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Topics - MercianSte

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Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / My own DNA success story
« on: Thursday 11 January 18 09:04 GMT (UK)  »
I have seen quite a few threads on here asking if an Ancestral DNA test was worth it, or even people stating that they were worthless, so I though I would share what could possible be the biggest break through I have made on my tree thanks to taking a DNA test.

I took a test through Ancestry several years ago, and following up on this last year I persuaded both of my parents to take one, mainly so that I could determine which side of the family my hits were coming from. I had already had some success through my own test, I was uncertain as to who my grandmother's mother was (mainly due to the fact she had added a middle name), I though I knew who she was but could not be 100% certain. My test proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the woman I though was my great grandmother was indeed flash and blood, although this is not the story I am wanting to tell.

Looking through the results for my father over Christmas I came across a man who was said to be my father's 4th cousin (I will refer to the cousin as Mr. H in the rest of my tale). Ancestry had the confidence down as being high, in most cases of hits have confidence as high I have been able to work out the connection relatively easily. In this case however it was proving more complicated.

We both had families called Humphreys, the families lived around 35 miles apart but I had managed to trace my family back to around 1700, Mr. H had also researched his family back to around the same time so if there was a connection it would have occurred in the 17th century which is too early to really be a close relative. Ancestry, although predicting 4th cousin does go on to say that the range for the relation could be 4-6 cousins, but if there was a connection between our Humphreys' families it would have been well outside this range.

If you were to compare my father's tree and Mr. H's tree you would see no other common names (as in names in both tree's, not names like Smith!). Having said this, a name did jump out at me, Mr. H's great grandmother had been called Elizabeth Jane Jesson.

My father's grandmother was a woman called Ethel Mary Whitefoot. She was born on the 20 October 1889 at 2 Gem Cottages, Dolobran Road in Sparkbrook, Birmingham. Her mother was Mary Whitefoot, a housekeeper, no father was mentioned on the birth certificate. I have spend many years trying to find out who Ethel's father was with no success, no contemporary records exist to tell me, and she fabricated a father when she married.

The only name I could venture was Charles Jesson. He was the head of 2 Gem Cottages on the 1891 census (the Whitefoot's were still there), but I had no hard evidence to suggest that he was Ethel's father, after all he could have taken Mary on as a housekeeper while she was pregnant. It is also worth noting that on the 1891 census (I believe) Charles' wife was in the Asylum, so the circumstances were there which could have lead Charles to fathering a child with Mary (especially as Mary was quite 'loose', she had already had three illegitimate children before Ethel was born).

After noticing Elizabeth Jane Jesson on Mr. H's tree I decided to see if there was a connection between Elizabeth and Charles. As it turns out they were first cousins, both grandchildren of Edmund Jesson of Stechford, Yardley. If you say that Ethel Whitefoot was indeed Charles' daughter then the relationship between my father and Mr. H would be 4th cousins, exactly what is predicted by Ancestry.

This of cause does not prove 100% than Charles is my 2nd great grandfather, but it is certainly a start. If I had not gone down the route of taking these tests I would never have found out this information. However, this could be the start of me being able to close off a gaping hole in my own tree and finally find the ancestor's I though I had lost.


Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Are these signature's by the same person?
« on: Saturday 12 August 17 12:12 BST (UK)  »
I would be very interested to hear what people think of the below signatures - are the by the same lady?

The 1876, 1878 and 1879 examples are definitely by the same woman, Elizabeth Abberley (nee Simpson) the wife of John Abberley. The 1874 example is by Elizabeth Cato, the 'wife' of Charles Cato - I cannot find a marriage for this so I think they were only common law spouses. I believe that Elizabeth Cato was the woman who would go onto marry John Abberley, and the mother of my ancestor Charles Simpson. I have another thread regarding this mystery (A Cato Mystery), I though it was wise to start a new thread hear as I am mainly interested in what people think of the signatures.

England / Missing Sibling - Robert Tatham
« on: Friday 13 January 17 09:53 GMT (UK)  »
 Hi all,
 I have been trying to find out what happened to my 2nd great grandmother's brother Robert Tatham but have hit a brick wall so I thought it would post it on Roots Chat and see if anybody can come up with an answer for me.
 Robert was born on the 2nd November 1842 at Cleveland Street (I think) Workhouse in Westminster and was baptised at St Anne's Church in Westminster on the 29th December 1842. He was the son of James Thomas Tatham (a Currier) and Ellen Tatham (nee Turley). At the time of his birth his father was somewhere in America having travelled through Ellis Island earlier in the year.
 On the 1851 Census Robert is living with his father at Worcester Street, Kidderminster. Unfortunately I don't have a sub with Ancestry at the moment so cannot link the record in but Robert is living with James Tatham (Father, 47, Currier Journeyman, b. London), George Tatham (Brother, 13, Scholar, b. London) and Ellen Tatham (Sister, 11, Scholar, b. London), all living in the house of Samuel Goodyear. Robert himself is down as being 7 and born in London.
 Now, here is the tricky bit to explain. When James left Ellen in London they had no idea she was pregnant with Robert and the money she was left with was not enough to keep her family, hence Robert being born in the Workhouse (I think the idea may have been for James to set himself up in the States and call his family over later, but this never happened). Finding herself destitute, Ellen seems to have decided to return to her father's household at Martley, Worcestershire only to leave the parish with a man called James Griffiths. They settled at first at Astley and then at Stourport in Worcestershire and had at least one daughter, Rosannah (b. 1847 - my 2nd great grandmother) and possibly Louisa (b. 1849 - I do not know which of the James's is Louisa's father).
 Ellen can be found on the 1851 Census living with her two youngest daughters’ in Bewdley, Worcestershire. Ellen dies in 1857.
 By the time of the 1861 Census James Thomas Tatham is living in Walsall, Staffordshire with his children George and Ellen. There is no sign of Robert and I cannot find a suitable entry on the 1861 Census for him. Neither can I find a suitable death entry using either the old GRO Index (freebmd version) or the new one (
 I should also mention that his eldest brother, Edward James Tatham, did immigrate to Chicago so there could be a chance that Robert followed his brother over to the States although I believe Edward did not emigrate until later in the 1860’s.
 Does anybody have any idea as to what might have become of my Robert?

