Friday, August 31, 2012



As I mentioned before I think, its not really the names and dates and how far back I can get that really is what interests me so much in my study of my family tree, but its the stories behind the names. Sometimes of course there is no family story thats been passed down, or no newspaper account of an event to help tell the story so its up to the records to tell the story for me. And with the POOLE family of Dawley the story is told quite nicely by the census records.

As Im a visual person I found it easier to tell this story in a layout ( be it all mainly journalling)

I borrowed the photo from the very interesting Dawley Heritage website .

After looking at all the census records I do believe that this photo was taken from very near where Richard Glazebrook POOLE lived and worked.

The address is described differently  in each census but its clear it was near the Elephant and Castle Hotel, in High Street and perhaps on the corner of Burton Street, which if my study of google maps and old photos is correct – is exactly where this photo is taken from.



The journalling on this layout reads as follows :

The Dawley and Ironbridge areas were the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Its rich seams of coal clay and ironstone meant that almost overnight its agriculturally based economy was transformed by vast additions of industrial settlements. From a small market down developed a thriving and busy town centre around Dawley Green which became the new town commercial centre. Dawley was home to the second largest Iron works in Great Britain and one of the first roller mills in the world. Half of all the furnaces and forges operating in East Shropshire were located within the Dawley Parish.
By the late 19th century though, with the iron industry in decline, the population had dropped markedly and there was considerable poverty. It remained an area notable for its areas of of abandoned industrial waste until the mid 20th century when it was redesignated and conglomerated and with other towns to become Telford.
It appears the POOLE Family have a long history in the Dawley area . Thomas POOLE(born 1730)my 6x great grandfather and his son John( born 1759) lived in nearby Brosely . John and wife Mary PARKER’s son Thomas Parker POOLE was at first a china painter in Madeley. He married Isabella GLAZEBROOK and by the time of the 1841 census aged 56 he was a hairdresser. This started a long family career in hairdressing, although by 1851 he was also the Dawley Town Crier, and at least 2 of his sons carried on with the family hairdressing business. Thomas died in 1853 and his son Richard Glazebrook POOLE ( my 3x great grandfather continued hairdressing from High Street Dawley.
I imagine one of the buildings in this photo may even have been his residence and business place. In 1901 at age 78 Richard is still listed as a hairdresser in the High street area.
By 1881 his son Ralph had set up his own Barber and Hairdressing business In Bridge Street quite near his fathers business, but by 1891 he appears to have left the business and is listed as a labourer (This would have been about the time of a severe decline in the economy in the Dawley area - perhaps not enough business for both in the area - but by 1901 Ralph is again back hairdressing but he has moved from Dawley to the larger more populated city of Derby where the history of the POOLE family continues.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An easy to use 6x4 album for your genealogy


  It doesn’t get much simpler than this – create your own 6x4 album to display your family history.
Simply open in a photo editor such as Photoshop Elements, drag a photo under the hole and resize to fit.
Add your text on top – save and print!!.

This easy to use 6x4 sized mini album is perfect for scrapbooking your family history. With pages suitable for journalling, and photos of both landscape and portrait orientations, beautifully embellished. Simply add your photo and text and print for a wonderful and inexpensive gift.
This album includes 8 separate pages and a bonus family tree page.


...More Information

Long Marriages

It seems I have in my family history many very long marriages.
My Great grandparents Phillip and Ellen Goodwin were married for more than 70 years!

The Journalling on this layout reads:
Just about to celebrate 70 years of marriage, Mr Phillip Goodwin says the secret lies in the old cliche, “early to bed, early to rise”.He is aged 96 and his wife Ellen is aged 91. They had a quite wedding in a country church near Matamata on January 6 “way back in 1909”.
In their Mt Albert unit, Mr and Mrs Goodwin still have fresh vegetables from their own garden. There are no meals on wheels for this couple. Mrs Goodwin still cooks and sews. And with eight grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, there are plenty to sew for.
On Saturday the Goodwins will celebrate with a family get together for afternoon tea. No alcohol for the couple - they would like to get to their 75th anniversary. Retirement to Auckland in 1945 did not mean a life of leisure for Mr Goodwin. Until he was 90 he helped his youngest sun in business.
sadly they did not make 75 years of marriage.
Nanna slipped and fell breaking her hip the
following year and died soon after .
Phillip, known to everyone as Da lived until
1986, aged an incredible 103.
and another set of Great Grandparents were married more than 50 years.

