Geoffs Genealogy Update, 30 November 2011
Wednesday November 30th, 2011 | Geoff
Blog time again.
During November I added another of my published articles to the website. I hope you enjoy reading it. It concerns the sad early demise of Sarah Ellen Collyer.
I’m currently working on the new section about the Bankes Reunion that we held in June. Hopefully this will finally hit cyberspace in the next week or so. It is rather late, but we have to fit these things in with our everyday lives, as I’m sure you understand.
This month I’ve been continuing the process of catching up on the treeing related jobs that I have not got around to doing over the past year or so, which means that I haven’t undertaken any new research projects. Except …..
It is not unusual for me to get tempted into doing a bit of research into them by looking at sources I saved ages ago but have never followed up. So it was with the Lethbridge family.
The Lethbridges branch off from my Holliday line.
”Who are the Hollidays?” I hear you say.
They are a most interesting clan (aren’t they all?) who lived in the Richmond area up to the nineteenth century, and then moved into London. It has long been a matter of considerable fascination to me to observe the varying economic fortunes of the members of this family. By the late nineteenth century my direct Holliday ancestors were ordinary working people, and quite poor. In fact on the 1901 census you can find them in Shoreditch workhouse, with their daughter – my grandmother – in the children’s workhouse at Hornchurch, in Essex. On the other hand, another branch of the family moved to Brazil, and fared very well. They backed the right side in the internal conflict that was taking place in that country at the time, and as a result of that – and, no doubt, much hard work, they became very prosperous. It has long been my pleasure to be in touch with Joao, my Brazilian cousin.
As an aside I should mention that the Holliday line has been traced back to the seventeenth century, to Richard Holliday (b abt 1683), who apparently married a lady named Susannah. I’m told that they lived in Horley, which is near to Richmond, in Surrey. This research was not done by me, but its results were passed to me some years ago by a certain Elizabeth Holliday, who runs a Holliday one name study. Many thanks to her for her sterling work.
Anyway, back to the Lethbridges of the nineteenth century.
Louisa Matilda Holliday (1842-1896) was a sister of my great grandfather, Charles Holliday (1864-1915), and the eldest known child of William Holliday (abt 1818-1874) and Louisa nee Matthews (b abt 1826). On 28th June 1862 at St James, Clerkenwell Louisa Matilda married Thomas Lethbridge (abt 1840–1880), a GPO Sorter and son of Robert Lethbridge, a piano forte maker. Thomas and Louisa lived in Islington until sometime after 1873, and as they employed a female domestic servant they appear to have been quite prosperous, which must have been quite a change in fortunes for Louisa. By the time Thomas died in 1880 they were living in Clapham – a pretty up market suburb of London in those days, and Thomas was being referred to in documents as a Gentleman.
I haven’t been able to trace the household on the census of 1881, so if anybody reading this can point me in the right direction for this record I’ll be very grateful.
As I’d got all this information I decided to enlarge on it by seeking a bit of information about the children of Thomas & Louisa.
I managed to trace quite a lot of information about their children, and the thing that struck me was how their individual fortunes differed. Sidney Thomas Lethbridge (1868-1937) married Grace Emily Willis (abt 1876-1947), and was described in the records at various times as a Gentleman or a Company Director. At the time of the 1891 census he was living in the family home in Camberwell, and twenty years later he was resident at Cricklewood, Middlesex, and was a director of Spratt Patent Ltd – Dog & poultry food manufacturers. According to Wikipedia, Spratt’s was the first firm ever to manufacture and sell dog biscuits, and went on to produce and market a range of dog foods, including Bonio. They were a very prominent firm, and even supplied biscuits for humans – supplying the troops serving in South Africa in the Boer War. If you are interested, an internet search for Spratt’s Patent brings forth lots of links to pages relating to this company and their adverts. Quite how Sidney found a way into this business is anybody’s guess!
I have not managed to trace Sidney in 1901. When he died in 1937 he was living in Finchley Road, North West London, and his estate was valued at £56339.8s 10d – a very large sum indeed.
Contrast this to another son of Thomas & Louisa Lethbridge – Herbert. He was a little younger than Sidney, being born in 1870 in Islington. Whereas Sidney lived his life in and around London, and appears to have been pretty well to do throughout his time, Herbert appears to have joined the army at a young age – he was recorded as a Soldier in 1891. By 1899 he had left the army, and had found his way to the Dewsbury, Yorkshire area, where he married Agnes Bould.
Herbert and Agnes had five children between 1900 and 1907, all born in the Dewsbury area. Whereas his elder brother was a businessman and gentleman, Herbert’s occupation in 1901 was shown as Police Constable, and by 1911 his occupation had changed to that of Night Foreman in a Motor Garage. The available evidence suggests he died in 1923, his demise being recorded in Fylde registration district. I have not traced a will. Agnes’s death was recorded in the same district in 1962.
So these two brothers had very different life styles and experiences, and lived in very different geographical locations. One wonders how much contact there was between them, and why their lives were so different. It’s this sort of thing that makes our hobby so endlessly fascinating.
Incidentally, Thomas & Louisa Lethbridge had several other children, and I haven’t been able to track down what became of Alice Matilda (b 1866 in Islington) or Horace (b Battersea, 1876). If anybody reading this knows anything of these people I’d be grateful if they could share their information with me. Alice was enumerated in 1891 as an actress, and a sesarch of the new British Library Newspapers website brings forth lots of newspaper articles that appear to be relate to her.
One final note, in case you are wondering where the Hollidays fit into my family history, my maternal grandmother – Alice Louisa Holliday (1891-1982) maried my Bankes descendant grandfather George William Smith (1886-1940) in London.