Total Pageviews

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
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2672390/
[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.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Is this the largest Gidley family?

And by "largest family" I mean the number of children in one family by one mother.
I'm still working my way through the maiden names for births before 1911 in the GRO Registers for England & Wales. One long, long, list for the name Staines caught my eye. Emma Mary Gidley nee Staines, born in Deptford in about 1848, had no fewer than 13 children. None were multiple births, so Emma was bearing children for over 21 years.
The list is as follows:
1. Richard Abel Gidley 1869-1910
2. William Thomas Gidley 1871-1887
3. Arthur Gidley 1872-1872
4. Frank Gidley 1873-1874
5. Selina Gidley 1875 ( married Alfred Ernest Reynolds)
6. Jesse Gidley 1877-1878
7. Effie Gidley 1878-1879 (death registered as Euphemia Gidley)
8. Henry Gidley 1880-1937
9. John Gidley 1882-1882
10. Ada Gidley 1883 (married William Charles Wall)
11. George Gidley 1884-1885
12. Albert Gidley 1887-1887
13. William John Gidley 1891-1951
Nelson's Buildings (behind the tram)

Emma's husband was Richard Gidley, born in 1843 in Plymouth, Devon. His parents were Jesse Gidley and Mary Westington, who had moved from Egg Buckland in Devon to Plymouth, but died there in 1849 aged only 28, leaving a wife on parish relief and three children. But the two sons got themselves trades - Richard was a wheelwright - and in the 1860s Richard moved to Deptford, where he married Emma Mary Staines in Rotherhithe in 1868.
The family prospered in a minor way, as Richard branched out into coach building. They lived in several addresses in Greenwich and Deptford. By 1911 he is recorded as a coach builder, carriage & coach building, living at 22 Nelson Buildings, Thames St, Deptford. He died just after the end of the First World War. Emma does not seem to have been  worn out by the constant childbearing, and lived until the age of 81 in 1929, leaving many grandchildren, of whom it appears the oldest was born only three years after her youngest child. Emma was buried on 17 August 1929 in Greenwich Cemetery.
Leave a comment if you know of any larger (or as large) Gidley families with one mother.

Monday, 14 November 2016

A sad story from Victorian Manchester

The General Register Office has just released new indexes to Births and Deaths in England & Wales. These now include ages of death for deaths registered before 1866, and the mother's maiden name for births registered before 1911. So families with children who were born and died between the 10 yearly censuses, can now be updated.
One couple, Alfred and Sarah Jane (nee Worthington) Gidley, married in the rather grand sounding Manchester Cathedral in April 1872, I had assumed were childless. The reality was much sadder. Between 1872 and 1891 Sarah had no fewer than eight children. Only the oldest, Mary Ellen Gidley, made it beyond her first birthday, dying aged 2 in 1875. The subsequent children - Hannah Maria (named after Alfred's mother), Elizabeth Ellen, Alfred Albert, Selina (named after Alfred's sister), Thomas Herbert (after Alfred's father and a brother who had died aged 10), David and James William, were lucky if they survived to six months. It's impossible to say exactly how old they were, as births and deaths were only indexed every quarter. Alfred Gidley himself died in February 1892, aged only 43, and Sarah went on to have a child, William, by another man, the following year. This child, her ninth, also died aged only a few months. Sarah Gidley was not living at home with her husband in 1891 and reappears when she remarries - to William Threlfall in 1900. From then on she can't easily be traced in later censuses, but possibly dies in 1917. There is one mention of her admittance to Withington Workhouse for a few weeks in 1895, but no reason is given.
Ancoats, Manchester
Alfred and Sarah seem to have lived with Alfred's parents for much of their married life. They are certainly all together in Hazel Street, Hulme in 1881 and Alfred is still there, described as married, in 1891. He worked in the transport industry, as his family tended to, on the railways in 1881 and as a lorry man in 1891. From the only photo I have seen of Hazel Street on the internet, it looks no worse than many another row of Victorian terraced houses, but it's possible that poor housing or the poor air quality had something to do with the early deaths of the babies. Certainly in the 1840s Friedrich Engels was scathing in his comments on Manchester's working class housing. See http://www.historyhome.co.uk/peel/p-health/slums.htm
Walter Gidley, the brother next in age to Alfred, who married Elizabeth Ann Young in 1870, also lost six children (including a set of twins) at very early ages, but the remaining six of their twelve children did survive to adulthood to provide them with grandchildren. Walter was also in the transport industry, working as a carter or drayman, and the family lived in Ardwick.
Their father, Thomas Gidley, was born in the very different surroundings of South Brent in Devon in 1816, but his trade as a woolcomber took him to Bradford, Yorkshire, as a young man. After a few minor brushes with the law he took himself and his family to Manchester, where he was living by 1861, working as a carter.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Cornish Gidleys' diaspora to Mexico

