Author Topic: Advise needed for potential brickwall breaker  (Read 3653 times)

Offline Silverhawk

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Advise needed for potential brickwall breaker
« on: Tuesday 15 May 18 02:09 BST (UK) »
My third great-grandfather was William Lewis. He married Christiana (sometimes written on documents as Christian) Purves during 1817 in Berwick and they had at least one child there before moving to Newcastle Upon Tyne where my second great-grandfather was born. The family lived at Wall Knoll in the Pandon area of Newcastle and William died there in 1840. The death certificate says he was a labourer aged 48, so I put a circa 1792 birthyear for him on my tree. I looked for William Lewis' in the area who could be him, but there were no obvious candidates so I turned my attention elsewhere.

Now I'm back on the Lewis' and here's where it gets tricky. I know there weren't many Lewis' in Newcastle at the time, so started looking for others who may be related, hoping I could pin down William from another angle. I found a death notice for a Henry Lewis in the old newspapers collection on FindMyPast.co.uk. He died in January 1846 at New Pandon Street in Newcastle. Aha, practically next door to my William, so I figured there's a good chance they're related. Maybe Henry is a son of William's I hadn't found yet. The notice said he was 26, so possibly born in very early 1820 but more likely 1819.

I started looking for Henry's baptism to see if I could tie him in. Nothing in Northumberland. I checked the Scottish borders (as Christiana was from Berwickshire), nothing again. I checked County Durham to see if he was born across the river, also nada. So a little frustrated I did a global search on Ancestry for any Henry Lewis circa 1819, father's name William. Bingo, I got a match... but it's in Rochdale ??? There's never been any hint of family roots in Lancashire on that side, but it's the first lead I'd found so I opened the image anyway. The entry was for Henry Lewis, christened 1st November 1819. Abode: Summer Castle (I looked for it on Google Maps, it's in the east end of Rochdale). Parents William and Christien (sic) Lewis. Under the father's occupation was "Soldier 88 Regt".

Now this is interesting. If this was my William, it would make a certain amount of sense for Henry to be born in Rochdale as soldiers move about a lot. I always thought it was a bit odd that the oldest child of William and Christiana's I could find was born almost 7 years after they were married. It's possible Christiana had medical issues which made having children difficult, but as they later had four other kids, that explanation seems a stretch. It makes more sense that if William was a soldier, the eldest children were simply born wherever William's regiment were based at the time. Military service also runs in the family, so it fits in quite nicely for William to turn out to be one too.

I know that's not proof positive Rochdale Henry's father is my William, but I can't think of another explanation that doesn't require a shedload of coincidences. He's the right age to be the Henry who died in Newcastle in 1846, the father's name matches, the mother's name matches bar spelling error. I don't think Christiana/Christian is exactly a common name, even then. I haven't run across the name in any of my other branches and I've got about 4000 people in my tree. Is it more likely that this Henry Lewis was my great-great-grandfather's older brother and their father was a soldier who just moved about a lot, or that there was a totally unrelated Henry Lewis born in Lancashire who just happened to be the exact same age as the Henry who died in Newcastle and just happened to have parents with the exact same names? Or that the Rochdale Henry randomly moved to the north east and just happened to live the next street over from two unrelated people with his parent's names who were married two years before he was born?

What do you Rootschatters think? Is it safe for me to say yes, this Henry was a son of William's? If so, I now have more info with which to pin down William (and that he wasn't necessarily from the north-east).
Ancestral names: Lewis, Watson, Hetherington, Barclay, Clark, Regan, Hunter, Murray, Robson, Todd, Carney, Comerford, Urwin, Rayson, White, Purves, Biggins, Wilson, Gibson, Graham, Curry, Kennedy, Greenlaw, Waldie, Armstrong, Hodgson, Harle, Wild, Monkhouse, Donald, Allen, Bowie, Cowe, Ogilvie, Barnes, Pattinson, Williamson, Hogg, Denholm, Kirkwood and Hewitt

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Offline lizdb

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Re: Advise needed for potential brickwall breaker
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 15 May 18 07:14 BST (UK) »
Yes- I'd take it as Henry being another child of your Wiliam and Christiana.

Can you find anything else in Rochdale, during their time there? Any other children born/died?

Who registered the Henry's death?  If he wasn't married, then maybe a parent? That would prove your theory of it was Christiana. William was of course dead by then.

