Monday, 21 September 2015


Today commemorates the birth of my paternal G-G-Aunt, Elizabeth MANSELL who was born in Ketley Shropshire on 17th September 1837. Elizabeth was the second of the nine children born to my G-G grandparents William and Eliza (ARCHER) MANSELL

At the age of 20 Elizabeth married William CHALLINOR a puddler in the iron works in Ketley. Both made their mark & were married after Banns at the parish church in Wellington.

Over the next dozen years they had 6 children: Henry (1859), Mary (1861), William (1863), Thomas (1865), James (1867) and Anne (1869). All the sons followed their father into the iron works while Mary became a dressmaker and Anne married.  

Elizabeth’s husband William died in Ketley in July 1876. By the time the 1891 census was taken Elizabeth had moved north to Stockton-on-Tees and was living with son William, now 28 and daughter 21 year old Ann. Elizabeth also had a boarder, Shropshire born William Moore, who married daughter Ann later in 1891.They lived in Thorpe Street; a popular address for a number of Mansell families who had all made the move at various times between the 1861 and 1881 census. . I’m keen to see if I can determine who was the Mansell trail blazer in the shift from Shropshire to County Durham.

Elizabeth died in Stockton on 18/8/1899 – possibly at 10 Byron Street

Saturday, 12 September 2015


My maternal Great-Great Aunt Charlotte was born in Bride Street Islington on this day in 1868. The eighth of 11 children of William and Sarah GALE, Charlotte lived to the great age of 83 and on the way she outlived two husbands with whom she had 10 children.

 Many thanks for the photographs and much of this information goes to a distant cousin, Mark, who is a direct descendant of Charlotte.

When Charlotte was born in the spring of 1868 her father William was working as a labourer after having been in the merchant navy for the previous two decades. While Charlotte was not born into poverty, the Gale household would have struggled to make ends meet on William’s wages and I have written in more detail on this household in an earlier post.

Charlotte’s first husband was Harry ZIEBARTH, a German born Cooper nearly 10 years her senior. How they met is something we will probably never know for sure but there may be a clue in the fact that Charlotte’s mother Sarah BALDOCK came from a family of brewers. Charlotte and Harry married on 14th July 1889 at St John the Baptist in Hoxton; the same church where her parents wed.

Together Charlotte and Harry had two sons and two daughters; William Henry (also known as Harry) in 1890, Charles in 1892, Francis Hilda Maud in 1894 and finally May Victoria (Mavis) in 1897. Sadly Francis only survived her first year before dying in 1895. Tragically May never knew her father as she was born only four months after the death of Harry.

Charlotte was widowed for three years before she married her second husband, Edward WARNER with whom she had five more children; Edward (1901), Arthur (1903), Horace (1906), Frederick (1908) and Doris Lily (1910).
Edward, Charlotte and Doris WARNER 1914

Married in Hackney on 4th June 1900, Charlotte and Edward had 34 years of marriage before Charlotte was again widowed.

Charlotte passed away in December 1951.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Happy Anniversary to my grandparents, Jessie and Percy. I have mentioned before about the fact that they married twice, in 1916 and then again in 1918 and today marks the anniversary of their first (secret) wedding held at the Anglican St Marylebone Church in London.

There is not much to say about James. He was the youngest of 9 children of William BALDOCK and Charlotte PATTMAN and was born in Islington in 1845. His elder sister Sarah Ann was my maternal G-G-Grandmother. 

Tuesday, 8 September 2015


David Small was born on September 8, 1827, in Forgandenny, Perthshire.  He was the second of the 11 children born to and David Small and Margaret Niven.

It appears that initially David followed in his fathers footsteps and worked as an agricultural labourer as on the 1851 census he is one of six farm workers at Balmanno Bothy. By his marriage four years later however, he is a railway guard. Interestingly, one of the other labourers at the Bothy, James McFarlane, has also joined the railways by 1861. For the next 10 years at least, David works on the railways in Dundee.

It is most likely that David worked for the Edinburgh & Northern Railway Company as this ran from Buntisland (where David was living at the time of his marriage) through branch lines to Dundee and Perth. Established in 1845 this Company became part of the North British railway in 1862.

David married Jane Whittet at the Bridge of Earn near Dron on the 26th December 1856. Jane was the eldest of 6 children of shoemaker, Charles Whittet who came from quite an interesting family. The surname is not particularly common & is concentrated around Dundee and Perth and the family were very active in the formation of the early Church of Scotland.

David and Jane lived for most of their married life in Dundee. They raised two sons and two daughters; first at 34 William Street and then after David left the railway they moved to 11 Baffin Street. David died of cancer here on 8th December 1892.


Another birthday today is that of Mary Brown who was born in Stewarton Ayrshire on this day in 1818. Mary was the fourth of 8 children of Mathew Brown, a mason and his wife Mary King. On December 3 1836 Mary married Stewart Smith who was a local stone cutter. They had eight children in 19 years, their eldest being my G-G-G-Grandmother Janet Cochrane Smith.


Today is also the wedding anniversary of my Dad’s eldest sister Margaret (Madge) and Horace Johnson who married in Stockton on Tees in 1928

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


Today commemorates the birth of my maternal grandfather, John Ronald MACKENZIE. Born in Fodderty Scotland on 1st September 1859 he was the third of five children of Ronald MACKENZIE and Janet (Jesse) INNES. When I told John’s story earlier (14th February) I mentioned that I was waiting for a copy of his Will and as I have now received this I’ll share what I have found here.

When John died in hospital on 14th February 1945 his Will was almost exactly 10 years old. This had been drawn up on 19th February 1935; several years after the death of his second wife Florence in 1931 and when all 5 of his children were still alive. Interestingly there was only one beneficiary of his estate.

At some time during the decade before his death John moved from his home in Welling to the Petts Wood home of his married daughter Mabel Tardiff and it is this daughter who inherited everything.

By 1945 Mabel had been married to solicitor Frederick Graham Charles Tardif for 20 years and had several children. Mabel’s younger sister Irene had been married for over 10 years and lived not far away in Welling with her husband Reginald Short. Of the three children of John’s first marriage, the two eldest were William and Ronald and I know they had been estranged from their father for many years. The youngest from this first family was my grandmother Jessie who was also well settled with her own family at the time.

So why was Mabel the sole beneficiary? Possibly simply because she had provided her father with a home in the years before he died. It may be that he had provided his other children with financial bequests during his life. It may be they benefitted when he sold his home and moved in with Mabel. We may never know.

Here is a copy of the Will –

The gross value of John’s estate was £107-14-9 which converts to about AU$8500 today.