Monthly Archives: April 2013

Russian family history programme pt 1

Last year my daughter received an email from someone saying they were looking for our family, after contacting me and my son we decided it was a spam message.  The email gave information of family names and relationships – nothing really that could not have been obtained from Ancestry, Find My Past or other on-line resources.  But these emails kept coming from the Finnish researcher.   If you Google Sklinar you only come up with a few people, my daughter, my son, a couple in the USA and me. Eventually, after numerous emails my daughter replied as by now some of the information contained details of non-UK family – this information I confirmed.  The email was sent and a reply received.  It all turned out that the researcher was working for a Russian family history programme ‘Zhdi Menya’ and that my husband mums family were looking for us – cousins.  For years I had felt guilty when working on my very large family tree as my husband’s line only went back as far as his grandparents. So, my cousin-in-laws are looking for us.  Where do they live ?  Slonim in Belarusia.  You may have heard Natasha Kaplinsky, UK newsreader, featured in primetime celebrity history show ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and discovered her family were from Slonim, Belarus. They hid in the woods with the Bielski brothers, remember the film ‘Defiance’ which starred Daniel Craig and Jamie Bell. The TV company wanted us to go to Minsk with about 2 weeks notice – not practical, work and commitments were getting in the way and my daughter was about to cycle around Mt kilimanjaro for Macmillan Cancer Research.  A filming in London was arranged.  We were supposed to meet Igor our cameraman in Westminster Tube Station, but what did he look like.  We presumed someone with a lot of camera equipment.  After various text messages and phone calls the decision was taken to meet on the opposite bank of the Thames to the Houses of Parliament. It was a nice day and a very iconic background, something people from all corners of the world would recognise – Parliament and Big Ben.

We were filmed in the small gardens outside St Thomas’s Hospital,  Igor had a list of questions and the questions were aimed at either Kim or myself.  It was a nice day and it didn’t seem we were talking to a camera but to a friend.  About an hour later filming was done and we all headed out of the garden, just as the rain started to pour down.  We headed for a coffee and asked our cameraman to join us, sadly he had other commitments.

So, about 50 minutes of filming was cut down to about 3minutes and we start about the 12 minute mark. The programme ‘Zhdi Menya’.

Since the programme aired there has been quite a bit of emailing going on but email and computer problems, on their side,lately have slowed this down.  We don’t speak Russian and my cousin in laws don’t speak English therefore, google translator has been getting a lot of use along with my daughters friends who have a smattering of the language.

Stop Press :- By the time I post this we will be on our way to Minsk  followed by Slonim, and as they say, treading in my mother in laws steps.  We will be seeing her homeland as she never saw it and visiting places that even google cannot find…… but what an adventure and what a tale we will have to tell on our return

See you when I get back !!


The Eton Rifles

It was Eton College that gave me the WW1 bug and one friend in particular imparts me with newspaper cuttings and snippets.  One such newspaper cutting was given to me a few days ago and again has an Eton College link. It is a known fact that many of the young men from Eton College and other Public Schools left school in the spring and summer and by the autumn and winter had joined the the ranks of ‘the fallen’.  One in five young men from these schools did not return. Information from a new book tells that King Edward School, Lytham was the hardest hit public school with a third of ex-pupils who went to war being killed.  The National Archives has a graph detailing six public schools, the numbers serving, numbers killed and a percentage.  Eton College had 5650 young men serving with over 1100 being killed.  While Sedbergh had 1250 serving with losses of 251.  Eton in this graph seemed to come off the worst.  But saying that Eton seemed to fair very well when it came to The Old Etonians being awarded the Victoria Cross followed close by Harrow. Anyway, back to my newspaper article that features Eton’s first viii rowing team for 1913. Namely, Lindsay Campbell ; Charles Rowlatt ; Sigurd MacCulloch ; Ronald Backus ; Augustus Dilberoglue ; Richard Buckley ; Ian Napier ; Stephen Fairbairn ; Edmond Elliott. Only three of the first viii team for 1913 died in The Great War, firstly –