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Offline emeltom

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Re: Advise needed for potential brickwall breaker
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 15 May 18 09:29 BST (UK) »
I have done a quick search for children of a William Lewis and Christiana/Christian and found the following, although only Henry has a father who is a soldier, the others don't have occupation details

Henry 1819 Rochdale
James Purves 1824 Berwick
William 1826 Newcastle
Susannah 1827 Liverpool
Elizabeth 1829 Newcastle
Peter 1832 Newcastle

The image for the marriage is available to view via the familysearch catalogue but it gives no clues as to age or occupation.

Emeltom
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Offline philipsearching

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Re: Advise needed for potential brickwall breaker
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 15 May 18 14:46 BST (UK) »
....Henry Lewis, christened 1st November 1819. Abode: Summer Castle (I looked for it on Google Maps, it's in the east end of Rochdale). Parents William and Christien (sic) Lewis. Under the father's occupation was "Soldier 88 Regt".

The 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) was raised in Connaught in 1793.
http://www.historyhome.co.uk/forpol/crimea/connaught.htm has a brief history, short on detail.  If you can find a regimental diary, you may find out where the regiment was based when the Napoleonic wars ended.  Although William Lewis might have been Irish it is probable that he joined the regiment where it was stationed (which could have been anywhere in the UK!)  - if muster rolls survive they would indicate when he first appears in the regiment.

All the best
Philip
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Offline Silverhawk

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Re: Advise needed for potential brickwall breaker
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 15 May 18 16:56 BST (UK) »
Yes- I'd take it as Henry being another child of your Wiliam and Christiana.

Can you find anything else in Rochdale, during their time there? Any other children born/died?
Nothing that I can see.

Who registered the Henry's death?  If he wasn't married, then maybe a parent? That would prove your theory of it was Christiana. William was of course dead by then.
I haven't bought Henry's death certificate yet, maybe that's the next step for me to take.

I have done a quick search for children of a William Lewis and Christiana/Christian and found the following, although only Henry has a father who is a soldier, the others don't have occupation details

Henry 1819 Rochdale
James Purves 1824 Berwick
William 1826 Newcastle
Susannah 1827 Liverpool
Elizabeth 1829 Newcastle
Peter 1832 Newcastle

The image for the marriage is available to view via the familysearch catalogue but it gives no clues as to age or occupation.
Oh interesting. I had the details for James, William, Elizabeth and Peter (my great-great-grandfather), but didn't know about a Susannah. Do you have a date for her? There's a James Purvis Lewis from Denton Chare in Newcastle St Nicholas' burial register for 23rd November 1827, age 3yrs 7mths, so the family were back in Newcastle by then.

The 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) was raised in Connaught in 1793.
http://www.historyhome.co.uk/forpol/crimea/connaught.htm has a brief history, short on detail.  If you can find a regimental diary, you may find out where the regiment was based when the Napoleonic wars ended.  Although William Lewis might have been Irish it is probable that he joined the regiment where it was stationed (which could have been anywhere in the UK!)  - if muster rolls survive they would indicate when he first appears in the regiment.
I've just had a look on Ancestry. There's an entry in the Regimental Pay Lists for a William Lewis, 88th Regiment of Foot 1st Batallion, dated 25th December 1812 to 24th March 1813. He's listed under "Drummers and Fifers". On the blank column at the far side it says "From 2nd battalion 25th December".
Ancestral names: Lewis, Watson, Hetherington, Barclay, Clark, Regan, Hunter, Murray, Robson, Todd, Carney, Comerford, Urwin, Rayson, White, Purves, Biggins, Wilson, Gibson, Graham, Curry, Kennedy, Greenlaw, Waldie, Armstrong, Hodgson, Harle, Wild, Monkhouse, Donald, Allen, Bowie, Cowe, Ogilvie, Barnes, Pattinson, Williamson, Hogg, Denholm, Kirkwood and Hewitt

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Offline Jomot

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Re: Advise needed for potential brickwall breaker
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 15 May 18 17:29 BST (UK) »
There's also a Kilmainham Pensioners record on FindMyPast for a William Lewis of the 88th Foot born Somerset, attested at Wells 12 Feb 1810 aged 14.   Discharged 2 Jun 1822 due to chest pain & dyspepsia. 

There's something written in pencil at the top that could be 359 Newcl, but maybe I'm just hoping that's what it says...

