Sunday, February 17, 2013

James and Lydia Whybrew

JamesWhybrew 1819
This is a photo of James Whybrew, who was born in 1819 in Essex. It comes from the family history website of Rodney Jones, and it’s used with his permission. I’m fairly well convinced that James was the older half brother of David Whybrew through his father’s first marriage to Mary Webber.

LydiaStevens The James who appears in the photo was a brick layer who married Lydia Stevens in St John’s church, Lambeth, Surrey in 1845. His father’s name was also James Whybrew according to the marriage certificate. Lydia was the daughter of James Stevens and Rebecca and was born in 1822. That much is certain.

On the census records James Whybrew’s place of birth is given variously as Hornsey, Essex (1851), Great Horsley, Essex (1861), Bures, Essex (1871), Wallingford, Essex (1881) and Bermondsey in Surrey (1891). If we discount the 1891 entry (the family lived in Bermondsey) it’s clear that he was born in Essex.

Bures is on the Suffolk-Essex border and is the place where David Whybrew’s father James and Mary Webber married and had their son James baptised. There is a tiny hamlet named Horsely Cross in Essex, but it’s quite a way from Bures. I can’t find anywhere in Essex named Great Horsley or Wallingford. However there is a Great Horkesley not far from Bures, and Wormingford is also close by. I suspect that these place names have been mis-spelled on the census returns.

Map picture

The James of the photo became a master bricklayer. He and Lydia lived in Bermondsey, Southwark in Surrey until the 1860’s then moved to Croyden in Surrey. They had ten children:

David Whybrew, 29 January 1846 (died 19 February 1846)
George Whybrew, 24 January 1847
Rachel Whybrew, 9 December 1848
Joseph Silas Whybrew (twin), 5 October 1850
Mary Elizabeth Whybrew (twin), 5 October 1850 (died 26 May 1852)
Samuel Whybrew, 23/28 February 1852
Hephsibah ("Epsey") Whybrew, 25 September 1854
William Whybrew, 1 February 1856
Ellen Whybrew, 16 November 1858
Annie Whybrew, 7 January 1861
(The links will take you to Rodney Jones’ site where you can see more photographs of the family.)

James died in 1898 and Lydia in 1908.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What happened to Jane and Bridget Mason?

When John Mason died in Adelaide in January 1857, his widow Catherine was left with 8 daughters - Mary Ann, Catherine (both born in Sydney) Margaret, Rose (or Rosanna), Susan, Eliza, Jane and Bridget. Although the births of the younger children weren't officially recorded (many Catholics refused to register their children at this time), their names appear in the Biographical Index of South Australia.

I've been able to trace what happened to the first six girls through newspaper items, records of their marriages and deaths, and in the case of Susan and Eliza, their appearance with their soldier-husbands in British censuses. But I've never been able to discover anything for certain about Jane and Bridget.

Perhaps they were taken in by another family, as Susan's daughter Harriet was, and in the process their names changed. That would make sense if Catherine was struggling to raise so many children. Or maybe they died, unrecorded, in childhood. It's also possible that they married in another state, but I haven't come across any marriages with enough information to identify them.

The South Australian Register of Monday October 1, 1877 carries this intriguing snippet of news:
Jane Mason, single woman, was charged, on the information of T. Boddington, licensed victualler, with disturbing the peace of the Shamrock Hotel, Currie-street. Mr. W. V. Smith defended. Fined 5s.
If this was the same Jane, she certainly wouldn't be the only Mason daughter to be charged with disturbing the peace! But there were several Jane Masons in Adelaide at this time, and there's nothing here to identify this Jane as being Catherine's daughter. As for Bridget, I can't find any newspaper mentions.