Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Gilding Family

Last time I wrote about my step-grandfather's first wife, Jean Alden and her family. Jean's mother was Mollie Joan Alden, daughter of Robert Alden and Emily Gilding. This blog post is dedicated to the Gilding family.

Emily Gilding was born in Bungay in 1871. She was one of eight* children. The census returns for that year were taken on the night of 2 April and Emily is listed as being two months old. Her parents, Jacob Gilding and Sarah Ann (nee Rogers) were then residing in Beccles Road, in Bungay.

Emily's father Jacob Gilding was a Wherryman/Waterman by trade, in the counties of Norfolk and North Suffolk - this being stated in the 1851, 1861 & 1871 census returns. By 1881, however, Jacob was a Railway Labourer, as part of the General Eastern Railway (G.E.R). Jacob and his wife and children were by that time residing in Beccles.

Jacob Gilding was born on 6 June 1838 in Smallburgh, county Norfolk. He was the son of Benjamin Langley Gilding and Mary, nee Cork. On 2 July 1838 Jacob was baptised at St Peter's Church, Smallburgh. In 1851 the Gilding family lived at Broad Fen in Dilham. Benjamin, Jacob's father was a Waterman by trade. I like to imagine him rowing his way through the Norfolk Broads on an early Spring day, chewing on a piece of reed.

Picking Water Lillies
http://www.theslideprojector.com/

Jacob left the county of Norfolk some time before 1860 and took up residence in Bungay, county Suffolk. Jacob married Sarah Ann Rogers, daughter of William Rogers, at Bungay Holy Trinity Church on 3 April 1860. Both signed the marriage register with an "X". The Rogers family were from Loddon, county Norfolk. William Rogers' first wife Mary Ann (nee Harris), Sarah Ann's biological mother, died in 1845 and William later married Amy Harris in 1849. Any relation?

Jacob and Sarah Ann's first child, George, was born in August 1860 but he did not thrive, and died on 3 September 1860. His burial service was held at Bungay Holy Trinity Church. Jacob and Sarah had only been married for five months. They went on to have eight more children:

Frederick George Gilding
George Rogers Gilding
Benjamin Gilding
Harry Gilding
Emily Gilding
Ernest William Gilding
Ellen Mary Gilding
Anne Gilding

They remained in Bungay until some time before 1881 when they moved with their children to Beccles: Emily, aged 10. Ernest William, aged 8. Ellen Mary, aged 6 and Anne, aged 5. What I find especially intriguing about the 1881 census return for the Gilding family is two-fold: 1) Jacob and Sarah Ann's sons George, then aged 16 and Benjamin, then aged 14, were "Inmates" (Students) at a Boys Reformatory School in Thorndon All Saints (near Eye); and 2) Jacob and Sarah Ann have an extra adopted child: Jeremiah Sturman, aged 1.

Upon further investigation, Jeremiah Sturman was born in Skelton in North Riding, county Yorkshire. He was the illegitimate son of Rebekah Sturman, a Domestic Servant. What I found to be even more intriguing was that the 1891 census return puts Jeremiah back with his mother Rebekah (along with a half-brother Harry and another Jeremiah Sturman aged 87) but this time they are all Inmates of the Loddon and Clavering Union Workhouse, in county Norfolk. This begs the question: What happened to the Sturman family and why did the Gilding family have temporary care of Jeremiah?

The 1901 census return has Jacob and Sarah Ann Gilding living at Knights Yard, Ravensmere with a grandson, Walter Belward Gilding. Walter was then aged 12, born to one of Jacob and Sarah Ann's children but which one? (Walter was living with the family in 1891 as well, when they resided at Northgate Street). He remained with his grandparents even in 1911, when he was aged 22. I don't believe he ever married. Another grandson appears on the 1911 census with Jacob and Sarah Ann: Ernest Alden, aged 18 (He was Mollie Joan Alden's eldest brother). What is interesting to note is that the 1911 census states Jacob and Sarah Ann had eight children, seven living and one who had died. But I know that they had at least nine children because I found George Gilding who was baptised and died in 1860, in Bungay. Why did they claim they had eight children instead of nine?

Jacob Alden, 1911 census return
(click on image to enlarge)

Jacob Gilding died in 1914, aged 75. Sarah Ann Gilding died in 1930, aged 94.

My next blog post will concentrate on my step-grandfather's SAMPSON family heritage.