MORGAN: Glamorgan, Durham, Ohio. DAVIS/DAVIES/DAVID: Glamorgan, Ohio.  GIBSON: Leicestershire, Durham. North Yorkshire.  JACKSON: East Yorks, North Yorks, Durham. TAYLOR: North Yorks. BOURDAS: North Yorks. JEFFREYS: Worcestershire & Northumberland. CHEESMOND: Durham/Northumberland. WINTER: Durham/Northumberland. SNOWBALL: Durham.

Offline emeltom

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Re: Advise needed for potential brickwall breaker
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 15 May 18 20:40 BST (UK) »
a)Ithink the pencilled word could well be an abbreviation for Newcastle

b)Susannah Lewis was baptised Liverpool 11 November 1827

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Offline philipsearching

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Re: Advise needed for potential brickwall breaker
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 16 May 18 00:03 BST (UK) »
I've just had a look on Ancestry. There's an entry in the Regimental Pay Lists for a William Lewis, 88th Regiment of Foot 1st Batallion, dated 25th December 1812 to 24th March 1813. He's listed under "Drummers and Fifers". On the blank column at the far side it says "From 2nd battalion 25th December".

There's also a Kilmainham Pensioners record on FindMyPast for a William Lewis of the 88th Foot born Somerset, attested at Wells 12 Feb 1810 aged 14.   Discharged 2 Jun 1822 due to chest pain & dyspepsia. 

Nice finds!  Although the death record in 1840 gives William's age as 48 recorded ages at death are notoriously unreliable, so a birth c1796 is not a problem.

So, it looks as though your William was a Zummerzet lad - he certainly moved around!  A quick look at FreeREG doesn't show an obvious baptism, but many parish registers are not yet transcribed.  FamilySearch doesn't have images of Somerset PRs.  The Somerset Online Parish Clerlks website http://wsom-opc.org.uk/ doesn't have an OPC for the Wells parishes.  A lookup from a paysite may be needed.

All the best
Philip
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Offline Silverhawk

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Re: Advise needed for potential brickwall breaker
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 16 May 18 01:14 BST (UK) »
There's also a Kilmainham Pensioners record on FindMyPast for a William Lewis of the 88th Foot born Somerset, attested at Wells 12 Feb 1810 aged 14.   Discharged 2 Jun 1822 due to chest pain & dyspepsia. 

There's something written in pencil at the top that could be 359 Newcl, but maybe I'm just hoping that's what it says...
Thank you for getting that :) And wow, the Westcountry. It never even entered my head that he could be from that way. When the family kept appearing further north the further back I went, I thought they were going to end up being Scottish. Which when you consider Lewis is a Welsh name sounds so counterintuitive, but that genuinely looked like the way it was going. Instead he's flipped 180 on me :D

So, it looks as though your William was a Zummerzet lad - he certainly moved around!
Definitely. Westcountry to the Borders to Lancashire, then on to Tyneside. He saw more of the country than I have, lol.

I've just went to FindMyPast and used the info provided to download a copy of the Kilmainham record. Interesting reading. It looks like it describes where he got his ailments, though I can't quite read all the writing: "__ first appearing to arise from a fall from the walls at _________ in 1817, and the latter first appearing in September 1821."

Although the death record in 1840 gives William's age as 48 recorded ages at death are notoriously unreliable, so a birth c1796 is not a problem.
After a case in another branch of someone's age in records shifting between years spanning a couple of decades, this doesn't concern me as much as it probably would have done a few years ago. Especially as the informant on the death certificate wasn't even a family member. Nearest I can work out is that the informant was probably a neighbour. Although this does mean that instead of William being of comparable age to Christiana, he was actually five years younger than her. I haven't seen that happen very often, it's usually the other way around.

b)Susannah Lewis was baptised Liverpool 11 November 1827
Hmm, that's very close to James' death/burial. They've moved from Liverpool back to Newcastle sometime in the space of 12 days. Is that a potential problem, or is that pretty feasible with 1820s transport?
Ancestral names: Lewis, Watson, Hetherington, Barclay, Clark, Regan, Hunter, Murray, Robson, Todd, Carney, Comerford, Urwin, Rayson, White, Purves, Biggins, Wilson, Gibson, Graham, Curry, Kennedy, Greenlaw, Waldie, Armstrong, Hodgson, Harle, Wild, Monkhouse, Donald, Allen, Bowie, Cowe, Ogilvie, Barnes, Pattinson, Williamson, Hogg, Denholm, Kirkwood and Hewitt

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk