Thursday, 13 January 2022

Michael Kritzer and Maria Agatha Hall

Interior of the Catholic parish church of St. Johann, Donaueschingen, Baden, Germany. 
H.Helmlechner, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Kritzer (b. 28 Sep 1805), son of Sebastian Kritzer and Rosina Drescher, married Maria Agatha Hall (b. 29 Mar 1822), daughter of Johann Hall and Brigitta Engesser, at St. Johann, Donaueschingen, on 26 Apr 1841.

Michael and Agatha (as she appears to have been known) had five children, all also baptised at Donaueschingen's Catholic church of St. Johann.
  1. Rosina Kritzer b. 12 Mar 1842, bap. 14 Apr 1842
  2. Wilhelm Kritzer b. 10 Jan 1844, bap 14 Jan 1844
  3. Wilhelmina Kritzer b. 8 May 1845, bap. 18 May 1845
  4. Anna Kritzer b. 6 Jun 1849, bap. 10 Jun 1849
  5. Augusta Brigitta Kritzer b. 19 Aug 1858, bap. 29 Aug 1858
Michael Kritzer died, aged 61, in Donaueschingen on 1 Apr 1867.

We already know that Anna Kritzer and three of the children of Wilhelm Kritzer came to England. Rosina Kritzer married Josef Johann Baptist Seemann, in Donaueschingen, on 30 Sep 1869 and Wilhelmina Kritzer married Carl Emil Boll, again in Donaueschingen, on 29 May 1873. This last couple had at least seven children, giving the potential for further family still remaining in the area. There are no further records showing up for Augusta Brigitte Kritzer.

There is evidence of baptisms and marriages of this family, in this parish, right back to the 16th Century (then in a previous church building, clearly).
The German surname Kritzer, it is said, is derived from the Old German word "Kretscham," meaning "inn." The name was most likely first borne by an innkeeper. [We wouldn't have any of those in the family. LOL!] Although, there is an alternative suggestion that it's South German: probably an occupational name for a coiner, from krüzer Kreutzer. 

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Mark King and Anna Kritzer

London : Kensington - Hyde Park Gate
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Lewis Clarke - geograph.org.uk/p/2112989

The three siblings, children of Wilhelm Kritzer and Flora GleichaufAmalia KritzerKarl Kritzer and Joseph Kritzer (the last of those married my great-grandmother's half-sister), came to England to work in service, being employed in some very distinguished households. However, they were somewhat eclipsed by their aunt, their father's younger sister, Anna Kritzer (b. 1849) and could well be the inspiration for them coming to London to pursue these careers.

In 1881, Anna Kritzer (31) was employed in the household of Hermann de Stern, described on the census merely as a Merchant, from Germany at 4, Hyde Park Gate, Kensington (See inside one of these Hyde Park mansions). Baron de Stern (1815–1887), a member of the Stern family, originally from Frankfurt, was a German-born British banker and senior partner of the firm of Stern Brothers and one of the wealthiest businessmen in nineteenth-century Britain. His wife, to whom Anna Kritzer was Lady's Maid, was Julia Goldsmid.

In 1891, Anna Kritzer (listed as 32, actually 42), was still employed as a Lady's Maid at Hyde Park Gate, this time the head of the household is listed as Emily A Stern (76). However, I feel sure there are errors in this listing and that this is Hermann and Julia de Stern's daughter, Emily Theresa de Stern, born 1846.

In 1901, Anna Kritzer (47 with rebate), from Donaueschingen, Germany, was still at Hyde Park Gate, Lady's Maid to Lady Sherborne (38 - er, nope, she was 55), who was Emily Theresa de Stern (1846–1905), daughter of Baron Herman de Stern, who had married Edward Dutton, 4th Baron Sherborne in 1894.

By 1911, Anna Kritzer (60 ish), now of independent means (retired) and listed as a naturalised British subject, was still living in South Kensington.

In the 3rd quarter of 1916, at 67, Anna Kritzer married, Mark King, a Bricklayer from Oxfordshire, widower, whose first wife, Elizabeth, had died in 1912. The Kings had lived in Seymour Place, Kensington, at least since the 1880's.