ADDENDUM
The British Newspaper Archive brings up several previously unknown articles in regards to Jacob Gilding who was frequently brought up before the Beccles Petty Sessions in the 1880s because he repeatedly refused to pay the ordered one shilling per week in payment of his son at Thorndon Reformatory School. For example: The Ipswich Journal of Tuesday 25 January 1881 reported that Jacob Richard Gilding was "causing much trouble" from neglecting to make payments for his sons and was "22 weeks in arrears". Jacob's wages as a Railway Labourer at that time was stated in the paper as being 18 shillings 6 pence per week and that he had "five other children to provide for".
(In July 1879 The Ipswich Journal reported that brothers George Gilding and Benjamin were caught stealing fruit from a garden in Ravensmere, the property of Edward Masters. This was the reason they were sent to Reformatory School. They had previous convictions of stealing at Gillingham.)
In January 1885 Jacob Gilding was fined five shillings for neglecting to send his daughter Ellen Gilding, regularly to school


Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Alden Family

As much as it shames me to confess this, I really haven't given much conscious thought to my step-family's ancestry. My grandmother Lilian married Alfred James Sampson (who I knew as my Grandad Buster when I was a child). I knew that Lilian was a widow when she married Alfred and I also knew that Alfred was a widower.

When Lil and Alf married my relations increased from three aunts and uncles to eight aunts and uncles. Until much more recently I hadn't paid attention to the fact that my Grandad Buster's first wife Jean - the mother of my step-family - had her very own family story too. Better late than never, I am now working hard to rectify my oversight.

Jean Sampson (nee Alden) with her niece & nephews
in Beccles, around 1950

Jean Nora Alden was born in 1929, the illegitimate daughter of Mollie Alden. In 1948 Jean married Alfred Sampson and they had five children (my step-aunts and uncles). The family were dealt a cruel blow when Jean died of cancer in 1964. She was only 34 years old.

Mollie Joan Alden, Jean's mother, was born in Beccles in 1910. She was the second youngest of fourteen children born to Robert Alden and Emily, nee Gilding. Robert and Emily were married at Saint Michael's Church, Beccles on 28 April 1892.

The 1911 census states that Robert Alden was a Brick Layer by trade, which caught my attention as my Grandad Buster (Alf Sampson) was also a Brick Layer. The 1891 and 1901 census returns show Robert as a Maltsters Labourer. Interestingly, Robert and Emily's childrens names were written on the 1911 census form rather haphazardly which made double-checking them against the GRO Birth Index challenging. They were as follows:

Ernest Leonard Alden
Annie Norah Alden (known as Norah/Nora)
Ellen Catherine Alden (known as Nellie)
Emily Hilda Alden (known as Hilda)
Robert Benjamin Alden
Harry Edward Alden (known as Edward)
Frederick George Alden
Agnes Mercy Alden (known as Mercy)
Florrence Alden
Nancy Alden
Ivy Elizabeth Alden
Mollie Joan Alden
Frank Stanley Alden (was born in 1912)
There was also a 'Female' Alden born (possibly stillborn) and died in 1894

Robert English Alden was born in 1872, some records state Beccles as his birthplace and others say Bungay. He was the son of James Alden and Mary Ann, nee English. James Alden was previously married to Elizabeth Aldred (m. 1845) who died in 1859. James and Mary Ann English were married at Saint Michael's Church, Beccles on 6 August 1871. Both signed their names with an "X".

Robert Alden (right)

James Alden was born in 1818 in Ringsfield. He was an Agricultural Labourer by trade and lived for most of his life in Ingate Road, Beccles. He also lived in Puddingmoor and Hungate Lane, both in Beccles. James died in 1897, aged 79. After his death James's wife Mary Ann made her living as a Charwoman and in 1901 was living in Ingate Road with two of her daughters. In 1911 the census returns show her working as a Housekeeper for the Ashley family of Newgate Street, Beccles. It is believed that she died in 1914 in the county of Essex.

My next blog will concentrate on Emily Gilding and her ancestry (the mother of Mollie Joan Alden). Mollie Alden's father Robert died in 1950, aged 78 and her mother Emily died in 1929, aged 57. Mollie married in 1941 to Samuel Barley, known as Toby. She died in 1987.

I must acknowledge and thank S. Howlett for sharing the photographs you see on this blog post, via the Ancestry website.


Sunday, 19 January 2014

It's All in the Numbers Geneameme

Not wanting to miss out on a genealogy-based blog challenge I decided to make my first blog post of 2014 about Alona Tester's geneameme.

I have many significant numbers in my family history but here are just ten to stir my memory and genealogy juices and share what these special numbers mean to me.


One - I am an only child (born of my mother and father before their divorce). My cousin is also an only child of her mother and father. Both my cousin and myself have only had one daughter. Whilst my cousin and I have what you would call "step-siblings" (though we loathe the term), her daughter and mine are definitely the only child.

