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Branches, Twigs, & Roots, Issue #013 --
September 04, 2012

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of Branches, Twigs, and Roots!

Genealogy Tip of the Month

Look for collateral relatives,
and investigate their parentage,
when looking for the maiden name
of a female ancestor.

Your Brick Walls

This month’s brick wall deals with finding the maiden name of a female ancestor. Part I is in this newsletter; Part II will follow next month.

The reason for the two parts: to give you readers an opportunity to solve the problem! Ready? Here we go!

This month's brick wall takes us to Northumberland, England, where a fellow family tree climber - who happens to share a small segment of DNA with me - indicated that he was looking for the maiden name of one of his female ancestors. We are attempting to find our common ancestor. He recently had a maternal uncle tested, and I match to him, as well. The match, therefore, is on his mother's side.

Here's what our contributor wrote:

"As for ... [my uncle], we have half of his ancestry coming from the North East of England and the very nearest part of Scotland. Northumberland, Durham and Roxburghshire, to be precise. ... , Wilson from Lesborough, Esther ??? from Alnwick (I would LOVE to find her maiden name - it's killing me!), ... ."

I asked him for more information, and he referred me to his family tree, and to his ancestor Walter Lamb (1849 - 1932), who married Mary Wilson (1849 - 1906). Mary's parents were Ralph Wilson (born in 1831 in Lesbury, Northumberland, England) and Esther, whose surname he was seeking. He noted that one census listed her year of birth as 1817, compared to her husband's 1831 - quite an unusual age gap, for those days and times!

I first attempted to find a marriage record for this couple, as my match had done, but to no avail.

I then went looking for clues that might be in other documents commonly searched for family history data.

The 1861 census shows this couple, Ralph and Esther Wilson, living in the All Saints area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, with daughter Mary, age 12, and son Ralph, age 8. Esther is listed as age 44 (year of birth therefore 1817), and Ralph age 30. Esther is listed as born in Alnwick, Northumberland.

The 1871 census shows Ralph (age 40) and Esther (age 50 - birth year 1821) living in the All Saints and Christchurch area of Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland. Son Ralph, age 18, is still living with them. There is also a Joseph Wallace, age 20, whom the original census document describes as a 'nephew' of the head of household, born in North Sunderland, Northumberland.

A search for Joseph Wallace in the 1861 census shows him living with his mother, Jane Wallace, age 51; his brother Martin Wallace, age 17; and two boarders, in All Saints parish, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Jane Wallace is listed as a widow, and her birthplace is shown as Alnwick, Northumberland. Her year of birth is approximately 1810.

So, we have Jane Wallace, born in Alnwick, Northumberland in approximately 1810, and Esther Wilson, born in Alnwick, Northumberland in approximately 1820 (between 1817 and 1821). Jane's son is described as the nephew of Ralph Wilson, head of household in Esther Wilson's family, in the 1871 census. It therefore is likely that Jane and Esther are sisters.

Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland,
circa 1800 - Anonymous
Wikimedia Commons
Anonymous Painting of Alnwick Castle, circa 1800

Can we find a marriage record for Jane and her husband? To do so, we will have to find her husband's first name.

The 1851 census lists Jane Wallace (41) as the head of household, and states that she is the wife of a sailor. Four sons are listed: Henry (9), Martin (7), William (3), and Joseph (3 months). They were living in North Sunderland, Northumberland.

Clearly, then, assuming this is the right family, Jane's husband died between 1850 and the 1851 census, as the youngest child, Joseph, is 3 months old as of the census date. Also, going strictly by the age of the oldest child, Henry, it is likely that they were married around 1841.

I note, from, that a Henry Wallace married a Jane Spotswood in the year 1840. Ancestry lists a Jane Spotswoos [sic] and a Henry Wallace among the eight individuals listed on that page as having married in the first quarter of 1840, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland.

While this is not conclusive proof that we have the right Esther married to a Wallace, it seems to fit the information before me. That is, Jane's first child was named Henry, perhaps after his father.

The 1841 census, however, throws a bit of a 'monkey wrench' into that theory. It lists a Henry and Jane Wallace, both age 30, living in North Sunderland. Henry's occupation is listed as 'mariner'. Interestingly, they have a son John, age 7, listed living with them. This would push the marriage year back to about 1833.

Another possibility, of course, is that Jane was the second wife, and John was born to Henry and the first wife.

...To be Continued ... Part II next month ...

Can anyone solve this one between now and the October edition of Branches, Twigs and Roots?

News, Stories, Contests, etc.

I'm sure we have all looked at immigration documents, and/or made declarations of our own as to what we were bringing into our home country upon our return from abroad.

Here's one that's sure to be unique - or at least, the first of only a few!

Continuing on last month's theme of interesting or unusual headstones, the Cape Town Family History Society has accumulated some interesting photographs. Click here for details.

Today is September 4, 2012. Yesterday, September 3, was the anniversary of Britain's declaration of war against Germany, on September 3, 1939. Here is an excerpt from Neville Chamberlain's speech of that day, which was broadcast over the radio:

If the above link doesn't show up on your screen, cut and paste this link into your browser:

From, the description of a newly discovered illness(?!?). Do you know anyone who could fit this diagnosis?:

Genealogy Pox

WARNING: Very contagious to adults.

SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates, and places. Patient has a black expression, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses. Has compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents places such as cemeteries; ruins; and remote, desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls, hides phone bills from spouse, and mumbles to self. Has a strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. Disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines, and be given a quiet corner in the house where he or she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is -- the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!
--Author Unknown

Here's a website which I recently came across, which provides customized products (mugs, keychains, t-shirts, etc.), for all sorts of professions, hobbies, and interests - including things related to genealogy.

There are plenty of designs to choose from, but if you don't see what you want, you can always upload your own design, and either have it printed, or get a royalty whenever others buy it, on the site!

Click on the CafePress logo; take a look around! You're sure to find something that would be the perfect gift for a friend or family member.

To access this month's webinars, click here

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