Tag Archives: 1911

A Fusilier’s Postcard

A friend of ours/mine is a songwriter and musician, basing many of his songs around his Northumberland origins.  A few years ago I blogged about a mining disaster that was the basis of a wonderful and moving song and a song dedicated to my husband called ‘The Old Chateau’.

northumberland fus badge

Anyway, the moving lyrics have once again spurred me into putting fingers to keyboard, but this time based on a postcard written by a fusilier to ‘his Maggie’.  I have no idea who the writer was or who ‘his Maggie ‘ was but I have found a Northumberland Fusilier who I shall blog about!

Frederick Noel Coates – who was he, just picked out at random from Army Service Records, basically as I thought his name would be easy to follow.

Frederick was born in 1895, in Whitley Bay, Northumberland, the son of John Robson Coates and Edith Annie, his wife of 19 years.

On Sunday 2nd April 1911 the family were living at 39 Victoria Avenue, Whitley Bay.  John was classed as an Accountant, while Edith  was given no occupation, but it did give information that she had born 6 children – the eldest being Edith Vera aged 18 and the youngest was Gwendoline aged 7 months.  Frederick Noel was the eldest boy aged 16 and employed as a Commercial Clerk.  The family were looked after by 2 teenage servants.

Ten years previous in 1901, John was an accountant working for the Water Gas Company with his family living at 37 Victoria Avenue.

A few short years after the census Frederick Noel Coates on 10 September  1914 signed his Short Service Attestation Papers in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Our young man gave his age as 19 years and 259 days and employed as a Wireless Telegraphy Student and was now officially a Private in the 16th Bn., Northumberland Fusiliers.  The only other entry on ‘Statement of Service was dated 18 September 1915, but will mention that later.

His military history sheet is bare apart from the information regarding his next of kin – John Robson (surname missing , probably as we know the name of the family) 8 South Parade, Whitley Bay.  One thing that was not missing was his description – a wonderful find for any family member who has no photograph to view.  Frederick was, as we know, 19 years and 259 days old.  He was 5” 7 1/2 “ tall and weighed 121lbs.  He had a girth of 35” with an expansion range of 4”.  His complexion was fresh, he had blue eyes and fair hair and gave no religious preference and he was declared fit for duty.

You may be wondering why I wanted to come back to Fredrerick’s Statement of Service, well on the 18September  1915 he was Discharged, but for a very good reason – he was Gazetted a Commission and became Temp. Second Lieutenant.

Frederick changed Battalions and was now in the 22nd.  These Battalions were made up of ‘Pals Battalions’ and took part in many battles including 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme – the 22nd Bn., lost over 530 men on that day.

The Northumberland Fusiliers were often known as the ‘fighting fifth’ as until 1881 the regiment was the Fifth Foot, but during The Great War the Northumberland Fusiliers raised no fewer that 51 battalions making it the second largest after the London Regiment.nf_steloi

The  22nd was formed in Newcastle on 5 November 1914 by Newcastle’s Lord Mayor and landed in France in January of 1916.

John and Annie Coates lost their eldest son on 4 April 1917 aged 23.  He is remembered at FAUBOURG D’AMIENS CEMETERY, ARRAS with over 2640 other  known men and 10 who are Known only unto Their God.





Frederick is mentioned in Whitley Seaside Chronicle of the Great War

As to who was the Maggie, dearly mentioned on the postcard that could well be another story, but I do hope that  her soldier did return home.

You can listen to A Fusilier’s Postcard here

You may also like to listen to Where Footsteps Used Fall also with a WW1 theme

Sources -


Find My Past





Cosens, H S F, KIA

I first came across the person above while photographing memorials in St Mary Abbotts church in Kensington.  I homed in on the war memorial outside after spending a wonderful time in Wholefoods – what a fantastic place and their cheese room is to die for!!

Cosens, H S F, who is he?

Harold Stanley Frederick Cosens, born 2 December 1889, the son of Frederick George Cosens and Fanny Louisa Ambrose who had married in Kensington in the spring of 1877.

Frederick was a Sherry Shipper born in Streatham in 1855, his wife was born in Marylebone in  the same year.

In the census of 1891 the family were living at 8 Airlie Gardens, Kensington – just off Campden Hill Road. Harold was the youngest of three children.  The family employed three staff, one of which was a nurse.

Ten years later in 1901, Frederick and Fanny still had three children but the number of staff had increased to four.

A further ten years on only one of the children is at home – 24 year old Winifred but now back to three servants.

Harold by the census of 1911 was a Second Lieutenant serving in the East Yorkshire Regiment and was one of 330 men and 80 women at Aldershot Barracks.  We now know he was a career soldier.  But his early had been at St Paul’s School and later Sandhurst Military College.

Harold was Killed In Action at Rue du Bois, Armentierre, on  27 October 1914, according to a number of sources,but the memorial in St Mary Abbots gives the date of 28 October 1914.

The medal card for Harold gives quite a lot of information. Firstly, his regiment and rank was confirmed.  His date of death is given as 27 October.  Other information is taken from Routine Orders, Staff Book, Disembarkation Returns and medals awarded.  In March of 1918 F L G Coens, Esq., applies for the 1914 star in respect of his late son.  Mr Cosens requested the medals address given 7 Observatory Gardens, Campden Hill.  There are a number of notes on the card and one says ‘medals to’ 15 Vicarage Gardens, Kensington.  One other adress is for F G Cosens, Esq., Beech Bough, Bacton, North Walsham, Norfolk.  Harold parents must have moved to Norfolk as he is remembered on the village war  memorial.

