Espley One Name Study – Duplicate Birth Registrations

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that genealogy is always straightforward! In my experience it is always interesting and certainly sometimes challenging.

Take my Espley One Name Study for example. In official records the name is often spelt and or transcribed incorrectly – Epsley or Aspley are regular variations.

However my most recent discovery is causing me a headache – both in terms of unravelling what has happened and also how I need to record the information.

It started when I began going through the recently launched transcript of the 1939 Register looking for Hannah Espley. I already had details of her birth registration in Q4 1885 in Stockport, Cheshire. I found her in the 1939 Register with a stated birth date of 13 November 1884 – one year difference but I wasn’t concerned about that.

I already knew that Hannah married Sampson Ardern in Q4 of 1940 in Stockport. So I wasn’t surprised to find them living together at 14 Planets Court, Stockport in the 1939 Register.

I already had four children to Sampson and Hannah in my family tree – all born before their marriage. Two of these children are on the 1939 Register at the same address as Sampson and Hannah. However alarm bells started to ring when I saw that the children had different surnames – one was Edith Espley and one was James Ardern.

So some detective work was going to be necessary. I started to check my Espley database looking for births in Stockport and found several showing mother’s name as Espley – possibly children born to an unmarried mother. I also checked the GRO registers looking for Ardern births with a mother listed as Espley.

Here is what I found:-

Name Mother Quarter & Year Place
Database Harry Ardern Espley Espley Q2 1909 Stockport
Database Alfred Espley Espley Q1 1913 Stockport
GRO Alfred Ardern Espley Q1 1913 Stockport
Database Edith A Espley Espley Q2 1916 Stockport
Database Edith A Espley Espley Q3 1920 Stockport
GRO Edith A Ardern Espley Q3 1920 Stockport
Database Sampson Espley Espley Q2 1922 Stockport
GRO Sampson Ardern Espley Q2 1922 Stockport
Database Annie Espley Espley Q1 1924 Stockport
GRO Annie Ardern Espley Q1 1924 Stockport
Database James Espley Espley Q2 1925 Stockport
GRO James Ardern Espley Q2 1925 Stockport

So apart from Harry Ardern Espley and Edith A Espley (born in 1916 and who died in Q1 1920) all the other children appear to have been registered twice. Of course, just to confirm the Espley database information is also taken from the GRO indexes.

It seems that Sampson Ardern was married on 12 November 1893 to Ann Jane Hale in Heaton Norris, Cheshire. I found him in the 1901 census with Ann and two sons – William and Thomas. Then in 1911 with Ann and two children – Willie and Mary. The 1911 census shows that Sampson and Ann had ten children but eight of them had died.

To add to the confusion the birth record for Sampson in Q3 1873 is in the name Arthern.

I am assuming that at some point after 1911 Sampson started living with Hannah Espley. I found a death record for Ann J Ardern in Q3 1940. Then in Q4 a marriage for Sampson Ardern and Hannah Espley.

So my dilemma now is really how to accurately record the information! Any and all suggestions welcome.

Certainly life events after birth registration hasn’t been consistent – as already mentioned two of the children are recorded differently in the 1939 Register. And the following illustrates the problem.

Edith married as an Espley in 1945
Sampson married as an Ardern in 1948
James married as an Ardern in 1948
Annie’s death in 1925 is registered as Ardern

If Family Tree Maker allows it I suppose I can use “Also Known As” – AKA.

So all in all quite an interesting story.


This is another photograph from my collection of unknown people.

The photograph is printed on a post card. The imprint on the reverse of the photograph is Charles Howell, Official Photographer, Pleasure Beach, Blackpool.

Whoever these two fine looking gentleman are they are presumably enjoying a holiday or day trip to Blackpool. I don’t know when the photograph was taken however. I do know that some of Howell’s photographs had a very helpful date stamp on the reverse – sadly that is not the case with this one.


There is quite a bit of information on the Internet about Charles Howell including this interesting blog post by Photo-Sleuth on his blog here.

