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Sunday, 18 August 2019

The Tragic Death of Haydon Lounds, Coach Builder : 52 Ancestors Week 34

Tragedy is the theme of this week's "52 Ancestors" prompts. 

Here an admission -  in many ways I have come to regret my choice of title for my blog.  When I set this up, as a novice,  in August 2010,   I was keen to convey my enthusiasm and pleasure that I gain from my family history activities - hence "Family History Fun."  But  tragedies. abound in our research  from mothers dying in  childbirth, the early deaths of children succumbing to illness,  accidents at home and work,  and of course in warfare.  

So most of us will soon come across tragedies in our family history. Here is such a one from distant branch of my family, and  where my blog title  becomes inappropriate.

I was asked by my  cousin to find out more about the background of his  grandmother  Sarah Haydon Lounds who married my great uncle John Danson (left)   It proved a sad tale.


A search on www.ancestry.co.uk  quickly revealed  that the surname Lounds was very popular in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. I soon traced an entry for a Sarah Haydon Lounds born Jan-March 1884 at Worksop, Nottinghamshire.   She was baptised at St. John's Church, Worksop, daughter of  George Haydon Lounds and Charlotte Ann Short, who had married in 1873. 

George Haydon Lounds was the eldest son of Haydon Lounds and Jane Beaver, born December 1853 at Bourne, Lincolnshire. He was consistently described in census returns as a coach painter.  He and Charlotte had six children Haydon (1873),  Jane (1875),  Emma (1877),  Willie (1879), Sarah (1884)  and Harold (1889).

I was  keen to find out the background to the  unusual Christian name of Haydon.  My first thought was that it  probably stemmed from a mother's maiden name - but we all know as family historians, not to make assumptions.  


I had Sarah's grandfather's likely birth year as c.1832 so looked up the 1841 census to trace a young Haydon Lounds aged around 9.   He was found with his family at Bourne, Lincolnshire with parents Thomas, a cottager, born, c 1791,  mother Sarah,  and 4 sisters,  Esther, Sarah, Eliza and Julia, and brother Thomas.  Father Thomas obviously prospered over the years, as in 1851 he was a farmer of 29 acres, and ten years later of 40 acres. 


A search for the marriage of Thomas and his wife Sarah was the next stage of research - and there was my answer -  on 24th October 1814 the marriage of Thomas Lounds and Sarah Haydon with the banns read at Corby, Lincolnshire and   Holywell, Lincolnshire.

Around the same time as Thomas and Sarah above married, there was also a marriage in Lincolnshire of a Thomas Lounds and a Mary Lamb and many people cite them as Haydon's parents on the online trees in Ancestry.  However I have discounted this as the correct record,  as none of the  female descendants were called Mary, and the Sarah Haydon link is so powerful, given the way her maiden name and the Christian names of her children were continued down the generations and branches of the family.

Haydon Lounds: Coach Builder - Grandfather of "my" Sarah
Given that coach builder Haydon was a local tradesman, I sought to find more about his own life and work and searched newspapers online to discover a  wonderful source of entries on Haydon.  

Stamford  Mercury:27th January  1854

 But success was short lived as reported in 1855: 
The London Gazette:  22nd February 1855

"A petition for bankruptcy - hearing date 14th February 1855 has been filed against Haydon Lounds of Bourne in the county of Lincoln, coach builder and wheelwright......" 
Haydon could only have been about 23 years old at the  time of this bankruptcy and
had married only two years previously, with  eldest son George Haydon (Sarah's father) born the same year.    However Haydon continued working in his trade, as indicated in the census returns 1861-1891 where he was described as "employed". Three daughters and six sons were born over  the next twenty years. 

Newspaper reports gave an insight into  Haydon as a respected member of the community, with  frequent reference to Haydon being among a company of bell ringers, who performed in church and at various social occasions, plus an award made to him by a Friendly Society. 

The Stamford Mercury:  12th July 1870"

"The Managers of the Hearts of Oak  Friendly Society, of London, have this week presented a handsome silver medal, bearing a suitable inscription, to Mr. Haydon Lounds, workman in the employ of Mr. Anderson, coach builder, of this town, for valuable assistance he has rendered for some time in inducing persons to become members of that institution"....... 
The Friendly Society was set up in 1842 with the aim of giving its members protection against distress through sickness.   It grew rapidly and a major collection of its records is now held at the National Archives

 The Stamford Mercury:  9th December 1870

  "A company of hand-bell ringers, under the direction of Mr. Haydon Lounds, gave a very pleasing diversion"

The Grantham Journal:  27th November 1875 
- an effusive  report  on a Saturday evening concert at the Temperance Hall noted among the entertainers were:  

"Mr. Haydon Lounds and his sons who gave immense satisfaction by their excellent manipulation at the hand bells; the various pieces played by them being received with enthusiastic manifestations of delight".
 However tragedy befell the family as reported below.  

