Espley One Name Study

Thriller Thursday – Ernest Espley (1884-1956)

Ernest Espley is the brother of my wife’s grandfather.  He was born in 1884 in Biddulph, Staffordshire.  His parents were Frederick Espley and Frances Owen.

I have Ernest on the census returns for 1891 and 1901 in Biddulph.  In 1901 he was working as driver in a coal mine.

By 1911 Ernest had a complete change of career and location.  He was now employed as a Police Constable and living in the West Derby area of Liverpool.

1911 Census

1911 Census

A trawl through the newspaper archives on Find My Past produced the following article from the Manchester Courier on 26 August 1905.

Manchester Courier

Manchester Courier

All in a days work for a brave “bobby”.

Arthur Edward Espley & Emma Esther Espley – Census Mystery

Arthur Edward Espley is my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed. He was born on 22 Jul 1877 to parents Henry Espley and Ellen Hannah Clewley.

Arthur married Emma Esther Bowker on 3 January 1899 in Chorlton, Lancashire.

As far as I can tell Arthur and Emma had three children:-

Arthur Edward Espley – about March 1899
James Henry Espley – 2 February 1900
William Ernest Espley – 6 October 1901

It seems that things went badly for Arthur and Emma fairly quickly and there is a newspaper article in the Lichfield Mercury on 6 April 1900.

Lichfield Mercury

Lichfield Mercury


Arthur Edward Espley, Old Barracks, Birmingham Road, Lichfield, who did not appear, was summoned by his wife, Emma Espley, who complained of his cruel treatment and applied for a separation order. The complainant, whose face was discoloured, stated that her life with the defendant had been an unhappy one. He had frequently struck her, and on some occasions she had struck back. About a fortnight ago her husband struck her between the eyes, bumped her on the ground, and called her very bad names. She said that if she was what he called her he had better have the child, and she put the baby in his arms. Her husband went away a fortnight ago. She had no money and was afraid to live with her husband. P.C. Slack, who lives near the parties, also gave evidence, and the Bench made an order that the wife should have the custody of the two children, and that the defendant should pay her 8s a week.

I have not been able to trace any of the family on the 1901 census. Neither can I find Arthur Edward Espley (the husband) on the 1911 census.

However Emma is on the 1911 census under the name of Emma Minshall. She is living with William Minshall as his wife of 12 years. There are also five children:-

Arthur Minshall – age 12
William Minshall – age 10
James Minshall – age 8
Florrie Minshall – age 4
Emma Minshall – age 2

1911 Census

1911 Census

I believe the three boys are the children from Emma’s marriage to Arthur Edward Espley – although the ages of James and William are the opposite way around.

The only marriage for Emma to William Minshall took place in 1923 and is registered in Q3 in Stockport, Cheshire.

So it seems that if the 1911 census is to be believed then Emma and William started living together not long after Emma separated from Arthur Edward Espley.

At the moment I am still unable to find a death record for Arthur Edward Espley nor can I find an emigration or military record.

Emma E Minshall died in 1953 – registered in Q1 in Stockport, Cheshire – her age is given as 78.

If anyone can provide any information about this family please let me know!!!

British Postal Service Appointment Books

There has been much chatter in the genealogy world this week about the British Postal Service Appointment Books just released on Ancestry.

I have done some searches for the main names in my family tree.  There are plenty of Dawson’s in the area of Yorkshire that I am interested in – so I need to look at those when I have more time.

However, there were only fifteen Espley’s plus three Aspley’s and two Epsley’s.  So I have captured all this information in a new table in my spreadsheet.

The Espley’s are:-

Wm. – 1894, 1895 and 1896 in Wellington, Shropshire

Jessie – 1910 in Wellington, Shropshire working on the telephones

Wm. – 1913 in Chester

William E – 1922 – the location isn’t recorded.  Employed as certified wireless watcher.

Victor G – 1933 in Bletchley as Postman manager.

Audrey M – 1935 at the Central Telegraph Office

Victor G – 1935 in Luton and 1937 in Bedford

John S – 1940, location not recorded

Frederick J W – 1947 in Stoke on Trent as a postman

Leslie – 1949 in Southampton

James F – 1953 in Stoke on Trent as a postman

If anyone can identify these particular Espley’s I would love to hear from you.

Espley One Name Study – Update #8

Ahead of schedule I completed transcribing the 1901 England, Wales and Scottish census into my spreadsheet records yesterday afternoon.

That’s all the England & Wales births, marriages and deaths completed and the census returns for 1841 through to 1901.  I feel well chuffed.

I started an interesting thread on the GOONS forum yesterday asking for advice from other researchers about how they assign unique ID numbers to each person.  There has been quite a lot of replies and a good number of different methods for keeping track of each person.  I will need to give some thought to what is the best option for me.

As I said in my last update I am now looking forward to trying to match people into family groups.

This is only the start of course.  There are many more records available in the UK including wills, ships passenger lists and prison records.

The bigger goal is to look globally and also for the variant names included in my study – Epsley and Aspley.

Espley One Name Study – Update #7

We had intended to go to the Yorkshire Family History Fair in York today.  But best laid plans and all that – the weather wasn’t very good and I was full of aches and pains and couldn’t face it.

So we stayed at home.  But I didn’t want to waste the day altogether.  I decided to crack on with more work on my Espley One Name Study.

I was already part way through transcribing the 1891 UK census into my spreadsheet, so my target was to get that completed by the end of today.  I am happy to say that I finished at 4.20pm – having started at about 10.30 this morning.  I am now settled down watching Glastonbury on the telly.

Tomorrow I hope to set up the next spreadsheet for the 1901 census and maybe get that transcribed in the next four or five weeks.

As I am not a subscriber to Find My Past I will wait until Ancestry get the 1911 census digitised before starting on that.

So maybe after finishing the 1901 census I will start to track individuals from birth through to death and build some family trees.  That’s the bit I am really looking forward to.

Espley One Name Study – Update #6

I haven’t made very much progress since my last update in March.  To be honest I have been concentrating on using the National Burial Index I bought at a family history fair in April and concentrating my efforts in that area for my main family history research.

Anyway I got back to the one name study this morning and took stock.  I am nearly half way through indexing the England 1891 census – I completed the 1881 census sometime in April.  My goal is to finish the 1891 census by the middle of June and then start on 1901.  I’m not going to set myself a target for that just yet.

I can see an end in sight for the transcribing and indexing work.  After that I want to try to identify each individual, track them on the different spreadsheets and build family tree records.

GOONS Profile Page

I’m feeling a huge sense of achievement today.  I have just launched the Espley One-Name study profile page on the Guild of One-Name Studies website. 

There is still a long way to go before I finish collecting all the UK data for the Espley name.  Then there are the two variant names – Epsley and Aspley – to start on as  well as all the data from overseas.

However the project is now well and truly advertised in the best place and I hope to get contacts from other Espley researchers over the coming weeks, months and years.

Perhaps I will have a glass of red tonight to celebrate the achievement.