In the previous couple of years, Anna's nephew, Karl Kritzer, had been the butt end of the anti-German press and her nephew Joseph had been interned as part of the mass internment of registered Enemy Alien men; her niece, Amalia Kritzer, then in her early 40's, probably wouldn't have wished to pursue such an option, since marriage would have meant giving up her career, but I can absolutely see why Anna would find a nice gentleman to give her a non-German surname.

Then Mark King died in the 1st quarter of 1920, aged 68.

In 1921, Anna King was living in the parish of Christ Church, Southwark.

Anna King died, aged 75, in the 1st quarter of 1925, in Kensington.

Monday, 3 January 2022

Richard Benbow and Elizabeth Cowtley

St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon - geograph.org.uk/p/3477077
This beautiful church is often spoken of as the Mother Church of the East End. It is, of course, one of the 'Oranges and Lemons' churches, ("When will that be/ Said the bells of Stepney").

Richard Benbow and Elizabeth Cowtley, a pair of my 7th Great-Grandparents, married on 18 Sep 1714 at St Dunstan's, Stepney. On the record of the marriage, he is listed as Richard Benbow of Ratt., (Ratcliff), Bricklayer. 

However, less than six months later, on 4 Mar 1715, under Burials in the Parish of Stepney, we find listed the burial of Richard Benbow, Ratt, Bricklayer.

Their only child was Elizabeth Benbow, born 1715 - one imagines posthumously - and baptised on 5 Aug 1716 at St Dunstan's, Stepney, listed as Elizabeth [daughter] of Richard and Elizabeth Benbow, Ratt, Bricklayer.

I've found no further records for Elizabeth Benbow (née Cowtley), so I cannot yet say what happened to her or whether perhaps she remarried.

Sources:
  1. "England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:68QH-BMRH), Richard Benbow, 1714.
  2. "England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6ZH7-ZFD7), Richard Benbow, 1715.
  3. "England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6ZB1-LNHJ), Elizabeth Benbow, 1716.
  4. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JW8D-5MN), Elizabeth Benbow, 1716.

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Thomas Jones' posting to Baltimore, Cork 1851-1868

Coastguard station and coastguard cottages: Mariner’s Row, the terrace of
coastguard houses on the edge of the Cove in Baltimore, Cork

Thomas Jones' Pension Record, lists that he'd joined the Coast Guard service as a Boatman on 28 Dec 1847. That may have been when he was posted to Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, where he was at the time of the Census in 1851.

Thomas Jones' posting to Baltimore, Cork on 2 Jun 1851

The Coastguard Establishment Books for Ireland (ADM 175/19) at The National Archives show that Thomas Jones was posted to Baltimore, West Cork on 2 Jun 1851Baltimore is the main village in the parish of Rathmore and the IslandsRath and The Islands Parish is the Catholic Community of Baltimore, Sherkin Island and Cape Clear Island and surrounding areas and three of Thomas and Mary's children were baptised in the Catholic Sacred Heart Church, Rath.

Griffith's Valuation of 1853 shows that Thomas rented a house and office in Tullagh civil parish from John Goodchild. On the map it's in Baltimore.

After Thomas returned from his last voyage, to the Baltic during the Crimean War, o6 May 1856, Thomas went back the Coast Guard Service as Boatman, at Baltimore (this is where my late cousin in Ireland knew that her grandfather - Thomas' son Nicholas - had lived and was brought up), until Fri 31 Jan 1868, when he retired from the service, early, aged just 51, due to heart disease.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Thomas Jones' goes to war in the Baltic 1854-1856

HMS Duke of Wellington in drydock at Keyham, Devonport Dockyard, 5 Mar 1854

Thomas Jones, I imagine, must have been happy to get the equivalent of a desk job - or at least become captain of his own rowing boat - for the Coast Guard Service, which allowed him to stay at home and have some family life. It cannot have been easy to marry in 1844, then go off to sea for three years. He won't have seen his daughter, Mary Ann, until she was around 2 years old. 

