Research Projects

I’ve neglected my blog for over 12 months and it’s now time to devote some attention with hopefully new inspiration.

My own family tree research has slowed down considerably to the point where I seem to be just chipping away at brick walls all the time. So over the last year I have been busy doing genealogy research for other people. I must admit I find that very interesting and satisfying. It can also be challenging at times especially when things do not go as expected.

I had two particularly interesting research projects.

The first involved tales of Scandinavian heritage – so my ultimate goal was to prove or disprove the family tales.

I was able to trace the origin of the British ancestral roots back to people in the 1861 census. This included the then head of the family with an occupation of Master Mariner and birth place of Gothenburg, Sweden. There were six children, three with a birth place listed as Russia and three born in Liverpool.

It was fairly easy to track the family right up to the 1911 census – although not without some difficulties. The problems were mainly around incorrect name transcriptions in the two main online indexes.

The family name was BRUNSTRUM. However the 1861 census had been indexed as BRUMSTRUM and the family name in the GRO marriage records for the father was BRAMSTOM.

The 1871 census was to be found under BRUNSTROM. There were two more children now – one birth was recorded as BRUNSTROM and one as BRUNSTMOM.

In the 1881 census the manuscript entry looks BRUNSTON but has been indexed as BRIMSTON.

In 1891 the census entry has been indexed as BRANSTROM.

There is a marriage in 1900 and the name now becomes BRUNSTON in the GRO record. Although the census entry the following year is under BRIMSTON.

Finally in 1911 the name is still BRUNSTON and it has been indexed as that.

The research had a bit of a sad end with a newspaper article reporting the death of the great grandfather of the person I was doing the research for and one of his sons in a tragic accident.

John Percy Brunston

John Percy Brunston

The second interesting project was very recently.

I did some research for someone in Australia who has an interest my wife’s family name of Espley. In particular she wanted to trace a death for her great grandmother. Should be straightforward right!!

I started by checking the BMD records and sure enough there was no death registered. I checked various spellings of the name all without success.

OK not a problem – maybe she had remarried. No, there was no marriage recorded.

Perhaps she had emigrated? I checked the available passenger lists online – no trace.

Winifred Frances EspleyI decided to check the newspaper archives on Find My Past. Breakthrough at last.

There were various newspaper articles in the Gloucestershire Echo about the person I was looking for – she was sent to prison in 1939 for two bigamous marriages.

This revelation came as a complete shock to the person I was doing the research for.

Both of these research projects provide valuable lessons.

First of all never completely trust the transcribed indexes – always double check with the original document images wherever possible.

Secondly the discovery of information while perhaps interesting as part of the research can sometimes be tragic and also shocking for the person getting the results.

Sunday’s Obituary – Joseph Musgrove (c1791-1858)

Joseph Musgrove is my 3x great grandfather.  He was born in Kendal, Westmorland about 1791.  Joseph married Jane Dewhurst on 8 April 1833 in Blackburn, Lancashire.

I haven’t been able to find him on the 1841 census so far.  I have found Jane and their son John living with Jane’s father Lawrence Dewhurst.

On the 1851 census Joseph and Jane are living at Barrow Row, Wiswell, Lancashire (about 3 miles south of Clitheroe) and Joseph is working as a blacksmith.

I have recently found the following article from the Preston Chronicle of Saturday 11 December 1858.  Not so much an obituary – more an inquest report.

Preston Chronicle - Saturday 11 December 1858

Preston Chronicle – Saturday 11 December 1858

THE FATAL EFFECTS OF DRINK AT BILLINGTON – On Monday last, an inquest was held at the “Judge Walmsley” public-house, Billington, on the body of a blacksmith, named Joseph Musgrove.  Joseph carried on business in Billington, and was, like many men of iron, rather too fond of his beer.  On Thursday week, however, he took his beer for the last time, for within half an hour of leaving the “Judge Walmsley” he was a corpse.  So soon as he reached home, he sat down in a chair, and partook of some supper which his wife had prepared for him.  Whilst he was eating his evening meal, his wife went out, was absent between ten and twenty minutes, and then returned.  Not seeing her Joseph, however, in the chair where she had left him, she went up stairs to ascertain if he had gone to bed.  She felt on the top of the bed clothes, got hold of his trousers, but could not find him.  She then went for a light, determining to see what had become of him.  On reaching the bed-room a second time, she saw him laid partly on the floor and partly on a box.  His head was under one side of the bedstead.  On trying to lift him up she found that he was quite dead.  It is supposed that in getting into bed, he slipped, and falling on the floor, dislocated his neck.  The jury returned a verdict in accordance with these facts, namely, one of “Accidental death”.

When he died Joseph was about 67 years old.

I feel quite sad now knowing the circumstances of his death.  Having been out for a drink after what was presumably a hard day in the blacksmith forge Joseph’s life ends so tragically.

Judge Walmsley Public House

Judge Walmsley Public House

The street where they lived – Brownlow Street, Clitheroe

My granddad, Frederick Ainsworth Stowell Musgrove was born in Citheroe on 1st February 1898.

He lived at 62 Moor Lane and then at 32 Salford.  I can’t find any photographs / images on the Internet of either of these houses.  I suspect that they were demolished sometime ago.

At the time of his marriage to Florrie Musgrove (no relation before they married) he was living at 11 Brownlow Street, Clitheroe.Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 16.52.07

The earliest reference I can find to Brownlow Street in the Clitheroe census is for 1891. There are entries in earlier census returns for some streets in the same area.  So either I haven’t searched properly or Brownlow Street was built between 1881-1891 or perhaps it had another name before it became Brownlow Street.

Researching the history of Clitheroe I discovered that John Cust was elected as MP for the town in 1802.  He was the eldest son of the 1st Baron Brownlow.

John Cust was MP for Clitheroe until 1807 when he succeeded to his father’s title and he later became 1st Earl Brownlow in 1815.

Here’s a brief biography from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cust,_1st_Earl_Brownlow

I imagine that Brownlow Street was named after John Cust.

Looking at the census returns I can see who lived at 11 Brownlow Street from 1891 to 1911

1891 – Tipping Lord (63) a cotton weaver from Grindleton, Yorkshire.  He was living with his Eleanor (63) and two sons Edward (22) and James (20)

1901 – James Lord (30) was now head of the house.  He was employed as a life insurance agent.  He was living with his wife Annie (30) and their daughter Eleanor (3)

1911 – William Henry Mitchell (43) a cotton weaver from Clitheroe.  He was living with his wife Alice (42) and four children Harry (19), Mary Ellen (14), Reginald (10) and William (7).

So my granddad must have moved to 11 Brownlow Street sometime between 1911 and 1917 when he married.  I know that the house remained in the family until at least 1952 and was then sold.