52 Ancestors – #12 Robert Butterworth

Flower from Cloudehill

Flower from Cloudehill

I’ve decided not to concentrate on weeks but rather numbers. We’ll see how long it takes me to record 52 biographies of my ancestors. So here I go with Robert Butterworth of Manchester, England.

Robert Butterworth was the son of John Butterworth and Catherine Brookes. He was born in Manchester before 26 Jan 1800, the day he was christened. His father, John, was a smallwares weaver according to his marriage certificate.

In 1819, Robert married Ellen Laverey at Manchester Cathedral. His father witnessed the marriage. It is noted that Robert was a smallwares weaver like his father. When I googled   smallwares weaver I found that they made ribbons, tapes and braids.

In the 1841 census, there are 8 children listed as living with Robert and Ellen. Jane (20), Mary (15), John (15), Ellen (13), Catherine (10), Robert (8), Sarah (5), and Thomas (3). Robert and Ellen are listed as weavers, Jane and Mary as winders and John an umbrella maker.

By the 1851 census, Robert is listed as a painter as his 14 year old son, Thomas (who I am descended through). Ellen is employed in domestic duties and their daughters, Ellen & Sarah, are silk binders. They have two younger children who have been added to the brood: Edward who is 8 and Mary Ann, 6 months.

In the 1861 census, Robert and Ellen are living in Crown Court with two boarders. Robert is listed as a house painter.

This is the information that I am sure of. However, between 1819 and 1941, there are 20 years unaccounted for. I have begun to determine where the family was situated by the birth records of their children. Although this is somewhat fraught as the names Robert, Ellen and Butterworth are quite popular in Manchester during this period. Word to the wise: there is another Butterworth family of weavers living in Rochdale that are not this family.

In 1820, their daughter, Jane is baptised at Manchester Cathedral. There is no record of where the family are living or Robert’s profession.

Their son, John is baptised in 1825 at the Holy Trinity Church in Shaw, Greater Manchester. It appears that Shaw is located between Oldham and Rochdale and that the family have moved out of Manchester. Their abode is listed as Sandhole. Quick researching on the net reveals that Shaw was the town Shaw and Compton which was a major town in the cotton industry trade in the 1800’s and was the home of many large factories. Wikipedia tells me that Luddites rioted here in 1826 in protest as the standard of living dropped. Hand weavers were competing against mechanised machinery and were unable to keep apace. It would be interesting to know how involved Robert and Ellen were.

Mary was born around 1826 (although I am struggling to find a record outside the 1841 census).

Catherine was baptised in 1833. Catherine is baptised at Manchester Cathedral and the family are listed as living in Manchester. Catherine was born in November 1829.

Ellen is listed in the census as being born around 1829 in Manchester. I am still searching for a record for her. Robert William was baptised in in 1833 in the Manchester Cathedral.

Sarah, who also appears in the census, is born around 1835 and Thomas in 1837. However, I can not find either of these records. Nor can I find Edward who was born c1843 or Mary Ann c1850.

It is difficult to imagine what life was like for the Butterworths during this period. I have researched mining in the north of England and in Lanarkshire, Scotland. I’ve researched Victorian London. From what I can see at a glance, Manchester during this time was similar for the people working in the cotton mills. An article in Wikipedia states that there were 25 mills in Lancashire in 1841 employing approx 1000 people. By 1860, there were 2650 mills employing approx 440,000 people. These figures demonstrate that cotton industry grew quite significantly during a 20 year period. A cotton famine from 1860-65 (due to the American Civil War and a drop in the availability of cotton) may be the reason for Robert’s change in occupation.

I have attempted to find where exactly the family lived in the 1841 census. The census states that they were living in Nicholas St near Old Mount St in Salford. Nicholas St is now Naples St and in the vicinity of St Michael’s Church and Angel Meadow.

From Friends of Angel Meadow

From Friends of Angel Meadow

The Friends of Angel Meadow have documented the history of the area (there is even a You Tube clip) and make reference to Friedrich Engels (Karl Marx’s co-writer of the Communist Manifesto) who was appalled by the conditions of the working class in Manchester. In his book, The Condition of the Working in England in 1844, he writes about Angel Meadow:

“Such is the Old Town of Manchester, and on re-reading my description, I am forced to admit that instead of being exaggerated, it is far from black enough to convey a true impression of the filth, ruin, and uninhabitableness, the defiance of all considerations of cleanliness, ventilation, and health which characterise the construction of this single district, containing at least twenty to thirty thousand inhabitants. And such a district exists in the heart of the second city of England, the first manufacturing city of the world.

