Sunday, 23 March 2014

52 ancestors in 52 weeks # 5 William Swadling - Kamloops

Just over twelve months ago I changed my Facebook Swadling One Name Study status from private to public. One of the first questions I was asked was from one of my many distant cousins. She asked:- William Swadling born 1883 in East Hendred married Gertrude Elizabeth Carter and moved to Canada. Are any of his descendants still living in Canada?

William Swadling was born in East Hendred and his parents were George Swadling (who was another brother of my Great Grandfather James) and Mary Maria Spicer. His birth was registered in the June quarter of 1883 but I have seen his birthday listed as 7th March 1882. William had several siblings, including Ellen, Frank, and Kate. In 1901 William and his parents were living on Oxford Street in East Hendred.

Gertrude Elizabeth Carter was born on the 11/12/1883 in Childrey Berkshire. Her parents were Charles and Mary Ann Carter and she had an older brother James. In 1911 Gertrude had moved away from the family home in Oxford Street in East Hendred and was working as a cook in Woodford Green, Essex for the Lea family.

In 1905 William travelled from England to Winnipeg in Canada and decided to immigrate to Canada in 1908. The reason for his initial visit and subsequent move is unknown but he must have returned home from time to time because in 1912 he married Gertrude Elizabeth Carter in his home town of East Hendred.

Shortly after their marriage William and Gertrude sailed from London via Le Harve on the vessel “Lake Eire”. The “Lake Eire” was built in Glasgow in 1899. She was 446 feet long and 52 feet wide. She had one funnel and four masts and had a speed of 13 knots. The journey, for the 150 second class passengers and the 1,000 third class passengers, would have taken between 10 and 14 days. They arrived in Montreal, Quebec on the 19th August.

The following June their daughter Hazel was born in British Columbia and a son William Ralphe was born in 1919.

On the 1921 Canadian census William and Gertrude were living at 726 Douglas Street in Kamloops, British Columbia together with Hazel and William.

On the 1935 Canadian Voters List William and Gertrude were living in Kamloops, British Columbia.  William’s occupation was a labourer and Hazel was working as a stenographer.

William and Gertrude never moved from Kamloops. William died on the 12th August 1949. He was only 65 years old. Gertrude died on the 6th April 1974 at the age of 90. They are buried together Pleasant Street Cemetery in Kamloops.

In the 1960’s Hazel was living with her mother at 539 Third Avenue. She never married but she worked as a teacher for many years.

In 1960, when Hazel was 47 years old, she returned to England for a five week visit. She travelled from Montreal to London on the “Sylvania”. The ”Sylvania” was built in Glasgow in 1956 and was 570 feet long by 80 feet wide with one funnel and one mast. Her 150 first class passengers and 700 tourist passengers travelled at a speed of 20 knots. The passenger list states that Hazel was travelling with a Gertrude Swadling, who was single and 41 years old. Had Hazel got a younger sister? I think that this Gertrude was her mother as their birth dates are the same, 11th December. How the mistake occurred I am not sure but I am sure that “single” Gertrude’s details were wrong.

 I am not sure when Hazel died. I have found several teaching publications on line that have made reference to her comments between 1969 and 1980 and when her brother died, the obituary referred to her as his late sister.

Hazel’s brother William Ralphe was born on the 19th September 1919 in Kamloops, British Columbia and married Freeda Ziegenhagel in 1943. In 1962 he was living on Nicola Street Kamloops and his occupation was a railway engineer.  William Ralphe and Freeda had three children who all married and had children of their own. Freeda died in 2009 but William Ralphe only passed away last year.

So thanks to the Canadian Ancestry website amongst others the answer to your question is simple. Yes, William does have living ancestors in Canada!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

52 ancestors in 52 weeks # 4 George Swadling 1861 - 1943

The purpose for my first visit to the new Library of Birmingham in January was to try and find out who some of the mysterious Swadlings were who had come to the Birmingham area to get married. I had checked two websites, FreeBMD – a project in which volunteers are in the process of transcribing the Birth, Marriages and Deaths entries of the Civil Registration indexes and Family Search – a service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is also transcribing parish registers and census details.

The first marriage I wanted to find was for George Swadling who had married in the Aston registration district in 1887. According to Family Search he had married Clara Gamson at St Andrew’s Church Bordesley. A member of the library staff sorted out a “Digital Fiche and Mircoform Reader” for me to use and I was ready to begin my search. I now had to check the roll of film that the parish register for 1887 had been copied onto. It didn’t take me long to find the marriage details I was looking for. The certificate stated that George and Clara were both living in Small Heath at the time of their marriage and George’s father was called William. George and William were both employed as Railway servants.

