David Spencer, limestone quarry delver

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was David Spencer. David was born on 11 May 1867 in Middleton-by-Wirksworth, Derbyshire, to Judith Brooks and William Spencer.

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David’s birth certificate

He was their eighth child. His baptism took place one month later.

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Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813–1916, Ancestry.co.uk

The 1871 census shows David aged three, living at Rise End in Middleton, and at school. There is a school record for Middleton By Wirksworth National School showing his admission at 3 years, 7 months in October 1870.

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Front cover of the register, National School Admission Registers & Log-books 1870–1914, Findmypast.co.uk

David was still listed as a scholar in 1881 at the age of fourteen, when the family were living in Water Lane, but by 1891 he was working in a quarry, probably a limestone quarry (where his father William worked). His mother, Judith, had died the year before.

On 9 May 1897, David married Elizabeth Pearson at the parish church in Wirksworth. His profession was given as Quarryman.


The 1901 census shows them living at 11 Dale Street in Wirksworth with their two daughters, Mary Ann and Elizabeth. David’s mother-in-law and father-in-law were next door.

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1901 census, Ancestry.co.uk

In 1911 David was a limestone quarry delver, living at Coldwell Street in Wirksworth.

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1911 census, Ancestry.co.uk

(Sadly, baby Emma, their last child, had died in 1908.)

I have this photo of the family (Elizabeth and David on the left, then Harry, with Mary at the back and David on the right).

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David died on 19 January 1938 at 26 Queen Street, Belper. By this time he was working as a hoist man (lift operator) at the English Sewing Cotton Company. His son David was present at the death.

I have to share this story featuring Queen Street in 1930!

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Derby Daily Telegraph, 15 February 1930, Findmypast.co.uk


The house is still there, in the middle of this picture:


Ari, this is how you are related to David:

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Freyda, Leyba, and Kofman: a new 5x great-grandmother and two new 6x great-grandfathers in Parichi

Every now and again I go over the gaps in the family tree and try different combinations of names and places when searching.  This week I was looking for the Nisman family in Parichi, Belarus, and stumbled upon a Revision List for the town, dated 25 May 1858.

“The Reviska Skazka (Revision Lists) were conducted in territories ruled by the Russian Czar in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Revision Lists enumerated only those individuals subject to taxation. The data was also utilized for identifying men to draft into the army. There were ten major Reviska Skazka taken, beginning in 1720 and ending in 1858.” (See https://www.jewishgen.org/new/belarus-revision-lists/.)

The records are held in the National Historical Archives of Belarus in Minsk, and the family came under the category of Jewish town-dwellers.

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We already knew about Girsha, the head of the household here, who was the father of David. But what’s new is the name of his father, which is Kofman. David had a son called Kofman who was born in 1879, so the older Kofman had died before that date (which is likely as he must have been born before about 1796). So this is a new 6x great-grandfather for Ari.

The record also shows us that Girsha had a brother called Movsha, who had a son called Dovid in 1834, and that Dovid’s wife name was Genya.

And then we have Freyda, who is listed as the wife of Girsha, and we have the name of her father, Leyba. Unfortunately we don’t know her maiden name, but it is very exciting to have these new ancestors, as well as two of Freyda’s daughters that we didn’t know about, Sora and Rokhyla.

And Ari’s great-great-great-grandmother Freida (Fannie), born in 1887, was no doubt named for her grandmother.

Ann Sheldon of Whatstandwell, blacksmith

Ann Sheldon was one of Ari’s 5x great-grandmothers. She was born in 1823, in Biggin-By-Wirksworth in Derbyshire.

In the 1851 census, Ann was twenty-seven, living with her widowed father John at Pointon Cross, Hucklow, where he was a farmer. Shortly after that, on the 8th of June, she married John Frost Bunting, a blacksmith.

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John had previously been married to Ann’s aunt, Mary Ann Sheldon, who had died in May 1849, leaving him with a nine-year-old son, Jacob. (This marriage caused an interesting tangle in Ari’s tree!):

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I don’t know who Ann’s mother was. I haven’t been able to find her baptism record or the marriage of her father, and I haven’t found them in 1841 yet.

By 1861 they were living at Crich Carr, with Jacob and six children of their own. In 1871, they were at Whatstandwell, next to the Bull’s Head. Ann was described in the census as a housewife, and there were five children at home, from nineteen-year-old Mary down to six-year-old Charles.

By the 1881 census, Ann’s husband John had died, so she was now the head of the household.

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The youngest child, Frederic, was Ann’s grandson, the illegitimate son of Ari’s 4x great-grandmother, Mary Ann. Frederic was also a blacksmith, and in 1905 he emigrated to a place called Elyria in Ohio with his wife Sarah Jane and children Vernon and Dorothy. (His baptism, marriage and death records all give no father’s name, but when he applied for social security, the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 gives his father’s name as Samuel Wheeldon, who Mary married in 1875.)

Frederic had taken advantage of an offer whereby the Canadian government’s immigration branch paid commission to steamship booking agents in the UK for any suitable immigrants who bought tickets (the immigrants didn’t receive the bonus themselves unless they settled on western homesteads).

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Passenger record for Frederic and family on the Lake Manitoba, arriving in St John, New Brunswick, Canada, from Liverpool. Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865–1935, Ancestry.co.uk

Maybe he decided that farming wasn’t for him – by 1910 he was back to being a blacksmith, in Ohio. Frederic died in Elyria at the age of seventy-five.

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His obituary appeared in the Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria:

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Obituary of Frederic William Bunting, 2 Aug 1946, from Newspapers.com

Ann was sixty-eight in 1891, running a blacksmith’s business in Whatstandwell.

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Her daughters Louisa and Lizzie were living with her and working as dressmakers. Son Charles and grandson Frederic (described here as her son) were blacksmiths.

Here she is in Kelly’s Directory for 1891:

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Ann died a couple of months later, on the 6th of June. The cause of death was bronchitis and cardiac failure, and her son Charles was present at the death. She was buried at Crich.

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Ann’s death was reported in the Derby Telegraph and the Ripley and Heanor News:

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I have ordered a copy of the will of Ann and her father John, so will update this post when they arrive.

Ari, this is how you are related to Ann:

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