Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Grandmother Legacies


The Allery Clan 


Here's the stories of a few of my father's female ancestors:
  • Grandma Harriet Priscilla Wright who married Walter Frederick Allery
  • Great Grandmama Mary Anne Hall who married Samuel John Allery
Shotgun Marriage?

Turning my attention now to the women of our ancestry, first I wanted to know more about my Great Grandmother Mary Ann Hall who was born in 1848. She married my Great Grandfather Samuel John Allery on the 2nd of December in 1867 at St John's Church, Waterloo, Lambeth. She was just 19 years old and he just 21. When I looked closely at the birth dates and ages of her children I realised with a bit of a jolt that Samuel and Mary got married at this time principally because she was pregnant with her son Henry John who was subsequently born on 31 Dec 1867.  It can happen!

Mary Ann gave birth to 8 children, six survived and two died. The third eldest of her children was Walter Frederick my grandfather. I knew little of Mary Ann and her children so I did some research to find out.  Mary Ann was a tailoress by occupation - no doubt the reason why she met and married my grandfather who was a tailor. Her father before her was a sailmaker - this is stated on her marriage certificate. In 1881 she was living at 26 Crown Street, Camberwell, London with her six children. One of the daughters who died was Louisa Maud B. 1874 D. 1874 - and I imagine that she died during birth. The second of Mary Ann's daughter's to die was Jennie Selina B. 1880 D. 1881. Her death is recorded alongside that of her mother Mary Ann on the same day. I wonder what happened - was there an accident in which they both died? A sad little mystery!

The following is the handwritten details of the marriage between Mary Ann Hall and Samuel John Allery.

The I wanted to know a little more about our red-headed Grandma Harriett Priscilla. Through the census lists I was able to determine that she was a Machinist - this fact probably being pertinent to meeting and marrying Walter the Master Tailor - and was the daughter of Alfred Thomas Wright a Shoemaker. Harriett seems to me to be a very strong character in my ancestors - I remember thinking that she might have been a bit scary to a 4 year old little girl who just wanted to smell the roses in her garden. That is my only memory of her - but I do have a legacy from her - my own red hair.

In the 1911 census she is living at London House, Coombe Lane, Norbiton with Walter and the chidlren and this document tells us that there is a female child, Lily Wren, living with them. Her relationship to the head of the household as 'girl' has been crossed out and the word 'daughter' written in red. Another little mystery - Who was Lily Wren?

Harriett was left almost 3000 pounds in my grandfather's will and I wonder how she was able to put that towards bringing up her children single handedly - during the years after Walter's death in 1915 and before her own in 1955. As far as I can tell she never married again. If you recall in a previous posting, Harriett's strength was tested in 1904 with the loss of a daughter, and again in 1930 when her son Edward Lionel was killed. I am immensely proud of her courage and I am glad that she has passed that onto to us through her son Walter.

The Welsh Connection!

Here's the stories of a few of my mother's female ancestors:
  • Grandma Mary Jane Robinson who married Charles Harry Newland Cutting
  • Great Grandmama Mary Ann Francis Evans who married George Robinson.
My grandmother Mary Jane Robinson was born in Bath, Avon, Somerset in 1872, daughter of George Robinson and Mary Anne Francis Evans, the most recent Welsh connection for the family. George and Mary are my mother's grandparents. The family was located in Croydon at the time of the 1881 census.Closer to the birth place of her father George Robinson who was a Railway Inspector.
Mary Jane's mother Mary Ann Evans was born in Haverford West, Wales - the only piece of family history known of her.

My Welsh ancestry begins with grandmother Mary Jane who was the daughter of Mary Anne Francis Evans, herself the daugher of David and Gwenllian Evans and born in Haverfordwest, Wales. (Note: I had a great deal of fun searching the physical records at Haverfordwest on my journey there in 2009, and finding a missing piece of the puzzle, her parents' names. I'll need to dedicate another posting to Great Grandmama Mary Ann Evans when I know more of her life.)





Mary Jane Robinson was born in Bath, Avon, Somerset (see map above). This area of England is famous for its main city of Bath an elegant and much sought after residential area in modern times. The circus at Bath, a semi-circular row of terraced apartments, feature often in the TV program, Location, Location, Location. At the time of the 1891 census Mary Jane was employed as a servant (a lady's maid) in a boarding house in Lambeth Parish. I have an image of what the working day of a maid would have been in the late 19th century - I've watched 'Upstairs and Downstairs' on TV. However to get a better image of what my Grandmother Mary Jane would have been doing as maid in Walcott, Bath I will need to do some further history research.

Mary Jane married Charles Harry Newland Cutting, a plumber, on the 16 June 1901 in Enfield. Enfield Town used to be a small market town on the edge of the forest about a day's travel north of London. As Greater London has grown, Enfield Town and its surrounds have become a residential suburb, with fast transport links into central London. The following is the coat of arms for Enfield.



Mary and Charles had seven children, one of the whom, the second eldest was my mother, Winifred Edith Cutting born in 1903. Mary also gave birth to triplets Violet, Ronald and Harry. Sadly Harry died at the age of 2 from pneumonia.

I don't remember anything of my grandmother Mary Jane; we immigrated to Australia in 1948 and I had no contact with her. I imagine my mother wrote to her on occasions but none of this was shared with me, the youngest of her six children. There are no records of her life other than memories, so I have written to my brother and sister to get their memories of  Grandmother Mary Jane Robinson.

Mary Jane died at the age of 82 in 1954 in Kingston, Surrey. A fact I was vaguely aware of as a child of 9. Our family had emigrated to Australia 10 years earlier and as I was only 4 at the time sailing, I have no memories of her. In her lifetime, Mary Jane, would have witnessed some amazing industrial changes in England and lived through two World Wars. I wonder what life was like for her in the late 19th century while she was growing up, and then during the 47 years she was married to my grandfather, Charles Harry Newland Cutting. He died in 1950 so she would have spent the last four years of her life grieving for him.

If it wasn't for these three ladies, Great Grandmama Hall, Grandma Wright and Grandma Robinson then the rest of our recent history would not have happened. I am also grateful to these three in particular for their strength of character, their courage and the care they shared for their families.

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