Wednesday 26 February 2020

Brampton Parish Hall Roll of Honour, Cortonwood War Memorial and a Name Listed Twice in the Same Census

I am continuing my research into the men named on the Roll of Honour (RoH) at Brampton Parish Hall. A recent contact with a retired member of the Parish Council did not really shed any light on its provenance but we have agreed to meet face to face along with an interested local historian to see if we can work it out.  My contact was under the impression that the Roll of Honour was a forerunner to the 'Cortonwood Cenotaph' as he called the memorial now situated outside the Parish Hall. However of the 100 men named on the Brampton Parish Hall RoH (I will continue to call it this for now, but the current Parish Hall is not old enough to have been the original home of the document) only 58 men (including some possibilities with common surnames) are listed on the massive Cortonwood memorial. 

Cortonwood Colliery war memorial and memorial to the Colliery 1873 to 1985.
The Parish Hall is the low brick building behind on the right.
Cortonwood Colliery War Memorial
As a result of the current investigation I was prompted to complete a task that has been on my 'to do' list for some time. This was a transcription of the names of the men who served listed on the Cortonwood Colliery memorial, as only the names of the Fallen appear on the Barnsley War Memorials Project's page for the memorial. I started this as a Microsoft Word document but it soon became apparent that keeping my place amid the host of names as I typed required some kind of double checking system so I decided to lay it out in an Excel spreadsheet in columns as presented on the memorial. This way I could check the rows of names for accuracy as well as the columns. I did make a few mistakes, but the new system enabled me to spot them fairly quickly. 

Panel 4 of the Cortonwood memorial
There are four panels on the Cortonwood memorial. The first, for “Men of the Cortonwood Collieries who have Fallen During the War” lists 94 names and there are three for “Men Who Joined H.M. Forces from the Cortonwood Collieries”.  The second panel lists 162 names, mainly surnames A to Gr, the third lists 165 names, mainly surnames Go to Po, and the fourth 171 names, mainly surnames Pl to Wo.  I say mainly because the names are not in a completely alphabetical order and at the end of each panel are a number of names obviously added later and from across the alphabet. The final panel in particular lists, at its foot, 33 names that are totally out of order. This gives a grand total of 592 names.  I was able to use the Find facility in Excel to search these names in my new spreadsheet for each of the men named on the Brampton Parish Hall RoH.  

The Cortonwood memorial lists initials and surname only.  The Brampton Parish Hall RoH gives most, but not all, of the men's forenames in full.  This makes it easier for me to research them, but means that a tally between the two memorials is, in the cases of common surnames, a matter of some guesswork. Roughly 12 of the 16 men who fell who are named on the Brampton Parish Hall RoH are also named on the 'Fallen' panel of the Cortonwood memorial. Roughly 46 of the remaining 84 men named on the Brampton Parish Hall RoH are listed as 'Men who Joined' on the Cortonwood memorial. Therefore just under half the names on the Brampton Parish Hall RoH are NOT listed on the Cortonwood memorial. The 4 fallen men who not included on Cortonwood's memorial are all listed on memorials in Wombwell - but so are a number of the men who ARE listed on the Cortonwood memorial.  It is very complicated!

As a result of this analysis I am fairly sure that this RoH was NOT a forerunner to the 'Cortonwood Cenotaph' as my contact suggested.  Further research necessary!

Fred Kelham - Named Twice in the 1901 Census

Returning to investigating the individual names on the Brampton Parish Hall RoH I was fascinated to see an example of a person (actually one man who was named and his younger brother) being enumerated twice in the same census.  I have looked at a lot of census returns over the past 30 years and this is not a common occurrence.

Four names from the Brampton Parish Hall RoH
Fred Kelham is clearly named on the Brampton Parish Hall RoH (see right).  It is an unusual name and I hadn't expected much difficulty finding him in the census returns.  Fred is also named on Cortonwood Colliery war memorial, the Roll of Honour in Christ Church Brampton and the Wath Wesleyan Church memorial tablet.  He survived the war.

The image above, including Fred's name, shows an example of the damaged state of the Brampton Parish Hall RoH.  There is a tear, maybe on an old fold, right across the lower third, and a flake of paper has been lost obscuring part of one surname.  There is a lot more flaking damage around the edges of the document and a dark stain on the lower left (see the photo on this other post).

