Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 47 – Thankful

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I will do so as soon as possible.

When I saw this prompt I immediately thought of harvest festivals. I clearly remember as a child both school and church celebrations where I made up small hampers of food which were given to those in need. I now realise that in the affluent village in which I grew up, where as the vicar’s kids we were definitely the least well off, I have absolutely no idea where that food ended up.

I remember the flower arranging ladies going to town for harvest festival services, filling the church with displays of fruit and vegetables. It was a farming community and we often celebrated later than other churches, as the farmers would not celebrate until the harvest was all gathered in. You can see some pictures of the church here: https://www.stcatherinebirtles.org.uk/gallery.htm

This is just how I remember it, fruit and vegetables everywhere. Photograph reproduced with kind permission of Reverend Jon Hale, the Rector of the Benefice of Alderley & Birtles.


Images: Photograph. Harvest festival. (c. 2000-2020) St. Catherines, Birtles, Over Alderley, Cheshire. Photographer unknown. https://www.stcatherinebirtles.org.uk/gallery.htm : accessed 12 January 2022.

Harvest festivals have been celebrated for centuries and so it was not surprising to find that the Stewardson family living in Tansley in 1904 would have witnessed a harvest festival.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal Friday 30 September 1904 page 6f https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0001084/19040930/149/0006 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Robert Stewardson and Maria Batterley had married in Tansley Parish Church in 1896 and their eldest daughter was baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel the following year. I think it is a safe assumption that they would have attended at least one of the numerous harvest festivals in the district and witnessed the great abundance of fruit and flowers.

It is lovely to know that they experienced an Indian Summer that September.

Other posts about this family


Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 45 – Stormy Weather

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I will do so as soon as possible.

When I first saw this prompt I didn’t know what I would write about. I don’t recall any stories of my ancestors involving stormy weather. Then I decided to look at the newspapers. I found a story about an accident near Gosforth Railway station in which someone was killed in a storm, but eventually realised that was Gosforth near Durham, not the one in Westmorland, now Cumbria, where my ancestor Matthew Stewardson was living.

After that false start I tried again, this time finding a report of a severe storm which affected Kendal and the entire Lake District between Christmas and New Year at the end of 1908.[1] As I’ve written previously Matthew and his family were living at Rainors Farm at Gosforth at this time.[2,3] and would have experience the storm that I found.

The newspaper report that there had been signs of a snow storm on Monday evening and between 2 and 3am Tuesday morning a powdery snow began to fall. It was accompanied by high winds which caused deep snow drifts. Snow blew under some front doors leaving a inch of snow on doormats.
There does not appear to have been any damage to speak of, and the roads remained open.

The report goes on to mention that the temperature remained around -7 degrees below freezing point throughout Tuesday, so nothing would have melted.

As a farming family the Stewardson’s may have had to go out to in the blizzard to check on the livestock. I do hope they did not have to stay out long.

Even if our ancestors are not mentioned in the newspapers they can still tell us about their lives.

Oak tree viewed from bedroom windows at Rainors Farm. (c) https://www.rainorsfarm.co.uk/

Other posts about this family


References
  1. Westmorland Gazette. (1909) A Christmas Blizzard. Roads Blocked : Trains Snowed up. Severe Storm in Kendal and the Lake District. Westmorland Gazette. 02 January. p5e https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000399/19090102/135/0005: accessed 04 January 2022.
  2. Census records. England. Gosforth, Whitehaven, Cumberland. 31 March 1901. STEWARDSON, Matthew. RG13_Pc-4897_Fo-60_Pg-4. http://ancestry.co.uk
  3. Census records. Englamd. Whitehaven, Cumberland. 02 April 1991. STEWARDSON. Matthew. RG14PN31523 RG78PN1810 RD577 SD3 ED15 SN35. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 29 May 2010.

Categories
Beginnings My family Pentrefelin wildlife

12 Days of Christmas #1

I’m pleased to say I have not received a Partridge in a Pear Tree, though I have received some lovely gifts, including a Harry Potter knitted jumper which I’m delighted with.

