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  1. #21
    Mutley
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    Last year I went to the UK for the London Family History Show.
    On the way home my daughter took me to Southwark where most of my direct line ancestors came from.

    We sat in the grounds of Bethlem hospital (now the Imperial War Museum) and fed the birds the last of our sarnies.
    It was lovely and quiet and peaceful.
    I do hope it was the same for your ancestors and mine, way back then.......

    www.
    bethlemheritage.org.uk/explorebethlem/

  2. #22
    Seriously addicted to family history research. spison's Avatar
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    Thanks Mutley.

    The pair of us are being philosophical about the find and are happy that so much background on this family has been found with a potential for so much more to come. The Imperial War Museum is now on my list of places to visit in England - hopefully this year? I hope it was a calm and relatively happy place for James but at present I'm mainly thinking of Mary living with the scars - she was as old as I am now - actually a little younger.

    Jane
    Last edited by spison; 06-01-2011 at 3:06 AM. Reason: did the maths

  3. #23
    Seriously addicted to family history research. spison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spison View Post
    Mary, James's wife, probably died in 1853 and I believe that he remarried in 1854, aged 65, in Darlaston. I think James died in 1860 so he doesn't show up again on any census.
    These three certificates arrived yesterday. James, aged 65, a shoemaker, widower, remarried, Elizabeth Huxley nee Lewis in 1860. His father was also James Sirdefield, a shoemaker. When he died in 1860 he was an annuitant and the cause of death was "natural decay". The turn up was Mary (listed in Darlaston in 1851 as a nurse aged 12) who died of broncho pneumonia in Hopton and Coton Lunatic Asylum in Staffordshire about two months before James was released from Bethlam.

    Huge numbers of questions still to be answered!
    Jane

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    Hi Jane, I came across your posts completely by accident! However, I have found the stories of James Sirdefield completely fascinating, as he is also my g.g.g.g.g grandfather!! I had no idea that this skeleton was lurking in the family cupboard. I printed off the 1837 article which I found really interesting, but I wondered, what the story was on his release from Bethlam? Why did he sue for damages? I wonder if we can find his medical records. I am descended from James via Israel - George - Elizabeth (My great-grandmother) Israel married Elizabeth Ashton at the same time that Benjamin married Martha Ashton. Hopefully we could meet up if you do come over to England!

    Sharon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelerion View Post
    I wonder if we can find his medical records.
    Yes you can find them at the Bethlem Hospital now located in Kent. I gave the link in a post above.
    kaysii

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    Thanks Kaysii - will give it a go!!! Just hope its not in the genes!

    Sharon

  7. #27
    Seriously addicted to family history research. spison's Avatar
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    A nice Arrrrr!
    Hello Sharon,
    How exciting is this? An English cousin!

    Firstly, the link to me is through Benjamin's oldest child, Jane, who married Joseph Richards in Wednesbury, Staffordshire on the 31st October, 1864. They had two daughters (possibly three) in Staffordshire and next turn up in New Zealand (Auckland then Kawakawa, Bay of Islands) in 1870. They then somehow got to Ballarat, Victoria, where my great-grandmother, Sarah Ann (not Jane as I said in post #18) was born before coming to Newcastle, NSW and settling here. It looks like they worked as coal miners, tried their luck at searching for gold and then came to Wallsend - a suburb of Newcastle - that had so many failed gold miners it was colloquially known as New (or Little?) Ballaarat.

    Secondly, I have no proof but I have always felt that your Elizabeth Ashton who married Israel was sister to my Martha Ashton who married Benjamin. Martha seems to have been older by 2 or three years.

    I am about to send my e-mail address by PM (Private Message). Next to the 'Today's Posts' is a sign saying 'Private Messages'. Just click on it and it will take you to my message.- Oh and welcome to the forum. Its a very helpful, useful and informative place.

    Jane

  8. #28
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    Hello there

    Just found your James Sirdefield thread by accident. James Sirdefield and Mary Butler were my 4x gt grandparents as well. I am descended from Benjamins sister Faith Sirdefield, who married Samuel Guest in 1837. She died in 1853 when my gt, grt grandmother was only 10. Hannah Guest went to live with her aunt Hope Sirdefield (Charity died as a baby) who had married David Etchells. David was a businessman and he started the business which was to become Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds a huge employer in Darlaston. This firm is now international and now known as GKN.

    I have traced the sirdefields back to James Sirdefield who married Sarah Dorrington in 1705 at Cannock by looking through both the parish records and the bishops transcripts.

    Their son Benjamin married Jane Barber and their son James married Martha Wilkes (parents of James who ended up in Bedlam as you have discovered)

    Another son of James & Sarah is William who married Ann Finney. These are the parents of the first Finney Sirdefield- a name made for googling!!! You will not be disappointed.

    I am going to look up these newspaper records- I only had the one from the examiner.

    I could never understand why he went back to Darlaston after leaving Bedlam and I never knew what happened to his wife

  9. #29
    Seriously addicted to family history research. spison's Avatar
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    Hello solihousewife!
    (Welcome to the forum.) Another cousin many times removed! Excellent! I will send you a private message as well with my email.

    I had sort of dabbled in the siblings of Benjamin and had their spouses but other investigations got in the way so it is good to know about the girls. I visited TNA in September last year so I looked up the references suggested by Peter (#5 above). I have images of them. James suffered with depression (I'm pretty sure that's what the papers say. There are a lot of letters containing lists of Criminal Lunatics and the notation near him is always the same word.)

    I have always felt that the William Sirdefield who was transported to NSW aboard the Morley in 1818, married here and disappeared from Oz, was Benjamin's brother (b. 1791). (I haven't even followed him up back in the UK!)

    There are other references that I had ready to look up at TNA but they were chancery records and I didn't realize that they needed to be ordered days in advance and I only had one day. I suspect that these refer to Finney but I still haven't tried to solve the annuitant question for James.

    Jane

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    I too, Spison, discovered that my great-uncle was in Blackadon (a.k.a. Moorhaven Asylum) from at least 1911 to 1938. However, he was only described as "a lunatic for 45 years" Who knows, "back then" people who were bi-polar or schizophrenic might be considered "lunatics" and might have done "something" which would lead to them being a "criminal"

    They didn't have the medications they do nowadays and uncontrolled, Bi-polar or schizophrenia can be pretty frightening. My bi-polar daughter used to punch out glass windows and try to assault me when she was in the manic phase. In the mid-1800's she WOULD have been locked up for that alone I suspect from my research. It's interesting though that you may actually have something from the County Assizes which sheds more light on his "lunacy".

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