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A Kiwi in search of her Irish, English & Scottish tribes

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George Tunnecliffe of Taranaki — and Tean?

My 3 x great grandfather George Tunnecliffe (or Tunnecliff/Tunnicliff/Tunnicliffe) arrived in New Zealand aboard the Dinapore, landing in Auckland on 5th of August 1857. Three days later he married a fellow passenger, Elizabeth Barber, and they made their home in the province of Taranaki.

1857 marriage register entry for George Tunnecliff and Elizabeth Barber, Auckland [REF]

1857 marriage register entry for George Tunnecliff and Elizabeth Barber, Auckland (NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages 1857/929)

As their marriage occurred before 1880, the couple’s parents were not stated on the marriage registration. When George died in 1912, sadly neither of his parents were given on his death certificate (as is usual for a New Zealand death registration after 1875).

1912 death register entry for George Tunnicliffe, New Plymouth.

1912 death register entry for George Tunnicliffe, New Plymouth (NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages 1912/2739)

The only clue to his family was the name of the county were he was born — Staffordshire.

Born Staffordshire, England - detail from 1912 death register entry for George Tunnicliffe, New Plymouth.

Where born, from 1912 death register entry for George Tunnicliffe, New Plymouth  (NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages 1912/2739)

George’s birth year was around 1831, and so I searched for likely candidates baptised in Staffordshire around that time.  My next step was matching those baptisms to families in the England & Wales censuses of 1841 and 1851. I then tried to find each candidate in the 1861 census, reasoning that I could discount any that were still in England at that time. There was one family whose son George fitted the bill.

This was the family of farmer William Tunnecliff and Louisa Phillips of Tean in the parish of Checkley.  Their son George was born on 17th December 1831, and baptised two days later in the parish church, St Mary and All Saints.

1831 baptism of George Tunnicliffe, son of William and Louisa, on 19th December in the parish of Checkley

1831 baptism of George Tunnicliffe, son of William and Louisa, on 19th December in the parish of Checkley

William and Louisa had seven children baptised in Checkley:

  • William, born 1 Oct 1826, bap. 31 Oct 1826
  • Francis Nathaniel,  bap. 10 Mar 1828
  • Edward Philips,  bap. 6 Mar 1830
  • George, born 17 Dec 1831,  bap. 19 Dec 1831
  • Georgiana Louisa, born 11 Dec 1833, bap. 14 Dec 1833
  • Elizabeth Anne, born 18 Mar 1836,  bap. 21 Mar 1836
  • Bethuel, born 1 Jan 1840, bap. 20 Feb 1840

Bethuel was the name of Louisa’s grandfather, and it wasn’t hard to research back with such a distinctive name, but I had to stop! What if they weren’t my family?

 St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

When I posted on this blog about visiting Checkley in 2012, a descendant of that family got in contact, saying she thought George might be a brother to her ancestor, Francis Nathaniel Tunnecliffe. Francis and his brother Edward both emigrated to Australia, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to think that their younger brother also emigrated to the other side of the world.

In 1841, the Tunnecliff family and three servants were living at Hall Green, Tean.1

William Tunnicliffe household at Hall Green, Tean, Checkley, 1841 England & Wales Census.

William Tunnecliff household at Hall Green, Tean, Checkley, 1841 England & Wales Census.

Five of their children were living with them.  Francis was elsewhere, and Georgiana had died in 1838, and was buried at St Michael’s churchyard in Rocester on 18 Apr 1838.2

By 1851, the household had changed markedly.  Son William had died in 1846, and William senior died the following year.

Louisa Tunnecliff household at Tean Villa, Checkley in 1851 England & Wales census

Louisa Tunnecliff household at Tean Villa, Checkley in 1851 England & Wales census

Louisa had moved to Tean Villa and four of her children were living with her: Edward, George, Elizabeth and Bethuel.3 Son Francis was living at Hall Green with his widowed aunt Maria Thweng, Louisa’s sister.4

Tean Villa, Upper Tean, and Hall Green, Between Teans, in the parish of Checkley, map 1888

Tean Villa and Hall Green, between Upper Tean and Lower Tean in the parish of Checkley (map of Lower Tean, Staffordshire, Old Victorian Ordnance Survey 6 inch to 1 mile Map (1888-1913)
https://www.archiuk.com/)

More cousins came out of the woodwork — one descended from the Edward who went to Australia, and another more distant cousin who was descended from William Tunnecliffe’s uncle.

