Posts Tagged ‘ Famous family trees ’
Welcome to the latest blog in our ‘famous family trees’ series. In this blog series, experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, investigates the family histories of the famous, both living and dead. On-screen detective Michael Kitchen is the subject of Roy’s powers of deduction this month.
Ask 100 people to name their favourite TV detective and I would wager a bet that, somewhere among the votes for Sherlock Holmes, Morse, Lewis, Frost, Barnaby, Wycliffe and their ilk, a sizeable number would plump for Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. The superb drama series ‘Foyle’s War’, which has been on our screens for over a decade now, has built a regular audience of over six million viewers, not least because of the intelligent scripts by writer Anthony Horowitz, the setting of the programme in wartime Hastings and also the fact that no series has ever lasted beyond four episodes – the most recent series, which saw Foyle joining MI5, only ran to three – leaving fans yearning for more.
However, beyond any doubt whatsoever, the success of the programme is principally due to the almost hypnotic performance of its star, Michael Kitchen, the actor who plays Christopher Foyle. Foyle’s character – moral, courteous, soft-spoken, patient, scrupulously honest and yet determinedly tenacious in his pursuit of criminals – is brilliantly interpreted by Kitchen, who dominates every scene he’s in. So, it was with enthusiasm that I set out to research his family history.
I wish I could report that I found in his ancestry a real mystery worthy of DCS Foyle’s investigative talents – but, sadly, no! Despite the relative commonness of the surname, I was able to trace Michael Kitchen’s direct paternal line fairly quickly back to his great-great-great-grandparents in Lincolnshire about 1800. His forebears were – probably like Foyle’s – working class artisans and tradesmen. I did come across one minor puzzle which I was able to solve with some assiduous detective work, of which more later.I knew from online biographies and from the General Register Office’s birth indexes that he was born in 1948 in Leicester and registered as Michael R. Kitchen. It came as a slight surprise to learn from his birth certificate that his middle name is Roy – probably the only thing we have in common!
He was born in Leicester General Hospital on 31 October 1948, his father being Arthur Ernest Kitchen, a pork butcher’s assistant, and his mother Elsie Betty Kitchen, formerly Allen, both of 102 Wilberforce Road, Leicester. His parents’ marriage certificate showed they were married at the Church of the Martyrs, Leicester – an Anglican parish church founded relatively late in 1890 – on 10 April 1948. Arthur Ernest Kitchen was 27 and a pork butcher, his father being Thomas Henry Kitchen, with no occupation stated. Elsie Betty Allen, 21, was a hairdresser and her father was shown as Roy Cecil Allen, hosiery operator. Possibly Michael Kitchen’s middle name came from his maternal grandfather. Arthur Ernest Kitchen was born on 17 January 1921 at 18 Wand Street, Leicester, a street of terraced houses not far from the city centre. His father, Thomas Henry Kitchen, was described on the birth certificate as a ‘Hotel Barman, Ex Army’ while his mother was Annie Elizabeth Kitchen, formerly Johnson. Arthur Kitchen, Michael Kitchen’s father, died at Leicester in 2002, aged 80.
Further research showed that Arthur was a latecomer to the family, considerably younger than his siblings, for Thomas Henry Kitchen and Annie Elizabeth Johnson were married at Leicester in the April-June quarter of 1901. By the census of 1911 they had three children and were then living at 18 Wand Street, North West Leicester, where Arthur was born some 10 years later. In 1911 Thomas Henry was aged 32, a hotel cellarman, and his birth place was given as Grantham, Lincolnshire. His wife Annie Elizabeth was 31, a hosiery machinist, born at Leicester. Their children were William Kitchen, 6, Annie Elizabeth, 4, and Edith May 3. There was, thus, a long gap before Arthur came along – not entirely unusual.
Michael Kitchen’s grandfather, Thomas Henry, was found in Leicester in the 1901 census as a single man, living with his parents and half-a-dozen siblings. The family were at 26 Martin Street, Leicester. Head of the household was William Kitchen, aged 51, a plasterer, and his wife was Elizabeth Kitchen, 44, both having been born at Welby, Lincolnshire. It was apparent from the pattern of the children’s birth places that the family must have moved around a bit before arriving in Leicester. The children were: Thomas Henry, 22, plasterer’s labourer, born Grantham, Lincolnshire; William, 14, tailor’s presser, born at Nottingham; Annie S, 12, errand girl; Ada, 10; Arthur E, 6; Edith M, 4; Agnes K, 1 – the five youngest all being
born in Leicester. I had to take care when checking the censuses, for there is also a place in Leicestershire called Welby – but it was clear that it was the Lincolnshire Welby, about four miles north-east of Grantham, that was the original home of the Kitchens. In 1891 William and his family were living at the same address as in 1901, 26 Martin Street, Leicester but in this census the surname was spelt KITCHIN. The details of names and birth places were very similar to those given in 1901 but, of course, the ages were 10 years lower and there were only four children, the three youngest having not yet been born.
Next, I looked at the census of 1881 and found William and Elizabeth Kitchen, with son Thomas Henry, not in Leicester but in Grantham, Lincolnshire. It then became clear that William and Elizabeth must have moved to Leicester at some time between the censuses of 1881 and 1891. We can pin it down even more precisely because the 1891 census shows that their son William was born at Nottingham about 1887 and his younger sister Anne was born in Leicester about 1889. In 1881 William and Elizabeth Kitchen were found at 40 Spring Gardens, Spittlegate, Grantham. This couple were the great-grandparents of the actor Michael Kitchen and in 1881 they only had the one child, Thomas Henry, then aged two. The GRO marriage indexes reveal that William Kitchen and Elizabeth Storer were married at Grantham registration district in the January-March quarter of 1877.
To trace the ancestry farther back, I went to the censuses of 1871 and 1861. In 1871 William Kitchen was a visitor in the household of a family called Millhouse at Elton Street, Spittlegate, Grantham. He was then aged 21 and a plasterer, born at Welby, Lincolnshire. Ten years earlier in 1861 William was with his parents and four siblings in the village of Welby, Lincolnshire, a few miles north-east of Grantham. The address was shown as 9, Private House, Welby Pasture, Welby.
Richard Kitchen, William’s father, was an agricultural labourer, aged 52, and his wife Elizabeth was 43. Their children were: Thomas, 12, agricultural labourer; William, 11, agricultural labourer; Joseph 7; Richard 3; and Emma 1. The whole family were shown in the census as being born at Welby. Now we go back another 10 years to the census of 1851 when the Kitchen family were also in Welby. No address was given other than the village.
Richard Kitchen was aged 41 and a farm labourer, while wife Elizabeth was 32. They had six children: Ann 12, John 9, James 7, Mary 5, Thomas 3 and William 1. Adding the three younger ones who appear in the 1861 census, plus another born in 1864, indicates that Richard and Elizabeth Kitchen had at least 10 children. I also found Richard and Elizabeth – Michael Kitchen’s great-great-grandparents – in the 1841 census. They were in Welby and had just the one child, Ann, who was aged two. Also in the household was another Ann Kitchen, aged 70, and, while relationships were not given in 1841, it seems likely that this was Richard’s mother.
A somewhat sad fact emerged when I discovered from the 1871 census that Elizabeth Kitchen was by then a widow, Richard having died and been buried at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Welby, on 10 April 1864, aged 55. This I learned from the parish records collection on the Findmypast website. His death at that time was particularly poignant for, according to the 1871 census entry for Elizabeth Kitchen her youngest child, Sarah J Kitchen, was six years old – so she must have been born around the same time that her father died. Indeed, the death record for Richard Kitchen and the birth of Sarah Jane Kitchen appear in the same April-June quarter of 1864 at Grantham registration district. Elizabeth was then aged 53 and had three other children with her: Joseph, 16, Richard, 13, and Emma, 11.
I mentioned near the beginning of this blog that I was able to solve one problem in the ancestry of Michael Kitchen and this concerned Richard and Elizabeth Kitchen, his great-great-grandparents. It appeared from the 1841 census that they were married by then – though precise relationships are not given in that census – but despite intensive online searching, I was unable to find a marriage, either in the period immediately after civil registration came in on 1 July 1837 or in parish registers before that date.
Then I had a brainwave! I tracked down the church warden of St. Bartholomew’s parish church, Welby, a very kind gentleman called Colonel John Riggall to whom I am extremely grateful, and he popped into the church to look at the marriage register for me. It transpired that the register began in September 1837 and is one of those rare older ones still in use today. There, only the fourth marriage in the book, was the union of Richard Kitchen, bachelor of full age, a labourer, and Elizabeth Exton, a minor of unstated age, on 18 December 1837. Richard’s father was shown as William Kitchen, also a labourer, and Elizabeth’s father was James Exton, publican. Armed with this information, I was able to solve the mystery of why the marriage doesn’t appear in the GRO marriage indexes online. In fact, the names of Richard Kitchen and Elizabeth Exton do both appear in the indexes in the same October-December quarter of 1837 – but the volume number given for Grantham registration district against Richard Kitchen’s name is wrong and therefore the entries don’t match up! The volume number for Grantham at the date in question was 14, whereas in the indexes against the name of Richard Kitchen it is shown as 24. It may be that the page number is wrong, too, for in one of the entries, for Richard Kitchen is shown as being on page 511 and Elizabeth Exton on page 611. These occasional errors in the GRO indexes are familiar to experienced genealogists but may well prove a trap for novice family historians.
I hope Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle would think I have been diligent in my research and followed his meticulous example in tracking down his ancestors, even solving a small mystery along the way!
Roy Stockdill has been a family historian for almost 40 years. A former national newspaper journalist, he edited the Journal of One-Name Studies (for the Guild of One-Name Studies) for 10 years. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Society of Genealogists and is commissioning editor of the ‘My Ancestors…’ series of books. He writes regularly for Family Tree magazine.
Welcome to the latest blog in our ‘famous family trees’ series. In this blog series, experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, investigates the family histories of the famous, both living and dead. Actress Kate Winslet is the subject of Roy’s powers of deduction this month.
Her latest film, Movie 43, released last month, has received a panning from the critics, but I don’t suppose Kate Winslet is all that bothered. Berkshire-born Kate is, after all, one of the most bankable British stars in Hollywood, ever since she sprang to fame with her appearance in Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Thrice-married Kate’s love life has occupied acres of space in the tabloid newspapers but her family history is somewhat less colourful. I was delighted, however, to come across a great-great aunt in the censuses who was a barmaid called, would you believe, Kate Winslet! Kate’s ancestors were publicans in Reading, the largest town in Berkshire.
