Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Tuesday, 26 September 2023

William Henry Bailey and Jane Reeby

Edgcumbe Street, Plymouth
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Mike Rothery -

William Henry Bailey (b. 1856) Seaman RN, son of Thomas Bailey and Lucy Elizabeth Ann Fudge, married Jane Reeby (b. 1861), daughter of John Reeby and Mary Francis, at Saint GeorgeStonehouse, Plymouth on 26 Sep 1889

William and Jane had two children:
  1. Lucy Mary Bailey b. 1890 D Q in EAST STONEHOUSE Vol 05B 272
  2. Samuel William Bailey b. 1893 J Q in EAST STONEHOUSE Vol 05B 302
In 1891, William Bailey (33) Seaman Royal Navy, Jane Bailey (27) and daughter Lucy M Bailey, were living in the household of William's mother, Lucy Bailey (53), in Edgcumbe Street, East Stonehouse.

By 1901, Jane Bailey (39) was widowed, still living in Edgcumbe Street, East Stonehouse, with Lucy M Bailey (10) and Samuel W Bailey (8). Living at the same address was Thomazine Francis (69) Widowed, described as her Aunt. Thomazine was the widow of Samuel Francis, Sail Maker, who had died in 1898, who was the younger brother of Mary Francis, Jane's mother.

I haven't yet been able to confirm naval record, nor a death for William Henry Bailey, but it is clear he died between begetting his son in 1893 and 1901, when Jane is listed as widowed. There are no deaths in Plymouth that relate, however there is a record in British Armed Forces And Overseas Deaths And Burials, of a William Bailey (40), in 1894, but no clue if it relates.

In 1911, Jane Bailey (49) Widowed, was still in East Stonehouse, with William Bailey (18) Merchant's Clerk at a Coal Merchant, Lucy Bailey (20) and Tamasine Francis (80) Widow, Boarder. (Who died, at 86, in 1917)

On the marriage certificates for both Lucy in 1912 and William in 1914, they describe their father's rank as having been Chief Petty Officer RN.

Jane Bailey (b. 1861) was still living in Plymouth, at 20 Clarence Place, in 1939, but after that disappears and I've found no record of her death.

Sunday, 24 September 2023

John Winship Soppit, Mary Ellen Finch and Mary Morrell

Sangley Rd, Lewisham
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © N Chadwick -

John Winship Soppit, son of John Soppit and Louisa Tompson married Mary Ellen Finch, at St Lawrence, Catford (built in 1887, demolished in 1968 to make a car park) [in Lewisham registration district] on 24 Sep 1904

John and Mary Ellen had three daughters:

  1. Dorothy Louisa Soppit b. 18 Aug 1906 in LAMBETH Vol 01D Page 471
  2. Hilda Mary Soppit b. 14 Aug 1908 in LAMBETH Vol 01D Page 477
  3. Kate Winship Soppit b. 12 Oct 1910 in Lewisham 
The records for the first two girls show the mother's maiden name as Finch. 

In 1911, living at 78 Sangley Road, Lewisham, were John Winship Soppit (29) Joiner from Deptford; Mary Ellen Soppit (36) with birthplace listed as York; Dorothy Louisa Soppit (4) birthplace Brixton; Hilda Mary Soppit (2) birthplace Brixton and Kate Winship Soppit (0) born in Catford.

There wasn't a record of a Mary Ellen Finch born in York, around 1875. As she was also seven years older than her husband, Mary Ellen may have been a widow when she married John Winship Soppit and Finch her previous married name. Without seeing the marriage certificate, I can't confirm.

In 1917, then actually 35 (not 33 as listed) John Winship Soppit enlisted (was probably conscripted) into the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) at the 4th General Hospital, Birmingham. [See more at: Birmingham’s Military Hospitals] At the time of his discharge he was a nursing orderly. [Source]

In 1921, John Winship Soppit was listed in Lewisham. As Joseph and Rachel are among other members in the listing's household, we can surmise that John was visiting his brother. While Mary Ellen (who appears to have got younger), Dorothy, Hilda and Kate are listed in the district of Aston, Birmingham

Mary Ellen Soppit then died in 1924 D Quarter in BIRMINGHAM NORTH Volume 06D Page 486. 

In 1928, John Winship Soppit then remarried to Mary Baker (née Morrell), daughter of William Jabez Morrell and Sarah Waldron. This time we know she was a widow - her first husband Samuel Horatio Baker had died in 1925 - and had at least two sons from that previous marriage.

Second wife, Mary Soppit, died, aged 65, on 13 Jul 1950.

John Winship Soppit died, in Birmingham, on 6 May 1969. The death notice in The London Gazette gives his address as 15 Homecroft Rd, Yardley, Birmingham. It's ironic that growing up in Birmingham in the 1960's, at times I'll have been mere streets away from there, while my mother felt as 'a fish out of water' in that city. If only she'd known she had relatives so close.

  • Dorothy Louisa Soppit died in DOR Q2/1989 in BIRMINGHAM (0611K) Volume 32 Page 1041
  • Hilda M Soppit married James F Lawless, in Birmingham, in 1933. James Frederick Lawless (bap. Jacobus Fredericus Lawless at the Roman Catholic parish of Most Holy Sacrament & St Osburg, in Coventry, in 1908.) The couple don't appear to have had children. In 1939, they lived at 286 Chester Road, Hardwick (286 Chester Road, Streetly, Sutton Coldfield). James Frederick Lawless died in 1980 in Carmarthen. Hilda Mary Lawless of 15 Homecroft Road, Yardley, Birmingham died, aged 86, on 18 Mar 1994 at Lapworth Nursing Home, Chessetts Wood Road, Solihull and was buried at Yardley Cemetery & Crematorium, on 25 Mar 1994.
  • Kate Winship Soppit died in DOR Q3/1998 in SOLIHULL.
It's evident, therefore, that neither Dorothy, nor Kate ever married.

William Hockley and Charlotte Cock

St Mary the Virgin, Great Dunmow, Essex
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -

William Hockley (b. 1833), son of Daniel Hockley and Sophia Mason, married Charlotte Cock (bap. 19 Oct 1834), daughter of Timothy Cock and Sarah Mead, at St Mary the Virgin, Great Dunmow on 24 Sep 1859.

William and Charlotte had nine children:
  1. Sarah Charlotte Hockley b. 5 May 1860 Vol 04A 333, bap. 8 Jul 1860 
  2. Edith Hockley b. 3 Aug 1861 Volume 04A Page 340, bap. 13 Oct 1861
  3. William James Hockley b. 1863 Vol 04A Page 370, bap. 12 Apr 1863, died, aged 16, and was buried on 16 Nov 1879 at St Mary the Virgin.
  4. Elizabeth Hockley b. 1865 Volume 04A Page 389, bap. 9 Apr 1865
  5. Sophia Hockley b. 1866 Volume 04A Page 370, bap. 9 Dec 1866
  6. Martha Hockley b. 1869 Volume 04A Page 406, bap. 13 Jun 1869
  7. Harry Hockley b. 27 Jun 1871 Vol 04A Page 373, bap. 14 May 1874 
  8. Mary Emma Hockley b. 27 Apr 1874 04A Page 432, bap. 14 May 1874
  9. Charles Hockley 27 Apr 1876 Vol 04A Page 453, bap. 30 Apr 1883
The mother's maiden name on the registrations for Sarah Charlotte, Edith, William James, Sophia, Martha and Mary Emma is listed correctly as COCK. On those of Elizabeth, Harry and Charles it has been written as COX.

All of the baptisms, except those for Harry and Mary Emma in 1874, which are listed in records for England, Essex Non-Conformist Church Records [venue unknown], were at St Mary the Virgin, Great Dunmow.

(There's a baptism, on April 14, 1872, of "Alfred son of William and Charlotte Hockley", listed here. Whilst I have every faith that those records are correctly transcribed, he was not a child of this family. He does not appear on any census with this family, but he does appear as the son of William's younger brother, James Hockley and Emma ParkerThe only registration of an Alfred Hockley, in Dunmow, in 1872, has the mother's maiden name PARKER.)