Me with my babysitter & family
friend, outside our cottage
in Beccles, Suffolk
Three - The number of the cottage I lived in with my mother during the 1970s, in Beccles Suffolk. This cottage was so very significant in my childhood, it inspired me to include it in my novella Symphony of War.

Four - The number of sons my paternal grandparents had, including my dearest Dad. The eldest has since passed away ten years ago but the other three are still going strong. Four is also my lucky number. My 2xg/grandfather William and I were born on the same day (4th February), he in 1847 and me over one hundred years later!

Ten - This is the number of generations I have gone back to in my Preston ancestry. I am yet to confirm the eleventh ancestor but work is still underway. I have written two family history editions of Preston Origins, the second edition copies are currently held in both the Norfolk and Suffolk (Lowestoft) Record Offices.

Thirteen - The number of children in my 3xg/grandparents Josiah and Susan's family, including my 2xg/grandfather William who was the last born child. His eldest sister Maria was at least twenty years older than him. Thirteen is also a lucky number for my father.


Nineteen - This number recurs in my family tree, especially this very date in particular: January 19th. My 2xg/grandfather William was born on this day in 1853. My first cousin twice removed William was born on this day in 1890. My 3xg/grandparents Josiah and Susan married on this day in 1829. My 3xg/grandfather William died on this day in 1887. My 2xg/grandmother Jane died on this day in 1893.

Twenty Seven - This number recurs with my great-grandfather Albert who was married on the 27th and died on the 27th. Also my uncle (Albert's grandson) was born on the 27th. My 2xg/grand uncle was born on the 27th. Two of my 3xg/grand-uncles died and were buried on the 27th, both as a result of Cholera. I was baptised on the 27th.

Fulham, High Street. My ancestors lived at no.42.

Forty Two - This was the number of the Fulham High Street house which my 4xg/grandparents Joseph and Elizabeth lived in for many years during the early 1800s until my 3xg/grandparents William and Louisa continued to live there after Louisa's parents deaths. My 2xg/grandparents Richard and Louisa are also listed on the 1871 census as residing there with three of their children. Forty Two was also the number of the house I lived in with my current husband and where we lived when our daughter was conceived.

Fifty Eight - This number is special because this is the number of the boarding house which my great-grandmother Nellie ran in Bungay, Suffolk during the 1940s & 1950s. It holds very many happy memories for my mother who was born in the house and lived there from around the age of twelve until she left school to work full-time.

Ninety Four - This number is the age of my oldest surviving ancestor's age at death. Two others come very close at 92 and 93 but my 4xg/grandfather Zachariah was the winner! He was baptised in January 1777 and died in April 1871, in Beccles.




A belated "Happy New Year" to all my followers and thanks to Alona for the blog post idea.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Festive Greetings To One And All

As I make preparations for my upcoming trip to Melbourne for Christmas with my family, I am taking a moment out of the "headless chook" routine to reflect on the year that has been 2013.

It has definitely been a year of transition for both myself and my husband, both of us making inroads in our chosen career paths and paving the way to achieving what we truly want. My passions have laid in genealogy and family history for over ten years now and it has brought me so much satisfaction. Not only have I learnt about how my ancestors would have lived and worked but I have made many living friends and found distant cousins along the way, for which I am blessed and grateful.

At the start of 2013 I made the same old New Year resolutions. The longest running resolution had to be the one about starting work on my heritage scrapbook. I have made that resolution every single year since my daughter was born and now that she has recently turned twelve, I can finally say that this was the year that I achieved my goal. It took me around two months from start to finish and the end result was a fabulous piece of family history which I am quite proud of.


The biggest and best achievement I made in 2013 would have to be e-publishing my debut novella Symphony of War. This novella has been five years in the making, and is quite a massive personal achievement.

I have spent those five years re-writing, shelving, re-writing, shelving (and almost binning) but for the past three to four months I have stuck to my guns and finally finished it. I had many hurdles to overcome, the biggest of which was my self-confidence. Even when I knew in my heart of hearts that I had to finish the novella I was still unsure of "putting it out there" and publishing it for all the world to see. After I participated in this year's National November Writer's Month (or NaNoWriMo as it commonly known) I bit the bullet, took the plunge and uploaded Symphony of War on to Amazon.

If you are interested, you can find my ebook here: 

What will 2014 bring? I have written over 50,000 words for my next novel, and I am sure it will take much less time to refine, re-write and polish than my debut did! Also, I have plans to write a family history on my Humphries family line. This should prove especially interesting to research for as the family lived and worked in my favourite city in the world, London.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Love, Debra xx





Sunday, 10 November 2013

Ode To Remembrance

This is the time of year when I reflect on the year that has passed, my achievements and my mistakes, my ups and my downs. I think about the new year ahead, and what may come to pass. Every November though, I stop and think primarily of my ancestors who fought in the Great War.