When I searched for Fred in the 1911 census on Ancestry I did not find him immediately. It later transpired that the family had been transcribed as Kelhan, rather than Kelham. My secondary strategy was to search the 1901 census with similar search parameters, birth 1892 +/- 10 years, living in the Wombwell area. This is where it got confusing. 

1901 census for 6 Concrete, Wombwell, in the Parish of Brampton Bierlow
I found a possible candidate, Fred Kelham, aged 6, living at 6 Concrete Cottages (described in my previous post) in Wombwell with his younger brother, William aged 5 and their grandparents, William and Elizabeth who had both been born in Sudbrook, Lincolnshire. The boys had been transcribed by Ancestry as the sons of John W. Kelham, aged 28, who was in turn the son of William. John was the third listed occupant of the property.  As John was described as 'S' for single it seemed a bit strange that the two boys were his sons. If he had been a 'W' for widower I would probably have thought no more about it, as it was common for widowed young men to return to their parents' homes for assistance with childcare. John W Kelham was described as being born in Barnsley, whilst Fred and little William were described as having been born in West Melton.

1901 census for 55 Castle Avenue, Rotherham
There was a second hit in the 1901 census for a Fred Kelham of the same age, but this time in Rotherham at 55 Castle Avenue.  This address is about 1.5 miles south of Rotherham town centre in an area called Canklow. This second Fred Kelham, who was described as having been born in Wombwell, was living with his parents Fred snr and Bessie along with younger brother William aged 5 and younger sisters Daisy aged 2 and Ethel aged 1. There is a distance of about 8 miles between the addresses for the two Fred Kelham hits. The co-incidence of a brother called William in Rotherham also the same age as the one found in Concrete Cottages was sufficiently interesting to keep me poking around to try to find an answer.

With Fred only being 6 years old in 1901 the only other option was to look for him again in the 1911 census, as he would not have been born at the time of the 1891 census.  With the additional family information from the 1901 census Fred snr, Bessie and their children, starting with Fred, William, Daisy and Ethel, were much easier to find in the 1911 census.

1911 census for 4 Concrete Cottages, Wombwell
The address for the family was 4 Concrete Buildings or Cottages, Wombwell. The addresses vary between the actual schedule, which states Buildings and the schedule's cover sheet which states Cottages. This may reflect a different understanding of the address by the occupier, William Kelham and the census enumerator who distributed and collected the schedules. William and Elizabeth had been living at 6 Concrete Cottages in 1901 but they were no longer at that address in 1911. This entry is the only hit for the combination of Kelham family forenames and ages, adding some corroboration to the theory that the boys Fred and William were enumerated twice in 1901. Examining this entry it is not surprising that Ancestry transcribed the family surname as Kelhan, the final letter of the surname is unclear.

As we now know that Fred snr and Bessie married in 1894 (this year is just visible in column 6, completed years of marriage, but has been over written with 17, the correct format for that field), it was quite straightforward to find a record of their marriage in the indexes. Fred Kelham married Bessie Drew in the first quarter of 1894 in the Rotherham Registration District which includes Brampton. There is no sign of a parish record for their marriage on Ancestry or Find My Past, which suggests they may have married in the local Register Office. In 1911 a John H Drew aged 41 is listed as a visitor on Fred and Bessie's census return, could this be Bessie's brother?  Their birthplaces are both given as Crediton, Devon, so it seems likely.

The probable reason for grandparents William and Elizabeth's absence from 6 Concrete Cottages is that William Kelham snr, who had been enumerated as 68 years old in March 1901, appears to have died in the fourth quarter of 1901 in the Rotherham Registration District.  A William Kelham was buried at Christ Church in Brampton, aged 66 from 58 Concrete Row on 22 December 1901. Despite the slight difference in ages and address it is very likely that this is Fred jnr's grandfather as there are very few families named Kelham in the area.

I was able to find Elizabeth Kelham in the 1911 census, aged 74, in the household of her son John William Kelham aged 38, the same John W Kelham who had been living with William and Elizabeth in 1901. Their 1911 address is 24 Gower Street, Wombwell, less than a mile from the Concrete Cottages. The Elizabeth Kelham who dies in the fourth quarter of 1920 aged 83, in the Barnsley Registration District is probably Fred's grandmother as this age fits with the age given for her in 1911. I imagine William's death in late 1901 could have prompted the return of Fred jnr and little William to their parents as their elderly grand-mother would now have been entirely dependent on her son John for support.

Note that in April 1911 Fred snr and Bessie have 6 children living with them and in the marriage information fields they state that 11 children had been born to them in 17 years of marriage, 5 of whom had died prior to the 1911 census. Bessie had borne at least 4 children by 1901, possibly more, if some of 5 deceased children were born and died between Fred jnr, William, Daisy and Ethel. She may have been pregnant again in March 1901.  

Further research could be done on this question by using the General Register Office (GRO) online birth indexes which now give mother's maiden name for the period 1837 to 1920 (updated each year to include the last 100 years). A search for Kelham births with mother's maiden name Drew should result in a list of Fred and Bessie's children, although still born children were registered differently and any early miscarriages may not have been recorded at all by anyone but Fred and Bessie themselves. The pressure of continual pregnancy and small children to care for may explain why grandparents, William and Elizabeth, are caring for Fred jnr and little William in 1901. 

The reason for the double enumeration may have been that Fred and Bessie interpreted the instructions of the enumerator to mean that they should list all the members of their family. William and Elizabeth included Fred jnr and little William on their schedule because they spent the night of the census in their house, which is the correct interpretation. 

Fred and Bessie Kelham's family - did she really have 11 children?

Fred jnr was baptised at Christ Church, Brampton on 5 August 1894, at the most seven months after Fred and Bessie's marriage. As only the quarter date of their marriage is known for certain they could have married at any time in January to March 1894. The fact that Bessie was already pregnant with Fred jnr is another reason they may have chosen a Register Office wedding. It would have avoided calling the banns in the local church and kept the actual date of the wedding out of the public eye. The address given at Fred jnr's baptism is simply 'Concrete'. Of the six children in the 1911 census with Fred snr and Bessie all were born at 'Concrete' except Ethel who was born in Rotherham in about 1900, which fits nicely with the 1901 census information. There is a gap between Ethel and the next surviving child Elizabeth, who was born about 1908 at 'Concrete' so it is difficult to say exactly when the family returned to Brampton/Wombwell from Rotherham. 

A search for children born to surname Kelham, mother's maiden name Drew between 1894 and 1915 was carried out on the General Register Office (GRO) site.  Despite Fred and Bessie declaring a total of 11 children up to 1911 the search only produced 8 birth registrations.  As Rotherham Registration District (RD) includes Brampton and Canklow this information doesn't assist in working out when Fred and Bessie moved to and from Concrete Cottages. The birth of Jim Kelham in 1905 in Barnsley RD is the only variation.

Fred Kelham born Q2 1894 in Rotherham RD
William Kelham born Q3 1895 in Rotherham RD
John Kelham born Q1 1897 in Rotherham RD
Daisy Amelia Kelham born Q3 1898 in Rotherham RD
Ethel Kelham born Q1 1900 in Rotherham RD
Jim Kelham born Q3 1905 in Barnsley RD
Elizabeth Kelham born Q1 1908 in Rotherham RD
Emily Kelham born Q4 in Rotherham RD 

A search of the burials at Christ Church, Brampton on Find My Past (FMP) revealed a burial for one of these children. 

John Kelham [Abode] Concrete [When Buried] 3rd July 1897 [Age] 6 months

This must be John born Q1 1897.  Concrete will be the Concrete Cottages, which lie in the Civil Parish of Brampton, in Rotherham RD, despite the enumerator and the householders (in 1911) all adding Wombwell to the address.  Burials at Brampton are only listed by FMP between 1855 and 1911 and this is the only relevant Kelham burial.  If there are other Kelham family graves at Christ Church the information will be in the parish registers, which are apparently not in the collection at Doncaster Archives.  The later burial register(s) may still be in the possession of the church.  This burial does suggest that Fred and Bessie were still living in the Concrete Cottages in mid 1897.

A search of burials in Wombwell Cemetery (the Dearne Memorials Group's Barnsley Cemeteries Project provides a search facility, but full results require a small payment) uncovered a burial which fits with the children found above.

KELHAM    Jim    [Burial plot] Con 9    4117    [Date of Death] 16-4-1906  [Date of burial]   18-4-1906 [Age]   9mths   [Place of Death]     14 Gower Street, Wombwell

This must be the child born Q3 1905 in Barnsley RD. So was Gower Street in Barnsley RD? It was only one mile away from the Concrete Cottages. UKBMD provide a downloadable index places in Registration Districts, and sure enough Wombwell was in the Barnsley RD between 1850 and 1938, whereas Brampton (also known as Brampton Bierlow) was in Rotherham from 1837 to 1938.  'Con' in the entry above means Consecrated.

There was another Kelham burial from the same address:

KELHAM    Infant    U/C    CPG    no entry    25-3-1904    Stillborn        14 Gower Street, Wombwell

Stillborn children were not registered in the same way as live births until 1926, which is why there is no correlating entry for this child in the GRO index.  In the entry above U/C means Unconsecrated and CPG means Children's Public Grave. 

Assuming this stillborn child was born to Fred and Bessie Kelham that brings the total number of children found to nine.  The problem here is that the instructions on the 1911 census say to only declare children 'Born Alive', so stillborn children and miscarriages, which the couple may have thought ought to count, should not have been declared.  This burial entry also suggests that Fred and Bessie have returned from Rotherham by early 1904.

A search of deaths on the GRO site between 1894 (when Fred and Bessie married) and 1925 revealed a little more relevant information. 

The early death of another of their children.

Name:     Age at Death (in years):
GRO Reference: 1913  M Quarter in ROTHERHAM  Volume 09C  Page 1012 

And the deaths of Fred Kelham snr and his wife Bessie.

KELHAM, FRED         55 
GRO Reference: 1925  M Quarter in ROTHERHAM  Volume 09C  Page 850

KELHAM, BESSIE         65 
GRO Reference: 1932  M Quarter in ROTHERHAM  Volume 09C  Page 926

None of the three above deaths correspond to burials at Wombwell cemetery.  The spreadsheet which I have access to contains entries into the 2000s.  This suggests that the family moved out of Gower Street at some point before Daisy died in 1913.

This brings the family of Fred and Bessie Kelham to a conclusion. This section has been a very interesting puzzle to solve and gives a clear insight into some particular challenges, mobility, fertility, frequent childbirth and infant deaths, faced by working class families, especially women, at the turn of the century.

This story began with Fred Kelham jnr's name on the Brampton Parish Hall Roll of Honour. His story continues, but will have to wait for another day.  In a tiny sneak preview I can reveal that Fred jnr's Army Service records his father's address (as his next of kin) as 15 Hoober Street, West Melton in 1915 and 1919.  So the family did move again, and back into the Rotherham RD, maybe to the address at which Daisy died in 1913.   

Thank you for reading.

Photos of the Cortonwood war memorial by Nigel Croft 8 February 2014.
Photos of the RoH at Brampton Parish Hall by Andrew Taylor on 2 February 2020.
Census images from Ancestry. 

Census and Parish Register information from Ancestry, Find My Past and FreeBMD.

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Researching a Re-Discovered Roll of Honour: Brampton Parish Hall

A Roll of Honour found recently. Photo by AT
My friends know that I like a good (or even bad and indifferent) war memorial, especially if it's new to me. Bearing in mind the huge range of things that can be war memorials that includes a lot of items for them to spot. Gravestones (with a war related inscription, but where the man or woman named is NOT buried in situ), a bench, a mural on a wall (temporary art counts), as well as the more well-understood outdoor memorals, tablets in churches, and like the one pictured above, framed pre-printed paper items with hand-written (sometimes typed) names inserted.

This example was found by AT at Brampton Parish Hall when he attended a wedding reception a few weeks ago (early 2020). I have transcribed the list of 100 names and published a descriptive post on the Barnsley & District War Memorials blog. Although Brampton is just outside the Barnsley Borough boundary I know that boundary memorials often list men who were born or who lived in Barnsley. They could be named simply because a member of their family lived in the catchment area after the war.

The names on this Roll of Honour are in a roughly alphabetical order, except for one name at the very end which was added in pencil rather than ink. This suggests that the memorial was created after the war (or at least a good while into it) for so many names to be ordered rather than entered in order of enlistment. It includes men who died, but the majority of men named survived the war. The men who fell are not indicated in any way, which is unusual in a Roll of Honour in my experience.

This post is about the methods I am using to research the names. I would like to know where this Roll of Honour originated, what church or chapel, workplace or school thought it important to record the men (and they are all male names) who went from their community to serve in the Great War. By discovering where they lived, their ages, their occupations, their religious affiliations, I hope to narrow down the options. I have approached Brampton Parish Hall for information, but thus far the Parish Clerk has not found anyone who knows how this large framed, but battered, document came to be displayed in their building.

Over the past few weeks my research methods, using online resources accessible from my home, as I am limited in my available time and energy at the moment, have expanded in scope to include cemetery registers, newspaper indexes and local history society websites. Finding information on men who died in the war is somewhat easier than for those who served as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website is very easy to search and a Roll of Honour for Barnsley's First World War Fallen was recently published and is accessible online. At my present count 14 of the 100 men named died in the war. 

My initial searches began by entering the man's name into the 1911 census search pages on either Ancestry or Find My Past (FMP). I have subscriptions for both but they are available free in Barnsley (Ancestry) and Sheffield (Find My Past) libraries. I entered a year of birth range of 1892 +/- 10 years. Ancestry expand results beyond that range where other similar results are found. FMP seems less forgiving. I left place of birth blank. Inward migration to Barnsley was very common in the 19th and early 20th centuries as new industries, such as glass making and coal mining expanded. I did however enter Wombwell as a place the man may have lived, as that is a larger town than Brampton, but immediately adjacent.

After a few searches I was finding enough common features in my results to lay out a spreadsheet which I am keeping on Google docs so that I can update it on both my laptop and my tablet. I do a lot of work in bed in the early hours when I can't sleep, and the tablet is perfect for that, less likely to disturb my other half (OH).

I also searched for the names on some nearby memorials for which I could find a transcribed list of names. Barnsley's war memorials are listed on the Barnsley War Memorials Project (BWMP) website. A Roll of Honour in Christ Church, Brampton is listed on the Imperial War Museum's War Memorials Register website.  As an online volunteer for this project I submitted the Brampton Parish Hall Roll of Honour as soon as I had tidied up the photos and transcribed the names. Unfortunately adding the names to their site is currently a laborious task, so I have been putting it off ... it is easier to refer to my own list.

I also cross checked Rolls of Honour for Wath Main and Cortonwood collieries which I have on file. Cortonwood's War Memorial stands right outside Brampton Parish Hall, so that was an obvious one to check. Only the names of the Fallen are listed on the BWMP website, there are three times as many names of the men who served on the memorial, but fortunately I have photos which the OH and I took many years ago on file from which I could make my own transcription.

Only 24 out of the 100 names on the new Roll of Honour appear on the Cortonwood Memorial.  Thirty-nine names appear on Brampton Christ Church's Roll of Honour with only a couple appearing on both. Some are only possible matches when it is a common surname as both only list initials for forenames. Five names appear on the Wath Main Colliery Roll of Honour including the distinctive Alonzo Turner, who does not appear on either of the two memorials previously named. Eleven names (still bearing in mind my proviso about common surnames), appear on the main Wombwell war memorial outside St Mary's church, and 4 on the Wombwell Reform Club memorial, all men who died. Only James Crawford is named on the Wombwell Church Lads Brigade memorial, and apart from a couple of possible common surnames no men are named on the Wombwell Methodist plaque or the Wombwell Conservative and Unionist Club Roll of Honour.

The various places of origin of the men (admittedly mostly Wombwell and West Melton, but also Staffordshire, Birmingham, Huddersfield and Grimsby and I have only reached F on the list as yet) and their disparate ages (from 1878 to 1900 so far) appear at first sight to preclude a school memorial.  However I did find a community, that had a nearby school and chapel, which appears fairly frequently amongst the address information I have discovered thus far.
1907 map of Cortonwood Colliery and Concrete Cottages.
From Old Maps.