Journalling here reads:
Mr and Mrs W McClellan, Newton, who celebrate their golden wedding today, have lived in Wellington for most of the fifty years of their marriage which took place in Newtown on November 7 1900.Mrs McClellan was formerly Mrs Annie Elizabeth Grant.
Mr McClellan was well known in the newspaper printing trade being assicated with the "New Zealand Times" as a linotype operator: later he joined the "Hawera Star" and "Taihape Daily Times". On returning to Wellington he joined the staff of Henry Tombs Lt. being with this firm for approximately 25 years until his retirement.
Both in Wellington and Taranaki, Mr McClellan has taken a deep interest in music, He was one of the earliest members of the Brooklyn Glee Club which became the Wellington Harmonic Society and was an early conductor of the Central Mission Band in Wellington, of the Hawera Band , and both the men’s and women's choirs in Hawera. He was choirmaster of the Trinity Church Choir, Newtown for 20 years. Mr and Mrs McClellan have four children and seven grandchildren. There was a large gathering of friends and relatives in the Rio Grande Hall Mirimar, last night, to celebrate the wedding
My journalling - I would have loved to be a fly on the wall at this event, the Golden wedding anniversary of my Great Grandparents William and Annie McClellan. They were married at the turn of the last century in 1900, so this event must have been in 1950. Annie died not long after this, in 1953, and William survived another 12 years dying in 1965, after i was born, though i never met him.
I recently found a newspaper article from 1928 which mentions the diamond wedding anniversary of another set of ancestors, Elizabeth Middlebrook and George Douglas Hardy.
It seems that George was at one time chief attendant for the Whau Lunatic Asylum in Avondale Auckland, in the  late years of the 19th century.He later became a tea trader.  Clearly a very interesting man I believe I must do some more research on him soon!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Clown in the Family


Yes, Indeed I do have a clown in the family. He is my 1st cousin 3x removed. – Russell MIDDLEBROOK, otherwise known as Byko the Clown and often as Madame Fifi, to name just a couple of his alternative personalities.

Russell was born Charles Russell MIDDLEBROOK in 1908 , youngest son of James Thompson and Julia Ann MIDDLEBROOK.

(James Thompson is the younger brother of my 2x Great grandfather Samuel MIDDLEBROOK.

I know James Thompson was a carpenter  based in Matakohe for some time at the turn of the century, and Russell was born in the Northland area.

I found 2 articles about Russell in my Great Grandparents scrapbook


A wonderful clown Russell must have been because in 1983 he was awarded with a “Benny”. This is a recognition award from the  Variety Artists Club of New Zealand.

On their website they describe it as the highest honour that can be awarded to an entertainer in New Zealand ,




In my search for a little more information on Russell I came across these wonderful videos narrated by Russell himself



He performed in circuses in New Zealand and Australia and apparently was part of a group who entertained the American and local troops during WW2 .

There are quite a few home videos on youtube all narrated by Russell, they are a huge treasure – This one look like he is performing at Takapuna beach which is only a few minutes drive from where I live now!


You can see more of Russell’s home movies on you tube by searching either  his name or Byko.

They are a  real treasure trove for the amateur genealogist. How I wish I had known we were related when he was still alive.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Louisa Mary and William Grant


I made a layout using a photo I had of Louisa Mary and William Grant. I’m not sure that this is in fact a wedding photo, but she looks very young in this photo and so if it wasn’t a wedding photo it must be not much afterward.


I used my Lives Remembered Kit with a few pieces from Yesteryears Promise to complete this layout

The journalling reads :

Louisa Mary ABBOTT was just 16 when she married 22 year old William GRANT, a Scotsman from Fenwick, Ayrshire on July 21st 1876 at St Pauls Church Oamaru. They would go on to have 7 children, and she would be left a widow in 1906 when William would be killed in a tragic accident .

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I’ve seen my Grandfather for the first time.

Growing up as a child I never knew my paternal Grandfather. My Dad had emigrated from England in his 20s and really never spoke at all of his childhood . I knew a few things. I knew my Grandparents were divorced. I knew my Grandfather was an engineer or a scientist. I knew they lived in a big house.  I knew my Dad felt pressured by him to follow his career path and I knew my father rebelled against that.