His Commanding Officer, Major M Boyle wrote of Harold  “He was my subaltern and I never want a better, always cheery and ready for any work that came in his way, and to take on any hard job, even when out of his turn, as so often happened when I wanted a man I could trust to do any difficult or jumpy piece of work. I could not want for a nicer, more cheery and hard working officer to soldier with……. The exact circumstances are these. He had led his men to retake some trenches from the Germans and had carried out his work successfully, and was actually in the trench, doing a kindly act to one of the enemy, who wanted to surrender, when a sniper shot him from another direction. It is extremely painful to write thus, as it was sheer bad luck! My company are very cut up indeed. He died a gallant gentleman.”

Harold rests in Ration Farm Military Cemetery, La Chapelle-D’Armentieres


Ancestry ; Masonic Great War Project ; Freebmd ; CWGC

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery – Who is resting in peace

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery nr Poperinge has a very special place in my heart, not only does my great uncle rest there but Nellie Spindler from my home town also calls Lijssenthoek ‘home’.  But recently while doing a bit of research I came across another man whose final resting place is also Lijssenthoek – Conrad Hugh Dinwiddy.

I think his name sounded similar to a place we used to stay on our way up to Lhangbryde when I was a child, so what do you do, or should I say ‘I do’ but find out a little about him………you know the thing, who were his parents, where did he live and what did he do before joining the forces and who survived him.     Here goes….

While waiting for a website to open I thought I’d try Wikipedia – lots of info there, not always correct but is somewhere to start and to my surprise there was not an established page for Conrad, there is an opening if any one wishes to start a page for him.

Here we go !  Conrad was born early in 1881 to Thomas Dinwiddy and his wife Eliza Charlotte nee Rooke (b. 1845 Marylebone).  In the census shortly after Conrad’s birth Thomas was aged 37 and was working as an Architect and Surveyor (b 1844 Bristol).  The family lived at 12 Croom’s Hill, Greenwich (now the London Fan Museum)- the road was home to other professionals and retired servicemen incl. William Rivers Retd., RN; Gay Shute, Surgeon; Thomas Creed(?), General Practioner MRCSE St Andrews Uni.; others include Stationers, Annuitants.

Thomas Dinwiddy is noted for having designed the main administration block (Grove Park Workhouse) of what was Grove Park Hospital. The plans were approved in 1897 and the foundation stone put in place 2 years later.  The plans were presented at the Paris International Exhibition in 1900 and won a Diploma of Merit. One of the local roads is named after Thomas.  In the early 1990′s the site was sold for housing development but Thomas’s administration block and a some of the original workhouse buildings survived.  The site had not been listed by the local authorities.  One of the buildings designed by Thomas did manage to get a listed status – Laurie Grove Baths including : swimming baths, slipper baths and launderies were designed in the mid 1890′s commissioned by the Vestry Board of St Paul’s Deptford under the Public Baths and Wash-houses Act of 1846.  The building is of Jacobean style and still has many of its original features.  A few other buildings by Thomas were Greenwich Board of Works Offices and Roans Girl’s College, Greenwich.

Ten years later, 1891, Conrad was hard to find on the census but eventually by just putting his year of birth +/- 2 and Greenwich as his place of birth he is found. He is at a school with some of his brothers in Walmer, Kent.

Another ten years on in 1901 the family are at The Manor House (?), Croom’s Hill – Eliza with her children, Conrad by now is classed as a student, and four servants but no Thomas.  Thomas was in fact staying at the Adelphi Hotel, Ranelagh Place, Liverpool with people from all walks of life incl. George Herbert Lindsay of Edinburgh a Distiller; Daniel Shurmann a Merchant  born in Russia.  That solved that problem, so now forward a few years.

On 27 September 1909, Conrad’s elder brother Malcolm, Capt., Royal West Kent Regt., who had served in Singapore, married  married Miss Laura de Satge, dau. of the late Mr Ocar de Satge, late member of the Upper House of Queensland.  The wedding took place in Folkstone and Conrad was the Best Man with various cousins from both sides being bridesmaids.  Guests included Lords and Knights of the realm and serving regimental Officers

The 1911 census finds that Conrad is now a newly married man.  He had married Winifred O Pochin in the Autumn of the previous year.  Conrad worked as a Surveyor employing a number of people and they lived at 76 Warwick Gardens, Kensington, a nine roomed house, with a number of servants and was a member of the RICS, which held a portrait of him.

Conrad served in the military and various entries in The London Gazette have him serving in various ranks incl. Temp Captain.  But it is The Medal Rolls Index Cards that tell a better story.

Conrad initially served in the RFA as 157860.  Later serving in the RGA as a 2/Lt., and now has no service number as Officers were not issued with a number at this time.  He is later in the 13/Siege Bty, RGA as an A/Major, then Major, with a medal entitlement of The Victory Medal and The British Medal.

Conrad was the inventor of the ‘Dinwiddy’ Range-finder for detecting enemy aircraft – this was adopted by the War Office. He was also a Councillor for the Borough of Kensington and a known mountaineer.

C H was one of five children and had three brothers in the services.

Conrad Died of Wounds received on 27 September 1917 aged 35, leaving Winifred and a young son, Hugh P Dinwiddy born in 1912.

