Month: November 2011

Tombstone Tuesday – Joseph and Annie Musgrove

This headstone marks the resting place of my grand uncle Joseph Musgrove and his wife Annie Simpson.

Joseph was born 23 October 1912 to parents Joseph Musgrove and Elizabeth Ann Turner – my great grandparents.  He was the youngest of at least ten children.  Annie was born 26 September 1907.

Joseph and Annie married sometime in the first quarter of 1933 and the marriage was registered at Clitheroe, Lancashire.  They had two daughters plus grandchildren and great grandchildren.

As you can see from the headstone Joseph died 11 November 1989 and Annie died 26 January 2004.  They are buried at Christ Church, Chatburn, Lancashire.

Military Monday – Ernest Aldersley (1899 – 1918)

Ernest Aldersley is my 3rd cousin 1x removed.  Our common ancestors are my 3x great grandparents John Dinsdale and Esther Mason.

Ernest was born in Bradford in 1899 and is the only child of Jeremiah Aldersley and Rose Jowett.

As far as I have been able to establish Ernest enlisted in Keighley, West Yorkshire.  He was a private in the Machine Gun Corps and his service number was 154978.  Here is a link to some history of the units of The Machine Gun Corps of 1914-1918.  Ernest was killed in action on 2 September 1918 – although some pages on the Internet suggest that it might have been 3 September 1918.  His death was reported in the Craven Herald newspaper on 20 September 1918 as follows.


The sad news has reached Mr. and Mrs. J. Aldersley, West Street, that their only son, Ernest, was killed by a shell while in action on the 3rd inst. Authentic news through the War Office is not yet to hand, but his pal, Private Charles Goddard, sends the information to his parents in a very sympathetic communication. It appears they were fast friends, having been companions for some time. It was young Aldersley’s first baptism of fire, and on his nineteenth birthday. A well-built strapping young fellow, he was, prior to enlisting, a Canal Office clerk and clerk at Delaney’s Gargrave quarries. The deep sympathy of the whole parish goes out to his bereaved relatives. At the Parish Church the Dead March was played in his honour on Sunday night after very feeling references to the event by the Vicar at the close of his sermon.

Ernest is commemorated on the Gargrave War Memorial and his grave is at the Vaulx Hill Cemetery in the Pas de Calais, France.

Gargrave War Memorial

Vaulx-Vraucourt village was taken in the spring of 1917, lost (after severe fighting) in March 1918, and retaken in the following September. Vaulx Hill Cemetery started with just 17 graves of September 1918 (in Plot I, Rows A and B). The rest of the cemetery was formed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields in the immediate neighbourhood and the following smaller cemeteries:-

• Chafours Wood Cemetery, Morchies, which contained 17 Australian and five United     Kingdom graves of 1917.

• Lagnicourt Australian Cemetery, which contained seven Australian graves of 1917 and 27 United Kingdom of September 1918.

• New Zealand Cemetery No.17, Favreuil, where 22 of the 2nd New Zealand Rifles Brigade were buried in August 1918.

• Sunken Road Cemetery, Beaumetz-Les-Cambrai, which contained 23 Australian and five United Kingdom graves of May 1917.

• Vraucourt Churchyard Extension, which was across the road from the Church and contained 185 United Kingdom and seven Australian graves of 1917 and 1918 (a German Extension was also removed).

The cemetery now contains 856 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 258 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate 29 casualties known or believed to be buried among them, and four others buried in other cemeteries whose graves were destroyed by shell fire.

Vaulx Hill Cemetery - Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sunday’s Obituary – William Holdsworth Hurtley

William Holdsworth Hurtley is my 2nd cousin 2 x removed.  Our common ancestors are Thomas Hurtley (1772-1855) and Hannah Braidley (1778-1858) who are my 3x great grandparents.

William was born in 1865 to parents Robert Hurtley and Mary Holdsworth.  He was born and raised in Leeds, West Yorkshire together with his siblings – Thomas, Annie Maria and Robert Frank.

From everything that I have found on the Internet it is clear that William was very academic excelling in the field of chemistry.  A simple Google search will produce plenty of scholarly references about his work.  He lectured in the subject at the University of London and was a Fellow of the Chemical Society and an original member of the Biochemical Society.

Here is a copy of William’s obituary from the Journal of the Chemical Society

Armistice Day 2011

Today I especially want to remember:-

Prince Dawson (1893-1915)

Frederick Espley (1881-1916)

Thomas Musgrove (1894-1918)

George Hurtley (1891-1918)

Frederick Ellis Spink (1921-1944)

I have written about each of these brave men over the last 12 months and you can find their stories in the Military Monday category of my blog.

I’ve been away – but now I’m back

I’ve been missing from the blogging world for a few weeks but now I’m back.

At the beginning of September we had a family illness to deal with and things now look a lot better than they did nine weeks ago.  So my focus has been somewhere else for a while.

However I haven’t been neglecting my family history research completely.  I have been a subscriber to Ancestry for a long time but was becoming frustrated with not being able to find some entries in the 1901 census that I knew should be there.  No matter what search criteria I used I couldn’t find any entries for my Dawson relatives in the village of Steeton with Eastburn, near Keighley, West Yorkshire.  In fact I couldn’t find any entries at all for Steeton with Eastburn.

So I decided to buy a subscription to Find My Past.  There were two reasons for this.  One was to see if I had any better luck trying to find people living in Steeton with Eastburn.  Second it gave me access to the 1911 census – I had been paying separately for this on the 1911 Census website and this was becoming expensive.

I was immediately rewarded.  There it was – Steeton with Eastburn did exist in 1901 and there was a census!!  I was able to fill in quite a few gaps in my information.

It seems that this whole village is missing from Ancestry.

I was then eager to start updating as much of my tree as I could with the 1911 census information.  So over the past few weeks I have been trying to go through the primary names in my ancestry and systematically add the 1911 information and search for subsequent births, marriages and deaths.  This work is ongoing.

I have to say that I was really excited at the prospect of using a new set of records from Find My Past.  However I was also quite disappointed with the quality of some of the census transcriptions that I came across.  I duly submitted corrections and they were quick to deal with these.

Don’t get me wrong here – I know how difficult it is to accurately transcribe handwriting especially if the document is not very clear and the location names are not known to the transciber.  I discovered just how hard it was when I started transcribing for Family Search.  But sometimes the correct information just seems so obvious.  Anyway that’s my little rant out of the way.

As a result of all this my attention has been diverted from blogging – but I have kept up to date with some of my favourite bloggers and am glad to be back with you.