It may have been around the time I was doing assignments on probate records for IHGS, when I thought to look for wills for these Tunnecliffes, specifically Louisa. I hadn’t thought of it before, as none of my other “pre-New Zealand” folks had left much at all, let alone a will.

Louisa’s husband William had died in 1847 without leaving a will, but his father Francis (who died in 1854) left bequests to daughter-in-law Louisa, as well as his grandchildren.  Did this provide the funds for grandsons Francis, Edward and George to emigrate?

1879 will of Louisa Tunnecliff

Will of Louisa Tunnecliff, dated 20th November 1868, proved 10th March 1880, Lichfield.

Louisa Tunnecliff died in 1879, and in her will, apart from the proceeds of her estate to be split between her children,  she left explicit bequests of numerous items, notably anything large to family still living in England, and much smaller items such as jewellery to those living overseas. Louisa also bequeathed items to her children’s spouses, and their first-born daughters. Frustratingly, she did not name them!  George’s eldest daughter was bequeathed a gold watch and chain, and his wife, two small rings.

1879 will of Louisa Tunnecliff

Will of Louisa Tunnecliff, dated 20th November 1868, proved 10th March 1880, Lichfield.

Of most significance, there were three items in her bequests that presumably were gifts sent to her from family (or friends?) living overseas — an “Australian ring”, a “New Zealand Picture in Oil”, and a “Satchel and Cover from New Zealand”. Unless Francis and Edward had been gallivanting around New Zealand, I surmised that it was more likely a relation living in NZ would have sent the items from there, namely (hopefully?) my George.

After this, I happily researched the Tunnicliffe and Phillips families, reasonably sure that they were mine. Or was it wishful thinking? Louisa Phillips had come from a well-to-do family and it was a joy to finally discover an ancestral line that had land, houses, wills! At the back of my mind, I still wasn’t 100 per cent confident these were my families.

My parents first had their DNA tested in 2013 at FamilyTreeDNA, and later Ancestry. I haven’t delved too much into analysing their results so far, as I had plenty of paper trails to follow while I was living in England.  Still, I kept checking the matches, seeing if particular surnames cropped up, to confirm what I’d researched so far. Worryingly, no matches ever appeared that linked with the Tunnecliffe and Phillips families in England.

Until a couple of weeks ago when a fourth cousin match popped up for my mother — a descendant of Francis Nathaniel Tunnecliffe, one of the brothers who had emigrated to Australia. Eureka!  I still need a couple more matches to verify the connection, but it’s a great start.

DNA: the additional, essential tool in your genealogy toolbox - quote from Helen V. Smith

Later this month I’m off to Sydney to attend DNA Down Under, so I’ll get a chance to learn more about DNA analysis and how to combine it with my genealogical research.*  There are some inspiring local and international speakers, and I hope to catch up with a few genie mates as well (and the odd cousin or two!).  If you haven’t checked out the DNA Down Under six-city schedule, hurry!  Here are the pre-booking dates:

  • 7 August – Brisbane and Perth
  • 14 August – Adelaine, Canberra, Melbourne
  • 18 August – Sydney

There may be tickets available on the day, but to guarantee your ticket, get in and pre-book (plus you go in the draw for a heap of cool prizes)!

While there are presentations for all levels of DNA expertise (even none at all!), I’m planning to do a bit of swatting up beforehand, to get the most out of the event.  If you’re new to using DNA for genealogy, a good place to start is the International Society of Genetic Genealogy website.

*Disclaimer: As a DNA Down Under Ambassador, I get discounted entry for highlighting the event.

  1. 1841 England & Wales census, William Tunnecliff household; digital image, Ancestry.com; citing The National Archives,  Class: HO107; Piece 1006; Book: 10; Civil Parish: Checkley; County: Staffordshire; Enumeration District: 13; Folio: 38; Page: 1; Line: 6; GSU roll: 474630
  2. “England, Staffordshire, Church Records, 1538-1944,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QL7N-P58R : 13 December 2017), Georgina Louisa Tunnecliffe, 18 Apr 1838; citing Burial, Rocester, Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom, Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent Archive Service, Stafford; FHL microfilm 101,022,137.
  3. 1851 England & Wales census, Louisa Tunnecliff household, Checkley; digital image, Ancestry.com; citing The National Archives, Class: HO107; Piece: 2009; Folio: 559; Page: 4; GSU roll: 87412.
  4. 1851 England & Wales census, Francis Tunnecliff household, Checkley; digital image, Ancestry.com; citing The National Archives, Class: HO107; Piece: 2009; Folio: 597; Page: 1; GSU roll: 87412.