England / A Cato Mystery
« on: Thursday 01 December 16 14:10 GMT (UK)  »
I have just received a birth record from the GRO but it has completely baffled me! I just cannot seem to find the parents of the child anywhere, no marriage index, census records, nothing!

The child in question was called Charles Cato, the son of Charles Cato and Elizabeth Cato late Wakley formerly Simpson. He was born on the 25 January 1874 at Fleet Street, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire. Charles Snr was a Railway Labourer and Elizabeth could sign her own name, so I guess Cato would be the correct spelling of the name.

I just cannot find a marriage between Charles and Elizabeth, or between an Elizabeth Simpson and Mr. Wakley on the GRO index's. Neither can I find Charles Snr & Jnr or Elizabeth on the 1881 Census.

Does anybody have any idea where I could look next?


Edit: Sorry, I should also have mentioned that I was hoping that Charles Cato was in fact my ellusive ancestor Charles Simpson who was born around this time in Burton. I guess there is still a slight chance that he might be in there is no marriage between Charles and Elizabeth.

Armed Forces / Possible Army Kit?
« on: Thursday 30 June 16 19:03 BST (UK)  »
Hi all,

I have just received the following item (please see image attached, I have no idea how to describe it!) which I think may be part of my Great-Grandfather's army kit.

Stamped on it is N.S.? (I think R) 9083 which I think stands for North Staffordshire Regiment 9083, my Great-Grandfather's regiment and regimental number. Does anybody know if this was part of the army kit and does anybody know what it was used for - the piece of fabric and the left of the item seems to possible have held needles or something similar as there are three small pin holes (one of these can be seen on the image, middle top of the fabric). Below the fabric is a small pocket, and there are three leather strips (or pockets), the stamp is on the middle strip.

I hope all this makes sense!

Also, I found the badge tucked into one of the leather straps, does anybody have any idea what this logo is for? I have no idea if this is contemporary with the main item or if it was tucked away later.


London and Middlesex / Colney Hatch Cemetery
« on: Tuesday 02 February 16 11:12 GMT (UK)  »
Has anybody ever heard of Colney Hatch Cemetery?

I have a relative who died at Stockwell Small Pox Hospital in 1871. Her parent's gravestone in Worcestershire states that she was buried at Colney Hatch Cemetery along with her nephew who also died in London. The problem is I am having trouble finding the cemetery!

I have tried New Southgate Cemetery and St Pancras & Islington Cemetery as I though these might be the place I was looking for, but I have had no luck.


Occupation Interests / Nurse - 1871
« on: Sunday 24 January 16 21:05 GMT (UK)  »
Hi all,

Would you have to be qualified to be a Nurse in 1871? I am just wondering if there would be any records for nurses around this date as one of my 3rd great aunt's died in March 1871 during the London Small Pox Epidemic. I would love to know where she was working at the time as I don't really know much about her.


Worcestershire Completed Look up Requests / Worcestershire Marriage Index
« on: Thursday 22 October 15 08:50 BST (UK)  »

I wonder if anyone could do a quick lookup for me in the Worcestershire Marriage Index if they are going to Worcester Archives?

I am looking to see if Thomas Jennings/Jennins and Kezia ? married in Worcestershire. Their first known child was born in 1768 at Kings Norton and according to Kezia's burial she was born around 1740 so the marriage should be between around 1760 and 1768. There is of course no guarantee that Thomas and Kezia were married in Worcestershire.

Kind Regards,

Herefordshire / Help with William Turner/Tippins?
« on: Wednesday 17 June 15 20:34 BST (UK)  »
I am trying to find what happened to William Turner who was the (supposed) son of my 4th Great Grandmother Martha Turner (nee Tippins). The only details I have for him are from the 1841 and 1851 Census, I have been unable to find a baptism for him despite visiting Hereford Record Office a couple of years ago and searching the parish records.

The 1851 Census gives him as being born circa 1839 at Staunton (upon Arrow), Herefordshire and the son of John Turner and Martha Tippins (John and Martha were married in 1829).

William Turner then disappears and I can find no trace of him or John Turner after this date. I know (from the 61 census) that John has died, and William could have also have passed away but....

The 1861 Census for Martha also shows a William Tippings, Nephew, living at the same address. He was born circa 1839 at Kington (just down the road from Staunton) and I presume that Mary Tippings (down as Niece) is his wife.

I cannot work out where this William fits into the tree, none of Martha's brothers seem to have a William born around 1839 and the annoying thing is I cannot locate him on either of the earlier census. Now I am wondering if perhaps William is a relative somewhere (perhaps Martha's great nephew) who was brought up as John & Martha's son and was recorded as such on the 1841/51 census, but once he was grown up went back to using his birth name - but how do I prove it?

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