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Saturday, 31 October 2009

James Gidley, jeweller of Plymouth, 1824 - 1910

Having just returned from another visit to the Devon County Record Office, I'm pleased that a marriage entry I was checking for its additional notes proved so informative that I can now say that the family of James the jeweller of Plymouth, one of the small "orphan" trees, can be added with some certainty to the Gidley of Dean Prior tree.
Susanna Gidley married John Brand in Plymouth St Andrew on 6 January 1811. The extra notes in the parish register contain the information that John was a "mate of the Nile Transport no. 13", and also that Susanna was a spinster, and married with the consent of her mother Ann, a widow. A Robert Gidley also made his mark as a witness to the marriage. These names together made the link to the family of Nicholas Gidley, christened in Rattery in 1756, who married Anne Brownson in Buckfastleigh in 1790. They had three children, Susanna, Robert and Henry. Nicholas's burial is evidently that in Plymouth Charles in 1804. Robert is clearly placed in Plymouth, and therefore is highly likely to be the licensed victualler of Britonside and of the Black Bull in Exeter Street, and father of James Gidley, the jeweller, by his wife, Frances Elford. Robert died in 1842 and his age tallies closely enough with the Robert Gidley christened in Rattery in 1793, son of Nicholas and Anne.
Intriguingly, Robert's executor was Bartholomew Gidley, the surgeon of Plymouth, and Gustavus Gidley was his solicitor - both from a completely different Gidley tree. Was Robert also intrigued by the co-incidence of the names? As far as I know, there was no link at all between the two main branches of Gidleys after about 1600, when the first Gidley is mentioned in Buckfastleigh.
There are no known descendants of this family in the male line, but one of James's daughters married Frederick Farthing, and is known to have many descendants. Unusually for the times, James and his wife Eliza seem to have eventually gone their separate ways, and Eliza travelled round the country as a cook for some decades.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Gidleys in the England and Wales Criminal Registers

With the release by Ancestry of the Criminal Registers in HO26 and HO27 at The National Archives, I think I'd better revise slightly my statement in the Gidley Profile to the effect that the Gidleys were nearly all of good character.
25 references have been found to Gidleys, although 16 of those named were subsequently acquitted. Another was almost certainly a mistranscribed Gidlow. The years and counties covered are Middlesex 1791-1892, and the rest of England and Wales 1805-1892.
Those eventually found guilty were as follows:
1) John Kerswell Gidley (from the Buckfastleigh branch) was sentenced to 18 months for larceny in 1840. He was in Exeter Gaol in the 1841 census. In the Criminal Register he is described as being able to read and write well.
2) Samuel Gidley (of the Woodbury branch) was sentenced to 3 months at the Exeter Lent Assizes in 1820. Other sources inform us that it was for stealing a hind quarter of mutton. His wife Penelope Gidley had been acquitted of receiving stolen goods the previous year.
3) Edwin Bartholomew Gidley (the Winkleigh branch) was sentenced to 6 months for larceny in 1842. On release he must have immediately joined the Royal Navy, where he became a Gunnner First Class.
4) Thomas Gidley (possibly from the Dean Prior family) was sentenced to 4 months for larceny at Leeds Borough sessions in 1850.
5) John Gidley (the Cornwall branch) was sentenced to a week's imprisonment in 1851 at Bodmin General Quarter Sessions for larceny. This could well have been the John Gidley who almost immediately emigrated to Canada.
6) Nicholas Gidley (also of the Cornish family) who was found guilty of burglary at Bodmin Assizes in 1852 and sent to prison for one year. He was probably also sentenced in 1854 in Devon for one week, again for burglary.

The sentences seem to have had life-changing effects in some cases, witness the emigration and enlistment in the Services.
Even being found not guilty also seems to have led to long distance moves, even emigration in one case: Thomas Gidley of the Winkleigh branch found not guilty of housebreaking at the Old Bailey in 1833. Thomas Gidley of the Dean Prior branch possibly moved after his imprisonment from Bradford to Manchester. James Gidley (of the Winkleigh branch, who had moved with his widowed mother to Brighton) moved on to London after he was acquitted of larceny in 1869. Richard Gidley (of my Spreyton and Heavitree branch) was acquitted of sheep stealing in 1834 at Plymouth, presumably whilst living in Ipplepen, and moved on to Heavitree shortly afterwards.