I’m my early 20s I met my paternal Grandmother when she came to visit and I subsequently visited her in England and met other relatives there.

At the time I  didn’t have the same interest in my family history that i do now, mores the pity because I could have learned a LOT more.

In any case – I didn’t know what my Grandfather looked like, but now I do!

Early in this genealogy process I discovered my Grandfather had a sister who was still alive living in the US. I made contact and that  been one of the most exciting parts of this journey. Learning about a whole new part of my family that  I’ve never met.


Yesterday she sent me a few photos and included in them was one that has my Grandfather in it. That’s him on the far right


I certainly know now where I got my lack of height from!!- he wasn’t a tall man!!-

Interestingly I can see my father in him though not as much as I thought I would I can see my brother in him too.

This photo also includes my Great Grandparents Samuel and Edith POOLE. ( he is the older man in the middle and she is the woman in front of him.

There is another photo of them below. Meet Samuel Richard POOLE( 1882-1962), and Edith POOLE nee BENNETT(1885-1952)



As soon as I saw this photo I realised I already had a photo of Samuel. In the small bag of photos and documents I have of my fathers there was a photo of a man with 2 small children on his back . I had wondered if this was my grandfather but now I know it was in fact my Great Grandfather Samuel.


This line of my family is the line I really know the least about so its very exciting to be able to have these great photos.

Ill have to do some work on restoring these photos as  much as I can as they are quite precious to me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another name conundrum!

Oh my goodness – what is with all the name changes in my family. Today I have yet another name conundrum – and this one is NOT so easy to explain away with transcription errors .


You may recall my layout and post a while back on Mary Ann Goodwin ( nee Gleeson) .

Gleeson being a fairly common Irish name , and my  mother being most interested in Mary Ann’s history, my first step was to get a copy of the marriage certificate.  From August 1880 in NZ parents names were to be listed on the Marriage certificate, and I had found that James and Mary Ann were married in 1880 so I hoped I would get the information there, but as you can see below Mary Ann and James were married before August and so I didnt get much further in my quest for her parents with the marriage certificate.


Print image.tif (1 page)

However as you can see it clearly says Mary Ann Gleeson here. – and her obituary states she came out on the Brodick Castle from Ireland after spending her early life in Dublin.

The Brodick Castle arrived in Auckland in 1876.

The passenger list has in the list of single women passengers a Mary Gleeson aged 17 .  - There is no mention of anyone on the passenger list with the name Lester.

Why Lester you may ask.. well, in order to get more information on Mary Anns parents, I had to order her death certificate, and this arrived this morning



Check out the names of her parents… James and Mary LESTER … Oh my goodness, where on earth does Gleeson come from then??

One mystery is solved here though. Lester is a family name. My Great Grandfathers middle name is Lester, my grandfathers elder brother who died as a child had the name of Lester, and my mothers middle name is Lester. So now we know where that came from.. but where does the Gleeson come from .. How will I find out, and will I ever know??

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Children of Sarah Ann Abbott- Part one- Walter

In a previous post I showed a layout I had done using the obituary of Sarah Ann Abbott. In the obituary it mentioned she had outlived 8 of her children. How sad her live must have been to be so filled with grief.

She intrigues me greatly and so I decided to start researching those children who predeceased her.

Today I started with her youngest( that Ive found so far) – Walter James.

Walter James ABBOTT was born in around 1884, 7 years after the Abbott family had emigrated to New Zealand from Warwickshire England.

It seems from the small amount of information Ive managed to find about Walter today that he was a good scholar – Coming Second in Aggregate  marks, and second in  Arithmatic for Standard 3 boys, and  at Oamaru North School in 1894 .

He received the John Richardson  medal for proficiency in drill and physical exercise inat the Otago Normal School in 1897, and he was also listed as receiving certificates in the list of prizes reported for the Scholars examinations by the Otago Sunday School Teachers Urnion in 1896 and 1898.

In approximately 1904 Walter must have moved from Oamaru to Nelson, and lived with his mother Sarah Ann. He was employed ( probably by his brother in law William Grant) as a carpenter in the building of the St Marys Orphanage.

