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Monday, 15 January 2018

Some more mystery Gidley brides

There are a few more Gidley brides for whom I have all the information, but who still evade capture in their rightful family.

1. Sarah Gidley who married William Andrew in the March quarter of 1842 in Liverpool.
The wedding took place on 22 February 1842 at St Martin's, Liverpool. Both bride and groom were of full age. William Andrew was a surgeon. Both gave their address as Eldon Place. Sarah named her father as Samuel Gidley, cabinet maker. There is no such person that I can find.
William and Sarah were difficult to track in later censuses. The only year I managed to find them was in 1861 in Whitechapel in London, when, infuriatingly, the place of birth is completely blank for all the family. But the GRO birth indexes now list maiden names for births from 1837 onwards which have proved very useful.
The index of births for the surname Andrew, with mother's maiden name Gidley, produces several children and shows how the family moved around England. The children were born between 1842 and 1859 in Liverpool, Manchester, back to Liverpool again, Walsall in Staffordshire, St Luke's (the Finsbury Park area of London), Stepney in East London and finally Taunton in Somerset.
Joseph Alfred Andrew was the child born in the June quarter in 1852 in St Luke's registration district. He was in Whitechapel with the family in 1861. He is the correct age to be the Joseph Alfred Andrew who married in Shoreditch in 1873, naming his father as William Muir Andrew, artist, deceased. The occupation of artist is strange, as all other references have been to a surgeon. 

The only Sarah Gidley of even approximately the right age who was also the daughter of a Samuel Gidley was Sarah Gidley christened in January 1817 in Woodbury, Devon. Father Samuel was not a cabinet maker but an agricultural labourer. His wife was Penelope Parsons, who also worked on the land. Sarah was at home with the family in Woodbury in the 1841 census. I haven't found Sarah anywhere in later censuses, nor an obvious marriage for her. Was she an ambitious country girl who had made her way independently to Liverpool and was then considered by a surgeon as a suitable wife? Perhaps we need to bear in mind that their first child was on the way at the time of the marriage.
Sarah Andrew's age in the 1861 census is given as 39, giving her a year of birth around 1822. This doesn't tally with Sarah of Woodbury. There seems a distinct dearth of Sarah Gidleys born around this time, so it remains another mystery.

2. Susan Gidley who married Benjamin Badcock in the March quarter of 1840 in Marylebone .
The marriage took place on 23 February 1840 in the parish church. Susan, a spinster, gives her father's name as John Gidley, woolcomber. In the census the following year she says she was not born in Middlesex. The father's occupation would seem to lead to Devon, but I can't find a Susan or Susanna of the correct age with a father John. Unfortunately, Susan Badcock died in 1845 in Marylebone aged 33, so was not around to give her place of birth in the 1851 census. There were no children.
There is a Susanna Gidley christened in Dean Prior in 1810, but she was the daughter of William Gidley and Sidwell Manley. William wasn't a woolcomber but an agricultural labourer.
There is a Susanna Gidley christened in Dean Prior in 1806. Her father was Harry Gidley and although he was a woolcomber, this Susanna Gidley married George Blackler in 1831. Her father was living with the couple in 1851.
There is a John Gidley who was a wool dealer in 1851 in Dean Prior, but he doesn't seem to have a daughter Susan/Susanna. However, there is a gap of 6 years in his children's births between 1812 and 1818. Was a daughter Susan's christening omitted from the records?

The next two mystery Gidleys are linked, one being the mother of the other (and it took some time to work that out).
3. Anna Gidley who married William Sampson on 8 March 1847 in Wolborough, Devon.
4. Mary Elizabeth Gidley who married James Hitt on 27 July 1862 in Tormoham (Torquay).

