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

Showing posts with label Sweeney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sweeney. Show all posts

Wednesday 10 July 2024

Thomas Sapsford and Mary Ann Sweeney

Church of St John the Baptist, Leytonstone
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Stephen McKay -

Thomas Sapsford (bap. 14 Aug 1842 at St Mary the Virgin, Hatfield Broad Oak), son of James Sapsford and Susannah Kye, married Mary Ann Sweeny (sic) (b. 10 Dec 1848 in Limehouse), daughter of John Sweeney and Anne Elizabeth Gabbaday, on 10 Jul 1865, at St John the Evangelist, Limehouse. At the time of their marriage, the groom was 23 and the bride was just 16.

Thomas and Mary Ann had eleven children:
  1. Mary Ann Sapsford b. 28 Jul 1866 S Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 464, bap. 16 Aug 1866 in Limehouse, London
  2. Thomas Sapsford b. 18 May 1868 (J Quarter in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 503), bap. 9 May 1872 at St John the Baptist, Leytonstone
  3. James Sapsford b. 30 Jun 1871 (S Quarter in WEST HAM UNION Vol 04A Page 70), bap. 9 May 1872 at St John the Baptist, Leytonstone
  4. Henry Sapsford b. 1873 J Quarter in POPLAR UNION Volume 01C Page 603. Died 1873 D Quarter in POPLAR Volume 01C Page 481
  5. John Sapsford b. 1 Oct 1874 D Qtr in POPLAR Vol 01C Page 655
  6. Charles Sapsford b. 28 Mar 1878 J Qtr in POPLAR Vol 01C Page 625
  7. Richard Sapsford b. 14 Jul 1880 S Qtr in POPLAR Vol 01C Page 634
  8. Maria Elizabeth Sapsford b. 14 Mar 1883 in POPLAR Vol 01C 656
  9. Louisa Sapsford b. 1885 S Quarter in POPLAR Volume 01C Page 626
  10. Susan Sapsford b. 1889 D Quarter in POPLAR Volume 01C Page 584
  11. Joseph George Sapsford b. 23 Oct 1892 D Qtr in POPLAR Vol 01C 590
The mother's maiden name on all of the births is SWEENY or SWEENEY.

In 1871, Thomas Sapsford (28), Mary A Sapsford (23), Mary (5) and Thomas (3) were living in Eastward Street, Bromley St Leonard, Poplar.

In 1881, at 4, Leigh Build[ing]s, Bowncom Lane, Bromley, Poplar, were Thomas Sapsford (39) Bricklayer's Labourer; Mary A Sapsford (35), Mary A Sapsford (14) Works in jute factory; Thomas Sapsford (12), James Sapsford (9), John Sapsford (6), Charles Sapsford (3) and Richard Sapsford (0).

In 1891, at 3, Thomas Street, Bromley, Poplar, were Thomas Sapsford (49) Scaffolder Bricklayer; Mary Ann Sapsford (44), [Mary] Ann Sapsford (24) Twin spinner hemp; Thomas Sapsford (22) Bricklayer's labourer; James Sapsford (19), John Sapsford (17), Charles Sapsford (12), Richard Sapsford (10), [Maria] Elizabeth Sapsford (7), Louisa Sapsford (4) and Susan (1).

In 1901, at 4, Ascot Street, Canning Town, were Thomas Sapsford (59) Builder's labourer; Mary Sapsford (55), Charles Sapsford (23) General labourer; Richard Sapsford (20) Builder's labourer; Louisa Sapsford (15), Susan Sapsford (12) and [Joseph] George Sapsford (8).

Mary Ann Sapsford died on 20 Jul 1902 S Quarter in WEST HAM Volume 04A Page 24, with age estimated to 59. She'll actually have been 54).

In 1911, Thomas Sapsford (66) Widower, Street Hawker, was living at 25 Star St, Canning Town with son-in-law, Frederick Morton (27) - married to [Maria] Elizabeth Sapsford (28) - also living with them were James Sapsford (40) Street Hawker and [Joseph] George Sapsford (18) Labourer in iron yard. Charles Sapsford (32) Dock Labourer was Lodging at 12 Tidal Basin Road.

Thomas Sapsford died on 28 Aug 1912 in WEST HAM Vol 04A Page 75.

Saturday 6 July 2024

John Henry Charles Sweeney and Susannah Harvey

John Henry Charles Sweeney
and Susannah Harvey
Image provided by Jon Gilbert,
descendant of Rosina Sweeney

John Henry Charles Sweeney (b. 11 May 1839 in Ratcliff), son of John Sweeney and Anne Elizabeth Gabbaday, married Susannah Harvey (b. 15 Oct 1845 in Limehouse), daughter of John Harvey and Esther Glede, on 6 Jul 1862 at the church of St John the Evangelist, Limehouse (St John's Church, Halley Street, Limehouse). Susannah was 16 and John, a Seaman, 23. Witnesses were the bridegroom's father, John Sweney (sic) and his sister, Mary Ann Sweeney.

John and Susannah had eleven children:

  1. Susannah Sweeney b. 5 Jun 1862 (1862 S Quarter in MILE END OLD TOWN Volume 01C Page 518), bap. 28 May 1863 at St John the Evangelist
  2. John Sweeney b. 6 Apr 1864 (1864 J Quarter in MILE END OLD TOWN Volume 01C Page 552), bap. 5 May 1864 at St John the Evangelist. (Died 1866 S Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 610, aged 2)
  3. Esther Ann Sweeney b. 1866 J Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 478 (Died 1866 J Quarter in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 399, aged 0)
  4. John Sweeney b. 12 Dec 1867 (1868 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 515), bap. 5 Jan 1868 at St John the Evangelist.
  5. Job Sweeney b. 6 Feb 1870 (1870 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 531), bap. 11 May 1871 at St John the Evangelist.
  6. Thomas Sweeney b. 25 Dec 1871 (1872 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 508), bap. 15 Feb 1872 at St John the Evangelist.
  7. Henry Sweeney b. 13 Jan 1874 (1874 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 488), bap. 12 Mar 1874 at St John the Evangelist.
  8. Mary May Sweeney b. 1876 J Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 483 (Died 1877 D Quarter in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 344, age 1)
  9. Mary Matilda Sweeney b. 11 Mar 1878 (1878 J Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 451) (No further baptism records found.)
  10. Charles Sweeney b. 17 Jul 1880 (1880 S Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C 443)
  11. Rosina Sweeney b. 4 Jun 1883 (1883 S Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C 425)
With three having not survived infancy, this explains the eight listed in the family bible. There are no more civil registrations to support further reputed issue, though, of course, there could have been stillbirths or miscarriages.

