Duckhouse One Name Study

A few months back, I was thinking (it’s always dangerous!) that there weren’t that many people with the surname Duckhouse in the 1841 census (37, and only 89 in 1881), so how difficult could it be to collect them all and do a One Name Study on them? The other factor encouraging this thinking was that I didn’t know the surname of the mother of my 3x great-grand-mother (Ruth Duckhouse). The answer – more time-consuming and difficult than I thought!

I collected all the Duckhouses from each of the censuses and dumped them into a spreadsheet, just like I did with the Micklethwaites. I copied and edited some of the macros for finding and merging and started trying to gather them into families. Some sorted themselves out very quickly – others did not! Then I extracted births, marriages and deaths from FreeBMD, and added age at death and mother’s maiden name at birth from the GRO index. Then it was a question of going through all this data, repeatedly looking at censuses and BMDs, trying to work out who was who.

Problems arise in several forms: how many of them are called Charles, John or William and how do you distinguish them; why do some of them go by a different name from the one they were given at registration or switch the order of forenames; why do some of them not appear in some the records when they should? Some of the issues I still have are listed on my website in Duckhouse Dilemmas.

On the other hand, I have had some success. In trying to sort out all the Elizabeths, I realised that my 4x great grandmother, Elizabeth, must have been one who (re)married, and the marriage record showed her father’s name. A bit more digging and I’ve got back 2 generations on my maternal line.

I have only looked at Duckhouse – I have only looked at variants, such as Duckas, where there is evidence that they were also Duckhouse.

So I now have a database of nearly 1000 people who used the name Duckhouse, plus mentions of over 200 husbands who married Duckhouse women. Over 550 of the Duckhouses are descendants of Samuel Duckhouse and Mary Mills, my 5x great grandparents. There are still many mysteries (see the Dilemmas above), but I do have a lot of good information. Now I need time and energy to sort out how best to make it available. In the meantime, if you are related, please do get in touch.

Website now updated

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The Puzzle of Lois Micklethwait

In an English One Name Study, one of the first things to do is extract all the births, marriages and deaths from FreeBMD. Inevitably you end up with a bunch of infants for whom you have a birth, followed very shortly by a death. If that short time span doesn’t include a census then it’s difficult to figure out who the parents are. Occasionally there’s a baptism or a burial record to help. Things improved when the GRO put their indices online and you could find out the mother’s maiden name. But many infants in my study remain unattached.

One such was Lois Micklethwait who was born and died in Kettering, Northamptonshire, in the March quarter of 1879. The GRO index gave her mother’s name as Coleman. The matter rested there until a friend (thanks, Sue) sent me an image of her burial record – it names her as Lois Clark Micklethwait, father Bartholomew Clark, carpenter, of 14 Albion Road, aged 1 month. If her father was a Clark and her mother a Coleman, why is she named Micklethwait? It’s not a simple clerical error as there are 2 registrations and a burial record where the name appears.

The 1881 census has Batholomew Clark aged 47, of 3 Meeting Lane, Kettering, a wheelwright born Bury, Suffolk, with Emma 34, wife, born St Neots, and Minnie 5, born Kettering. The GRO index shows a Minnie Clark born Sep 1875 Kettering, mother’s maiden name Coleman, and there’s a baptism for Minnie Kate Clark in 1875 to Bartholomew and Emma.

In fact, Bartholomew and Emma seem to have had a few children – there are these births in Kettering to Clark(e)/Coleman:
– Minnie Kate Sep 1875
– Emily Frances Sep 1876 (d. Mar 1877)
– Lois Frances Dec 1877 (d. Mar 1878)
– Albert Jun 1880 (d. Jun 1880)
– Emma Ellen Dec 1881 (d. Sep 1882)
There is suitable gap in 1879 for Lois Clark Micklethwait (poor Emma!)

There are also some other possible “sightings”:
– 1891 census entry for Bartholomew Clark in Leighton Buzzard born 1826 (lodger, no Emma or Minnie)
– a death in 1897 for Bartholomew Clark in Leighton Buzzard
– a baptism for Bartholomew Clark 24 June 1827 Walsham le Willows Suffolk, father Grimwade Clark
– an entry for Minnie Clark on the 1901 census, born 1875 Kettering, a female servant in Wellingborough with Henry Munns
– a marriage in 1903 in Kettering for Kate Minnie Clark
I haven’t found Minnie or Emma on the 1891 census, and there are too many Emma Clarks and Emma Colemans to be sure when Emma died.

On the other hand, there are no Micklethwait(e)s in Kettering at this time. Nor are there any Emma Micklethwait(e)s at this time. Nor are there any Micklethwait(e) marriages to Colemans or Clark(e)s at this time. So why is Lois called Micklethwait?

Edit: Emma Coleman appears on the 1871 census in Islington (aged 23) with sister Fanny Stamford (aged 43) and Fanny’s husband George and son Alfred (all 3 born Eaton Socon). Emma also appears on the 1851 census (aged 3) with parents John and Ann (born Kettering) and numerous siblings (not including Fanny!)

GRO Indices

At the beginning of this month (November 2016) the General Register Office in Southport, England made available new indices for births and deaths in England and Wales. These are slightly different from the ones available at FreeBMD and elsewhere being taken from one step back in the transcription process. They also have mother’s maiden name at birth (only on FBMD from 1912) and age at death (only on FBMD from 1865) and full names (FMBD may have initials). However, the age at death for infants has frequently been mistranscribed – age 10 months may appear as 10 years.