The Travelling Genie

It’s been over a month since we arrived back from a family trip to the UK, where I managed to squeeze in a few genealogy-related activities.

While our main reason for visiting was to see family and friends, the timing of our visit was so I could attend the award ceremony for my Advanced Diploma in Local History at the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education, 2019 Award Ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre

University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education, 2019 Award Ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre

I would absolutely recommend the course – just be prepared to give up your life while you’re doing it!  There was a lot of reading. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. You’d start off on one book or article and then disappear down a rabbit hole of footnotes and references until your eyes weeped from tiredness. The assignments were evenly spaced throughout the year, though there was also the unit homework to complete as well (did anyone ever finish it all?), and the weekly online tutorial chats to attend. These were relatively informal, but just like with the online course forum, I suffered a little from imposter syndrome and was reticent about posting much.  Which was all very daft, as the students and tutors were welcoming and generous. It was often a struggle fitting in studying with holding down a day job combined with family responsibilities, but oh, the joy in learning and having my eyes opened! And the opportunity to combine my love of history with a love of data wrangling and analysis. It was definitely the most intense and challenging course I have ever undertaken.


After Oxford, it was on to Leicester – where the Guild of One-Name Studies was celebrating its 40th birthday as part of its annual conference, and happily the dates coincided with our travels. The conference organisers had arranged an optional tour of the Richard III visitors’ centre and nearby cathedral, and it was a great chance to peer down into the spot where Richard’s body had been discovered, and also to see his impressive final resting place.

The tomb of Richard III, Leicester Cathedral

The tomb of Richard III, Leicester Cathedral

The conference itself was a combination of socialising and learning, with some fantastic presentations, including one from Simon Wills on ancestral travels by sea, Voyages from the Past. I’ve now since bought his book of the same name. (A fuller review of the conference appears in July’s Guild Journal.)


Before my trip, I had decided I would focus my research on my 3 x great grandfather, John Clark(e), and I spent a couple of days at The National Archives at Kew and three days in Belfast, chasing him up in muster rolls, pension payment records, and parish registers.  Which John Clark was he – Thing 1 or Thing 2??

John Clark (1) and (2) in the muster rolls for 74th Regiment of Foot

John Clark (1) and (2), 74th Regiment of Foot muster roll, 1 Jul – 30 Sep 1846, WO 12/8099, National Archives (UK)

I had been to Belfast several times before, but never visited the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). On my first morning in the city I stopped in at the Ulster Historical Foundation to see about booking a research consultation. Fortunately there was a researcher available right then and there, and Gillian Hunt was a huge help in reviewing what I’d already found and suggesting ways forward in my research, as well as finding a baptism I hadn’t come across.  I’d really recommend doing this, especially if it’s your first time in Belfast, though at busier times you’d need to book an appointment in advance.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Belfast

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Belfast

The facilities at PRONI are fabulous and the staff incredibly helpful.  It’s located in the Titanic Quarter, not far from the Titanic museum, and I opted to stay in the city centre, about a 30 minute walk away. The Hop-on Hop-off City Sightseeing bus travels through the area regularly, and on my last afternoon I hopped on and took a tour around the city before heading to the airport.


The last genealogical event I attended was Family Tree LIVE at Alexandra Palace in London at the end of April.  After a dearth of similar events last year due to the closure of WDYTYA? Live, suddenly there’s a whole heap of genie treats this year, and I was thrilled to sneak this in to our trip.

Queuing up to get in to Family Tree Live, Alexandra Palace, London

Family Tree LIVE, Alexandra Palace, London

The venue was fantastic, and although there were few nearby eating and sleeping options, there was parking available plus shuttle buses from Wood Green underground station.  I thought the atmosphere was wonderful, and it was lovely to catch up with many genie friends and put faces to Twitter handles. The range of talks was excellent – highlights for me were Pam Smith’s presentation on her one-place study of Rillington, and Jonny Perl’s chromosome mapping with his DNA Painter tool.


Back on this side of the planet now and there’s lots to look forward to!  My father is celebrating his 80th birthday and the launch of his family history book this month. August is Family History month in Australasia, and I’m heading to Auckland for the Family History Expo there, and have also booked for the DNA Down Under three day event in Sydney at the end of August.