On the marriage certificate Anna Gidley names her father as John Gidley, labourer. In 1851 she is aged 28, living with husband William Sampson in Wolborough and her birthplace is given as Bovey Tracey. That sounds straightforward enough, but although I have a John Gidley on my Bovey Tracey tree who is of an age (christened in 1796) to be Anna's father, I don't have a marriage for him, nor any census details nor deaths. He just vanishes (not unusual, and I assumed he had died as an infant). It is possible that the name of Anna's father, John Gidley, is a fiction.
There are no baptisms for Anna Gidley in Bovey Tracey at around that time, nor for any other girls named Anna or Hannah. Nor are there any in the Bovey Tracey Independent Chapel, where two of the Gidley family of Bovey were baptised. I have to presume that Anna was never christened, as she is consistent in her place of birth being Bovey Tracey.
In about 1843 Anna gave birth to a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Gidley, whose birth was apparently not registered nor was she baptised. Then in 1847 in Wolborough, Newton Abbot, Anna married William Sampson, a mason. Although her daughter Mary is enumerated as Mary E Sampson in the 1851 census, living with her mother and stepfather in Wolborough, when Mary married James Hitt in 1862 in Tormoham (Torquay) the father's name on the marriage certificate is left blank. William Sampson was evidently not her biological father.
Anna Sampson's husband William died in 1868 aged 44, and I can't find any more about Anna. She was not the Anna Sampson who died in 1862 in Newton Abbot registration district.
Mary Elizabeth Hitt's husband James died in 1867 aged only 25, and she married again. Her three Hitt children did not live with her in her new husband's household and her daughter Louisa Hitt was in an Industrial School in Devizes, Wiltshire in 1881.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

A Victoria Cross and a Gidley mystery

Allan Leonard Lewis, courtesy of Wales Online
Note the title - no mystery about the VC, awarded to Allan Leonard Lewis, born in Whitney-on-Wye, Herefordshire, on 28 February 1895. He has no known grave, but is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois memorial in France and in Brilley and Whitney-on-Wye churches. He fell at the Battle of Epehy on 21 September 1918.
The circumstances of his death and his gallant actions three days previously are commemorated on Wikipedia, where he has his own article, and in an interesting post on the British Library's Untold Lives blog:

The blog post attempts to explain why Allan Lewis is not commemorated on any war memorial in Neath, South Wales, where he worked and where he enlisted. However, as of 2017 he is now commemorated in Neath by having a pub named after him. In Hereford, as Herefordshire's only county-born VC recipient, a fundraising campaign has been started to erect a statue to him, 100 years after his death.

The mystery involves his mother, Annie Elizabeth Gidley. I have a list of Gidley marriages where I can't link the names to any tree, and occasionally, when all other detective work fails, I send off for the marriage certificate in the hope that the father's name will provide an explanation.
Annie Elizabeth Gidley was married in the Kington registration district in Herefordshire and Radnorshire in the June quarter 1893. I had already worked out that her husband was George Lewis, and I managed to find the family in the 1901 and 1911 censuses. Allan Lewis is with the family in 1901, known as Leonard A Lewis. In both censuses Annie definitely states her place of birth as Lyme Regis in Dorset, and her age equates each time with a year of birth about 1869. But no Gidleys are registered there then, even allowing a couple of years either side of 1869.
So I sent off for the marriage certificate. The mystery has deepened.
The marriage took place on 10th May 1893 in Kington Register Office. Annie Elizabeth Gidley is aged 25, a spinster and domestic servant of Clyro in Radnorshire, and daughter of Frank Gidley, photographer, deceased. The problem is, there isn't any such person as Frank Gidley, as far as I can see.
Using the information she gave, I can't find any likely clues to Annie's origins. Everything I try comes to a dead end:
All the Frank or Francis Gidleys are the wrong age to be her father.
All the births of an Annie or Annie Elizabeth with any surname in the Axminster registration district (which includes Lyme Regis) came to nothing when tracking them through later censuses or through the Public Member Trees on Ancestry. Some were definitely ruled out, while a couple were inconclusive.
There is no-one called Frank with any surname in the 1871 census working as a photographer, let alone in Lyme Regis.
The names of the witnesses at the wedding are no help.
No-one called Ann in the 1891 census in Clyro, Radnorshire fits the profile of Annie Gidley.

