Wednesday, 17 May 2017

What Happens to Jane Lewin? Died or Divorced or Something Else?

When I first found Minnie Pagett marrying Henry Lewin in 1898 I probably believed what it said on their marriage certificate.
1898 marriage of Henry and Minnie at Wakefield Cathedral
I added it to the OH's family tree in 2009 after my great break-through which I related in my two posts about his great grandmother Edith Alice, here and here. Henry Lewin is 37 years old and says he is a bachelor, Minnie is 26 years old and says she is a widow.  Odd now I look back at it that an older unmarried man would marry a young single mother . My theory was that Minnie said she was a widow to explain the babe in arms that was Edith Alice, no more than two months old at the time.
1891 census for Stanley Common, Derbyshire (thanks to Ancestry)
Since then I have worked out that Henry was fibbing too! He had been married long enough to produce two sons, William and Albert, who are living with him and his first wife Jane in Stanley, Derbyshire in 1891.  This means that when Henry married Minnie he had at least two small sons for her to take care of in addition to her own child. That makes more sense actually, I assumed for a long time that Jane had recently passed away in 1898 and that Henry had remarried to obtain a housekeeper and child care. But why did he say he was a bachelor?

Following the email from a Lewin relative the other night I started looking back into Henry's history.  As he is not a direct ancestor of the OH this is not something that I had done before. My correspondent noted that Henry and Jane had married in 1887 in Wales ... Oh dear, I had them down as marrying in early 1888 in Nottingham because, as you can see above both say they were born in Hertfordshire and William was not born until late 1888.  I had missed the clue that William was born in Wales!
1887 index entry from FreeBMD

So this is the marriage I should have put in the OH's tree.  Henry's first wife's surname at the time of this marriage was Symons.

I was able to cross check this using the new online GRO indexes.  William James Lewin was born  in the September quarter of 1888 in the Neath Registration District and his mother's maiden name was Symons.  Great, a match, well done me! 

Sadly things do not continue as straightforwardly.  Searching using the criteria of surname Lewin and Symons as the mother's maiden name I found a boy, George Henry, born in the Merthyr Tydfil District in Q4 1889 and another, William John, born in the Penzance District in Q2 1891.  Umm, probably not both the family I am looking for as they wouldn't have two sons called William.  It seems there was another Lewin/Symons marriage in Yarmouth in 1884.  I must take that into account. 

A child called George Henry Lewin dies in the Pontypool District in Q4 1896 aged 7 years (or possibly months, you have to be careful with the GRO indexes as this can be an error with the transcriptions).  But no, FreeBMD concurs, he was 7 years old.  So where was he in 1891 when Henry and Jane were in Derbyshire? Staying with grandparents or other relatives maybe. A search of the 1891 census on Ancestry has not turned up any stray 2 year old children called George Lewin, so I am a bit baffled by this. 

We also know that Henry and Jane have a 9 month old son in the 1891 census, Albert E Lewin born in Derbyshire in 1890, but I didn't find him in my search with Symons as mother's maiden name.
1890 GRO index entry for Albert E Lewin born in Derbyshire
Ah, here he is.  The only record that fits is for Albert Edward Lewin, born Q3 1890 in the Shardlow District, mother's maiden name James!  Err .... what, this can't be right. To check this I went back to first principles and looked at the actual images of the pages of the 1887 GRO marriage indexes to make sure there wasn't a misprint in the Volume and Number.  But no, both Henry Lewin and Jane Symons are Q3 Pontypridd 11a 597 as FreeBMD states. Two Jane James do get married in Wales that quarter, but neither in Pontypridd.

Does this mean Henry married two girls called Jane? One called Symons and one called James? There is no evidence on FreeBMD that Henry Lewin ever married anyone with the surname James but it could have been her maiden name and Symons was a married name. They then declared Symons for William by mistake and put it right for the rest of the children. Or really bad handwriting! Ok, there are no Jane James born in Hertfordshire in 1867 or thereabouts so the stated birthplace on the 1891 census must have been an enthusiastic ditto mark. There are lots born in Wales, far too many guess which is the right one. I couldn't find a Jane James marrying anyone called Symons.

A selection of Online trees for Henry Lewin
Sometimes when I get really stuck I start looking at other people's family trees on Ancestry.  You should never depend on other people's research until you have double checked it for yourself, but a clue or a point in the right direction can often break down a brick wall.  There are at least ten uploaded family trees for Henry Lewin born 1861 in Hertfordshire and they all have him marrying Jane James in 1887. How can they all have ignored the evidence of the marriage indexes?  And why has no-one sent for the certificate!