Dilberoglue AugustusAugustus Dilberoglue – he was born on 13th January 1894, he was the son of Planton and Julia Dilberoglue who around the time of their sons death were living at The Lodge, 19 Southfields Road, Eastbourne.  The family had previously been living in Cairo as Planton had been a Judge of the Native Court of Appeal.  He was educated at Summerfields, Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he was when war broke out.  He obtained a commission and later attended Sandhurst.  1915 saw him being gazetted to the 3rd King’s Own Hussars.  Augustus served with his regiment in Shorncliffe, Ireland, with the BEF in France and Flanders and was KIA on 1 April 1918 nr Domart.  He rests in Hourges Orchard Cemetery Domart-Sur-La-Luce CWGC cemetery. His Commanding Officer wrote that he had a very high opinion of him, he was a fine young man and would be a great loss.  A fellow officer said he was of the finest character and a good friend.  He went on to say that he did not think he had ever met a more morally fearless character and that his squadron and troop fellow officers all loved him. While at Eton he had been captain of his house and in his last year captain of boars.  He rowed bow in the vii in 1912 and no 5 in the vii in 1913.  During that year he also won the School Pulling with G W Withington.  In 1914 he rowed no 7 in the Christ Church boat First Torpids.  He was a member of the Cavalry Club, the Vikings Club and of the Leander Club. Dilberoglue richardPlanton and Julia lost another of their sons – Richard Nicholas Dilberoglue who was also educated at Southfield and Eton and Sandhurst and joined the Coldstream Guards.  He was KIA when a shell exploded at his feet and he rests in Ginchy.  He also had wonderful tributes paid to him. Richard’s medal card, like his brother’s give their parents address in Eastbourne, but Richards gives a previous address of Buckingham Gate SW1. Richard and Augustus also had another brother serving in the Welsh Guards, Pandeli Dilberoglue who survived The Great War and lived until 1952.  

Sigurd MacCulloch (MacCullock) – Sigurd Harold MacCulloch was the son of John J and Matilda J MacCullochserved as a 2/Lieutenant  in the Seaforth Highlanders and died of wounds near Albert in 20 December 1915 aged 21.  He rests in Mailly-Maillet Communal Cemetery Extension.  An address on his medal card tells that the family lived at 8 Caurtfield Gardens, SW7.  The London Gazette for 4 March 1915 states that “The undermentioned Second Lieutenants to be Lieutenants” Sigurd H Macculloch’s entry had a note in brackets ‘(since died of wounds received in action)’. Sources:-De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour Ancestry CWGC Christ Church, Oxford.

elliot esmond

Esmond Elliot –  Was born on 25 September 1895, to Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, Earl of Minto and his wife Mary Caroline Grey.  Esmond like the other young men in this entry he attended Eton College and was coxwain in the Eton College eight in 1911,12,13.  During the Coronatian year he was Page of Honour when the new King and Queen went to Holyrood.  He served in the Scots’ Guards with a rank of Lieutenant and acted as A.D,C, to the Major General commanding the Guards Division in France.  He Died of Wounds on 6 Aug 1917.  A note on his Medal Card dated 7 February 1922 has his mother, The Rt. Hon. Mary, Countess of Minto, of 48 Chelsea Park Gardens,  SW3, applying for her dead sons medals.on year, he was Page of Honour when the King and Queen  were at Holyrood.

The London Gazette
The Sunday Times


Aunty Dolly’s little brown book

Why is it that the things you grow up with, and the people, you take so much for granted, never stopping to ask or question why, what, who and when!

My mum left me her handwritten recipe books from which I am now writing a book with the proceeds going to charity, aunty Dolly also gave me a book, about 7” x 5” and in dark brown mock leather.  As a child I just looked and thought no more about this little insignificant, slightly ragged, or well worn little book.

