Mary Elizabeth Ellen (Nellie) Wheeldon

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Ari’s great-great-grandmother, Nellie Wheeldon, was born on 23 Feb 1911 at 167 Nottingham Road, in Belper, Derbyshire.

Her father, John Edgar Pearson Wheeldon, registered the birth on 3 April. He gave his occupation as blacksmith (journeyman). Nellie’s mother was Elizabeth Anne Murfin.

We have a copy of her birth certificate that was issued for the purposes of unemployment insurance in 1932.

She appeared in the 1911 census at five weeks old:

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1911 census,

Her christening took place in Wirksworth the following month, by which time the family had moved to Alderwasley:

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813–1916,

Nellie worked as a winder before her marriage. She married Horace Sims on 27 Feb 1932 at St Peter’s in Belper. Her address at the time was 189 Nottingham Rd, Belper.

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Derby Evening Telegraph, 15 Nov 1941, Findmypast

Nellie’s signature can be seen on the marriage certificate, as well as that of her mother and her brother (her father had died eight years earlier).

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By the time war had broken out, Nellie and Horace had one son, John Norman (Ari’s great-grandfather). They were at 36a Penn St. in Belper.

“Once war became inevitable the British Government knew they had to issue National Identity cards. They planned for the wide-scale mobilisation of the population and the eventual introduction of rationing. The most recent census was now almost a decade old, so more up-to-date statistics were needed. Some preparations had already begun for the 1941 census, so the Government capitalised on this to take a register of the civilian population. They issued Identity cards immediately afterwards (which were used until 1952).” (FindMyPast)

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1939 Register,

This is an undated photo of Nellie and Norman.


Nellie can be seen in this colorized and enhanced photo from Norman and Audrey’s wedding in 1957:

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This one is of Nellie with her two grandsons in 1963:


And a couple of years later:


With Horace

Nellie died on 16 Jan 1985 at 21 Ecclesbourne Close, Duffield. The cause of death was squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue and rheumatoid arthritis.

Ari, this is how you are related to Nellie:

Henry Tarrant – and why blogging works!

I thought Ari’s 5x great-grandfather, Henry Tarrant, was born in about 1793 in Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire.

Hurstbourne Tarrant

But that wasn’t quite right, as the story shows. As I start this blog post I don’t yet know who his parents were. There is a family story that perhaps his name wasn’t originally Tarrant, so there is a bit of a mystery that I’d like to solve.

The first record we have for him is his marriage, to Elizabeth Liddiard, on 5 Oct 1823.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1916,

The marriage took place at St Michael’s in Aldbourne, Wiltshire, where both Henry and Elizabeth were living. (Aldbourne was used in the early 1970s as the setting for a series of Doctor Who.)


This particular minister seemed to use the words “young man” instead of bachelor. You can see that one of the witnesses was Daniel Liddiard, possibly the bride’s father or brother, and Henry and Elizabeth left a cross instead of signing their name.

This could be a photo of Henry, found on the family tree of a descendant.

Tarrant, Henry - Photo

The couple’s first child, Anne, was born later in 1823, and the baptism record shows Henry’s occupation as labourer:

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813–1916,

The next child, John, was baptised in 1826, and Henry was still a labourer. Sadly, John died at only three weeks old. Mary was born the following year, then Eliza, James, Thomas and Henry.

In the 1841 census Henry can be seen at Spray Farm, in Ham, Wiltshire, working as a farmer. The box for “born in the same county” is ticked.

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1841 census,

“The estate known variously as Ham Spray farm, Spray farm, or the Spray originated in a copyhold farm built up in the north-east of the parish in the early 19th century, and in 1847, when it comprised 482 a., enfranchised by Winchester chapter for its tenant William Woodman (d. 1862). Woodman was apparently succeeded there by H. D. Woodman (d. 1915). Charles Wright bought the property in 1869. Ten years later his Ham Spray estate was offered for sale and apparently repurchased by H. D. Woodman. In the earlier 20th century Ham Spray House, from which the estate was worked in the 19th century, and the farm were in separate ownership.” (


By 1851 Henry is a farmer of 70 acres, at Upton, near Vernham Dean in Hampshire. Here he tells the enumerator that he was born at Minal, Wiltshire, and his age is fifty-five. This puts his year of birth as closer to 1796.