It appears that Charles Howell opened a studio in 1913 at Bank Hey Street, Blackpool – just behind the promenade close to the Tower. He specialised in producing novelty caricature portraits. You could be photographed wearing a top hat, playing a banjo or holding a giant bottle of beer. You could also be “snapped” on a paper mache horse or a real live donkey.

However his trademark was a motorcycle (like the one above). If you follow the link to Photo-Sleuth you will see a photograph of the outside of Howell’s studio with the headline “Be Photographed on the Motor Cycle”.

Happy Days!!

Black Sheep Sunday – Eleanor Hopkinson (Part 2)

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath to find out what happened to Eleanor Hopkinson and George Carradice since last week’s revelations.

Below is the newspaper account of the trial as reported in the Kendal Mercury on 21 October 1865.



Eleanor Hopkinson and George Carradice were charged with stealing £10 from the person of John Moon, on the 1st October. Both were also indicted for receiving the money. They were also charged on another count with stealing a silver watch from the person of Leonard Metcalfe on the 1st of October. Prisoners pleaded Not Guilty.

Mr Mc”Oubrey addressed the jury for the prosecution, said: Mr Moon was a basket maker in Kendal, at the time of the robbery. He received £60 in 12 £5 notes from Mr C G Thomson, as a legacy. On receiving this money, perhaps he was not so careful of his conduct as he might have been. At any rate he was in the house about 12 o’clock. He had at this time five £5 notes, and had occasion to go to the privy. On his way there he had to pass the house where the two prisoners lived. While there the female prisoner came and used him very indecently. He made his way out as soon as possible, and on getting up on Sunday morning he found the five notes were gone. He gave notice of the robbery immediately to Serge. Hogarth. When, on Sunday evening Eleanor Hopkinson was in the Black Bull, she asked for change for a £5 note. Now, this note note was one of the very numbers which Mr Moon gave to the police, 257E. A boy named Mark went for change to Mr Break’s. Breaks went up stairs to get change, and, very properly took it himself over to Mrs Thompson. This note was afterwards given to Mr Hibberd. Mr Hibberd on this went to the house and apprehended the prisoner Hopkinson, and he afterwards found the other note, number 90G in a heap of ashes, a very unlikely place to find notes honestly come by.

He then called John Moon, who was sworn and said; I live in yard No. 109, Highgate; I am a basket maker. The prisoners Carradice and Hopkinson live in the same yard. I remember last Sunday morning; early on that morning, I had occasion to go to the privy – it was then about twenty minutes past twelve; to get to the closet I had to pass the prisoners’ house. The female prisoner came to me whilst I was in the closet; she used me very roughly; I had had some drink in the evening, I knew what I was doing. I left her in the privy, I was not more than three or four minutes in the place. When I went to the privy I had five five pound notes in my pocket. They were five notes issued by the Kendal Bank. I first missed the notes about seven o’clock on the same morning. I gave the number of two of the notes at the Bank, on Monday morning. It was directly the Bank opened. (The notes were here handed to the witness for identification.) I can identify these as two of the notes. I have not seen the notes since Saturday up to this minute. The numbers of the notes are 90G and 257E. I speak from memory. They are two of the notes I lost on Sunday morning.

Cross-examined: I received the money on Friday night about six o’clock.

Did you drink at all that night? – I had a glass or two.

Did you drink on Saturday? – Oh, yes, I had a good sup.

Well, were you so drunk that you did know what you were doing? – No, I was fresh but I knew what I was about.

Were you “fresh” at six o’clock? – Yes

And I suppose you got “fresher” afterwards? – I was better afterwards.

What! did you get better the more you drank? – Yes.

How much drink did you have on Saturday? – Oh, I can’t say.

Did you have twenty glasses? – I don’t think i did, I might have had a dozen.
A dozen glasses of what? – Oh, ale.

Did you have no spirits? – I had a glass of rum in the morning.

