Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thomas Walker – Wheelwright, Carpenter and father to a dynasty

I have been mistaken for some time about this ancestor. For several years I have thought that he died in 1846 before any place of birth could be found in a census. His census from Emneth Norfolk in 1841 shows him to be born out of county, I presumed this meant just over the border in Cambridgeshire. I also had a death for him in Kings Lynn district, wrongly copied from other trees as it seemed feasible there was no sign of him as far as I was concerned in the 1851 census so I presumed he was dead.


Then I found a couple of DNA matches that also matched with someone I had proved to be on the Walker branch. I found that the match’s ancestor’s sibling was born in Emneth where the Walker family lived. However this person descended from an Edward Hoy and Elizabeth Fish who married in Lincolnshire, both surnames were unfamiliar and I had no connection with Lincolnshire that I was aware of. The only missing surname on this branch was Thomas’s first wife Rebecca (my 4 x Great Grandmother who died pre census, I had never been able to find a marriage of a Thomas Walker to a Rebecca around Emneth.

So I fell on the genealogy community to seek the marriage and soon got an answer, the marriage of a Thomas Walker to Rebecca Fish in Crowland Lincolnshire, this was interesting after all there aren’t many Fish in the surname sea!

There was a census return that proved the Lincolnshire connection, it turned out that Thomas Walker hadn’t died in 1846, in fact he had fathered two children after that and was not only on the 1851 census but the 1861 census as well, it seems he died in 1869 aged 79 and nine years after the death of his son, my direct ancestor George James Archer Walker.

I did know however that Thomas had married in 1840 a widow called Elizabeth Harrison, she and her children and some of Thomas’s were all living together in 1841. On looking at this again I wondered if Sarah and John born 1830 and 1835 were from another wife in between Rebecca and Elizabeth.


The newly discovered 1851 census finds Thomas with Elizabeth, son Thomas, daughter Sarah, son John, Mary Harrison Elizabeth’s daughter and the two new offspring William Walker and Elizabeth. So Thomas is father to a two year old at the age of 60!

Thomas Walker 1851

Looking through the baptism records of possible children it shows that Sarah was a child of Thomas and Rebecca (Fish), but that John was a John Thornton Walker son of Thomas Walker + Ann. Father a Carpenter.

John Thornton Walker and Mary Ann Walker 1835

Interestingly there is also an entry for Mary Ann, baptised aged around 11 years.

The notes seems to say, See Nov 3 (which is the baptism of John to Thomas + Ann)
and that Mary Ann is aged about eleven years, then under Rebecca’s name “a former wife now deceased”. It looks like they may have overlooked baptising Mary Ann as a baby.

So did Thomas marry an Ann? Well I haven’t found a marriage but their is a burial in Emneth, 19 Dec 1837, of a William Thornton Walker, infant, possibly another son to Thomas and Ann. Maybe the couple never married and they marked this fact by giving the children Ann’s real surname as a middle name. It was more usual for unmarried couples to give the child the father’s surname as a middle name as a clue to paternity. Here though I suspect Thomas and Ann were married in all but record, or it may be just that they married in another parish and I haven’t found the record yet.

So how many children did Thomas have and over what time period?

Well, there may be some missing but the first was in Crowland shortly after the marriage to Rebecca Fish, one baptism to Thomas and Rebecca,

Skeziah Walker 20 August 1812,

Followed by:

George Walker born 1814–1885

James Walker (my direct ancestor) 1817–1860, died nine years before his father

Rebecca Walker Ward 1820–1881

Thomas Walker 1823–
Mary Ann Walker 1824–

Sarah Walker 1831–

Then his marriage (or not) to Ann

John Thornton Walker 1835–1894

William Thornton Walker died –1837


From his marriage to Elizabeth Harrison

William born 1842

Elizabeth born 1849

So 37 years between oldest and youngest and eleven children in all, which I suppose isn’t too bad for those days.