She was born Kate Elizabeth Winslet, on 5 October 1975, the second of four children of parents Roger John Winslet and Sally Ann Bridges, who were married at Reading in 1968. She has an older sister Anna, younger sister Beth and a younger brother Joss. Kate’s parents were both ‘jobbing actors’ but had to do a variety of other jobs to survive.
Kate has said in interviews that she didn’t have a privileged upbringing and that the family’s daily life was ‘very hand to mouth’. She has a theatrical background, however, because her maternal grandparents, Oliver and Linda Bridges, founded Reading Repertory Theatre.
Kate’s father Roger was born at Reading in 1939, not long before the outbreak of WWII, the son of Charles John Winslet and Blanche Sims. The couple married at Reading in 1932.
Charles Winslet, Kate’s grandfather, was born in 1908 and he is found aged two in the 1911 census, along with his parents, Charles and Emily Mary Winslet. The family were living at 21 Great Knollys Street, Reading, with Charles senior’s occupation shown as licensed victualler:
The pub he kept is not named in the census but a 1914 trade directory for Reading reveals that it was called The Lion.
Kate’s great-grandfather Charles Winslet Snr was aged 38, his wife 37 and they had been married four years. Their son, aged 2, appears in the census with his forenames reversed as John Charles Winslet. Also living with them was Charles Snr’s elder sister Sarah Emma, a single woman aged 40. Both she and Emily Mary gave their occupations as ‘Assisting in Business’. All four members of the family gave their birth place as Reading.
I found the marriage at Reading in the General Register Office marriage indexes in the June quarter of 1906 of Charles Winslet and Emily Mary Wells.
A decade earlier in the 1901 census, a then unmarried Charles was aged 23 and helping his father, John Winslet – Kate’s great-great-grandfather – out at another pub in the centre of Reading at 9 High Street:
Again, the name of the pub was not given in the census but a directory of 1899 shows that it was called the Broad Face.
Charles Winslet Snr’s ages in the censuses of 1901 and 1911 – 23 and 38 respectively – don’t add up. Some re-checking in the GRO birth indexes showed that he was born at Reading in 1877 and his wife, Emily Mary Wells, was born there in 1871.
Could Charles have been embarrassed by the fact that Emily was a few years old than him and decided to make himself older in 1911? It seems the only likely explanation.
In the 1901 census, Charles’ father John Winslet was 58 and gave his occupation as hotel keeper and his birth place as Richmond, Surrey. He was a widower, his wife, Susan or Susannah having died in 1897 aged 60. It was clearly a family-run business since John had two daughters and two sons all helping him.
The elder daughter Sarah, 31, was the house keeper; another daughter Catherine, 29, was a barmaid; son George, 26, was a barman; and the younger son Charles, 23, was the cellarman. All the children had been born at Reading.
The Winslet family were at the Broad Face Hotel (this time it was clearly named) in the census of 1891:
John, 48, was the hotel keeper, born at Richmond, Surrey, while his wife Susan, two years older than him at 50, gave her birth place as Thorncombe, Dorset.
There were five children in this census: Sarah, 22, barmaid; Kate, 20, barmaid (yes, she is actually named as Kate Winslet); son John, 19, a railway clerk; son George, 17, a butcher; and youngest child Charles, 14, scholar, all born at Reading. Also in the household were a 22-year-old servant, Agnes Dyer, born at Tadley, Hampshire, and a male boarder of 28, Reginald Quayle from Ireland.
In the census of 1881, John and Susan Winslet were at a different pub called the Railway Tavern, 33 Greyfriars Road, Reading. John’s age is incorrectly given as 52, which is either an enumerator’s error or a mistranscription or both – and the image is difficult to read because one of those annoying diagonal, black lines made by the checking clerks has been drawn through it:
Susan Winslet, his wife, was 40 and again her birth place was given as Thorncombe, Dorset. Daughter Emma was 14, Kate 12 (again she was enumerated as Kate Winslet), and Charles 4. The two older sons John and George were not at home but were found as pupils at a boys’ school at Whitley Park, Whitley Road, Reading:
John Winslet and Susannah Phillips were married at Reading in 1868 and by the 1871 census they had already taken over the Railway Tavern in Greyfriars Street, where they were found also in 1881. In this census the surname is spelt with a double ‘t’ as Winslett. John was shown as 27 and Susan as 30, while daughters Emma and Kate were aged 2 and 0 respectively. Also in the household was 15-year-old Ellen Winslett, John’s niece:
With the family was a single female of 27 who was enumerated as Harriett Phelps but I suspect this should have been Phillips and she was Susan’s sister because her birth place was also given as Thorncombe, Dorset.
I also found John Winslet’s parents in the 1871 census, Thomas and Priscilla Winslett (again spelt with a double ‘t’). We will come to them shortly in earlier censuses, but by 1871 they were living in alms houses called Hickey’s alms houses at Richmond, Surrey. Thomas was aged 68 and Priscilla 69 and both gave their birth place as Richmond:
I was unable to find Thomas and Priscilla in 1861, although I am still looking. I did, however, find a very interesting entry for their son, John Winslett [sic]. He was a servant, aged 18, in a household in Richmond Road, Twickenham, Middlesex and also working as a servant there was his eventual bride, Susan Phillips, aged 23. There seems little doubt that this was the woman who became John’s wife since her birth place was given once more as Thorncombe, Dorset:
Alberic D Willoughby was head of the household, and was described in the census as ‘The Honourable Gent’ and about whom I found an interesting piece of history! Some extensive internet searching revealed that he was an aristocrat who became Baron Alberic Drummond Willoughby de Eresby. In 1868 he was involved in a scandalous court case in which he cruelly tried to cut himself off from a French countess who had lived with him as his wife for 17 years and by whom he had a daughter, leaving her more or less destitute.
Returning to the Winslets, I found Thomas and Priscilla in the 1851 census at Old Worple Way, Richmond. Thomas was then 49 and a dairy man and Priscila was also aged 49, both being born at Richmond:
With them were two sons, Charles 14, John 7, and a daughter Ann 6, all also born at Richmond.
In 1841 Thomas and Priscilla were at Marsh Gate, Worple Way, Richmond, and Thomas was a milkman. They had seven children: Samuel 15, Richard 12, Adelaide 10, Thomas 9, William 7, Charles 5 and Sarah 3:
My research was not yet quite complete, for I found the marriage of Thomas Winslet to Priscilla Tasker on 7 December 1824 at the church of St Mary Magdalen, Richmond. Thomas and Priscilla were the great-great-great-grandparents of Kate Winslet.
I looked for the birth or baptism of Thomas and believe I found his birth on 13 December 1803 at Richmond, the son of Richard Winslett [sic] and Mary. Finally, I found in the online parish registers of St George, Hanover Square, in central London, a marriage for Richard Winslet and Mary Grant on 29 June 1794.
More research would need to be done to establish whether they were the 4x-great-grandparents of Kate Winslet.
Roy Stockdill has been a family historian for almost 40 years. A former national newspaper journalist, he edited the Journal of One-Name Studies (for the Guild of One-Name Studies) for 10 years. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Society of Genealogists and is commissioning editor of the ‘My Ancestors…’ series of books. He writes regularly for Family Tree magazine.
Welcome to the first ‘famous family trees’ blog of 2013. In this blog series, experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, investigates the family histories of the famous, both living and dead. This month Roy delves into the family tree of actor Tom Ellis.
A couple of issues back I published the ancestry of the comedienne and actress Miranda Hart, so it seemed appropriate to follow this up with the family tree of Tom Ellis, the actor who plays Gary, the object of her love interest in Miranda.
Welsh-born Tom has an ever-burgeoning list of TV credits to his name, including appearances in Midsomer Murders, EastEnders, The Catherine Tate Show, Merlin and a lead role in the creepy ghost series, The Secret of Crickley Hall. He is married to the former EastEnders actress Tamzin Outhwaite and they have two small daughters.
Normally in this series I follow principally the direct male line, but in this case I had to veer from this route because I discovered Tom’s paternal grandfather was born illegitimate – a common occupational hazard, as regular family historians will know.
This doesn’t mean a pedigree comes to an end, however, because it is perfectly acceptable to pursue a female line instead. You are, after all, still following the same surname.
Tom Ellis was born on 17 November 1978 in Cardiff, South Wales, as Thomas John Ellis. He has three sisters, one of them his twin Lucy. His parents, Christopher John Ellis and Marilyn Jean Hooper, were married on 30 December 1972 at Clarence Park Baptist Church, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. That they married in a Baptist church is hardly surprising since Tom’s father, Chris Ellis, was a Baptist minister at 23, while his mother Marilyn was 19 and a student.
The marriage certificate showed that Chris’s father was John Ellis, a police officer, and Marilyn’s father was Arthur Melbourne Hooper, a postal and telegraph officer.
Chris Ellis was also born in Cardiff on 29 June 1949, the son of John Ellis and Joyce Doreen Jones, who were married at Pontyclun, near Bridgend, Glamorgan, on 15 August 1942. Chris’ father John Ellis, the police officer, Tom Ellis’ grandfather, was born on 7 November 1921 in Pontypridd registration district to Emmie Ellis, father unknown. This fact might have made further research impossible, had not Chris and Marilyn Ellis kindly put me right in emails, so I decided to follow the ancestry of Emmie Ellis, Tom’s paternal great-grandmother, for as far back as I could.
Emmie was born on 17 November 1897 at Llanharan, a village in the Rhondda Valley near Bridgend. She seemingly never married and died in 1982 at 85. I found her in the 1911 census, aged 13, living with six siblings aged from 29 to 11, in a household headed by her eldest brother Claude Ellis, a pottery labourer, at 44, Llantrisant Road, Pontyclun:
Emmie’s name was actually spelt as Emme, which turned out to be the first name of her mother. Her siblings were: Claude 29; Ethel 25; Albert 20; Arthur 18; Ernest 14; Hilda 11. All were shown as being born at Llantrisant. Why were they all living together? Possibly the parents had died, although I was unable to confirm this for certain. I found in the General Register Office death indexes an Emmy (sic) Ellis who died in Pontypridd registration district in 1906, aged 46, who may have been the mother.
In the 1901 census, the family were also in Llantrisant Road, Pontyclun, but with no house number given. Head of the household was Charles Ellis, 45, a bend maker in a pottery works, born at Gloucester. His wife, Emme, 40, was born at Penmark, Glamorgan, and there were eight children from 19 to one, including Emmie aged three. All the children were born at Llantrisant except Emmie whose birth place was given as Llanharan:
Charles and Emme Ellis were the great-great-grandparents of Tom Ellis. A decade earlier in 1891, Charles Ellis and his family were at Talbot Road, Llantrisant. In this census, however, his wife was called Amy, but clearly it was the same woman since her age and birth place tallied with the details given in 1901:
Charles’ occupation was a pipe maker and there were five children ranging in age from 9 down to an unnamed baby son whose age was given as nought.