Apologies for radio silence in December. It has been an exciting and emotional month. I handed in my notice at Ffestiniog Travel. 17 years is a long time to work anywhere and I was sad to say goodbye but returning to the office after 18 months on furlough convinced me that it is time to move on. I will still be doing some tour leading, hopefully taking a group to Mallorca to explore the narrow gauge railways and trams in 2022. I have always enjoyed the job and the people, but I would always regret it if I didn’t give genealogy a try.

I’ve decided to follow the career advice of Katharine Whitehorn, a British journalist:

‘Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.’
Observer, 1975

The Society of Genealogists are sharing their own 12 days of Christmas, beginning today with Partridge in a Pear Tree, or their version, a Partridge in PCC Admons. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.

I am joining in 12 Days Wild and I began by walking off Christmas lunch, just enjoying the peace and quiet outside today. I found some festive Pokemon as well as festive plants. The road was surprisingly busy but the sky looked amazing.

I have a Beanies Coffee 12 Days of Christmas calendar. I do enjoy a flavoured coffee, but don’t like the sweetness of syrups so these are just right. Today I have Nutty Hazelnut and Orange Chocolate flavoured coffees.

As well as my sibling Max having their birthday today we have a surprising number of ancestors with Christmas Day birthdays.

  • 3rd great grandmother Jane Diamond was born today in 1839. She lived in Cumberland, now part of the Lake District. In 1905 she was living at Rainors Farm.
  • Her mother-in-law, my 4th great grandmother Ann Stewardson, was born today in 1810. She also spent her entire life in the Lake District.
  • On the same day my 3rd great granduncle Christopher Thomas Wadworth was born in Wickersley, West Yorkshire.

I plan to spend the rest of the 12 days of Christmas catching up with #52Ancestors and setting up Rhos Helyg Family History Services.

Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 31- Favourite Name

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I am way behind with my writing but I am slowly catching up.

It was an easy choice this week. I have blogged about her before, but Ada Bluebell Stewardson is my favourite named ancestor.

Ada Bluebell was my great, great aunt. Her sister Adelaide May Stewardson my great grandmother. Whether she used Ada later in life I am not sure, but she was certainly enrolled in school as Bluebell Stewardson.[1]

Other than her delightful name I don’t know a huge amount about Bluebell. She was born 27th October 1901[1], the third daughter of Robert and Maria Stewardson, with two big sisters and an older brother.[2] She went on to have two younger brothers. The family were living in Tansley earlier in 1901[3], but moved to Whatstandwell by 1911[2], and I think earlier than that.

Robert, Ada Bluebell’s father, was a molecatcher[2][3] with his brother George Diamond Stewardson[4]. The brothers had moved from the family home in Westmorland to Derbyshire where they married sisters Maria[5] and Eliza Ann Batterley[6]. Robert would therefore have worked long days through parts of the year, but the mole catching season was only around 30 weeks a year. Two years after Bluebell was born her double cousin Daisy was born[7], as far as I know, the only children named for flowers in the family.

In 1907 Bluebell, and her sister Doris caught diphtheria, which was mentioned in the school logbook[8]. On 1st October 1908 Bluebell, with her classmates she moved from the infant school to Crich Carr National School[9], she appears to have spent sometime at Crich British school[10], but on 11th January 1909 Bluebell, with her brother Robert and sister Doris returned to Crich Carr National School.[1]

Crich Carr School and pupils c 1913 Photos courtesy Clive and Sandra Redfern http://www.crichparish.co.uk/webpages/schoolshistory.html

On 19th June 1911 King George V was crowned and 600 adults and children of Whatstandwell, Coddington, Thurlow Booth, Robin Hood, Crich Carr, and Holmsford, threw a party.[10], I am sure the similar happened around the country.

By Photograph signed “Emery Walker PhD” (1851 – 1933) – From the book: J. Hogarth Milne (c. 1914). Great Britain in the Coronation Year. London: W.H. Allen & Co. Frontispiece., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35204814

There were flags, hymns, a brass band, maypole dancing, the National Anthem, decorated mail carts, cycles, horses and drays, and general fancy dress, for which prizes were awarded. Bluebell made it in to the newspaper, by winning her fancy dress category. Dressed as a Bluebell which makes me smile every time I think about it. Maybe she looked a little bit like this?

Many of Bluebell’s paternal uncles emigrated to Ontario, while her Aunt Adelaide May Tyson stayed on the family farm, Rainors Farm in Cumbria.

