I wasn’t sure that I had a family history story that met this week’s theme … until I started to review my Holborow ONS entries for the 1851 census and realised I’d missed an entire spelling variant in my search! And – as usual – the Holborows (or Holbrows in this instance) managed to come up trumps – and drive me right round the buggering twist!
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin …
One of my favourite things about researching family history is getting to the bottom of a mystery – even if the mystery comes from a find in a record that initially just makes you sit up and go “Mmm?”.
Such as it was when I came across a census entry for a family enumerated as Holbrow-Burgess. A double-barrelled Holborow?! What?! I had never come across this before. Of course, several female-line Holborow families have used it as a middle name, but was this what was happening here?
I assembled my detectoring kit in a bid to find out – and discovered more than I had bargained for …
Do you ever have “Duh! How could I have not seen that?!” moments? No, me neither. Ahem. And of those moments – which I definitely don’t have – this is very much not one of those moments … if you see what I mean!
But it’s a bit of a reminder for me in terms of checking other sources when confronted with brick walls and blind alleys. And nobody needs to be ashamed to have such kicks up the metaphorical behind. It’s a good thing to flex those research muscles.
Even if the result does make you smack your forehead …
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).
Quite an eye opening find.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a 52 Ancestors post. Not because I haven’t wanted to, just because I’ve had a lot going on of late. But I have time, and this one seemed to match up with some newspaper articles that I’d come across recently in my ever-expanding hunt for Holborow stories.
And the story has nothing whatsoever to do with the Earl’s Romance in the cover photo (the Earl in question there being George Hay, 14th Earl of Kinnoull who is pictured with his [first] wife, Enid Margaret Hamlyn Hamilton-Fellowes – George himself would die aged just 35 of pancreatic cancer) and everything to do with the Heroic Life Sacrifice.
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.
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.
I’m behind on my 52 Ancestors posts and out of sync with my Holborows in … series, but I recently ordered and received a pair of death certificates for some Ethelberts, and one of which has lead to a bit more surprising information and reopened an internal debate about sharing historical terms and language which was once considered acceptable but is now most definitely not.