Frank was obviously an important name to Annie, as she called her first son Frank. She must have got the surname Gidley from somewhere, but it wasn't common in Dorset.
There is, however, one Gidley in Lyme Regis in 1871, the nearest census to Annie's birth. John Gidley was an unmarried journeyman miller aged 29, living in Horse Street in Lyme Regis. Born in Starcross, Devon, on the Exe estuary, he was one of the Gidleys who originated in Kenton.  He had moved on to Hampshire by 1875 where he married Fanny Hebb. They had no children. Is he the key to the mystery? Is he Annie's father, or had she just heard the surname?
I note that one of the inconclusive Ann/Annies born about 1869 in Lyme Regis included Annie Callaway registered in the March quarter of 1869. She was illegitimate. In 1871 she was living with her mother in her grandfather's house, which also happened to be in Horse Street (a long street). By 1881 she had moved to Bath to live with an aunt - in the right direction for the Welsh borders. But, and a big but, the 1939 Register gives her date of birth as 18 May 1868, too early to be registered in the March quarter of 1869.
I think only DNA testing could sort this one out, but it would be an honour to be associated in some small way with the recipient of a Victoria Cross.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Some 19th century Gidley inquests in Victoria, Australia

Family Search have recently published Inquest Deposition Files from the state of Victoria, Australia. I've learnt a lot from these records, not least about the harsh conditions endured by the early settlers in Australia.
There are several errors recording first names throughout these records.

1. Elizabeth Gidley, who died 5 March 1878 in the Lunatic Asylum in Ararat.
Elizabeth suffered from dementia and the symptoms would be familiar to anyone who has had to watch an elderly relative decline. She was admitted to the Asylum in June 1876 and by the time of her death was unable to swallow and had to be force fed. Death was due to exhaustion from paralysis. The verdict was, in rather bald language, disease of the brain.
I don't know any more about Elizabeth: her age, marital status, or any family names. It's possible she was the widow of John Gidley, number 3 below.

2. Michael Thomas Gidley, who died 14 March 1890 in Melbourne.
In the inquest documents the name Thomas Gidley is occasionally used, and Michael has been inserted.
He was found unconscious, injured by a fall, in the street, was taken to Melbourne Hospital and died there the same evening. His wife Florence deposed that he was subject to fits and had suffered one early that morning in bed but had got up as usual and gone to work as a storeman, but never returned. He was aged 31, therefore born about 1859, and lived at 25 Palmerston Street, Carlton. They had 2 children.
The cause of death was by injuries received after falling in an epileptic fit.
Michael was interesting because his birth was recorded in the Australia, Birth Index, 1788-1922 on Ancestry. He was the son of Thomas Gidley and Winifred Canavan (in other records her surname is written Kavanagh or Kerneban) and was born in Woolshed, near Beechworth, Victoria, Australia in 1859, at the height of the gold rush there. The Malcolm/Cooke Family Tree on Ancestry, whose owner is descended from a sister of Michael Gidley, has traced this Thomas back to Thomas Simmonds Gidley who died in Victoria in 1874 aged about 42. The entry in the Australia Death Index on Ancestry death certificate records his parents as Richard Gidley and Bridget Simmons, which makes Thomas very definitely part of the Cornish Gidley diaspora. It's possible he was the Nicholas Gidley born about 1828, who is at home in Little Killiow, Kea, Cornwall in the 1841 census, or he could be a younger brother of Nicholas, and unrecorded in the census. Certainly Nicholas disappears after 1841 - no death or further reference in England. There are a couple of references to a Thomas Gidley in this part of Victoria in other sources in Ancestry. Although there were other Thomas Gidleys in the state, it seems likely that Thomas, the father of Michael, was the Thomas Gidley born about 1829 released from jail in February 1874 (the year of his death), by special authority. He had been sentenced to 2 years for perjury in the previous October and his residence was given as Beechworth. Confusingly, it also says in the Victoria Police Gazette, where his release was listed, that he was a native of Ireland. Is Cornwall close enough?! In the Physical Appearance column his broken nose was noted and his occupation was given as a squatter.
To return to his son, Michael Thomas Gidley, Michael left 2 or possibly 3 children. Ruth (Rubina) was born in 1879 to Florence Rowell before she married Michael Gidley in 1884. Michael was therefore possibly her stepfather, although she named Thomas [sic] Gidley as her father on the marriage certificate when she married Frederick Redfern in 1897.
Daughter Florence Henrietta Gidley was born in 1885 and married twice - to Robert James Rutherford and Andrew George Williams. 
Son Herbert Tweedale Gidley married Ellen or Helena Doyle in 1913 and has left Gidley descendants.
The Cornish Gidley tree has now increased by several names. Thomas Simmonds Gidley, whether he is really Nicholas Gidley and  known as Thomas after emigration, or a younger brother of his, would also be the brother of William S Gidley who emigrated to California, USA, from Cornwall at about the same time. Mining was big business in the USA and Australia and dying in Cornwall. It has been calculated that between 1861 and 1900 44.8% of Cornish males aged 15-24 had left for America and a further 29.7% left for other countries (Kim Baldacchio in the West Country Wanderings Seminar, 11 Nov 2017, reported in the Journal of One Name Studies v.13 (1) Jan 2018.).

