Friday, April 29, 2016

Great Great Grandmother's Funeral Notice -- Elizabeth Rodda White 1904

Wow, the British Newspaper Archives are such a treasure trove! Today I thought I'd go back through some of my direct ancestors and verify death dates via newspaper articles on deaths/funerals.  I've found that often I have the Civil Registration date, which is a Quarter (Jan-Mar for example), but not the actual death date.   

The newspapers often report the death, and sometimes have an article detailing the funeral, mourners, etc. -- these can be a goldmine of genealogical information.  

Recently I found the death notice of my Gt Gt Grandmother Elizabeth Rodda White in Feb 1904 in Pendeen, Cornwall, England.  That was exciting enough, but somehow I missed a second article published on 3 Mar 1904 about her funeral!!  Wow, so many names and verification of which of her children survived her, and which had predeceased her (including my Gt Grandmother).

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Jane Rodda - b 1820 my 3rd Great Aunt

My Gteat Great Grandmother was Elizabeth Rodda, who lived to a great age of 92.  Her name always intrigued me, as it's very Cornish -- and I've spent a good deal of time researching her family.

Somehow, I'd never done much on her younger sister Jane.  I had some note that she possibly married a Grose or maybe a William Harvey.  One of her brothers went to Australia, and I suspected maybe she had as well, as I couldn't find her in the 1841 Census.

As I've been going back through my direct lines, I've been cross checking the British Newspaper Archive and the 1939 Register for clues on descendants.  While Jane was probably too early for these resources, I did another check on Ancestry, and found several trees that showed Jane had indeed married a James Grose.  While I don't always trust other's trees, I did the due diligence and all the records pointed directly to this being true, and that they had emigrated to Frostburg, Maryland, USA.

This was a key point, as other Rodda's had migrated there as well.  Her brother John had 3 sons that emigrated there in the 1870's -- so they followed and went to their Aunt!

I had traced most of those Rodda descendents in the past, but had never seen Jane, as she was under her married name of Grose - and I didn't put the clues together!

In looking at Jane's journey, she and James Grose married in 1840, had four children in St. Just in Penwith, and then emigrated to New York in 1850. They settled in Frostburg, where there was mining work, and had two more children there.  She died in 1901.

She left MANY descendants, which are all relatively close cousins to me!  It is always a wonder when I find a new CLOSE connection that I've previously overlooked (or been stumped on).

Sunday, April 17, 2016

White Family obituaries.....tragic death at Levant Mine, Pendeen, Cornwall

Wow.....sometimes trolling through old newspapers can turn up some absolute gems!  Today, I was looking at some old Cornish papers online, and thought I'd see if there was anything available for 1853 for Edward White, my GGG Grandfather.  I don't know who his parents were (although I have suspicions) - and was hoping to find an obituary with that info.

No luck finding Edward, so moved on to his son, Thomas White, my GG Grandfather who died the following year in 1854 -- at age 44.  Must be a story here......

No online coverage for 1854, so moved on to his widow, Elizabeth Rodda White, who died in 1904. BINGO!!! Found her obituary, which says she was 92, one of the oldest residents, and the relict of Thomas White, who died some 50 years ealier at Levant Mine!!  Wow.....this is news to me!

So then I decided to see if just googling "Levant Mine 1854" would show me anything relating to her husband Thomas White's death.  BINGO again!! I found a Rootsweb chat, which had info from the West Briton newspaper in 1854 (which doesn't seem to be online).  Kindly it had been transcribed and described poor Thomas's death.

West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser. Friday 4th August, 1854.
FATAL MINE ACCIDENTS AT ST. JUST - On Tuesday last, three men were
engaged "shotting down lode" in the usual way, in their pitch at
Levant Mine, St. Just, when a large "queer" which must have been loosened by
the holes previously blasted, suddenly fell on them, killing one of
them, Thomas WHITE, instantaneously, and dreadfully bruising the other
two, of whose recovery however, hopes are entertained.
On Wednesday last, as three men named Thomas WHITE, John TRAMBATH,
both of Bojewyan, and R. LEGGO, of Botallack, were at their work in Levant
Mine, a quantity of ground gave way, instantly killing White, and
severely injuring Trembath and Leggo. Deceased who was much respected
in the locality in which he resided, has left a wife and seven children. 