In November 1904, Walter was involved in a display of gymnastics in conjunction with the All Saints Institute.( A Gymnasium and institute for health and moral wellbeing of the youth of Nelson)

The following article taken from the Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XXXIX, Issue 215, 2 November 1904, Page 2 describes  one of  Walter’s last exhibitions


The members of the All Saints' Institute are to be heartily congratulated on the success of their  gymnastic exhibition given before a large and appreciative audience at the Theatre last evening, [he All Saints' Institute was founded in 1891 (and is at present the only public gymnasium in the city), and although connected with the AU Saints' Church, membership is open to both sexes of any I denomination. Since its commencement a large number of people hare received physical and moral benefit, and the recent large increase of members necessitates the enlargement of the gymnasium, to which purpose the proceeds of the present display are to be devoted. The feats gone through last evening by both sexes were particularly clever and daring, and reflects great credit on the instructor (Mr A. Stephens). The programme included a maypole dance dumb bells, trapeze, parallel bars, horizontal bar, Roman rings, wands, tumbling, vaulting, blindfold boxing, crocodile march, pyramids. club swinging and a musical march. The club swinging exhibition by Mr W. Abbott was decidedly clever, and he in conjunction with Mr C. Lay ton went through some daring feats, which met with prolonged applause. These two residents are not members of the Institute, but have helped the Society along considerably by giving exhibitions in public.
Mr Oakley, junior, caused a simmer of merriment  as a clown. ……….


From numerous newspaper reports though, it appears this may have been Walter’s last performance.


This from the Bush Advocate, Volume XVI Issue 561 November 8 1904

Walter Abbott, formerly of Oamaru, a carpenter, and a well-known athlete, died at the Nelson Hospital yesterday morning. He probably strained his heart. A post mortem is likely to be held. Abbott took a leading part in an athletic display in connection with All Saints' Institute gymnasium on Thursday night, and next day he complained of a tired feeling. He was no better on Thursday evening and went to the hospital, where he died.

A later article describes how Walter, feeing fatigued after the performance,”took to his bed and seemed to get gradually worse, so that he had to be removed to the Hospital where he was delerious and death came”.


Here is another article regarding Walters death



Apparently Malignant endocarditits is a form of bacterial infection of the heart.


malignant endocarditis
Acute bacterial endocarditis, usually secondary to suppuration elsewhere and running a fulminating course. ... Synonym: septic endocarditis. ...


So it appears poor Walter had some other infection that spread to his heart, and it was not the efforts from the gymnastic display that caused his death at all.


Walter died on November 7th 1904 , aged 21 and is  buried at Wakapuaka Cemetery in Nelson NZ.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Is this the same man???

Ive talked before about my Henry Goodrum/William Henry Goodwin  conundrum.

Well I may be a step closer on my trail to solving the mystery.

This week the very nice retired vicar at St Peters Church in Onehunga sent me a photocopy of the register of the marriage of Jane BOYD to Henry GOODRUM, from February 3rd 1842


The first thing that struck me about this document is that of the 5 people involved in the wedding, ( the Vicar, Bride, Groom and 2 witnesses) only 2 were literate. Those two being the Vicar Arthur  G Purchas, and the groom, Henry Goodrum.


The second thing that was of interest was the witness, Charles Goodrum because the Goodrum family in Gissing, Norfolk that I believe Henry came from included a Charles in the list of siblings . ( I still have to research the age of this Charles to see if the ages match– I have some more details on him that I discovered yesterday)

I have a copy of the signature of William Henry Goodwin, from late in his life, on the copy of his will that I found at Auckland Archives



SO my next task was to compare the signatures – Ive done this below



Apart from the obvious difference ( the addition of the name William) and the fact that the 2 signatures were written more than 50 years apart , there are some obvious similarities between the two. The formation of the H in particular really stood along with the capital G. – Also the fact that in both signatures there is no connection between the second o and the d – all lead me to believe that both documents were in fact signed by the same man.

What do you think??

Join in our Family History Chat–Thursday 10pm US eastern time

Our theme for the chat is “But what if I have few or no photos.. how do I scrap a layout?”

We will have lots of ideas on scrapbooking your family history, even if you have no photos at all of your ancestor.

Join us and receive this set of Metallic Style Family Group Sheet Titles free just for participating. No purchase required.