But what else do I now know of Thomas? Well according to the 1851 census and 1861 census he was born in Pinchbeck Lincolnshire, but his baptism is in fact 14th November 1790 to Thomas and Elizabeth Walker.

1790s baptism

At his marriage in 1811 to Rebecca Fish at Crowland Abbey he is described as a sojourner. There are a lot of sojourners marrying at Crowland, it seems to mean “from another parish” meaning they couldn’t claim poor relief from the parish and could be sent back to where they came from!

The 1841 census shows Thomas with third wife Elizabeth living in Emneth, his occupation is given as wheelwright. In 1851 Thomas describes himself as a carpenter, not sure if he had diversified or acquired new skills but by 1861 now aged 71 he is a master carpenter. This could be either self promotion or career progression, but it doesn’t say former master carpenter, so I expect he just kept on working, after all his twelve year old daughter was still at school. It rather reminds me of his Great Grandson and my Great Grandfather James Walker.

Was his career progression all successful? Was a movement from wheelwright/ to carpenter a move forward or a move back, perhaps someone can enlighten me? Whatever the answer it was not all plain sailing for Thomas. The London Gazette 1933 shows among the

insolvent debtors

this record

Thomas Walker insolvent

So in 1833 Thomas was an insolvent debtor, this is the year that his first wife Rebecca died, could he have been unable to work because he was caring for her and her children? It makes it very understandable that he quickly remarried after the deaths of his wives with a large family to care for.

I like to think that Thomas looked after his wives and their families but it is sad that some of his grandchildren ended up in the workhouse in London or grandson William Disson who was a Barnado’s child who was shipped to Canada as a British Home Child.

Now to look at his ancestors…






Andrew Hyslop – where did you come from, where did you go?

I am going to explain this as clearly as I can, but it won’t be easy and I fear it won’t be interesting, but at least I will have the mystery written down, if only for myself to return to at some future date.

So my GGG Grandfather is Andrew Hyslop. I know this because my Great Great Grandmother Mary Hyslop’s death certificate shows her parents to be Andrew Hyslop and Flora Swan.

Andrew can be found in the 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses with Flora and some of his family:

In 1851 he is living in Springholm with wife and 8 day old baby Mary, well he would be but he appears to be absent, poor Flora.

Andrew Hyslop 1851.jpg

In 1861 he is living in Tynwald with Flora, Mary, son James and daughters Flora and Henrietta. He is listed as a ploughman, Mary was born in Urr, James in Irongray and Flora and Henrietta in Torthorwald.

1861 Andrew Hyslop

In 1871 Andrew is living in Lauder Hook Cottage in Dryfesdale with Flora, daughter Jessie and Granddaughter Mary Stevenson my Great Grandmother. Andrew’s occupation is now farm servant.

Andrew Hyslop 1871

There is one more record of Andrew that I am sure of, sadly it is a year later and is his wife Flora’s death certificate. Andrew’s occupation is again given as ploughman and he is witness to the death (possibly his writing on the record).

Flora Swan Hyslop death

After that Andrew disappears, I can find no death for him that I am absolutely sure of, which means I can’t find his parents.

For some time I was misled by other trees that had him remarrying a Mary Carson which made his mother a Margaret Shaw, but the marriage record shows Mary Carson to marry a bachelor not a widow and Margaret Shaw’s son Andrew is on another 1871 census at the same time Andrew can be found living with Flora. So my Andrew did not remarry Mary Carson.

This may be Andrew in 1881. He has lost three to four years in age with a birth date of 1829, but the occupation of farm servant seems correct and he is described as a widower.

Andrew Hyslop at Penlaw

The only possible entry for 1891 is in Dalbeattie and has Andrew born in 1817, so losing eight years from the earlier censuses and a seemingly impossible 12 years from the 1881 census, but perhaps his age was just guessed? His occupation is described as general labourer and again he is a widower.