So there have been quite a number of changes to my database as a result of the additions and corrections – see my website!

Sarah Micklethwait Benson

There are trees published in various places (eg. Ancestry and Gedmatch) that suggest Sarah Micklethwait, daughter of Nathaniel Micklethwait and Joanna Rod (not Crane as some trees suggest) was married to Joseph Benson in Hull, Plymouth, Massachusetts. I wonder, despite Nathaniel’s New England connections, whether his daughter Sarah Micklethwait who married Joseph Benson in London, is the same Sarah who married Joseph Benson of Hull MA. While I have no baptism for Sarah Micklethwait, her siblings are baptised in London and she married there. However, some trees do have her birth in MA.

The most important evidence we have is Nathaniel’s will. In it, he mentions Sarah, Joseph and their son Nathaniel, but does not specify where they live. On the other hand, he also mentions Ann Knight alias Whiteman “of New England”. Would he have said the same for the Bensons?

Some trees have found a Nathaniel Benson in MA with a suitable birth date.

Can anyone find anything to help?

Website Update

I’ve updated my website.

I’ve now gone through all the will transcripts I received from my colleague, John, and I’ve also gone through his data and added omissions to mine. So there are major additions to the trees for Richard of Ingbirchworth and James of Worsborough.

I’ve also included the changes I made as a result of data from the 1939 register, and I’ve attached a few deaths I found, hopefully to the right people!

The update process involves running a computer programme to generate the HTML and PDF files. The PDF files however need a manual fix as the code is out of date. As a result, there may be some issues. If you find anything that looks wrong, please do let me know.

 

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 550 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Auntie Patricia was Adopted

I asked some new contacts about their Auntie Patricia Micklethwaite – I’d found a birth for her in September quarter 1942 in the Trowbridge area. It turned out none of the family knew anything about her. The contacts purchased her birth certificate and it said “adopted”. So if you know Patricia, or whatever she’s now called, please contact me!

1939 Register

I’ve been scraping the newly released 1939 register – sometime I’ll post how I did it. There were over 500 Micklethwait(e)s and Micklewhites to look at. I’ve now incorporated the information into my database. There were no outstanding revelations, but over 25 new pieces of information, either allowing me to work out when someone died, or who married whom. So a useful exercise.

Mysteries “Settled”

I recently found some Settlement Orders on Ancestry. These relate to the Poor Law regulations operating before 1834 when workhouses were introduced nationally. Before 1834, care of the poor was the responsibility of the parish, and there were rules about who was eligible. If you weren’t eligible, you were “removed” to the parish which was responsible for your settlement.

The one that interested me most was for Mary Micklethwaite who was to be removed from Emley to Denby in 1803. The document detailed how her husband Jonathan was serving with the 84th Regiment of Foot (who I think were in India at the time). This matches the Mary Stead who married Jonathan Micklethwaite in Huddersfield in 1801.

This solves the Micklethwaite/Stead mystery. Joseph Micklethwaite was born about 1803 but I couldn’t find a baptism. I did find that some of his descendants used the surname Stead. I then found a baptism for a Joseph Stead to Mary Stead in Emley in 1803, but I couldn’t work out how Mary was related. Now it seems likely that Mary had Joseph by an unnamed father whilst Jonathan was in the Army and Joseph was baptised with Mary’s maiden name. So Joseph’s branch of the family can be linked (by name, not by blood/DNA) to Jonathan.

A second settlement document in 1806 for Mary mentions that  she is pregnant. I had a branch for a William Micklethwaite that I hadn’t been able to progress. Now I find that there’s a birth for a William Stead to Mary Stead in Emley in 1807. It all ties together. There are 2 less unexplained branches!

Mary died in 1820, and it seems highly likely that Jonathan married Judith Inman – another mystery sorted.

Web Scraping – FreeBMD

Scraping FreeBMD is trivial. Why? Because there’s a button on the site which does just what we want. It’s labelled “Download”, and it downloads to your computer the data displayed on the screen. (it’s just to the left of the Key, under “Save Search”) One important point to make here is that there is a limit on the number of results FreeBMD will display – currently 3000, which is probably rather ambitious anyway!

For those of you in The Surname Society, Colin Spencer has made an excellent video of the process (it’s clear and concise for those, like me, who don’t really go for video tutorials – I prefer the written word, obviously, or I wouldn’t be writing this!) You can find the video in the Members section of the Society’s web site – on the menu, look for Surname School videos, then scroll down to Data Extraction.

For those of you not in the Society (why not? it’s only £5!), downloading the file gives you a Tab Separated Value file (like CSV, but with Tabs not commas). You can then import this file into Excel. Colin passes it through a text editor (he and I both like Notepad++) to convert it to a CSV, but I just right-clicked on the file in the file explorer and used “Open With” to load it into Excel (I use Excel 2003 – I hope other versions work similarly). Colin also uses Notepad to remove the extra column inserted by the FreeBMD format, but that’s easy to do directly in Excel.

There’s one major point I’d add to Colin’s tutorial. The format of results changes at some point – either you’ll need to add a column to part of the resulting spreadsheet to line up before and after results (prone to errors), or search in 2 parts (recommended). For births, mother’s maiden name is added from September quarter 1911. For marriages, spouse’s surname is added from March quarter 1912. For deaths, (alleged!) age at death is added from March quarter 1866.

Marriages of course show only the spouses’ surname, and that only from 1911. To get the possible spouses before that date, and/or the spouses’ given name after that date requires a more advanced technique.