3. John Gidley, who died at Sandhurst (now Bendigo) 1st August, 1857.
John's inquest was the most dramatic. His treatment was barbaric by our standards. I thought blood letting went out long before the 1850s but poor John, who was suffering from chest pains, was bled twice, on consecutive days. His usual work was carting slabs in the mining camp. He retired to bed after being driven in a dray by a fellow miner to a local doctor, but gradually grew worse and died in great pain in the night. His wife Elizabeth had administered a jorum of ale with nutmeg and ginger. At this point one of the miner's wives, Cecilia Robbie, one of the women who gathered to help lay out the body, declared that the death was so sudden that the police should be called. It was debated at the inquest whether or not she had accused Elizabeth of poisoning her husband. Cecilia denied this, but Elizabeth stated that Cecilia appeared to be drunk when she made this accusation and she (Elizabeth) had ordered her out of their tent.
A second doctor was called to do a post mortem and his verdict was death by natural causes, namely pneumonia.
John Gidley's origins are unknown. There is no age given for him. His wife said they married in January 1853, but I can't see any reference to this on Ancestry, nor is there any official reference to his death on Ancestry. There are too many John Gidleys arriving in Australia and too many John Gidleys who disappear from English records to be certain who he was. And in another presumed careless error, the name of the deceased in the official inquest verdict is given as Samuel Gidley.

4. Henry Gidley who died 11 May 1888 in Ballarat.
Henry was the victim of a hit-and-run accident - run over not by a car but a horse. Aged 68, he was employed by the owner of the Prince Regent Hotel on the Buninyong Road to put a label on the gate. No-one witnessed the accident, but the son of the hotel owner stated that he heard a horse galloping outside and someone shouting "Hey, hey". An unknown man then went into the hotel bar to report that a man was lying injured in the road. Henry was carried into the bar and laid insensible on a sofa. He had recovered slightly by the next morning and went to his tent about 50 yards away, refusing offers to send for the doctor, asking them to wait "until Monday morning". The next day he was taken to hospital where he lingered for a couple of days and was able to make a brief statement to the effect that a man on horseback had ridden over him as he was going home. There were no witnesses to the accident. Neither the man on the galloping horse nor the man who reported the accident were ever traced.
The inquest verdict was death by pleuro-pneumonia from injuries received in the accident.
This is another unknown Gidley. Henry's death is listed in the Australian Death Index on Ancestry, but unfortunately his father's name was listed as unknown. Obviously he had no family to register the death. I looked through my references for a Henry Gidley born about 1820, and no-one fits the bill. The only Henry whose date tallies is Henry Robert Gidley, son of Henry Gidley, a mason, and his wife Ann Symons, who was baptised in Plymouth in 1819. But I am fairly sure that this is the Henry who was killed in the Graig Mine in Aberdare in June 1850, when he accidentally fell into the coal pit. This Henry was a carpenter, as was Henry in Plymouth in the 1841 census.
The constable making the initial report to the inquest in Victoria wrongly named Henry as William (this was crossed out and Henry written in).

