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

Sunday, 30 August 2020

The King and Queen, St George in the East

Chapel Street, St. George in the East was later renamed Tait Street (although the street doesn't exist at all now - current Tait Street is a completely different location). The King and Queen Public house, long since demolished, stood on the corner of Tait Street and Mary Street. You can quite clearly see the area referred to as 'a yard in the rear' of the premises where events took place.

Edward Green, one of my 3x great-grandfathers, originally a cabinet maker, was landlord of the King and Queen public house in St George in the East - former civil parish in Shadwell, north of Wapping in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets - from the 1850's until his death, in 1870, at age 50, from liver and kidney disease (one can't help wondering if he'd been rather regularly sampling his own stock) when his wife, Eliza, apparently from Braintree in Essex, then became landlady of the said pub for a further five years.

On the 1861 Census the family are listed as living at 25, Mary Street, St George in the East and, in 1871, the address for his widow and family is given as 51 Tait Street. This was useful to determine that these are actually the same place, with the pub located on the corner of those two streets.

Anyway, it would seem from the newspaper report I've discovered (see below) that Edward Green was the subject of a sting operation, authorised right from the top in Scotland Yard. (If you're going to do something, aim high!)

Fascinating to read dialogue that came straight out of the mouths of these ancestors, even if they do sound, shall we say, a bit on the rough side.  

Sunday opening I can forgive him for. That's not even a crime now.

Trying to dob his missus in for it though, puleeez nooooo ....


From The Morning Chronicle of Monday, November 8, 1858.

SUNDAY IN A PUBLIC HOUSE – ARTS OF THE POLICE


Edward Green, the landlord of the King and Queen public-house, in Chapel Street, St. George’s-in-the-East, appeared at the Thames Police-court, on Saturday, on a police information charged with unlawfully opening his house for the sale of ale, beer and spirituous liquors on Sunday morning last, during the hours prohibited by law.

Richard Blanks, a police-constable, 81 K, stated that he was directed by Mr. Superintendent Howie, of the K division, to detect the defendant, who was in the practice of supplying people with beer and spirits on Sunday, during the whole of the day, while other houses were closed. He went to the house in plain clothes, dressed as a waterman, and was accompanied by Mrs. Randall, the female searcher at the station-house adjoining the Thames Police-court, who was the wife of a police-constable. On reaching the defendant’s house Mrs. Randall knocked at the front door, and waited some time without its being answered, and he said, “Come old lady, we shall not be served with anything here.” The door was then opened by the defendant, who narrowly scrutinised them both, and after looking at the trousers of witness, which were not blue [a laugh], said, “You will do; have what you like,” and directed them to a side door, which was opened, and they were admitted into the house and directed to a yard in the rear, in which was a private bar fitted up. There were 20 men and women in front of the small bar, and they were served with rum, gin, ale, beer, and tobacco. He saw others admitted at the side door, and let out after they were served at the back door. Mrs. Randall asked for two pennyworth of gin and cold water, which was supplied to her. He then called the landlady on one side, and told her she was doing wrong. She said, “What of it?” He then asked for the landlord, and told him what he had seen and he said it was a bad job.

The defendant, in reply to the charge, said that he could not contradict what was said. He was not aware what was done in the house. His wife did it all, and admitted people into the house without his knowledge.

Mr. Yardley: Where was the landlord – the defendant, I mean?

Blanks: He was at the front door. He directed me to the side door.

Mr Yardley: To be sure; you said so before. Don’t tell me, Mr. Green, you were not aware of it. It is a most flagrant case.

Sir Richard Mayne KCB (27 November 1796 – 26 December 1868) was a barrister and the joint first Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, the head of the London Metropolitan Police (1829–1868).
Inspector Hayes, of the K division, said repeated complaints had been made by licenced victuallers and beer shop keepers, who complied with the law, of the practice adopted by the defendant, who stood at the front door to reconnoitre, while persons were admitted at the side door. Mr. Howie, the superintendent, had made a special complaint to Sir Richard Mayne, the Chief Commissioner of Police, and had received his permission to adopt the means of detection used on Sunday morning last. Mr. Howie intended to be present to explain to the magistrate why he adopted the unusual step of allowing a woman to accompany the constable, but was obliged to leave the court to meet the commissioners.

Mr. Yardley: There is no harm in the means adopted to detect the defendant. No trap was laid. Mr. Howie was perfectly justified in doing what he has done. There is nothing illegitimate in the mode of finding out what was going on. I would not convict if a trap had been laid, but it appears there were 20 persons in the house. I shall deviate from the ordinary practice where a first offence has been proved. I generally treat a first offence lightly, but I fine the defendant £3 and costs, because he has broken the law systematically.

The fine was instantly paid.

[£3 in 1858 is equivalent to about £375.25 in 2020. Source.]

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Organising your family history

For the last few months during lockdown, I've taken advantage of the spare time to begin organising my research. Believe me this is a lesson one learns the hard way.

