mowsehowse on FamilyTreeCircles - journals

mowsehowse on Family Tree Circles

sort: Date Alphabetical
view: full | list

Journals and Posts

and finally............

Some 15 years ago I found two family headstones side by side in a double plot. The first commemorated my husbands great grandparents, Edward and Lavinia ROWSE with a son who had drowned at sea, and beside it was the tragic commemoration of a 20 year old, with her 19 year old sister and their parents. Although this familys name was WEBBER, the close proximity suggested to me there must be a strong family connection, and sure enough I discovered this to be the resting place of the family of Edward and Lavinias first child.

At one stroke I had identified 7 members of the family, and while I sadly speculated on what could have caused the death of these two young women, I confess I was too excited by expanding the family tree to dwell for long on the sad nature of their deaths. Mentally I had made a connection with the Spanish Flu out-break after World War l, so I was interested when, l happened to catch a docu-drama about the pandemic that killed 70 million globally, with some 228,000 victims in Britain. It was a very gritty programme and it left me feeling I really MUST bite the bullet and discover exactly what had caused the deaths of our young ancestors; those morning flowers gathered in their fragrance (to para-phrase the headstone).

Today the postman delivered copies of the entries of death from the (UK) General Register Office, which were ordered on-line exactly one week ago. Having obtained the references from the freeBMD web site, the process is very simple, and I applaud and thank the GRO for the speed with which they completed my order.

Aside from the fact that I found it very distressing to discover the precise causes of death, ( and as a parent I am, again, acutely aware of how painful it must have been for the family,) the certificates provide several pieces of the jig-saw.

1. Date of death.
2. Place of death. Could this help you find some elusive census information?
3. Name, age and gender of the deceased. If you have a Marion or a Vivian, this could be very helpful! In my case I now know what a middle initial stands for, and have made the connection with historical events at the time of birth.
4. Occupation of deceased. Ask yourself just what the entry means. Should you research around this? Was it potentially hazardous in terms of chemicals, fibres or stormy seas, etc.?
5. Cause of death. I had to look up a cause on both certificates. Then I looked at the history and treatment of one cause. Now I can speculate on why these two young women do not have an occupation specified.
6. Consider the name of the person who certified the death. I have found a female M.B. in 1920. I shall research the numbers of women doctors in the UK in 1920.
7. Signature, description and residence of informant. I have one genuine Uncle, and one unknown. More searching on the census for you perhaps??
8. Date of registration.
9. Signature of registrar. This can sometimes be surprising too.

I have no doubt I am not alone in the avoidance of gathering death certificates, and I must admit I have applied for many more copies of marriage certificates during the years of my genealogy quest; but there is a wealth of information to be had from this source, as I have tried to show, indeed burying our ancestors, while often upsetting, can be as useful to our research as marrying them!

Should you now be looking for a last will and testament??

Britsh soldiers/sailors + the American War of Independence.

I have been searching for a couple who married by special licence in 1779, (at the Parish & Priory Church of St Mary, High Street, Totnes, Devon, UK).

The special licence meant that the marriage could take place without the need to wait the statutory three weeks while Banns were called, and was particularly useful where either party had not at any time had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months.

In this case the bride definitely had residency within the Parish of Totnes as she had previously been in receipt of Parish Aid.

The fact of the licence also suggests that speed was more important than the cost involved.

Having ruled out the statutory obligations, I have spent many happy years musing on why this couple resorted to a special licence - I am sure there must be many reasons, but an obvious suggestion is that the groom was a soldier or sailor about to embark on a campaign, which given the date, could feasibly have been the American War of Independence.

QUESTION: are there any specific records regarding British personnel involved?

It is a long shot, but I would welcome all suggestions of where I might find records, or other ideas.

3 comment(s), latest 4 years, 5 months ago

Colonial New England

Having had a long interest in history I find the idea of the "Mayflower Society" really fascinating, and I wonder if interested parties who believe they had ancestors among the early settlers to New England, might want to check out the possibilty of the WINTHROP SOCIETY.