Conrads brothers – Major Malcolm J Dinwiddy, as we have already said he married in 1909.  He served in  the Royal West Kents  and applied for his service medals in June of 1920.  He died on 19 November 1925 aged 46 and had at least one child. Probate was granted to Laura Emily Dinwiddy, widow or Fairview, Osborne Road, South Farnborough.

Donald Dinwiddy, married Ella May Jones in 1909.   He died on 19 February 1937.  Probate was granted to Ella Mary Dinwiddy of Red Cottage, 54a Parliament St, London

Harry L Dinwiddy. Harry Lurwyche Dunwiddy  married Ethel Maud MacArthur in 1903 and by 1911 they were living at 13 Pond Road, Blackheath with their son Thomas Lurwyche and a number of servants – Harry working as a solicitor.  He was living at Little Paddock, White Beam Way, Tadworth when he died on 21 April 1950.  Probate was granted to Thomas Lutwyche Dinwiddy, solicitor on 8 June of that year.

Conrad also had a sister – Dora, she married Stanton Freeland Card, a Royal Navy Instructor, in 1902 and by 1911 they were living with their three children and a few servants at Parkhurst, Westcombe Park Road, London.  Stanton of 24 Crown Lane Gardens, Streatham died at Putney General Hospital on 6 October 1940 with probate granted in Llandudno on 2 July to Westminster Bank Ltd.  Dora of Lawrence Road, Hove died on 24 March 1945 with Probate being granted in Llandudno on 20 December of the same year to Harry Lutwyche Dinwiddy, Solicitor.

Sources :

Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser. Issue 29 Mar 1909, page 5



The Fan Museum



Lost Hospitals of London

Flight Global

Tedbah Siddle ??

I started my family history nearly 30 years ago.  I had no grandparents and only one parent.  After my Scottish grandfathers death that side of the family seemed to drift off a little – as families do when the hub goes away.  That has, I am very pleased to say been rectified.

But, back locally, my grandmothers maiden name was Agnes Siddle and she married Ernest Wilkinson.  My aunt was born in 1907 before grannies marriage to Ernest.  I remember asking her as a child ‘why does daddy have a different name to you?’  I was told that grandma married twice – a plausible answer and as a youngster it shut me up.  Oh, aunty, if you knew what I knew now!!!!

While looking though Ancestry for any trace of my great uncles military service – 4 of my grandma’s brothers fought in the Great War, with 3 coming home again to their family, I kept coming across this young man – Tedbah Siddle.  Who is he ? And does he link into my Siddle line?  Tedbah can sometimes be found with the spelling, Tedbak and Tedbor.

Anyway, who is he?

Well, I know he has a service record, so I’ll come back to that later but starting with the census, 1911 as I know he served in WW1 and that’s the nearest census to that milestone in his life.

The 1911 census has Tedbah aged 28, being born in Heckmondwike, a worsted spinner, living with his mother and 4 siblings at Walker St, Littletown, Liversedge.  Tedban’s mother was either very formal or chose to be a rebel as she wrote in red and her entry reads:- Mrs Siddle, head, aged 50, married 29 years, 10 children with 8 surviving to the census, works at home and was born in Gildersome.  But she signed Mrs E A Siddle – a small clue there.

Tedbor Siddle, according to Freebmd was registered in Dewsbury in the September Quarter of 1881 and this was confirmed by looking at the GRO Indexes.

Back to the census – I thought Tedbor or the variations in his name would be the stumbling block in this trail.  I searched the census for all the ways his name had been found – Tedbor, Tecbak and Tedbah and still none of his family could be found.  A search for his mother would be very long and hard as all I had found in the 1911 census was her as Mrs E A Siddle.  A sibling, that would be the way to go, try and find one of Tedbor’s siblings who was a similar age and hopefully pick up the man himself.

One of Tedbor’s siblings, Amanda was born in 1892, therefore she should be in the 1901 census.  Amanda Siddle born 1892 +/- 5 years found nothing.  So in for the long haul – a search for an Amanda born around 1892 in Yorkshire that could take time.  But, not as hard as I thought just around 460 entries and I quickly started at the last page and worked back, came to the s’s and there she was Amanda Siddal and I thought Tedbor would be the stumbling block.  So 1901 who were this family and were was Tedbor.   Well, Mrs Siddal was there and her name was Emma, she was aged 40 and a cloth weaver born in Gildersome.  Tedbor was there now entered as Ted aged 18 and a woollen twister.  There was a Jane aged 16 and a worsted spinner.  Alonzo aged 13 also a worsted spinner.  Robert aged 7 ; Ada 5 ; Norah 3 and Amanda aged 9 – no idea why she is out of age order.  But where is Mr Siddal as Emma states she was married.  Back another 10 years to find out as he must have been around within the last 3 years at least – well according to the ages of the children !

What I find in the 1891 census, I did not expect.  We have Emma A Siddal, giving her status as mother, aged 30 and still a cloth weaver.  We have Clara E Haigh, daughter aged 11 a scholar born in Dewsbury. There is, what looks like, Delert Siddal (our

Carol Sklinar 2010

Carol Sklinar 2010

Tedbor) aged 8. Jane A is there aged 6, along with Alonzo C aged 3 and Olive C aged 1.  But, as the head of the household is one Joseph Crawshaw aged 40 a warp dresser born in Dewsbury.