5. Julia Gidley who died 10 December 1881 at Kangaroo Flat.
This is the one I feel is the saddest. The verdict was "Syncope of the heart, brought on by the excessive use of intoxicating liquor in combination with want of proper nourishment and care and also exposure to cold".
One of the main witnesses was Edward Gidley, the deceased's schoolboy son, who with the other witness, the next-door neighbour, had tried to look after his mother in the days before her death. He knew she "was in the habit of drinking brandy and ale". The neighbour had also seen the deceased "frequently under the influence of liquor", and the doctor who attended her before her death said he knew her "habit of drinking brandy and ale". In fact the neighbour claimed that Julia blamed her last illness on "beer, beer".
Sadly, it was Edward who found his mother's body when he came in after playing outside. He had previously made her some soup, but she had been unable to take it and had thrown off all the bedclothes, the cause of the exposure.
Edward Gidley had been registered as Andrew Gidley at his birth in 1871, but was evidently known as Edward from an early age, after a baby brother Edward had died aged 7 or 8 months, in the same year as Andrew's own birth. By a sad twist of fate an inquest was also held on Andrew/Edward's own death in 1941 in Billabong Creek, Jerilderie, New South Wales. The verdict was "asphyxia from drowning", with a comment "but whether accidental or not, evidence does not disclose". He left no money. Edward was only 10 when he found his mother's body. There seems to be no sign of Julia's husband Edward living with her, although he didn't die until 1909 in Bendigo. They had 10 children, of whom 4 died as babies. Julia's husband, Edward Gidley the elder had been born in Bishopsteignton, Devon in 1839, and his whole family were early emigrants to South Australia in 1850. I have only traced them one further generation back - to Chudleigh in Devon.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

More Gidley DNA news

A representative from the Gidleys of Burnley and those in Australia from the Chudleigh branch have recently had their autosomal DNA tested.
I also compared my own autosomal results with both of theirs. My own Gidley branch is from Spreyton and Heavitree.
And the upshot is that there are no shared DNA segments between any of our results.
This proves that there are multiple origins for the Gidley surname. This could be caused by illegitimacy, name change, adoption or infidelity within the genealogical time frame.
It would be wonderful if more people would come forward for testing. The autosomal test is reasonably cheap (about £65 if I order it from the Guild of One Name Studies at their special price). Both men and women can be tested.
The Y-DNA test is for males only. It gives males their haplogroup, which is interesting for ancestral origins and has already indicated that the Gidleys of Winkleigh may possibly have connections to Viking or Norman invaders.
I should be pleased to hear from anyone who would like to be tested.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

A family of 14

I suppose I should have expected this.
Once again the parents were born in the 1840s and their children at similar dates to the previous three extra large families. The parents are George Gidley and Eliza Vicary and  their children were all born in the Plymouth, Devon area, between 1869 and 1890.

1. Eliza Jane Gidley 1869 (married Thomas Baker)
2. Rosina Maud Gidley 1870 (not found after 1891)
3. Rhoda Gidley 1871-1876
4. Maria Georgina Gidley 1873 (married Arthur Ernest Dinham)
5. George William Henry Gidley 1875-1878
6. John Charles Henry Gidley 1878-1920s in USA)
7. William Samuel Gidley 1880-1882
8. Florence Mary Gidley 1882 (married Richard Frederick Higgins)
9. Emily Louisa M Gidley 1883 (married Edward Crabb)
10. Beatrice Louisa Gidley 1885 (married John Rowe)
11. Eva Eveline Gidley 1886 (married William James Hutchings)
12. George Joseph Victor Gidley 1888-1888
13. Ethel Maud Gidley 1890 (married Arthur John Burnell)

And final update, I hope:
14. Margaret Elsie Gidley 1891-1892.
This has to be the largest Gidley family.

HMS Agincourt
Father George Gidley was born in Buckfastleigh, Devon in 1842. His naval record begins in January 1858 when he enlisted in the Royal Navy, and the censuses show he progressed to becoming an Able Seaman. He was a Leading Seaman on HMS Agincourt, which was stranded on Pearl Rock, near Gibraltar, in 1871, and at the ensuing court martial gave evidence as the leadsman in the chains. By 1881 he was a naval pensioner and died in 1914. Eliza, his wife, died in 1900, presumably worn out with bringing up the children single-handed. I can't help thinking that the regular births of his children meant he can't have made too many round the world trips.

Friday, 18 November 2016

And yet another family of 13. Why are familes so large at this time?