Before I tell you about the book I would like to tell you about my beloved aunt Dolly. She was born Frances Siddle on 16 September 1907 in Wakefield  to Agnes Siddle.  There was no father named Aunty Dolly's little brown bookon her birth certificate.  In April 1911 her mother married Ernest Wilkinson and later in the year she was Christened and between 1913 and 1929 three half siblings followed.  By 1950 she had met and married John C Kaye, a professional soldier, now he’s another interesting story.

Frances by now was known as Dolly or Do-Do and in her early 20’s worked as a barmaid in a public house at the Westgate end of Dewsbury Road.  Later, she trained as a nurse and later undertook extra training to become a mental nurse – Frances Siddle, R.C.N., R.M.N. abbreviations of which she was very proud.  In my lifetime aunty Dolly worked at Stanley Royd and was one of the shift Sisters in charge of Ward 18.  She was immaculate in her navy uniform with a starched white apron, starched cap, and when working on the ward she had her cuffs turned up with frilly white covers or when doing her office work she had her sleeves turned down with stiff white cuffs and always had her keys very close at hand.  When I, as a child, used to go with my uncle John to collect her.  We used to drive passed the gate house, where at the end of a shift aunty Dolly or Sister Kaye, would deposit her keys.  Go up the drive and then turn down towards Ward 18 under a small arch and uncle John would wait in the car while I would run to the large door and ring the bell and await the clunking of the key in the door.  Once inside I would either go into aunties office or go and sit with the ladies who lived behind the large locked door.

Aunt Dolly and uncle John became my second set of parents as I lived with them for many months while mum was in hospital with an injured leg – what more can you ask for –  one set of wonderful parents and then two others who dote on you.

Anyway, on my many visits to their house my aunt showed me the little book, I looked at the pages, thought how nice the pictures were and how I wish I could draw and paint like that, and that was that.  Now, many years later the little book has once again grabbed my attention, but as well as thinking how nice the pictures are I also wonder who wrote the words, drew the flowers and did the wonderful ink pen drawings.  How many times have I looked at the little book and never notice other

Edwin Siddle

Edwin Siddle

people with the name Siddle. Two of my great uncles have written and signed in the book along with many other peoples ditiities.  My aunts Autograph Book is full of her friends.

Charles Ernest Siddle

Charles Ernest Siddle

Charles Ernest Siddle on 19 July 1919 wrote ‘What ? Write in a book, where people look, and critics spy, not I, I’m shy, Goodbye’  A few short years later he had died.  His brother Edwin wrote multiple entries but one that makes me smile is this ‘God made the bees, the bees make honey, the infantry fill the sandbags, the R.E’s get the money’.

Edwin Siddle

Edwin Siddle

Others who have graced the pages include Nellie Winterbottom who on 22 March 1922 wrote ‘ Mary had a little watch, she swallowed it one day, now she’s taking Epson Salts to pass the time away’.  Gladys Bennett on 6 October 1922 wrote ‘ If every day was sunny, with ne’er a cloud in view, we’d soon be spending money to buy a cloud or two’.  Marjorie Holmes wrote ‘The happiest moments of all my life were in the arms of another man’s wife – my mother’.  M Harrison on 6 October 1922 wrote ‘ The butterfly has wings of gold, the firefly has wings of flame. The flea it as no wings at all, but it gets there just the same’.  I think M Harrison could have also have worked on Ward 18 at Stanley Royd.



Edwin Siddle

Edwin Siddle

G Moxon

Names and initials on the pages are :- R W, M Brear, G C Moxon, E J Tingle, A Murgatroyd, NellieWinterbottom, Irene Stevenson, A Hutchinson, M Harrison, E Morton, Annie Fraser, Ethel Oxley, M Sykes, D M Meek, E Hemingway, H Asquith, Mary Murgatroyd, Gladys Asquith, C E B, Violet, V Bell, M Garrison, Marjorie Holmes, K Hudson M Brear(beautiful pen drawing), M Johnson, Gladys Bennett and finally, G F Smith B.A., L.L.B., L.L.D., A.C.P. who wrote ‘ England has saved herself by her bravery may she now save Europe by her example’.

One of the entries is a poem of sorts and covers three pages entitled The Barnsley Disaster.  At first I thought this was just a story but that proved to be wrong.

Barnsley Public Hall on Saturday 11 January 1908 was the setting for a tragedy when 16 children mainly under 10 years old lost their lives and 40 others were seriously injured. That will be another tale but what interests me at this time are the names.  Family history does after all starts with names.

Ethel Oxley for instance was born in 1908, the daughter of Henry and Ethel Oxley who at the time lived at 19 Pilkington Street, Thornes Lane, Wakefield. Ethel at the time being the youngest of four children.

Gladys Asquith was not a local girl being born in Hereford.  Her grandfather, Benjamin Asquith was a market gardener born in Carr Gate, his wife Elizabeth was also a local girl and their son Walter.  But somewhere along the line they moved to Hereford where Walter met his wife Lily and Gladys was born in 1908 but in the next couple of years they moved back ‘home’ and Evelyn came into the world.  The census of 1911 index gives the impression that Benjamin and Elizabeth are the parents of the two young children, but I think otherwise and am taking Walter and Lily as their parents.  The family lived in a four roomed dwelling at 21 Carter Street, Wakefield.

Mary Murgatroyd – there are two Mary Murgatroyds that are within a decent age range but for some reason, call it gut instinct I am going with the younger of the two as her father was a Law Clerk for the County Council.  As you have previously read one of the entries in the book has legal initials after his name (maybe not a good enough reason but seems to fit better than the other entry).  The family were also living only a few streets away on Johnston Street.

Annie Fraser

Annie Fraser

Annie (Ann) Fraser, another writer in aunt Dolly’s little brown book was born in Wakefield along with her brother William, while the rest of the family were from Forfar, Paisley and Glasgow.  Annie’s father James was a boat builder, building seamless steel boats.  The family lived at 12 Caldervale Road, so James would have been very close to work.

Violet (Victoria) Bell was one of five children in the 1911 census to Ernest Edward Bell and his wife Lillian Gertrude – the couple being married thirteen years and he worked as an iron roller at Horbury Junction.  Again, a family that came into Wakefield.  Ernest was born in Louth, his wife in Tipton, Staffordshire  and their two eldest children hailed from Carlisle.  The family lived in three rooms at 14 Wellington St, Thornes Lane.

Nellie Winterburn was the daughter of George and Emma who lived at 3 Wellington Street, Thornes Lane.  George worked as a cloth scourer to feed his family in 1911.

I have now found out who some of the entries were written by but not how they are connected to my aunt – more research to be done. But one of the few names that evade me is G. F. Smith B.A., L.L.B., L.L.D., A.C.P – who is he and what connection did he have to my aunt.  Was the connection her friend whose father was a Law Clerk or what it a nursing connection?

Mr Smith's entry

Mr Smith’s entry

A quick search of the 1911 census has four entries for a Smith who is a solicitor, but none with the initials C. F. There is, unlike other entries, no date for Mr Smith’s entry but going by the others the dates are between 1918 and 1922.

Still more looking around to try and find the threads that crossed these peoples lives in the few years following World War one.  But as I write this something has just dawned on me.  Something I knew, but never thought of.  My aunt was almost a generation older than my father, being born in 1908 and my father in 1923.  I knew all about her but never until today did it click she lived through WW1 – she would have been there when my great grandma received ‘that telegram’ regarding her son Herbert.  There when my great aunt also received ‘that telegram’ regarding her husband George Albert Wheeldon. There when my great grandma lost another son Charles in 1926.  It sometimes takes writing things down to realise how the generations blend into one family.

So that’s the story of Aunt Dolly’s little brown book so far.