Lincolnshire Chronicle Friday 27 March 1896:

GRANTHAM - SUICIDE.  Mr Aubrey H. Malin, coroner, held an inquest into  the death of Haydon Lounds aged 65, a coach-body maker, who died on the previous day.  Arthur..... Lounds, son of the deceased, identified the body. Deceased had been suffering from white-lead colic for six weeks but had not stayed off work until the previous Wednesday.  Deceased of late had appeared in a rather depressed state.  He seemed to trouble about the idea of having to live upon his children.   William Deed, engine driver,  said he had known the deceased for about 20 years.  On Saturday at lunchtime, the witness was called to the deceased house.  In his bedroom, he found the deceased lying on his side, with his throat cut and a razor in his hand.  He had noticed that the deceased had been rather absent minded.  Dr. Paterson, attributed death to shock and exhaustion, due to loss of blood.  Verdict - Suicide whilst in a state of unsound mind."

So work for  40 years as a coach-body builder, resulted in Haydon suffering from what was later to be believed to be work related   lead poisoning.  Thus ended  the life of this family man and supportive member of his communit.   He was buried at Grantham Parish Church, Lincolnshire. 


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Monday, 12 August 2019

The Pigeon Got There First - 52 Ancestors: Week 33

"Comedy" is the theme of this week's "52 Ancestors Challenge.  I cannot say I had  wide choice of comic moments in my family history,  but this story  from my father we found amusing.   

My  father John Percy Weston (1912-2003) had written down for me the memories of his  early life in Broseley, near Ironbridge, Shropshire.
"I was mad keen on soccer, so much so that I had a trial at Birmingham with the English schoolboys. My teacher took me in his car to that and to a second trial at Shrewsbury.
One Saturday when I was working as an errand boy, two directors from Birmingham Football Club came to see Dad and Mum to sign me on for the junior team  - they refused, saying I was too young to be away from home. I was not told about this until later and sulked for a month!
But a bit of glory followed, when my school team entered a cup competition. I was vice-captain and we got to the final - and won the cup, the first ever for Broseley.

One of the supporters took a carrier pigeon along with us and set it loose at the end to let Broseley know the result and to prepare a welcome, as we were bringing home the cup!  And the pigeon did get there first" 
The pigeon was obviously  an ancestor of Twitter!

Apparently a photograph was taken of the team's success, but no pictures of my father's early life passed down the family. I have only two photograph   of him prior to his meeting my mother in 1936. Family memorabilia (including Dad's church choir and football team photographs) were thrown out by a widowed relative.  How sad!

Unfortunately I only had a broad indication of the year for the event, which made tracing it in local newspapers difficult. In an effort to find out more, I contacted Broseley Historical Society who put my enquiry on their online newsletter.   I am delighted to say I heard from three members of the society with more personal memories - and even better I now have a photograph of the winning football team, with my father on the middle row right, identified as Perce Weston. I always thought he hated his middle name Percy, but he seemed to be known by that as a youngster.

This is the earliest photograph I have of my father and I am so grateful to the Society for filling this gap in my family history.   

My father retained his love of football all his life.   He was a great follower of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa and was an avid watcher of matches on television, right up to his death at the age of 91.

And an important lesson from this - don't forget the value that can be gained from contacting local societies. 

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Friday, 9 August 2019

An Array of Hats - Sepia Saturday

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt photograph features three Edwardian ladies, wearing large hats.  There is no shortage of that style among my extended family.

 An elegant portrait of Sarah Alice Oldham on her wedding to George Butler in Blackpool, Lancashire  and what a showy outfit, magnificently decorated large hat, and a large posy set off by  long broad ribbons     Sarah came from a family of carters and coal-men down three generations and George also worked in the business.  

This charming photograph is of Sarah's sister, Beatrice Oldham who married Jack Clark in Blackpool, Lancashire  on 26th December 1919. I feel the significance of the date after the First World War is not lost in this photograph,  where there is a certain air of informality and lack of ostentation,  with a large, but plain hat and a shorter skirt and the groom carrying a trilby hat.   It contrasts with the very formal opulent dress style  at Sarah's wedding nine years earlier in 1910. 