I was fortunate enough to be able to search for other information about George using the Library version of I checked the 1891 census and found him and Clara living on the Gobowen Road in Gobowen, three miles north of Oswestry. George was 29 and was born in Leamington. His occupation was a goods guard on the railway. Clara was 27 and was born in Worcester. Their son Ernest Stephen was 3 and was born in Birmingham.

I checked the 1881 census and found George living at 25 St. George’s Road in Leamington with his parents William and Elizabeth and three brothers, Alfred, Arthur and Albert Henry. William’s birthplace was listed as Inkpen. It was at this point that I realised that George’s father was in fact one of the older brothers of my great grandfather James and Elizabeth was not George’s mother but his stepmother. Over the years I have visited several records offices in different counties and I had collected some information on George.

George Swadling was born on the 26th December 1861 at Priory Street Leamington and baptised at St John the Baptist parish church on the 4th March 1862. His mother Elizabeth died of Tuberculosis four months later and his father remarried in 1863. William and his new wife Elizabeth had four children during the course of the next thirteen years. George’s half brother Albert Henry died in 1872 at the age of five.

George followed in his father’s footsteps and joined Great Western Railway in Leamington in December 1876 as a Railway Number Taker for a salary of 8 shillings a week. His job description required utmost accuracy when reporting the movement of every waggon and carriage what passed through the station including where it had come from and where it was going.  He was promoted to Railway Shunter in April 1882 with a salary of 18 shillings a week. He also had to move away from home to the small railway station of Bordesley that was located between Birmingham Moor Street and Small Heath Stations. At the time Bordesley was a main line station between London (Paddington) and Birkenhead (Woodside). The railway line itself was built over the Coventry Road on a viaduct. The job of a Shunter was extremely dangerous, as George would most likely have needed to get between the rolling stock to fasten or unfasten the couplings that held the waggons or carriages together.

George worked as a Shunter for over two years before being promoted to Railway Brakesman in December 1884. This time his salary only rose by 2 shillings a week. The job of a Brakesman was to apply the brakes of the train and also make sure that the brakes were set before the train went up or down a steep hill.

George met and married Clara while he was still working as a Brakesman at Bordesley and their first son Ernest Stephen was born within six months of their marriage while they were still living in Small Heath in Birmingham. He was still employed as a Brakesman when they moved to Gobowen, three miles north of Oswestry, in July 1890. According to Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia, “The population of Gobowen grew up around the railway. The mainline route between Chester and Shrewsbury was diverted through Gobowen after permission was denied to route the railway through the local historic town of Oswestry.

A second son Leonard William G was born in the autumn of 1892. Although George stated that he was a Goods Guard on the railway on the 1891 census he wasn’t actually promoted until October 1893 when the family moved to Chester. The job of the Goods Guard was still the same as a Brakesman except now George rode in the Guards van at the back of the train and not only looked after the train but the goods that had been left in his care for delivery at stations further up or down the line.

While in Chester another son Arthur Henry was born in December 1896. The family stayed in Chester for four and a half years before moving to Wolverhampton in the spring of 1898. Another son Albert Edward was born there in the summer of 1901. Five years later Leonard William G died at the age of fourteen.

George and Clara were living at 72 Lowe Street in Wolverhampton when the 1911 census was taken in April of that year. In the November George was promoted again. This time he became an Assistant Yard Inspector and moved to the Stourbridge Junction Railway Station. He was almost 50 years old and his salary was now 35 shillings a week.

In 1911 Ernest Stephen also became a railway man but he became an employee of the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway.  He worked as a porter at Priestfield Station from May until October 1911 and then moved to Wolverhampton Guards Station or Wolverhampton Low Level on Sun Street in Springfield, Wolverhampton and spent another three months as a Railway Shunter. In December 1911 he secured a job with Great Western Railway working as a Brakesman at Oxley Sidings and spent nearly two years working in the large service shed helping with the maintenance of goods, shunting and locomotives. He married Alice M Durant in Dudley in 1915. Ernest Stephen died in 1924 at the age of 36 while they were living in the Banbury area.