To be continued……….

Riach / Campbell marriage

Elgin Courier, Friday 29 June 1866

“At Toronto, on 6th June, by the Rev. Alex. Topp, A.M. Mr Alex. Riach, farmer, second son of the late Mr Jas. Riach, farmer, Barflathills, Morayshire, to Isabella Campbel, County of Chateaugeauy, Canada East.”

Who were Alexander and Isabella?

Isabella, born about 1839 in Argyl.  She was the daughter of Dugald Campbell and Catharine McKillop.  At the time of her marriage she was living in Chateauguay, Quebec. Alexander on the other hand was born about 1841 in Elgin, the son of James Riach and Margaret Newland.  At the time of his marriage he was living in the Nelson Township. I’ve found 1 child born to the couple – Joseph Newlands Riach b 1 Sept 1872 at Wentworth   Memorial inscription for Alexander and Isabella at Greenwood Cemetery, Burlington, Ontario.

In memory of Sabella Campbell beloved wife of Alexander Riach died Sept 23 1896 aged 58 years. A native of Argyleshire Scotland. Alexander Riach 1840-1914. (back) James C Riach 1867-1944

The census of 1901 sees Alexander a widow and living in the home of Arthur Grey a farmerl

The 1911 census of Canada has Alex as a boarder in the house of William Hannon(?) and his family  on what looks like Maber Street, Burlington, Ontario.  Alex’s occupation was given as servant.



The Missing Constantine

During my stint helping to man a local family history stant at the Ridings Centre during Heritage Weekend a few years ago. I was asked had I seen the family bible on display – no I hadn’t and I’m a sucker for old bibles and books as you never know what secrets or forgotten things you find when turning the pages.

I don’t like lists of names or entries in bibles that are unknown, they should belong now as they did when their name was so tenderly written.  That could be why I’ve taken to transcribing war memorials – a name on a plaque or on a carved stone means nothing unless you know who they were in life.

So who were the Constantine family mentioned in the bible that had been given to the group and was put on display over Heritage Weekend ?

There were names and dates but sadly, no places and in one case just initials.  The names and dates were a start and I copied the names down to try and solve the mystery after tea.  After tea…….no now, while the curiosity juices are flowing…………Tea will wait !!!

The first entries in the bible were for William Henry Constantine born on 28 Sept 1823 and below the entry for his wife Ruth Elizabeth Constantine born 26 Sept 1855, followed by their children Martha Ann 22 Apr 1879 ; Nellie 1881 ; Lissey 1888 ; Wilfred 1890 ; Sarah 1883 ; Sam W 1885 ; Annie 1895.

The 1881 census filled in a few gaps.  Firstly, the family were not from Wakefield but Wortley or Armley – depending on which census you looked at and that William was a Sanitary Tube maker or worker. The other members of the family stated they were from Armley. Secondly, Nellie was Ellen and thirdly, Ruth could possibly be an Appleby as James Appleby, brother in law, was living in the household along with a Martha Ann aged 9 and giving relationship as niece.

A look on the Freebmd website confirmed the Constantine / Appleby link when William Henry and Ruth Elizabeth (Appleby) married on 31 Aug 1878 in the Leeds Registration District.

Going back to the 1861 census, hoping to find William H’s father revealed that William Constantine (1821) and Ann (Lockbottom) (1822) were the parents of William H. William like his son was a Sanitary Tube Maker and was born in Leeds. As well as William H the children were Joseph 1848 ; Sarah 1850 ; John Edward 1856 and Mary Ann 1859.

Further back to William’s parents – Samuel Constantine b 1788 and Ann Jackson b 1778.  The couple married at St Peter’s Leeds on 3 Jan 1809 and they went on to have 8 children.

But back to William Henry and Ruth Elizabeth in 1881 the family lived at 35 Parsonage View, Armley by 1891 they had moved just down the road to 23 but his employment had changed to that of labourer and all his children attended school except the Wilfred the baby and Elizabeth aged 2.  You may not remember Elizabeth from the list of birth but you may remember Lissey.