As “freshener” I suppose. Did you have anything else in the day, except ale? – No. I was last in the White Hart, I had a glass or two of ale there. I have a wife, it was not my wife I met. I met the woman at the Exchange, she did not get any £5 notes from me – we took a walk down Miller-field, to Miller-bridge. That was between eight and nine o’clock. I am certain she had nothing to do with the loss of the notes. I gave her a glass or two. I had the notes in my inside waistcoat pocket. I knew well I was doing when I got home. I gave several people a glass of ale, they knew that I had the money. When I was in the privy the woman came in to me – I was not there two minutes. I got out as soon as I could. I felt her “rummaging” about my breast. I did not examine my pockets when I got in the house. I felt that the notes were there about twelve o’clock. It was about twenty minutes past twelve when I was in the privy. The numbers of the two notes were 257E and 90G. I know the numbers of several more.

Name them. – I have an objection to doing so.

Being ordered by the Bench to do so he gave numbers of two more of the notes.

Examination resumed: I had the numbers in my memory. I am a basket maker.

I am the son of William Mark, who was an innkeeper. My mother keeps the Black Bull, in Kirkland. I live with her. I remember Sunday last. The female prisoner was in our house on that day. About nine at night she asked mother if she could change the note. Mother could not. The prisoner offered to give me a penny if I would change it. She had some other notes in a piece of white calico, they were folded up. She took one out to give to me to change. I went to several places. I went Richard Breaks, who took the note and went across with me to our house with the change.

Cross-examined: It was about half-past nine. She used to come to the house to clean.

Richard Breaks was then sworn – I am a grocer, living in Kirkland. I remember the last witness coming to my house; it was a little past nine on Sunday night. he asked if I could change his mother a five-pound note. I asked what kind of note it was. He said, “ A Kendal note”. He handed the note to me. I took it upstairs and changed it. I left the note upstairs, and took the change to the Black Bull. I found the landlady and a good many women there. I asked who wanted change: none of the women would take to the note or the change. I called the landlady into the kitchen. She said it belonged to Eleanor Musgrove (the female prisoner goes by this name), but that she the landlady would have nothing to do with it. I gave the note back to Mrs Thompson.

Margaret Thompson, was sworn, and said: My husband kept the Black Bull. On the 1st of October the prisoner came in on the Sunday evening and asked for change. She sent the boy for it. Mr Breaks afterwards came across with the money. She was in the lobby waiting, when se asked me for the money. I told her I would give it to the right owner. I fetched the note from Mr Breaks and gave it to Mr Hibberd.

Edward Hibberd said: I am superintendent of police. On Monday morning last, a little after ten o’clock, I received this note I now produce, No 257E, from the last witness, Mrs Thompson. Shortly afterwards I apprehended the prisoner, Eleanor Hopkinson, at her house in a yard in Highgate. I charged her with stealing five five-pound notes from John Moon, whilst in a privy together late on Saturday night, or early on Sunday morning. She took from some part of her dress these two keys (produced in court), which she gave to a woman named Mary Barber. I took the keys from her. She said that one belonged to a tea caddy, an the other to the lower room or coal cellar. I locked the prisoner up. The house door was locked. I returned to the house soon after, and partially searched the house. The room where the prisoners lived was locked. I locked the door again when I left. When I returned again to the room I found the lock broken off and the door standing open. The prisoner Carradice was sitting on the floor at the far end of the room. he was the worse for liquor. I searched the room and found beneath some ashes and rubbish about eighteen inches from where the prisoner was sitting a piece of rag and a five pound note, No 90G. I took Carradice into custody and brought him to the office. I charged him with being concerned in the robbery of notes from Mr Moon on Sunday morning.

This was the case for the prosecution. Mr Fawcett then addressed the jury for the defence. He said he appeared only on behalf of the female prisoner. he not disguise from himself or from the jury that it was a very serious charge, and at first glance it did seem as if the prisoner were guilty. He then explained the law on felony, and said that unless he could persuade them that the woman could satisfactorily account for the amount of money it would go very hard against them. he must say there was something very curious about the manner in which the money was lost. Did the jury really think the woman was the one who took the notes? and, although he did not appear on the part of the man he could not see any fact against him. He then sifted the whole evidence, and left the case with the jury.