Although I believe the majority of those emigrants were from the East Anglia area of England, I know there was at least one person from Dartmouth in Devon.

You can find the web site at:<>

1 comment(s), latest 5 years, 7 months ago

Convict photographs held at the PRO in Victoria (Australia).

While visiting the free exhibition at the Old Treasury building in Melbourne, (Victoria) recently I was interested by the photographs of prisoners taken during the 1880s and 1890s in Victoria.

The images are part of a collection of "six large albums that contain hundreds of photographs of individual prisoners, male and female, taken during the latter half of the nineteenth century."

The explanation board states that in the 1860s prison administrators were quick to appreciate the advantages of a photographic record in the identification process.

By the 1870s photography was being linked to the prevailing sciences of physiognomy and phrenology which endeavoured to determine a persons character by interpreting facial features, skull size and body shape.

Soon a new photograph was attached to each prisoner's record at the start of every new prison sentence. Where possible these were taken to display distinguishing marks, scars, tattoos etc.

So if you have reason to suspect that an ancestor of yours had a criminal record then you might be lucky enough to trace a photo of your reprobate.

The reference at the base of the board was given as: Photographs of Prisoners PROV.VPRS 522/PO UNITS 2 and 3.

I have no doubt that a polite enquiry via < > will net a helpful reply.

Convicted felon transported to QA Co.1739

I have an archive reference for the landing registration of felons sentenced at County Devon, UK in 1738 who were landed at Queen Anne's County in June of 1739. I would dearly like to know more about that documentation.

Is there anyone able to help at all?

GIBBONS & COKE (a bit like pie & chips??)

This combination is a perfect illustration of the tradition of using family names as middle names, which can be so helpful in tracing a family line.

Susanna GIBBONS COKE was the second daughter of William COKE and Susanna GIBBONS who married in South Devon at Brixham St. Mary's in 1775.

The parents had named their first daughter Susanna, after both mother and grandmother, (Susanna PULSEVER), but I assume the first child died, though I have not found a burial registration as yet. The second daughter was baptised with the same "given" name, plus her mother's maiden name of GIBBONS and of course her father's family name of COKE.

1 comment(s), latest 5 years, 8 months ago

Mystery to solve: What ever happened to Henry BEEDLE and his wife Grace (ROWSE), married 1779 in Devon, U.K.

I began to research the Rowse family tree in 1994 and was delighted to unravel a history back to 1778 deeply involved in sea fishing out of Brixham in South Devon. Known locally as the Mother of all fisheries, I discovered sons from Brixham re-locating to other prominent fishing ports around the UK, such as Hull in East Yorkshire, Ramsgate in Kent and Tenby in South Wales.

However with the birth of Edward Langman Rowse in 1778 at Totnes I hit the proverbial brick wall. I have examined the surviving Parish Overseers Registers and the child was brought up at the expense of the Parish, until he was apprenticed to a tailor in Brixham before his 7th birthday. At the time of Edwards marriage to Susanna Gibbons Coke in 1800 he gives his profession as mariner, an occupation certainly more exciting than tailoring, if not as lucrative.

On16 March 1779, in the year following Edwards birth, his mother Grace ROWST (sic) married Henry BEEDLE by special licence, at the church of Saint Mary's in the High Street at Totnes in Devon, and I have never found a trace of this couple from that day forward.

Staff at the beautiful Totnes museum has been unable to find the special licence or any mention of either Grace or Henry amongst surviving settlement certificates and removal orders. Although the Devon County Records Office has quite a large collection of special licences, naturally they don't have that one. (See rules of genealogy!) I have been unable to locate baptisms or burials for Grace and Henry in the Totnes registers. With the rapid expansion of Internet genealogy I have searched for leads such as marriages, burials, wills and army records but am still without any conclusive information.

