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!!!

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.

Espley One Name Study – Update #5

It’s slow progress – but progress all the same.  Now put on to separate spreadsheets:-

  • GRO births – 1837 to 2005
  • GRO marriages – 1837 to 2005
  • GRO deaths – 1837 to 2005
  • IGI transcripts for UK
  • 1841 English census
  • 1851 English census
  • 1861 English census – started

I have tonight registered the Espley name with the Guild of One Name Studies (GOONS) including two variants – Epsley and Aspley.  It could be argued that Epsley is just a misspelling but there are 48 on the 1911 census so I would want to include that spelling of the name as part of the study.

Next step is to set up an Espley profile page on the GOONS website.

During the next month I hope to finish indexing at least the 1861 and 1871 census returns.

Espley One Name Study – Update #4

I’ve made a bit of progress over the last six weeks.  All the GRO births, marriages and deaths are now recorded on spreadsheets – one for each record type.  I am about two thirds of the way through typing the IGI extracts onto a spreadsheet – this is taking a bit longer than I anticipated.  I hope to have this finished by the end of next week.

I then plan to start transcribing the UK census records.  My thinking at the moment is that I will put these records into Family Tree Maker.

I have also now joined the Guild of One Name Studies on Facebook.

The next IT decision I need to make is about a database.  The spreadsheets are OK but I don’t think they are as flexible as a database programme.  I had come to the idea of buying Custodian 3 but have just found out that it is not available for a Mac.  So back to the drawing board.  I have a database with the Mac but not sure I am skilled enough to create what I need from scratch.  Might need to check out the Guild of Name Studies and ask members for advice.

This week I have seen an aerial view photograph of Espley Hall in Northumberland for sale on Ebay so hoping to buy this.  I have been trying to find out about the history of Espley Hall but drawn a blank so far.  We might need to make a trip up there.

Espley One Name Study – Update #3

The main reason for very few blog posts during December was because I spent most of my spare time collecting data for my Espley One Name Study.  I am really pleased with the progress since my last update.

I have now finished transcribing all the England and Wales GRO birth, marriage and death records from 1837 to 2005.  I have also transcribed all the IGI information for the Espley name.  All this data is in three A4 books (still plenty of room in the third one).  This wasn’t without its difficulties as I’m sure you can imagine – duplicated entries in the Ancestry index, duplicated entries in the GRO index, some barely readable handwriting in the early GRO records and lots of repetition in the IGI records.

I haven’t yet started on the UK census records – and to be honest I have been putting that off because it’s not quite as easy.  My goal is to make a start on this within the next month.

Over the holidays I set up a spreadsheet to record all the GRO births and I finished typing all the birth information from my index books about two hours ago.  I have now created a second spreadsheet for the GRO marriages and made a start typing the information – I am now having a break.

I joined the Guild of One Name Studies and my new member pack arrived today.  So I have got lots of information to read including the latest quarterly Journal.  This is going to keep me occupied and interested for a while.

I haven’t registered the Espley name with the Guild yet because I am still undecided about the variant names to include.

I also joined the Espley group on Facebook and told members about my project.  I invited them to get in touch with information and photographs etc.

The other thing we’ve started to do is to gather information about the origins of the name and search for locations that have Espley in the name.

I suspect that the only progress I make during the next month will be to get as much of the remaining data as possible typed on spreadsheets.

Finally on the techie side of things I also registered a website domain name in case we want to publish all the results and information on our own website.

I know that Jayne is really keen to try and build as many pedigree trees as possible once we have all the information stored in spreadsheets.  This isn’t a requirement of a One Name Study but I think it will be an interesting project all the same.  However this is a long term goal but one I am looking forward to starting – sometime.