On the 1911 census Arthur Henry was still living at home and was an apprentice at an Electrical Manufacturers. When the First World War broke out Arthur decided it was his patriotic duty to leave his home at 149 Stourbridge Road and join the 9th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment and fight for his country. The 9th Battalion was formed in 1914 and Arthur joined all the other new recruits for training on Salisbury Plain in May 1915. The 9th Battalion left for overseas and arrived in the Gallipoli Peninsula in western Turkey in July where the soldiers were involved in fighting at Gully Beach. The 9th Battalion participated in training in the summer and autumn of 1916 on the Greek Island of Lemnos in preparation for the fighting that was to begin on the Hai Salient in Mesopotamia. By the 21st January 1917 new trenches had been built within 300 yards of the enemy’s lines. The planned attack was postponed from the 22nd until the 25th of January and at 9.00 that morning the troops began their attack. Private Arthur Henry Swadling, Army number 24620, died during the battle and was buried in the Amara War Cemetery in Iraq. He was only twenty years old.

George died in 1943 at the age of 81 and Clara died in 1949 at the age of 85. They are buried together in the Lye/Wollescote Cemetery.

Only George and Clara’s youngest son Albert Edward survived them. He married Mary Maria Southall in 1926 and their only son was born several years later. Albert Edward became the publican of the Bird in the Hand public house on the Stourbridge Road in Oldswinford, Worcestershire. He died on the 31st march 1964 at the age of 62. Mary Maria died in 1977 at the age of 72.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

My first visit to the new Library of Birmingham

In the middle of January I had the opportunity to visit the new Library of Birmingham. The library was opened last September and stands next to the Repertory Theatre in Centenary Square on Broad Street. From a distance the library resembles bands of blue and gold mesh but as you get closer you can see the intricate framework of large interlocking black steel circles intertwined with much smaller white steel circles. This framework covers a building that is constructed of three different sized rectangular boxes, one on top of the other. The bottom and the largest and the top and smallest of the rectangles appear to be blue in colour. In fact it is the light reflecting on the glass windows beneath the framework that gives it the blue effect. The rectangle sandwiched in-between is gold in colour and perched on the roof is a large shiny gold drum. The library boasts two outdoor terraces and their Shakespeare Memorial Room has been moved from the old library and is now housed inside the gold drum. Once inside I stood at the bottom of an extremely large pair of escalators that rose from the foyer to the first floor high above me. As the archives and heritage centre was on the fourth floor I opted to use the lift.  I stepped out of the lift, turned right and entered a white room with several low white cabinets. A number of maps were place carefully on each cabinet. I continued along a corridor into an open plan area. The far walls of the room were the outside glass windows of the building that were covered by the large circles of metal. Towards the centre of this area there was a circular desk where two members of staff were perched on high stools. As I walked towards them I passed tall white unlabelled cabinets and large tables cluttered with the belongings of students and researchers. As I stood and waited to be served I looked around. A glass partition divided the room in two. In front of the partition there was a row of neatly stacked bookshelves. In front of the bookshelves there were about twenty computers. Against the two other walls were strange white contraptions with flashing lights. They resembled sideways shelves but they were so close together I couldn’t see what was on each shelf. I almost felt like I was in a very clinical environment that was not as inviting as the old library.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks # 3 Charles Frederick Swadling

In 2009 Jessica Raine Swadling posted a comment on my Facebook Swadling One Name Study page asking for help in finding out more about her family. She said that she was one of four children of Mervyn Gray Swadling who had passed away in 1999. She also said that he was one of seven children born to Charles and Eileen Swadling and two of the seven children had also died. At the time no-one responded to her request so as part of the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks project I have decided to see if I can offer any assistance.

At the time Jessica didn’t say where her father was born but from checking records on Ancestry I found out that the family was based in Western Australia. The first thing I found out was that her grandfather Charles was called Charles Frederick Swadling and her grandmother Eileen was really called Aileen Gertrude Wansborough or Wansbrough. Aileen was the daughter of Percival Wansbrough and Minnie Victoria Gray and was born in 1909. On the 1931 Electoral Rolls register Aileen was working as a kitchen maid in the Premier Hotel on Forrest Street Collie. Her parents were also living on Forrest Street. Her father was a blacksmith and her mother was a housewife.

Charles Frederick’s early life on the other hand is a bit of a mystery. There are several family trees on the Ancestry web site that say that he was born in England in 1909 but as yet I can’t confirm this information.