More large  hats were worn (above)  by Mary Jane Oldham, nee Bailey and her sister-in-law Sarah Butler, nee Oldham.    Mary Jane Bailey  and my grandfather William Danson were cousins.   Below is another creation worn by Sarah's other sister Edith. 

A magnificent array of hats (and buttonholes)  in this wedding group at the marriage in 1910  of  Wilfred Hyde and Annie Coombes, relations of my cousin's  wife. 

But to return to everyday fashion wear in hats:
My husband's great aunt Pat King, nee Hibbert, on the beach with her little daughter Annette, born in 1919.  

And even wee  ones can sport big hats

My mother Kathleen Danson, c.1911 taking part in a parade in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  She does not look too happy in her little bootees, frilly white dress and large hat.


From the American branch of my mother's family -  Florence Mason, with her father c.1906.  Born 1898 in Brooklyn, New York,  she was the youngest of a large family of eight surviving children. 


What if you were looking to buy a hat?  Here is an advertisement from my local paper "The Earlston Comet"  of 1891.  On the High Street, David Wallace, draper and clothier promised:
"An Immense and Magnificent Collection of every New and Fashionable  Dress Material....which for Variety, Superior Quality, Good Taste and Moderate Prices is unequalled in Earlston.

Tweeds in Cheviot, Homespun, Harris and Grampian makes, latest styles and newest mixtures, Black materials in great variety.

The latest novelties in Millinery, Flowers, Feathers etc.  Bonnets composed of Velvet and Jet, from 10s.6d to 25s.  The latest novelty in hats is Gladys in French Beaver, trimmed with Feathers.  All orders for this Department made up in the most Fashionable and Tasteful Manner." 
Note the reference to "black materials" - at a time when formal mourning wear was still the custom.  Somehow the name "Gladys" does not quite conjure up an image of a French beaver hat with feathers!

Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers  

to share their family history and memories through photographs


Click HERE to see other fashions from Sepia Saturday bloggers

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Great Grandmother's 11 sisters: 52 Ancestors - Week 32

My great grandmother Maria Rawcliffe (left)  had seven sisters, two half-sisters and two step-sisters - eleven  sisters in all and so a fitting subject for the prompt of "Sisters" from this week's "52 Ancestors" challenge. 

Maria’s was a story of  eight daughters, born to my great great grandparents,  the early death of their mother;   a stepmother  who came to the marriage with two illegitimate daughters, and subsequently bore two half sisters.   The life of the Rawcliffe  family illustrated the vicissitudes of Victorian society   with infant deaths, illegitimacy, early widowhood, remarriages, plus the discovery  of my first emigrant ancestor seeking a new life in the  USA.

My great great grandfather  Robert Rawcliffe lived 1821-1904, dying at the age of 83. He married Jane Carr in 1846, withe birth of Maria's sisters as follows:

1.  Anne (1847-1928) - was  the  first first of eight daughter. named after her paternal grandmother.  In the 1861 census  she was living   away from home as a 13 year old servant.   Aged about 25 she had an illegitimate daughter  Jane Alice,  and a year later married  gamekeeper Robert Roskell.  One of her three daughters was named Maria,   after her youngest (surviving) sister, my great grandmother (I liked that link). But burial records revealed early deaths in the family - infant twin son Matthew died at three weeks old in 1882 and eldest daughter Jane died in 1887, aged only fourteen;   with husband  Robert dying in 1894 at the young age of 42. 
By the time of  the 1901 Census, Anne, a grocer/shopkeeper  had  moved from a small rural village to the town of Fleetwood,  where she married her second husband John Jenkinson. She died   4 April 1928 and was buried, not in Fleetwood, but beside her first husband and young children at St. Anne's Church, Singleton.(right)   Her age on her gravestone was given as 79. 

2.  Jane (1850-1926) - was the second daughter, named after her mother and paternal grandmother.  She married Thomas Riley in 1873.  The photograph below came from an internet contact descendant and shows four generations of their  family. 
 Jane Riley, nee Rawcliffe with her son George (left) grandson (Jack) and Jack's baby son George Robert who did not survive infancy.
3.  Margaret (1852-1852)  -  third daughter was born 11th November 1852, but only lived for  three weeks, buried 4th December 1882. 