Tedbah Siddle was in a marriage entry for the December Quarter of 1911 in North Bierley to Gertrude Wooller the exact date being 11 December 1911.

Back to the service record, where I initially found Tedbah – There are four entries for Tedbah with the first being dated 1905 when he is Attesting for the Militia or Reserve Div.,   He  joined the 3rd West Riding Regt., no. 14948.  He was single and aged 22 years 6 months and a millhand – all this we know from census and birth entries.  He said that he had served/ was a currently serving with the Volunteers 1st Bn W R Regt., and that he had purchased his discharge.  Further paperwork goes on to bring him more to life – he was 5′ 3″ tall, weighing 113lbs, with a fresh complexion, brown eyes and hair and worshipped within the Church of England and had no distinguishing marks. The Army Recruiting Office wrote to the local police to enquire about Tedbah, the reply came back that they knew him to be of good character.  A reference from Joseph Armitage, Manager stated that he had know Tedbah for over 12 years and last saw him 3-4 days ago (from date of signing Jan 13 1905) – Joseph commented that Tedbah was sober, honest and respectable.  Tedbah attending various training sessions.

In 1913 he re-enlisted after notice, by now he was a married man, his writing had become a more confident hand.  He was part of the B.E.F and rose through the ranks becoming a  Company Sgt., Major.  He ceased to be a CSM when he was transferred to the Heavy Branch – M.G.C and now his army number changes to  7870644.  He was wounded  and a letter from Mrs G Siddle of 4 New Brighton, Oakenshaw, Bradford dated July 14th 1921 asks  if she could be supplied with the following information.

“Is 14948/7807

644 Sgt T Siddle MGC yet demobilised or is he yet serving in the H M Forces.  He has been in India for the last two years (or there abouts) and is at present in this district, and is reported to be on six months leave prior to been transferred to South Africa.  I was given to understand that in July 1919 he had re-enlsited for a period of four years.  I am his lawful wife and am curious to get correct information on the matter and herby appeal to you for such. Thanking you in antisipation for an early reply.  I am Sirs, yours truly, Mrs G Siddle”

A reference in his army records gives the answer to Mrs Siddles question.  A margin note for Tedbak said that he was placed on the married establishment list, in view of the fact that he is separated from his wife by mutual consent.  There was a type written reference to this by his Commanding Officer, basically saying that as he had entered a status of married on the Attestation that had stood as there had been no update to this saying he was now separated.  The regarding his marital status would be altered and that ‘the soldier’ would proceed to Deolali enroute to the UK.

Note – Deolali – a town in India where the Deolali transit camp was based.  It was known for being an unpleasant environment and boredom and many soldiers with psychological problems pass through its portals – hence the terms ‘gone doolally’ and ‘doolally tap’ – terms for someone who  has ‘lost their mind’ possibly due to the stresses of war.  In Urdu the word tap meals a malarial fever.

One part of his service records was an award for the D.C.M. and he should be presented with such in accordance with the Northern Command Authority.  His citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry and resource at Ypres on the 20.3.1915 when he held on to a position with his section, although the trench was destroyed by the enemy;s shell fire, throughout the day until relief arrived.  During the defence of his post he managed to take back a report to his company, from whic

h he was cut off, under heavy shell fire, and then returned to his section. He was wounded during the day. “ This report answers an earlier entry in his records.

Further information gives information that Mrs Siddle was requesting that her husband acknowledge that he is the father of at least one child, a child that will come into the world very soon. He acknowledge two children, Gladys Irene born 15 April 1912 and Mabel born 12 October 1916 (Mabel is the unborn child referred to)

I’ve done a potted history of Tedbor and his siblings, found out his mother’s name and eventually his father’s.  But I still don’t know where his name comes from – is it a family name ? A search of Freebmd only lists one Tedbor and the Army Records, as we already know, shows up Tedbah, while the GRO gives a zero result.  I am no nearer to know where nor why he was given that name………………May be someone reading this knows !

Addendum – Cleckheaton Advertiser and Spen Valley Times Page 2 July 1st 1915 has an interview with Tedbah about his exploits – he was in line for a V.C. but received the D.C.M. instead.

Towns as names

Been thinking what to do a blog about – you know something interesting and informative hopefully.  So clicked on to Ancestry 1901 census and thought who can I find that has an unusual tale to tell.  Not watching where I was typing I entered Wakefield and then enter.  What a surprise, I had entered Wakefield in the first name, or as I know it, Christian name and 47 entries greeted me – some were only a middle name, derived from a relatives surname perhaps, but there were about 10 who had been given  it as a first name – why? Did they have a link to the town or to someone whose surname was Wakefield?

Who shall I pick on to open up all their secrets ?  Wakefield Arthur sounds interesting and he was also first in the list.  He was born in 1862 in Plymouth – old enough to have a couple of census to delve through and also young enough so that his parents can be traced. But I am afraid my enthusiasm regarding Arthur was soon drenched like a good summer.  The 1901 census entry for Wakefield was clicked on and the entry for him and his family was about half way down – my eyes fell on Wakefield Arthur aged 39, the entry for his wife told the whole sad story – she was Blanche Wakefield – the enumerator had taken down the name incorrectly or Arthur had given his surname first, as you sometimes do on documents.  I’ll try another Wakefield.