Charles married Aileen in 1934 in Geraldton Western Australia and he worked as a truck driver for most of his working life. Aileen gave up working at the Premier Hotel and for the rest of her life she stayed at home to care for her family. Charles and Aileen had seven sons, Kevan Frederick, Ronald Charles, Douglas Bernard, Ivan Charles, Mervyn Gray, Graeme Philip and Rodney Stewart. Kevan Frederick was a truck driver and died in the 1970’s. Ronald Charles had died as a small child in 1939.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

52 ancestors in 52 weeks # 2 Joseph Swadling and the Swadlings from Englefield

When I registered the name of Swadling with the Guild of One Name Studies in 2003. I was unaware of the many benefits my Guild membership would bring me. One longstanding benefit is a Guild project called Marriage Challenges. Marriage Challenges is a project in which guild members volunteer to search for marriage entries in Parish Registers for a particular registration district for a time period between 1837 and 1911. Guild members submit the know entries for their registered name and hopefully receive details of any marriages for their name once all the available registers have been checked for that particular area.

Earlier this year I was the grateful recipient of information from seven marriages that had taken place in the registration district of Bradfield in Berkshire. The earliest certificate was dated 11th August 1838. The groom was George Swadling and his residence was Englefield in the county of Berkshire. His bride was Elizabeth Wise and her residence was Burghfield.

I checked the 1841 census and found George and Elizabeth and their two daughters Charlotte and Mary living with George’s parents, Joseph and Jane in Englefield. Also living in the house were George’s older brother Richard and his younger brother Thomas.

Joseph Swadling was born in Brightwell in Berkshire in 1781 and was the son of Thomas and Phoebe. He married Jane Sims in 1804 in Tilehurst and they had five sons and 1 daughter between 1804 and 1815.

John was born in Tilehurst in1804 and baptised on 8th April 1804. He moved to London before 1828 when he married Mary Ann Millard. In 1841 John and Mary Ann were living in Doris Street, Lambeth with their two sons William and George. Sadly John died in 1845 and Mary Ann died in 1846. In 1851 William and George were still living in Doris Street but were now lodging with Sarah Pearn and her daughter. William married in 1860 but George died in 1853 at the age of 20 and was buried at St Mary Lambeth.


William was born in 1806 in Englefield. He also seems to have moved to London and on the 1851 census he was living on Margaret Street and was employed as an officer in a House of Correction. The census also states that he was married to Margaret who was three years older than him. I cannot find any record of their marriage. William probably died in 1856, as there is a death registration for a William Swadling in the March quarter of 1856 in the Clerkenwell district. I can’t find any trace of Margaret after 1851.

Martha was born in 1809 in Englefield and there is a slight possibility that she married a William Higgs and had seven children. There is a death registration records for a Martha and William Higgs in 1853 in the Bradfield registration district. On the 1861 census their children are being cared for by various relatives.

Richard was born in 1810 and baptised in Englefield along side his brother William and sister Martha on the 17th June 1810. Richard was still living at home in 1841 but by 1851 he had also moved to London. He was living in Southwark with his wife Elizabeth and two children, Jane and Joseph. In 1861 he was residing at Farm House Lodging House with Elizabeth, Jane and Joseph and four more children, William, Richard, Edward and Mary Ann. Between 1861 and 1869 three more children arrived, Emily, John and Thomas. I couldn’t find any of the family on the 1871 census but Richard and Elizabeth both died of Typhus within three days of each other in the Stockwell Fever Hospital in 1873. Richard was 63 years old and Elizabeth was only 53. Their youngest son Thomas was only 4 years old.

George was born in 1812 but unlike his brothers he stayed in the village of Englefield. He married Elizabeth Wise in 1838 and they had twelve children of which only five married and had children. Four of their children died as children. The other three died in their late teens and early twenties. Elizabeth died in 1862 and George married Sarah Brookman in 1867. George died at the age of 80 in 1892. Sarah survived him by 5 years and died in 1897 at the age of 81.

Thomas was born in 1815 and he also stayed near home. He married Sarah Hannah Gibbs in 1845 but while giving birth to their only daughter, Sarah Hannah died in or shortly after childbirth and was buried on the 13 April 1847. Their daughter Harriett Jane died when she was four years and 9 months. Thomas married Elizabeth Palmer in 1849 and they had one daughter Ann the following year. Ann married John Wickens in 1871. Elizabeth died in 1870 and Thomas died in the Bradfield workhouse in 1883 at the age of 69.

Joseph Swadling had moved his family from Tilehurst to Englefield before his son George’s wedding in 1838. He and Jane shared their home with not only their children but two of their daughter in laws and some of their grandchildren. Jane died in June 1852 after suffering a sudden stroke and Joseph had the medical condition of paralysis for three months before he died in August of 1852. They are both buried in the churchyard of St Mark’s church Englefield.