There were two noticeable recidivists who seem to have managed to get away with it for the most part:
1) Joseph Gidley, a costermonger of Deptford, who was acquitted three times between 1837 and 1839 of larceny (twice) and of uttering counterfeit coin. A month after his first acquittal a local newspaper tells us that he was charged at Greenwich Petty Sessions with three others with assaulting several police constables from R Division, which all the defendants denied. All were fined either £5, or given 2 months imprisonment. Joseph, whose parents are still unknown, settled down after he became a family man.
2) William Gidley (of the Winkleigh branch) seems to have been incorrigible. I already had several references in the Exeter Police notebooks to him, including using obscene language, and riding a horse up and down Preston St, Exeter. He was fined 10/- for that. He was probably also the William Gidley acquitted three times for larceny between 1853 and 1867, and charged with aggravated assault in 1857. He was married twice, and his son by his first wife, James Gidley, emigrated to Australia.

Nearly all the offences involved larceny. When it was listed, most of the defendants could either not read or write at all, or only imperfectly. The most serious crime was that of John Gidley accused of assault with intent to ravish in 1873 at Exeter General Quarter Sessions, but he was acquitted.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

William the Conqueror link?

I had read the history of Gidleigh village and manor in the Middle Ages in Tony Grumley-Grennan's book, and taken note of the family trees on Ancestry of the Prouz family that start with Giles de Gidley, but not really taken much notice of them. Then Pete Gidley sent me a copy this week of an extract from “Devonshire Wills “ by Charles Worthy written in 1896, pages 394-399. I reproduce it here:


This ancient family derives its name from the parish of Gidley, on the north-eastern escarpment of Dartmoor, which land was given by William the Conqueror to his half brother the Earl of Mortain, and held under him, in 1086, by a certain " Godwin," and in the Confessor's reign it had also belonged to " Godwin," described as the " Priest" Westcote, in his seventeenth century View of Devonshire, declares that he had seen a grant of this land, by " Martine," Earl of Cornwall, in favour of his " nephew, Giles de Gidleigh,'' the seal bearing the impress of a triple towered castle, and that the said grant was "exemplified, under the great seal of England, in the reign of Henry VIII."
The said " Giles de Gidleigh," to have been a " nephew " of the Earl of Mortain, whose brother Odo, Earl of Kent, and Bishop of Bayeux, had no issue, should have been a son of his sister Emma D'Abrincis, the mother of Hugh, Earl of Chester, and there is no record that she had such a son as "Giles." Robert of Mortain, Odo, and Emma were the children of Harlotta of Falaise by her marriage with Harlowen de Conteville. Their half-brother and sister, King William and Adeliza, were the offspring of an earlier, and less respectable, intimacy on the part of Harlotta, with Duke Robert of Normandy, and it is most probable that the several personages who have been handed down to us as " nephews " and " nieces " of the Conqueror, or of Mortain, such as "Albreda," wife of Baldwin de Brion of Okehampton, William " Warlewast," Bishop of Exeter, and this Giles de Gidleigh, were children of the king's whole sister, Adeliza de Falaise aforesaid, who was married thrice, and had issue by each marriage, inter a/us, Adeliza, Countess of Albemarle in her own right, 1081-1090 ; Stephen, who succeeded his half sister in that earldom ; and Judith, wife of Waltheof, Earl of Huntingdon. The daughter of Albreda of Okehampton was also called Adeliza, and doubtless so after her grandmother. It is certain that this Dartmoor property descended in the name of Gidleigh for some generations, and down to the middle of the fourteenth century, when the daughter and heir of Giles de Gidley married William, son of Waiter Prouz, by the daughter of the Lord Dinham. Her eldest son and heir succeeded to Gidleigh, and his only child, Alice, married, first, Sir Roger Moels, and, second, Sir John Damerell. The latter family inherited Gidley for several generations, until it passed by intermarriage with one of them to the Coades of Morvell, in the county of Cornwall. It was during their ownership that Gidley Castle probably fell to decay ; the remains of it appear to be of early fourteenth century date, and consist chiefly of the large square keep, the lower chamber of which is barrel vaulted, and has two newel staircases communicating with the upper portion of the building. The name of Gidley, however, appears to have been preserved by a younger branch of the family which settled at Winkleigh, the Devonshire seat of the Honour of Gloucester, upon a property called Holecombe, which had been held under those Earls by William de Portu Mortuo in the reign of Henry III., and was afterward corruptly known as Holcombe Paramore. Richard Gidley was buried at Winkleigh, 26th March, 1574."