Notice that the 3rd child has been named Esther Ann - these are the names of the two grandmothers, maternal first, paternal second - and I believe this is significant: there are suggestions that this is a pattern within the family.

In 1871, John Sweeney (63), carpenter - John Henry Charles' father - was still listed as the head of the household at Stephen Cottages, James Street, St Anne, Limehouse. Then there is John Henry Charles (31), labourer, wife Susan (26), daughter Susan (9), plus sons John (3) and Job (1).

In 1881, at Stephen Cottage, 1, Limehouse, Stepney, were John (41), Dock Labourer, wife Susannah (36), daughter Susannah (18), Tailoress, John (13), Tea Packer, Job (11), Thomas (9), Henry (7), Mary (3) and Charles (0).

In 1891, at Stephensons Cottages, Condor Street, Limehouse, Stepney (still the same place), were John (52), Labourer, Susannah (47), Job (21), Packer, Thomas (19), Labourer, Mary M (13), Charles (10) and Rosina (7).

In 1901, at Stephenson Cottages, 1, Limehouse, Stepney, were John Sweeney (63), Dock Labourer, Susannah (54), Thomas (29), General Labourer, Matilda (23), and Rosina (18), both Confectionery Packers.

And in 1911, the address as 1 Stephensons Cottages, Conder St, Limehouse, with all the kids having flown the nest, there were just John Henry Charles Sweeney (71), Night Watchman for the Borough Council and Susannah Sweeney (65). This census confirms that they had 11 children, of whom 8 were still living, with 3 having died, during their then 48 year marriage. Not located Thomas Sweeney, who would have been then 39, in 1911.

Susannah Sweeney died, aged 72, in 1918 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C 480. 

In 1921, John Henry Sweeney (82) Caretaker Retired, widower, was living with his youngest son Charles at 102, Hind Street, Poplar. Thomas Sweeney (49 years and 6 months) was living, alone - listed as Single  - at 94, Lynvie Road, Bow, Poplar and working as a Deal Porter for Mr W Howard Bros Timbers Merchant of Canning Town at Crown Wharf.

John Henry Charles Sweeney died, aged 83, in 1922 S Quarter in POPLAR Volume 01C  Page 352.

(Thomas Sweeney does not appear to ever marry and it would seem that he died, aged 58, in 1930 M Quarter in POPLAR Volume 01C Page 389.)

Tuesday 11 June 2024

John Sweeney and Anne Elizabeth Gabbaday

St Leonard, Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch - East end
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -

John Sweeney married Anne Elizabeth Gabbaday (b. 23 Feb 1811), daughter of John Benbow Gabbedy and Isabella Cleghorn, on 11 Jun 1832, at St LeonardShoreditch (often known simply as Shoreditch Church - this is the church mentioned in the line "When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch" from the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons). Witnesses to the marriage were Anne's brother, Henry Gabbedy (sic), Ann Goose and Geo. Garrow.

Census listings consistently show John as having been born in 1809, in St George's, Middlesex (St George in the East), but I've not been able to find a baptism there for him. (Some people accept a baptism of a John Sweeney in 1809, in Westminster, but I'm not convinced it's the right one - it's the wrong place entirely - just because it's the only one online.) Likewise, there are no records to definitely connect him to Ireland, that I can identify. Besides, knowing the way families named children in those days and, given that Anne's mother was Isabella, I'd put money on John's mother being an Eliza.

John and Ann had five children: 
  1. Maria Eliza Isabella Sweney, bap. 11 Jan 1835 at St Dunstan's, Stepney
  2. Unnamed Male Sweeney b. 1838 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 02 Page 390, mother GABBEDEY. Died 1838 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 02 Page 493.
  3. John Henry Charles Sweeney, b. 11 May 1839, at 1 George Place, White Horse Street, Ratcliff (1839 J Quarter in STEPNEY Vol 02 Page 466)
  4. Mary Ann Sweeney, b. 10 Dec 1848, bap. 19 Jan 1860 at St John the Evangelist, Limehouse
  5. Matilda Sweeney b. 8 Sep 1851, bap. 19 Jan 1860 at St John the Evangelist, Limehouse (Died, aged 16, in 1866)
On John Henry Charles' birth certificate, his father's occupation is Ship's Joiner. His mother is clearly listed as "Ann Sweeney, formerly Gabbedy". 

In 1841 living in Pleasant Row, Brewers Place, Stepney were John Swaney (sic) (32) Carpenter; son John (2), wife, Ann (29) and daughter Maria (7). (Throughout her life, my mother had been most pedantic that her maiden name was spelled Sweeney “with three Es.” It should have occurred to me to ignore that and, indeed, most of the records before 1901 are listed with the spelling of Sweney, sometimes Sweeny and, as here, even Swaney.)

By 1851, in Ocean Street, Mile End Old Town, were John Sweeny (42), Carpenter, Ann (39), Maria (17), John (9), Mary Ann (5) and Matilda (0).

Then Ann Sweeny died, in Whitechapel, in 1855, she was 44.

In 1861 at 107, North Street, Limehouse. John Sweney (52), Carpenter and Joiner, still considered himself married (rather than widowed), with Mary Ann (13) and Matilda (10), as well as son-in-law Richard Ford (27) Labourer Blacksmith, Maria Ford (24) and grandson, Richard Ford (6 months). There are a couple of records of a John Sweeney (22), lodging nearby, but none that can conclusively be identified as John Henry Charles Sweeney.

John had both younger girls baptised in 1860, five years after their mother's death, but Matilda Sweeney died, in Whitechapel, aged just 16, in 1866.

In 1871, John (63), still working as a carpenter, had moved in with his son and his family in Stephen Cottages, James Street, St Anne Limehouse, Stepney. 

John Sweeney died, in Stepney, aged 71, in 1878. 

Friday 29 March 2024

John Sweney and Alice Taylor

Pentonville Prison
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © N Chadwick -

John Sweney (b. 12 Dec 1867) son of John Henry Charles Sweeney and Susannah Harvey married Alice Taylor (18) daughter of Frederick Taylor, Plumber, Deceased, at Saint Matthew, Salmon Lane, Limehouse Fields, Tower Hamlets, on 29 Mar 1886. Witnesses were George Taylor and Annie Taylor.

John and Alice had seven children:
  1. Frederic Sweney (sic) b. 1887 J Quarter in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 435. Died aged 17 in 1904 J Quarter in WEST HAM Vol 04A Page 37
  2. John Sweney b. 1889 M Quarter in MILE END OLD TOWN Vol 01C Page 554. Died age 1 in 1890 D Qtr in MILE END Vol 01C Page
  3. Alice Sweney b. 1891 J Qtr in MILE END Vol 01C Page 506
  4. Emma Sweney b. 1893 S Qtr in MILE END Vol 01C Page 522
  5. John Sweney b. 1896 S Quarter in FULHAM Vol 01A Page 272
  6. Thomas Sweney b. 1899 S Qtr in WEST HAM Vol 04A Page 6
  7. Rose Sweney b. 1903 M Qtr in WEST HAM Vol 04A Page 35
TAYLOR is the mother's maiden name on the births of all of their children.