Join us at the DSP Chat room at 10pm Thursday August 9th ( US Eastern time) 

Free Printable Family Tree Fan Chart

If you are interested in Genealogy you might like to download this free printable Fan Chart style family tree.

You will need to be a member at DSP to view the freebies gallery ( but its free to join and its great fun!)


You can find the Fan chart here

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

An Indominable Spirit ( and a bit about the Salvation Army )


Today at speedscrap ( thats a challenge at DSP where we get an inspiration and scrap a layout based on it in a very short time) I completed this layout about my 3rd Great Grandmother Sarah Ann Abbot ( nee Allington)

This is another layout based on an Obituary.


I also have a story about how I came to identify her in this photo ( this is a part of a larger photo of 4 generations and I intend to scrap that photo in its entirety soon ) .

The other day when I was researching William Grant who I posted about yesterday, I came across the photo of him in the Cyclopedia of NZ – and immediately I knew I had a photo of the same man about the same time in his life- and it was this photo – he is also in  it with his wife Louisa , and then their daughter Annie Elizabeth with her husband William McClellan.

The only one of the previous generation still alive at that time must have been Louisa’s Mother – as William Grant arrived here on his own.

So.. here is Sarah Ann Abbott – a proud member of the Salvation Army.

In order to finish this layout I wanted to learn a little more about the Salvation Army history. I had no idea how deeply ingrained in the history of Oamaru that the Salvation Army were.

There is an article online from the Otago Daily Times which talks about the 125th anniversary of the Army in Oamaru from where I got my information.

It would seem the Abbotts must have joined the “Sallies” very early on in their history as the obituary mentions that she had been a member since” long ago”.

The most heart wrenching thing about this woman is the fact that according to the obituary she had to cope with the deaths of her husband and EIGHT of her children. ( Ive found the births of 12, Ive yet to research them all to find the causes of their demise.

Here is the journalling from the layout

Obituary- Mrs Abbott Oamaru
Death has again visited our little circle, and taken away one that will be very much missed. Mrs. Abbott has answered the cal, and is now safe in the arms of Jesus. She was an Army supporter of many years standing. Long ago, she, in company with her late husband, attended our meetings regularly, and helped on God’s work to the best of her ability, but unfortunately old age brought bodily affliction which prevented her from getting to the meetings during recent years. Mrs Abbott has had a very eventful life, but few have been called upon to pass through bereavement as often as our sister. Eight beloved children and her precious husband predeceased her. She was the happy possessor of an indomitable spirit, and repeatedly came through exceedingly painful afflictions, exhibiting a beautiful spirit of resignation to Go;s will and in spite of her many sorrows she was always ready to give her practical assistance where the need existed. Many homes have been brightened and many sad hearts cheered by her presence. The writer of of this very humble tribute has tender recollections of the kindly manner in which she assisted to alleviate the sufferings of one near and dear to him. Her last illness was of an exceptionally painful nature, but she displayed wonderful fortitude right throughout. Adjutant Brown and other comrades visited her very often, and assisted to bring a little blessing and help. She could always say very definitely that God never left her. Jesus was a very present help, and her bright testimony made it a decided pleasure to be in her presence. She passed peacefully away, surrounded by her loved ones, who had ministered so faithfully to their precious mother’s needs during her long illness. We will miss her cheery face, and her memory will be long cherished by a wide circle of relatives and friends. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the bereaved. The funeral was largely attended. Adjutant Brown conducted the service .- ERNEST AUSTIN
(From the War Cry, the Salvation Army weekly periodical)
The Abbott family must have been very early members of the Oamaru Salvation Army. The Army arrived in Oamaru in September 1882 trying to clean up” disorderly behaviour generated by a proliferation of bars and brothels, and were initially less than welcome additions to the community !The Salvation Army launched what it called its "opening attack" in Oamaru on September 2, 1883, but its methods of visiting bars, street preaching, singing and band-playing were not well received by hotel and bar owners.

Monday, August 6, 2012

William Grant–Builder

The last couple of days I’ve been researching my Great Great Grandfather William Grant.  He is the first of the Scottish side of my family that I have spent any time researching.

I still have lots of gaps in my research but what I know is that he was born in1852 in Fenwick, Ayrshire, Scotland to John Grant ( Limestone Miner) and Jean Love.