In 1861, William Hockley (27) Agricultural Labourer, Charlotte (27), Sarah C (1), James (23) - William's brother - and their father, Daniel Hockley (age incorrectly shown as 62) were living at Halfway House, Great Dunmow

(This adjacent Halfway House Cottage, was that used by the labourers on the farm, which has included several generations of our family.)

In 1871, William Hockley (36) is joined by Charlotte (35), Sarah C (11), Edith (9), William J (8), Elizabeth (6), Sophia (4) and Martha (2).

At Halfway House Cottage, Great Dunmow in 1881, were William Hockley (41), Charlotte (39), Martha (13), Harry (10), Emma Mary (Mary Emma) (6), Charles (4) and granddaughter, Alice Hockley (2)**. Sarah C Hockley (20) from Great Dunmow was working as a Domestic Servant in the household of Amelia Hockley (32) widow (if any relation I've yet to research), Lodging house keeper at Hockerill, Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire. Edith Hockley (19) was a Domestic servant in the household of William Henry Cox (33) Farmer at Elms Farm, Great Canfield. Sophia Hockley (14) was a Domestic Servant to John Sayer (63) Farmer at Bedfords, Great Dunmow.

**Alice Jane Hockley b. 1879 M Qtr in DUNMOW Vol 04A Page 472, bap. 14 Sep 1879 at St Mary the Virgin, Great Dunmow, was the illegitimate daughter of Sarah Charlotte Hockley. Alice Jane died, aged 8, in 1887.

In 1891, we find William Hockley (57), Charlotte (56) with Charles (15).

In 1901, William Hockley (68), Charlotte (67) and Charles (24).

Charlotte Hockley died, aged 67, in 1902.

In 1911, William Hockley (79), widowed, was still at Halfway House as an Old Age Pensioner Farm Labourer.
The "Old Age Pension" was introduced in 1909 in the United Kingdom. Following the passage of the Old-Age Pensions Act 1908 a pension of 5 shillings per week (25p, equivalent, using the Consumer Price Index, to £26 in present-day terms), or 7s.6d per week (equivalent to £39/week today) for a married couple, was payable to persons with an income below £21 per annum (equivalent to £2200 today), The qualifying age was 70, and the pensions were subject to a means test. 
William Hockley died, aged 83, in 1916.

Thursday, 21 September 2023

William Henry Middleton and Alice Maud Osmond

Admiralty Mews, Deal
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Philip Halling -

William Henry Middleton
(b. 4 Nov 1888), son of Emma Middleton, married Alice Maud Osmond, in Tiverton, on 21 Sep 1918. Alice Maud, known as Maud, (b. 2 Nov 1888, bap. 23 Dec 1888 at St. Mary, Willand), was daughter of John Osmond (son of Henry Osmond from Halberton) and Annie Osmond (daughter of John Osmond of Willand).

In 1891, John Osmond (29), Annie (34) lived in a cottage in Kentisbeare, Devon along with daughters Alice M (2) and Emily M (0). At that time, William Henry (2) was living with his grandmother, Jane How at Habridge Cottages, Steart Road, Stoodleigh, Tiverton.

By 1901, however, when Maud (13) was still at home with her family, then living at 1, Crosslands [Cottages], Halberton, William Henry (13) had already left home and was employed as an Agricultural Labourer by John Hussey (38) Farmer at Wood & Honeyland, Tiverton. (Honeyland Plantation?)

William Henry "Bill" Middleton, giving his birth date as 10 Dec 1889, then enrolled in the Royal Marines on 4 Nov 1907, at Exeter (record says was underage between then and 9 Dec 1907), and was sent to Royal Marine Depot, Deal, until 2 Oct 1908, before Plymouth Division. William Henry was promoted to Corporal in 1911, and Sergeant in 1916 while serving on HMS Roxburgh (1904), which he was with from 4 Jun 1912 until 13 Aug 1916 - she was hit by a torpedo on 20 Jun 1915 but escaped with serious damage to her bow - latterly at the North America and West Indies Station.