Each tree of the trees shown here have Henry marrying Jane James in 1887 and Minnie Paget in 1898. They are all a little confused by Minnie's two Lewin daughters (I'm not surprised) as seen on the 1901 census. Three of the trees show that Henry and Jane have five children scattered across England and each tree shows all their exact birth dates but doesn't give sources for these.  So somebody somewhere knows more than they are sharing online. Then suddenly Jane apparently remarries in September 1898 to a Joseph Traunter in Warwickshire and goes off to have more children by him, while Henry is simultaneously getting set up with Minnie in Wakefield.  It is impossible to see which of these trees is the original, they are so similar they must have copied each other. I suppose with a slightly shady tree (ha!) like this the family members are probably being cautious about sharing official documents.

So, let's look at the other purported Lewin children:
Eliza born in 1892 in Durham - supported by the GRO which gives us an Eliza Lewin born in Q2 1892 in the Stockton District mmn James
Alice born in 1894 in Nottinghamshire - there's an Alice Lewin born in Basford District in Q4 1894 mmn Symonds according to the GRO.
Arthur born in 1896 Coventry - could be the Arthur born in Tamworth District in Q4 1896 mmn Simonds.  Tamworth was on the border with Warwickshire and could have included some parts of Coventry. There is another Arthur born Q1 1896 in the Coventry District but he clearly turns up in 1911 still in Coventry with parents Alfred George Lewin and Margaret. 

CWGC gravestone for A Lewin in Pontefract Cemetery
(from an Ancestry Online Tree)
The search for Arthur Lewin born 1896 turned up links to a CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) gravestone picture from Pontefract Cemetery.  It gives details a man in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry who died on 12 October 1916 aged 20. You know how I like a WW1 soldier, so I do hope he's related!

That takes me back to the email I got from the OH's distant relative.  She mentioned that Albert Edward Lewin was killed at the Somme in 1916.  I had not previously taken any notice of Albert (b.1890 in Derbyshire) as he doesn't appear on the 1901 census in Wath on Dearne after Henry is married to Minnie although older brother William does.
Arthur Lewin's CWGC entry
A search of the CWGC index for these two names gives a few clues.  Arthur Lewin's entry tells us quite plainly that his mother was Jane Traunter (formerly Lewin) and his father was the late Harry Lewin.  This fits with the entries on the online trees which state that Jane Lewin remarried to Joseph Traunter.
Albert Edward Lewin's CWGC entry
Albert Edward's entry is not so helpful. But it does partially confirm what my correspondent said.

Striking out now to try to find out how Jane (Symons or James, later Traunter or Tranter) managed to get herself from Derbyshire to Castleford via another marriage in Warwickshire.
1911 census snip for 18 Wainwright Yard, Castleford (from Ancestry)
In 1911 she is living at 18 Wainwright Yard in Castleford with Arthur Lewin born in Tamworth, Warwickshire in 1896/7 , which fits the CWGC record.  She says she is 44 years old, which makes her born in 1867 which tallies with the 1891 census. She was born in Inurthys (?) Glamorgan. She has been married for 13 years, so that agrees with the Online Tree suggestions of 1898. She has had six children to this marriage but only two are still alive. Other children in the household are eighteen year old Eliza Lewin, born in Trimedon, Durham (fits the other children mentioned by the online trees), twelve year old Clara Traunter born in Bedworth, Warwickshire and five year old Walter Traunter, born in Castleford.

I was able to find an entry on FreeBMD for a Jane James marrying Joseph Tranter in Q3 1898 in Foleshill District, which is in Warwickshire and contains Bedworth where Clara was born in Q1 1899.
1901 census snip for 12 Nicholson Street, Castleford (from Ancestry)
Backtracking to 1901, which was quite a task, I found this entry for the O'Riley family. The names and ages of the children and their birth counties fit with the 1911 census, plus we have Albert Edward, born in Derbyshire and Alice born in 1894/5 in Nottinghamshire also present.  I had commented that he wasn't with Henry Lewin in 1901 - because he was with his mum in Castleford. 

Jane now gives her age as 40 and says she was born in Cardiff, which is in Glamorgan. But who on earth is Michael O'Riley, aged 54 and born in Ireland, to whom she is apparently married? And where has Joseph Tra(u)nter gone? Was this just an alias?  The age of the man matches the age of Joseph Traunter at his death in 1928 when he was buried from Paradise Gardens (the name for the workhouse in Pontefract).  Jane Traunter is living in an Alms House in 1939 in Micklegate, Pontefract and dies from there in 1945.