If any one wishes to see in how little space a human being can move, how little air — and such air! — he can breathe, how little of civilisation he may share and yet live, it is only necessary to travel hither. True, this is the Old Town, and the people of Manchester emphasise the fact whenever any one mentions to them the frightful condition of this Hell upon Earth; but what does that prove? Everything which here arouses horror and indignation is of recent origin, belongs to the industrial epoch.”

From what I can gather, the family lived in this area, or near enough to it, until the death of Robert and Ellen.


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My Ancestor Score

I saw this idea on Barbara Schmidt’s blog and was instantly curious to see what mine was. The table below shows the results.Ancestor ScoreGeneration 7 is the generation that were born in the late 1700’s and can generally be found in the census data and would explain why I have found 80% of them. Looking through the census data helped me to quickly determine who was who as did the publishing of the London Archives images. Quite a few of my lines passed through London in the 19th century.

Generation 8-13 require work looking parish records. As most records are not online and are not indexed, it is a time consuming process that can’t easily be undertaken from a distance. If we were to look my percentage to generation 10 (bc I want to make it look better) I have found 20% of my ancestors. Still lots of work to go but not as scary daunting.

What I love about this spreadsheet is how it quickly highlights where I should be concentrating my research efforts to identify new ancestors.

As I am currently trying to write bios on identified ancestors, I thought it would also be helpful to note how many I have achieved so far.

Generation 4 = 2/8 (25%)
Generation 5 = 5/16 (31%)
Generation 6 = 4/32 (12%)
Generation 7 = 2/64 (3%)
Generation 8 = 2/128 (1.5%).

That’s a total of 15/248 (6%). Still some work to go.

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52 Ancestors Wk11 – Maria Moss

Wash drawing of the Synagogue from Duke's Place, c. 1820 (www.wikipedia.com)

Wash drawing of the Synagogue from Duke’s Place, c. 1820 (www.wikipedia.com)

Maria Moss is my third great grandmother on my father’s side and was the first of her line to emigrate to Australia. Turns out, she is a rather interesting woman in more ways than one.

Maria was born in September 1822 (according to her baptism record of 1852) to George Moss, a hawker, and Rachael, nee Davis. George and Rachel appear to be Ashkenazi Jews who worshipped in the Great Synagogue in London. At the very least, records show that they were married there on 5 Sep 1821. George was the son of Joseph Moss and Rachael the daughter of Moche Davis.

On 16 Nov 1840, Maria married Thomas Lane, the son of George and Sarah Lane (both deceased). They were married at St Dunstan’s Church in Stepney. Maria was 17 and Thomas 22. In 1841, the census states that they were living in Princes Square, Stepney with Maria’s parents.

The first record I have of Thomas and Maria having a child is the birth of Selina Maria in 1843. Selina is recorded as being born in Whitechapel. Selina was followed by George in 1844 and Rebecca in 1846.

In 1848, the Lane family left London for New York. They arrived 7 Nov 1848 aboard the Devonshire. It is possible that the journey took them less than 30 days. Imagine – a five year old, a four year old and a two year old on a boat for 30 days. It sounds like your worst nightmare. Two days after they arrived, Selena’s death is recorded.

It is assumed that Thomas was headed for California and the allure of gold. It is doubtful whether the family made it there. In 1849, another daughter, Adelaide, was added to the brood. She was born in New York. In early 1850, George has died at the age of 6. By Jul 1850, the family are back home in London for the baptism of Rebecca and Adelaide. The dreams of a new life had not panned out.

Rebecca and Adelaide were christened at Christ Church in Watney St, Tower Hamlets. The family are living at 11 York St (with another Lane family – William, Thomas’s brother, and wife, Mary) and Thomas is listed as a Wheelwright.

Thomas, my 2nd great grandfather, was born in September 1850. He was baptised at 3 months old. The family were living at Commercial Rd. A year later, both Thomas and Maria were baptised at St Philip’s Church, Stepney. Maria’s is listed as an adult baptism while I can’t make out the wording beside Thomas’s. I am assuming the purpose of the baptism was so that they could emigrate to NSW.

The family left London for NSW aboard the Meteor. The Meteor left Southhampton on March 17  and arrived in Sydney on 6 Jul 1853. A report in the South Australian Register on 25 July 1853 states that “she has on board 106 unmarried females, 89 married couples and 40 children.” Three of these children (aged 7, 6 and 3) were Lanes. The article continues stating, “She has been very fortunate with respect to health among the immigrants, having lost only two children.” We can imagine that the death of two children would have bought additional anxiety to a family who had lost two already in similar circumstances.

