Monday, 26 March 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Matthew Elders (1849-1921)

I transcribed this will some time ago, but it is always good to revisit documents. My comments will follow each paragraph in italics. Let me know if you think there's something I've missed!


THIS IS THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT of me MATTHEW ELDERS of Bridlington in the County of York, Retired Engine Driver. I appoint my dear wife Jane Ann Elders and my Son-in-Law Arthur James Sigsworth of Bridlington aforesaid Decorator (hereinafter called my Trustees) to be the EXECUTORS and TRUSTEES of this my will. 
This gave me the name of Arthur James Sigsworth.

I give to my said wife absolutely all monies standing to the credit of my account, whether solely or jointly at any Bank, and all sums and bonuses payable on my death by virtue of any Policies of Assurance effected on my life. 
Jane Ann gets the money :)

I give my piano to my grandchild Alice Carr. 
A new name. Matthew had three daughters; Hannah Jane., Anne and Alice. So one married Arthur Sigsworth, and another married a man with the surname Carr. Turns out Alice is the daughter of Hannah Jane.

I give all my household furniture, linen, plate and plated goods, china, pictures, books, and all other articles of domestic use or ornament to my trustees, in trust to permit my wife to have the sole use and enjoyment thereof during her life and from and after her death. 
Jane Ann is well looked after

In trust in equal shares for my daughters Anna Jane Whiting and Alice Sigsworth upon the like trusts as are hereinafter declared concerning their shares of my residuary estate. And I declare that my trustees shall be under no obligation to make an inventory of, or to see to the preservation or insurance of the said furniture and effects, and shall not be answerable for any loss or damage occasioned thereto in the lifetime of my said wife. 
Hannah Jane appears to be mis-spelt here (perhaps she shortened her name as she got older, but it does seem odd to not have her legal name in a legal document). It also suggests that after marrying a Carr she married a Whiting. Alice is the wife of Arthur.  

I give, devise and bequeath all the residue of my estate, real and personal whatsoever and wheresoever to my trustees, in trust to sell, call in and convert the same into money, with power to postpone such conversion indefinitely, without being responsible for loss, and out of the moneys produced by such sale and conversion to pay my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, and to stand possessed of the residue in trust to invest the same in any investments allowed by law. 
Money stuff. Matthew was a shareholder in Elders Walker Ltd. - a paint and glass manufacturer based in Gateshead. My ancestor, John, was the clerk before his death. The company did very nicely, which explains why he was so wealthy.

In the case of trust funds with power to vary the same at discretion and to stand possessed of such investments, including any part of my residuary estate for the time being unconverted (hereinafter called my Trust Estate), in trust to pay the income there from both before and after such sale and investment as aforesaid to my said wife Jane Ann Elders.
Again, Jane is looked after.

During her life and from and after her decease I direct my Trustees shall hold the capital and income of my trust estate in trust in equal shares for all or any my children, or child living at my death and for all or any the issue living at my death who attain the age of Twenty one years, or being female marry under that age. 
Suggests a daughter that married under 21 would receive her share before her 21st birthday. 

Of any child of mine who may have died in my lifetime leaving issue to take through all degrees according to their stocks in equal shares the share or shares their parent would have taken if living at my death and so that no issue shall take whose parent is living at my death and so capable of taking, provided always that in the event of my daughter Alice Sigsworth dying in my lifetime without leaving any such issue, then my trustees shall hold the share that she would have taken under any of the trusts hereinbefore declared had she survived me, in trust for her husband, the said Arthur James Sigsworth absolutely. 
My great great grandfather John Elders had died in 1904, so his share would be split between his three children. This paragraph suggests Matthew was close to Arthur James Sigsworth as it ensures he would receive Alice's share had Alice died before her father.

IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 24th day of November One thousand nine hundred and nineteen – M. ELDERS – SIGNED and declared by the said Matthew Elders as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us both present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses – ALFRED W. WEST Solicitor Bridlington – J. F. Yates Clerk to Messrs West & Son Solicitors Bridlington.
ON the 6th day of May 1921 Probate of this Will was granted to Jane Ann Elders and Arthur James Sigsworth the executors.


The net value of Matthew's estate was just over £2172. Using an online inflation conversion tool, that equates to £78,000 in 2010. Split between the 5 children, that's £15,600, then split again between John's three children, that is £5,200 in today's money (£144 then) that my great granddad John Redvers should have received - a pretty decent amount of money!