The jury retired, and on re-entering gave in a verdict of “guilt against the woman”, but found the man innocent. The woman was sentenced to seven years’ penal servitude.


The prisoners were then further charged with stealing a watch, the property of Leonard Metcalfe, on the 1st of October.

Mr Mounsey appeared for the prosecution, and called Leonard Metcalfe, who said: He is a driver at the Commercial Hotel, and started about eleven o’clock on the night of Saturday, the 30th of September, to take a party to Holme. he started from that place about two o’clock on Sunday morning. Falling asleep several times, he was at length aroused by two men unknown to him shouting “Len”. On looking up to see what time it was, he found his watch was gone.

Superintendent Hibberd deposed to findning the watch, with the bank-notes, in the prisoner Carradice’s room.

The jury acquitted both prisoners.

Interestingly, despite giving quite a full account of the trial the Kendal Mercury did not include Eleanor’s reaction to being found guilty and to her sentence. Unlike the Westmorland Gazette and the Carlisle Journal which both reported – The prisoner screamed out vile malediction against the Chairman, and was removed from the dock cursing.

So what is “penal servitude”? It really just means a term of imprisonment that usually included hard labour.

Eleanor spent about ten months in prison at Kendal and was then transferred to Brixton Prison in July 1866.

Below you can see the:-

  • Criminal Register for Kendal for 20 October 1865 showing Eleanor Hopkinson and George Carradice
  • Record showing that Eleanor was transferred to Brixton Prison on 27 July 1866.

Kendal Criminal Register

Brixton Prison

Clearly Eleanor did not complete seven years locked up because as I said in Part 1 of this story last week she appears in the 1871 census living with George Carradice in Kendal.

Kendal 1871 Census

Thriller Thursday – Robert Hurtley

Robert (Frank) Hurtley is my 2nd cousin 2x removed. He was born in 1877 to parents Robert Hurtley and Mary Holdsworth.

Robert Hurtley (the father) was a butcher and cattle dealer in Leeds.

Trawling through the newspaper archives on Find My Past it was good to find a positive story about one of my ancestors for a change!!

Here is an article from the Yorkshire Evening Post of 11 May 1893.

Yorkshire Evening Post 1893

Black Sheep Sunday – Eleanor Hopkinson (Part 1)

Eleanor Musgrove is my 2nd great grand aunt. She is the daughter of my 3x great grandparents William Musgrove and Harriot Francis.

Eleanor was born in 1838 and baptised on 2 July that year in Kendal, Westmorland. She married Edward Hopkinson in 1855.

From what I have been able to establish so far from newspaper archives Eleanor was often up to “no good”.

My blog post HERE reports her being sent to the House of Correction for three months in February 1861 for stealing.

The article below from the Westmorland Gazette of 7 October 1865 suggests that a spell in “chokey” didn’t teach Eleanor any lessons.

Eleanor HopkinsonCHARGE OF STEALING £25

Eleanor Hopkinson, alias “Nell Muss”, George Carradice, Mary Barber, and Harrison Musgrove, were charged with stealing five five-pound notes, the property of John Moon, a swiller. Mr C G Thompson appeared for the prosecutor, and Mr C T Clark, (Lancaster), for the defence. The case occupied a considerable time, so that we can only give the main facts. The prosecutor, according to his own account, late on Saturday night went down the yard, at the bottom of which the prisoners lodge, and there met with the woman Hopkinson, who lives with the prisoner Carradice. Next morning he missed the notes and gave information of the numbers to the bank, and also informed the police. From further evidence it appeared that on Sunday evening the prisoner Hopkinson tried to change one of the notes at the Black Bull Inn, and that upon searching the prisoners’ lodgings Mr Hibberd found another of the notes (also identified by the prosecutor) concealed (and also a watch) in some ashes.

Hopkinson and Carradice were committed for trial, but there not appearing to be sufficient evidence against Barber and Musgrove, they were discharged.