Bearing in mind that divorce was really not often possible for working people in the 1890s it seems that both Henry Lewin and Jane Lewin (nee Symons or James) may have been committing bigamy. Note that I say 'may'; if anyone has proof of a different version of this story please, please get in touch.  As there are so many Online Trees I assume there are lots of descendants of Henry, Jane, and Joseph who are all trying to resolve these questions. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A New Light on the Lewin family

Last night I received an email from a lady who had read some of my blog posts, probably specifically this one about William Lewin that I wrote nearly four years ago. I had known that the OH's great grandmother Edith Alice's first step father had died in 1901 but I had been unable to find out why or where at the time.  My correspondent told me that he had drowned in the Tinsley Canal and in her second email she sent a newspaper cutting.
Tuesday 23 April 1901 Yorkshire Telegraph and Star
Henry's address fits with the address I found the family at in the 1901 census, No 10 Court 1, Doncaster Road, Wath on Dearne.  Nash Row was the name given to a long street of houses built just south of Manvers Main Colliery No.2 pit between 1868 (when the shaft was first sunk) and 1881 (when apparently 246 people were living there). My information comes from the back of my Manvers Main 1901 Alan Godfrey map.  There are a lot more Yorkshire records online now than there were four years ago so I was quickly able to find Henry's burial on 25 April 190 at Wath on Dearne in the Yorkshire Burials on Find My Past. It didn't tell me anything more than the newspaper report had done though I was inspired to search the rest of the FMP records for any other mentions of the Lewin family. Nope, nothing relevant except a marriage I already had.

Minnie Lewin remarries within the year to Albert Green (later George Albert Green) at St Margaret's parish church in Swinton. Her address in March 1902 is 35 Temperance Terrace which is less than two miles away.  I already had this certificate having sent for it many years ago (2009) when I was first trying to sort out the problem of Edith Alice and her mum. Now available as part of my FMP subscription!
1911 census snip for the Green Family at 5 Packman Road, West Melton (from Ancestry)

By 1911 Minnie and George Albert Green are at 5 Packman Road in West Melton, about three miles from Swinton in the Barnsley direction. Living with them are Alice Lewin (who is actually Edith Alice Pagett, born before Minnie's marriage to Henry), Ada Lewin (Minnie's only legitimate child with Henry Lewin), Maud Elizabeth (born in the December quarter of 1902 in Swinton), Minnie (birth registered March quarter 1905 in West Melton) and Richard Albert Green (born March quarter 1910 in West Melton).  Confusingly George states that they have been married for 15 years, which is a fib, as they only married in 1902! He also declares that they have lost one child, whom I know was George Albert Green, who was born and died in 1907. 

I had previously been able to find George and Minnie in the Electoral Rolls in Barnsley after the First World War.  They were living at 28 Albion Road, Stairfoot in 1919 and 1930.  In the intervening four years the 1939 Register has been released on Find My Past so today I followed them up on that as well. Their address on 29 September 1939 was 8 Lambert Walk, Kendray, Barnsley.  George was a Retired Boiler Fireman and both his and and Minnie's birth dates are given, details I hadn't had before.

Minnie died in 1941 and George in 1945 and both are buried in plot E 251 at Ardsley Cemetery. The OH and I once went out there to take a look but sadly there is no headstone marking their grave.

Well, that has nicely tidied up the OH's connection to the Lewin family but in the process I did a lot more digging around to find out more about Henry and his first wife and it was very complicated to say the least.  More later!



Sunday, 2 April 2017

Over the Boundary - Kilner Family Connections to Pubs in Chapeltown, Sheffield

I generally start a blog post with an idea for a story from my family history, my reading or something I've seen on television. I hardly ever have a plan and often I use the process of writing about my family history to help me identify what I know and what I don't know about a family. Those are the posts I tag as 'Research Methods' because I write about the places I have looked, the searches I have done and what I have or haven't found.  They do tend to be a bit long and rambling, but I hope you find them useful.

However every now and then I write for an hour or so and realise I haven't told the story I started off with.  Rather than continue rambling on I will finish the post saying that a sequel is likely.  And I might I nip back to the beginning of the post and edit the introductory paragraph to make more sense, given what I have actually written!

The last post I published was one of those instances - I began to write about Private John William Kilner from Chapeltown and then realised that I needed more time to explain his family. At the end of the that post I mentioned that I had found a picture online of the White Horse Hotel where he and his family lived in Chapeltown.  I have now been given permission to use the photo on my blog (my thanks to Christine at the Ecclesfield District Archive for helping me with this).
Railway Bridge, White Horse Hotel and Wagon & Horses pub in Chapeltown Market Place
(photo with permission from the Chapeltown & High Green Archive)
The White Horse Hotel is the low building nearest to the railway bridge. It has the look of railway offices or related buildings, I am not a railway historian, but from its position I imagine it must post date the railway line as it is too close to have been built around. If you are at all familiar with Chapeltown you will know that the Wagon and Horses, the white painted building on the right of the picture above, is now a Wetherspoons pub and is a much larger, probably early 20th century, building.  Between that pub and the railway bridge there are modern shop units backing onto ASDA, dating from the 1970s or 80s I guess.
Chapeltown today (from Google Maps)
The market place is now a large busy roundabout and road traffic signs block the view whichever way you look. 