This time it is the family of Thomas Gidley and Elizabeth Branch of Plymouth, married in 1866. The list of their children is as follows:
1. Jane Ann Gidley 1866-1870
2. William Thomas Gidley 1868-1900
3. Mary Jane Gidley 1870 (married Albert Edward Spencer)
4. John Henry Gidley 1872-1889
5. Kate Elizabeth Gidley 1875 (married Sydney Edwin Roberts)
6. Bessie Branch Gidley 1877 (married Sydney Charles Oliver)
7. James Ernest Gidley 1879-1895
8. Thomas Alfred Gidley 1882-1917
9. Frederick Gidley 1884-1917
10. Lilian Emma Gidley 1886 (married Sydney Pink)
11. Harold Gidley 1888-1961
12. Percy John Gidley 1890-1918
13. Edwin Gidley 1893-1949

It is noticeable that all at least survived to the age of four. And they are approximately the same ages as the parents and children of the other Gidley families of 13. Can increased fertility have been the result of better nutrition at this period? From the following article :
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2009 Mar; 6(3): 1235–1253
Clayton Paul, and Rowbotham, Judith
How the Mid-Victorians Worked, Ate and Died
[a small extract]
"In 1845 the notorious Corn Laws were finally repealed ushering in the era of cheap food for the urban masses...
Thanks to the [railways], producers were now supplying the urban markets with more, fresher and cheaper food than was previously possible. A survey of food availability in the 1860s through sources such as Henry Mayhew’s survey of the London poor shows very substantial quantities of affordable vegetables and fruits now pouring into the urban markets."
Spitalfields Market, London

I have blogged about this family before - see posts of June 2014 for the two brothers who fell in the First World War, Thomas Alfred and Frederick Gidley.
Father Thomas Gidley was born in Dean Prior, Devon in about 1845, but had moved to Plymouth with the rest of his family by 1849. His occupations were respectable lower middle class: clerk or foreman. He died in 1915 and his wife Elizabeth in 1923, leaving many descendants.

Another family of 13 children

I posted too soon.
Charles Edwin Gidley born 1846 in Limehouse, in the East End of London, and his first wife, Jessie Matilda Garland, born about 1848 in London, also had 13 children.
They are as follows:
1. Charles William Gidley 1869-1895
2. Walter Thomas Gidley 1870-1871
3. Jessie Lilian Gidley 1872 (married Robert Laidlaw)
4. Lucy Maud Gidley 1874-1884
5. Emma Elizabeth Gidley 1875-1876
6. George William Gidley 1877-1878
7. Augustus George Gidley 1879-1925
8. Sydney Herbert Gidley 1881-1917
9. Frederick Richard Edwin Gidley 1884-1865
10. Leonard James Arthur Gidley 1885-1954
11. Montague Henry Gidley 1887-1929
12. Horace Stanley Gidley 1888-1975
13. Louisa Alice Gidley 1890-1890

I have posted about this family before. See the blog entries of June 2014 for Sydney Herbert Gidley, and for February 2014 for Augustus George Gidley.
Sadly, only one year after the birth and death of their 13th child in Plumstead, Kent, Jessie and Charles Edwin were no longer living together. In the 1891 census Charles Edwin has re-crossed the Thames, back to his East End roots, and was described as an engine fitter, Woolwich Arsenal. He was living with his brother George, in West Ham. He  remained working as an engineer and only two years after this census his first child with his second wife, Eliza Anderson, his brother's stepdaughter, was born. There were six subsequent children, giving him 20 children in total, which must surely be a Gidley record.
Jessie Matilda Gidley, his first wife, remained on the south side of the Thames in Plumstead, where her four youngest children were living with her in 1891 at 77 Conway Road. She is not to be found in the 1901 census but her death was registered in Strood, Kent in 1907. She had probably been living with her only surviving daughter, Jessie Laidlaw, whose family were in Strood in the 1911 census.
A house in Conway Road, Plumstead
This left the way clear for her estranged husband to marry Eliza Anderson. He had gone through a church ceremony with her in 1905 in St John's, Hackney, before Jessie's death, knocking ten years off his age and calling himself a widower, but they were legally able to marry in the December quarter of 1907 in West Ham registration district. Charles died in 1935, and his second wife, Eliza, in 1943. Charles' surviving children have left many descendants.
He and Richard Gidley of the previous post about large families were 5th cousins once removed, so it is extremely unlikely they knew of each other.