The fact of the special licence suggests that the extra cost was of less importance than the time factor, and I have speculated Henry may have been in the Navy or Militia; the timing would be just right for the American Wars of Independence. Perhaps they went to America and never returned??

More recently I have accessed on-line Parish Registers via and have managed to extend Susannas line in Brixham to a marriage in 1603 which has remarkable historic significance; this couple, as children, probably watched the advance of the Spanish Armada along the English Channel in 1588, and their great grand children could have easily witnessed the landing of William of Orange at Brixham in 1688, before his march on London to be crowned monarch the following year.

In 1779 marriage registers did not record ages for the bridal couple, or father's names, which doesn't help as I have no firm indicators of birth year or place for Grace and Henry. So what became of them, and where did they go? Someone must have them on a tree somewhere, surely??

6 comment(s), latest 4 years, 1 month ago

Richard EAME baptised in Brixham, South Devon, connects to CHAMPION & GIBBONS.

I am surprised to be the first on this site to post the name EAME/s.
I have searched the (transcribed) parish registers which are on line for Brixham St. Mary's, and I have found this to be a huge family in the area.

You can find the transcriptions at Genuki and a second set,(including Churston Ferrers,)by different researchers in Australia who have gifted their work to the Brixham Heritage Museum.

Searching the record transcriptions I have found EMM,EME,EAM,EAME,and all sometimes have an "S" attached, or not! Theses variations do not surprise me as I have found similar number of variations for every name I have ever researched. When I consider that the vicar might be in a hurry or tired, perhaps deaf or maybe even a little inebriated, and the people giving the information would be nervous, may also be the worse for a drink and probably had a strong country accent.......(Perm any 3 from 5!)

Richard (? son of George,son of Walter ?) married Elinor Champin (sic) at Brixham in 1654/5 and their son Richard had several children with Mary but I haven't found the marriage yet!

Richard and Mary's daughter Eleanor married John Gibbens in 1717.

4 comment(s), latest 5 years, 2 months ago

ROWSE: mariners of Brixham, Hull, Tenby & Ramsgate.

I began tracing my husband's family tree back in 1993 before genealogy became an internet hobby. I sent out a mail shot, and although only 2 of the replies were useful to our own line, I was able to connect several other family lines, and due to the information they provided I was able to make yet another connection for one of them via rootschat only last month!!

Initially a conversation with an elderly relative provided an overview, which was eventually proved to be only partially correct, though it took many months for me to realise that an obituary in a news clipping provided an accurate list of (now) deceased relatives, and that I had been chasing several red herrings!!

Someone gave me a large pile of genealogy magazine back numbers and I went through each one carefully filing reference articles, compiling an address book of potentially useful contacts and sending out letters enquiring about everything that might be an obscure link.

It was in this way I discovered that the mariners of Brixham often made a seasonal commute, with their entire family, (including pregnant wife,) travelling back and forth between fishing grounds; or migrated permanently to other fishing ports. I have discovered that mariners of the ROWSE family settled in Tenby (South Wales), Hull(East Yorks) and Ramsgate (Kent).

One day on a whim I wrote to someone who had an indirect name connection, and was rather amazed to get a phone call in reply a few days later. The gentleman was not in fact related, but he had been the post master of Tenby, and not only did he remember a (now deceased,) fisherman by the name of ROWSE, but he also knew the two daughters who were still living, though at that time into their late 70s. It was a wonderful thing to make contact with these two ladies and then to visit Tenby to meet them and their families.

I continue to enjoy making links where possible, so it was a great pleasure to pass on information, found coincidentally, to a total stranger yesterday; though I have to admit that working on the theory what goes around, comes around, one day I do hope to receive a similar gift.

1 comment(s), latest 5 years, 8 months ago

Still searching for Grace Rowse

After 18 years I am still searching for the origins of Grace Rowse who was the mother of Edward Langman Rowse, born Totnes, Devon 1778.
Any info anyone??