Tony Grumley-Grennan is not convinced by the supposed grant of the manor of Gidleigh by Martin, Earl of Mortain to his nephew, Giles de Gidley. The language used in the grant is apparently not from early Norman times, but more likely to be legal language from the 13th and 14th century.
The Prouz family tree produced from Charles Worthy's account also differs in some respects from other Prouz trees I have seen. It is unlikely that it will ever be proved that the Gidleys of Winkleigh descend from William the Conqueror's mother. That there is a link with other Norman barons seems highly likely, however. Manors weren't granted to Saxons or peasants.
The supposed link between the Gidleys and the Coades family of Cornwall is worth investigating, and I shall be checking the Visitations of Cornwall on my next trip to the Society of Genealogists, and trying to contact some Coades family historians, to see if I can find out if the Gidleys of Holcombe Paramore really were a younger branch of the Coades family.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

John Edward G Gidley born 1903

I have recently obtained the birth certificate of John Edward G Gidley, born in Kennington, London, in November 1903. I had hoped this was going to solve the mystery of the parents of Edward George Gidley, of a similar age and district of London. But they are totally different people. The certificate did, however, solve the mystery of the two Gidleys I found in Dover in both the 1911 census and in death references.
John Edward Gidley born 14 November 1903 in Kennington was the son of Evelyn Louise Hatton Greenaway, a milliner. The certificate has been officially altered by the registrar to change baby John's surname from Greenaway to Gidley, when presumably John's father went to the Register Office to facilitate this. The father was John Edward Gidley, a joiner. I think this makes him part of the Gidleys of Winkleigh tree, and John Edward senior was born in 1859 in Mile End, London, the son of Gustavus Gidley of the Metropolitan Police. John Edward married Maria in 1879. They had five children, and Maria died in 1900. John married again, in 1901, to Eliza, and was presumably still married to her when he admitted the parentage of John Edward junior. In fact Eliza did not die until 1933, by which time John senior had married yet another woman, three years before he died in the Renfrew Road Workhouse in Southwark in 1926.
Evelyn (who was born in Kent) and John junior were found in Dover in the 1911 census, both using the name of Gidley. John died in 1932 in Dover, aged only 28. Evelyn had died in Dover in 1928 under the name of Gidley, and is described in the probate record as a widow.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Gidleys around the world

In the Gidley Profile on the Guild of One Name Studies website I mention that there are now far more Gidleys in the USA then there are in the UK.
The website from University College London puts a different slant on this statement.
This website gives the frequency per million of a surname in the total population, and looked at this way Australia comes out top with a frequency of 14.37 per million. The UK is next with 9.88 FPM, the US 3rd with 5.6 FPM, New Zealand 4th with 3.53 FPM, and Canada last with 0.92 FPM.
Top regions are West Virginia with a frequency of 35.8 per million, Alabama with 34.48 FPM, the South West of the UK with 33.33 FPM, the Timaru district of New Zealand with 28.71 FPM, and Australian Capital Territory with 27.06 FPM.
Top cities in the UK are Exeter, Blackburn, Birmingham, Burnley and Manchester.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Death of Dr. John Lynn Gidley

I report the sad passing of a distingushed petroleum engineer, as sent to me by his son, Neil Gidley. I print here the official obituary, which gives some idea of John Lynn Gidley's achievements. Perhaps more tellingly Neil says, "My brother and I didn't even realise the extent of his professional accomplishments until we came to write his obituary.... to us he was just "Pop"."