4. Alice (1853-1930)  - the fourth daughter was christened Alice Margaret, perhaps   in remembrance of the baby sister who had died a year earlier. In the 1871 census she was a domestic servant, and two years later married John Mason, a general labourer. Six children were born and then In 1886-87 the they  took the momentous decision to leave the fishing port of Fleetwood for the teeming tenements of Brooklyn, New York. where they had a further five children.  Alice is my blog success story, as my third cousin, a descendant of Alice's youngest daughter Florence, found my blog and gave me a wonderful collection  of stories and photographs.  

 Alice (centre) with her husband John Mason, and their eight surviving children.

5.  Jennet (1956-1902)  - in 1873 she was a witness at the marriage of her sister Jane 
to Thomas Riley, with the other witness Thomas's brother Richard.  Five years later, Jennet and Richard married.  But happiness was short lived for Richard died in 1891 aged just 33.  The census of that year saw Jennet a widow with son Thomas 9 years old. Daughter Jane was traced to the home of Jennet's sister.  Jennet remarried a seaman Edward Alexander Braham.  But again their marriage was cut short with the death of Jennet in 1902, aged 45 - the first of the five surviving Rawcliffe sisters to die.  

6.  Peggy (1861-1861)  - was the last of the Rawcliffe sisters to be traced. Her short life lasted only sixteen days. 

7. Martha (1863-1863) - the baptism entry for Martha was a puzzle, for she was given the middle name "Septima" meaning seventh daughter, - yet she was the eighth.  Also how did her parents, with Robert an agricultural labourer, and with Jane making their mark on their marriage certificate know about the Latin inspired name?  The third puzzle - why did my great grandmother Maria adopt the name Martha Maria for many official records, including her marriage certificate?  Maria could hardly have remembered her baby sister.     

So  Robert's wife, Jane, gave birth to eight  children in a sixteen year period   Jane was aged 44 at the birth of her youngest daughter Martha and died two years later, buried on 4th May 1865, leaving her five  young daughters motherless at the ages of 6, 8, 11, 14 and 17.  Jane and her baby daughters were all buried at the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Hambleton.  Unfortunately there are no gravestones, and no listings in monumental inscriptions for Robert Rawcliffe's  family. 


In 1875 Robert married his second wife Elizabeth Brekall, twenty years his junior and they had four children in six years, including two daughters - half sisters to my great grandmother.

8.  Grace (1876-?) - perhaps named after Robert's sister,  Grace.

9.  Margaret (1881-?)

No baptism records were traced for this second group of Rawcliffe children and more research  needs to be done into their lives. 

But there was a second dimension to Robert's second marriage.  For  Elizabeth Brekall came to the marriage with three children of her own, including two daughters:

10. Dorothy

11. Mary Ellen

So at the age of 16, Maria acquired two new step sisters. I naturally assumed they were children of Elizabethan's first husband  - the  classic family history mistake  - do not assume!  For her wedding certificate to Robert identified Elizabeth as a spinster.  

One cannot help speculate on the circumstances that led Elizabeth to bear three illegitimate children over a thirteen year span. The children were all baptised,  but no father named on their record. The earlier census returns showed that Elizabeth and her children were living with her parents, with her father an agricultural labourer, so times must have been hard.  

The 1881 census showed a crowded Rawcliffe household with father Robert 61, a farmer of three acres,   Elizabeth 41 and  six children, ranging from 2 months old to eleven years .  


Maria (1859-1919)

Perhaps not surprisingly,  my great grandmother Maria  appears to have left home not long after her father's second marriage.   She married James Danson in 1877 at the age of 18, with the address on her marriage certificate that of her eldest married sister Anne.   

The sisters remained close, judging by the tradition of naming their daughters after their sisters, with Anne, Jane and Jennet all ending their lives in the town of Fleetwood. 

Maria is at the heart of my family history research and writing, featuring regularly on my blog. Ironically, as one of so many sisters, she went on to have ten sons (eight surviving infancy), and finally her only daughter Jennie. 

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Monday, 29 July 2019

Jennie's Eight Brothers: 52 Ancestors : Week 31

My great Aunt Jennie (above)  was the youngest and last child of my great grandparents James Danson and Maria Rawclife, born into a household of eleven   - her parents and  eight brothers  - George aged 3, Frank 5. Albert 7,  Tom 9, William (my grandfather) 12, Robert 16, John 18 and Harry 20.  Two other children had died in infancy.