The Traveller supplement of September 26th 2015 to the Independent newspaper has inspired this post. Gidleys in Cornwall in the mid 19th century mainly worked in the mining industry and their skills in a dying industry at home were much in demand abroad. Their most exotic destination must be Mexico, and the Independent's supplement featured an article entitled "Cornwall in the Sierras" on the town of Pachuca and its Cornish heritage. This heritage includes the introduction of football to Mexico with the first ever match in the country held at Pachuca in 1900 and also the introduction of the pasty, paste in Spanish, which the Mexicans have adapted to their own taste with a range of spicy sweet and savoury fillings. There is a huge range of paste shops in Pachuca, plus a Museo del Paste. In 2008 Redruth in Cornwall was twinned with Pachuca to commemorate their common heritage.
Dr Sharron Schwartz's Exeter University project on the Cornish in Latin America has provided me with much extra information.
The main square in Real del Monte
The first Gidley to emigrate to Mexico was William Gidley born in 1808. William was the favourite male name for Gidleys in Cornwall and I have 23 of them on the Cornish tree; many of them married a Mary or Mary Ann and called their children after themselves. This makes identification difficult and occasionally the evidence conflicts, so I may have come to some wrong conclusions, but I think this particular William was the son of William Gidley and Thomasine Thomas. In 1841 he was a miner at Carharrack, near Gwennap, about 2 miles from Redruth. By the late 1840s Cornwall was arguably the most important mining district in the world, accounting for nearly a quarter of total recorded global copper ore output, but by the 1860s, being so far from the coalfields, the industry in Cornwall was in decline. But Cornish mining technology and skilled labour was in great demand throughout the world, and many residents emigrated in search of work. William Gidley must have seen the writing on the wall sooner than most, or perhaps he was attracted by the higher wages, for by 1847 he was in Mexico as an employee of the Real del Monte Mining Company; homepay £20 in September 1847. However, by the 1850s it seems that Wlliam had moved on to the mining region of California. His wife (just one of the Mary Ann Gidleys) never seems to have left Cornwall and died there in 1881, but his son William Henry Gidley born in 1840 in Cornwall was also in Township 8, Calaveras, California in 1860. I haven't found a death for William Henry Gidley (he was in Mariposa, California in 1870), but his father, the older William, is approximately the right age for the William Gidley who died in yet another mining area, Gold Hill, Storey County, Nevada, USA in 1872. The cause of death was asthma.
Other Gidleys were resident in Mexico for short periods. A second William Gidley was probably the nephew of William Gidley of the previous paragraph, was born in 1839 in Gwennap, the son of John Thomas Gidley, a copper miner of Carharrack, and his wife, Mary Ann Allen. This William was successful in his enterprises. His mining career began at the Poldice Mine. He emigrated to Mexico in 1867, was still there in 1871, but it also looks as though he too moved on to Nevada, where he was in 1880, although his obituary gives the impression his stay in Mexico was uninterrupted for 20 years. By 1891 he had returned to his wife in Cornwall, was living on his own means, and was proud to call himself a (mine) captain, which was inscribed on his tombstone in St Day. He left the respectable sum of £4780 19s 9d on his death in 1907, which was inherited by the only remaining member of his family, his daughter Eliza Gidley. His obituary, kindly sent to me by Gill, a Cornish-Mexican expert, records that he too died of a lung disease, an occupational hazard for miners. His obituary ends that he was "always open-hearted and willing to help all societies for the welfare of the community."
William and his wife, Mary Ann Craze, had three children, William John, Nanny/Nannie Jane and Eliza, born between 1864 and 1867. Only wife Mary Ann and younger daughter Eliza were never resident in Mexico. Son William John Gidley had two separate spells there, the first being in the 1870s. The Cornish in Latin America database records that in 1897 William John Gidley returned to Pachuca from Cornwall after an absence of 19 years to be the Mine Secretary of the Santa Gertrudis mine, but his sudden exposure to Pachuca's rarifed atmosphere killed him. It also records intriguingly that he had brought with him a ram and two ewes from the Prince of Wales' farm at Sandringham.
His sister Nannie Jane Gidley also emigrated to Mexico. She married another Gwennap man, John Odgers, in 1885 in the Southampton registration district, presumably near their port of embarkation, and they set off for the San Pedro Mine, Real del Monte, Pachuca. Their time there was short. John Odgers died on 22 January 1887, and Nanny Jane followed him a few weeks later. Both are buried in the Panteon Ingles, the English Cemetery, where all headstones apparently face towards Great Britain. A separate cemetery was necessary in the predominantly Catholic country. In the early days swamp fever was a terrifyingly swift and unpleasant death, but it is not known what carried off the Odgers couple.

The Panteon Ingles

The grave of John and Nannie Jane Odgers
So what sort of life would the Gidleys have had in Pachuca? It was a small town in the mountains about 50 miles from Mexico City, and Real del Monte, the mining district, was just outside the main town. The silver mines were redeveloped from the 1830s onwards by British financed companies, and by the 1870s there were 350 Cornish residents in Pachuca. As well as the pasties and football, the Cornish folk brought other sports with them including cricket - William Henry Gidley was a member of the cricket team in 1886. They brought Methodism too, although a chapel was not built until 1901 and all services before then took place in people's homes, just as in the early days in Cornwall. Their cottages were built in the Cornish style with red corrugated iron roofs, and the men would stroll of a Saturday evening in the town square, repairing to a hotel bar to sing Cornish songs and hymns. The Cornish women formed Ladies' Aid societies and organised a picnic each year on Queen Victoria's birthday. Not until 1906 when the mines were taken over by an American company, and 1910 when there was a revolution in Mexico, did the Cornish population in Pachuca go into decline. Much money had been sent home to Cornwall by then, an important contribution to the Cornish economy. Mexican remittances had helped to build the Wesleyan Chapel in Redruth, Cornwall. In return, parcels of fragrant saffron would arrive regularly at the Pachuca Post Office.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The UK Lunacy Patients Admission Registers, 1846-1912

There are several Gidleys in the asylum Admission Registers published on Ancestry, and, although some patients recovered after some months or years of treatment, there are some sad stories to tell.
The saddest story has to be that of Richard Gidley who spent over 50 years incarcerated in Colney Hatch Asylum, near Barnet in North London. He was admitted in October 1861, a pauper male (as opposed to being a fee-paying private patient) and, presumably, in those unenlightened days never left its doors until his death in January 1912. So who was this Richard Gidley? I think he must be Richard William Gidley, born on 16 February 1827 and christened at St Marylebone in London on 17 June 1827. His parents were Richard and Sarah Gidley and I have no idea where or when they married. I haven't find any trace so far of a Richard Gidley in that area of London at that time, nor any likely burial. According to the baptismal register Richard senior was in trade, residing at Augustus Street, St Pancras. But the family unit was broken up by the 1841 census when Richard junior was found in the St Pancras Workhouse. I haven't found a burial for his mother Sarah between 1827 and 1841 in London, so possibly Richard junior's illness had started to manifest itself by then and he wasn't able to live with his family. It's possible that his mother Sarah was in Shoreditch, described as Independent, in 1841, and in 1851 a widow, born in St Olave's, Surrey, living with her niece and her family, and with the same niece and a nephew in 1861, although whether this is the correct Sarah who was the mother of Richard is pure conjecture. This Sarah was buried in Abney Park cemetery in North London in 1866, aged 75.
To return to Richard Gidley, inmate of the Asylum, I couldn't find him in 1851, but he is living on his own in 1861 in Brunswick Street, St Pancras, working as a grocer. Only a few months later he was admitted to Colney Hatch.
Another sad story was the admittance of two brothers to Devon County Asylum in Exminster in the 1870s, where both died as teenagers. The two oldest sons of Richard Coulton Gidley of Beenley Farm in Diptford, Devon, were admitted as pauper males. This is strange, as their father was one of the better-off Gidleys of that time, being a farmer in the 1871 census of 175 acres, employing three men, two women and one boy. He continued to prosper locally, acting as Relieving Officer to several parishes, and by the time of his burial in 1930 in Totnes, he was the oldest resident of that town at 98 years of age. But his two oldest sons - there were ten children in the family altogether, although only two survived their father - George and Walter William Gidley, entered the asylum aged 14 and 12 years old respectively. Sadly, both only lived for another ten months to one year after their admittance, and died in the asylum in December 1877 and January 1879.
Mary Colman Gidley of the Bovey Tracey Gidleys was another sad case. She was christened in West Teignmouth in Devon in 1832, the elder daughter of George Gidley and his wife Sarah Colman. The family had moved to Dover, Kent by 1841, where George was a fly proprietor in Town Wall Lane. A fly was a horse-drawn public coach or delivery wagon, especially one let out for hire, or possibly a light, two-wheeled cab. The family stayed in Dover for several years, but had moved on to Limehouse in London by 1861 where George continued as a cab proprietor. Mary was still living at home then, described as a needlewoman. But by 1870 there were family difficulties. George died in 1872 in East London, but in 1871 his wife Sarah was working as a cook in Marylebone, West London, and was described as a widow. Their daughter Mary was admitted to Peckham Asylum in 1870, then moved to Hanwell Asylum (a place I knew well from the outside under its later name of St Bernard's, as it was near my childhood home) a few months later in 1871, described as "not improved". Hanwell prided itself on its up-to-date treatment of the mentally ill, but Mary was moved on again in 1877 to Banstead Asylum in Surrey. In 1881 she is probably enumerated as "M.C.G., imbecile, unable to follow any ocupation". She died in Banstead three years later, in 1884.