In 1928 Bluebell married John H. Fern in Belper, Derbyshire [11]. He was a railway clerk and by 1939 they were living in London, with I believe one child [12]. Bluebell died aged just 56, in Middlesex[13]. She may have had a short life, but her name is my favourite so far from amongst my ancestors.

Please excuse the somewhat messy tree. Double cousins are very hard to show, and Bluebell’s father had a lot of siblings!


Other posts about this family

52 Ancestors: Week 7 – Unusual Source

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. This week the prompt is Unusual Source. About ten years ago I found my 3rd Great Grandparents, Matthew and Jane Stewardson, on the 1901 Census. They were […]

An intriguing will

A few weeks ago I had ordered a copy of my great great great grandfather, George Batterley’s will. Today I finally had time to sit and read it in detail. My previous research had confirmed that he had four children with his first wife, Maria. The children were Eliza Ann, Ada, my great great grandmother […]

Family history gold dust

I had a lovely walk this afternoon with my nieces. We sat for ages at the local war memorial catching Pokémon, then they found 7 geocaches including the one I hid a week ago. There was a horse in the field by that one. I’d already found the other 6 caches but it was fun […]

[1] Crich Carr National School. School Admissions Book. STEWARDSON, Bluebell. 11 January 1909. National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914. D4482_2_1. Derbyshire Record Office. Matlock, Derbyshire. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 14 August 2020.

[2] Census Records. England. “The Orchard” Whatstandwell, Crich, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. 02 April 1911. STEWARDSON, Robert. (Head) RD 436. PN 20985. ED 14. SN 43. http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 04 Apr 2009.

[3] Census records. England. Tansley, Derbyshire. 31 March 1901. STEWARDSON, Robert. (Head). PN RG13/3265. FL 48. p. 14. Derby Local Studies Centre.

[4] Census records. England. Wensley, South Darley, Derbyshire. 31 March 1901. STEWARDSON, George D. (head). PN RG13/33266. FL 14. p. 19. 1901 Census Online : accessed 14 August 2005.

[5] Marriages. (PR) England. Tansley, Derbyshire. 03 June 1895. STEWARDSON, Robert and BATTERLEY Maria. Entry No. 191. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed 08 September 2020.

[6] Marriages. (CR) England. Derwent Terrace Chapel. Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. 1897. [Transcript] STEWARDSON, George Diamond and BATTERLEY, Eliza Ann. Register Entry. RO/11/057. Derbyshire Registrars Marriage Index. [Transcript] ww.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 23 June 2010.

[7] Census records. England. Durley Bridges Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. 02 April 1911. STEWARDSON, George D. (head). RG14PN21202 RG78PN1262 RD439 SD2 ED4 SN118 http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 29 May 2010.

[8] Keith Taylor. (2005) Tansley Remembered. Bakewell: Ashridge Press. Extract shared by andypandy19501 on 16 July 2012. http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 14 August 2020.

[9] Crich British School. School Admissions Book. STEWARDSON, Bluebell. 01 October 1908. National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914. D3834_2_3. Derbyshire Record Office. Matlock, Derbyshire. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 14 August 2020.

[10] The Derbyshire Times. (1911) THE CORONATION. The Derbyshire Times. 24 June. [Transcript] http://www.crichparish.co.uk/newwebpages/whatstandwell1911.html : accessed 14 August 2020.

[11] Marriages Index. (CR) England. Belper, [Derbyshire] 3rd Q. STEWARDSON, Ada B. Vol. 7b. Page. 1611. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/: accessed: 07 November 2015.

[12] 1939 Register, England. Harrow, Middlesex. FERN, Ada B. 29 September 1939. Schedule 172. Line no. 25. RG101/799D. National Archives (Great Britain), Kew, England. Collection: 1939 England and Wales Register. w.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 14 October 2021.

[13] Burials (PR) Stanmore, Middlesex. 24 July 1958. FERN, Ada Bluebell. p. 87. Entry 692. http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 15 August 2020.

Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 23 – Bridge

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I am way behind with my writing but I am working on catching up.

I initially couldn’t think of any ancestors with connections to bridges, and wondered which of them may have lived close to a bridge that they must have used on a daily basis.  One of the first villages I looked up was Whatstandwell, Derbyshire.  The first image in my Google search result was a Francis Frith image.

