided a summary of my Finsbury Park and London family history.  The younger Welcome Cole, born in East Moseley in 1824, was mentioned there.

Do you do genealogy by numbers?  It is probably especially useful to number ancestors if they have the same name.  Welcome Cole was a name which followed through to several generations.  I am not sure if anyone still has that name in the family.

In some records, Welcome Cole has been written as Milcome Cole, Wilcomb Cole and Welcomb Cole.   Additionally, when Sarah Elizabeth Nash became Sarah Elizabeth Cole, it would be many years before her granddaughter, my great-great-grandmother, was christened Sarah Elizabeth Cole.

Welcome, as Milcome, is recorded as the father of a Sarah Elizabeth Cole, too.  She was born in 1836. On other records, his name is correctly written.  His daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, was born on 13 September and christened on 16 October at St Luck Old Street in Finsbury, London.

Unlike the two long-lived two earlier Welcome Cole's, my great-great-grandmother's father had a much shorter life, as did his wife, Fanny.  They had lived mainly in London, not in Surrey.  Young Sarah became an orphan in the family at a very young age.

Sarah was born on 29 September 1863 and christened on 25 October at St Pancras Old Church, like her siblings.

A mystery Welcome Cole was buried on 6 April 1817 in Isleworth, not far from Richmond.  The record in question states that the person was female.  That is all I know about the matter.

Another Welcome Cole died in 1854 in Kingston, Surrey, but which one?

There is a History Centre in Kingston-upon-Thames.  I may need to investigate there.  I already know that several Welcome Cole's were very long lived.

I have just found out that the Crown Court, Bishopsgate of 1837 was probably Rose and Crown Court.  That location possibly became the subsequent Broad Street Station.  Although the funeral of the Welcome in question took place in Holborn he may have died in Bishopsgate.

I have also just found out that Welcome Cole of the General Post Office signed an affidavit in 1838.

If you have any relevant information about my Surrey family heritage, or even my London family history, I would welcome your assistance.

24 November 2017

Ulster Mysteries and Discoveries

I have long tried tracing my Ulster ancestors.  A considerable history is probably impossible.  Too many vital records appear to be missing or destroyed.

Are you aware of my research via Ulster?

The National Library of Ireland has property records, but I am yet to find anything relevant there in connection with my family. 

The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland also has a wide range of records, though I have yet to find anything relevant there, either.  There are no relevant wills recorded.  My ancestors probably had nothing much to leave to the next generation.

I am still working out how to use the PRONI Historical Map Viewer.

There are many Irish genealogical websites.  Have you ever used the Irish Genealogy Toolkit?  It has some interesting information about the available Irish records.


Family history "dark ages"

The "dark ages" of my family history relate to the lack of Irish records from the 1800s.  I already know something of my paternal grandfather's parents and siblings in the early 1900s, mainly from the Irish census records of 1901 and 1911.

The absence of records has long prevented my further family history research on that side of the Irish Sea. Who really were my Ulster ancestors?

Locating the extended family of earlier generations has been impossible to achieve with any certainty. Did they originate in Ireland or did they migrate there from elsewhere?  Were they part of the Plantation of Ulster or the Plantations of Ireland more widely, or did they arrive at another time, or even from further afield or merely from a nearby field?

From all the available evidence, my Ulster family members were working class through and through.  I have been attempting to research their lives through cluster genealogy but have not yet had much success with that method.

Sketching the past

My knowledge of my grandfather's family is obviously still sketchy.  The family migration route in the late 1800s and early 1900s went from Belfast in County Antrim to Bessbrook in County Armagh and then back to Belfast.  The migration journey then went from Belfast to Devon, mostly during the First World War.

Fortunately, I know when and where my Antrim great-grandparents married.  Unfortunately, I know little about their lives before that.

My grandfather was descended from Ulster Protestants but he was not religious.  His family were not Presbyterians. I have no idea whether anyone in the family hand any involvement in politics, or violence.

In 1901, my Ulster ancestors were working in the Quaker Richardson linen mill in Bessbrook near Newry.   As far as I know, the factory made damask

My great-grandparents and their children lived in the model village.  My grandfather was not yet born.

Bessbrook is in County Armagh.  The village and its mill were founded by John Grubb Richardson (1813-1891).

I have no idea when, exactly, my ancestors moved from Bessbrook back to Belfast.  I only know that in 1911, Belfast was an industrial boomtown.

Having never worked in a factory myself, I find it hard to imagine how noisy a linen factory must have been.  And how did it smell?

Unrest and the rest

My grandfather was only a small boy when he went to live in England with his older brothers. That was before the Irish War of Independence, which began in 1919.  The partition of Ireland took place in 1921.

I would like to know more about the townlands where my ancestors possibly originated, and especially whether they migrated from a particular townland to Belfast.  I already have a vague understanding of baronies and counties, but that gives me no awareness at all of how my ancestors lived.

I have been trying to find out more about the riots around the Shankill Road from June to September 1886.  Do you know much about them?  I wonder how those civil disturbances affected my ancestors, if at all.

Church records

My Ulster great-grandfather was a widower when he married my great-grandmother in 1893.   I have discovered that his first marriage was in 1880. 

Both marriages took place within the Anglican Church of Ireland.  My great-grandparents subsequently became Methodists.

If you have Irish ancestors, you may have been able to trace them through church records.  I am particularly interested in Methodist records.  Unfortunately, my earlier contact with the Belfast Methodists came up with nothing specific at all.

In 1911, my paternal Methodist ancestors lived around the Shankill Road.  There is a Methodist church still in the area, as well as a Methodist Boys' Brigade.

There are many Methodist churches in Belfast at present. In 1911, only 7% of residents in Belfast were Methodist.  Even so, most of my Irish ancestors probably had their major life events recorded through the protestant Church of Ireland.

Are you aware of social conditions in Belfast in the early 20th century?

A little more light

Recently, I came across a site called IrishGenealogy.ie - and found a few more links to my ancestors.  The website was launched in September last year through the Irish Government's Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The Irish-speaking regions of Ireland are known as the Gaeltacht. Those areas are in the far west of Ireland, much like the GĂ idhealtachd is in the far west of Scotland.

None of my known Irish ancestors could speak the Irish language.  Nor were they Roman Catholics, unlike my Belgian ancestors.

I am not sure where my Ulster ancestors lived in 1886, though I now have more of an indication of where they were in the 1890s.

The IrishGenealogy,ie website currently only has records covering a few vital years for family historians.  Access is free of charge, at present, and there is no need to register to use the site.

Waiting for a few more facts

I am looking forward to the extension of the records to the 1840s.  Most of the available records now only reach the 1860s, but at least now I know the first names of all my great-great-grandparents.   Finding the names of those sixteen individuals has been one of my main family research goals.

Have you checked any of the relevant records recently?

How have you located the maiden names of your female ancestors though several generations?

How have you located information about your Irish ancestry?

The National Archives of Ireland last year also developed a website to help family historians trace their Irish ancestry.

I still have no idea of the maiden names of my Ulster great-great-grandmothers, though.  All I know is that one was born around 1823 and the other was born around 1842.

My Antrim great grandmother and great-grandmothers could not read or write in English, or any other language.  I am not sure what they thought, if anything, about the Irish Home Rule movement.  They had no education, no political power and no access to wealth.

Irish citizenship

My paternal grandfather and his forebears were born in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.  I am an Irish citizen by descent through my grandfather though my name is not yet on the Foreign Births Register.

If at least one of your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents was born in Ireland, including Northern Ireland, you may be entitled to register as an Irish citizen, too.  You will then be able to travel on an Irish passport.

Have you read my recent blog post on citizenships of ancestors and descendants?

Here are a few earlier notes of mine:

February 2011
Ancestral Scatterings

April 2011
Lovely Mary

September 2011
Getting to Know Great Grandmothers - Part One

April 2014
The Joy of Genealogy

December 2014
Consanguinity, Affinity, Privacy and Peace

September 2015
The Harpists of Viggiano

November 2015
Location, Location in Famly History Research

December 2015
Merry Christmas to All Family History Researchers - Buon Natale a Tutti storia familiare Ricercatori

January 2016
George in Aden

January 2016
Finsbury Park and London Family History

January 2016
Molenbeek and Me

September 2016
The Sound of Ancestors

March 2017
Breakfast with Forebears

July 2017
Images of the World through Migration

22 November 2017

Citizenships of Ancestors and Descendants

Like many family historians, I have been taking considerable interest in the constitutional citizenship saga still playing out in Australian federal politics.  Are you aware of the original meaning of the word saga?

Most Australians today are either migrants or descended from migrants over one or more generations.  Even a considerable proportion of indigenous people in Australia have non-indigenous ancestry as well as indigenous ancestry.

Are you fully aware of your own citizenship status?

Are you fully aware of your ancestry over at least three generations?

It is extraordinary there has never been a proper investigation, in previous decades, into the eligibility of people to stand for election to the Australian Parliament.  I have long known I have been ineligible as a consequence of my dual citizenship. Even if I gave up my British citizenship, I would probably still be ineligible to become a federal candidate as a consequence of my eligibility for Irish citizenship.

I have only twice mentioned citizenship on this blog.  Both times were in relation to internment in Australia in the Second World War.

The first time was in 2009.  The second time was in 2011.

Identity derives from many sources, not just ancestry, of course.  This is my family history blog.  I have another blog about identity more broadly.  I write about citizenship in that in 2009, too:

In the Name of Freedom

Virtual Via Nation

I also wrote about the subject in 2010:

World Class and Social Class

Australian Passports are Precious

And in 2011:

Sense and Censuses

Then in 2015 I wrote another one:

In the Name of Nationality

From my own research into the family backgrounds of several federal parliamentarians, quite a few of them are likely to be dual nationals.  As I am ineligible to be a member of the Australian Parliament, so are they.

02 October 2017

Respecting Ancestors

Many cultures practice some sort of veneration of the dead.

What does veneration mean to you?

What are your own cultural beliefs about death?

How do you reflect upon the inevitability of your own death?

What do you believe to be respectful towards the living, the dying and the dead?

And what do you believe to be disrespectful in each of those circumstances, and why?

27 September 2017

Time to Read

When I write blog posts, they are often mere notes of things I have discovered.  I am often too busy or too tired to check the words carefully before publishing them.  My writing is therefore usually initially published here as a draft.

In this way, I quickly offer a few snippets for other people to check themselves.  Much history research obviously involves checking and rechecking facts.  It also involves plenty of editing and re-drafting.

In 2009, I wrote about working families and genealogical studies.  My ancestors worked mainly because they needed money, or at least the money with which to pay for life's necessities.  I write this blog as a hobby.

In 2010, I wrote about celebrities, genealogy and your family history.  I do not have either the time or the interest to follow the lives of celebrities and learn about their ancestors.  Nor do I have time, other than generally through this blog, to assist with your family history, even if you want to pay me.

Also in 2010, I wrote about Lily of Lawley Common.  I am not sure if Lily had much time to read.  She was my great grandmother.

I want to have more time to read about the history of Lawley and nearby Dawley, preferably on paper or a small screen.  I prefer to type of a full-sized keyboard and to look at a large screen whilst doing so.

Recently, I came across an historical listing of Shropshire mines and mine owners.  That was a great find.  I have been searching for it for a long time.  Making the time to research is just as important to me as making the time to read, write and edit.

In 2011, I wrote something for people just starting out with family history research.  My own research began properly in December 2007.  I can't believe almost a decade has passed since then!

I did not have the time or the inclination to do the research earlier.  The online resources then were either difficult to locate or unavailable and I had other priorities.  The offline resources would have taken far too much time, money and effort to bother finding and I knew other relatives had struggled to find them in the past.

Nor did I have enough facts available about my great grandparents and their ancestors - so I would have to make the time to ask my older relatives quite a few questions.  When that time would become available became apparent to me about ten years ago.

By the latter half of 2011, I was getting to know great grandmothers quite well, and not only my own but also those of my husband.   There is a great deal more I would like to know about them all.  Could your great grandmothers read?

I have long been collecting recollections but not through audio or video recordings.  Most people of my acquaintance would be reluctant to talk if I recorded them in such ways. 

Nor have I written notes on most occasions.  My memory, and previously documented memories, have often had to suffice when listening to the answers to my questions.

Many people find questioning intimidating.  Their own memories may be faulty or their emotions may intrude upon their recollections of facts, particularly facts about events from long ago.  In my experience, older relatives prefer to reminisce about particular events while forgetting or ignoring other aspects of the past.

My mother's family history is tied up with the history of Coalbrookdale though most of her 19th century ancestors were involved in coal mining rather than iron production.  There is much still for me to learn about Shropshire history.  Do you know anything about the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust?  Have you recently visited its website?

Early last year, I wrote about Finsbury Park and London family history.  London sometimes seems further away from Shropshire to me than Australia does.  They are all like different worlds in the present.  How different were they in the past?

Making the time to read about a place, and a time, is usually easier when I have an interest in doing so.  When I was much younger, I often tried to learn about everything all at once and then became overwhelmed.  Even now, I tend to become overwhelmed by my own ignorance.

A few months ago, I mentioned the editing of Ancestors Within.  Since then I have been on my travels again.

Even when I do not have so many distractions, I find it difficult to concentrate on correcting mistakes in my writing.  As I was in England, visiting family, the weather gave me a little time to read.  It was often rainy or cold or threatened to drench me if I ventured outside.

Quite recently I haphazardly managed to put together a blog post on the coal war and family history.  My mother still has a coal fire in her cottage in the English countryside.  She urgently needs something better but is unsure what to do.  Mainly she wants to keep warm when she reads in the evenings.

Who or what are you attempting to understand at present, and why?

How are your ancestors assisting or hindering your understanding?

How has your reading been helping you?

True understanding is the most valuable gift.  Unlike shallow sentimentality, understanding requires time and knowledge and thought and care.   It is an expression of empathy.  And empathy can usually only occur with an understanding of the context of an attitude, belief or situation.

Happiness is often based on mutual understanding, a sense of belonging and of feeling appreciated.  Your happiness may or may not involve consanguinity.  It may or may not involve the activity of mirror neurons.  It may or may not involve nostalgia.

How may your time and knowledge and thought and care in relation to Ancestors Within become an expression of your most valuable gift?  And in which direction will your reading take you next?