Very sad, but now I know why he died young, and this explains why some of the children scattered -- my Gt Grandmother headed to Eastern Cornwall to work as a domestic, and her sister married and emigrated to New Zealand, 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pearce Family Letters

My Grandmother was a twin, and while she emigrated from England to the USA, her twin sister married and stayed in Devon, England.  We were lucky in that the connection was close, and there was alot of correspondence between the families.

My Great Aunt Minnie (my Grandmother's twin), was a fantastic letter writer! She owned a stationery store, so maybe it was part of her vocation, but she really was a fantastic writer.  We received letters often, always in small envelopes, with strange British stamps, in her distinctive handwriting.  Her letters were a recap of the simple life she and her daughters led, the local weather, the shopping, the upcoming holidays, and her commentary on politics and news of the day.  She often mentioned family visits and news, which kept us "Yanks" informed of what everyone was up to in England.

At some point I expressed an interest in the family tree, and she sent a hand written family tree, which is a treasured document to this day.

She kept the family connected, although we didn't really realize it until many years later.  She wasn't just writing to us, but to other family members as well.  Only in the last few years did I find my second cousins -- who I vaguely knew of (from the family tree and a few mentions in letters).  As we've gotten acquainted and I've visited in the UK in the last few years, we've found that Minnie wrote them lots of letters as well!

On this trip, I met up with these cousins again, and they had dug up all their copies of Minnie's letters. What a treasure trove!!!

In this letter, she mentions the cousins in America and how the snapshot of the 2 girls shows that they are resembling her twin sister.  This is myself and my sister......amazing to read this some 40 years later, while visiting my 2nd cousin!

We have committed that we will all scan our copies of these letters to share with each other.  It is such a treasure to have these snapshots of life in Devon in the 1960-1980's.  We all have such fond memories of Minnie and her daughters, and we are keeping those alive, by sharing these letters.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Gt Gt Grandfather in the Bodmin Gaol records!!!

Wow!!!  Pulled up Ancestry and saw a new record set for "Bodmin Gaol Records" -- thought I'd put in the name Hurrell, as I always do with Cornish and Devon records to see if I'd get a hit.  No luck there, so tried Pearse .....and lo and behold, there was the following entry:

Name:Henry Pearce
Birth Year:abt 1817
Abode or Birth Place:Harford late St Stephens by Saltash
Marital Status:Married
Number of Children:4
Prison:Bodmin Gaol
Prison Location:Bodmin, Cornwall, England
Notes:Breach of peace twds his wife. No appearance against him. Ltrs. to/fro wife Susan at St. Ive and to bro. Wm.
Discharged Date:1848
County or County Code:DEV
Registration Number:9121
Amazing!! This is my 2nd Gt Grandfather, Henry Carew Pearce who married Susan Hurrell.  This breach of the peace between he and his wife, obviously must have been resolved, as they went on to have my Gt Grandfather Nathaneal Hurrell Pearce the following year, and 3 more children after that.  
But the reference to his brother William is a HUGE FIND!!!!  I didn't have any brother for him (particularly since he was a bastard).  The name makes sense, since the father of Henry Pearse is William Pearce.
Now, to see if I can order these records from the Cornwall Register Office!!!

I was recently at Who Do You Think You Are 2016 -- in Birmingham, and asked 2 experts about this. One was a former magistrate, and he said it would be very unusual to jail someone for breach of the peace with their wife. I asked if it was something like assault, would that make it more likely? He said possibly, but still seemed puzzled.  Another expert thought perhaps he had run off and wasn't providing for his wife and four children, and arresting and jailing him was a way of getting him to support his family. This seems the more plausible explanation to me, but we will see what the records show.

This expert also said, if you can get a record of the indictment or trial, it will be a gold mine......fingers crossed on that!  She also suggested checking newspapers, but the coverage in this area isn't great (yet).