Whatstandwell, The Bridge And Village c.1955

This image is from 1955 and my 2nd great grandmother Elizabeth Hopkinson nee Goodwin died in Whatstandwell in 19571. She and her husband Job Hopkinson had moved to The Bungalow, Whatstandwell, between 19112 and 19263. After living in Whatstandwell for over 30 years I imagine Elizabeth knew this view well.  It has not changed all that much and I expect she would recognise it even today.

I don’t have any record that of Job and Elizabeth’s son Thomas Humphrey Hopkinson lived with them in Whatstandwell, though I know he visited. He was present at his mother’s death, for example.1   Another clue that he too knew Whatstandwell is that his wife Adelaide May Stewardson grew up there.4 She and her siblings attended Crich Carr school between 1909 and 1912 whilst they lived at The Orchard, Whatstandwell.5

On 19th June 1911 the Stewardson family joined the crowd of around 600 people from Whatstandwell and the surrounding villages to celebrate the Coronation of George V. The Derbyshire Times6 paints a wonderful picture of the events of the day. I can just imagine the children  in their fancy dress costumes meeting at the bridge and then following the Salvation Army band as they wave their flags.

The article has been transcribed on the Crich Parish website.

I have mentioned before that Adelaide May Stewardson’s sister Bluebell won the fancy dress competition that day.

There is a hint in the article too that Mrs Stewardson worked at the Post Office with Mrs Kirk and Mr Bowmer, or was it just that the three of them, including “Mr Bowmer at the Post Office displayed garlands, with lanterns, flags, etc.”? I learned about researching Post Office employees during the Pharos Employment Records course I took last month so I will try to follow up on that.

Another thing added to my list is to visit Whatstandwell, and follow the History Walk by Peter Patilla. It begins at the bridge, and passes many buildings and businesses my Hopkinson and Stewardson ancestors must have known.

1Deaths (CR) England. RD Belper, SB Ripley. 23 January 1957. HOPKINSON, Elizabeth. Vol. 3a p. 53.

2 [Census Records] England. Park Head, Crich, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. 02 April 1911. HOPKINSON, Job. RD 436. PN 20985. ED 14. SN 114. http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 04 Apr 2009.

3 J&WH Sale & Son Solicitors. (1926) Letter to Job Hopkinson, 16 August.

4 [Census Records] England. “The Orchard” Whatstandwell, Crich, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. 02 April 1911. STEWARDSON, Robert. RD 436. PN 20985. ED 14. SN 43. http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 04 Apr 2009.

5 Crich Carr National (Later Church Of England Primary) School. Admissions. STEWARDSON, Robt. (1909) D4482_2_1. Derbyshire Record Office. Matlock, Derbyshire. National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 14 August 2020.

6 The Derbyshire Times (1911) The Coronation, Derbyshire Rejoicings, Whatstandwell. The Derbyshire Times. 24 June. p. 2b. https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ : accessed 17 August 2021.

Other stories about these families.

Robert Humphrey Hopkinson 1923-1986 – The update

It has been a busy couple of weeks. Else Churchill is packing a huge amount into the Pharos course that I am working on, together with client work, putting courses together for Society of Genealogists and an assessment due for Strathclyde University hasn’t left a lot of time for my own research. Coming back to […]

Robert Humphrey Hopkinson 1923-1986

As I have finally completed the #52Ancestors challenge I have decided to move on to a “do over” of my family history research, one ancestor at a time. For each one I will be checking the accuracy of my research to date from what I have learned, looking for any gaps in my knowledge about […]

52 Ancestors: Week 52 – Future

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. It has taken me longer than it should but here is the last post in this series. I didn’t feel qualified to write about the future of […]

Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 22 – Military

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I am way behind with my writing but I am working on catching up.

The only ancestors I have found to date with military connections were called up during World War 1 and 2. Robert Stewardson, my great grand uncle (or great great uncle) however, did not just sign up for the duration, though he does not appear to have served for long in peacetime. .