By 1901 they were now living at….. well on the census it looked like 13 Bowlingate Terr, but that did not give me a good feeling.  A visit to the Leodis website and search for Bowlingate revealed nothing.  But a manual search of Wortley itself and bingo …. Bowling Garth Terr.  I had a address so why not look at what it was like – no’s 7 – 13 looked to be decent enough houses with steps leading to the front door.  The oval fanlight was surrounded by two stone quadrants with a centre support/decoration.  The windows also had stone decorations above and below.  Partially below ground level was the cellar that looked to have two windows letting in light to what was probably the kitchen.  Back upstairs and there was a large window by the front door.  Upstairs was another large window and a smaller window over the door.  A picture of houses 3 – 5 gives a description of them being back to back, if no 13 an end terrace was back to back I don’t know.

We now know a little more about the family but the children in the bible – what happened to them.  Martha Ann  died in 1965.  Ellen married Ernest Boston on 24 December 1904 and had Harry in 1905 and Wilfred in 1915 (d 1960), again these entries were in the pages of the bible.

Samuel died on 3 August 1960, Elizabeth – did she marry or didn’t she only the people in the bible know.

William married Louisa Bannister and a search on Freebmd for a Constantine/Bannister child came up with Fred born in 1918 and Annie, she  married J H Marshall on 17 July 1920 in the Bramley District.  Who was J H ?  A look on Freebmd came up with no hits for his marriage but a search of the GRO on Ancestry came up with 50% of the answer – John H Marshall, well it was a start ! Back to Freebmd and a look at their birth transcripts and a possible hit for him of John Hemingway Marshall.

Now, J H and his wife are the people that have the Wakefield link.  John was born in Alverthorpe around 1880 and by 1901 was living with his siblings – his eldest sister, Ethel aged 22 was the head of the house, Elden House, Alverthorpe  and was the ‘parent’ to her other 9 brothers and sisters.  I suppose you could say she was helped by a 22 year old servant.  The previous census told that their parents were Charles H  and Annie S Marshall who lived at Silcoates, Charles being employed as a Mill Manager (woollen cloth).

Back to J H and Annie, they went on to have three children, Reginald b 1921 ; Ruth b 1922 and Harry in 1924 all being registered in Wakefield.  Both John and Annie must have stayed around the Alverthorpe area as Annie died in West Ardsley in the 1970’s

We now arrive at the third child of William and Ruth, Sarah born in the summer of 1883.  It was the year that a rumour spread around New York that the BrooklynBridge was going to collapse – resulting in a stampede crushing 12 people.  The year of the Victoria Hall disaster – a rush for treats resulted in 183 children being asphyxiated in a concert hall in Sunderland.  It was the year that the Zulu king Cetshwayo barely escaped a rebel attack and the year that the volcano Krakatoa erupted and it was the year that the Boys’ Brigade was founded in Glasgow.  It was also the year that little Sarah died – 8th June 1883 in Armley, Leeds.

As this was not my family tree I did not want to delve too far back or get too curious as to what else they got up to with their lives but there was one more question I wanted to answer and that was did anyone else have them in their family trees ?  I normally check our Ancestry World Tree but this time just checked them via the trees on Ancestry and a couple of trees came up.  I was pleased that by just checking through the census, Freebmd and the GRO that I had everything they had BUT!!!! I had one thing more than any of them – I had Sarah.

Sarah being born in 1883 had missed the census, simply been and gone and only recorded on her birth and death certificates and in her local parish register when she was christened and buried on 30th June of the same year at St Bartholomew’s, Armley.

St Bartholomew's Church from Wikipedia

St Bartholomew’s Church from Wikipedia






How can she be forgotten, when we all know her name……………….SARAH




To check woodkirk MI

St pauls alverthorpe pr’s