Going back yet another 10 years to the census of 1881 I found Charles and Emmy (sic) Ellis at Danygraig Villas, Llantrisant with Charles’ occupation shown as an iron shearer in a tin works. In this census they had not yet had any children.
It seems that Charles’ wife spelt her name a number of ways – either that or the enumerators couldn’t agree! I found the likely marriage in the GRO marriage indexes at Pontypridd registration district in the last quarter of 1879 of Charles Ellis and Amy Prosser and I feel sure this was the right couple.
In a bid to trace Charles further back and discover who his parents were, I next went to the 1871 census. I found Charles, aged 14, at an address called Pontclown Fach in Llantrisant with his parents, Henry and Mary Ann Ellis, and seven siblings:
Henry Ellis was 50, occupation fitter, born at Payhembury, Devon, a place near Honiton, while Mary Ann Ellis, 48, was born at Cullompton, Devon. The children were six sons ranging from 18 to seven and a daughter of 20. Of the sons, three – William Henry, 18, Samuel Robert, 16, and Charles, 14 – were all born at Gloucester, while a son Rowland, 9, was born at Neath, Glamorgan, and two sons called Frank and Alfred, both 7 (and probably twins) were born at Cheltenham. The daughter Jane, 20, was said to have been born at Silverton, Devon, a village between Exeter and Cullompton. It looks as if Henry and Mary Ann had moved around a bit while having their family.
In 1861, Henry and Mary Ann were in Neath at 21 Henry Street. There was something weird about this entry, however, because Henry was shown as being 48 – only two years younger than he was in 1871! Mary Ann’s age was given as 36, making a gap of 12 years between them when in 1871 it was only two years:
Henry, a labourer, was also shown in this census as being born at Payhembury, Devon, but I had difficulty in making out the birthplace of Mary Ann which appeared to end in ’ford’. Another curious thing was that three of the children, Samuel, 8 (who was shown as a daughter!), William 6, and Charles, 4, were all shown as being born in Bristol, not Gloucester, while the daughter Jane’s birthplace was again given as Silverton, Devon. The youngest son Rowland was aged one and shown as being born at Neath.
I suspect that either Henry had difficulty in filling in the census schedule or possibly there was a dialect barrier between him and the Welsh enumerator! Of course, this was far from rare in the Victorian censuses. Whatever the discrepancies, there was no doubt this was the same family as I had found in 1871 and Henry and Mary Ann Ellis were the great-great-great-grandparents of Tom Ellis.
Next stop was the 1851 census and this time I found Henry and Mary Ann at 22 William Street, St Philip and St Jacob (Without), Bristol. Henry was 28 and a sawyer, birthplace Pehembury (sic), Devon. Mary Ann was born at Cullumptun (sic) and they had just the one child, Jane, who was then aged 10 months:
Turning again to the GRO marriage indexes, I found the potential marriage at Tiverton registration district (which included Cullompton and Silverton) in the June quarter 1849 of Henry Ellis and Mary Anne Hillier. There was another Mary listed on the same page; however, it seems likely to me that this was the correct marriage.
Looking for Henry Ellis in the 1841 census, I think I found him at Payhembury, Devon, which was given as his birth place in subsequent censuses. His age was given as 20, though this is not entirely reliable – we have seen how his age differed in other censuses. If it was the right man, he was an agricultural servant working for a farmer called Joseph Cleman at a place called Lower Tale, Payhembury:
A Google search reveals that Lower Tale Farm or Cottage, Payhembury still stands today as a listed building with a thatched roof. So if Tom Ellis happens to read this, he should be able to see the place where his probable great-great-great-grandfather Henry Ellis once lived and worked.
I hope this exercise has shown that family history research doesn’t have to end if you run into an illegitimacy problem!
Roy Stockdill has been a family historian for almost 40 years. A former national newspaper journalist, he edited the Journal of One-Name Studies (for the Guild of One-Name Studies) for 10 years. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Society of Genealogists and is commissioning editor of the ‘My Ancestors…’ series of books. He writes regularly for Family Tree magazine.
Welcome to December’s ‘famous family trees’ blog! In this blog series, experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, investigates the family histories of the famous, both living and dead. This month Roy explores the ancestry of Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly.
When I set out to research the ancestry of Tess Daly I thought it inevitable that, because of her surname, sooner or later I would run into the ‘Irish problem’.
Sure enough, I was right! The glamorous TV presenter who co-hosts Strictly Come Dancing with Bruce Forsyth had an Irish great-great-grandfather who probably came over to England with his family some time in the 1870s.
Most family historians will be familiar with the difficulties associated with tracing Irish ancestry because of the large-scale destruction of records in a fire at Dublin’s Public Record Office in 1922.
I managed, however, to get Tess’ family tree back to her great-great-grandfather who was born in Ireland about 1826 or 1827. Tess’ ancestors settled first in Salford, Lancashire, then moved to the Stockport area of Cheshire. Her parents lived in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District, where Tess was born and brought up.
She was born Helen Elizabeth Daly on 27 April 1969 to Vivian Daly and Sylvia Bradley, who were married at Chapel En Le Frith registration district in the July-September quarter of 1965. Tess’ working class parents both worked lengthy shifts in factories to support the family while she was growing up and she spoke of her sorrow when her father, Vivian, died in 2003, of emphysema, just 18 days after her marriage to fellow TV presenter Vernon Kay.
I initially had a tiny problem finding Vivian’s birth, though the General Register Office death indexes gave his birth date as 19 December 1932. I did eventually find him in the GRO birth indexes – but his forenames were reversed. The death record named him as Vivian James F Daly but he was registered in the March quarter of 1933 at Stockport as Felix J V Daly, which was the name he also married in.
The mother’s maiden name in the birth indexes was given as Perry and I found the marriage at Stockport in the first quarter of 1915 of Tess’ grandparents. Her grandfather was Felix M Daly and her grandmother was Ruth B Perry, whose middle name I subsequently discovered was Bailey, after her mother Clara.
I could find no other children for Felix and Ruth, so it seems that they waited some 18 years for a son, unless Ruth had lost children previously. The death indexes show that Ruth died in 1945, aged 51, and Felix in 1957, aged 70. It seems likely Felix married again after his wife’s death, for the GRO marriage indexes have the marriage at Manchester in the last quarter of 1945 of Felix M Daly to Mary Cunningham.
Tess’ grandfather, Felix Matthew Daly, was born on 19 October 1886 at Salford, the son of William Joseph Daly and Elizabeth Mann. Tess’ great-grandfather William Joseph is shown on the birth certificate as a hat manufacturer’s salesman. Felix’s middle name of Matthew subsequently turned out to be the name of his grandfather. In the 1911 census the family were living at 38 Heaton Road, Heaton Norris, Stockport:
William Daly was 50, described as a ‘hat traveller’, and his birth place was given as Cavan, Ireland. Whether the name Cavan referred to County Cavan or the town which is its capital was not stated. William’s wife Elizabeth was also 50 and her birth place was given as Navestock, Essex.
With them were three sons and two daughters ranging in age from eight to 24, Felix being the eldest. Felix had been born in Manchester and the other children at Stockport. Also in the household were two boarders, Frank and Gertrude Quigley, aged 25 and 23, who were probably brother and sister since both were shown as single.
An entry in the column for married women revealed that William and Elizabeth had been married 25 years and had had six children, one of whom had died.
A small curiosity of the census entry was that the schedule was apparently completed and signed by Felix and not his father William.
Next I went to the 1901 census where I found the Daly family at 20 Parsonage Road, Stockport. In this census William and Elizabeth were both shown as 40, while William’s birth place was shown simply as Ireland and Elizabeth’s just as Essex:
Felix, the eldest child, was 14 and an office boy. Then came William 12, Elizabeth 10 and Katherine 2. Also living with the family was William’s brother, John Daly, a wood carter (or possibly carver), 37, also born in Ireland.
Ten years earlier, in 1891, the Dalys were at 36 Christ Church Terrace, Heaton Norris:
William, 30, was shown as a hatter’s salesman, birth place Ireland. There was a surprise, however, when the birth place of his wife Elizabeth was shown in this census as Camberwell, London! I am unable to explain this apparent error, since my researches indicate that she was definitely born at Navestock, Essex, which was given as her birth place in the census of 1911.
William and Elizabeth had three children with them in 1891: Felix aged 4, born at Salford and William, 2 and May Elsie, 4 months, both born at Heaton Norris.
To try and ascertain who William’s father was I obtained a copy of the marriage certificate of William Joseph Daly and Elizabeth Mann, which took place not at Stockport, Salford or Manchester, but on 24 August 1885 at St Catherine’s Roman Catholic Church, Sheffield – across the county border in Yorkshire.
This revealed that both parties were aged 23 and William gave his occupation as a salesman. His address was 6 Ducie Place, Salford, while Elizabeth gave her address as 25 Montfort Street, Brightside Bierlow, Sheffield. The most important piece of information was that William’s father was Matthew Daly, a draper, who was deceased at the time of the marriage. Elizabeth’s father was James Mann, described as an engineer.
Now I was able to find the whole family in the 1881 census. They were living at 6 West Street, Broughton, Salford, with Matthew Daly being then aged 55 and not a draper but a rent collector. His wife Mary was 45 and they had five children: Catherine 21, a waitress; Felix 19, also a rent collector; William 17, a commercial clerk; John 16, an apprentice joiner; and Francis 14, an errand boy.
Also in the household was a niece called Rose A McCann, 16, a waitress. The entire family gave their birth place as Ireland:
I noted again the Christian name, Felix. Clearly this was a family name since he was William’s elder brother, then William had a son who was called Felix and he, in turn, named William’s grandson – Tess Daly’s father – Felix as well.
So where did the name Vivian, which Tess’ father was presumably mostly known by, come from? I found the possible solution when I returned to the 1911 census and found Tess’ grandmother, Ruth Bailey Perry, with her parents John Thomas and Clara Perry (nee Bailey) at 220 London Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport:
John and Clara were both 42 and John Perry was in the hatting business, like William Daly, being an overlooker. Their children were: Ruth Bailey Perry, 17, a felt hat trimmer; John Thomas Perry, 15, a cotton warehouse worker; and Wilfred Vivian Perry, 13. So it seems likely that Ruth bestowed the middle name of her younger brother upon her son.