In 1891, at 79, St Ann's Road, Mile End Old Town we find John Sweney (24) Slater; Alice Sweney (24); Frederick Sweney (4) and Alice Sweney (3 mts).

The Globe of 29 Mar 1901 reported:
At the West Ham Police Court today, John Sweeney, 36, a tiler, of 3 Shaftesbury Avenue, Plaistow, was charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm on his wife Alice. Mr F Stern prosecuted. The wife, who attended for the first time, said her husband came home in the small hours of the morning of March 22 and was the worse for liquor. He threw on the table 3s 6d, saying that that was all the had got left out of half a sovereign, and she would have none of it. He threw a tumbler at her, then a pair of boots and a chair, but these articles missed her. He went on to punch her about the body and hit her across the arm with a chair. He told her to "Sling her hook" and threatened to finish her. She screamed, but though other people were in the house, no one went to her help. She became dazed, and the last thing she remembered was seeing him lifting a mahogany table over his head. When she recovered she found herself half-way through the window (on the ground floor), and when she moved she fell on the pavement. At the station she was seen by the divisional surgeon. He had been convicted before for assaulting her. Prisoner, who alleged that his wife was addicted to drink and neglected the house, was remanded.

The Eastern Counties Times on 30 Mar 1901, also carried the story:
At the West Ham Police Court on Saturday, John Sweeney, 36, a tiler, of 3 Shaftesbury Avenue, Plaistow, was charged with assaulting his wife, Alice, by kicking her, striking her with some blunt instrument, and throwing her through a window. PC Butcher 711K, was on duty in High Street, Plaistow, early on Saturday morning, when he heard screams proceeding from Shaftesbury Avenue. On the way to the house he saw a woman, bleeding, and calling for help. From what she said to him, he went into No. 3, Shaftesbury Avenue, and saw the furniture all broken up, and prisoner sitting in the room. The officer made him put on his things, and go to the station, as his wife accused him of assaulting her. When at the station he said to his wife, "Don't charge me this time, Alice, and I will never chastise you again." The woman replied that she had forgiven him too many times. She was too ill to appear that morning, and a remand was asked.

John Sweeney, who had been received into custody on 23 Mar 1901, appeared again at West Ham Police Court on 19 Apr 1901, charged with Maliciously wounding Alice Sweeney. He pleaded guilty to Common Assault and was handed a 3 Calendar Month sentence in Pentonville Prison.

At the time of the 1901 Census on 31 March 1901, therefore, John Sweeney (36) Prisoner, Married, Slater from Plaistow was clearly on remand and indeed was listed at His Majesty's Prison in Holloway, Islington. 

Nevertheless, at 3 Shaftesbury Avenue, [Plaistow], West Ham there was an entry which appears to say "family removed", but this is crossed through and the following people are said to be present: James [John] Sweney (35) House tiler (Slater); Alice Sweney (35), Fred Sweney (14) Tiler's labourer; Alice Sweney (10), Ethel [Emma] Sweney (8), James [John] Sweney (5) - birthplace Fulham - and Tom Sweney (2). Obviously, John (who was not called James) couldn't be in two places at once - and somehow I trust the prison to know who they had under their roof - and I cannot speculate why Alice may have been trying to show that her husband was still at home, but along with the other errors, one does have to wonder who was 'on the sauce'.

In 1911, John Sweeney (41) Slater from Limehouse was living at 33 Heckfield Place, Fulham, with Alice Sweeney (41), John Sweeney (14), Thomas Sweeney (12) and Rose Sweeney (7). This census confirms that the couple had seven children, of whom five were then still living and two had died. 

In 1921, John Sweney (54) Slater was at 107, Lawrence Avenue, East Ham with Alice Sweney (54), Rose Sweney (18) and Thomas Sweney (24) Slater.

Alice Sweeney died, aged 65, in 1931 M Qtr in WEST HAM Vol 04A 233.

In 1939, at 107a Lawrence Avenue, Manor Park, Newham, East Ham, listed as Charles J Sweeney, Slater Tiler (Retired) - this is clearly John and even quotes his birthdate of 12 Dec 1867 - with a John J Watson (assume Lodger).

John Sweeney died, aged 77, in 1944 S Quarter in FULHAM Volume 01A Page 248. Interestingly, at FindMyPast this same record, with the same references, has been transcribed twice: once as Charles Sweeney and once more as John Sweeney, so I am convinced this is our man. 

Friday 5 January 2024

Job Sweeney and Eliza Louisa Tompson

Globe Road, Bethnal Green
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Stephen McKay -
Very much a part of the traditional East End, Globe Road runs north from Stepney Green station to Roman Road, and then on to this northern stretch up to Old Ford Road. 

Job Sweeney (b. 6 Feb 1870), son of John Henry Charles Sweeney and Susannah Harvey, married Eliza Louisa Tompson (b. 24 Aug 1868), daughter of Dan Tompson and Mary Ann Green, on 5 Jan 1893, at the Parish Church of St Anthony, Globe Road, Stepney. (The church of Saint Anthony stood in the borough of Bethnal Green, but was part of the rural deanery of Stepney. It closed in 1936 and the building was demolished in 1937.) Both claimed to be 24 and both gave their address as 3 Monteagle Street, Stepney. 

Their only son, Job Thomas Sweeney (right), was born at 25 Monteagle Street, Stepney (which further research suggests was a boarding house) on 27 Aug 1897 (registered Job Thomas Sweney 1897 D Quarter in MILE END OLD TOWN Volume 01C Page 499, with mother's maiden name TOMPSON) and baptised at St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, on 19 Sep 1897.

In 1901, Job Sweney (sic) (33) Warehouseman, Eliza Sweney (sic) (32) and Job Sweney (sic) (3), were living at 8, Repton Street, Limehouse

My mother always claimed that her father and grandmother, Eliza Louisa, had been living in Sidney Street at the time of the Siege of Sidney Street, or Battle of Stepney that took place in January 1911. Improbable, though not impossible, but I can find no records to support this. Eliza Louisa was well away from the area when Cable Street (where she was born) had it's own battle in 1936.