No names stand out in the 1901 so switched to 1911 instead and found a gentleman aged 52 and born in Yorkshire.  Who is he ?  Wakefield Duncan Crigan is his name.  He was born in 1859 in Sleights, near Whitby and was living on Private Means with his  family and servants at Dainton, 9 Upper Park Road, Bromley, Kent.  The family consisted of Wakefield, his brothers Hugh Alexander Crigon aged 49 and Charles Clandin Crigan aged 42 and their sisters Julia Smelt Crigan aged 55 and Caroline Ann Crigan aged 45 all were born in Sleights and all, like Wakefield, were living on Private Means.  The entry for Wakefield also states he was married, had been for 18 years and had had one child – the enumerator had struck through this as it was normally the woman who entered the information regarding children, but good old Wakefield for letting us know – but who and were is his wife.

The 1901 census draws a blank on a quick search for Wakefield, but the 1891 finds him with his parents, Charles Crigan aged 63 a retired military officer born in Marston and Jane aged 62 born in Whitby – all the children previously mentioned are there plus others :- Julie, Wakefield entered as Duncan, John, Hugh and Caroline all aged between 23 – 32 and all single.

The 1881 census with a quick search also reveals nothing but the 1871 tells that aged 44 Charles had retired from his military service and was living at Carr View House in Eskdale with his wife Jane and the following children :- Mary Dora 20, Elizabeth 18, Julia 14, W Duncan 12, John 10, Alexander 9. Hamilton 8, Caroline 5, Charlotte 3 and Charles 2.  The places of birth for the eldest two children is Newingden ?  and Whitby, while the younger children are all Sleights.

Back a further 10 years to 1861 and Charles with his family are still in Eskdale and aged 34 Charles is a Retired Military Officer – how long was he in the army ? A search of Army Officers books tells that there have been Crigan high ranking officers serving the country since the late 1700′s and does our Charles belong to this family?  But back to 1861 and the family is now consisting of :- Elizabeth 9, Shell ? 8, Jane 7, Julia 4, Janetta C 3, Wakefield D 2 and Joshua 1 + plus servants including a nursery governess, nursery maid, housemaid and cook.

1851 can’t find an entry for Charles or Jane with a few variations used in the search.

Charles Alexander Robert Crigan married Jane Chapman in the June Qtr of 1850 in the Whitby Registration District.

Back to Wakefield and who was his wife ?  There is an entry in Freebmd for a Wakefield Duncan Crigan marrying in the September Qtr of 1893 (which ties up with him saying he had been married 18 years) in the Kensington Registration District but there is a choice of ladies to match him to – Mary Henrietta G Kell or Emily Tappin ?

Jumping into 1900, Charles Alexander Robert Crigan or Dainton, Upper Park Road, Bromley, Kent a retired captain in HM Madras Native-infantry died on 2 Ocdrtober 1900, Administrations London 27 October to Wakefield Duncan Crigan accountant, effects £553 2s 1d.

Jumping into the next decade Wakefield Duncan Crigan of Trefusis, Summerdown Road, Eastbourne died 5 May 1912.  Probate London 23 May to Mary Henrietta Gertrude Crigan, widow and Edgar Armstrong Everington, solicitor.  Effects £12740 7s 10d.  Question, one being answered this time, which makes a change, he married Mary Henrietta G Kell, but where was she in the 1911 census and was the child with her?  Found her !!  M H Gertrude Crigan aged 43 and born in Bradford was living with her 16 year old daughter Catherine E and two servants at Trefusis, Summerdown Road, Eastbourne living on private means.  Mary completes her form stating she has been married 17 years.  But why is Wakefield, head of household living with his siblings?

Mary Henrietta Gertrude Crigan of 50 Sandford Road, Bromley, Kent died in Stoneleigh Cottage, Garpole, nr Leominster  on 28 January 1942 aged 74.  Probate Llandudno 3 April to Basil Stuart Hudson, M.C. Captain H M Army and Catherine Elizabeth Hudson (wife of the said Basil Stuart Hudson M.C.). Effects £2239 16s 11d.  Mary’s daughter Catherine had married Basil in the March Quarter of 1926 in Bromley.

Basil Stuart Hudson M.C. served as an Officer in WW1, his medal card tells that he was a 2nd Lieutenant in the R.F.A. and in addition to the M.C. he was awarded the Victory and British Medals.  He served in France  and applied for his medals in 1923, being sent to James Hudson, Esq., ‘Terracina’ 8 Garden Road, Bromley, Kent.

I don’t seem to have answered by initial question – Why was Wakefield called Wakefield, but I do seem to have found a family with what could turn out to be an interesting story – let me know if you are related.

Sources :- Ancestry, Freebmd,

Why can’t I find him in the 1891 census ?

Well, if you are just starting out on your family search and you are looking for a relative, there is a chance you will look, look again and then think what a stupid hobby and take up topiary – as the hedges will grow faster that your tree is.

I was foolishly going off on a tangent and looking for Queen Victoria in the 1901 census, then thought better of it as she had died in the January, so off to search the 1891.

I had looked for H M Victoria, Queen and Victoria born in 1819 but to no avail, desperation drove me to search for THE in the christian name box, lots of entries and some were very surprising including, The Leadbeater who when you look at the original census form is Thos Leadbeater.