Despite much searching, I couldn’t find the Daly family in the 1871 census, so I came to the conclusion that they must have come to England some time in the decade up to 1881.
Searching various online sources, I found a Matthew Daly and Mary Smith who baptised three children in the 1860s at a town called Cootehill in County Cavan, but they didn’t include a William, so I cannot say whether they were the family who migrated to Salford or not without more detailed research.
Matthew’s age in the 1881 census, and his given age of 57 when he died at Salford in 1884, suggests he must have been born about 1826-7. Though I cannot be 100 per cent certain, his son William’s death may have occurred in Manchester because the death indexes have a William J Daly who died there in 1941, aged 79, which accords with his birth year of about 1861/2 and his age of 50 in the 1911 census.
Being unable to get any further with the Dalys, I looked to research William’s wife, Elizabeth Mann. I found her in the 1871 census as Lizzie Mann, aged 10, living with her parents James and Ellen Mann at Navestock, Essex, which was given as her birth place in the 1911 census. Navestock is a village and parish north-west of Brentwood. They were living at Pratt’s Cottage, Navestock, in Ongar registration district:
James Mann was aged 41, born at Navestock about 1830. His wife was Ellen, also 41, born in Ireland – which meant that Tess Daly had a second Irish great-great-grandmother on another line. Their children were: Mary 13; Lizzie 10; Ellen 7; Daniel 5; and George 1. All the children were born at Navestock.
The only thing which didn’t quite fit was that on her marriage certificate Elizabeth Mann said her father James was an engineer, whereas in the censuses he is shown as an agricultural labourer. It is, however, well known that people did often embellish details to enhance their social status!
In the GRO marriage indexes I found the marriage at Ongar registration district in the third quarter of 1855 of James Mann and Ellen Driscoll, while Elizabeth’s birth is recorded also at Ongar in the last quarter of 1860. The family also appear in the 1861 census at Mewtherin Lane, Navestock:
James was then 32 and an ‘ag lab’, while Ellen’s age was shown as 25, which doesn’t accord with her age in 1871 – but we all know how ages can vary in the censuses. I feel sure it was the same woman because her birth place was again shown as Ireland.
Their children were: Esther 6; Mary 2; and Elizabeth, six months. Also in the household was a 16-year-old agricultural labourer called John Haggar, a lodger. Immediately close by the Mann home was a 140-acre farm employing five men and two boys and it seems likely James was working for the farmer.
I managed to get Tess Daly’s ancestry on this line back another generation to her great-great-great-grandparents who were called William and Rachel Mann. They are found in the 1851 census with their son James – then aged 20 and unmarried – and five other sons at a place called Water Hales, White Horse Side, Navestock:
William was also an ‘ag lab’, aged 48, while his wife Rachel was 46. Both, then, were born almost at the beginning of the 19th century. Their sons were: William 22; James 20; David 13; Isaac 11; George 8; and Steven 6.
In 1841 the family were at Navestock Heath, Navestock, with four of their sons, William, James, David and Isaac, and a daughter of 15, Elizabeth:
So as well as having Irish ancestors, plus kin from Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire, it seems Tess Daly might just about qualify as an Essex girl as well!
Here’s the latest post in our series of blogs exploring the family trees of the famous. Experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, investigates the family histories of the famous, both living and dead. This month Roy delves into TV star Miranda Hart’s family tree.
She’s over six feet tall, very funny and falls flat on her face a lot in her TV sitcom. It’s the brilliant Miranda Hart – who else?
What is less well known is that the statuesque star of Miranda and Call The Midwife is rather posh. Miranda has denied this on chat shows but it would be no surprise if her favourite bedtime reading was Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, since her family history occupies several pages in the bible of the aristocracy and upper classes.
Miranda descends from the Hart Dyke baronetcy which goes back to 1677. Her family tree is liberally sprinkled with those bastions of the upper classes, high-ranking army and navy officers and Anglican vicars. Indeed, her background suggests she should be in Downton Abbey!
Miranda was born Miranda Katharine Hart Dyke in Torquay on 14 December 1972, the daughter of David Hart Dyke CBE and Diana Margaret Luce who were married in 1967 at Salisbury, Wiltshire registration district.
Her father, a retired naval officer born on 3 October 1938 at Gosport, Hampshire, commanded HMS Coventry, a Royal Navy destroyer sunk in 1982 by Argentinian warplanes in the Falklands War. He later became an aide-de-camp to the Queen. He had a twin brother, Robert, who died in a car crash in 1963. Miranda’s mother, born in 1939, is the daughter of Sir William Henry Tucker Luce (1907-1977), an admiral’s son who was governor of Aden from 1956 to 1960.
Miranda’s paternal grandfather, the Rev. Eric Hart Dyke (1906-1971) was born in India on 28 July 1906 and married Mary Alexander, who descended from a Scottish baronetcy, in 1935 at Okehampton, Devon. Before becoming a clergyman in 1952, the Rev. Hart Dyke was a Royal Navy commander in WWII, being twice mentioned in despatches. From 1953 to 1963 he was Rector of Cowden, Kent.
Eric Hart Dyke was born in India because his father, Miranda’s great-grandfather, Colonel Percyvall Hart Dyke (1872-1952) served in the Indian Army for many years, fought in numerous campaigns before, during and after WWI and was a much-decorated soldier.
Miranda’s maternal grandfather, Sir William Henry Tucker Luce, however, does appear in the 1911 census as a boy of three, living with his mother Mary Dorothea, three brothers and four servants at Anglesey Road, Alverstoke, Hampshire:
I couldn’t find Mary Dorothea’s husband John Luce, Miranda’s maternal great-grandfather, in 1911 but he was then a Royal Navy captain in command of the battleship Hibernia and almost certainly at sea. He remained a commander throughout WWI and became an admiral in 1921, dying in 1932 aged 62.
Miranda’s maternal great-grandmother Mary Dorothea Tucker who married John Luce at Weymouth, Dorset, in 1902, was the daughter of a woollen manufacturer from Somerset – perhaps an example of what the Victorians and Edwardians called a girl from ‘trade’ marrying into the upper classes?
Returning to the direct Hart Dyke line, I found Percyvall Hart Dyke (the unusual spelling of his first name is found several times in the family) in the census of 1891. He was then 18, described as a ‘Gentleman cadet Sandhurst’, living with his father Thomas Hart Dyke, an estate steward, three elder sisters, a single woman described as ‘Companion to daughters’ and four female servants at Ashton Lodge, Long Ashton, near Bedminster, Somerset:
Thomas, son Percyvall and his sisters were also at Ashton Lodge in the census of 1881 with a governess and four other female servants:
Thomas Hart Dyke (1834-1906), Miranda’s great-great-grandfather, was married in 1863 at Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, to Georgina Isabella Russell Fullerton who was only 18. Somewhat curiously, Georgina was missing from the censuses of 1891 and 1881, although her husband and children appear in both. Possibly she was indulging in the wealthy Victorian lady’s passion for foreign travel.
The couple were together in the 1901 census, however, and were possibly on holiday. They were staying in a lodging house called Lynwood at Weston Super Mare on the Somerset coast, kept by a 75-year-old widow, Mary Childs:
This time, Thomas, aged 66, was described as a magistrate, while his wife Georgina was 10 years his junior. Also with them was their daughter Ethel, a single woman of 33, and Constance Fullerton, 59 and also single, who was probably Georgina’s sister.
The only other census in which Thomas and Georgina are found together was the 1871 when they were living at 8 Gloucester Row, Clifton, Bristol with their three young daughters, all under four. Percyvall had not then been born. Thomas was described as an estate agent and civil engineer:
Thomas died at Bristol in 1906 but Georgina outlived him by many years. She is found in the 1911 census as a widow of 66, of independent means, at 9 York Crescent Road, Clifton, Bristol. Her eldest daughter Ethel, 43 and still single, was with her in the census, along with a cook and a parlour maid:
Georgina Isabella Russell Dyke, Miranda’s great-great-grandmother, born at Sunderland, Co Durham, in 1845, had a long life and died at Bristol in 1933, aged 87.
A further generation back, Miranda’s great-great-great-grandparents were the Rev. Thomas Hart Dyke (1801-1866) and Elizabeth Fairfax – probably a descendant of the Yorkshire Fairfaxes who played a prominent part in the Civil War on the Parliamentary side against Charles I – who married in 1833 at Newton Kyme, near Tadcaster, Yorkshire.
Thomas was firstly the Rector of Lullingstone, Kent, the Hart Dykes’ home parish, and later of Long Newton, County Durham. He was a son of Sir Percival Hart Dyke (1767-1846), who became the fifth Baronet Dyke of Horsham, Sussex, in 1831, and his wife Anne Jenner.
So Miranda descends directly from the fifth baronet, Sir Percival, who was her 4-times great-grandfather. Beyond him the baronetcy passed to other male members of the family. The current holder of the title, the 10th Baronet, lives in Canada.
In the 1841 census, three generations of the Hart Dykes are found at the family seat, Lullingstone Castle, Kent. The household comprised a dozen members of the Hart Dyke family and 21 servants:
Sir Percival and Lady Dyke headed the schedule, followed by the Rev. Thomas and his wife Elizabeth and their four children, plus four presumed siblings of Thomas (relationships were not given in 1841).
By the census of 1851, the Rev Thomas had moved north to become the Rector of Long Newton, Co Durham, and he and his wife are found there with eight servants:
Two of their sons, Thomas, 16 and Percival, 15, were pupils at the famous public school, Rugby:
In 1861 the Rev. Thomas and Elizabeth were still at the Rectory, Long Newton, with one son, Francis, and seven servants:
I couldn’t find Thomas Jr in that census, however, possibly because he was abroad somewhere.
The Rev. Thomas Hart Dyke died in 1866, aged 64, but his wife Elizabeth outlived him by many years. She was still alive in the 1891 census, aged 89, living at Hill House, Acomb, near York. She was described as ‘Living on own means’ and had three female servants with her, plus a 37-year-old single Irishwoman called Margaret Moneypenny who was a nursing sister described as Elizabeth’s companion:
Elizabeth Dyke died just over two years later in 1893 at the age of 91, possibly the longest lived of all the Hart Dykes.
Limited space forces me to truncate the illustrious pedigree of Miranda Hart beyond her direct ancestor, Sir Percival Hart Dyke, the 5th Baronet Dyke of Horsham, as chronicled above. Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, however, takes it back three more generations to the first Baronet, Sir Thomas Dyke, who was MP for Sussex and then East Grinstead in the late 17th century and Commissioner of the Public Accounts.
Sir Thomas was created a baronet in 1677, married the interestingly named Philadelphia Nutt in 1695 and died in 1706. Sir Thomas and Philadelphia Dyke were the 7-times great-grandparents of Miranda Hart.
The name Hart appears to have come into the Hart Dyke family through the second baronet, also Sir Thomas Dyke, who married in 1728 Anne, the daughter and heir of Percyvall Hart of Lullingstone Castle.
Miranda Hart’s ancestry is taken back by Burke’s Peerage two further generations to one Thomas Dyke of Cranbrook, Kent, who died in 1632. It was his grandson, Sir Thomas, who became the first baronet.
So the next time you chortle at Miranda’s clumsy antics on telly, remember that her family history is not what you might expect…
Welcome to the latest post in our series of blogs exploring the family trees of the famous. Experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, takes us on a journey through time as he investigates the family history of the famous, both living and dead. This time Roy explores the past of TV sports presenter Gabby Logan.
Gabby Logan, Britain’s best-known female TV sports presenter, comes across on our screens as the classic English rose but she has a family history that is truly multi-national. On her mother’s side she has Irish ancestors who went to Leeds in the 19th century. Through a pair of great-great-grandparents in her paternal line, she has forebears from Greece and America.
Gabby was born Gabrielle Louise Yorath on 24 April 1973 in Leeds, the daughter of Welshman Terry Yorath and his Leeds-born wife, Christine Kay, who were married in 1971.
Terry was born Terence C Yorath on 27 March 1950 in Grangetown, Cardiff, son of David Charles Edward Yorath (1918-1999) and Mary Margretta Sigallias (1918-2004) who were married at the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Cardiff, on 21 October 1939, just a few weeks after the outbreak of WWII.
Remember the surname of Gabby’s grandmother, Mary Sigallias, because it will crop up later and we shall meet her ancestor, a great-great-grandfather who brought the name to Wales from Greece in the 1880s.
The Yoraths were in Cardiff for as long as I have been able to trace the family, back into the early 19th century. For much of that time they lived in the poorest parts of the city, close to the docks area, and knew deprivation and poverty. Indeed, a great-great-grandmother, Clara Yorath, had a desperately sad life.
David Charles Edward Yorath, Gabby’s grandfather, was born in Cardiff towards the end of 1918, the son of David James Yorath and Edith Magee who were married at Cardiff Register Office on 16 February 1918. Her great-grandfather, David Yorath Snr (1895-1967), served in France in WWI with the Cardiff City Battalion of the Welsh Regiment, joining up in 1915. He is found in the 1911 census, aged 15, living with his widowed mother Clara, 41, and younger brother William, 11, in apartments shared with another family at 20 Hewell Street, Grangetown, Cardiff:
There are a couple of oddities about this entry. First, the schedule was originally completed by a Thomas Henry Wilkins, of 8 Hewell Street, who was Clara’s son from her first marriage. His name was crossed out, however, and Clara’s substituted.
Second, the ‘Particulars as to marriage’ column showed that Clara had had eight children, of which four had died. This, too, was crossed out; possibly either Clara or Thomas (or the enumerator) realised a mistake had been made and that, as Clara was a widow, this section should not have been completed – though I gave thanks that it was! Finally, a note in the infirmity column revealed that Clara was deaf.
Poor Clara’s life appears to have been a very sad one. She was born at Cardiff in 1869 or 1870 as Clara Poulton and married at Cardiff in 1887 to Thomas Wilkins. Their son, Thomas Henry, was born the following year. Thomas Snr died in 1890 from pneumonia, aged only 23, so Clara was first widowed at 21.
She appears in the 1891 census at 30 Seven Oak Street, Canton, Cardiff, with her son, Thomas, aged 3, both described as lodgers with a couple called Joseph and Harriet Poulton. In fact Joseph and Harriet were Clara’s parents, both originally from Somerset, and also in the household was Clara’s elder unmarried sister Matilda, 23:
Clara remarried in 1895 as Clara Wilkins to David James Yorath, Gabby’s great-great-grandfather, and their son, also called David James, was born a few months later. By the census of 1901 they had had three sons and were living at 3, York Place, Ferry Road, Canton, Cardiff:
David Yorath Snr was a dock labourer, aged 31, Clara was also 31, and their sons were David, 5, Charles, 3, and William 16 months. Also living with them was 13-year-old Thomas Wilkins, Clara’s son by her first marriage.
This census entry shows three generations of the Yorath family all on the same page – with no fewer than four of them called David!
At 1 York Place was a shopkeeper, David Yorath, 65, with his wife Eliza, 63. Two doors away was William Yorath, 32, a dock labourer, and his wife Hannah, 26, with five children including a David aged 7. In the same household were David and Clara Yorath with their son, yet another David.
I discovered that David and Eliza Yorath were the grandparents, William and David Yorath Snr were brothers and the two youngest Davids were first cousins. It was common in Victorian times to find families living close together, but for a genealogist to find 15 members of one family all on the same page of a census can only be described as pure joy!
More sorrow struck Clara in 1905 when she was widowed for the second time, her husband David James Yorath dying of tuberculosis at 35.
Another son, Charles, fought in WWI with his brother David – though the two had lost touch by then – and was killed in 1916. Clara herself died in Cardiff in 1940 after a life with much tragedy.
Going back to the earlier generations, I found David Yorath, the shopkeeper, with his family in the 1881 census at 4 Ferry Road, Canton (they run over two pages). David was then a general labourer, aged 48 (though in 1901 he was shown as 65, a discrepancy) and his birth place was Dinas Powis, a village about 5-6 miles south of Cardiff:
David’s wife Eliza was 46, born at Watchet, Somerset, and they had six children ranging in age from 13 to six months, including William, 12, and David, 10. Also in the household was William Mogford, 30, also born at Watchet and a relative of Eliza – whose maiden surname was Mogford – and William’s wife Mary Jane, also 30 and born at Bristol.
David Yorath and Eliza Mogford – Gabby Logan’s great-great-great-grandparents – married at Cardiff in 1864 and in the 1871 census were in Llandaff parish, Grangetown, with their address given as ‘Row of Houses near Railway Hotel’:
As well as the three eldest children who were with them in 1881, there was an older son, Charles, aged 6, who died soon after the census since the death indexes show a Charles Yorath who died at 6 in the last quarter of 1871.
David Yorath the elder outlived his unfortunate son David, who died at 35, by some eight years, dying in 1913 aged 77. Eliza lived even longer, dying in 1923 at 84.
To try and discover David’s parentage I looked at the 1861 census. He was there but as a lodger in the household of his brother-in-law and married sister, George and Elizabeth Gould. He was then single, aged 27, a plate layer born at Dinas Powis:
I looked at the census of 1851; again, David was there but this time as a farm servant, aged 17, at St Andrews, Glamorgan, a parish which included Dinas Powis. He was working for a 70 year-old widow called Mary Jones:
I had to go to the 1841 census to find who David’s parents were and this time I was successful. The family were found at Dynas Powis (spelling of the name varied over the years) and David was aged seven, his parents being Charles and Eleanor Yorath:
Charles Yorath was an agricultural labourer of 30 and his wife was 28 (ages were reduced in 1841 to the nearest lower multiple of five). Besides David there were three other children aged from 9 to 1.
The 1851 census saw Charles and Eleanor Yorath at an address called Little Turnpike, St John, Cardiff. As mentioned, David was not at home, being a farm servant at St Andrews, but they had two daughters of 11 and 8 and a son of 2 with them:
Charles Yorath was aged 41 and his birth place was given as Lantwit Major, a village near the sea a few miles west of Barry, and Eleanor’s birth place was shown as Cogan which is near Penarth, south of Cardiff. The two-year-old son was called Morgan Yorath, which suggests Eleanor’s maiden surname may have been Morgan. Charles and Eleanor Yorath were the 4x-great-grandparents of Gabby Logan, Charles being born in around 1810.
To close this account of Gabby Logan’s family tree I will return to the maiden name of her paternal grandmother, Mary Sigallias. Hardly a Welsh surname, you would have thought? Well, no, it wasn’t. It first appears in the birth, marriage and death indexes with the death at Swansea in the last quarter of 1894 of a Nicholas Sigallias, aged 42. Who was he?
I found him in the 1891 census as N. Sigallias with his wife, Sarah Jane. They were at 20 Herbert Place, Swansea, and his occupation was given as a fruiter, aged 36, his birth place being Syra, Greece. His age in the census and at death don’t quite tie up, but this is far from uncommon!
On the website of the London Gazette, the official government newspaper of record, I found a notice saying Nicholas Sigallias of Swansea was granted naturalization on 20 February 1893. Also interesting was my finding that in 1891 the birth place of his wife, Sarah Jane Sigallias, 34, was given as ‘Savanah, America’. Presumably, this referred to Savannah, Georgia, in America’s Deep South.
The couple had a son, Michael Sigallias, born at Swansea in the second quarter of 1893. After Nicholas’s death, Sarah Jane remarried in 1895 to a William Francis O’Bryan, but she is not found with him in the censuses of 1901 or 1911.
In 1901 Sarah and her son were in Cardiff at 6 Adelaide Street, St Mary. She was recorded as Sarah O’Brien, 43, a retired publican, and her birth place was given as ‘America, Naturalized English Subject’. Michael Sigallias, her son, was aged 8, born at Swansea:
Also in the household was George B. Hugo, 32, a street musician born at Exeter who, interestingly enough, appeared also in the 1911 census with Sarah and her son at 8 South William Street, Docks, Cardiff:
Michael has been transcribed as Syslies but by the time you read this it may have been corrected. He was then 18 and a baker.
This, too, is an interesting entry, for it suggests that Sarah was now living with George Berry Hugo, the musician, since it was he who completed the schedule, even though he was described as a boarder and Sarah the head of the household. Sarah was now 53 and this time her birth place was given as ‘America – Nat. Brit. Sub.’. What happened to her second husband William I cannot say.
To complete the picture, James M. Sigallias married Margaretta Geary at Cardiff in 1914 and their daughter, Mary M. Sigallias – Gabby Logan’s grandmother – was born in the first quarter of 1918.
That Michael Sigallias and James M. Sigallias were the same man I have no doubt, for his death was recorded in both names on the same page of the GRO death indexes, with the same reference number, in 1967.
A number of people called Sigallias were born in Cardiff and it seems likely that all of them descend from Nicholas and Sarah Jane Sigallias, Gabby Logan’s great-great-grandparents, and must, therefore, be related to her in a truly international family.
