Sunday, 22 November 2020

B is for Bridie


A red-haired woman with the very Irish name of Bridie Flynn arrives in Cork. 

In conversation with locals they say, you must be Irish?! 

She replies… 


The Challenge Response:

‘I am Irish - in my bones, my blood and hair, as you can see.  I have the features of my father who has the face and stature of the Flynns.

I come from a line of fighters - fighters for survival.  

My Great, great, great grandfather’s family of eight (like others) was struggling with hunger in the ‘Great Famine’ of Ireland.

 Laurence Flynn and his oldest son James were returning home one evening when they ‘discovered’ a sheep. Their eyes glossed over thinking of Mary and the kids enjoying roast lamb.   They were unaware that the owner was watching and reported them for ‘stealing’.  Poor Laurence and James went with empty stomachs to prison and Laurence on to Cobh in Cork, sentenced to hard labour on Spike Island.  Here he learnt trades useful to him and the male Flynns of the future.  Building stone houses, bridges, and roads. 

Laurence dreamed of his life ahead when transported to Van Diemen’s Land over the other side of the world. He pictured his family living in safety and security, all with full stomachs, all happy and healthy. He dreamed of the coming generations.

And so it was in Cork, that I, Bridie, this young red-headed woman  –  first came to life in the mind of Laurence, my ancestor and 3X Great Grandfather.’

Saturday, 25 April 2020

E is for Edgley

 George EDGLEY and Alice UNDERWOOD were my 3rd Great Grandparents (my paternal side).  They lived in Doddington, Cambridgeshire, England.  
George was born about 1780, but I haven’t yet found his birth record for the exact date. 
St Thomas à Becket Church, Ramsey
When he was 23, he married Alice Seekings nee Underwood on 29 Sep 1803. The wedding was held at the Church of St Thomas à Becket in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire. 
Alice had married in 1799 to John Seekings and they had one daughter Ann in 1800.  They were a young couple, Alice being 16 and John 18.  Sadly, Ann only lived for six months, and John died around that time too.  (Date not found as yet)

According to the Edgley children’s birth documents, their father George worked as a labourer.  George and Alice had five children who were all born in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, now Cambridgeshire. There were four girls and finally a boy to name after Dad.
The children were: 
       Susanna born on 21 Jun 1804.
       Sarah born on 30 Sep 1805
       Alice (daur) born 09 May 1809 (My ancestor) 
       Mary born on 05 May 1811 
       George born on 05 Aug 1812 

George died in Jan 1848 in Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, United Kingdom.
I have not found a death record for Alice Edgley. 

Alice EDGLEY (daur) my 2nd Great Grandmother was born on 09 May 1809 in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, England as the third child of George and Alice.  Alice was baptized almost three weeks later on 28 May 1809 at The Church of St. Thomas à Becket in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, the same church where her parents were married.
When she was 24, she married William CLARKE, son of John Clarke and Mary Unwin, on 04 Apr 1834 in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, England.
From 1851 to 1871 according to the Census, the family were living in Doddington, Cambridgeshire.

Alice and Willliam had seven children, four girls and three boys, all born in Doddington, Cambridgeshire.
       Mary Ann CLARKE born 1832.
       Joseph CLARKE born 12 Apr 1835 
       William CLARKE born 16 Apr 1837 
       Sarah CLARKE born Jul-Aug 1839 (My ancestor)
       Susanna CLARKE born on 09 Aug 1841 
       Alice CLARKE born on 15 Feb 1844 

       George CLARKE born on 30 Sep 1848 

Ramsey at Red marker, in Cambridgeshire, England
Alice Clarke died and was buried on 07 Feb 1873 in Doddington. Record says the Main Anglican Church of the time, possibly St Mary's Church graveyard.  (Grave not found as yet.)
As I cannot find George in the 1881 Census, I believe he died  1871-1881.
Doddington lies to the right of centre, Ramsey lies on the left side of map. 

Map of Cambridge and map of England showing Cambridge (red)

George Edward Pearce. 1909 - 1942. Uncle George R.I.P.

 I never met my Uncle George who died in the war, four years before I was born.  But I do remember how everyone talked of him as being such a lovely person, quiet, strong and family-oriented. 
My Auntie Tibbie proudly placed a wreath at every Anzac service in his honour.  I think being the oldest in the family and him the baby, his death broke her heart and she never wanted him to be forgotten.  Their father had died in 1922 and when George died his mother Isabella was in her 50s and running the orchard with the other two brothers. Tibbie the older sister became more of a mother to her brothers. Uncle George and my father looked very much alike with my father being the thinner one. George was a bigger version, my mother said. 
I am placing some photos here, which I will eventually go through and write about.  I have collected so much information about Uncle George I still have in the cupboard to sort, I need to take time to do him justice.

George on left, Sarah(Ray, Bill, Isabella (Tibbie), Jim Pearce at Peebles Scotland about 1911.

George in his first long pants, with Sandy.

George (about 14 yo) and Jim Pearce mucking about in the channel at Orrvale, Victoria.

Jim, cousin Elspeth Lumsden, Bill and George sorting fruit on the orchard.

The car chassis Jim (L) and George (R) rebuilt, pre-war.
They dug a big trench in the ground so they could stand and work on the car from underneath.

A load of Pullar peaches ready for S P C cannery.
Jim (L) & George Pearce (C), Les Tolley (R).

Uncle George before leaving, with nephew Jim and niece Isobel Richards
Children of his sister Ray.

A letter from George, who was training the men at camp pre-war, to his sister Auntie Tibbie.

Bomana War Cemetery, Port Moresby

PEARCE, Lieutenant, GEORGE EDWARD, M C, VX52829. A.LF. 2/14 Bn. Australian Infantry. 6th December 1942. Age 33. Son of Francis George and Isabella Pearce, of Shepparton, Victoria. B 1. D. 11.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

D is for Dickenson

Thomas and Margaret Dickenson were my 7th Great Grandparents.  I have not yet found anything about them apart from the fact they were the parents of my 6th Great Grandfather, John.

John Dickenson was born in 1666 at Sutton Valence, Kent England and lived all his life there.  He was christened 10 May 1666.  He married Ann Masters who was born in 1670 at Mardon. 
They had eight children: Margaret, Mary, Anne, Thomas, John, Sarah, Elisabeth and Stephen.
John died at home in June 1746 aged 80 years old. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

C is for Cottam family of Culcheth

 Culcheth – a funny name to say.  A lot of my maternal relatives lived  in that area. 
My mother’s father Joseph was a Cottam and his father James emigrated from England in about 1852, married and settled in Victoria, Australia, continuing the farmer’s life. 
James ancestral line of Joseph, John, Peter, John, were all born around Culcheth.  
The early Cottam men are listed as yeomen, which meant that they held and cultivated a small landed estate making them freeholders. 
The Cottam family had lived in the Culcheth area from the 1700s and maybe longer, as that is as far back as I can verify at this point of time.  The areas listed on their documents, vary from Croft, Risley, Tyldesley, St Elphin and Leigh.  

Map showing Warrington close to the Lancashire Cheshire border.
The ocean is to the left of Lancashire.

 * * * 
Culcheth is a large village in Warrington, Cheshire England and six miles (10 km) north-east of the Warrington town centre.  
Wikipedia tells me the area was established around the time of the Norman conquest, as mentioned in the Domesday Book.   
In Saxon times it was situated in South Lancashire and named Calchuth or Celchyth. Some maps and deeds denoted it as Kilcheth, Kylchith or Kilshaw. 
The name is derived from British language, Cil and Coed at the edge of a wood, retreat in a wood or blackwood. Another claim is that it comes from ‘Cul’ meaning narrow. 
However, the four families of French descent settling in the area took local names 
In the 17th and 18th centuries, many of the inhabitants followed the occupation of linen weaving.

In 1911, ‘British History Online’ tells us that Culcheth consists of agricultural land.  Cotton is manufactured, and bricks and tiles are made.  There were about 2500 inhabitants then.

The surface of the country is flat, the highest elevation at Twiss Green being but 107ft. above sea level. In the north is agricultural country, fairly well timbered. In the south the land is but sparsely inhabited and consists of reclaimed moss-land; some patches still exist where peat is cut for fuel and moss litter.

The characteristic vegetation of the moss-land is still in evidence here and there, where birch and bracken and nodding cotton sedges flourish. Potatoes and corn, more particularly oats, thrive in a clayey soil, where the land has been cleared of the bulk of the peat. 
This large township, with an area of 5,369 acres, has long been divided into four quarters, though the boundaries are not always clearly defined, viz.: Culcheth proper in the north; Holcroft and Peasfurlong, the eastern and western parts of the centre; and Risley in the south. The eastern and northern boundaries are formed by the Glazebrook and its tributary the Carr Brook; another brook on the west divides Peasfurlong from Croft. The southern boundary appears to be drawn chiefly through moss-land.

