Researching across the pond
byon 29-01-2010 at 7:09 PM (1538 Views)
So, don't ask me how it happened, but I am back researching my English roots. Not the ones who have been in the states for centuries, those who are my immigrant ancestors, arriving between 1835 and 1884. Now, let me tell you, it is without a doubt one of the most difficult and confusing things I have researched. England is a whole different pickle, the setup of parishes and shires and districts, in most cases leaves my head reeling. Add to that the difficulty in actually obtaining records , well, there is a reason it's my least often researched avenue.
That said, I have had amazing success lately, thanks in no small part to some kind individuals on the b-g board and ancestry.com. I am still waiting copies of the marriage certificates I ordered, which unlike the States, is the best source of information on your ancestors, don't waste the 7 pounds ( about 12 dollars) on a death certificate, it won't tell you squat. I wish I knew that before I ordered two of them. Anyhow, even without the conformation of the information from the certificates, I would like to share what I have learned about my family, common laborers of an area known as the Black Country.
In 1884 Sarah Brampton Timmins and her two young sons are found on the passenger list of the Celtic. Husband George I can't find anywhere, but I know he came over, US phone directories for Syracuse list him as a Foreman from 1887-1890. My great grandmother was born in 1889, and sometime between then and 1893 when Sarah is listed as a widow, George killed himself.
In 1881 the family is living at 10 Frazer St, Oldbury, Worcestershire (on census its Staffordshire, but residents and genealogists tell me it's always been Worcestershire). The road no longer exists, but it was between Root End and Birmingham Rd in Oldbury. George and his father in law, Edward Brampton were glassmakers. Only two glass companies are in the area, the Birmingham Glass Plate co, and the Chance Bros Co. Since after 1877 the Birmingham company only imported and exported glass but didn't manufacture it, that leaves the employer of the men as the Chance Bros. Co., located on Spon Lane, Smethweck. It is probably about a mile from where the family lived. According to the 1880 Kelly directory, the Chance bros company employed about 2000 folks, and had school for as many as 600 children of their employees.
I could never find George in 1871 or 1861, and know I seem to know why, I found a tree, and Joseph Timmins and Sarah Phillips, his wife, had moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to work there for about 10 years, and returned in time to appear on the 1881 census. Like my George, Joseph was a glassmaker. I can't prove yet this is his family, but the odds are it is, that's why the second son of the family was named Joseph Timmins.
Edward Brampton and his wife Ruth Spicer are living in North Harbone on Oldbury Rd, actually it's Smethweck now, and again, it's within a mile or two of the factory. In 1871 the occupation of Edward, and his sons William, Samuel and John is that of a glass worker. William disappears after this census, but Samuel enlisted in the Army, and returns to the area by 1891, he married a girl Emma Dudley, but never had children. John is gone from 1881 until 1901 where he returns, living in Oldbury. He had no children either, but I think he may have gone to Australia voluntarily and returned late in life. The other girls, Emma and Mary Ann both married laborers of the area. Emma married a John Carter and Mary Ann married a Thomas Moore. I find the girls, and thier children in 1891 and 1901. Other than my own family, their children are the only descendants of Edward and Ruth that I know.
Edward Brampton was a plain old laborere in 1861, living on Maria St, again, within a mile from the factory. I think I found him on Hall St. as a boader in 1851, he was listed as Edwin though. We still don't know for sure if it's him, but he may be living in a poor house in Stanton Lacy, just north of Ludlow, Shropshire in 1841. Throughout the census, Edward says he was born in Ludlow and Shrewsbury Shropshire. The Brampton family of the area lived in both places, so eventually I hope to link him to the right branch. So far it looks like he was either the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Brampton, or the orphan son of John and Martha Brampton. John and Martha were nonconformists (non church of England).
Ruth is living in Regis Rowley in 1851, with her son, William who was illegitimate. We don't know if William who was always listed as Brampton, is the son of Edward or of another man. Ruth's baptism appears to have been found, in a Presbyterian church in Oldbury, her parents were John Spicer and Anna. I can find this couple in 1851, but in 1841 John appears to have been in prison, and none of the other family has been found. John was a coal minor who lived his live in Oldbury, and south near Hales Owen.
The family of the Brampton's lived within a five mile radius. They were common laborers, and likely quite poor. I can only imagine the lifestyles they lived. The homes that they lived in are no longer in existance, but some of the streets still remain. Slowly, and bit by bit, I am beginning to get an idea about these ancestors of mine across the pond as they say.