Then I thought I’d try HER and see what that brings up! Well, it brought up 70 hits and the one that made me laugh and feel very sorry for the beginner in family history looking for their relative.  So, I’m looking for HM Queen Victoria among these 70 hits and I find this – Her Vest Black Van. Now, is this a name, no! It is a wonderful example of someone who has looked at a census document and written what they think they see.  One question to ask, and an important question is, does this person have knowledge of British surnames? Another important question is, do they have a knowledge of British places?  In this case I think the former is certainly a NO!  But, they have a knowledge of English words, hence the transcription.  It’s like the old quiz show ‘say what you see’.

Who is Her Vest Black Van, well she turns out to to be a her after all, but a he! He is Herbert Blackburn the 7 month old son of John and Mary Blackburn and living Bolton. He was one of 8 children aged between 20 years old and 7 months.  John  worked as a printer compositor to feed his family and some of his children worked in the cotton mills.

The moral of this story is don’t just search for the obvious.

Another moral is think out of the box.

If all else fails put your relative on the ‘back burner’, he is not going anywhere, and follow another side of the tree.  Then, go back refreshed and full of enthusiasm, open your mind to searching wider i.e. searching by first name and year of birth with either a county of town – it will take you longer but all the spelling variatons turn up.  This would not help in the case of Her Vest Black Van, but you would certainly have had a chuckle along the way.

1911 census – a family history snippet

Charles Waldo Lionel Churchill has been my last entry and while trying to find his parents on the 1911 I came across this gem.

The enumerator who collected Charles Churchill’s sheet was not too pleased due to his crossing out.

Charles and his wife, Emily were aged 69 and 68 respectively but Charles had put them both on the same line, The second line he had put that Emily had a room at Lambeth and he had a room at Westminster.  The enumerator had filled in that both were married and had been for 46 years, they had had 7 children and lost 2.

The third line, normally for a third person stated that on April 2th (yes looks like th) slept at Hackney and had no occupation, but later the enumerator completes an entry for waiter.

The fourth line stated they have one room.

The enumerator also completed the entry for one being from Westminster and the other from Lambeth.  The icing on the cake or the enumerator was fed up, was that he put Emily’s age in the male column.

For the signature Emily signed and where the postal address should have been is Charles’ name with the address of 26 Trelawney Road, Hackney being squashed in below.

Ten years previous (1901) the couple at living on Queen’s Road, Hackney where Charles aged 57 is a Porter Officer.

1891 has the couple still in Hackney but now 76 Richmond Road and Charles is a Refreshment Room Attendent and the couple have one son, Charles aged 24 living with them – he is a Carman.

1881 Charles and his family are living at 100 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark – Charles is a waiter and his children are as follows – Charles 14 a soap packer ; Louise 11 scholar, William 8 scholar; Margaret 6 scholar – still a few children missing but someone else will have to find them.  I just thought you might have been interested in the fact that not every one is perfect and not everyone can fill in forms -nothing changes, does it ? Except now many of the forms are on line.

Source  1911 census: Class: RG14; Piece: 1140

Find My Past ie

Create your Irish family tree with Find My Past.

You can now create your Irish family tree online thanks to the launch of Find My Pasts latest lauch.  So whether you are a beginner or an experienced genealogist their software can store all the names in your tree in one place and you can access this information from any computer.

As I have just said you can create your family tree with Find My Past i.e. but they have also just added to their ever growing cornucopia of information over 4 million, yes 4 million names from the Irish Prison Registers.

Click here to start building your Irish Family Tree

Or click on the logo to visit Find My Past ie

If your family is not from Ireland but the UK or Australia here are a few links for you. Both sites have a vast array of information from census (England and Wales), Religious records, Military, Directories + lots more – take a visit and find out how Find My Past could help you.

Above is a free trial for Find My Past with lots of UK records or click below to start building your UK Find My Past tree

And finally, click on the banner below to start or add to your Australian research.

My day as a ‘Tour Guide’

It seems to have been a busy old week, with going to the KOYLI Museum on Tuesday looking for information on a WW1 soldier, work all day on Wednesday and Thursday, now that was very different but very enjoyable.

A friend of mine has been expanding his business (SeeYourPast) and I was asked if I would be a guide for a lady from Australia who wished to See Her Past.  The lady who I will call B communicated via emails to the SeeYourPast office where she was under the care of James.  At the early stages I was not involved, initially knowing only a name, Annie Eccles and an area – not a lot to go on, really! Without a little more information I could be barking up the wrong tree (sorry!!).But as emails  scurried through the air, we found out a bit more and an email giving a link to Prophet Wroe started the ball rolling.  As an name and an area was not a lot to base a days tour on.

Elephant & Castle © Carol Sklinar 2011

Now I had a bit more information I could look on the census and see where that would lead.  I started with the 1901 census as B had said that her husband family had been in Australia around 1905.  So, 1901 what did you have to tell us ? Well, Annie was there on the census and the connection to Prophet Wroe was loud and clear.  Annie was living in Melbourne House, the Temple based on the design of Melbourne Town Hall and the place where the Messiah could dwell, according to the Christian Isrealites.  There were only 2 people recorded as living in Melbourne House, the Head being Mary J Frazer, a widow aged 70, born in Ireland and classed as a General Servant (Domestic).  Annie was classed as a neice, single and aged 30, again born in ireland and again a General Servant (Domestic).