Until 1974, Culcheth was in the Golborne Urban District in Lancashire but was then moved into the Borough of Warrington in Cheshire by local government reorganisation. 
 * * * 

Open paddock in Croft

The Horseshoe Pub in Croft

 * * * 

REFERENCE: 'Townships: Culcheth', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4, ed. William Farrer and J Brownbill (London, 1911), pp. 156-166. British History Online [accessed 8 April 2020].

Saturday, 4 April 2020

A is for Alice Annie. A-Z Ancestor Challenge

Alice Annie Pearce was born into the Pearce family on 03 July 1868.  They lived in Dumbarton, Dumbartonshire, Scotland. 

Her father’s name was William (30 yo) and her mother was Sarah nee Clarke (32).  Elsie was my Great Aunt, my paternal Grandfather's older sister. She was named Alice after her maternal Grandmother Alice Clarke.
Alice Annie was known in the family as Elsie.  By the time she was 12 yo (1881 Census), the family had moved to Innerleithen in Peebleshire (abt 1879) and she lived at home there for about ten years.  
Elsie married Thomas George Clapperton on 15 May 1894, in Lowell, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA.  

They had their first child William A on 04 July 1897, in Lawrence, Essex, Massachusetts, America.  Their second Sarah Alice was born on 01 November 1899 back in Scotland. Thomas George 1906.

Map showing Elsie’s journey from Scotland to America. 

In the 1901 Census, the Clapperton family had returned to Innerleithen and were living in 26 Waverley Road.  They had taken over the running of the Aerated Water manufacturing and Soft Drinks factory from Elsie’s father William Pearce. 

26 Waverley Road, Innerleithen

Elsie lived a long life, dying when she was 89yo on 04 March 1958 at home, suffering from a cerebral haemorrhage.  Her death was registered by her son William. Elsie is buried with her husband of 42 years, William George (Died of Apoplexy/stroke on 26 August 1936, 66yo) in the Traquair Road Cemetery, Innerleithen, Scottish Borders, Scotland.   
Along with their parents are buried: 

Thomas George 18mo 1908, William (husband of Helen) 66yo 1963.
Inscription on the headstone reads: ‘Until the day breaks.’
We visited the grave in 2015 and paid Elsie and family our respects.  

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Grannie and Grandad Pearce

In August 1912, my Grannie and Grandad Pearce and their five children left Peebles in the border country of the River Tweed, Scotland. The family business was running an aerated soft drink factory utilising the natural spring on their property. But having eight sons meant too many workers, so three emigrated to Canada, and my Grandad to Australia.  
He took up an irrigation block in Victoria, in No 2 settlement, East of Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley.   Wheat had been previously grown there. 
The family of three boys and two girls along with Mum and Dad lived in a tent through those first long rainy months.  They cooked outside over a make-do fireplace, straining the muddy water through cotton to make it potable. Being an irrigation area, they had the nearby channel to wash in. 
The men built fences on the land and prepared it with the help of their horse to start a fruit orchard. 

Watering the rows of trees

Grandad was lucky to obtain a job as channel guard for the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission until the orchard was up and running.  He was paid 8 shillings per day for 5 ½ days per week.

Eventually, a two-bedroom weatherboard house with verandah was built and Grandad covered in the two ends for the children’s sleepouts. When they moved into their new home. Grannie looked around and stated: “My house is a palace”.

The neighbours were international with English, Dutch, German, Jewish Russian and American families and were known in town as ‘the Settlers’.
The newly built Presbyterian church was the centre for activities and also ran a school during the week there, for four years. 
Once the early fruit trees started bearing, markets needed to be found. The Shepparton Preserving Company (SPC) opened in 1919 to process the peach harvest. 

At that time many local young men were away in battle zones overseas. Families were involved in the Red Cross and Comforts Fund supporting them.  Cars and lorries were replacing horse-drawn vehicles.  Better road systems were needed as they were constantly bogged in wet weather, especially the lorries carrying tall loads of boxed fruit.
Loaded lorry and trailer with 'lugs' (fruit packing boxes) used for Melbourne market

Grandad died in 1922 of Pneumonia, leaving Grannie to run the orchard with the oldest son (my Father). Even though it meant more work, time and money, they took over the orchard block next door when the neighbour was forced to walk away. 