When you begin to take an interest in your family history, you'll have the odd original record such as a birth, marriage or death certificate, plus a whole bunch of family stories that you've always accepted as true, but 99% of which you'll soon prove are works of fiction.

Then you'll start on research and will end up with reams of paper notes, even more stored digitally with incomprehensible file names and just the knowledge in your head to tie them all together to see where they fit on your family tree.

Once you go beyond the first four generations or deviate into your ancestors' siblings and ancillary lines - please DON'T go there until you've cracked the direct ancestors first - you'll become utterly overwhelmed by it all. So, get organised early to avoid that situation. It's cheaper than therapy later.

There are probably as many different resources, methods, etc., as there are people looking into their family history, but here are some (although this list is sure to be a constant work in progress) that I use:

  • Free Family Tree Templates - to be pedantic, it's actually a Pedigree Chart, but I use the 6-Generation Family Tree Template. Note that this includes Ahnentafel numbers: they are essential. Six is good for 'at-a-glance' and is as many as can be fitted onto a sheet of A4 paper, but as a digital only reference document for my research, I use this 7-Generation Pedigree Chart, although I've recreated it as a spreadsheet and increased it to 9 generations. Now, of course, have have people in the 10th! 
  • Genealogy Research List - such a list is essential to avoid duplication and overwhelm and this template is a good starting point, although I've actually devised my own version, using UK census dates (and Irish Census), along with additional columns for births/baptisms, marriages, deaths/burials and their locations. I've also listed the Ahnentafel numbers in the first column. 
  • LibreOffice - for the spreadsheets, I use this free office suite.
  • Microsoft OneNote - I use this free note taking app to keep and organise notes on individual surnames and family groups. I've tried various templates and forms, but in the end, because information differs so much between different people or families, I prefer the easy editable freeform nature. I file source documents by surname, forename and date and these can easily be referenced here. It does other things too: 9 things you didn't know you could do with Microsoft OneNote to improve your productivity.
  • Todoist or Microsoft To Do - Invariably, every genealogical discovery raises several new questions, so a Genealogy To-do List is an absolute must (for sanity's sake). Whilst there are all sorts of templates and checklists available online, I've found it better to include this list within my general day-to-day organisation.
  • Legacy Family Tree - to consolidate all of the research and also to produce reports, family tree charts, etc., and, most importantly a, GEDCOM file to be uploaded or synced to online sites (with the caveat that it's not recommended to make them public) that will assist in making new discoveries from records, DNA, etc.
  • Lost Cousins - Should probably be listed first as this is an invaluable resource, especially for the newsletter produced by owner, Peter Calver, who brings many useful tips, Masterclasses, plus alerts when there is free access to records.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

John and Jane Doe

St Mary's Church, Great Canfield, Essex Acabashi / CC BY-SA

Recently, I came across the record of the baptism of one of my ancestors, Henry Doe, who was christened at St Mary's Church, Great Canfield, Essex on 19 May 1754. On it, his parents are listed as John and Jane DoeJohn Doe and the then, Jane Brand, a set of my ~6th Great Grandparents, had married at the nearby All Saints Church in Little Canfield on 1 October 1750.

After the requisite pause for giggling at this unlikely combination of names, I wondered when and where the custom had began to call people who you couldn't identify, either John or Jane Doe, according to gender.

We mostly tend to hear the term when an unidentified corpse turns up in a US crime drama, but in fact, the origins are in medieval English law, beginning perhaps as early as the reign of King Edward III (1327–1377).
Originally, John Doe was a sham name used to indicate any plaintiff in an action of ejectment (a legal action to regain property) in civil court. Richard Roe was the counterpart, to indicate the defendant. These fake names were used in delicate legal matters, a practice that was abolished in English law in 1852. Since then, John Doe has been used to indicate any man of unknown name, with Jane Doe used for females. - The Old Farmer's Almanac
Quite why these particular names were picked, however, is lost in time. It may have been simply because they were among the most common at the time.

It would appear that John and Jane Doe had four children (or at least there are records for four), all baptised at St Mary's Church, Great Canfield:
  1. Henry Doe baptised on 19 May 1754
  2. Elizabeth Doe baptised on 23 April 1758 
  3. John Doe baptised on 20 September 1760
  4. John Doe baptised on 20 December 1761
There is also a record at St Mary's, Great Canfield, on 14 November 1761, for the burial of a John Doe 'Infant'. One must, sadly, assume therefore that the 4th child was named John, immediately after his brother had died.

In 1731, at this same church, there was a burial of a 4 year old John Doe, listed as 'son of John Doe'. These could simply be just very common names - all the more spectacular to be able to trace them back so far - or, I suppose one must entertain the idea that, once upon a time, there was a parish foundling, who the overseers had named John Doe, who's descendants thereafter followed the common tradition of naming son after father ...