Robert was born on 7th May 1898 in Tansley1 near Matlock, Derbyshire. He was the first son and second child of mole catcher Robert Stewardson and his wife Maria. Robert junior was my great grandmother, Adelaide May Stewardson’s younger brother. He attended school in Tansley, then Crich National school and Crich Carr National school.3,4

I believe Crich is unusual in having a Roll of Honour featuring all those who served, not just the fallen. This is a copy of the 1920 Roll of Honour which is inside St Mary’s Church, Crich. Funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant a team created a new version in 2018 with biographical details of many of the men.

Thanks to The National Archives policy of free downloads during the pandemic Robert’s military record is available free.1 He enlisted initially for twelve years in 1915 when he was 17 years old.

I could summarise Robert’s naval career, but there seems little point when the Crich Roll of Honour has already done so. http://www.crichparish-ww1.co.uk/ww1webpages/stewardsonrobert.html. It makes fascinating reading.2 He appears to have remained on shore throughout WW1 and bought his way out in 1921 after receiving a Jutland bounty. In the summer of 1923 he married Edith Riley in St. Giles, London5. The couple had three children born in Oakham, Rutland before moving to Mansfield between 1928 and 1934 where they had two more children.6

In September 1928 they were living on Derby Road, Belper, Derbyshire, close to Robert’s family. Robert appeared in court for dangerous driving.

“LUCKY STILL TO BE ALIVE.
Belper Car Driver Before Court.
FINE OF £4.
“It is a wonder you did not kill him, said Mr. John Hunter, chairman of the Belper Sessions, to-day, when he imposed a fine of £4, including costs, on Robert Stewardson (27), motor driver, of Derbv-road, Belper, for driving a motor car dangerously on the Matlock-road, Whatstandwell, August 9th. Joseph Harrison, boot factory foreman, 01 Thurvasten, said and a friend were standing on the Matlock roadside with motor cycles. They were about to start away when witness heard a shout, and turned round to see his friend lying over the controls his machine. Stewardson had just passed in a motor-car. He pulled up in 40 yards.
Car Hit Him
The friend, “Wililam Twelvetrees, also of Thurcaston, said the motor-car hit him in the mouth and knocked him over the machine. He sustained a fractured rib and a cut ankle, and was off work for three weeks as a result. He was on his correct side of the road when the accident happened. Stewardson said it was a bad place for anybody to stop. was a double bend and as a lorry was coming in the opposite direction he had to draw into the side to pass. He “just caught ” who was stooping, over his machine. ” It was the fall that hurt him, not my hitting him,” added Stewardson.”7

In 1938 Robert reenlisted for a further 27 years and served throughout WW2.1 As war broke out Edith and the children were living at 222 Eaking Road, Mansfield.

1939 Register, England. Mansfield M.B. Nottinghamshire. STEWARDSON, Edith. 29 September 1939. Schedule 306. RG101/6222H/024/5. National Archives (Great Britain), Kew, England. Collection: 1939 Register. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 15 August 2020.

Robert was discharged to the same address, I think in 1945.1

Robert died aged 77 in Nottingham district.8 It would be lovely to find out more about his civilian life. I hope he became a safer driver!

1 Stewardson, Robert Register Number: 14631 Division: Royal Marine. (03 June 1915) Item number: 4728990. Catalogue reference: ADM 159/89/14631. The National Archives, Kew. Admiralty: Royal Marines: Registers of Service. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7790940 : accessed 15August 2020.

2 Patilla, Peter, Simon Johnson, & Brian Gibbons. (2018) Crich Roll of Honour 2018. http://www.crichparish-ww1.co.uk/ww1webpages/stewardsonrobert.html : accessed 10 August 2021

3 Crich British (Later County Junior) School. Admissions. STEWARDSON, Robt. (1908) D3834_2_3. Derbyshire Record Office. Matlock, Derbyshire. National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 14 August 2020.

4 Crich Carr National (Later Church Of England Primary) School. Admissions. STEWARDSON, Robt. (1909) D4482_2_1. Derbyshire Record Office. Matlock, Derbyshire. National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 14 August 2020.

5 Marriages Index (CR) England & Wales. RD St Giles, [Middlesex]. 3rd Q. 1923. STEWARDSON, Robert. Vol. 1b. p. 1229. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 15 August 2020.

6 Births Index (CR) England & Wales. 1923-1937. STEWARDSON, mothers maiden name RILEY . https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 15 August 2020.