At Sutton Bridge, in 1849 and 1850, Thomas and his wife Mary had added two sons and, in Ireland, while at Baltimore, West Cork, they added another daughter and son, in 1851 and 1853, respectively. Then along came the Crimean War

Whether he volunteered or was required to do so, Thomas Jones then joined the crew of HMS Duke of Wellington (1852) on 14 Feb 1854, as a Petty Officer First Class - sufficient to distinguish him from ordinary ratings. (The timing of which means that Thomas could well be 'in the photo' (somewhere inside the ship) at the time the above photo was taken on 5 Mar 1854.)

Thomas' 4th son and namesake was born, in 1854, after he'd sailed, so he won't have met this child either until he was around 2 years old. And, one must remember, Thomas was going to war: no guarantee he ever would. 

On 11 Mar 1854 Duke of Wellington, it's reported, departed Spithead (which infers that she had sailed from Plymouth to Portsmouth during the intervening six days), with the fleet, for the Baltic, where, on 15 Apr 1854 she captured Russian brig Patrioten [Prize Money per London Gazette of 21 Jul 1857].

On 13 Jun 1854 the French fleet joined the British in the Baltic at Baro Sound

On 10 Aug 1854 guns were landed and sent up to the British battery, in charge of men under officers from the EdinburghDuke of Wellington, and Euryalus.

The Bombardment of Sveaborg, 9 August 1855 by John Wilson Carmichael
Duke of Wellington is 2nd from left, with Thomas' previous ship, from his expedition to China during the First Opium WarHMS Belleisle (1819), alongside on the far left.

On 9-11 Aug 1855Duke of Wellington was involved in the Bombardment of Sveaborg, a.k.a. Battle of Suomenlinna, during the Åland War:

"British and French naval forces consisting of 77 ships arrayed for the long-expected battle on 6 August 1855. They formed into a battle line more than 3 km off shore beyond the range of the defenders' obsolete artillery. Three days later the bombardment commenced. It continued for 47–48 hours. All the while, the attacker sat beyond the range of the defenders' guns. The British and French bombarded only the fortress of Viapori and avoided firing at the town of Helsinki directly. While the bombardment caused damage to the structures above ground, including to several gunpowder magazines which exploded, the bulk of the defending forces survived unscathed with their weaponry intact, leading to a draw stalemate." 

After the bombardment, the Anglo-French fleet sent no troops ashore and instead set sail for Kronstadt. Then, with little more fanfare, Duke of Wellington is listed, on 4 Feb 1856, "At Spithead".

Review of the Fleet at Spithead by the Queen, April 23, 1856

On 23 Apr 1856 Present at Fleet Review, Spithead; under Captain Caldwell CB.

From February until April, one can imagine, were several weeks of scrubbing, polishing and painting every component of the vessel until it was 'shipshape'. 

In April 1856 the first recorded evening illumination of the fleet took place.

The Illustrated London News, 26 April 1856 reported the event:

"On Saturday, after some days spent in evolutions of a preparatory nature, the fleet anchored in a stately line, with the Duke of Wellington at its head, bearing the Admiral's (Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Saunders Dundas, KCB) ensign." [...] "At the head of this imposing squadron was the Duke of Wellington, her 131 ports shining in the sun, which showed her chequered sides, bright with paint."

"The Queen's yacht, emerging from the surrounding smoke, proceeded rapidly past Fort Monckton, meeting everywhere the same enthusiastic reception, and, having rounded into a position to return down the centre line, entered the squadron of gun-boats, disposed in double rows on each side of her course, and majestically proceeded on her way. She glided past the small vessels of the flotilla, passed steam-frigates of various strength and speed, passed the giant screw line-of-battle ships, till she reached the Duke of Wellington, greeted in all directions by the most enthusiastic cheers." 

What a finale for such a fascinating career. It will have been a proud moment.

Further reading: 

  1. Star of the show: HMS Duke of Wellington (1852)
  2. HMS Duke of Wellington (launched as Windsor Castle, 1852)
  3. Royal Navy ranks, rates, and uniforms of the 18th and 19th centuries
  4. Life at sea in the age of sail

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If you're related to any of the people written about, I'm guessing you'll recognise them from the surnames. If you are, do please get in touch.