From 13 Apr 1917 until 26 Nov 1918, Bill was with HMS Highflyer (1898), which means that he was present in Halifax, Nova Scotia during the Halifax Explosion on 6 Dec 1917. 

"Royal Navy cruisers in port sent some of the first organized rescue parties ashore. HMS Highflyer, along with the armed merchant cruisers HMS Changuinola, HMS Knight Templar and HMS Calgarian, sent boats ashore with rescue parties and medical personnel and soon began to take wounded aboard."

From 27 Nov 1918, Bill was transferred back to Plymouth Division, with a brief sojourn at HMS Excellent (shore establishment) near Portsmouth on 23 Dec 1918, but was Invalided on 25 Sep 1919. While I don't know the nature, can only surmise it may have been as a result of the Halifax blast.

Remarks on his marine's record say, "Has a good knowledge of semaphore ..."

In 1939, William H Middleton, Road Chargeman for Devon County Council, and wife Alice Maud were living at Trickey Cottage, Ash Thomas, Devon. Lodging with them was Frederick H Kerslake (20) Railway Clerk, nephew, son of Maud's sister Emily and her husband, Frederick James Kerslake.

Bill and Maud didn't have children, for what reason I'm unaware, but they had a cat named "Stripy" (a tabby, obviously), who, I was told, used to drink milk out of a jug on the windowsill, by dipping his paw in the jug (like Arthur from the Kattomeat ad). In our family, if you cleaned your plate at the end of a meal, someone would exclaim, "Poor old Stripy!", intimating that the poor cat, fed on scraps, would therefore go without. I only hope this was in jest!

Bill Middleton died in 1967, aged 78. Alice Maud Middleton of Tidcombe Hall, Tiverton, died on 21 Sep 1982, only a few weeks short of her 94th birthday. 

Tiverton : Tidcombe Hall
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Lewis Clarke -
Early 19th century house, shown as Tidcombe Rectory on late 19th century Ordnance Survey map. Much altered in late 20th century. The building was also once a Marie Curie daycare unit.

Robert Middleton and Elizabeth Baker

St Peters Church, Knowstone
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Roger Cornfoot -

Another pair of my 3rd great-grandparents, Robert Medelton (sic) married Elizabeth Baker on 21 Sept 1821 in the parish of Knowstone, Devon. 

Spellings are always variable, but none more so than with Middleton / Medelton and it's variations, which I'm sure is as a result of the officiator writing down what they heard said in a thick West Country accent. 

Robert and Elizabeth had 7 children, baptised at St Peters Church, Knowstone
  1. Elizabeth Medelton (sic) bap. 19 Jan 1823 (buried 23 May 1824)
  2. William Medelton (sic) bap. 13 Mar 1825 (buried 5 Jun 1825)
  3. Robert Medelton (sic) bap. 4 Jun 1826
  4. Jane Medelton (sic) bap. 15 Mar 1829
  5. Maria Middleton bap. 22 Jan 1832 (buried 21 Sep 1834)
  6. Harriot Medelton (sic) bap. 4 May 1834
  7. Thomas Middleton bap. 25 Jul 1841
In 1841, Robert (50), Agricultural Labourer, and Elizabeth (40), were living, as were many other families, in "Part of Lower High Building" in Knowstone, with Harriet (7) and Thomas (0). By that point, Robert Jr was working, also as an Ag Lab, for William Follett at Bransford, Knowstone, while Jane (12), was similarly employed by John Bucknell at Beaple's Barton. 

Robert Middleton Sr died, aged 50, in 1842 J Quarter in SOUTH MOLTON.

We lose track of Elizabeth in the 1850s and 1860s, but catch up with her in 1871, when Elizabeth Middleton (71), widow and annuitant, is a lodger in the household of George Bawden at Bawden Cottage, Knowstone. 

Elizabeth Middleton died, aged 73 in 1873 S Quarter in SOUTH MOLTON and was buried on 31 Aug 1873, at St Peters Church, Knowstone.