From the Houston Chronicle:
DR. JOHN LYNN GIDLEY, age 84, of Houston, passed away Monday morning, March 30, 2009. Dr. Gidley was born December 30, 1924 to Andrew Jackson Gidley and Alice Josephine Lytle in Lytle, Texas. John L Gidley graduated from Lytle High School as valedictorian (1942). After one year at Texas A&M College, he served two and one half years in the United States Army Air Corps, where he flew B-17s, B-24s, and B-29s. He received his BS Ch.E, MS Ch.E. and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas. Dr. Gidley joined Humble Oil & Refining Company December 10, 1954 as an engineer in the Production Research Division (subsequently Exxon Production Research). Dr. Gidley's work in Exxon's Subsurface Engineering Group helped generate new techniques for well stimulation. Over his 31-year career with Exxon, he was responsible for numerous professional publications and for eight patents. In 1969, he invented a sandstone acidizing process which, within the first three years of use, increased oil production at Exxon by more than 25,000 barrels per day. Dr. Gidley was proud that the patent royalties more than covered his salary and benefits during his last 17 years at Exxon. Upon retiring from Exxon in 1986, Dr. Gidley organized both a consulting firm and a joint research project on sandstone acidizing. This led to his discovery of six new patents on improved acidizing techniques, which are still in active use today. Dr. Gidley also taught as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University from 1992-1998. Dr. Gidley loved the classroom, working with graduate students, and found teaching immensely rewarding. In 1999, the UT named him a Distinguished Engineering Graduate. Dr. Gidley was active in the Society of Petroleum Engineers and co-authored the monograph on Acidizing Fundamentals. He was named a distinguished member of SPE in 1990, received the Society's John Franklin Carll Award in 1992 and its highest award, Honorary Membership in 2000. From 1969 to 1986, Dr. Gidley chaired the API Subcommittee on Well Completion Materials. Dr. Gidley was nominated and admitted to the National Academy of Engineering in 1994 for development of stimulation materials and techniques to increase oil and gas production. He was a member of the Chancellor's Council of the UT System and a life member of the Friends of Alec. Dr. Gidley was a devoted father and grandfather, sponsoring an annual family reunion known as Gidleyfest, at locations throughout the United States. He was active as a Cubmaster in Cub Scouts for Pack 280 at Holy Ghost Catholic Parish & School. A convert to the Roman Catholic faith, he served as a Lector at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Houston. Dr. Gidley was truly grateful for the education he received as a result of the GI Bill. Dr. Gidley supported many charitable causes and helped to endow new student scholarship funds at Spring Hill College, the Debate program at the University of Kansas, and the University of Texas School of Engineering. In addition to his enjoyment of teaching and his stressing the importance of education, Dr. Gidley had a lively sense of humor and was well-known for his warmth, for his humility, and for making people feel at ease. Dr. Gidley was preceded in death by his wife Betty Jane Boggus and infant son; his brother Jack Gidley; and his sisters Jane Kenagy and Betsy Shaw. He is survived by his wife Virginia Anne Platz, his children Michael Andrew Gidley, John Mark Gidley (Bridget), Carol Gidley Wright (Charlie), Dr. Paul William Gidley (Milvia), Brian David Gidley, Allyson Anne Morrison (Richard), and Neil P. Gidley (Maggie), and his sister Margaret Clover and brother William J. Gidley, and his grandchildren Danielle Gidley, George Franklin Gidley, Travis Gidley, Jessica Gidley, Jack Gidley, Edward Gidley, Elizabeth Gidley, Charlotte Gidley, Eliza and Dalton Wright, Gabriel Gidley, Haley Morrison, Austin Morrison, John Lytle Morrison, Julia Morrison, Lauren Morrison, and Colin Patrick Gidley. The family asks in lieu of flowers that donations be made in his memory to MD Anderson Cancer Center, the John and Virginia Gidley Endowed Scholarship in Chemical Engineering at the UT Engineering Dept., or the charity of your choice.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Acali experiment 1973

Mary Gidley, an American mother-of-two, took part in the strange "Acali experiment", devised by eminent anthropologist, Dr Santiago Genoves. Five men and six women of several different nationalities set sail on a raft from the Canary Isles heading for Mexico, as an experiment in social behaviour. It was especially noted that key positions on the raft were given to women (remember, this was the 1970s). Mary Gidley herself was the navigation expert, and the captain was a Swedish woman.

The official description of the experiment follows:
"Eleven adult volunteers - six females and five males - were left on a small raft in the Atlantic in order to study interpersonal relationships affected by family patterns of behavior, attitudes toward sex, race and racism, nationality, verbal and nonverbal communication, personality and character, intelligence, language, religion, leadership roles, and space. We hoped to gain a better understanding of friction and violence phenomena. The Acali experiment grew out of the more limited raft studies of Ra 1 and Ra 2.
Intelligence and personality of the 11 members of the Acali raft expedition of 1973 were assessed by crew members and by shore-based scientists. Predictions concerning the Likely outcome of this long period of unavoidable proximity to 10 other individuals were made by a variety of scientists. Media treatment and views of friends and relatives were also studied. Some of the basic findings of the study were that assessments of both intelligence and personality carried out by these two methods were very different. Practising artists showed better predictive powers concerning the outcome of the voyage than either natural or social scientists. Media treatment influenced the views of the relatives of volunteers. It is suggested that laboratory assessments may not be related to assessed performances under stress, and that further progress in understanding human hostility will depend on a better knowledge of individual interactions."