By the time of the census on 2 April 1911, the family were living at 102 Fore Street, in the City of London. They lived in a flat above the warehouse that came with the job, where Job Sweeney (41) was employed as Packer and Caretaker; Eliza Louisa Sweeney (41), Job Thomas Sweeney (13) and Amy Dobson (19) Domestic Servant, Friend (Amy Dobson b. 1892, was the sister of Ruth Christmas Dobson, wife of Job's brother Charles Sweeney.) 

In 1921, Job Sweeney (51) Packer, was still living and working at 102, Fore Street, City of London, for Hoffnung & Co Shipping Merchants; with wife, Eliza L Sweeney (52) and son, Job T Sweeney (23) Warehouseman, working for Wills & Co (W.D. & H.O. Wills) at their Holborn Viaduct factory (for whom he eventually worked for around 36 years.) (Calling herself Amy Margaret Dobson (29) Charwoman, in 1921 - no idea where the Margaret came from - living at 102, Hind Street, Poplar, this census tells us she was working for Messrs Hoffnung & Co Ltd at 102 Fore Street, City, E C.)

Press Gangs and the King’s Shilling: Job Sweney (sic) died, on 6 December 1924, aged 54 (1924 D Quarter in HENDON Volume 03A Page 374), and as family stories go, this has to be one of the best (as in the myth is about as far away from the truth as it's possible to get), but also one of the saddest. 

My mother won't have known her grandfather, as he had died when she was only a few months old, but throughout her life, she recounted this story so many times it would be impossible to count: The story went that Job Sweeney had been "press ganged" into the navy no less than three times. Once would be unlucky, you'd have thought. Anyway, this account, undoubtedly passed down to her by her grandmother, Eliza Louisa Sweeney, was further embellished with the assertion that Job liked his drink rather too much, hence was always in the pub and the worse for wear and, therefore, had been tricked, in serial fashion, into taking the King's Shilling

All absolute poppycock, of course, like most family stories are.

As I say, I'd heard and nodded along to the retelling of this story umpteen times, but never really considered or questioned it. It wasn't until I met the current 'him indoors' who knows his military history, who immediately said "wrong century", that it became obvious the whole thing was invention.

With hindsight, I can see where it will have come from. Job's father was a dock labourer (sometimes listed as a stevedore); his great-grandfather a mariner and many of their ancestors were sailors, ship's carpenters and shipwrights. Eliza Louisa's family ran pubs around the London docks. They'll have grown up with 'press gang' stories and other seafaring folklore.

Having spent his entire life in the East End, it was finding that his death had been registered in Hendon that made me dig further in order to solve the mystery. It even crossed my mind that holidays 'At His Majesty's Pleasure' might well have explained these absences that we were all led to believe were when he was 'at sea', but it was not so. Having ordered his death certificate, this confirmed that the actual place of death was Colindale Hospital.

Built originally as the The Central London District Sick Asylum in 1898-1900 - to provide care for the sick poor in London, separate from the workhouse - in 1919, it was taken over by The Metropolitan Asylums Board and used as male TB sanatorium. The cause of Job Sweeney's death was given as 'Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Certified by Marcus Patterson MD.' 

Dr. Marcus Sinclair Paterson (1870–1932) was the medical superintendent of the Colindale Hospital for Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Hendon. "Here Paterson made valuable innovations in the symptomatic treatment of advanced cases", says his obituary in the BMJ. He developed a system of treatment called 'graduated labour'. "He has described how his observations on out-patients led him to the idea of introducing manual work, as well as walking, into the sanatorium regime, with the hope of fitting his patients for immediate return to their work, and of successfully meeting the charge that sanatoriums turned out work-shy loafers." (Not unlike attitudes today, because victim blaming is a whole lot cheaper than doing research and actually treating the sick. Looks like we can see who was originally responsible for ideas that led to the much maligned, ineffective and harmful Graded exercise therapy (GET) too.)

So, we can deduce that the "press gang" story was made up to explain a series of absences, which were probably stays for 'treatment' - forced work when you're already too ill to do your normal work - at the sanatorium. And the saddest part is this tells us that, so strong was the social stigma attached to TB that families preferred to paint their nearest and dearest as 'feckless, drunken, work-shy', etc., rather than admit they had an infectious, then incurable, disease undoubtedly contracted through no fault of their own. 

Eliza Louisa Sweeney with her granddaughter, Ivy. Edited with ImageColorizer

The internet isn't just useful for looking up dry-and-dusty old genealogy records, there is so much more to discover. Take this for example. Among lots of family photos I inherited from my mother and hers before her was one of my mother and her grandmother, Eliza Louisa Sweeney (née Tompson), taken in the 1930s (my mother was 15 in 1939, so I estimate this is close to then). Only because there was a distinctive looking window on a building that looked like a church in the background behind them, it peaked my interest and I thought I would try to find out where the photo had been taken.

At that time, my mother, her parents and grandmother, still lived in the City of London, in Fore Street. It didn't look like anywhere I knew around there, but then it got a bit altered in the interim. I'd also tried the facility to Search with an image on Google, but it just told me it was a snapshot. Duh! 

Eventually, I asked the The East of London Family History Society Group for help, but whilst they weren't able to answer, members made many useful suggestions that led to more searches ... that finally turned up images of the Trinity Methodist Church, Clacton-on-Sea, which perfectly fit the round window, as well as other elements of the architecture. As confirmation, they sent me a link to this map of Clacton (Revision of 1939), which shows the position of the post box (marked L.B.) that you can see behind them. 

Trinity Methodist Church, Clacton-on-Sea
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © JThomas -

So, from this, we can deduce that, since this church is in the background, then they must be walking down Pier Avenue (shown here in c. 1925), in the direction of the sea front and pier and, as they lived in the East End, they can only have been on a day trip (no, I don't suppose they were flush enough for a whole holiday!) to Clacton-on-Sea. I'd wondered what they were up to that was special enough - in those pre-selfie days - for a photo. Now I know.

Mind you, "... if you stood where they were walking now you'd get mown down by the traffic, those trees, hedges and post box long gone too."

In 1939, Eliza Louisa was still living at 102 Fore Street with her son Job and his wife, Elizabeth (Bet) and granddaughter, Ivy, and remained there until their home was destroyed in WWII, thought to have been on or around the night of 29–30 Dec 1940, the so-called Second Great Fire of London.

Eliza Louisa Sweeney, otherwise Sweney (as it says on her death certificate), died on 13 Feb 1953 (1953 M Quarter in ROMFORD Volume 05A Page 846) from coronary thrombosis, influenza, chronic bronchitis and old age, at 84.