7 Derby Daily Telegraph. (1928) Lucky Still To Be Alive. Derby Daily Telegraph. 13 September. p. 1c. https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ : accessed 15 August 2020.

8 Deaths Index (CR) England & Wales. RD Nottingham. 1st Q. 1977. STEWARDSON Robert. Vol 8. p 1349. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 15 August 2020.

Photo courtesy Joy Baggaley

Other posts about the Stewardson family

Bluebell won the fancy dress

I’m still working out WordPress – click the title above to read this blog post. I had a few minutes spare before tea and so I checked what the next thing to do on my family history to do list was. I’m trying to tick off an item or two on my 10 year old […]

Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 7 – Unusual Source

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. This week the prompt is Unusual Source.

About ten years ago I found my 3rd Great Grandparents, Matthew and Jane Stewardson, on the 1901 Census. They were living at Rainors Farm in Gosforth in what was then Cumberland. The household was made up of the couple in their sixties, their two youngest children and one of their many grandsons. Ten years later widowed Matthew was at the same address, but in the intervening years his youngest daughter Adelaide had married, and her husband Henry Tyson was now listed as the head of the household. Matthew, now 74 years old was listed as a retired farmer.

I did what I often do when I come across an exact address for an ancestor, and looked it up on Google. Usually I will be able to see if the road still exists and if the houses are likely those that my ancestor occupied. Sometimes I can find a little more about the actual house.

Rainors Farm turned out to be an 18th century Georgian farmhouse, now operating as a bed and breakfast. I bookmarked it and promised myself that if we ever decided to visit the Lake District that would be where we would stay. It was wonderful to be able to use the website to view not only the outside of my 3rd great grandfather’s home, but the inside too.


Time passed and I spent time researching other branches of the family or working on other hobbies. Then in 2017 the exchange rate wasn’t good and we decided to have several short breaks in the UK rather than head overseas. One of the trips we booked was a long weekend in the Lake District timed to include the steam gala at the Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum. While in the area we also visited the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and took a boat ride or two.

Of course we stayed at Rainors Farm. It was a proper goosebumps down the spine sort of moment to know I was in a house that had once been occupied by my 3rd great grandparents. The house has probably changed very little from when they were there 117 years before me.
Breakfast was great, and I can thoroughly recommend staying here even if you aren’t descended from the Stewardson or Tyson families.

As planned we also spent some time hunting for one of the usual genealogists sources – looking for gravestones in the local churchyards. Sadly we didn’t find a single one for any of my ancestors! Tony was beginning to get very fed up with the dead relative hunt.

Take away the cars and Matthew and Jane Stewardson must have seen this view.

The churches were open and inside Nether Wasdale church we found my unusual source. There were some noticeboards at the back of the church with information provided by the local history society. Amongst the pictures was one of Matthew Stewardson, identifying him as a gilly. I was so excited! Here he is:

Matthew Stewardson (c) Ann Robbins Wasdale History Group

Matthew lived to 94, having gone to live with his eldest daughter at Gap Cottage. Apparently she was concerned about her younger sister inheriting everything if her father stayed with them.

Over breakfast the next morning we mentioned why we had chosen to stay at Rainors Farm, and were delighted to hear that the house is still owned by family connected to the descendants of Matthew and Jane. We were shown this picture of their youngest daughter, Adelaide May Tyson taken in 1911.

The label on the back states, “The Tyson’s at Rainors Farm 1911. Left to right: Harry, Ernest, Ada held by Adelaide May, May and unknown cousin. “
Rainors Farm entry on the 1911 Census

Adelaide May Tyson nee Stewardson is my 2nd great Aunt, the youngest of Matthew and Jane’s 15 children. Some of her elder siblings stayed in the Lake District, her brothers Robert (my direct ancestor) and George moved to Derbyshire and were mole catchers. Six of the other brothers emigrated to Canada.

So, if the usual sources don’t reveal anything, if you are bored of looking at gravestones, take a look inside the church. You never know what you will find!

Categories
My family

An intriguing will

A few weeks ago I had ordered a copy of my great great great grandfather, George Batterley’s will. Today I finally had time to sit and read it in detail. My previous research had confirmed that he had four children with his first wife, Maria. The children were Eliza Ann, Ada, my great great grandmother Maria and a son George.


His wife Maria passed away in 1907 and, probably because he was a farmer, he remarried very quickly, to Sarah Ann. By this time the children were all grown up and married. The youngest was 30 years old. Eliza Ann and Maria had married brothers, George and Robert Stewardson, both mole catchers originally from the Lake District but now settled nearby in Derbyshire.

At the time the will was written in 1921 all four children were living in Derbyshire, with families of their own.

The intrigue comes in the legacies. George left 5 shillings to his wife, less than £10 in today’s money. Did he regret his second marriage in his 60s?


He then divides the residue of his property, over £480, between his three children. Not four children. Just three. He lists his son George, his daughter Ada and his daughter Eliza Ann. Maria is very definitely left out.

Excerpt from the will of George Batterley, 1847-1922.

Maria was still alive in 1922, I have her death record in 1960. I have her birth certificate and her father is clearly given as George Batterley. I may never know how or why she was disinherited by her father, but once again a document has raised more questions that answers.


Categories
My family

Family history gold dust

I had a lovely walk this afternoon with my nieces. We sat for ages at the local war memorial catching Pokémon, then they found 7 geocaches including the one I hid a week ago. There was a horse in the field by that one. I’d already found the other 6 caches but it was fun to help them find them. They were really keen and wanted fewer and fewer clues for each one. We carried on and the girls helped me find a good location to hide cache at St Beuno’s church.

My niece hunting a geocache.

I had a bit of time before getting dinner ready, so having spent the week working on my sister’s house history I decided to spend a few minutes checking off a “to do” item from my old list on Legacy. The top item on the list was to find a death date for my 1st cousin 3 times removed Annie Stewardson. I knew she was born in Cumberland around 1908, and that she emigrated to Canada when she was very young. I’d seen her on the 1921 census of Canada but nothing further.

I typed her details into Ancestry and just wow, I hit the jackpot! Not only a death date but an incredibly detailed obituary. There was no doubting that this was for the right person. So I now have her sisters married names, I know which siblings were still alive in 2003, I have both her husband’s names and so many more clues.

I wonder how long it will take to trace those 12 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren. A webinar i watched during the week confirmed how important making connections like those can be for DNA assisted genealogy.

What an exciting evening! Needless to say I was late putting the roast dinner in the oven tonight.

Categories
My family

Bluebell won the fancy dress

I’m still working out WordPress – click the title above to read this blog post. I had a few minutes spare before tea and so I checked what the next thing to do on my family history to do list was. I’m trying to tick off an item or two on my 10 year old to do list each day while I’m furloughed from work. The next item was to find a baptism for my great great aunt Doris Stewardson. Her big sister, my great grandmother, had been christened at the Wesleyan Methodist church in Matlock at almost a month old so it seemed reasonable to look for a baptism for Doris. I keyed the basic details I had of her birth from the 1939 register, and the 1901 and 1911 Census into both Ancestry and Findmypast. Ancestry didn’t have anything I didn’t already know, but Findmypast showed a school admissions log book. No baptism, but never mind.

Digging around I found that Doris, and her siblings had attended Crich British School before moving to Crich Carr National school in 1909. A quick Google revealed that Crich Carr National school is now Crich Carr Church of England Primary school. I then stumbled across crichparish.co.uk, a one place study, which has a page about the complicated school history of the town. Delightfully the page includes a picture of the Crich Carr National school pupils taken around 1913, of course I don’t know which are my ancestors, but it seems likely that Doris’ younger siblings Bluebell, Matthew and Harry are in the picture, possibly Doris herself too. The two older siblings, my great grandmother Adelaide May and Robert Stewardson would have left by then. It is wonderful to have a picture of them, even if I don’t know which children they are!

I carried on searching crichparish.co.uk to see what else I could find out. I searched the site for “Stewardson” and found a transcript of the article in the Derbyshire Times describing the celebrations for George V coronation on 19th June 1911. I’m delighted that Bluebell Stewardson, my great great aunt won the girls fancy dress competition dressed appropriately as a bluebell, her Dad had served on the tent committee, and her Mum, after serving on the Ladies committee won a special prize in the fancy dress for her Mother Hubbard costume.