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1851 census,

By now they have had four more children, although one of the babies, Harriet, is actally a granddaughter, as shown on the next census.

If Henry was born in Minal, maybe we can now find his parents?

I can’t find any baptisms for Minal so I look it up on Genuki and discover that it’s actually Mildenhall, near Marlborough.

So now there is a baptism that fits, and it is unusual in the information if gives:

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812,

It is dated Christmas Day 1797 but comes at the end of 1796, before the new list of 1797 baptisms, so I think it is a mistake.

St John the Baptist, Minal. The font dates from 1816.

It notes that they were removed from Stitchcombe Mill to Mear Farm. Stitchcombe is part of the same parish. The (new) mill is now holiday cottages.


I have now found out more about Henry’s parents, but that will have to wait!

The 1861 census shows Henry and his family in Hurstbourne Tarrant, but it is not clear exactly where they were. Henry is now sixty-three and an agricultural labourer.

The 1871 census is the one that misled me, by giving Henry’s birthplace as Hurstbourne Tarrant. He is now a widower at Upton, living with his daughter Jane, granddaughter Lizzie Cripps (daughter of Mary), and granddaugher Elizabeth Tarrant (4 months).

Henry died at Upton on 3 March 1881, before that year’s census. The death certificate shows that he was a farm bailiff.

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He also left a will.

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England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858–1995

The will tells us that he leaves his granddaughter, Harriet Barnes, £5. He asks for all his money, household goods and linen to be equally divided between his eight children.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Henry:

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William Rice of Rutland, tailor

One of Ari’s 6x great-grandfathers was William Rice. Working back from his death and marriage dates, he was probably born around 1730, when George II was on the throne. There is a baptism record in Uppingham for a William Rice on 2 August 1730, son of William, who was a joiner (mother not mentioned!).

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Finding this record has helped me find his seven siblings, four of whom died as babies, and put his parents’ marriage date at about 1726.

On 7 October 1762, William married Mary Pepper at the church of St Peter & St Paul in the market town of Uppingham, Rutland.


Once a year the market square in Uppingham has a traditional Christmas Fatstock Show. Cattle, sheep and pigs are judged.

We know from his children’s baptism records that William was a tailor. This is the record for the third son, Daniel, in 1768:

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Northamptonshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1532–1812,

The baptism records also tell us that William and Mary were living in South Luffenham.


See this page for the history of the village.

William and Mary had seven children altogether.

William died in December 1796 and was buried on the 30th of that month at St Mary’s in South Luffenham.

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Rutland Burials, Findmypast


Luckily for us, William left a will. It says (take a deep breath!):

In the Name of God Amen I William Rice of South Luffenham in the County of Rutland Taylor being Sick of Body but thanks be to God of Sound mind memory and understanding and considering the Certainty of Death as well as the Uncertainty of the time thereof Do make and Publish and Declare this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say first I give and devise all that my messuage Cottage or Tenement with the Hereditament and Appurtenances thereto belonging at South Luffenham aforesaid now in my own occupation unto my Dear wife Mary Rice for and during the Term of her Natural Life she keeping the same in good and tenantable Repair and from and after her Decease then I Give and Devise the same unto my son William Rice and to the Heirs of his Body Lawfully Issuing to my said Son William learning my Son Martin the trade of a Taylor or putting him out apprentice to that Trade or some other and in Case my Son William shall dye without Heirs of his Body Lawfully to be Begotten Then I give and Devise all the said Messuage Cottage or Tenement after my said Son Williams decease unto my second son Daniel Rice his Heirs and Assigns forever All the Rest Residue and Remainder of my Real and Personal Estate whatsoever or wheresoever to be found that I shall dye Possessed of after payment of all my just Debts funeral Expenses and the charges of Proving and Executing this my Will I Give Devise and Bequeath all these and every part unto my said Wife Mary Rice for and during the Term of her Natural Life and from and after her Decease Then I give the same to and to be equally divided between all my Children Except my said son William to be equally divided between them Share and Share alike I also make Constitute and appoint my said Wife and Brother in Law William Pepper of Uppingham Guardians for my said Children and also Executors of this my Will hereby Revoking all former Wills by me made In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal this second day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Seven

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Consistory Court of Peterborough: Wills, Administrations and inventories, Findmypast.     © Northamptonshire Archives Service

At the time that he wrote the will, his youngest son Martin was only a few months old, but sadly he died in August that year. His brother-in-law William Pepper had also died before he was able to take on guardianship of the children.