Monday 25 December 2023

Arthur Woodham and Mary Matilda Sweeney

St Dunstan's Church, Stepney
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Marathon -

Arthur Woodham (b. 30 Nov 1878 in Limehouse), son of William Wesley Woodham and Mary Ann Poole, married Mary Matilda Sweeney (b. 11 Mar 1878), daughter of John Henry Charles Sweeney and Susannah Harvey, at the Parish Church of Stepney - St Dunstan's, Stepney - on 25 Dec 1904. Witnesses to their marriage were J Sweney (looks like the signature of the bride's father) and Alfred Woodham, the bridegroom's twin brother.

Arthur and Mary Matilda had four children:
  1. Arthur Alfred Wesley Woodham b. 1906 M Quarter in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 409. Died 1906 M Quarter in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 267
  2. Elsie Woodham b. 1907 J Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 380. Died 1907 J Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 237
  3. Lilian Susannah Woodham b. 21 Sep 1908 Vol 01C Page 318
  4. Ivy Maud Woodham b. 20 Jul 1910 S Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C 339
All four birth registrations have the mother's maiden name SWEENEY.

In 1911, Arthur Woodham (32) French Polisher; Mary Matilda Woodham (33), Lilian Susannah Woodham (2 yrs 6 mths) and Ivy Maud Woodham (8 mths), were living at 58 Conder Street, Limehouse, London. The information they provide on this census return confirms that they had four children, two who were living and two had died, during their then six year marriage.

In 1921, and still at 58, Conder Street, Limehouse, London, were Arthur Woodham (42) Labourer working for Messrs Stein Ltd, Wharfingers at Grosvenor Wharf, Newcastle Street, Cubitt Town; Mary Matilda Woodham (43), Lilian Susannah Woodham (12) and Ivy Maud Woodham (10).

In 1937, Henry Thomas Morris (b. 19 Jan 1909) married Ivy Maud Woodham.

In 1939, Arthur Woodham, General Labourer; Mary M Woodham, Lilian S Woodham and Henry Thomas Morris, Lead Smelter, were living at 11 Maroon Street, Limehouse. Ivy Maud Morris, Married, Evacuee, was staying in the household of Cuthbert Templeman, Retired Grocer, at Kingswood New Bristol Road, Worle, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, with their daughter b. 1938.

Arthur Woodham died, at 70, in 1949 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 05D 757.

Mary Matilda Woodham died, at 78, in 1956 S Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 05D 522.

  • Henry Thomas Morris died, in Tower Hamlets, in 1983
  • Lilian Susannah Woodham died, in Tower Hamlets, in 2004
  • Ivy Maud Morris died, in Tower Hamlets, in 2005

John William Stone and Rosina Sweeney

St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -

Rosina Sweeney
(b. 4 Jun 1883), daughter of John Henry Charles Sweeney and Susannah Harvey, married John William Stone (b. 11 Jul 1882), son of John Stone and Sarah Ann Bock, at St Dunstan's, Stepney, on 25 Dec 1902.

John and Rosina had ten children:
  1. Rosina Dorothy Stone b. 1906 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 393. Died 1906 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 263
  2. May Ena Stone b. 10 May 1907 J Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 388
  3. Violet Rosina Stone b. 26 Nov 1910 (1911 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C 315)
  4. William John Arthur Stone b. 15 Jan 1913 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 623
  5. George Albert Stone b. 1915 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 607
  6. Rosina Stone b. 1916 S Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 516
  7. Daisy Stone b. 1920 J Qtr in MILE END OLD TOWN Vol 01C 786
  8. Albert Stone b. 1925 M Qtr in MILE END OLD TOWN Vol 01C 524
  9. Doreen Stone b. 1926 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 401
  10. Ronald Stone b. 1929 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 323
In 1911, living at 58 Conder Street, Limehouse were John William Stone (29) General Labourer for the Borough Council; Rosina Stone (28), May Ena Stone (3) and Violet Rosina Stone (4 months). This census confirms that by then they'd had three children, two were still living and one had died.

Information I've been given is that during World War I, John William Stone served in the Essex Regiment, 13th (Service) Battalion (West Ham), which he joined in 1915. On 22 Dec 1915, they were transferred to 6th Brigade in 2nd Division. He was said to have been discharged in 1917, due to an injury. 

(The image left must date to ~1916 and, in descending order, shows John and Rosina Stone with May, Violet, William, George and Rosina.)

In 1921, John William Stone (38) Navvy for Stepney Boro Council; Rosina Stone (38), May Ena Stone (14), Violet Rosina Stone (10), William John Arthur Stone (8), George Albert Stone (5) and Daisy Stone (1) were living at 38, St Ann's Road, Mile End Old Town. (Rosina b. 1916 is not listed and there was a record of a death of a Rosina Stone, aged 4, in 1920, in Lewisham (why there?) that may relate.)

In 1939, John Stone, Paviour & Mason Labourer; Rosina Stone, Daisy Stone, Beer Bottler; with two closed records (presumably younger children) and Rosina's brother, Charles Sweeney, were living at 12 Leith Road, Mile End.

John William Stone died, in Stepney, in 1965, aged 83.

Rosina Stone died, also in Stepney, in 1971, at 88.

Photos provided by Jon Gilbert, direct descendant of John William Stone and Rosina Sweeney

Charles Albert Gardner and Susannah Sweney

St Anne, Limehouse - Entrance
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -

Charles Albert Gardner (b. 31 Mar 1859, bap. 7 May 1859 at St George's, Hanover Square), son of Thomas Henry Richards Gardner and Mary Ann Watkins, married Susan Sweney (sic) (b. 5 Jun 1862 in Mile End), daughter of John Henry Charles Sweeney and Susannah Harvey, at St Matthew, Salmon Lane, Limehouse Fields (the church was gutted by an incendiary bomb in 1941 and demolished) on 25 Dec 1884. Both gave their address as 1 Condor Street. Witnesses were John Sweney and Mary Ann Gardner.

Charles and Susannah had eight children:
  1. John Charles Gardner b. 1885 D Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 420
  2. Henry Gardner b. 1888 J Quarter in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 420
  3. Florence Rose Gardner b. 1890 J Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 412
  4. Thomas Albert Gardner b. 1892 J Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 440
  5. James Gardner b. 1894 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 439
  6. Arthur Gardner b. 1896 J Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 431
  7. Rose Lily Gardner b. 1898 S Qtr in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 411
  8. May Matilda Louisa Gardner b. 1901 J Qtr Vol 01C Page 420
The mother's maiden name on all the birth records is SWENEY.

In 1891, the family living at 13, Maroon Street, Limehouse, Stepney, were Charles Gardner (32) Slater; Susannah Gardner (29), John Charles Gardner (5), Henry Gardner (2) and Florence Rose Gardner (1).

