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Category Archives: Gas stoker

52 Ancestors George James Archer Walker

George James Archer Walker was my GGreat Grandfather he was born in Welney Cambridgeshire the son of a carpenter James Walker and his wife Sarah Earl.

Birth certificate George James Archer Walker

Birth certificate George James Archer Walker

He moved to West Yorkshire presumably for work, he married a Doncaster woman, Elizabeth Gillett and had a family with her, his sons, grandson and great grandson all worked in the gas industry which is why I like to have a gas cooker! He was a gas stoker which meant that he stoked the fire at the gas works to make the gas.

Gas stoker

Gas stoker

Known as James on all the censuses, his mother has died before the 1861 census and he is living with his sisters Eleanor, a dressmaker  and Rosamond and Rachel who are both still at school (like him). Almost all the Walker children have several names and are usually known by the second one:

Harriet Eleanor Earl

Harriet Rachel

Mary Ann Rosamond

Brother Francis Earl and sisters Rebecca and Augusta Sarah die as children.

The names Rosamond and Augusta recur in this branch of the tree, but I don’t know where they come from.

In 1871 James is living with Eleanor and her husband Beales Lee a shoemaker. For some reason this makes me think of Great Expectations, I hope Eleanor was kinder to James than Pip’s sister was! James is 16 by this stage but no occupation is given, I think this is probably an oversight.

By 1881 James is married with three children and living in Barnsley, his wife is Elizabeth Gillett, four years his senior and from Doncaster. He is now working as a gas stoker.

George James Archer Walker Elizabeth Gillott marriage certificate

1891 shows him in the same occupation but now with six children. James, my Great Grandfather who is already working, Alfred, Herbert, Elizabeth, Edith and Harriett.

By 1901 his son James (my Great Grandfather Walker) has left home and young Elizabeth has died, Alfred is also a gas stoker and Edith an apprentice dressmaker, the family are now living in Wheatley near Doncaster.

The 1911 census shows that James and Elizabeth had had eight children in total and that only six are still living, (they must have had a child who was born and died between censuses). Their youngest daughter Harriett had an early death from a flu epidemic in her early twenties.

James died in North Bierley in 1914 aged 60.

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