Maria’s sixth child, Maria Rachel, was born in Sept 1853 in Glebe, NSW. I have moved several times in my adult life and many times with children. All my moves have been undertaken in ease with movers and plane travel. When we moved to the USA, I was four months pregnant with my son. It wasn’t horrible but don’t think I would have relished a four month journey by sea with three other children.

The family were still living in Glebe in 1855 when James Henry was added to the brood. He died in 1856. Alfred William was born in Nov 1856 while the family were still living in Glebe.

By 1859, the family had moved to Armidale and were situated at Saumarez. In 1861, Annie Isabella was born. The family settled into the community at Saumarez Ponds and Maria saw the marriage of her children with local families.

Maria died in 1906 at 73 St Johns Rd, Glebe. She outlived her husband, Thomas, by 9 years. It is to be assumed she was staying with her daughter Adelaide Thorpe who reported her death.

So many histories are written about the man as, traditionally, they have been the main income earners and, as such, determined the course a family travelled. It is impossible to determine what influence Maria had on the decisions the family made. However, we can see that she was a strong woman who supported and was actively involved in, what we assume, were the dreams of her husband. She was a pioneer who overcame adversity and lived to the ripe old age of 83.


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52 Ancestors Wk10 – Thomas Hutchby

From Gerald's Garden

From Gerald’s Garden

Last year I tried, unsuccessfully, to write about a different ancestor each week for a year. I made it to number 9!! I’m blaming changes at work which threw me. My mind has been used to a higher degree in the last six months. Hopefully I’ve adjusted and will be able to find time for writing. Let’s hope. In any case, even though the challenge is over, I’m going to continue and see if I manage 52 ancestors in a two year period.

This page to Thomas Hutchby was set up by me in May with absolutely nothing beyond the subject line.  I don’t have many facts regarding Thomas but I do believe that the ones I have pieced together are accurate.

Thomas is the father of George Hutchby, the father of Phebe who I have written on previously. The Hutchby family were from London although I don’t know whether Thomas was. It is believed he was born around 1782. Possibly in Rutland.

Trying to remember why you believe a person is part of your tree can be tricky. After an hour of clicking back through records, I’ve remembered. I have no proof that Thomas is George’s dad. I can’t find George’s birth records. However, a George Hutchby is the witness at Thomas’s daughter, Scoti’s wedding to William Upton Calderwood in 1833. I am fairly confident in my deductions as my search of the 1841 census returns 7 Hutchby’s living in Middlesex.

Back to Thomas. In 1799, a Thomas Hutchby married a Janet Robertson in Perth, Scotland. Thomas was a Corporal of the Rutland Light Dragoons. I am struggling to find information in a quick google search but believe that the regiment may have been created to provide defences against possible invasions by Napoleon in the late 18th century. It’s a theory.

Their first child, George, was born around 1800. He was followed by Sarah in 1804. She was christened in Dec 1804 at St Clement Danes, Westminster (although I can’t find this record in the London Archives). Ann Petit was born in 1809 in the parish of St James, Piccadilly. Amelia came along in 1811 and was christened at Saint Martin in the Fields. Scoti was also born in 1811 (may be Amelia?). Thomas Alexander was born abt 1813 and died at the age of 2. He was buried at St Mary Le Strand. The families abode is given as 25 Swan Yard. Most of the information I can see on Swan Yard points to it being a poorer area that experienced periods of rapid growth in the early 1800’s turning it into a slum area.

In 1807, Thomas was convicted of a felony and spent a period of time on the prison hulk, Prudentia. He was convicted for stealing a stone bottle and 3 gallons of brandy. He was convicted and sentenced to 7 years transportation. However, trying to read the remarks section (which is faint) it appears he was pardoned and released from the hulk in Mar 1808.

I found it hard to follow the story that the trial notes tell. It appears that Thomas was working for William Bramwell who was a wine and brandy merchant in Soho. It appears that Thomas was a ‘carman’ (possibly a delivery man) who worked at Bramwell’s for three years. Some of the witnesses state that he lived at Bramwell’s while another states that he lived with his wife at ‘the Plough in Crown St, Soho’. During the cross examination of Mary Mallows (the wife of Robert Mallows, who worked with Thomas), it came out that she was there to ensure her husband was not seen to have any culpability in the offence. Thomas called two character witnesses. The End.

