Fun topic for a mid-week evening quick blog, right?!
I know that I’m not the only one who trawls through newspaper archives searching for mentions of ancestors and other family members. So it was quite the surprise when I first came upon an article – somewhat calmly – stating that a James Holbrow had been killed by an employee of his in Willesden (north west London).
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this here, but over the last fortnight or so I’ve been shamelessly copying inspired by a friend to compile a ‘death tree’ to note any scary threads in my ancestors’ causes of death. Suffice to say that my mother’s side really need to be heart healthy – despite there being a number of ‘gaps’ on her American side.
On my search for death certificates, I realised that I hadn’t finished the story about my father’s grandfather, Everett Payne, and nor had I found an online death certificate for him. So I went hunting …
I won’t be mad if you quietly sing the Captain Scarlet theme under your breath (but only if you robotically say “and the Mysterons” out loud). Or even Captain Planet, if you’re gonna take pollution down to zero. But I digress. Sometimes you come across people who appear fully-formed in a set of records, whisked into existence as if by magic, because somehow they are where they are, but seem to have been nowhere before this. I suppose you could call this a brick-wall. However, today’s shining example of this isn’t an ancestor of mine – nor I suspect related to me at all – but his story was too extraordinary not to share – in fact, it made the annals of Australian maritime history!
A year ago this week I wrote about a family who appear in records as Holborows but were, in fact, Neals. Long story short – their familial middle name of Holborow had replaced their documented surname of Neal. But whilst researching the origins of a different line of Holborows from the Wiltshire market town of Chippenham I came across a similar conundrum where the Holborow (or rather, Holbrow in this instance) line disappears, only to potentially be replaced. Unless I’m going mad. Which is a distinct possibility around these parts …!
I have recently been on a bit of a mission (prompted by a friend) to complete my collection of certificates for all my ancestors. As half of my ancestry is, as I have mentioned before, American, my immediate focus is on the UK half. (That’s not to say that certificates for my American ancestors are impossible to come by, it’s just that it will take a bit more thought – and perhaps the judicious use of my American relations and international money transfers!)
The death certificate for my 4 x great-grandmother Maria Holborow (nee Haynes) was a bit of a puzzler and the search for it was the root of this post: an unexpected find.
This is a continuation of my previous post about researching a little deeper into the family of my grandfather (step-grandfather if you want to be precise), all kicked off as he would’ve been 100 a few months ago. I’d half-heartedly poked and prodded the Frysol name, but had put off doing the one thing that would’ve been actually useful: contacting any archives in Germany for more information (not strictly true, I did email one once but didn’t get a response!). So I knuckled down and found out the best route to get what I wanted …
Yes, I’m stretching the definition of ‘America’ again to include continental North America and not simply the USA. There aren’t a lot of Holborows who ventured into the Great White North, although there is an intriguing William “Holbrough” enumerated in the 1870 US census living in Dakota Territory who alleges to have been born in Canada c. 1847. He was later coroner of Charles Mix County, as well as superintendent of schools and then the county collector before being “lynched” by some of his associates, and is buried beside Snake Creek, Charles Mix County, South Dakota. Or at least so his (unsourced) entry on Findagrave says … which is born out by a quick search of Newspapers.com:
I’ve not been great with my blogging this year. I think I’ve only done one or two 52 Ancestors this year, and my Holborows in … series have kind of ground to a halt. Although slow and sporadic, my research continues onwards. Lately I’ve been focussing on one branch of the Holborows from the Wiltshire parish of Luckington (which – of course – is not one branch at all). This was all prompted by reviewing my transcriptions of Holborows in the 1841 census to see if I have them all – can I identify them and their family groups? Are they in my tree? And I came across a Daniel – it is always a damn Daniel – whose parental line I couldn’t place. He is worthy of a post all his own, so maybe we’ll have a little … double dip.
From there I moved onto a resource that I have overlooked – past tense – the most in my research: Wills. A good will is an amazing thing to find, especially in those years before General Registration and you’re reliant on Parish Registers to hypothesise relationships. Of course, that’s assuming you get a “good” will – and by that I mean one that names people and relationships. Of course, sometimes you just get a list of names, sometimes you get a cat’s home. But sometimes you get one that enables you – with a little bit of digging – to make some fantastic connections, even if you have to compare and connect other wills from the same area.
To be totally honest, this post is less about the curiosity of someone called George and more my curiosity about someone called George and the sheer madness and frustration researching him has brought me! It is absolutely typical that he is to be found hanging on my father’s English side of the family tree – and is an elder brother of my grandmother, Norah. This group of children – the family of Emily Alice Palmer – always somehow infuriate me!