As I went back to 1891 I found that Mary Frazer had been there as the Head of the House, but there were still only 2 people in a quite large Melbourne House. But Annie in 1891 was described not as a niece but as a Servant.  It seems obvious that Mary was basically responsible for keeping the house clean, tidy and ready for visitors, while she and Annie were supposed to keep to the ‘back stairs’.

Back a further 10 years to 1881 and I was able to find the parents of Annie (B had not been able to find them).  The family consisted of Thomas, a gardener,  aged 45 from Co. Tyrone, his wife Elizabeth aged 49 from Armagh and their children, Thomas, a gardener,  aged 21 and Annie, a scholar, aged 13 both born in Armagh.  There is also a James Eccles, a shoemaker, aged 55 , born in Armagh – all living on Wilson Hill.

I now had the information to set out a days excursion for B and myself.  B new about the Underwood side so I concentrated on the Eccles who stayed behind in England and their extended lines.

Where did we go ?  I had arranged to meet B at Westgate Station and from there go for a coffee when I planned to give her an introduction to the places where we were to visit and who was connected to those places.  This did not really go to plan.  I’d spoken to someone in the The Green Room Cafe, in the Theatre Royal who told me it was open from 8am – brilliant, I thought a place to go for coffee and also include a bit of information about the Theatre.  No, what do they say about well laid plans………..as I walked passed from the car park………it was shut !!  I was not happy and although Wakefield Westgate Station did a very nice cup of coffee, the atmosphere was not the same.

While sat with out coffee I’d shown B some census extracts, Parish Register entries and a family tree I’d compiled for her.  Even after a few minutes we had found that we had so much in common.  I had been a little unsure while I sat with an A4 sheet of paper with her name in big, bold letters, but that all fell away when we started to chat over coffee.

After coffee we started back to the car park and walked  as short way up Westgate where I told her about the Elephant and Castle, The Orangery, The Westgate Run and the cattle market, woolstaplers and the large banks.

First stop was Wilson Hill.  As it happened we parked next to a rhubarb field and it seemed an opportunity to mention The Rhubarb Triangle, B was delighted by the view and the connection to rhubarb as her husbands family had always been rhubarb fans but she had never seen it grown commercially before.  Further up the hill and to the left is Melbourne House, as we know the home of Prophet Wroe, later an old folks home and now a part of a telecommunications company.  We stopped outside and took piccies, walked down to the farm buildings, the granary and other out buildings now private housing and saw 3 of the 4 gatehouses.  Just across the road we paid a flying visit to Carr Gate and the Lawns, then up the road to East Ardsley – Grand View actually.  Although Grand View is no longer there you can see the properties next door and across the road.  B walked up the road and was in awe of Old Hall which dates back to around 1622. The hall is now divided into 3 dwellings.  There were 2 fantastic and very large fire places in the end rooms with a staircase going from one side to the other – linking the two end rooms.  There was also a bedroom, panelled in oak(?) and again a large carved fire place.  I went in years ago and remember the floors upstairs sloped, making walking across the room a strange experience.

While in East Ardsley I took B to see one of the Forcing Sheds and explained the ‘forcing’ process.

St Mary Magdalene, Outwood © Carol Sklinar 2011

Our next stop was St Mary Magdalenes Church, Outwood where Thomas jnr (Annie’s brother) married Ada Hemingway.  The church was open on Thursday as it was Ascension Day and we were able to walk around at out leisure.  I was on the look out for war memorials and found 2 – the memorial to both wars with names only and a private memorial to the right of the door.  Lunch, where to go ?  I suggested The Rhubarb Triangle, keeping up the theme, so we headed there.  While waiting for lunch B and I chatted about our families and then it was time to head off again, this time to Carlton, Rothwell where some of her family lived and more rhubarb fields.  It was here that I confessed to B that I had lied to her during the morning and had a surprise for her but she would have to wait a little.

Carlton village boundary and B © Carol Sklinar 2011

Time was pressing and we headed back through East Ardsley, over the motorway and headed for Wakefield on the ‘old road’ but I turned off towards Brandy Carr and turned into the drive of Melbourne House as I had arranged for B to go inside and see where Annie lived and worked. Even though Melbourne House is a working building and is used every day as a venue for meetings, the building is wonderful.  I had seen pictures of the mahogany and ebony  staircase and clock and read about the building in a book by Kate Taylor and John Goodchild, but the black and white picture did not do the entrance hall and staircase any favours.  I thought the stairs would lead up from the front entrance but I was shocked to see them go at 90º.  If we had been able to use the side entrance, now that would have given me the staircase view I had imagined… never mind! The lady who is responsible for the building came to meet us and we told her of Annie and how she was entered in the census of 1891 and 1901 and of Mrs Mary Frazer.  We were taken from room to room, up the stairs and passed the clock that is an integral part of the stairs and into more rooms.  Back down the stairs we then ventured into the cellar, this would have been very familiar to Mary and Annie.  There was a corridor with two rooms remaining, both with vaulted ceilings and mullioned windows, now minus glass, looking onto the hall.  One of the rooms still had a large stone slab, which would at one time have kept all the fresh food cool.  Back upstairs we went into the visitors room and had a coffee –  a wonderful room to the left of the front entrance.  Time was now getting on so we said our thanks and goodbyes and after a few photo’s outside the hall we set off to Wakefield and park the car again as B had said she would like to walk up Westgate and see the buildings I’d told her about earlier in the day.