It seems unlikely to be him but this is the only one that ties with a more likely death for our Andrew, rather frustratingly it gives neither widow nor parents’ name. The death certificate is witnessed by a neighbour, it is clearly the same person as in 1891 and occupation is described as agricultural labourer, he has lost a year or two in age!


If this is Andrew, it is sad that he seemingly dies alone after having at least five children. However, my ancestor Mary died years earlier, daughters Jessie and Henrietta went to Canada and the States, daughter Flora however was nearby, perhaps they fell out! Son James also disappears from records.

So we have a possible death for Andrew but where did he come from? Without the usual help you get from the death records in Scotland and a marriage that does not include parents’ names it is hard to say. The most likely parents through a process of elimination are James Hyslop and Jane/Jean Dickson which makes Andrew, Andrew Blyth Hyslop. I can find no records of Andrew Blyth Hyslop apart from his baptism.

If this is the case then going back a further generation Jane/Jean’s parents are John Dickson and Margaret McNaught, this can be seen from Jane/Jean’s death certificate. The document also shows that her husband predeceased her.

The McNaught connection is particularly interesting to me because I am descended from McNaughts through another branch. Andrew Hyslop’s daughter Mary married William Gibson Stevenson (Red Rob) whose mother was a Jean McNaught. Were Mary and William distant cousins? It is possible, I certainly have McNaught in my DNA – maybe a double dose. Unfortunately Margaret McNaught was born before any easily obtainable records so I am unable to find out.

Jane Dickson death 1865 (2)

So if anyone knows more about Andrew Blyth Hyslop, is he my ancestor? I would love to know, I am sure the answer is out there somewhere.


Tags: , , , ,

Covenanting ancestor discovered

I have understood for a while that I have some sort of family connection to William Swan of Braehead, Kirkmahoe a “famous” covenantor. I mentioned this in my blog post about another William Swan my 4 x Great Grandfather, however I wasn’t sure what the connection was.

Today I found the obituary of GGGG Grandfather William’s son, John brother to my GGG Grandmother Flora Swan and according to the obituary Great Grandson of William of Braehead.

But is this right? I had his Gt Grandparents as James Swan and Janet Swan, could the newspaper have missed a generation out?

It does seem that the newspaper entry was incorrect. Flora and John Swan’s father was William Swan married to Mary Beck, their Swan Grandfather was James Swan married to Florence Wilson, their Great Grandparents were James Swan and Janet Swan (Swan marrying a Swan), but Janet Swan’s father on her marriage records is a William Swan, dates would make this fit in with William Swan of covenanting fame, so maybe the newspaper just missed out a Great!




Leave a comment

Posted by on September 15, 2016 in Uncategorized


Which Elizabeth Halden?

I have drifted from writing about my direct ancestors for this blog post. It serves merely to alert any Halden researchers worldwide (and they are worldwide) that two Elizabeth Haldens have become, understandably, confused with each other.

I have always known via my Grandmother that her Grandmother Rachel Halden had two sisters and one brother. She also told me that Rachel, her siblings and parents had emigrated to the USA. The brother had run away, never to be seen again but the oldest sister had married and had children and the second may have done.

Through census research I found the family in 1841, minus the brother and with the addition of another sister. So there are Elizabeth, Mary (guess Elizabeth is the elder as ages rounded for census) Jemima (who sadly died in 1845) and Rachel.


The next census finds the family in the USA, Edward has died, brother Edward has joined them but eldest sister Elizabeth is not with the family.

Screenshot 2016-05-14 18.37.07

I thought it was likely that Elizabeth had married by 1850 and that was the reason she was no longer living with the family. I looked for marriages in the USA and even for English Elizabeths living nearby, but to no avail.

It did occur to me that Elizabeth may have married in England before leaving for the USA or maybe my Grandmother was wrong and she never left England at all.

There were two possible marriages Elizabeth Halden to Joseph Briscoe  on 18 Apr 1844 at Saint Chad, Stafford and Elizabeth Holden/Halden to Thomas Hiden 21 Jul 1844  Rugeley, Staffordshire.