The most noticeable common factor is the housing at Concrete Cottages, also known as New Wombwell, centre of the above map snip. According to Melvyn Jones in his book South Yorkshire Mining Villages, these flat roofed concrete house were built for the workers at Cortonwood Colliery in 1876. Some of the men who were living further afield in 1911 can be traced back to 'Concrete' in previous census returns or at their baptisms (many in Christ Church Brampton).  There were 106 houses in total and, as you can see above, the community included a school and a chapel.

Other men were living on Wath or Brampton Roads in 1911. These are the two roads running south east from the centre top of the map snip above. Wath Road is labelled. One man's father is the signalman at Brampton Crossing, a couple more live at The Junction, seen at the top of the map, which appears to be named for the junction of two canals. There are (so far) very few who give an address in Brampton itself, which is just off the map to the bottom right.

Once I have found a likely man in the 1911 census I check the previous census returns, 1901 and 1891. Most of the men found so far were born between 1880 and 1897. Not surprising as that makes them 34 to 17 years old when the war breaks out in 1914. I have found Service Records for a few, Medal Cards for most, Pension Ledger entries (via my Western Front Association membership access) for those I have looked for.  The Pension Cards/Ledgers give addresses post war for men or their dependents, and many of these are still 'Concrete' into the late 1920s. I have also been searching for the men or their families in the 1939 Register.

Some of the men, but not many, are buried in Wombwell Cemetery. Other burials in Barnsley Cemeteries can be searched on the Dearne Memorial Group's Barnsley Cemeteries website. I have no access to burials in churchyards that are not covered on Ancestry or Find My Past, and few of those that are include burials in the later 20th century as the church yards would have been full by then. As yet I have found no online index to Rotherham cemeteries. However I can check death registration entries online at FreeBMD (also on Ancestry and FMP but I find FreeBMD very easy to use). One man, with an uncommon surname, Fred Bristow, has eluded me so far. He is not killed in the war, but does not appear in 1939 or in the marriage or death registrations. Did he emigrate?

I have found some transcribed newspaper entries with photos of 8 men on the Dearne Valley History website, all taken from the Mexborough and Swinton Times (MST). As this group cover Wombwell and Brampton I wanted to ask them if they knew about this Roll of Honour, but I couldn't find a contact email address. I have sent a message to their Facebook page, but it doesn't seem very active. The photos on their website are greyscale, which suggests they were not taken from the microfilm copy of the newspaper which I have seen in Barnsley Archives. That was scanned in black and white and the photo reproduction is poor.  I have a copy of an index to the First World War entries in the MST that a friend obtained from Doncaster Library. It covers Wombwell, Thurnscoe, Bolton on Dearne and Goldthorpe which are all in the current Barnsley Borough. Brampton, West Melton and Cortonwood, which are in Rotherham, are also included. I have added a search of this to my routine for each name on the list.

I do have access to an index for the wartime Barnsley Chronicle newspaper, but in my experience its coverage of the eastern areas of Barnsley Borough is poor.

So, to summarise:

Search the BWMP's Roll of Honour of the Fallen.
Search the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

Cross check with other memorials in the area.

Search the 1911 census, year of birth 1892 +/- 10 years, residence Wombwell.
Follow that up with searches of the 1901 and 1891 census returns using the information from the 1911 entry.
If the man cannot be found with my search terms in 1911 try 1901 directly.
Look for the men, or their families if they were killed in the war, in the 1939 Register.

Check for a baptism and/or marriage in Brampton or Wombwell, and other South Yorkshire record sets available online. Look for a marriage registration on FreeBMD and follow that up on the genealogical sites.

Check the MST index and the bural index for Wombwell Cemetery.
Look for a death registration on FreeBMD.

Google the name ... a last resort, but sometimes the families turn up on other people's genealogy pages.

A friend has offered to research a few names towards the end of the list, and as it has taken me over two weeks to get to Fenton I am very grateful. I am still waiting for news on the provenance of the Roll of Honour, but a guess based on a descriptive history page on the Dearne Valley History Group website is the Wesleyan chapel that was originally adjacent to the Concrete Cottages.

Wish me luck!