Welcome to the latest post in our series of blogs exploring the family trees of the famous. Experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, takes us on a journey through time as he investigates the family history of the famous, both living and dead. This month, Roy digs out his magnifying glass to explore Inspector Morse creator Colin Dexter’s family history.
This, my latest blog in the ‘famous family trees’ series, comes with a warning. We have all become so blasé about genealogy research on the internet that it can be easy to jump to erroneous conclusions and find yourself barking up the wrong family tree!
Even experienced genealogists can be guilty of this, as I almost was when I researched the ancestry of best-selling author Colin Dexter, the creator of Inspector Morse. Initially, I got the wrong men as Colin Dexter’s father and grandfather and faced a puzzle that began to seem like a Morse casebook. Let’s follow the twists and turns of this particular chase from the beginning…
Colin Dexter was born as Norman Colin Dexter on 29 September 1930 at Stamford, a small town at the south-west tip of Lincolnshire where the county border meets Rutland and Northamptonshire. Many of the author’s ancestors came from Oakham, the capital of Rutland.
Dexter went to Stamford School, then after National Service studied classics at Christ’s College, Cambridge. A teaching career followed but deafness forced him to take up a university administrative post in Oxford. He invented Inspector Morse during a wet holiday in Wales in the 1970s, scribbling at the kitchen table.
Colin Dexter’s parents were Alfred Dexter and Dorothy May Towns, who were married at Stamford Register Office on 10 September 1929. From the marriage indexes for England and Wales, I learnt that an Alfred Dexter had also married a Violet A Gresham at Oakham in 1913. Further research revealed she had divorced him in 1928. To check that this was the same Alfred Dexter, I ordered the certificate of the second marriage.
In the meantime, I consulted the birth indexes and the censuses of 1891 and 1901 and discovered only one Alfred Dexter who appeared to fit. He was born at Oakham in 1887, the son of George Samuel Dexter, a postman, and his wife Martha, nee Ireson. Assuming I had the right man, I delved farther back into the censuses, following the ancestry of Alfred Dexter, the man I thought was Colin’s father.
The marriage certificate arrived and showed an age gap of 17 years between the bridegroom and bride, Alfred Dexter being 43 and Dorothy May Towns 26. That I had the right Alfred Dexter who had previously married in 1913 was confirmed when the ‘Condition’ column showed him as the ‘divorced husband of Violet Annie Dexter formerly Gresham’.
But shock, horror! The father of Alfred Dexter, a motor driver, was given not as George Samuel Dexter, as I had expected, but John Dexter, deceased, general labourer. Up to this point I was certain the postman George Samuel was Colin’s grandfather.
There was no alternative but to obtain the certificate for Alfred’s first marriage. This took place at a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel at Whissendine, a village near Oakham, and this too showed his father as John Dexter, deceased, described this time as a gardener. Curiously, Alfred’s age had been altered from 26 to 27.
Alfred’s given age in 1913 of 27 still just about fitted with the man born in 1887 but clearly the father didn’t. Moreover, Alfred’s residence at the time of the first marriage was not Oakham but Knossington, another Rutland village. His occupation was shown as a grocer.
So it was back to my computer, but try as I might I couldn’t find an Alfred Dexter with a father called John in the right area. There were a few other Alfred Dexters of about the right age in the censuses but not in Rutland and none with a father whose occupation fitted. By now I was beginning to feel even more like Morse himself as I furrowed my brow, scratched my head and pondered the mystery!
Then came a breakthrough. I played a hunch as I wondered if the Alfred Dexter I sought might have been born in some other name, possibly illegitimate, and that his mother had then married a John Dexter. Eureka! I trawled the marriage indexes and found in the last quarter of 1886 a possible marriage at Oakham for John Henry Dexter and Alice Emma Preston. Then I went back to the birth indexes – and there in the April-June quarter of 1886, a few months before the marriage, was the birth in Rutland of an Alfred Dexter Preston!
I obtained that birth certificate and, sure enough, Alfred Dexter Preston had been born on 23 April 1886 at Exton, a few miles east of Oakham, to Alice Emma Preston, domestic servant. No father was shown but the certificate of a marriage at Exton Parish Church on Christmas Day 1886 confirmed the union of Alice Emma and John Henry Dexter, then a groom.
The final piece of the jigsaw fell into place when I found John Henry’s death from tuberculosis at Oakham in November 1888, aged only 25. So in just over two years he had had a child, married and died, leaving Alice Emma Dexter a widow at 28. She appeared as such in the census of 1891:
Alice was living in New Street, Oakham, with another family as a nurse to a baby of just two weeks. Immediately next door was another Dexter family, headed by Sarah, a widow of 49, who I subsequently discovered was Alice’s mother-in-law.
Where was Alice’s young son Alfred? I found him in 1891 with his widowed grandfather, Edward Preston, a labourer of 53, in a cottage at Exton, Alfred’s birth place. Alfred was then aged four and named as Alfred Preston, not Dexter, but there was no doubt I now had the right person for Edward Preston was named as Alice’s father on the certificate of her marriage to John Henry Dexter:
The story became even more convoluted when I discovered that Alice Emma Dexter remarried in 1893 in the registration district of Shardlow, Derbyshire, to a Samuel Thorold. Why the marriage was there I do not know, but my research suggests there were some links between the Dexters of Oakham and those of Shardlow.
This helped me to finally identify the right Alfred Dexter in the 1901 census. The family were back in Oakham and Alfred was living with his mother, Alice Thorold, 38, Samuel, 35, a railway labourer, and four young children of Alice’s second marriage. Alfred was described as Samuel’s son-in-law, a common term for a stepson in those days:
I had missed Alfred earlier because he had been originally transcribed in 1901 as Alfred Duler. When I came to examine the census image I could see that the name was Dexter, especially when I compared it with the family of a Job Dexter lower down the page. I submitted a correction to the transcribed record which was accepted and now the two Alfred Dexters appear together in the 1901 census index at Oakham.
The address given in 1901 for the Thorold family, including Alfred Dexter, was curious: they were living in Cold Overton Road, Long Row, Oakham, but alongside the schedule the enumerator had written ‘In field’. Did this mean that they were living in a caravan perhaps?
I looked for Alfred in the 1911 census and I believe I found him at Long Eaton, Derbyshire, which was in the Shardlow registration district where his mother had married. He was described as a visitor, staying with a couple called Andrew Bertram Berry and his wife Sarah Jane:
Alfred was then 24 and his occupation was given as the manager of a general store. Sarah Jane Berry must have been a relative of some kind to Alfred because I found the marriage at Shardlow of Andrew Bertram Berry to Sarah Jane Dexter in 1905.
I also found in an online directory of Leicestershire and Rutland for 1912 an Alfred Dexter who was a grocer at Knossington, the place Alfred gave as his residence on the certificate of his first marriage to Violet Annie Gresham. The occupation also tallied and finally, I was confident I had identified the man who was Colin Dexter’s father.
One of the problems was that the little town of Oakham was crawling with Dexters in the 19th century. There were no fewer than 90 of them living there in the 1881 census and the Surname Atlas CD, which draws distribution maps from the 1881 data, shows that Oakham Poor Law Union had the highest number of holders of the name in proportion to population in the whole country. I suspect they were all inter-related and that, apart from the women who married Dexter men, they all stemmed from a marriage in 1789.
The marriage certificate of John Henry Dexter and Alice Emma Preston gave John Henry’s father as Topley Dexter, a labourer. The uncommon first name, Topley, went through several generations of the family.
In the 1881 census the family were in Short Street, Oakham, comprising Topley Dexter, 42, a waggoner, his wife Sarah, 39, and nine children of which John Dexter, 18, was the eldest. Another son aged nine was also called Topley and also in the household was Topley Snr’s mother-in-law, Ann Pidcock, 67:
Topley Dexter and Sarah Pidcock, Colin Dexter’s great-grandparents, were married at Barkby, Leicestershire, Sarah’s home parish, in 1861, a few months after the census of that year. I looked for Topley in the census and found him aged 21, an agricultural labourer in Simper Street, Oakham, with his parents Job Dexter, 51, also an agricultural labourer, and his wife Mary, 53. Immediately next door was another Dexter family, Samuel, 28, wife Sarah, 24, and three young children:
Samuel Dexter was Topley’s elder brother and also a son of Job and Mary Dexter. Throughout my hunt through the censuses for Oakham , in every census I found the Dexter clan living virtually cheek by jowl in the town centre, which made sorting them all out a bit of a nightmare.
The family were in Simper Street in the 1851 census also, with Job aged 41, wife Mary 43, and four sons: Samuel 18, William 13, Topley 11 and Job, 9. All were born at Oakham except Mary Dexter, who gave her birth place as Leicester:
I acquired some transcripts of Rutland parish registers and found the marriage of Job Dexter and Mary Adcock at All Saints, Oakham, on 31 December 1827. They had at least seven children, including Topley born in 1839.
The name Topley appeared as a first or middle name in several Dexter families at Oakham and it became apparent where it had come from when I found that Job Dexter, born in 1809, was one of a number of children born to Thomas Dexter and Mary Topley who were married at Langham, near Oakham, on 12 November 1789.
This couple were the great-great-great-grandparents of Colin Dexter and Mary Topley’s maiden last name was passed down the Dexter family for a number of generations as a first name.
I hope Inspector Morse would have complimented me on my detective working in tracking down Colin Dexter’s complicated family history!
Welcome to the latest post in our series of blogs exploring the family trees of the famous. Experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, takes us on a journey through time as he investigates the family history of the famous, both living and dead. This time, Roy delves into TV presenter John Craven’s past.
We’ve never met but I feel a kind of affinity with John Craven, the popular TV presenter. We’re both West Yorkshire lads, born very close in time to one another, and we both began our careers as junior reporters on local newspapers. John went on to become presenter of John Craven’s Newsround and later the BBC’s Countryfile.
John Raymond Craven OBE was born on 16 August 1940 in Leeds. He is the son of Willie Craven and Marie Noble, who were married on 27 December 1937 at Kirkstall Congregational Chapel, Leeds. Willie, aged 27, was a grocer’s assistant and Marie, 25, was a printers’ envelope maker. The marriage certificate shows Willie’s father as William Henry Craven, a blacksmith, and Marie’s father was Percy Noble, an assistant overlooker.
Willie Craven – he appears in the birth indexes as Willie, not William – was born in the registration district of Bramley, Leeds, on 29 November 1910 but his birth wasn’t registered until the following quarter, January-March 1911. I discovered the actual birth date from the index record of Willie’s death in 1990.