In 1901, at 34, Maroon Street, Limehouse, were Charles Gardner (41) Slater and tiler; Susan Gardner (39), John C Gardner (15) Credit draper's assistant (Tallymen and ‘Perambulating Scotchmen’ to Credit Drapers' Associations, c.1840–1914); Henry Gardner (12), Florence R Gardner (11), Thomas A Gardner (9), James Gardner (7), Arthur Gardner (5) and Rose L Gardner (3).

Charles Gardner died, aged 42, in Q4 1901, in Whitechapel (Vol 1C 192).

In 1911, Susan Gardner (47) Charwoman at the London Hospital, Widow, was living at 37 St Thomas's Road, Mile End Old Town, London with Thomas Gardner (19) Printer's cutter; James Gardner (17) Clerk; Arthur Gardner (15) Errand Boy; Rose Gardner (13) and May Gardner (10). The census confirms that Susannah had eight children, all then living. Also living at 37 St Thomas's Road, Mile End Old Town in 1911 were Archibald Campbell (39) Slater and tiler, Widower, along with his four surviving daughters: Jessie Campbell (16), Lizzie Campbell (14), Millie [Amelia] Campbell (12) and Esther Campbell (10). Seemingly, at least at this time, these were two separate households.

Susan Gardner (47) Widow, daughter of John Sweney, Dock Labourer, remarried to Archibald Campbell (39), Widower, who listed his father as Archibald Campbell, Cooper, at St Anne, Limehouse, on 5 Jun 1911. (Archibald Campbell had previously married Ellen Keating in Mile End, in 1893, with whom, according to the 1911 Census, he had ten children (found records for nine), six had died. Ellen Campbell died, at 38, in 1909.)

Archibald's daughter, Esther Campbell died, aged 10, in 1912.

In 1921, still at 37, St Thomas Road, Mile End Old Town were Archibald Campbell (49) General Labourer for Stepney Borough Council; Susan Campbell (56), Thomas Gardner (29) Step-son, Disabled General Labourer "Under Young Treatment Hospital"; May Gardner (20) Step-daughter; Amelia Campbell (21) daughter; Violet Gardner (11) Adopted Daughter (Violet was purportedly born in Stepney in 1910, but I've no idea if that was her birth name); plus Elizabeth Bryant (20) and Kate Bryant (15) both Visitors.

Susannah Campbell (formerly Gardner, née Sweney), pictured left, clearly lived "to an age". There was a death of a Susannah Campbell (63) who died in 1925, in Lewisham, which may relate, but is not confirmed.

Richard Ford and Maria Eliza Isabella Sweeney

St Matthew, St Matthew's Row, Bethnal Green
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -

Richard Ford (b. ~1834 in Limehouse), married Maria Eliza Isabella Sweeney (b. 1834), daughter of John Sweeney and Anne Elizabeth Gabbaday, at St Matthew's, Bethnal Green on 25 Dec 1857. Both gave their address as 127 North Street. Witnesses were James Richardson and William Ames. Richard Ford listed his occupation as Smith and his father as Richard Ford, Carpenter, however, he appears to have been the son of John Robert Ford, Shipwright, and Harriet Showell. His father died in 1837 when he was a small boy.

Richard and Maria had ten children:
  1. Richard John Ford b. 26 Sep 1860 D Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 506, bap. 24 Jan 1861 in Limehouse, London
  2. Maria Ford b. 12 Mar 1862 J Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 501, bap. 8 May 1862 at St John the Evangelist, Limehouse (St John's Church, Halley Street). Died aged 1 in 1863 J Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 364
  3. Ellen Eliza Ford b. 12 Sep 1863 D Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 481, bap. 5 Nov 1863 in Limehouse
  4. Robert Charles Ford b. 3 Nov 1866 D Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 507, bap. 31 Jan 1867 in Limehouse. Died aged 1 in 1867 D Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 366
  5. Arthur James Ford b. 3 Sep 1868 D Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 485, bap. 13 Feb 1871 in Limehouse
  6. Matilda Elizabeth Ford b. 1870 J Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 483. Died at 11 months in 1871 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 407 and was buried on 17 Feb 1871 at Victoria Park Cemetery, Hackney (family's address, 6 Manning Street, Hackney.) ('The Resort of Thieves and Harlots'; Victoria Park Cemetery, Bethnal Green.)
  7. Mary Ann Elizabeth b. 1872 M Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 505
  8. Elizabeth Ford b. 1874 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 486
  9. Charles Ford b. 1 Nov 1876 D Qtr in STEPNEY Vol 01C Page 497
  10. Jane Ford b. 1 Nov 1876 D Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 497. Died aged 4 in 1881 M Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 353
All of the birth registrations give the mother's maiden name as SWEENEY and all of the baptisms lists the parents a Richard and Maria. They appear to give up on baptisms after 1871. The last two, born in 1876, were clearly twins.

In 1861, Richard Ford (27) Labourer Blacksmith from Limehouse, Middlesex and Maria Ford (24) birthplace St George in the East and Richard Ford (6 months) were living at 107, North Street, Limehouse, Stepney, with Maria's widowed father and her two sisters Mary Ann (13) and Matilda (10).

In 1871, Richard Ford (34) Blacksmith was living in Manning Street, St Anne Limehouse, Stepney with Maria Ford (34) Laundress; Richard Ford (10), Eleanor [Ellen Eliza] Ford (7) and Arthur Ford (2).

Eldest son, John Richard Ford, then 19, joined the British Army on 12 Jul 1879. He was 5ft 5½in with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair and his service record lists his father as Richard Ford of North Street, Limehouse. Richard John Ford served in the East Indies (India) from 20 Dec 1879 until 29 Nov 1884, where (like every other soldier) he acquired gonorrhea in Madras, in 1882. He was discharged from the army on 10 July 1891.

In 1881, at 135, North Street, Limehouse, Stepney were Richard Ford (44) Labourer in iron works; Maria Ford (43), Ellen Ford (18), Arthur Ford (13), Eliza [Elizabeth] Ford (7) and Charles Ford (4). 

In 1891, Richard Ford (57) Dock Labourer was at 17, Whitethorn Street, Bromley, Poplar, with Maria Ford (54) and Charles Ford (14) Van Boy.

Richard Ford died, age estimated as 68, in 1900 S Quarter in STEPNEY.

In 1901, Maria Ford (65) Widow, was living at 65, Conder Street, Limehouse, Stepney with her youngest son, Charles Ford (25) General Carman.

Maria Ford died at 72, in 1906 J Quarter in POPLAR Vol 01C Page 327.

Saturday 9 December 2023

Job Thomas Sweeney and Elizabeth Fuller

St Helen & St Giles, Rainham - Sanctuary
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -

Job Thomas Sweeney (b. 27 Aug 1897 in Mile End, London), son of Job Sweeney and Eliza Louisa Tompson, married Elizabeth Fuller (b. 22 Mar 1901 in Rainham, Essex), daughter of George Fuller and Eliza Ellen Hockley, at St Helen and St Giles, Rainham, 100 years ago today on 9 Dec 1923.