The Danson home on Bull Street, Poulton, 
demolished c.1960 to make room for a small shopping mall.


What happened to Jennie's eight brothers?

Eldest son Harry (1877-1907)  perhaps named after his paternal grandfather Henry, was born  7th Septembert 1877. In  the 1901 census, he was described as a rural postman.  He died at the age of 30 on  9th December 1907,  a year after his father.  Unusually he was not listed,  in the local newspaper, amongst the sons attending his father's funeral.  Was he ill by this stage? 

Second son John (1879-1917was born 8th April 1879, perhaps named after his uncle John Danson, James eldest brother.  

His was a sad life - his wife Sarah Haydon Lounds died at the young age of 21, leaving behind  infant daughter Annie Maria, who made her home with her grandmother. Family recollections told how John later become engaged to Dorothy Chisholm  but before they were married John a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery died 17th May 1917, buried in Moorland Cemetery, Poulton.  Something of a mystery surrounded his death, with a story that "Granny had to fight to get his name on the Poulton War Memorial in the Square" and he was not listed  on the memorial in St. Chad's Church.   It was only by buying his death certificate (PDF version)  that I learnt the stark truth that tJohn,  whilst in army training,   had committed suicide, leaving Annie orphaned at the age of 12.      John's fiancee Dorothy never married and the Danson family continued to maintain a close link with her.  Like many women of her generation she remained alone, living in a bedsitter and I have memories as a child  of visiting her with my mother and aunt.

Third son, Robert/Bob (1881-1968)  was born 3rd June 1881 was named after his maternal grandfather and like his eldest brother bcame a postman.  

His daughter Irene recalled "He went a long way ont his bicycle from Poulton over Shard Bridge, where his grandfther had been  toll collector to deliverthe post of Over Wyre.  Later his round was North Promenade and the Cliffs at Blackpool - very windy, but the hotel people looked after him with cups of tea.  He lived to be 89 years old so it must have kept him fit, though he was told at the outbreak of the First World War when his brothers were joining up that he had a bad heart." Like many  of his brothers, Robert  married late in life in 1932, aged 51 and had one daughter. I have early childhood memories of visiting the family and am still in touch with his daughter - my mother's cousin. Robert  died in 1968, aged 87.  

Fourth son Albert, born 21st July 1883 did not survive infancy.

 William/Billy, (1885-1962) my grandfather, the fifth son,  was born 4th April 1885.  He married Alice English and they had six children, including my mother Kathleen.  His  war time experiences  where he won the Military Medal at Passchendaele   and the postcards  he sent home form  the basis of many of my blog postings.  He died aged 77.

Baby Danson was sillborn, buried 29th June 1887.


Thomas (right)  the seventh son was born in 1888.  I know little else on Tom apart from the fact he became a clerk at Poulton Station.  A photograph in a book on old Poulton  identifed him in 1911 as a member of the local  football team.  A possible record of his death was found of a Tom Danson in the Fylde  in 1954, aged 66.

Albert ( 1890-1983) was the eighth son born c. 1890 and named after his older sibling who had died in 1884.  He worked on the ferry between Fleetwood and the Isle of Man. Family recollections noted he married and had a son Hugh, but little was known beyond that.


Frank (1892-1971) was  the nineth son.   During the First World War, he was in hospital in Malta as a result of a war wound and later  became a painter. At the age of 46, he married Grace Bee , a nurse.  Their were no children of the marriage.  I have vague childhood recollections of visiting him with my mother. The death of a Frank Danson in the Fylde ws recorded in 1971 when he must have been around 79,
George (1894-1916) was the tenth and youngest son.   He was the favourite uncle of my mother and aunt, perhaps because he was nearest to them in age and took on the role of the big brother.  He worked on W.H. Smith bookstalls at different railway stations, joined the Royal Army Medical Corps s a stretcher bearer in the field, and was killed 16th September 1916 at  the Battle of the Somme, a week after his 22nd birthday.  [See Death on the Somme]


So Jennie,  as she was growing up, suffered the death of her father in 1904 when she was only eight years old; in 1906 her young sister--in-law (wife of brother John) died of TB;  a year later  her eldest brotherry died;  and during the First World War the death of her brothers John,  and George, the brother nearest to her in age). 

 Jennie Danson (1897-1986)

In many ways a  sad family story, illustrating the vicissitudes of life at the turn of the century and into the period of the First World War - but one  experienced  by so many families  in those times.


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 2019  "52 Ancestors" challenges.