Willie just crept into the 1911 census, aged four months. He was living at 4 Drury Street, Armley, a large Leeds suburb, with his parents William Henry and Sarah Ann Craven. William Henry, blacksmith, and his wife were both aged 32 and had been married six years:
Also in the household was Willie’s older sister, Mary, two, and a boarder, Charles Henry May, 28, an iron moulder and the brother of Sarah Ann Craven whose maiden name was May. The whole family gave their birth place as Leeds.
John Craven’s paternal grandparents, William Henry Craven and Sarah Ann May, were married in 1905 at St Bartholomew’s Church, Armley. In the census of 1901, William’s family were at 13 Temperance Street, Headingley cum Burley, Kirkstall, Leeds, with William then single and aged 22, the eldest of three sons and two daughters whose ages ranged down to five. Head of the household was William’s widowed mother, Eliza Craven, a 45-year-old charwoman:
One slight surprise was that, while all the children were shown as being born in Leeds, Eliza’s birth place was given as Stratford, London – the only one of John Craven’s direct paternal line ancestors I came across who was born outside Yorkshire.
Researching John Craven’s paternal family tree farther back beyond his grandfather William Henry, the blacksmith, I discovered three successive generations of direct male ancestors who were all called Joshua Craven. For simplicity, I will refer to them as Joshua one, Joshua two and Joshua three but they will appear in this account in reverse order. Hopefully, all will become clear!
I looked for William Craven in the 1891 census and found him with his parents, Joshua and Eliza Craven, at 20, Club Row, Headingley With Burley, Kirkstall, Leeds. William was then a scholar of 12 with an older sister Mary, 15 and two younger brothers, George six and Albert one, all born at Kirkstall:
The father, Joshua three, was a forgeman (iron worker) of 38, born at Armley, and his wife Eliza was 36, born in London, just as she had appeared in the 1901 census. I found from the death indexes that Joshua died in the first quarter of 1900, which accounted for Eliza being a widow in the latter census.
In the 1881 census Joshua’s name was abbreviated to Josh and the first name of his wife Eliza was enumerated as Elixer! Initially, I thought this must be a mis-transcription but a close examination of the schedule revealed that this was how the enumerator had written it.
It’s worth noting here that you should never submit a correction to an enumerator’s entry if it has been correctly transcribed, even if you believe it to be wrong. The golden rule of census transcribing is that you write exactly what you see and what the enumerator has put down.
The family were at 7, Woodgrove St, Headingley With Burley with Joshua aged 27, an iron forgeman, Eliza, 25 and a woollen weaver and two children, Mary, five and son William H, then only two:
The birth of Joshua Craven (Joshua three) was registered in the Hunslet registration district of Leeds in 1854 and he married Eliza Slater at St Mathias’ Church, Burley, Leeds in 1875. These were the parents of William Henry, the blacksmith and the great-grandparents of John Craven.
At birth Joshua was given the middle name of Standfield and when he married it was shown as Stanfield. This would later become important in tracing the Craven family tree back further.
I looked for Joshua three in the censuses of 1871 and 1861 and found him in 1871 with his mother and four siblings at St Ann Row, Headingley Cum Burley, Leeds:
Joshua was then aged 17 and described as a forge boy in the iron trade. He had two sisters and two brothers, while the head of the household was Harriet Craven, aged 44 and born at Armley.
Harriet was a widow, which meant I had to go to the census of 1861 to try and discover who Joshua three’s father was. Living at Far Fold, Armley, Leeds was the family of Joshua and Harriet Craven with a family of three sons and two daughters including Joshua Jr, born in 1854 at Armley. The family are spread over two pages in the census:
Joshua Craven (Joshua two) was aged 32 and an iron forgeman – just as his son became – born at Wortley, near Armley. His wife Harriet was a couple of years older at 34 and this couple were John Craven’s great-great-grandparents.
The 1861 census is particularly significant in the Craven family history because all three Joshua Cravens appear in it. I have already mentioned Joshua three and Joshua two, but also in the census of 1861 were Joshua Craven one and his wife, Sarah.
They were living at Wingate Road, Armley, Leeds. This Joshua was John Craven’s great-great-great-grandfather and he too was an iron worker, a forge labourer, like his son and grandson:
Joshua one was born in around 1803 at Pudsey, an industrial town midway between Leeds and Bradford, while his wife Sarah, also 58, was born at Wortley, Leeds.
I will explain shortly how I managed to tie the three Joshuas together, who were all linked by the middle name of Stansfield, Standfield or Stanfield – undoubtedly the common factor, never mind the spelling!
First I found the death of Joshua Standfield Craven in 1864 at Bramley registration district. This was Joshua two, born in about 1829, so he was only in his mid-30s when he died. This explained why Harriet Craven was a widow in 1871.
Searching the 1851 census, I came across something which initially threw me and made me wonder whether I had the right man. Joshua two was there; however, his wife’s name was given as Elizabeth and not Harriet! Everything else seemed to fit: Joshua’s age was given as 22, his birth year 1829, his occupation as a pudler (another iron trade job) and his birth place as Armley.
The couple were living at Wingate, Armley, Leeds and Elizabeth was also aged 22 and described as a domestic. With them was a two-year-old son, Thomas Craven:
After research in the General Register Office marriage indexes and the marriage indexes at Yorkshire register office, I established that a Joshua Craven married Elizabeth Nichols at the parish church of St Peter’s, Leeds, in the second quarter of 1849.
A search of the death indexes produced a number of Elizabeth Cravens who died in the Leeds area between 1851 and 1854, one of whom was the wife of Joshua two. The most likely candidate was an Elizabeth who died in the April-June quarter of 1851, for in the first quarter of 1852, Joshua Craven married Harriet Atha at St Philip’s Church, Leeds.
So the mystery was solved! Poor Elizabeth died young at only 22 and Joshua remarried a few months later to Harriet and had more children with her.
The father of Joshua two – Joshua one – was also found in the 1851 census living near his son, also at Wingate, Armley. The two Joshuas appeared on adjacent pages and were just a few doors from one another:
Joshua one’s birth year was shown as 1803, his wife Sarah Craven’s was the same and there were three sons whose ages ranged from 11 to 19, the whole family being shown as born at Armley. A nephew and niece were also in the household.
In the 1841 census both Joshuas, with other sons of Joshua and Sarah, were found at Wingate, Armley, with the ages of Joshua one and Sarah rounded down to 35 and Joshua Jr aged 12:
Now to the final piece of the puzzle which enabled me to get the family tree of John Craven back yet one more generation. Joshua one died in 1878, aged 75, so he outlived his son, Joshua two, by some 14 years. I mentioned that Joshua two was described at death as Joshua Standfield Craven and his son (Joshua three) was registered at birth also as Joshua Standfield Craven.
I discovered that a Joshua Stansfield [sic] Craven was baptised at Wortley by Leeds on 11 April 1830, son of Joshua and Sarah. The likelihood is fairly high that this was Joshua two.
I was unable to identify for certain the maiden name of Joshua’s mother, Sarah, for there were several possible marriages in the Leeds area for a Joshua Craven to a Sarah between 1818 and 1823. I believe, however, that I found the baptism of Joshua one at Pudsey on 29 August 1802, the father being shown as Abraham Craven. Pudsey was given as Joshua’s birth place in the 1861 census.
Pudsey had a Chapel of Ease to the then larger parish of Calverley. The online registers revealed the extra information that Joshua one’s mother was called Elisabeth. I then found the marriage of Abraham Craven, a clothier, to Elisabeth Stansfield at Calverley on 8 December 1793.
So it looks as if Joshua Stansfield Craven (Joshua two) was given his grandmother’s maiden name as a middle name and he then passed it on to his own son, Joshua three.
If my speculation is correct, then Abraham Craven and Elisabeth Stansfield were the great-great-great-great grandparents of John Craven.
The last name Craven appears in the registers of Calverley many times, going back to as early as a baptism of Robert Craven in 1585 in the time of Elizabeth I, with the earliest marriage being that of another Robert Craven to Sybil Baytson in 1596. Maybe these were much earlier ancestors of John Craven, but it would take considerably more research (and substantially more space than I have here) to get the pedigree that far back.
Welcome to the fifth post in our series of blogs exploring the family trees of the famous. Experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, takes us on a journey through time as he investigates the family history of the famous, both living and dead. This time, Roy researches Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton’s family tree.
The world is coming to London for the Olympic Games and among the hot contenders to win a gold medal will surely be Britain’s queen of the cycling velodrome, Victoria Pendleton MBE.
The 31-year-old cycling phenomenon says she began learning to ride a bicycle virtually as soon as she could walk. She was encouraged by her parents, both keen cyclists, and her dad Max Pendleton was a national grass track champion, a form of cycle racing not often seen these days.
Hailing from Stotfold, a small town in Bedfordshire almost on the county border with Hertfordshire, Victoria Louise Pendleton was born on 24 September 1980. Her parents, Max Pendleton and Pauline M Viney, were married in the Biggleswade registration district in 1970. Victoria has an older sister, Nicola Jane, and a twin brother, Alex James.
I traced Victoria’s direct male line back to a marriage at Leicester in 1793 and discovered that her ancestors through several generations were all needle makers who worked in the stocking-making industry in Leicester and Nottingham, major centres of the trade.
Her father, Max, was born at Loughborough, Leicestershire in 1945, the son of Jack Marshall Pendleton and Irene E James who married in the Loughborough registration district in 1939. Jack M Pendleton (1914-1986), Victoria’s grandfather, was the son of Percy William Pendleton and Mary A Marshall who married at Nottingham in 1913.
I found Victoria’s great-grandfather, Percy William Pendleton, in the 1911 census living with his parents at 41 St James Street, Nottingham:
Percy was then 26, a lace warehouseman and unmarried, born at Nottingham in about 1885. I found his birth registered in the August-September quarter of 1884.
Percy’s parents – Victoria’s great-great-grandparents – were Paul William Pendleton, 47, a hosiery needle manufacturer working from home on his own account, and his wife Katherine, 49, both born at Nottingham. They had been married for 29 years and had seven children, six of whom were alive and all still living at home in 1911.
In 1891 Paul Pendleton was said to be employed but by 1901 he had become a needle maker on his account working at home, so presumably he had become self employed.
Searching the marriage records on findmypast.co.uk, I found that Paul Pendleton married Katherine Needham at Nottingham (confirmed by other sources) in the July-September quarter of 1882. Next I looked for Paul in the 1881 census and found him with his parents, Thomas and Sarah Ann Pendleton, at 41 St James Street, Nottingham:
This was the address where Paul and his wife Katherine were living 30 years later in the 1911 census, so he must have inherited his parents’ house. In 1891 and 1901 they were at different addresses.