Melbourne House © Carol Sklinar 2011

It was now nearly time to say goodbye.  But I had to make a phone call to James of SeeYourPast as B wanted to thank him for all the help and pointers he had given her over the past few months.  Her train was by now pulling into the station, so I said goodbye and wished her a fantastic trip across Europe and said that I would post her all the hard copies of the information.

All in all – Hot and sunny day + good company = very good day.

I did leave B with one question to solve – Absalom and Annie crossed to Australia in 1905 and crossing with them was a child aged 1 years called Rachael .  B had believed her to be the daughter of Absalom and his first wife, but Absalom and Annie had married in the September ¼ of 1904 and arrived in Australia in on 10th April 1905 after a 90 day voyage.  So, just who did Rachael belong to?

A very big thank you to the staff of Melbourne House – THANK YOU !

For those of you who may link to Annie Eccles and her husband Absalom Underwood here are a few local names that connect :-  Bedford ; Cobb ; Hemingway ; Wood and Frost.

To become a guide for SeeYourPast or make enquiries about a guided tour click here

Riach family in Yorkshire

It is another rainy Bank Holiday so have changed my plans.  I was going to go get some chuck food then do some weeding……NO, its chucking it down and not with hens.  So instead have decided to see how Riach people in the Brighouse area link in with mine from good old Morayshire.

A few minutes after my search began I came across a few people researching the same line and started to verify their work by looking at census returns, BMD entries etc.  Well, the good news is, but some would say bad news, is that yes I am related to the Brighouse Riach’s.

A couple of cuppa’s and a very large bowl of strawberries and creme fraiche later I have the family linked in to mine up to and around the second world war.

One of the men   born around 1923 triggered the old brain cells and got me thinking.  Not a pretty site I might add!  Years ago I bought a book giving the names of men and women from the Spenborough area who died in WW2 and who served in that war.  There were a few Riach names and they will need further work.

Yorkshire Trench, Boezinge. © C Sklinar 2009

There is however, a James Riach who lived in Brighouse.  So, who was James and how does he link into my tree ?  James is one of my 6th cousins.  He was born in May of 1871 in Bellie, Morayshire, the son of John Riach (1847) and Susan Goulder (1850).  John was a Police Constable in the 1881 census and by looking at the places his children were born, he seems to have come south of the border between May of 1871 and 1873 when he and his wife are having children in Fewston.  Susan according to the 1911 census wrote she had been married 41 years, given birth to 15 children and 11 of which were alive in 1911.  James had died a few years earlier so the entry had been crossed out by the enumerator.  Susan had answered the questions asked as there was no note saying that a widow/widower had no need to answer that section.  It is good to see those questions answered from a family history point of view.

Back to James, the 1911 census, the good old 1911 census has transcribed his place of birth as Forhibers, but Fochabers can be made out on the original document – it makes you wonder where the census was transcribed.  Anyway, James married Ada Louisa MacAulay in the Spring of 1894 in the Halifax Registration District.

James and Ada went on to have 3 children, Blanche, James and John.  Ada married William Sutcliffe ; James jnr married Elsie A Norcliffe and John married Doris Jackson and went to Australia after 1939.

On 24 July  1912 James signed papers to put him on the Special Reservists list for the Army.  He was found to be 5′  5″ tall with a 34 ” chest with a 2″ range of expansion. His physical development was ‘good’ and so was his vision He  gave his trade as that of Mechanic, employed by J Sharp and living at 35 Birkby St, Wilson Road, Wyke. He declared his age as 34 years.  He was given the no. 1442 and served as a Private in the West Riding Regt., Pioneer Corps being struck through and he signed his name in a good clear hand.  James on one of the forms gave details of his wife and children, his parents and siblings, including addresses for them all – what a fantastic piece of information.

James embarked from Folkestone on the SS Invicta on 14 April 1915.  By 10 July of the same he he was appointed unpaid L/Cpl and just over a month later on 15 August 1915 he was Killed In Action.

Colne Valley CWGC cemetery, Belgium from CWGC site

On the 14th of January 1916 the War Office, st James’s Park sent a memo to the Officer in charge of the Territorial Force Records, York ref: E/128920/1 (Accounts 4) requesting that the personal property in their possession belonging to No. 1442, Lance Corporal James Riach 1/4 Battalion West Riding Regiment be despatched to Mrs Ada Louisa Riach, 25 Birkly Street, Wilson Road, Wyke, Bradford.  The memo also requested that any medals in their possession now or at a later date also be despatched to Mrs Riach.

Ada L Riach was sent on 2 July 1919 a form requesting she complete and return so that the ‘Death Penny’ could be forward to her. Ada on September 25th 1919 signed a receipt for a medal, on  January 24th 1921 she signed another  receipt for medal awarded to her late husband. Ada was also eligible for a 21/- a week pension for herself and her two children with effect from 28 February 1916.

James served 3 years 52 days in the army and was awarded the 1914 – 1915 Star, The British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

L. Cpl 1442, Riach J, of the West Riding Regiment rests in peace with 47 Officers and Men in  Colne Valley Cemetery – 30 of those men are from the West Riding Regiment.

Colne Valley Cemetery is at Beozinge, just north of Ieper on the N369 towards Diksmuide.  For most of WW1 Beozinge faced the German front line.  The cemetery was begun in July/August of 1915 and was in use until around February of the following year.

Note:- Ada remained in the Bradford area and died in the June Qtr of 1958 aged 86.