I looked at the original marriage record for the Halden/Briscoe marriage and found this to be the daughter of Joseph Halden, Tailor. Interestingly both Elizabeth’s and Joseph’s names were originally recorded as Hawthorn and then changed to Halden.

Joseph is in fact cousin to Edward Halden, the father of the family who went to America and my GGG Grandfather. Joseph’s father William and Edward’s father Roger were brothers, their Grandparents in common were Thomas Halden and Dorothy.

Screenshot 2016-05-19 09.35.32

So eventually I looked at the record for Elizabeth Holden and Thomas Briscoe which I had dismissed earlier for some reason. It shows this Elizabeth to be daughter to Edward and his occupation is given as schoolmaster and hers as governess, a seemingly unlikely profession for someone marrying a coal miner.

Halden Hiden marriage.png

If further proof were needed that this is my GG Grandmother’s sister, she named her daughters Elizabeth, Jemima and Rachel like herself and two of her sisters.

So how did people get confused? Well currently there seem to be no baptism records for either Elizabeth. Elizabeth daughter of Joseph is not living at home in 1841 and there are a couple of possible female servants that may be her but the only definite Elizabeth Halden is daughter of Edward. Then when it comes to marriages there is only one Elizabeth Halden marriage, the Joseph Briscoe one, the other is mistranscribed (quite reasonably) as Holden.

By 1851 both Elizabeths are married, Elizabeth Briscoe is well reported appearing in censuses up until 1901 and not dying until 1907, she spent her latter years living with her daughter Mary Elizabeth who married a Samuel Walker. However Elizabeth Hiden and family disappear from the censuses, so what became of them?

Something for another blog.








Tags: , , , , , , , ,

52 ancestors – James Walker “owd Jim”

James Walker my mother’s Grandad Jim was born in 1877 in Barnsley, West Yorkshire, his parents were Elizabeth Gillett a Yorkshire lass and the rather grandly named George James Archer Walker who was born in Welney, Cambridgeshire. Grandad Jim had said that his ancestors were farmers in Huntingdonshire and research has proved him right, it seems that his father came to Yorkshire to work on the railway.

Although Jim was born in Barnsley his sister Elizabeth, born a year later, was born back in Welney, maybe on a holiday or perhaps a failed attempt to return to Cambridgeshire, whate13090616_10153893652199279_352476208_over the reason, Jim’s other siblings brothers Alfred and Herbert and sisters, Emily, Harriet and Edith were all born in Yorkshire.

The first job that he had that we have a record of is listed on the 1891 census as a Down Quilt Weaver, I don’t think he ever mentioned this in later years, he lived and breathed (not too much we hope) gas.

By the 1901 census Jim is newly married, living in Featherstone, Yorkshire and working as a gas stoker. I think he was moved to Featherstone by the gas board.

JamesHannahJaneHowever, he was promoted and moved again with Jane and baby daughter Hannah to Clowne, Derbyshire where he spent the rest of his days.

The 1911 census finds them at 7 Station Road, Clowne with the addition of James born 1904 to the family. Jim’s occupation is Colliery Gas Manager.

I am now going to hand over the blog to my mother who has written down her memories of her Grandfather, her words in blue, I have added notes in red.

My memories and some history of my grandfather. He was a father to me from my being five years old which makes him rather special in my eyes.

Most of his life was spent in Clowne (Derbyshire) but still maintained that ‘aura’ of a Yorkshire lad – which indeed he was!

Working in the gas trade, he took a promotion to work and move to Clowne. Gas was being fitted nationally and expanding. Jim worked placing pipes all over the village. He also was a “jack of all gas trades” in this small outfit – stoker, fitter, collector etc. He had been given a house with the job. It was very near the mine and the gas works. His wife Jane hated it at first and longed for Yorkshire. They had a daughter Hannah and later two sons.

