A Victorian Police Constable

Bobby 1892 cropped Police constables in late Victorian London (England) patrolled beats that were on average 7.5 miles (12 km) in length. Patrolling was not limited to daytime, though; beat walking continued on through the night. The night beats were generally shorter – only about 2 miles long. With the appearance of motorised cars in 1890, the policeman’s duties expanded to include point duty: directing traffic. All of these duties had their challenges. Monotony seems to have been an issue, especially during nighttime patrols. There were dangers from motorised traffic getting too close, and injuries could be sustained in the prevention of crime and the apprehension of criminals.

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I wrote in an earlier post about reading through the Guardians’ minutes for the Aylsham Poor Law Union in Norfolk, England. Details of intended marriages were read out at the guardians’ meetings, for marriages which were to take place at either non-conformist churches or registrars’ offices. I have previously posted the intended marriages for 1848, and have now extracted the marriage intentions for 1849-1851. The details are given in the table below.

The marriage intentsions could serve as a useful finding aid – a guide to where to look for a couple’s marriage record. Like marriage banns, though, the reading out of an intended marriage does not necessarily mean that the couple followed through with their marriage, or if they did, it may have taken place somewhere other than the location noted in the guardians’ minutes.

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Did they really marry?

After my great-grandfather, Walter William Rowe, died in 1879, my great-grandmother, Hannah, remarried. Although I’ve searched for years, I have found no record of her second marriage. I suspect that it was a marriage that was never blessed by either church or state.

Hannah was born Hannah Mitchell Howes on 22 December 1853 in West Lynn, Norfolk, England. Howes was her mother’s maiden name, Mitchell the name of her reputed father. When Hannah’s parents eventually married in 1861, Hannah began sometimes using the surname Mitchell; on other occasions she reverted to Howes.

Marriage to Walter William Rowe 1876

Hannah’s first marriage was to Walter William Rowe. The couple married on 31 July 1876 in Willington on Tyne, Northumberland, where they were both living at the time.

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Aunts, Uncles, Cousins

Several years ago, I was told by a Persian friend that they find the English language lacking when it comes to the words we use for family members. For example, we use the word “uncle” to mean mother’s brother, father’s brother, or husband of either father’s sister or mother’s sister. Some languages, Persian being one of them, have different words for each of these “uncles”. I wanted to know more. Has English always been deficient in this regard? Which languages are rich in kinship terms? I did a little digging, and here is what I found.

Aunt in Different Languages

Persian does indeed have a wider vocabulary of family relationship words.

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A Little Girl's Death from Measles

My mother’s middle name was Agnes, and for most of her life she disliked the name. She disliked it so much that she said she could not imagine why her parents had given her such a name. I think I know why she was given the name, and I think that the answer is measles.

In 1891, my great-grandparents, Daniel and Alice Owen, were living at 13 Halefield Street, St. Helens, in what was then Lancashire, in England. Daniel was working as a chemical labourer, possibly at the glass works nearby. The couple had a young family: 5 daughters ranging in age from 4 to 12 years, and one son, my grandfather George, who was just 1 year old.

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Benjamin Clarke: Military Funeral

There are many men in my family tree named Benjamin Clarke. The one I’m writing about now is my great-uncle Benjamin, born 25 July 1879 in Palgrave, Suffolk. He was the youngest brother of my paternal grandfather, Hugh James Clarke, who I have written about previously.

When I began researching my family history, I was told that Benjamin had lost a leg in the Boer War. As with many family stories, this one had some truth to it, but was not entirely accurate. Benjamin did serve in the Boer War, and he did lose a leg, but not in the Boer War.

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Three Thousand Families

Four Mile Creek, Cross Roads, Lawrenceville, Virgil. These were the names given to the small community on the Niagara peninsula, first settled about 1783, that my paternal grandparents came to call home in the mid-1920s. Today it’s part of the very chic little town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Hugh James Clarke, Sr, and his wife, Mary Rowe, were 52 and 46 years of age, respectively, when they arrived in Niagara from Palgrave, Suffolk to begin farming. Hugh had been a market gardener in Palgrave, and intended to do the same in Virgil. Not much of their new property had been cleared prior to their arrival, though, and getting their farm up and running involved hard, physical labour.

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The Guardians’ minutes books make for a fascinating read, and although their primary purpose was to record the business of the poor law union guardians’ meetings, they also capture genealogically useful information as well.

I have been reading the guardians’ minutes books for the Aylsham poor law union in Norfolk, England, and have extracted the details of intended marriages that were read out at the meetings, all of which were to take place at either non-conformist churches or registrars’ offices. These were read out at 3 consecutive meetings in much the same way that banns would be read out in the parish church for Church of England parishioners.

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Irish Petty Sessions Records

That at Ballinlassa in Co Mayo on 31st Oct 1890 you did wilfully and maliciously throw stones and turnips at the door of complainant’s house at the same time you did throw stones down his chimney.1

Interesting use for turnips, but that’s the charge that was levelled at John and Michael Surdival of Ballinlassa by farmer Michael Molloy at the petty sessions of 28 November 1890 for County Mayo in Ireland. My great-grandfather Patrick Surdival (aka Patrick Sullivan) had younger brothers named John and Michael living at Ballinlassa, so perhaps it was his siblings who had peppered farmer Molloy’s door with turnips.

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A Village Built by Glass: Windle Village, Thorold

Note: This post first appeared on my old blog site “Who’s your auntie?” on 9 January 2014.

Glass flattener. That was the occupation given by my maternal grandfather, George Owen, on his marriage certificate in 1912 in St. Helens, Lancashire, England. I discovered that in the manufacture of plate glass, large cylinders of glass were created, then slit open and smoothed to form flat sheets of glass. It was the latter part of this process that George was employed in. Further research revealed that George was an employee of Pilkington Brothers in St. Helens, Lancashire, England, a leading manufacturer of window glass.

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