He was the 7th of 8 children that I’ve found so far, and it appears he emigrated to New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 24 when he married Louisa Abbot in Oamaru in the South Island .( I’m still hunting for some indication of what ship he arrived on and not having a lot of luck!!.

From what I’ve read he trained as a builder and was involved in building in Wellington before moving to Stoke Nelson.

I found his photo and an article about his building of the St Marys Orphanage in the 1906 Cyclopedia of New Zealand and decided this event warranted a layout.

Here is a transcript of the article which describes the Orphanage in great detail

St. Mary's Orphanage And Industrial School , Stoke, Nelson. This institution is charmingly situated amongst hills, with gigantic blue gums and fir trees in the background, and an unsurpassed view of the harbour and Mount Arthur in the distance. The building, which is one of the handsomest of its kind in New Zealand, is an admirable monament to the taste and talent of the architect, Mr. John S, Swan, of Wellington, and to the skill and workmanship of the Builder, Mr. William Grant, of Nelson. The style is slightly Romanesque; and the building, which is throughout of brick, on concrete foundations, has plaster facings, with five gables showing to the front, and is roofed with Marseilles tiles. The length of the building is 240 feet, depth 157 feet, and the average height of the rooms, of which there are thirty-five, is fifteen feet. Special attention has been paid to lighting, two wells having been placed in the centre for that purpose, and each room contains far more than the number of windows generally found in such institutions. To ensure perfect ventilation, Boyle's fan ventilators have been installed, and huge fireplaces have been built in the principal rooms to ensure the comfort of the inmates. There are three class rooms, each 22 feet 6 inches by 22 feet; a dining hall 43 feet 6 inches by 25 feet; two dormitories, 82 feet by 36 feet and 75 feet by 35 feet 9 inches, each containing 50 beds. Off these rooms there are dressing rooms, and a lavatory measuring 48 feet by 12 feet 6 inches, with a three-inch table running nearly the length of the room, with a pipe earrying running water, and a tap for each of the numerous bowls on either side of the table, A channel down the centre of the table carries away the water, and there are six large bath tubs with a supply of hot and cold water. The dressing room is fitted with lockers, wardrobes, and hanging presses. Over 257 feet of corridors with a width of 8 feet, run through the building, and in all the rooms and halls there is a five-feet dado. A little to the left of the centre of the building there is a chapel and sacristy, over which there is a bell tower, which rises to a height of about 60 feet from the ground. A beautiful memorial window has been placed in the chapel to perpetuate the name of the late Very Rev. Dean Mahoney. Thirteen concrete steps lead up to the main entrance, with a reception room on the right and an office on the left; and a beautiful arch spans the vestibule. To the rear and detached from the main building, there is further accommodation, which includes a hospital containing a ward 36 feet by 18 feet, the nurse's rooms, a Kitchen a bathroom, and a lavatory. All the bricks used in the creation of the Home were made in the kilns on the property, on which brickmaking has become an important industry. The hop fields connected with the Home have averaged as high as half-a-ton to the acre. The property is nearly 700 acres in extent, and has its own private reservoir. There are ninety-two boys at the school. The Rev. George Mahony is at the head of the institution, and is ably assisted by Mr. and Mrs. William Fitzgerald, and a staff of secular teachers.





William became Clerk of Works for Cooper and Co Construction Company and was tasked with building the new Post Office Tower for Nelson.

It was to be the cause of his demise. While trying to save a bricklayer from falling from scaffolding, William fell 15 feet hitting his head on the joists on the way down.

He survived the fall but died a few months later, the cause of death on the death certificate lists Verdict by Jury- Death by Pneumonia bought on through an accident at New Post Office Nelson.

That accident and his family life ( when he married his wife Louisa was just 16) certainly will be the focus of another layout very soon.

I’m hoping to discover a bit more about his arrival and his early days in New Zealand if I can first.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Farrer/Farrar Mystery

This mystery is the one that got me interested in genealogy in the first place.
My 3x Great grandmother ( her will was the one in the layout I posted a couple of days ago) was Ellen Farrer . From what Ive researched her father was one Benjamin Farrer – Clock and Watchmaker from Pontefract Yorkshire.
Multiple members of my family have been told the story of how Ellen ( and thus we her decscendants)  were related to Frederick Willam Farrer,who was the Arch Bishop and Dean  of Canterbury , and then also to his grandson WW2  British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery .

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Interestingly it wasn’t one of the Farrer family who told me of this connection. It was my great Grandfather Phillip Goodwin who was so proud of the connection through his wife , who was the granddaughter of the Ellen Farrer mentioned above.
I recall a family tree he drew in my childhood ( sadly this has long been lost) which tracked the path from Frederick Farrar to me. ( I did wonder how it was we had fallen quite so far down the Ecclesiastical Tree!) but I dont remember much from that family tree at all and I have no idea where the information came from. I have a vague recollection  he copied it from a family bible at some point.

Well now I’ve got involved in genealogy myself, one of my first missions was to find that connection between Ellen Farrer and Frederick William Farrar.
Sadly I haven’t found one iota of evidence to prove it.
It appears the Farrer family that Ellen is descended from had resided for generations in Pontefract and many of them were Watchmakers .
Benjamin, 1788- 1877 married Ellen Thompson ( which is likely why at least 3 of Ellen Farrer’s children carry the Thompson name as a middle name)
The 1841 and 1851 censuses have Benjamin listed as a Clock maker at the Beast Fair .
His father was John Farrer ( christened 1745), various horology interest websites list John as a Clock maker as well .
I haven’t managed to go back any further than John at this point.

The family tree of Frederick William Farrar is quite well established. On researching it one name popped out at me – that of his father Charles Pinhorn Farrar. I remember this name from the family tree my great grandfather had written for me. How, if there is no truth to the connection between the 2 families did my Great Grandfather know, back in the 1960s ,( well before the internet)  the details of Frederick Farrar’s family? – I recall he also had listed Maud Farrar, the daugther of Frederick William. I wish I could remember more…
As yet I can find absolutely no connection between the two families. – One thing is clear – more research is required if I’m to ever solve this mystery.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Free Printable Fan Chart

Our first Family History themed chat is tonight ( 2nd August) at 10pm in the DSP Chat room .


Ive created this printable Fan Chart for all those who participate in the chat


Just come along and say hi, and I will send you a link to download this chart after the chat.

A Grave and a Will

When I visited Archives in Auckland last week, I was really excited to find a will handwritten by Ellen Middlebrook, my 3x Great Grandmother.

It was an old photo of her gravestone that got my interested in Genealogy in the first place, and I had not long before found her grave myself. It is still standing at Purewa Cemetery in Auckland, and beside her grave is that of one of her sons James Thompson Middlebrook.  From the cemetery plans it appears there was one other person buried in this family plot but no gravestone exists and there is no record of who it might be.


There are numerous challenges to create layouts for Family History Month at DSP and one of them was to do a scrapbook layout about a grave.

Im sure I will be doing more layouts of grave sites as I find more, but here is one I did today.


This is the last Will and testament of me Ellen Middlebrook Widow of the CIty of Auckland in the colony of New Zealand.. I give and bequeath to my children here- after mentioned. To my daugther Jane Thompson, the wife of Hector McRae the sum of fifty pounds sterling for her sole use and benefit, and to my sons Benjamin Middlebrook and John Middlebrook the sum of fifty pounds sterling and to my sons Samuel Middlebrook and James Thompson Middlebrook, the like sum of fifty pounds sterling held by them in promissary notes and to my daughter Elizabeth Hardy the wife of george Douglas Hardy the sum of fifty pounds sterling held by GD Hardy her husband on promissary note and the remainder of any monies possessed by me at the time of my death to be divided into six equal portions and given to my six children before named. And the piece of land belonging to me at Tawhio KatiKati to be sold on the decision of the majority of my children and the proceeds to be divided equally among my six children before named and George Douglas Hardy and John Middlebrook of Auckland to be executors of this my will . Signed by Me Ellen Middlebrook in the presence of us present at the same time who in their presence and in the presence of each other and subscribe our names as witnesses hereto. Withnes my hand this 27th of February 1892
Ellen Middlebrook
What a treasure to find the hand written will of my great great great Grandmother at Archives in Auckland. I wonder about the differences in the delivery of the money to the daugthers - clearly one daughters husband was not at all in favour!
Ellen Middlebrook’s grave still stands proudly at Purewa Cemetery
with her son James Thompson Middlebrook

I created this layout using my Ties to the Past Kit Plus