Thomas died in 1825 aged in his mid to late 40’s. His abode at the time of his death is recorded as ‘Off Alley’.

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52 Ancestors Wk9 – Cornelius Clutterbuck

Fuschias in my garden

Fuschias in my garden

I find Cornelius Clutterbuck fascinating. I know very little about him yet he has an intense appeal. Why? His name! Cornelius Clutterbuck. It’s fantastic.

Cornelius was born in c 1769 to Elizabeth Clutterbuck. According to parish registers of Stroud (cited at The Clutterbuck Blog) he was baptised 7 April 1769. It is to be assumed that his mother, Elizabeth, was unwed as his father’s name is not given and he shares the same surname as his mother.

He married Sarah Keen on 19 July 1791 in the parish church of Stroud. By the 1793, Cornelius and Sarah appear to have joined the Rodborough Tabernacle. The Rodborough Tabernacle was built around 1766 by Thomas Adams who had been influenced by the preaching of George Whitefield. The baptisms of their children (Mary, James, Elizabeth and Sarah) were noted in the Tabernacle records.

In the 1841 Census, Cornelius and Sarah were living in Denmark St in St Giles in the Fields parish. Cornelius was employed as a porter. Denmark St was situated in what was known as ‘The Rookery’. It was the most notorious slum in London. The people were living in poverty without sanitation and complained in 1849, “We live in muck and filth. We aint got no priviz, no dust bins, no drains, no water-splies, and no drain or suer in the hole place.” (‘London parish’s descent from glamour to grime charted in exhibition’, Maev Kennedy, The Guardian, 2011).

Cornelius died in Sept 1842 and was buried in the Non Conformist cemetery Bunhill Fields. His burial record states that he was living at 26 Coppice Row, Clerkenwell. He was 73 years old.

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52 Ancestors Wk8 – Elizabeth Snedden Pt 2

Camellia in my front yard

Camellia in my front yard

I received an email this morning from a distant cousin in New Zealand. She found me through the post I wrote on Elizabeth Snedden in August 2012. I love it when I meet new family members through my blog as it highlights that something is working. Even if it is my tagging ability.

The email prompted me to go back to Trove and search again for Elizabeth. I had tried to find her death in the newspapers two years ago but had had no luck. Since then I have noticed that more Newcastle newspapers were being added and the email prompted me to try my luck. Success!

The circumstances of Elizabeth’s death were described in an article of the Maitland Weekly Mercury on 3 Feb 1912. The article is difficult to read so I have transcribed it below. It is a very sad story and continues to raise questions. As you will see, we still do not know why Elizabeth poisoned herself but do begin to feel how others around her felt.



Elizabeth Snedden, 18 years of age, a well known resident of Cessnock, died at her home on yesterday morning from the effects of drinking a quantity of Lysol. It appears that between 5am and 6am that morning the young woman went to her mother’s bedroom and said, “Mother, I have drunk a bottle of lysol.” She gave no reason for the rash act, and before her mother could ascertain anything the girl went into convulsions. The mother immediately sent for a doctor, and, in the meantime, administered emetics, but to no purpose. Dr Walker Smith arrived quickly, but the poison had done its work, and the girl, who was then beyond human aid, expired in a few minutes. The police have made inquiries but have been unable to ascertain any reason for the girl’s action. She was rather short tempered, and of somewhat peculiar disposition; but, so far as can be ascertained, she was not in trouble of any kind, and the parents are at a loss to account for the act. The sister of the deceased purchased the lysol the previous evening for deceased to use in the bath. It is said that she had a bath, using some of the lysol, and she evidently drank the remainder. Deceased was single, and had been in service at Cessnock for some time. Her parents who reside at King Street, Cessnock, are highly respected throughout the district.

An inquest was subsequently opened at the Cessnock Courthouse yesterday by Mr R Owen, district coroner, concerning the death of Elizabeth Snedden, which occurred at her parent’s residence at King Street, Cessnock yesterday morning.