This house was 7 Station Road as mentioned above. The sons were James and Lesley, James died of flu in 1912, Lesley was born the day after James’ death.

Photo 05-11-2014 18 35 51His wife Jane discovered that a detached four bedroom house belonging to the gas company was vacant and badgered Jim to ask for it. He was succesful. “71” became a very happy home until the end of the 1940s.

Jim became known locally as “owd Jim” as the years progressed and was very popular.

I remember him working on Sundays for extra money – this was stoking – in other words making gas. My sister and I often took him a pint of beer to refresh him.

I would be six or seven years old and was fascinated to see the red hot coals being dragged from the very long retorts on to the ground with a special long pole, they were immediately drenched in cold water and the result was ‘coke’ which was used in industry and some heating processes. My Grandad was the one using the long rakes or poles in this furnace.

The other work I remember him doing and I watched some times was when the coal for the furnaces came in wagons, from the station nearby. There was a small private link railway line from there to the works. There had to be people to move the lines on to the private track, Jim was one of them. (This was in the years after the mine was closed; originally the mine itself would be providing coal to make the gas.)

Mum also told me that she on several occasions would be walking along the street and would see her Grandad’s head pop out from a hole in the road where he was fixing a pipe.

He was a member of the Constitution Club to which he dressed in his suit and tie to look smart, perhaps once or twice a week. He did not go to the local pubs at all. His friends there were his manager from work – Arthur Seston (Jeanne Smith’s Dad) and Dr Knowles. This was where he took his brothers-in-law when they visited – they were Caleb Butterfield (Geoff Green’s Grandad) and Fred Spivey (Joyce’s Grandad) from Pontefract and Heckmondwike, Yorkshire. They came back slightly tipsy and very amusing. Caleb was a wit and a comic, Fred a little slow getting the jokes (more hilarity!)

Grandad gave my mother the complete run of the house both financially and housekeeper, after my Grandma died.

He actually used to give her his wages and just keep a bit of spending money for himself.

He suggested one day that she sent me for Elocution lessons, what his idea was – we did not know – but I went and it – drama – became a big slice of my life, (Molly Francis, teacher of Speech and Drama).

Mum had had Speech and Drama lessons in Clowne but when war started her teacher joined the forces and the classes finished. “owd Jim” kept reading out the advert in the local paper, “Molly Francis, teacher of Speech and Drama” until eventually Hannah said “do you want our Mollie to go for lessons? He said “yes” and that was that.

I had a few boyfriends who were allowed to visit. If however they touched my hand at all a cough was heard from “owd Jim”.

As a very young girl he’d give me some pennies and always told me to get “acid drops” a tease because he knew I hated them!

It was actually “get me a ha’porth of acid drops”. He also used to ask Mum how July Palmer was, he knew perfectly well that her name was June.

When Spring showed its head he often told my mother that “Stella has got her anniversary dress” – a hint that she should get hers and mine. (Stella was a glamorous, smart lady at our church!) He always hinted, never was dogmatic.

This was for the church and Sunday School anniversary when everyone had new outfits specially for the occasion.

He worked until 68 or 69 and had a few years retirement. He did see me in a play in rep in Wellington – so glad he did. 

After he had retired, occasionally gasworks employees would knock on the door to ask about the location of gas pipes in Clowne. Jim had a map of them in his head.

A true and gentle – man.

And a final added note…

He only put his teeth in when he wore his jacket and tie!

And a couple of other things, Jim could tinker out a tune on the piano by ear, (his sister Harriet could play well).

He would not be drawn into discussions on politics, he said “all I will say is we all have to Labour”. When Mum asked him what Conservative meant he said “leave it alone”. Is that what Laissez Faire means? He was pretty shrewd I think.

Photo 05-11-2014 18 39 26

He always carried things behind himself rather than in front.















Tags: , , , , , , , ,

52 ancestors – John Collier, benefactor of Bescote

St Lawrence church gnossall

John Collier is my 7 x Great Grandfather, all that I know about him can be gleaned from his will which I have done my best to transcribe below.