Grannie brought a small Oaktree from Scotland and had planted it near the house.  When large enough it was adorned as the family Christmas tree, which the extended family gathered around for many years.  Grannie lived to the ripe old age of 84, dying in 1954. Life had been hard, growing, weeding, watering, pruning, grafting, picking, sorting and packing fruit. They also cut ripe apricots, spread on trays and dried them in the sun. Jam and preserves were a big part of kitchen work.  But the whole family, men and women worked laboriously outside.

There was a large portrait of Grandad in Grannie’s house on the wall behind where she sat.  When we visited I was scared of her.  She was a real matriarch (although short in stature) sitting straight in her chair in black dresses with white lace at her chin. (A Scottish Queen Victoria) We would line up and walk past waiting for a kiss on the cheek as she greeted each of us in her broad Scottish accent. 

The portrait of Francis George Pearce (Geordie)

(Thank you to my Auntie Tib for her notes, For further information see:

Monday, 12 August 2019

1886 - Joseph Henry Pearce

Joseph Henry Pearce known as Harry was born to William and Sarah Pearce (nee Clarke) on 16 Feb 1886 in Innerleithen, Scotland. He was the baby and the tenth child of the family.

The Pearce family. Harry is the little boy on the right front

‘Montgomery Cottages’, 66 High St, Innerleithen.
Birthplace of Harry Pearce.  (From Google maps)

Harry had eight brothers and two sisters although Mary Elizabeth the second girl died in 1878, only eight months old.

I was hoping to find out if Harry had had an education, so I checked the National Records of Scotland to see if there were any school student records.  They state on their website there is only “information on individual schools and sometimes on individual teachers but rarely on pupils in our records”.  

As the family grew older, they all helped in the mineral soft drink factory their parents ran, in Miller Street, Innerleithen until they left home. They did little jobs like capping the bottles.

On the 1901 census Harry is  15 years old and listed as an assistant Aerated Water Manufacturer. (NB: Wake Marks is a transcription error for Water Maker). Ref: Ancestry.

Below are some images from the period when Harry was growing up, still living at home.
Resourced from the Facebook site: 

Bonspiel (Curling tournament) in the Tweed at Innerleithen, c 1900

Early 1900’s Innerleithen

Games Procession in Innerleithen, 1907

When he was 22 years old Harry married Susan Saunderson on 23 Dec 1908 in  the Camlachie district of Glasgow, Scotland.  The Marriage certificate names the Bluevale Church (at 572 Duke St) Glasgow.  
Susan was the daughter of Edward Saunderson and Susan Cochran. Harry used their address as his own -  12 Craigmore St, Glasgow. 
(There are currently no homes in Craigmore St, according to Google maps, it looks like they have all been removed awaiting development.)

Marriage Record No 370 the lower entry is for Harry and Susan

The Topographical Dictionary of Scotland 1846, Vol 1, p 137 gives the description below of Bluevale. (Author: Samuel Lewis)

Susan was known as Aunt ‘Cissie’ to our family. 
Harry and Cissie had two children:
Richard William born 1909
Henry Edward born 1911, Glasgow.

Harry & Cissie with their firstborn son - Richard William

As an adult, Harry had a few jobs.  Maybe because of the effects of his illness – tuberculosis, interfering with his long term availability. 
When he married, he was working as a Tram Car Conductor, the same as his Father-in-law Edward.           
I wonder if Edward invited him home for dinner one evening and he met Cissie there??   Or had he met Cissie first and her father Edward helped him to get the job??

‘City  of Glasgow, Tramcars’:;  
Accessed 06 May 2019
From the tramways information (at the end of this blog) we see that the horse-drawn tram service withdrew at the end of April 1902 and an additional 400 new trams were built and fitted with electrical equipment with the Glasgow Corporation Tramways; this would mean that in the period after 1902 there would have been a need for many more tram workers such as conductors, the job Harry took on. 
However, when he died, he was listed as a Lorryman. 

Harry had moved to Kilsyth, Forth Bridge in Stirlingshire, Scotland and was only 26 years old when he died there at ‘7 hours am’ on 03 December 1912, in Market Street, Kilsyth.

Google Map showing Market Street Kilsyth

Harry had been suffering from pneumonia for three days, an effect of the tubercular disease.  He and Cissie had only been together for four years.  His brother Ned (Edward) was present.