The Kilner family have close links to two pubs in the Chapeltown and High Green area.  In 1851 the great grandfather of my soldier was a butcher and inn keeper at High Green.  William Kilner (b.1806) was listed as a butcher only in 1841 so running a pub was a new business for him. By 1861 the pub is being run by his son James Kilner (b.1833) and it has a name, the White Hart Inn.  I found an interesting account in the Sheffield Independent dated 30 March 1861. It seems that William became bankrupt in 1860, but had managed to transfer his property to James some years before the declaration of the bankruptcy. The authorities were taking a very dim view of this and were trying to work out if it had been a legal transfer or not.
1855 map of High Green, Sheffield (from National Library of Scotland)
I was able to find the White Hart Inn on an old map on the National Library of Scotland website.  The area is very rural with more housing in Mortomley than High Green. 

Sadly a Google search of the area now suggests that housing has covered the place where the White Hart once stood.  A photo in the Picture Sheffield collection shows a modern style pub called the White Hart at 101 Wortley Road in the 1970s or 80s.  

James Kilner remains at the White Hart Inn in 1871, his children now include William aged 7 (b.1864).  William plans to becomes a butcher like his father and grandfather and in 1881 he is living and working as an apprentice with his uncle John Kilner (b.1819) in Wortley. John is the local butcher, grocer, draper and runs the post office, he employes two men and 3 boys, including William.

Family history is a like a jigsaw puzzle, why would William be living with his uncle in 1881, why not learning his trade from his father James in High Green?  Well, sadly, James had passed away, aged just 45. I was able to find the index to his Probate record on Ancestry.

"18 November 1878 - The Will of James Kilner late of High Green in the Parish of Ecclesfield in the County of York Licensed Victualler who ided 6 October 1878 at High Green was proved at Wakefield by William Kilner of Wortley in the said County Butcher and Grocer and William Hague of High Green Cordwainer the Executors." 

His widow Sarah is still living in High Green in one of a set of sixteen houses called 'Kilners Houses' in the census of 1881. She is living on her own means in 1891 suggesting a pension or investments that are giving her enough to live on.
1894 map of High Green (from National Library of Scotland)
There are also groups listed on the 1881 census in High Green called Darwins Houses, Chambers Houses, Briggs Houses, Bamforths Houses and many more, suggesting a lot of locally funded building had been carried out in the area in the past few years.  Many of the houses are lived in by coal miners. We can't see the names of the rows in the map snip above from 1894 but we can see how many more houses there are compared to 1855. If James Kilner had invested in providing houses for the men coming to work in the new mines that would have given the family some financial security and provided Sarah with money to live on after James' early death.
1891 marriage of William Kilner and Mary Savage in Barnsley

On 5 April 1891 William Kilner, the young butcher, last seen living with his uncle in Wortley, marries Mary Savage, daughter of John Savage, Inn Keeper, in St Mary's church in Barnsley.  In 1871 John Savage had been the Market Toll Collector in Barnsley, following the family tradition of service to the borough. Oddly in 1891 he is the landlord of the White Hart in High Green!

I haven't a clue (yet!) what is going on in John Savage's life. He is still, apparently, married but not living with his wife. There is a widowed housekeeper and four other servants in the pub including three 'Professional Pianists'. The only family member living with him is his grandson Percival Savage aged 9.  Note to self: revisit this family sometime.
So I don't know how William met Mary, maybe when her father took on the White Hart, maybe during the course of his work as a butcher he moved to Barnsley.  They both give Doncaster Road in Barnsley as their address, but that could have been the address of a relative (probably that of her brother William Savage the assistant Sanitary Inspector) for the sake of convenience for the marriage.

By 1901 William and Mary Kilner are settled in the White Horse Hotel in Market Place, Chapeltown.  They have two children, John William aged 8, who becomes our soldier, and Annie aged 5. There are also two servants in the house.   The family are still in the pub in 1911 and as we know, still there in 1915 when John's death is reported in the Barnsley Chronicle (see previous post). 

I left this post in draft form for several days, but now I've decided to post it anyway.  I think I've answered my own questions about how the Savages and the Kilners interact and the information about the pubs in Chapeltown was interesting, if incidental. My thanks again to the Chapeltown & High Green Archive for permission to use the White Horse Hotel image. 

Back to my WW1 soldiers, lots to do and never enough time to do it!

Thanks for reading.