Paul was born in 1864 and in 1881 was 16 and working as a joiner. His father Thomas was a needle maker, as was Paul’s elder brother, also Thomas, aged 18. Thomas Pendleton Snr was aged 48 in 1881 and his birth place was given as Leicester in 1833. I discovered, again from the marriage records, that Thomas’ wife was Sarah Ann Charlton, who was born at Basford, Nottinghamshire in 1838. They married in Nottingham in 1859.
In the 1871 census, the Pendleton family were living at Parliament Terrace, Wollaton Street, Nottingham with Paul William, then aged six:
In 1861 Thomas and Sarah Ann – Victoria Pendleton’s 3x-great-grandparents – had been married for less than two years and their first child was still to be born. In that census they were in Ortzen Street, St Mary, Nottingham. Thomas’ widowed mother, Elizabeth Pendleton, 64, born at Leicester in 1797, was living with them, as was an uncle of Thomas’, Mathew Pendleton, 52, a whitesmith, born at Leicester in 1809:
Thomas Pendleton died at Nottingham in 1889, aged 57, and, knowing that Thomas’ birth place was consistently given as Leicester, I guessed he had probably moved to the other city sometime between the census of 1851 and his marriage in 1859.
Leicester and Nottingham were the major centres of the East Midlands hosiery industry and it seems there was considerable movement between the two places as workers strove to improve their lot. Nottinghamshire was a flashpoint of the Luddite disturbances in the early years of the 19th century when stocking frames were smashed by rioters supposedly led by the imaginary King Ludd. I couldn’t help wondering if some of Victoria Pendleton’s ancestors were among them.
To return to Thomas Pendleton, I looked for him in the 1851 census and, sure enough, found him with his parents, Paul and Elizabeth Pendleton, at 144 Wharf Street, St Margarets, Leicester, which confirmed my initial suspicion that he had moved to Nottingham sometime between that census and his marriage:
Thomas was then 18 and working as a needle maker like his father, Paul, who was aged 57, while Thomas’ mother, Elizabeth Pendleton, was 54. There was also a younger son, William, 15, who was an apprentice currier (leather tanner). All were born in Leicester.
Ten years earlier in the 1841 census, the family were in Wharf Street, although whether at the same number I couldn’t say. Thomas was aged eight and William five; however, there was also a daughter of 20 and another son of 15 in the household. It’s possible that the ages of the latter two had been reduced as was the norm in 1841. The family are spread over two pages:
This Paul and Elizabeth Pendleton were the 4x-great-grandparents of Victoria Pendleton and I wondered if I could get the family still further back.
I found the likely marriage at St Margaret’s, Leicester, on 15 September 1816 of Paul Pendleton and Elizabeth Hardy. That I had found the right one appeared to be confirmed when I discovered that this couple had had a large number of children – and buried several when only young – including a Robert Hardy Pendleton christened in 1828 who died in the following year.
The age of Paul Pendleton, 57, in the 1851 census suggests he was probably the Paul Pendleton who was christened at St Mary’s, Leicester, on 14 January 1794, son of Richard Pendleton and Catherine March who were married at the same place on 28 January 1793.
If my research is accurate, then Richard and Catherine Pendleton were the 5x-great-grandparents of Victoria Pendleton. Both would have been born many years before the bicycle – or the velocipede – was invented.Wouldn’t they have been amazed to know that their great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter would turn out to be one of the greatest female cycle champions in history?
Welcome to the fourth post in our series of blogs exploring the family trees of the famous. Experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, takes us on a journey through time as he investigates the family history of the famous, both living and dead. This time, Roy takes a look at Simon Cowell’s family tree.
Love him or loathe him – and probably both factions exist in about equal numbers – the one thing you can’t do with Simon Cowell is ignore him!
The TV personality and entrepreneur extraordinaire behind The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol, said to be one of the richest men in show business, is constantly seen with a bevy of beautiful women on his arm and regularly fills a remarkable number of column inches in the press.
But are there clues to his huge success to be found in his family history? I believe so.
Simon Cowell’s Victorian ancestors were Jewish rope and twine makers from London’s East End who, according to the evidence of the censuses, led a fairly comfortable lifestyle with servants. They must have worked hard to build up their business in what had become a major industry, thanks to shipbuilding and the docks.
Simon’s more immediate family history is also quite intriguing.
Some websites incorrectly claim that Cowell was born in Brighton, Sussex. A copy of his birth certificate – an interesting document – shows he was born Simon Philip Cowell on 7 October 1959 at King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill, South London, in Lambeth registration district. His father was Eric Philip Cowell, an incorporated surveyor, and his mother was Josie Dalglish Cowell.
The birth was registered jointly by both parents, who gave the same address in Twickenham. A hand-written comment in the ‘Informant’ column says: ‘By declaration dated 9th November 1959’. This told me that the parents were not married to one another at the time but that Eric Cowell had agreed to have his name on the certificate as the father.
Another note in the final column says that Simon’s birth was ‘Re-registered under Section 14 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 on 28th May 1981’. In fact, Eric Cowell was still married to his first wife, Jeannette, when Simon was born and presumably also when Simon’s younger brother, Nicholas Andrew Cowell, was born, also in Lambeth registration district, in 1961. The parents of the brothers were married later that year at Westminster Register Office.
The marriage certificate is also interesting in that the mother of the Cowell brothers was shown as ‘Julie Brett formerly known as Josie Dalglish’, aged 36, a spinster and a dancer. Eric Philip Cowell was 43, a company director, whose condition was shown as ‘Previous marriage dissolved’.
Simon Cowell’s mother was born in Birmingham in 1925 as Josie Dalglish and Julie Brett was the name she took when she became a dancer – so, unusually, she married in her stage name. She is now in her mid-80s and is regarded as the matriarch of the Cowell clan.
The birth indexes of the General Register Office for England and Wales – which can be found online at findmypast.co.uk – reveal that both Simon and his younger brother Nicholas had their births re-registered in 1981, some 20 years after the marriage of their parents.
Section 14 of the act mentioned on the copy of Simon’s original birth certificate deals with the re-registration of births after the parents had married – but why wait 20 years? I can only speculate that either there was some inaccuracy with the original information or possibly the reason was to do with obtaining a passport.
Simon’s father, Eric Philip Cowell, was born in 1918 at West Ham and he died in 1999, aged 81, at Brighton. Eric was described on Simon’s birth certificate as an incorporated surveyor, although he became a record company executive with the giant EMI outfit and got young Simon a job in the mail room, where he began his meteoric climb to the apex of the showbiz industry.
Eric Cowell’s parents, Simon’s grandparents, were Joseph Cowell and Esther Malinsky who married at West Ham Synagogue in 1915. Joseph was born in 1891 and in the 1911 census, described as Joseph Cowell jnr, he was living at 13 Sandringham Road, Forest Gate, East Ham, with his parents and three siblings. He was then 19, a draper’s assistant, born at Mile End, as were his father, two sisters and a younger brother:
Joseph junior’s parents were Joseph Allerton Cowell and Nancy Levy who married in Whitechapel registration district in 1890. In the 1911 census, Joseph senior and Nancy – born at Aldgate, London – were both 37 and had been married for 21 years, which means they married when they were only 16.
Simon Cowell’s grandmother, Esther Malinsky, was some five years older than her husband Joseph junior, and was born in Poland in 1886, daughter of Gabriel Malinsky, a cap maker, and his wife Annie, who came to England some time before the 1891 census in which they are found living at 22 Pelham Street, Spitalfields, Whitechapel:
In 1901, Joseph Cowell senior’s occupation was given as a rope and twine manufacturer, born at Old Ford, London. He and Nancy were living at 16 Beaumont Square, Mile End Old Town and then had three children, as well as a servant called Alice Harris, 21:
A decade earlier, in the 1891 census, Joseph and Nancy gave their ages as 18 and 19 respectively and were living at 630 Mile End Road, Mile End Old Town, and, though still so young, they were employing a female servant of similar age, Mary A Spurlock, aged 18:
Going back another generation, Simon Cowell’s great-great-grandparents were yet another Joseph Cowell and Kate Allerton, who married at Poplar in 1873. Their son was the aforementioned Joseph who was born as Joseph Allerton Cowell in 1874. Joseph, the father, was married twice, Kate Allerton becoming his second wife after his first wife Caroline had died in 1872.
In the 1881 census the family are found at 7 Wellington Road, Bromley, with Joseph Cowell, a rope maker born about 1827 at Bethnal Green, wife Kate V Cowell exactly half her husband’s age at 27, Joseph A Cowell, 7, and four other children all born at Mile End:
As well as his family, Joseph had two female servants in the household of 18 and 14 and three other people described as visitors, possibly other family members.
By 1891 Joseph was a widower once more, but with six sons and still living in Wellington Road, Bromley:
It was this Joseph Cowell, the first of three Josephs in a row, who appears to have founded and built up the rope and twine making business. He obviously made the most of how important rope making had become to the shipping industry. The extent of his business is shown by the fact that in the 1861 census he said he was employing three men and seven boys:
In 1861 Joseph’s birth place was given as Stepney. He was with his first wife, Caroline, and there was a daughter of seven, also Caroline, a nephew of nine, and a niece of 17 who appears to have been working for Joseph as a twine spinner. In this census the family were at 4 Albert Road, Stepney.
As with so many Jewish families, Joseph was obviously aware of his responsibilities to his relatives, since in several of the censuses he had other family members living with him besides his children. In 1871 he was supporting his 80-year-old father-in-law, Samuel Sheard, and, as well as his wife and daughter, had the nephew, Edward Grimmett, who had been with him in 1861, still living with him as a servant. The family were then at 2 Buckeridge Street, Mile End Old Town:
Joseph Cowell was still alive at the time of the 1901 census, still living in Wellington Road, Bromley, and now aged 76, still a rope manufacturer and an employer. Three of his sons were still at home and Joseph was also employing his sister-in-law, Jessie Jarman, as his housekeeper, and had a niece of 23, also Jessie Jarman, in the household:
The 1911 census saw Joseph still pegging along at 87, now living with a niece and her husband, Edith and William Templeman, at 9 Little Ilford Lane, Manor Park, East Ham:
He was finally described as a pensioner and no longer a rope and twine maker. Joseph appears to have died at West Ham registration district in 1914 at 89, according to the GRO death indexes. It’s good to think that after spending so much of his life looking after relatives he was taken care of himself in his final years.
Would he be glad to know that even today, his great-great-grandson was carrying on the family business of making money for old rope?!