The Forth bridge construction began in 1882.  Opened  04 March 1890 by the Duke of Rothesay, future Edward VII.  Length is 8,094 feet/2,467 m. 
Reference: The Forth Bridge by Sir William Arrol.

Harry was buried with his parents, brother Richard and sister Mary Elizabeth, at the Cemetery in Innerleithen. 

(My photo: Family gravestone in 2015)

Cissie re-married in 1920 in the Camlachie area of Glasgow. Her new husband was David Liddle Bathgate and they had one son – David in 1915. 
Cissie lived to be an old woman of 96 years when she died in 1980 in Park Circus, Glasgow. 

For Interest sake – this is a postcard of the Forth Bridge sent to my father – (Master W Pearce) after they had left Scotland in 1912 and settled in Victoria, Australia. 

“Dear Billy 
How are you getting on.  Do you like Australia as well as Scotland. I think I’ll have to come out and see you all some day.  Do you know which one is me in the photo:
Best love from Aggie.”
I think the post date is No. 20, 13 from Innerleithen
I don’t know what she means by ‘which one she is in the photo’


Glasgow Corporation Tramways were formerly one of the largest urban tramway systems in Europe.   Over 1000 municipally-owned trams served the city of Glasgow, Scotland with over 100 route miles (160 route kilometres) by 1922.[1] The system closed in 1962 and was the last city tramway in Great Britain (prior to the construction of new systems in the 1990s).


The Glasgow Street Tramways Act was enacted by Parliament in 1870. This legislation allowed Glasgow Town Council to decide whether or not to have tramways within Glasgow.[2] In 1872, the Town Council laid a 2 12-mile (4.0 km) route from St George's Cross to Eglinton Toll (via New City Road, Cambridge Street, Sauchiehall Street, Renfield Street and the Jamaica Bridge).
The Tramways Act prohibited the Town Council from directly operating a tram service over the lines. The act further stipulated that a private company be given the operating lease of the tram-lines for a period of 22 years.[3] The St George's Cross to Eglinton Toll tram line was opened on 19 August 1872 with a horse-drawn service by the Glasgow Tramway and Omnibus Company.[4] The Glasgow Tramway and Omnibus Company operated the tram-line and subsequent extensions to the system until 30 June 1894.
In declining to renew the Glasgow Tramway and Omnibus Company operating lease, Glasgow Town Council formed the Glasgow Corporation Tramways and commenced their own municipal tram service on 1 July 1894.

Track gauge

Glasgow's tramlines had a highly unusual track gauge of 4 ft 7 34 in (1,416 mm). This was to permit 4 ft 8 12 in(1,435 mm) standard gauge railway wagons to be operated over parts of the tram system (particularly in the Govan area) using their wheel flanges running in the slots of the tram tracks. This allowed the railway wagons to be drawn along tramway streets to access some shipyards. The shipyards provided their own small electric locomotives, running on the tramway power, to pull these wagons, principally loaded with steel for shipbuilding, from local railway freight yards.


The electrification of the tram system was instigated by the Glasgow Tramways Committee, with the route between Springburn and Mitchell Street chosen as an experiment. With a fleet of 21 newly built tramcars, the experimental electric route commenced on 13 October 1898 and was considered a success. The citywide horse-drawn tram service was withdrawn at the end of April 1902.
An additional 400 new trams were built and fitted with electrical equipment, with the Glasgow Corporation Tramways workshops at Coplawhill, Pollokshields heavily involved in the construction of the new trams.

Standard Tramcars

These four-wheeled, double-deck tramcars were the mainstay of the Glasgow tram fleet from electrification until the late 1950s (only being withdrawn due to the imminent closure of the system). Over 1000 were built between 1898 and 1924. They were progressively modernised in four phases, although not all went through each phase. The first cars were open-top unvestibuled four-wheelers (phase one). They then received top covers with open balconies (phase two), platform vestibules and roll-top draught covers (phase three) and finally fully enclosed top covers (phase four). Electrical equipment and running gear was also upgraded at each modernisation phase. The earlier cars had rounded front dash panels, but later cars that were built with vestibule glazing from new had hexagonal profile dash panels. When early cars were upgraded to receive vestibule glazing they retained their round dash panels, and latterly the main visual difference within the fleet was between the "round dash" and "hex dash" variants. A few cars were also cut down to single deckers for use on the Clydebank - Duntocher route which passed under low railway bridges.