Most of the records for the family have the surname as Rice, but occasionally it appears as Royce, possibly reflecting the local pronunciation.

Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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Samuel Syms of Broadholme, yeoman

Samuel Sims was Ari’s 7x great-grandfather.

View of the Derwent valley from Broadholme Lane

He was born in 1727 in Broadholme, Belper, Derbyshire, and baptised on 24 September that year at St Alkmund’s in Duffield.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812,

Samuel’s parents were James Syms and Hannah Barber, and he was their fifth child.

On 11 February 1752 Samuel married Mary Smith at the church in Duffield.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812,

(Although it says 1751, this entry comes after the page for December 1751.)

Samuel’s father James died in 1763, and his will mentions Samuel as follows:

Item. I give and bequeath to my beloved son Samuel Simms all my share of land being situate and lying at Hithin(?) Holler. Item I also leave to my said son Samuel Simms the Swinny Croft and the Dunge Pingle; I also leave to my said son Samuel Simms all the whole possession of Broadholm living with all the personal estate thereto belonging.

Item. I leave to my said son Samuel Simms all the whole possession of the Fishyards my son Samuel paying his brother Charles the sum of ten pounds to be paid at the expiration of twelve months after my decease. And I do hereby nominate and appoint my said son Samuel Simms my sole executor of this will and testament.

At some point I will have to investigate old maps of the area to see where these pieces of land are. I have seen references to Dunge Wood and Dunge Farm on Broadholme Lane. A typed bulletin of the Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society from 1957 has this:

“Going back to the Alport Road we come to Sandiford Lane, where another road seems to have gone East down to the Derwent where there was a ford by Dunge Wood. The name Sandiford must have been used for this ford. … This road … is the boundary between Belper and Alderwasley. The road goes by Dunge Wood and the top of Broadholme Lane, across Crich Lane, over the Heage and Belper Common to the Bent. It appears to have led to Morley Park and Rykneld Street and was probably used for both lead and coal for Wirksworth for smelting purposes. The road from the top of Broadholme Lane would be to an alternative crossing at Belper if the other ford was difficult.” (p. 65)


Perhaps some kind person reading my blog one day will help out with the place names!

On 17 November 1791, Samuel made a will, as follows:

In the name of God Amen I Samuel Sims of the Liberty of Heage in the county of Derby, Yeoman do make this my last will and testament in the manner following that is to say I give unto my wife Mary all my moneys and securities for money and all my personal estate during her natural life while she keeps in the same name and then I bequeath all my effects after her decease unto my three sons Samuel, James and John equal share and share alike their executors administrators and assigns only paying to my four daughters Hannah Sarah Elizabeth and Ann the sum of twenty pounds to be paid twelve months after my wife decease. I nominate and constitute and appoint my wife Mary and my son James joint executors of my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal’d this seventeenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety one.

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Staffordshire, Dioceses Of Lichfield and Coventry Wills and Probate 1521–1860, Findmypast

His 5x grandson will be pleased to see that he signs his own name as Sims, not Syms.

Samuel died in February 1792 and was buried in Duffield on the 19th of that month. His will was proved on 24 April 1792. The will was very helpful in confirming who his children were.

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Broadholme in the news: Derby Mercury, 13 July 1842, Findmypast

Ari, this is how you are related to Samuel:

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Joseph Samuel Allen, bootmaker and gardener

Joseph Samuel Allen was one of Ari’s 4x great-grandfathers. He was born on 2 April 1843 in Parkstone, Dorset, the fourth child and third son of Joseph Allen and Mary Anne Tilley.

His baptism took place on 11 June, at Skinner Street Congregational Church in Poole.


This building is the last remaining eighteenth-century church in Poole, “constructed at a cost of £1,400. This was 1777, one year after America declared independence, 12 years before heads would roll in the French Revolution, and three decades before a rough stretch of heathland to the east of Poole would start life as Bournemouth.” (Lots more details and photos here.)

