View Full Version : Steward - running Post Office in 1930s

25-11-2015, 3:00 PM
Hi, I am doing a search on a Grand-Uncle.

I found a photograph in my parents' effects. The photograph's underside had been written upon. His last name was Steward, first name unknown, his exact location unknown. In the 1930s he was on the Isle of Wight running a Post Office with his wife.

His brother's name was William, my Grandfather, and he lived in South Africa at the time. I have no idea who my Great-Grandfather was.

Any information would be very welcomed.

Thank you,


Lesley Robertson
25-11-2015, 3:56 PM
I assume that your grandfather was born in the UK? If so, you should be able to find him with his parents and any siblings before he left for SA. That will tell you what siblings he had, and limit the number of forenames that you need to search for.
Also, various websites have Post Office Directories on line - see whether cou can find one for the Isle of Wight around that time. He should be listed.

Peter Goodey
25-11-2015, 4:06 PM
Ancestry has "British Postal Service Appointment Books, 1737-1969"

BUT I don't expect your man would be listed. That looks like a general store cum post office and he would not have been a post office employee.

As Lesley suggests, County/Trade directories and conventional family history are your best bet initially.

25-11-2015, 4:23 PM
Thank you Lesley. I have done extensive research online to try and locate my Grandfather and his family before he moved to South Africa, but to no avail. My Grandfather indicated on his marriage documents in South Africa that he was from ireland, but never indicated the location. I did do research but was not able to locate him in Ireland either; I am not certain if he was in fact born there. So when I found the picture of my Grand-Uncle, I thought it might put me on the right track. I will try searching for Post Office Directories.

25-11-2015, 4:25 PM
Thank you for the information Peter. I have no idea in which County my Great-Uncle was.

25-11-2015, 4:27 PM
My Grandfather indicated on his marriage documents in South Africa that he was from ireland, but never indicated the location.
I understand that it is hard to find the exact place of birth of an Irish native. If you're lucky there may be an obituary in the newspaper which occasionally can give the place of birth.

25-11-2015, 4:48 PM
I see that Isle of Wight is its own County. I will try searching the directories.

25-11-2015, 8:59 PM
Hi Gary and a very warm welcome to Brit Gen...

The Isle of Wight Family History Society might be able to help with this query. It has an excellent website, http://www.isle-of-wight-fhs.co.uk/index.php, which includes databases of IW BMDs from 1837. (Navigate to Databases in the horizontal menu at the top.) There were 27 Steward births between 1865-1890, and 10 Steward deaths 1930-1961; I also found two William Steward marriages in the early years of the 20th century. Did you know your grandmother's maiden name? If so, you could easily eliminate/confirm the possible candidates.

There is also a Photo Gallery section, which is worth browsing. Lots of links within in the website, including one through to the IWCRO in Newport.

Let us know if you find anything useful to your researches.


26-11-2015, 12:11 AM
Thank you Owl.

I followed your recommendation and visited the website. I did a few searches and looked at the pictures, including those that still need to be identified. I ended up writing to the Isle of Wight Family Society to get some assistance in identifying the shop/post office and the name of my Grand-Uncle and Aunt sitting in the foreground.

My grandfather, William, was born in 1893, moved to South Africa after 1911 (could be after the Great War) and was married there. On his marriage documents he indicates that he was born in Ireland, but does not say where. I think he actually might have been born in the Portsmouth area and his mother was from Ireland.

Finding information on my great-uncle, like his name, and when he arrived on the island, might be my big break at putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

Thank you

26-11-2015, 12:37 AM
There is this family in Ireland 1901
John Gamble 32 Boilermaker Belfast Can read and write
Phoebe Gamble 34 Wales cannot read and write
Agnes Gamble 3 Wales
Phoebe Elizabeth Gamble 2 Wales
Wilson Gamble 11months Belfast
Thomas Wm Henry Steward, stepson 11 Wales cannot read and write
William John Steward, stepson, 9 Wales cannot read and write

religion Presbyterian

On same page FreeBMD
Marriage March 1/4 1897
John Gamble and Phoebe Steward Pembroke 11a 1343

Birth Sept 1/4 1889 Thomas William H Steward Pembroke 11a 978

On same page FreeBMD
Marriages June 1/4 1887 Phoebe Gwyther and William Steward Pembroke 11a 1272

Have no idea if this is your family but just thought I would give what information I had found.


26-11-2015, 1:16 AM
Thank you so much Christina, I will certainly check it out.


26-11-2015, 1:18 AM
There is a WW1service record for a William Steward, single. He enlisted 3 September 1914 at Belfast service number 12933
Says he was born Pembroke Dock 1889 and his mother is Phoebe, no father's first name recorded. (Didn't give his stepfather's name if this is the man in the 1901 Ireland census I found) which he very well could be as he gives his previous occupation as boilermaker's helper.
What caught my eye is the fact he is born Wales but enlisted and was discharged in Ireland. He also served in South Africa and India.
He has tattoos on his left arm and hand. Are you lucky enough to have any photos of your grandfather. Any tattoos?


26-11-2015, 1:33 AM
Very interesting Christina. Unfortunately I have never met my grandfather, and my father's memory is faltering. I am going through my parent's boxes and hope to find at least a few pictures of him. I have seen a picture of him with my father and his brother, some time ago, but it was only of his torso.


26-11-2015, 11:07 PM
Though this isn't really moving your research along, I have just found interesting info on Chale Green Stores and Post Office, IW. You will need to convert this into an internet address: http//www dot chalegreenstores dot co.uk/history.html. (There is some advertising, hence need to break the link.)

These Stores were built in 1912 and are now, over 100 years later, in the ownership of only the third family. It wasn't just a job - it was a home and way of life. I suspect that this is the sort of place that your Great-Uncle Steward was running.

Off to roost.


27-11-2015, 6:40 PM
Yes, Owl, it is interesting. It does appear as though my great-uncle was running such an establishment. I hope that some of the folks living on the island will be able to identify the building and its address. From there I should be able to find out when he was the proprietor.

Have a nice evening,