There were no wedding photos, I was told, because of the obviously expected arrival of their only child, Ivy Elizabeth Sweeney b. 5 Mar 1924. My mother didn't have her birth certificate, the original having been lost when their home was bombed in WWII and she'd always been adamant that she was born in one of the Peabody Buildings. Had she ever obtained a copy, then she'd have discovered that she was, in fact, born at 35 Gladstone Buildings, Willow Street, Shoreditch. (And therefore missed out on a historical 'claim to fame' too, because Police Sergeant James George Byfield, witness in one of the Jack the Ripper murders, had lived in Gladstone Buildings, Shoreditch in 1881.)

Built in 1868, the Gladstone Buildings, were demolished in 1977. The site today is, ironically, the location of the Luxury Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch. The previous building on that site certainly wasn't luxury, however, as the Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Shoreditch in 1879 details:

GLADSTONE BUILDINGS, WILLOW STREET.—"In these model dwellings there are 168 suites of apartments, each suite having a separate water supply, and closet accommodation, situate in the scullery. None of the closets were properly supplied with water, so as to flush the pans effectually. The cisterns in which drinking water was stored were all uncovered, placed over the closets close to the ceilings, and immediately under the closet of the apartments above. Several of the tenants complained that their drinking water was polluted with foul liquids dripping from the ceilings, by reason of defective closet arrangements, and many of the ceilings bore evidence as to the fact."

This Charabanc excursion must presumably date to 1925.
Joe and Bet, with baby Ivy on her lap, are in the rear seats of the vehicle.

It must have been after the death of Job's father on 6 Dec 1924, that they moved back to 102, Fore Street, City of London, where Eliza Louisa Sweeney, continued as Housekeeper for Hoffnung & Co Shipping Merchants. 

My mother frequently claimed she was Confirmed at St Paul's Cathedral, but I've been unable to confirm (pun intended) if this is true. And even if it were, it should have been unlikely, as there's no record of her ever being baptised - a not-at-all uncommon omission with a baby's such 'premature' arrival. 

They were still in Fore Street in 1939, with Eliza L Sweeney, Housekeeper; Job Thomas Sweeney, Supervisor Tobacco Packing (employed by W.D. & H.O. Wills); Elizabeth Sweeney; Ivy E Sweeney, Shop Assistant and James Edward Bird, Police Constable (who I can only assume was lodging with them) and remained until their home was destroyed in WWII, thought to have been on or around the night of 29–30 Dec 1940, during the so-called Second Great Fire of London. They were away from home that day, so suffered no physical injury, but lost their home and every material possession they'd owned. 

They then moved out to Hornchurch and in the 1960's, Bet & Joe 'retired' to Pitstone, in the countryside of Bedfordshire. There, granddad carried on his hobby of fishing and was a bailiff on the nearby Grand Union Canal; he did detailed woodwork, inlay and marquetry; embroidered hassocks that were (maybe still are) in the church of St Mary the Virgin in Ivinghoe and grew very tidy rows of vegetables in his garden.

(Right: Bet and Joe on the seafront at Weymouth in the early 1960's.)

Bet Sweeney died on 22 Dec 1980. 

It was absolutely no surprise that, without his lifelong love, Job Thomas Sweeney died eight months later to the day, on 22 Aug 1981.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Henry Sweney MBE and Mary Louisa Efford

Christchurch tramway

Henry Sweney (b. 13 Jan 1874) son of John Henry Charles Sweeney and Susannah Harvey, married divorcee, Mary Louisa Ansley, in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 22 Nov 1901. Born Mary Louisa Efford on 16 Sep 1869 in Torquay, Devon (Volume 05B Page 161), daughter of John Ash Efford Jnr and Louisa Fulford, she had previously married Frederick William Ansley (b. 23 Jan 1866 in Oldbury, Staffordshire), son of Alfred Ansley and Emma Cooper, also in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 1 Nov 1887, with whom she had three daughters: Mary Louisa Ansley, b. 16 Aug 1888; Rose Amelia Ansley (1889-90) and Emma Miriam Ansley b. 18 Apr 1891.

Henry Sweeney had joined the Royal Marines on 8 Apr 1889. He gave his date of birth as 8 Feb 1871, making himself three years older in order to enlist. He was actually only 15, but at already 5 ft 5⁷⁄₁₀in had been tall enough to get away with it. His record confirms his father as John, of 1 Stephensons Cottages, Condor Street, London. Henry grew to 5ft 9½in at final discharge; he had a fresh complexion, brown hair, grey eyes and a tattoo of a basket of flowers on his forearm. 

After initial training at the Royal Marine Depot, Walmer (Deal, Kent) and at Portsmouth Division until 5 Dec 1890, ships that Henry Sweney served on included: HMS Agamemnon (1879) until 1892, while she was part of the Mediterranean Fleet; from 1892 to 1894, HMS Camperdown (1885), again with the Mediterranean Fleet. Henry will therefore have been aboard HMS Camperdown on 22 Jun 1893, when she collided with and sank the battleship HMS Victoria with 358 deaths, off Tripoli, Lebanon. The report here offers the explanation, "Following an order by the admiral to carry out a dangerous and near impossible manoeuvre, taking into account the positions of the vessels, the Camperdown rammed HMS Victoria, off the Lebanon, which sank with heavy loss of life. Camperdown was also badly damaged, but managed to limp into port." 

Henry's final ship was HMS Rapid (1883), then serving on the Australia Station and on 30 Sep 1897, was Discharged by Purchase at Sydney.

The Lyttleton Times on 13 Dec 1898, reported on: ANSLEY V. ANSLEY
This was a case in which Mary Louisa Ansley petitioned for the dissolution of her marriage with Frederick William Ansley of Wanganui on the grounds of cruelty and bigamy. Mr Cresswell appeared for the petitioner. The respondent did not appear, and was not represented by counsel. The evidence of the petitioner showed that she had lived six and a half years with the respondent, who had commenced to ill-treat her two days after the marriage. During the last six years they had been separated by mutual consent, owing to ill relations arising from the cruelty referred to. Amelia Stevens [1], sister of the petitioner, gave corroborative evidence. The written evidence of William T Clapham, clergyman, of Brisbane, taken by the Registrar on Nov 25, showed that he married the respondent to a woman in Brisbane on August 6, 1896 [2]. The respondent subsequently disappeared, and witness heard that he was already married and in New Zealand. His Honour granted the petitioner a decree nisi, with custody of the children and costs against the respondent.