Thursday, 22 March 2012


As a genealogist you begin to view death in the same light at birth, marriage, or even a census return. It's a piece of information to enable you to build up a picture of an ancestor.

I have ordered one death certificate so far in my research. It was for my great great grandfather John Elders who died in 1904 of pneumonia aged just 31. He left a wife and three children, one not even a month old.

In my life I have been fortunate to have not been too affected by death. The first person I remember losing was my Granny's oldest sister, Auntie Hilda, but at the age of 10 I wasn't really too aware of what was happening. Two years ago I lost my first grandparent, the slightly bonkers Bernard Elders. But at the age of 79 and after suffering from dementia it was expected.

What happened today however, was not expected. A superb bloke by the name of Adrian died today at work of a heart attack aged just 40 years old. We worked together on the same team, and as part of that team we went out for a meal not even 24 hours before he died. I am still in a state of shock, but I had to write something down, and here seemed as good a place as any.

Death has so many more repercussions than a birth or marriage, and I think it's important to think about how the death of an ancestor would affect both the family, but also friends and acquaintances. Especially a sudden death.

RIP Adrian. You will be missed x

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Fearless Females - Catherine Briggs - Irish? Brick wall!

My brick wall is Catherine Briggs. She is a woman of mystery!

What do I know about her?

  • Was Catherine Briggs before becoming Catherine Wiseman (or Katherine according to the 1911 census)
  • Married Richard Wiseman on 10 January 1883 at St Peters Roman Catholic Church, South Bank, Normanby (Middlesbrough)
  • Had 5 children, 2 died before 1911, other 3 are William (b. 1884), Katherine (b. 1891) and Teresa (b. 1896)
  • Teresa is my great grandmother
  • On Teresa's birth certificate there is no father listed
  • On Teresa's marriage certificate her father is listed as Dick Wiseman
I looked into the church where she got married, and it was located in an area that served the Irish and Lithuanian immigrants who worked in the smelting works by the River Tees. Teresa lists her fathers occupation as steel worker on her marriage certificate, so is it possible either of them were Irish or Lithuanian?

My questions:
  • Is Richard / Catherine Irish? - How do I find this out? Are there passenger lists for ships into Middlesbrough?
  • What are the names of the other two children? - I have been through free BMD and found names born in Middlesbrough. Many of the Wiseman babies have two names suggesting they belong to one family. My best guess is John (b. 1887, d. 1887), but I don't know on the second missing child.
  • Why is she not on the 1901 census? - (Or any of the family for that matter)
  • Why is she not on the 1891 census? - (Or any of the family for that matter) 
  • Why is she not on the 1881 census?
  • Why is she not on the 1871 census? - (There is a theme!)
  • Why is Richard not on any censuses either?
  • Where was she born? - I have found a record from 1860 that matches James as her father, but it's in Middlesex... Could she have moved so far? The 1911 census states she was born in Middlesbrough, but it also spells her name with a K so I'm not convinced...

So there are a lot of questions! If anyone can offer any advice I would be very grateful!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Being a Young Genealogist

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their comments on my blog, and I want to address a common theme in the comments; my identification - being a young genealogist.

I by no means meant to exclude anyone; in fact my aim was the opposite. I'm new to this and I want to learn everything I can, and this is why I became affiliated with GeneaBloggers. The site is fantastic as it takes me to blog posts that interest me, whilst drawing people to my blog where hopefully their (your) comments will aid my research.

Now for a little bit about me: I'm half way through a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and I watch motor racing all day every Sunday whilst cross stitching. I'm not your average 21 year old! I'm very used to being on my own and doing my own thing, but it's always nice to meet people like myself; whether it's girl engineers, motor racing fans, or genealogists that are close to my own age.

I want to thank Niall and Lauren for reaching out and letting me know I'm not the only young genealogist from the UK! And I also want to thank everyone else who has commented and put a smile on my face! Here's hoping I begin to talk about something interesting!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

My Genealogy Slump

A few days ago I read a new blog post by Elyse entitled How to Recover from a Genealogy Slump. Now I recently had a four month genealogy slump, so I'm going to take this opportunity to explain what started mine, and how I recovered.

My slump began October 16th 2011. I should explain that I am a huge fan of motorsports, and that despite living in England, my favourite series is the IndyCar series because the people involved are hilarious and amazing, and the racing is hard fought. On October 16th, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was supposed to hold the 2011 season finale, but on lap 11 there was the biggest crash I have ever witnessed which resulted in Dan Wheldon losing his life.