It is not known how Mary Gidley fared. She would now (2009) be in her 70s, and was evidently one of the more adventurous Gidleys.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Multiple Gidley births

Raising twins was quite an achievement before about the beginning of the last century, and Gidley twins are rare before then. Martin Robert Gidley and Thomas May Gidley are, I think, the earliest pair I have spotted - they were born in 1909 in Dartford registration district. Daisy S Gidley and Eric A Gidley are a later pair, born 1919 in Birmingham. Since then there have been a few other pairs, but twins don't seem to run in Gidley families.
But.... were there triplet births in the June quarter of 1864 in Southampton registration district? The births of John, Mary Ann and Thomas Gidley were all registered in the same volume and on the same page. Sadly, they all died in that same quarter, and, again, their deaths were registered on the same page.
2012 stop press: yes, they were triplets, the oldest children of Albert Gidley (of my own Gidley family), then a Gunner in the Royal Navy (and later a coastguard), and his wife Agnes. The babies were born prematurely on 23rd April 1864 in Southampton and all died later that same day. Albert and Agnes went on to have four more children, of whom three survived to adulthood, and another daughter who died as a baby.
Much more happily, there is a set of Gidley triplets thriving in Texas. All girls, they were born in December 2007, and their mother is recording their progress on a blog, The Gidley Girls.

2018 update: I have been updating Gidley baptisms from the Devon Baptisms index on FindMyPast and have found what appear to be two earlier sets of twins.
In October 1681 twin boys, Henry and Robert, were baptised in Buckfastleigh, sons of Hercules Gidley.
In August 1736 two sons, John and William, were baptised on the same day in Spreyton to Bartholomew and Mary Gidley. They appear to be twins. John was the only one to survive to adulthood. William was buried 10 days after his baptism.

Friday, 6 February 2009

William Henry Clarke Gidley

Mystery surrounds this particular Gidley, a mariner of some sort, and his various marital arrangements.
In 1849 William Henry Clarke Gidley, a bachelor, of full age, a sailor, married Elizabeth Hannaford, a minor. William gave his father's name as Christopher Gidley, although I believe this was more likely to have been his grandfather. Christopher's son William born in 1795, a fisherman, was married to Agnes Gilley, and this couple was more likely to have been William Henry Clarke's parents. They did have a son William baptised in 1826, and Christopher's mother's surname was Clark.
In 1851 there was no sign of William, presumably at sea, and his wife Elizabeth was visiting her parents.
In 1861 Elizabeth is in Liverpool, a widow with a daughter, Eveline (I believe this is a misreading by the enumerator for Caroline). Again there is no sign of William.
In 1871 William C Gidley is in Liverpool, married, mate of a ship, with a wife Jane aged 34 born in Hull. There is no sign of Elizabeth and there is no obvious death reference for her. Their two daughters, Caroline and Mary Elizabeth, are lodging in St Marychurch in Devon.
In 1874 there is a marriage for William Hy C [sic] Gidley to Mary Jane Harvey or Earl. William describes himself as a widower. This time he gives his father's name as William Gidley, a mariner.
This situation only lacks a death reference for the first wife, Elizabeth, if you set aside the description of Elizabeth as "widow" in 1861 (and the enumerator had probably already made a mistake with the name of the daughter, and possibly missed off the second daughter from the entry).
However, I was surprised to find in the Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958 from Ireland (available on yet another marriage reference for William Henry Clark [sic] Gidley, this time in 1864 in Belfast. He certainly wasn't trying to hide his identity when he used all his Christian names. Perhaps this wife died before his third marriage, although possibly he was one of those legendary sailors with a girl in every port. There is a tantalising death reference to a William Gidley who died in Newry RD in 1884 aged 20. Was this a son of the marriage?

And then there is the puzzle of who is the William Gidley who married Harriet Caroline Burgoin in 1846 in the Newton Abbot RD? They move to London, where this other William from Torquay was a carpenter. I had thought this was William, son of William and Agnes, but it seems as though this was William Henry Clark Gidley, who has enough wives to keep him occupied. A marriage certificate will have to be purchased.

STOP PRESS November 2009- a baptismal entry for William Henry Clarke Gidley in Tormoham (Torquay) in April 1828 gives us the information that he was in fact the base son of Harriet Gidley of Torquay. Christopher Gidley was therefore his grandfather, and William Gidley his uncle. One mystery solved, but not his tangled matrimonial arrangements.

The burial records of Toxteth Park Cemetery reveal that William Henry Clarke's matrimonial arrangements weren't quite as tangled as I once thought. The records show the following burial in 1868:
GIDLEY Mary Ann 31 years Wife 201 Beaufort Street 16 December 1868.
I believe this is the wife he married in Ireland in 1864. Their son William Robert was born in 1865, and lived until 1871. William Henry Clarke then married Mary Jane (or Jane) Harvey or Earl in 1874.
I still don't have a death reference for his first wife, nor do I know why she was described as a widow in the 1861 census.

And yet another wife for William Henry Clarke Gidley at the age of 50. I think this makes him the most-married British-born Gidley. This final? marriage took place in Durban, Natal, South Africa in October 1878. To match the last three wives, William married another Mary - to be precise Marie Estella Guient. And presumably the much-travelled William died in South Africa.