Eleanor Hopkinson and George Carradice were then charged with stealing a watch, the property of Leonard Medcalf, a driver. The watch was found by Mr Hibbered while searching for the bank notes, wrapped up together with a note, in a piece of calico, under some ashes and other rubbish. The prosecutor had lost the watch while on the road between Kendal and Holme, and it was no doubt stolen when he was asleep.

Carradice was committed for trial on the charge, and the woman was discharged.

Next Sunday remember to come back for the result of the trial of Eleanor and George!!

Regular readers of my blog will know that Harrison Musgrove (brother of Eleanor) mentioned in the first case in the article is also one of my ancestors – it makes a nice change to see him not charged with an offence this time!!  You can read more about him in the Black Sheep Sunday category of my blog.

Carradice is also one of my ancestral names from this time in Kendal. However I do not have a George Carradice in my family tree at the moment, but I suppose there is still time for me to identify yet another felon in my history!!

I checked the 1871 census and found George Carradice and Eleanor Carradice living in Kirkland Capper Lane, Kendal.

Friday’s Faces From The Past – Mystery Couple

It’s been more than two years since I last posted a photograph in Friday’s Faces From The Past. And I have to say it feels a bit like deja vu.

The woman in the photograph of the would be flapper girl from October 2013 (see post under Friday’s Faces From The Past category) seems to be the same woman in this new photograph. Or is it just me that can see a resemblance?

I am still no nearer being able to identify her. And now I have her companion to think about. There is no ring on her wedding finger so what is their relationship? Are they a couple? Are they in love?

The photograph is printed on a post card. There is nothing written on the back and no details of the photographer or where it is was printed.

I suspect that the photograph was taken sometime in the 1920’s.

Do you agree with me that the woman in both photographs is the same?

Mystery Couple

Sunday’s Obituary – John Musgrove (c1833-1884)

John Musgrove is my 2x great grandfather. He was born c1833 to parents Joseph Musgrove and Jane Dewhurst.

On 6 October 1855 John married Catherine Ainsworth at the Parish Church in Blackburn, Lancashire. They had at least 5 children:-

Susannah – born 2 August 1856 – died 1 February 1869
George – born 20 August 1857 – died 20 August 1857
Thomas Ainsworth – born 12 December 1860 – died 16 April 1928
Joseph – born 13 April 1864 – died 3 June 1948
James – born 5 August 1868 – died 23 November 1868

I have found John on the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1881 census returns. His occupation varied over the years and he was described as a crofter, a carter and a general labourer. In the 1871 census Catherine is living at 18 Ellen Street, Over Darwen, Lancashire and I assume that John was away from home at the time of the census.

On the 2 December 1858 tragedy struck the family when John’s father, Joseph Musgrove, died as the result of a fall at home. Here’s a blog post about his death – Sunday’s Obituary – Joseph Musgrove

Ever since I started my interest in genealogy and researching my family history my mother has regularly told me of a story about a suicide by hanging somewhere in the past. So I was aware that at some point I may find the evidence.

Back in August this year I finally got round to ordering a copy of John Musgrove’s death certificate. And now I have the confirmation of the family story – cause of death was “suicide by hanging – unsound mind”.

John Musgrove - Death Certificate

According to the death certificate John died at Railway Road, Clitheroe, Lancashire, on 17 September 1884. An inquest was held by the Deputy Coroner J C Anderson on the same date.

The family story was that John returned home one night and the door was locked. Whether he had been drinking, whether John and Catherine had argued, I guess I will never know. Catherine refused to let him in and John replied that he might as well kill himself. If the story is to be believed then Catherine threw him a rope.

Despite my best efforts I have not been able to find any record of the inquest. I have tried Clitheroe library and been to Blackburn library to search the newspaper archives. I’ve also spoken with the Blackburn Coroners Office.  There is a death notice in the local Blackburn paper but no report of the inquest. I discovered during this search that inquest records/reports were considered to be the property of the coroner and were most likely destroyed when the coroner retired.

So sadly it seems I will never learn any more about the tragic events of Wednesday 17 September 1884.