Janet Smith said she knew deceased. She was her sister, and lived with her parents at Cessnock, where she was also staying. Deceased was a single woman, 18 years of age, and had no property. Her life was not insured, and she always enjoyed good health.  At five o’clock yesterday she asked witness for the loan of six pence and witness gave her half a crown. Deceased told her that she wanted to buy something to put in her bath and to wash her head. Deceased sent her sister, Esther, to the chemist for the antiseptic and about fifteen minutes later deceased was given the bottle. The bottle produced resembled the bottle purchased from the chemist, and was found on the chest of drawers in the deceased’s room. The bottle was full, but when found that morning was nearly empty. Deceased had a bath on the previous night before she went to bed. After having her bath, deceased had her tea. Deceased was in good health, but very quiet. At half past five o’clock on friday morning deceased came into the room where witness and her mother were sleeping and said she had drunk the contents of the bottle obtained from the chemist. She turned around, and went out on the verandah, and deceased’s mother followed her out. They tried to give her mustard and water, but failed as she kept her mouth closed. Witness went for Dr Walker Smith, who came back with her. Witness was with deceased until she died at half past seven o’clock that morning. She never spoke after telling them she had taken the poison. Deceased had a very bad temper but she could not account for her action. She was not in any trouble, and had no love affairs. Deceased was in service at Anstey’s Hotel, and had given notice that it was her intention to leave.

Dr Walker Smith said that when he saw deceased at six o’clock that morning she was suffering from poisoning, and was in such a weak state, that he could do nothing for her. Her physical condition was perfect.

Esther Snedden, nine years old, said that she purchased the antiseptic at her sister’s request. Deceased told her she wanted it to put into her bath.

The coroner returned a verdict to the effect that deceased died from the effects of a poison administered by herself.

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52 Ancestors Wk7 – Dorothy Aldington

Dorothy working as a volunteer at the library in Springwood

Dorothy working as a volunteer at the library in Springwood

The beauty of the 52 Ancestors challenge is how it is stretching my blog posts to cover some of my ancestors that I have been avoiding writing about. Previously I have procrastinated, become lost in research and struggled to write a post a month. It’s now week 7 and I haven’t missed a post. I’m incredibly pleased with myself and am venturing to write biographies of those I have some knowledge and yet not enough.

It occurred to me that I should write more biographies about the women in my family and try to find their voices. Dorothy Aldington was my great grandmother. From what I can gather, she was fascinating and lived a very full life navigating the highs and lows that she was presented with.

She was born in 1891 to Henry Aldington and Jessie Brown in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. Henry was a customs officer and met Jessie in Scotland while working in Falkirk. The family moved to Much Wenlock and lived there for the first five years (give or take) of Dorothy’s life. The family then moved to London prior to 1896. Henry & Jessie left London for NSW in 1909 with Dorothy, Ralph and Marjorie. Dorothy was 18. Thomas and Jessie arrived later. The family settled in Cremorne, Sydney.

In 1921, Dorothy married Frederick Lemon at St Stephen’s Church in Sydney. The Goulburn Evening Penny Post states that the church “was decorated with festoons of white roses” and Dorothy wore “a cream gabardine costume with a large black transparent hat with a pink rose resting on the white brim. She carried a posy of white carnations and roses.”

Fred and Dorothy on their wedding day

Fred and Dorothy on their wedding day

Dorothy and Fred settled in Fred’s hometown of Goulburn where he ran a General Store with his brother, Robert. Dorothy and Fred had two children and were married seventeen years. Fred died in 1938 after being ill with pneumonia.

Fred’s will was finalised in 1941. By 1943, Dorothy was living in Bathurst Rd, Springwood. I am not sure where the family was living between 1938 and 1941 but can make some assumptions from what I have been told by family over the years. I believe that their daughter was boarding at school and that Dorothy and her son were living in the Blue Mountains near her mother. It is my understanding that Dorothy had little access to funds during this time. Her life had altered drastically. She was no longer a wealthy wife of one of Goulburn’s premier business men. She was a single mum struggling to support her children.

In 1949, Dorothy married Edward Joyce, known as Teddy in our family. The electoral rolls for this same year show Dorothy and Teddy living in Green Parade Valley Heights. There are three listings, two of which are for Dorothy. In one she is listed as proprietor. When I was a child, my grandparents lived at number 4 and Teddy lived next door at number 6. I believe that Dorothy bought Tusculum (as number 4 was named) with moneys she received from Fred’s estate.

When I look for her through the documented facts, photographs and memories shared, I see a very modern woman. She was listed as one of the executors in her husband’s will, she was very active in Goulburn’s society, she was a volunteer and seems to have had a personality and intelligence that drew other’s and their respect.

Dorothy died in 1966. I have not been able to find her obituary but do hope that one was written of her. I do not feel that I have done justice to her memory and perhaps that will be left to someone who knew her. For me, it impossible to express the affection that I feel for a lady I never met.

Affection that has been passed down through the memories of her children (my grandfather and great aunt) and my mum, her granddaughter.

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