Last year I wrote a blog post called We Will Remember Them: Lest We Forget as well as various war-based blog posts on my ancestors and Remembrance Day 2011. As I prepare to take the train and bus journey to Kings Park to witness the Remembrance Day service this coming Monday morning, I will have the war years firmly at the forefront of my mind.

I have a great and deep respect for all of my ancestors who fought in the wars, from the Boer War; the Great War; World War Two; and my cousin Jim who has valiantly served in several peace-keeping engagements in more recent times.


I want to take this opportunity to say a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU to every man and woman all over the world, what ever your country of origin, who fought in all wars, and for my grandfathers' Percy and Herbert; my great-grandfather Albert (who almost died in 1914 after a u-boat sank his ship off the North Sea) and my great-grandfather Arthur who fought in the Boer War and the Great War; and to all of my great-uncle's who served in the Army, Navy and Air Force, and my three distant cousins Sidney, William and James who were taken from this world during the Great War, who died so young.

ODE TO REMEMBRANCE

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
Lest We Forget 






Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Dedicated to Trevor

On Sunday I enjoyed a lovely afternoon with my dear Mum, and while we sat eating cakes and drinking coffee she handed me a pile of old notebooks. When I looked closer, I saw that my name was written on the covers. They were my old school books, both from England and from Australia, and she had kept them all these years.

Some had been damaged over time while in storage but most were thankfully salvaged. What a complete joy it was to sit with my Mum and my husband and daughter, sharing a hearty laugh over my handwriting, my spelling test results, teachers comments and especially my drawings and doodles. There were projects on Japan and Holland and reflective writing exercises about my holiays, along with many coloured-in pictures. How strange it felt to sit down and read those when my daughter has been doing the exact same thing at school, writing reflective pieces and drawing pictures to complement the story.

One such story which struck a chord with me was the one I wrote, titled:

My Two Days Holiday

On Thursday I went to my friends house for a little while. Then I went home with Mummy and Norman. I stayed up until 10 o'clock because I watched The Six Million Dollar Woman. And then I went to bed and read and wrote some letters until 10 to 10.
On Friday I went to work like I did Thursday morning and took my teaset and my doll and I played with my friend Trevor. He was Daddy and I was Mummy and my doll was baby. We played in the ballroom where ladies and gentlemen go in there for meetings and so on. 
When it was home time which is 12 o'clock Trevor and Mummy and me went home. When we got home we all had some dinner at 1 o'clock. Then we went outside playing with Josie our dog. Then at half past 3 we took Trevor back to the Kings Head and then did some shopping. Then we went home and had some tea. Then Grandad and we watched Gambit at 7 o'clock and had a cup of tea. Then Grandad went and I stayed up until half past 8.

Trevor and me

Trevor's life was tragically and painfully cut short when he became terminally ill in his late teens. Before he reached his twenty-third birthday he had passed away. I went to visit him shortly before he died, and we had some laughs together about the "old days" when we played at the Kings Head Hotel in Beccles (Trevor's Mum and my Mum both worked there as chambermaids and that was how Trevor and I became friends). We used to fight like mad some days and he followed me around a lot which used to irritate me, especially if I just wanted to go off wandering around by myself. I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that my childhood friend's life would be cut short in such terrible circumstances.

I have written a novella which I have dedicated to my childhood friend Trevor and he also makes a very special posthumous cameo appearance as one of my characters.

Trevor with his beloved dog

Trevor's grave, 1993

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

My Nannie and Blogiversary

Today marks 30 years since my Nannie 'Buster' passed away. I was just 16 years old when she left us and today I feel as though I am 16 years old again. My heart is full to bursting, just thinking about her and how much I still miss having her in my life, physically speaking. I know and trust that she is with me spiritually because I sense her presence frequently, especially when I feel I am at a crossroads or when I am facing overwhelming emotions.

I have found out a lot more about my Nannie Lilian (read my blog post about her here) since I became an ardent genealogist and family historian. Things she never spoke about or rarely spoke about, like her parents' lives. I have visited the house, where she was born in 1920, with my husband and daughter and I have researched her ancestry back to the early 1800s when her 2 x great-grandparents John and Ann allegedly left county Somerset to live in the "big smoke" of London. I've made several wonderful connections with Humphries descendents and have been blessed to share documents and precious photographs.

Yesterday also marked my blogiversary. I have been writing posts on this blog for 2 years now and I am so pleased that I found the courage to write about my family and share some of the great wealth of information that I've accumulated and collected over the past 20 years plus of my life. Both of my grandmothers left me a treasure trove of family photographs, as well as their personal stories and an enormous respect for my heritage.

Lilian, taken around 1955