I remember in the direct aftermath of the crash thinking it would be nice to research his tree for his two young sons; I even found his birth record on Ancestry! I spent a few days coming to terms with what I had seen, and just when I was getting over it Marco Simoncelli was killed in a MotoGP race in Malaysia. I was distraught. And the last thing on my mind was genealogy.

Even now, when I think of genealogy my mind goes back to that week, and that was a big sticking point for my research; how can I research my tree when it just makes me sad? Genealogy should make me happy!

Then in January I received an email advertising Who Do You Think You Are? Live! I looked at the workshops on offer and saw one for tracing Yorkshire ancestors on the Saturday. A large amount of my ancestors are from Yorkshire, so that talk was a must see, and with living just north of London for the year, the 2012 is likely to be the last show I can attend for a few years.

I have to say that I wasn't really inspired in the morning; I had no set goal for the show, and so wandered around aimlessly all morning. Even the Yorkshire show didn't inspire me - in fact it just made me home sick! But then in the afternoon I listened to some Ancestry talks about how to get more out of the website and FTM 2012 (which I then bought!), and I also attended Lisa Louise Cooke's talk on Google Search Strategies & Tips. The information was excellent, but her passion and enthusiasm increased my passion and really cheered me up after a low few months.

But now my motivation is back, and I find myself re-reading wills and census' and finding new information; information that I had previously missed. And I'm excited! Excited to organise and consolidate all my research into one place, but also excited to further my research and make brand new discoveries!

This post is dedicated to Dan Wheldon on the weekend a major race series returns to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Rest in Peace DW. #Lionheart #77

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Thankful Thursday: Undo!!

I thought I'd publish what I did in an effort to help others (and as a reference to remind myself what I did!).

The process to add a source and citation was quite a long winded one, so I wrote yesterdays post for reference as it's something I'll have to do quite often. However I very nearly had to do all of yesterdays hard work all over again!

What I didn't tell you is that I had downloaded the 1881 census return for the Elders family and added it to my tree, however the major flaw in Family Tree Maker 2012 is that when merging a document, new people mentioned in the source can be added to the tree, but the document won't be added to their facts (it is of course possible I missed something, and if that was the case please let me know!).

This was the main cause of me typing my sources myself, and so after filling in all the information yesterday I had to create the residency facts (FTM 2012 only added their names, approximate birth date and gender) and then attach my source to each individual fact.

Once I had spotted the ctrl+shift+s shortcut the sourcing process was very quick and easy as FTM 2012 remembers the last source citation you added, so it was just a question of clicking the fact, pressing ctrl+shift+s and hitting enter.

(I also learnt that to quickly move between people hit alt+n when in the Person tab. This shows you that persons relationships and enables you to click on their child / parent / sibling quickly and easily. alt+c takes you to the new persons facts.)

After attaching the new source citation to the 6 members of the family I decided to delete the old 1881 census group. A quick right click, delete soon got rid of my source, and left me with just one 1881 source option instead of two. But then the moment of panic set in; I deleted the wrong source!

Luckily FTM was idiot proofed, so by simply hitting Edit and Undo Delete Source I had my source back! Phew! I then triple checked which one I wanted to keep and this time I removed the wrong one.

So Ancestry, thank you! And thank you to whoever invented undo in the first place!

The Undo button - My saviour!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Family Tree Maker 2012: Citing a UK Census

I want to be in control of my sources and citations, and to do this I have decided I will hand write all citations using the templates available in FTM 2012. I Googled in an effort to see how other people were doing it and found a few examples from the US Census, but none from a UK census, so I thought I'd publish what I did in an effort to help others (and as a reference to remind myself what I did!).

I'm going to add the 1881 census record for Matthew Elders and family.

To begin, go to the sources tab at the top, and then click 'Add', the first of the four buttons in the top right of the screen. This launches the 'Add Source Citation' window.

From here, click 'New...' for the source title which launches the 'Add Source' window. FTM 2012 uses the blank template when creating its sources, giving the opportunity to fill in the name, location and date of the publication, as well as its repository. Personally, I feel this amount of information is unnecessary for a census record as they are so readily available.

I chose to select 'more' to see what templates were available and found the source group 'Census Records'. The records I am viewing are on, making them digital copies, which leads me to the only template for UK census returns; 'Online Archive - United Kingdom and Wales' (for this moment we'll skip over the the fact that United Kingdom already includes Wales..!).

Your selection should look like the window above. Now you're ready to fill in some data!

I filled in my form as the above. Now to pre-empt a few questions. Why Yorkshire? I get pretty confused by Yorkshire, and I've lived there all my life! Is Hull East Riding? East Yorkshire? North Yorkshire? A quick search of GENUKI has it in Hullshire! So to save myself the brain ache, anything that says Yorkshire on any census will be filed under Yorkshire, so I know it was in the County of Yorkshire at that time.

The second question is likely to be 'What have you written in the comments box?' Closely followed by 'Why?' This is something I have taken from the citation created by FTM 2012 when you download an Ancestry record, and I have decided to keep it. The full text says 'Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881, Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881.' Whilst Ancestry and various other websites hold copies of each census, the originals are still found at The National Archives in Kew. This doesn't show up in the reference, but it's a useful piece of information to keep around (the text for each year can be found at the bottom of each individual census return on the Ancestry website).

Upon clicking OK you are taken back to the 'Edit Source Citation' window. The point of a citation is so other people can trace your research and find where you got your evidence from. Therefore I cite the class, piece, folio and page of the record. I also list the name of the people on the record, as listed on that census. Finally I state the date I accessed the image and that it was found in an online source.

The text from this citation detail is:
Class: RG11; Piece: 4751; Folio: 115; Page: 20; GSU roll: 1342147; Matthew Elders, Jane Ann Elders, John Elders, Hannah J. Elders, Anne Elders, Alice Elders; Accessed 3 March 2012; Online Source.

In the citation text box I transcribe the record. This means I have a written copy of everything, as well as forcing me to go through each record carefully, looking at the spelling and figuring out the words. This way you are much less likely to miss an important fact.

The information gleaned from this census return is:

Civil Parish of Newington; Parliamentary Borough of Hull; Urban Sanitary District of Newington; Ecclesiastical Parish or District of St John the Baptist, Newington.
Schedule No. 95; 6 Western Villas.
1) Matthew Elders, Head, Married, age 31, Railway Enginer Driver, born in Yorkshire, Egton.
2) Jane Ann Elders, Wife, Married, age 29, born in Yorkshire, Lealholm.
3) John Elders, son, age 8, Scholar, born in Yorkshire, Hull.
4) Hannah J. Elders, Daughter, age 7, Scholar, born in Yorkshire, Hull.
5) Anne Elders, Daughter, age 4, born in Yorkshire, Hull.
6) Alice Elders, Daughter, age 1, born in Yorkshire, Hull.
(I have transcribed all the information at the top of the page, followed by the schedule number and address. Finally I number each member of the household and transcribe all of their information.)

The final step is to move to the Media tab within the 'Edit Source Citation' window and attach an image of the census for future reference.

And voila! You have selected a UK census! Your workspace should look something like this:

You'll notice my Reference Note in the bottom right of the screen is quite short. This is because I have un-ticked the 'Include in ref.note' box next to Citation text. When I go to generate a report, all the important information should have been linked to a fact, rendering a second copy of the text irrelevant. However if you prefer to have all the information then leave that box ticked.

Monday, 5 March 2012

I'm still here!

The past few months have been a little hectic (and cold), which leaves little time for genealogy.

However 9 days ago I attended Who Do You Think You Are Live which has woken up the genealogy bug from its hibernation and thrown me back in to research.

Whilst I was there I bought Family Tree Maker 2012. Yes, that means yet another change in my research method, however I have already made a link I missed last time.

After using the Ancestry download method for a week, I have decided it's unreliable (the reason I held off with FTM 2012 for so long), so I am now in the process of updating the citations just how I like them. I hope to write some reviews of FTM 2012 in the coming weeks (once I've got my head around it!).

However the point of this post was to announce my return to genealogy and the world of blogging, but to finish I want to share an anecdote from my WDYTYA Live visit.

I arrived at Olympia just in time for opening, and it was my first time at the venue so I just assumed there was one show on taking over the whole venue. I took my place at the back of the line and had a look at the other people, only to find they were all women in their mid-twenties. I was gob smacked! But then I looked a little closer at the building and spotted my error. I was in the queue for the National Wedding Show!

I set up this blog to try and find fellow young genealogists, and whilst my visit to Olympia was interesting and gave me plenty of new ideas, it proved what I already knew; that I am at least 20 years younger than the other researchers. But that's OK. I like being different, and I know I'm not alone. Elyse Doerflinger has been a source of inspiration to me, and I hope to use that inspiration to discover more about who I am, and the people and circumstances that made me the person I am today.