His first appearance in the UK census was in 1851, when the family were living in Parkstone. Joseph’s father was working as a shoemaker.

In 1861 they were living on Christchurch Road in Parkstone. Joseph was now eighteen and a labourer, possibly in the pottery (can’t quite read his occupation):

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1861 census,

In 1868 he married Elizabeth Butt. By this time, he had become a shoemaker like his father:

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Marriage certificate, Joseph Samuel Allen and Elizabeth Butt, 16 April 1868, Canford Magna

His older brother Walter was one of the witnesses. The wedding took place at the church in Canford Magna.

Canford Magna parish church

The 1871 census shows Joseph as the head of the family, aged twenty-eight, and a bootmaker. They have two children and are living at Back Lane in Parkstone.

In 1881 Joseph is still a bootmaker. They are now at 4 Laurel Cottage, in Sloop Lane. They have six children, all at school except the baby, Emma Letta.

1891 sees them at 4 Lilac Cottages on North Road. Joseph is forty-nine and a bootmaker. Son William (21) is a gardener, daughter Susan (17) is a draper’s assistant, Ida (16) is a domestic servant, Reginald (14) is a carpenter’s apprentice. Emma (11), Mary (9), Floris (6), and Margaret (4) are at school, and baby Evelyn is seven months old.

By 1901 Joseph has changed his occupation, and the census shows him as a jobbing gardener. They are at the same address and have now been joined by grandchildren Wilfred and Ewart Redmond, children of Joseph and Elizabeth’s daughter Ida, so eleven people in the cottage altogether! We know from the 1911 census that the cottage had five rooms, not counting bathrooms:

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In 1911 there were six of them in the house, and Joseph was working as a gardener for Poole Borough Council.

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1911 census,

Joseph died on 16 Feb 1918 at 4 Lilac Cottages. He was seventy-five, and still working as a gardener. The cause of death was chronic prostatitis. His daughter Margaret was present and registered his death. He did not leave a will, and I don’t know where he was buried.

Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

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Samuel Wheeldon, hosiery dresser

One of Ari’s 4x great-grandfathers was Samuel Wheeldon. Samuel was born in Cromford in Derbyshire on 14 July 1851, the fourth son of John Wheeldon (a hatter) and Ruth Brelsford. Samuel’s baptism took place at St Mary’s Church in Cromford.

The church when we visited in December 2018

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813–1916,

At the age of nine, Samuel appeared in the 1861 census, and was described as “at home”, unlike his older brother John, who was already working in the cotton factory at the age of twelve. By this time, he had three younger sisters too.

But by 1871 he had joined his father and mother as a merino dresser.


Samuel married Mary Ann Bunting on 7 August 1875 at the Salem Methodist Chapel in Belper. (This building was demolished in 1966. See He is described as 21 years old, and a machinist, living at Holloway.

J. Smedley, at Lea Bridge not far from Cromford and Belper. They have been in the knitwear business since 1784.

We can see Samuel and Mary in 1891 with their five children:

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1891 census,

Samuel is now a hosiery dresser. Samuel’s father John died from typhoid fever just a few months after the census was taken.

The 1901 census shows Samuel still living at Holloway, and working as a merino hosiery dresser. His daughters Mary (25) and Elizabeth (21) are both yarn winders at the merino mill, daughter Daisy (23) is a yarn mender, and son Lewis (17) is a machinist there.

The 1911 census shows Samuel still at the factory working as a hosiery dresser. His daughter Mary Ann, widowed at the age of twenty-nine, is living with them.

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1911 census,

Mary Ann’s husband, William Tolchard, had died in 1905:

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Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 20 May 1905, Findmypast

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Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 20 May 1905, Findmypast

Samuel died on 30 August 1922, at Yewtree View in Holloway. He was seventy-one, still working as a hosiery dresser, and the cause of death was disseminated sclerosis. His daughter Daisy was present. I haven’t found his grave yet, and he didn’t leave a will.

Ari, this is how you are related to Samuel:

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Emily Fanny Williams of Ashbourne

Emily Fanny Williams was Ari’s 4x great-grandmother. Her birth certificate shows that she was born on 9 April 1845 at Low Top in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, daughter of Samuel Williams and Eliza Grace Potter.