[1] Amelia Efford married Archibald Stevens, in 1896. In 1911, Archibald and Amelia Stevens were listed on the New Zealand Electoral Roll at the Sailors Home Lyttelton, of which Archibald was the Superintendent.

[2] Frederick William Ansley (30) Bootmaker, who was listed on the Australia Electoral Roll in 1896 at 1 Downing Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia, married Nellie Ashton, in Queensland, Australia on 6 Aug 1896. Frederick, who died on 20 Apr 1956 (aged 90) and is buried at Aramoho Cemetery, Whanganui, [bio] appears to have been very partial to wedding cake!

In 1911, the New Zealand Electoral Roll places Henry Sweney, Hairdresser, at 89 Lower High Street, Christchurch East with Mary Louisa Sweney, Married, and Mary Louisa Sweney Jun (Jnr) (Mary Louisa Ansley). 

Step-daughter, Mary Louisa Ansley Sweney it appears married Herbert Charles Ford in 1916 and went on to have five children. [Source]

In 1925, Henry Sweney, Commission Agent, and Mary Louisa Sweney were listed at 64 Abberley Rd, St Albans, Christchurch.

Then Mary Louisa Sweney died, at 65, on 22 Jan 1934 and is buried at Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch, Block 31. Plot 14.

(Henry Sweney remarried to a Kathleen Elizabeth Hocking (b. 10 Mar 1892), but unfortunately, I've not been able to find when this marriage took place, nor whether Hocking was her maiden or a previous married name. Kathleen Elizabeth Hocking Sweney died in 1977, aged 85.)

In the 1955 New Year Honours (New Zealand), Henry Sweney was awarded an M.B.E. for social welfare services. This bio offers some background: 

"Henry Sweney came to New Zealand in 1897 after purchasing a discharge from the Royal Marines after 8 1/2 years service. He was house manager of Christchurch Musical Society and Christchurch Harmonic Society and a worker for charity and patriotic funds for nearly 60 years.

In 1909 he and several others founded the Christchurch Competitions' Society. Henry worked as a stage manager and had his own concert party which gave charitable entertainment. He raised money for children's homes and was Justice of the Peace in Christchurch."

Henry Sweney died on 3 Jun 1963, aged 89, and was also buried, on 6 Jun 1963, at Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch, Block 31. Plot 14.

Photos of Henry Sweney provided by Jon Gilbert, descendant of Rosina Sweeney 

Sunday 31 January 2021

Charles Sweeney and Ruth Christmas Dobson

Poplar, All Saints' Church
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Mike Faherty -

Charles Sweeney (b. 17 Jul 1880), son of John Henry Charles Sweeney and Susannah Harvey, married Ruth Christmas Dobson (b. 25 Dec 1878) daughter of William Dobson and Sarah Ann Rowe, in Stepney in Q3 of 1906.

On 22 Jan 1896, Charles Sweeney of 1 Stephensons Cottages, Condor Street (his parents' address) had enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment, claiming to be 18 years and 6 months old. By my calculations, he was in fact, 15 years and 6 months old at that time. He was 5ft 5in tall, 116 lbs, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and black hair. On 19 Mar 1896 he transferred to the Royal Sussex Regiment and they hadn't worked out that he was telling porkies about his age, because he was listed as 18 years and 8 months. He'd managed to gain 5lbs weight to 121 lbs and grow to 5ft 5½in in the interim.

Appointed Lance Corporal on 6 May 1896, Charles reverted to Private at his own request on 26 May 1896, but was reappointed Lance Corporal on 18 Feb 1898. He served in India with the 2nd Battalion, for four years from 10 Nov 1898 until 11 Dec 1902. Ultimately promoted to Corporal, transferred to the Army Reserve on 18 Mar 1903. 

Interestingly, among next of kin, he lists his father, John, his mother, Susan; his elder brother Henry in the Royal Marines with HMS Rapid and his brother John 'address not known'. (No mention of Job, Thomas, nor his sisters.)

Charles and Ruth had two sons, both born in Poplar:
  1. Charles Stanley Sweeney b. 13 Oct 1906 Volume 01C Page 601
  2. Edward John George Sweeney b. 1913 J Quarter Vol 01C 1032
In 1911, Charles Sweeney (30) Warehouse labourer was living at 102 Hind Street, Poplar with Ruth Sweeney (31), Charles Stanley Sweeney (4), George Thomas Dobson (30) Brother-in-law and William John Bradley (45) Lodger.

In 1921, and still at 102, Hind Street, Poplar, were Charles Sweeney (40) Caretaker of the All Saints Institute, Newby Place, Poplar, working for Rev. C R Cotter Parish Rector of All Saints Church, Poplar (Claud Rutledge Cotter); with Ruth Christmas Sweeney (41), Charles Stanley Sweeney (14) Errand Boy; Edward John George Sweeney (8) and John Henry Sweeney (82) Retired, formerly Caretaker of the Poplar Institute. We read that, "After 1913 the workhouse became known as Poplar Institution", so it may well be that they're referring to and it looks like Charles has taken over his position.

In 1939, Charles Sweeney, Caretaker in Charge of Public Hall, was in the household of brother-in-law, John Stone, at 12 Leith Road, Mile End. Ruth Sweeney remained at 102 Hind Grove, Poplar, with her sister, Amy Dobson.

Ruth Christmas Sweeney died, aged 65, in 1945 M Quarter in POPLAR Volume 01C Page 293.

It appears that Charles Sweeney remarried in the 3rd quarter of 1945, in Bethnal Green to a Katie Trotter. (It's not known if her dad ever had a yellow Reliant Robin.) Actually, I've been unable to find out whether this was her maiden or a previous married name. Likewise, haven't found her death.)

Charles Sweeney died, aged 88, in 1968 in Stepney.

Once more we have two brothers who marry two sisters:
  • Charles Stanley Sweeney married Alice Agnes Coker (b. 22 Aug 1906) in Bethnal Green, in 1929. They had one son, Brian Charles Sweeney b. 6 Aug 1936. In 1939, Brian was evacuated to the Hall family at 1 Free Lane, Thwaite St Mary, Loddon, Norfolk. Brian Charles Sweeney of Toddington, Bedfordshire died at 40, on 27 Feb 1977, seemingly leaving a widow and three children. Alice Agnes Sweeney died in Luton, Bedfordshire, in 1997; Charles Stanley Sweeney died, also in Luton, on 7 Jan 2003, at 96. 
  • Edward John George Sweeney married Daisy Annie Coker (b. 5 Mar 1912), also in Bethnal Green, in 1934. Daisy Annie Sweeney died, in Waltham Forest, in 1999. Edward I've not isolated records for.