We learn that he had seven children, each of them received 20 shillings (a pound) in his will as well as anything stated below. So his offspring were:

Ann Scott I think she was married to a Richard Scott.

John Collier

William Collier, he was given £10 for funeral expenses.

Thomas Collier

Joseph Collier

Mary Podmore my 6 x Great Grandmother, she was married to John Podmore.

Eleaner Collier, who appeared to be the favourite and inherited £100, a bed and a chest of linens, maybe she looked after him after his wife died.

He also gave twenty shillings to Mary Collier of Woodford his daughter in law, I don’t know which son she was married to, maybe she was a widow of an unnamed son.

He gave £10 a year to the poor of the parish to be given at Christmas Day by the church wardens. I hope it was used wisely.


John Collier 1704 top


John Collier 1704 bottom

The transcription

In the name of God Amen I John Collier of Bescot in the County of Stafford yeoman being sick and weak in body but of sound and perfect memory thanks be to God for it do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following (Viz) first I commend my soul to God that gave it hoping for salvation through the merits of Christ my savor and my body to the earth to be decently buryeed at the discretion of my executor herein after named and as for all the worldly estate it hath pleased God to bless me with after my funeral expenses and just debts are paid and discharged I give and bequeath in manner and forme following
I give and bequeath to my Daughter Elenar one hundred pound and one chest of linnens and one bed. Item I give to the poor of the parish of Gnossall ten pounds to be laid out upon security by the parish church wardens
and overseers of the parish aforesaid at my decease & to their successors for ever
and it is my will that the use of the said ten pounds shall be given
and distributed to the poor by the churchwardens and overseers of the aforesaid
parish yearly and every year upon the Nativity of our savior Commonly called
Christmas Day Item I give unto my son William Collier ten pounds
Towards his charge in expenses for my funeral. Item I give and bequeath
Unto every one of my children that is to say Ann Scott John Collier William Collier Thomas Collier Joseph Collier Mary Podmore Eleaner Collier and my daughter in law Mary Collier of woodford the sum of twenty shillings
a piece and I do nominate and appoint my son William Collier
the executor of this my last will and testament and do hereby revoke
all former wills by me heretofor made. In witness whereof I have
hereunto put my hand and sealed this fourth day of March in the second
year of the Reign of our sovereign Lady Queen Ann over England
the Queen and in the Yeare of our Lord God 1703/4

The mark of John Collier

1 Comment

Posted by on October 24, 2015 in Bescote, Collier family, Gnossall, Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

52 ancestors – John Podmore of Coten End

John Podmore of Coten End was born in 1665 he was my 6 and 7 x Great Grandfather, son of Humphry Podmore.

It seems from his will that he was a farmer and that he had acquired a little gold and silver, plus goods and animals, a step up from his father Humphry.

Transcribed as best I can, this is the most informative section of his will.

And as for my Estate I doe ordere give and bequeath and dispose The same in mannor and forme following First I give and Bequeath to my son John Podmore my best sute of Close Item I give and bequeath to my Daughter Mary Podmore The Sum of twenty pounds and my Gold Ring Item I give to my Daughter Elizabeth Podmore The Sum of twenty Pounds and some Old Silver That I have by me Item I give and bequeath To my Son Joseph Podmore my Lands goods cattles and Chattells ????????moveable quick and Dead.

John Podmore marred a Mary Collier at Gnossall in 1691, it would have been at St Lawrence Church, she may be sister to the William Collier who witnessed Humphry Podmore’s will (she has a brother named William but her father is John). The Colliers and the Podmores seem to have been fairly prominent in the area at the time.

John and Mary had four children John, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, Joseph is my direct ancestor.

St Lawrence Church, Gnossall

St Lawrence Church, Gnossall, Staffs, many of the Podmore family buried here.

1 Comment

Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Uncategorized