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Low Top is the steep upward slope from the northern part of Ashbourne marketplace. In the late eighteenth century it formed the turnpike road to Buxton and Bakewell, and is now Buxton Road.

Series: Boundary Commission Report 1832. Publisher: H.M.S.O. Sheet: Derbyshire. Scale: 1:253440. This work incorporates historical material provided by the Great Britain
Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth through their web

Emily’s baptism took place at St Oswald’s on 25 May 1845:

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813–1916,

Detail of the chancel and choir roof, St Oswald’s

By the time of the 1851 census, Emily was at school in Ashbourne. The 1861 census gives no details of what she was doing, so we don’t know if she had a job of any kind, but no doubt she would have helped her mother with her five younger siblings. We know that she married John Sims when she was twenty-three, on 22 June 1868. She was described as a spinster, of full age, living at Church St in Derby.

In the 1871 census Emily’s job is to “Keep House”. They are living at Collyhurst Road in Manchester, and Emily has had two children: Louisa Ann (born in Ashbourne) and baby John Samuel, born in Manchester.

Ten years later, they are back in Derbyshire, running the Red Lion in Hognaston. Emily has given birth to four more children: Harriet (1873), Frederick (1875), Horace (1877), and George (1880).


Emily had two more children: Gertrude in 1883 and Walter in 1885. The 1891 and 1901 censuses show the family living in Holbrook, and by 1911 they are on Alfreton Road, Little Eaton.

We don’t know what Emily did after her husband died in 1918, but she was still in Little Eaton at the time of her death on 17 March 1927.

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Her youngest son, Walter, was present when she died. I have not found a will or a burial for her. Emily outlived two of her children: John Samuel, who died at the age of thirty-five in 1906; and Ari’s 3x great-grandfather Frederick, who died from Spanish flu just three weeks after his father John.

Ari, this is how you are related to Emily:

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Caroline Lumley or Lambley, dairymaid, glove-maker and laundress

Caroline Lumley was Ari’s 4x great-grandmother, born in 1834 in Rous Lench, Worcestershire. According to my tree, she was the third daughter of John Lumley, a farm labourer, and Ann Loyd, a “field woman”.

Rous Lench village green

The 1841 census shows the family living at Rous Lench, where John is an agricultural labourer.

In 1851, Caroline is sixteen and working as a glover. Caroline’s grandfather, Thomas Wright, is living with the family in Rous Lench. He is described as a pauper (labourer):

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1851 census,

But if he is Ann’s father, why was her name Loyd? Had she been married before?

I turned to TheGenealogist website, which is very good for Worcestershire parish records, and found the marriage of Thomas Wright and Mary Loyd in 1803, plus two more of their children, John and Sarah. So it looks as though Ann Loyd was actually Ann Wright. I will come back to her another day.

Caroline didn’t get married until October 1861, so she should have appeared in the 1861 census under her maiden name. By this time her father had died and her two sisters had married, so Caroline was on her own. I looked for any Carolines of the right age living in Rous Lench. Neither Findmypast nor Ancestry could find her (and other people’s family trees also had a gap for her in 1861). Then I tried the FamilySearch website, with no surname and just Rous Lench as place of birth. Success! She appeared as Caroline Langley, about nine miles away in Hanbury, where she was working as a dairymaid for a farmer called Samuel Willson.

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1861 census,

This is where she met Robert Butler, who was working as a cowman at a farm nearby.

Chicory flowers on a Hanbury footpath

They married at St Peter’s Church in Rous Lench on 27 October 1861.


Caroline, Robert, and their three daughters were living in Huddington in 1871. Caroline was listed in the census as a gloveress. By 1881 they were at Lower Crowle, and in 1891 Caroline was listed as a laundress.

We know how Caroline died because it was reported in the local papers in December 1895:

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Worcester Journal, 14 December 1895, Findmypast


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Worcestershire Chronicle, 14 December 1895, Findmypast

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Worcestershire Chronicle, 21 December 1895, Findmypast

Caroline was buried on 14 December at the church of St John the Baptist in Crowle.


Ari, this is how you are related to Caroline:

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