Bethuel Boyes of Great Driffield ~ Tombstone Tuesday

I’ve done my fair share of walking around graveyards in the vain hope of discovering an ancestor’s (legible) gravestone. And occasionally I get lucky!

Gravestone of George & Elizabeth Kemp, also Thomas Kemp, St John the Evangalist churchyard, Oulton, West Yorkshire

Gravestone of George & Elizabeth Kemp, also Thomas Kemp, St John the Evangalist churchyard, Oulton, West Yorkshire

(See an earlier post about finding George & Elizabeth Kemp in West Yorkshire.)

Sometimes I’ve even checked the burial registers or with cemetery staff beforehand and know for certain that a family member is buried there. And I’ve not been so lucky.

Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, London - June 2012

Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, London ~ June 2012

(See an earlier post on Mary Jane’s grave at Brockley Cemetery.)

A few months ago I thought I was onto a winning formula – not only had I found a transcription of an ancestor’s gravestone, but also a map clearly showing where it was in the churchyard of All Saints, Great Driffield, East Yorkshire.

1a Near this place lie interred the remains of /BETHUEL BOYES, Esquire, who
departed this life/ August 27th 1810, aged 78 years/ Also MARY BOYES his
wife, who departed this life/ September 13th 1819 aged 80 years/ Also BRYAN
BOYES / son of the above, who departed this life/October 13th 1843, aged 70
years/ Also of BETHUEL BOYES, Esquire/ (late of Eastburn), son of the
above, who died/14th April 1840, aged 73 years/ Also of LOIS BOYES, his
wife, who died /24th July 1820, aged 47 years/ And in memory of/ JOHN BOYES
Esquire, son of the above (interred in Little Driffield Church) who died/
30th March 1847, aged 71 years.1

Also listed were the relevant entries from the parish registers:

1810 Aug 29 Bethel Boyes, Gentleman 78
1819 Sep 15 Mary Boyes, Widow, Great Driffield 80
1843 Oct 20 Bryan Boyes, Great Driffield 70
1840 Apr 21 Bethel Boyes, Eastburn 73
1820 Jul 26 Lois, wife of Bethuel Boyes, Eastburn 47
*1847 Apr 6 John Boyes, Great Driffield 71 (in Little Driffield Register)2

So, on a recent trip to Yorkshire for an IHGS students get-together, I hired a car for an afternoon and went off in search of Mr Bethuel Boyes and Co.’s final resting place.

All Saint's Church, Great Driffield

All Saint’s Church, Great Driffield

See any gravestones? No.

Where have they gone? Removed. All of them.

See that thin weedy looking plant? Underneath that, or near enough anyway, lie the remains of my 6 x great grandparents, Bethuel and Mary (Etherington), two of their sons, and a daughter-in-law.

R.I.P.

A huge thanks to the East Yorkshire Family History Society who recorded the locations and inscriptions of the gravestones at All Saints churchyard in June 1982!

Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. East Yorkshire FHS (trans.), Driffield ,Great (All Saints) memorial inscriptions: East Yorkshire monumental inscriptions vol. 5, East Yorkshire FHS (1990).
  2. Ibid.

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ Wordless Wednesday

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series The Tunnecliffes of Taranaki
St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

St Mary & All Saints Church, Checkley, Staffordshire ~ April 2012

My 3 x great grandfather George was baptised in this church on 19 December 1831, the son of William Tunnicliffe, farmer of Hall Green, and Louisa his wife1.

  1. St Mary & All Saints Church (Checkley, Staffordshire, England), Staffordshire Baptisms 1538-1900; digital image, FindMyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 01 Aug 2014).

Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, England ~ Wordless Wednesday

 

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham - June 2012

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham – June 2012

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham - June 2012

Gravestones, Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham – June 2012

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

St Mary’s Church, Polstead, Suffolk ~ revisited

Some weeks back I posted a photo I took of St Mary’s church in Polstead, Suffolk.  It’s a beautiful old village church, and when we visited back in August, we could just walk in and take a look around.

Inside, I picked up a copy of Polstead Church and Parish1 for a small donation, and the following information comes from there.

Interior of St Mary's church, Polstead, Suffok ~ August 2011

Interior of St Mary's church, Polstead, Suffolk ~ August 2011

The  church was built early in the reign of Henry II, probably about 1160 A.D. and was dedicated to Saint Mary.  There have been two major alterations to the orginal twelfth-century Norman church, one towards the end of the fourteenth centur and another about 1510-1520.

The interior of the church is given a unique appearance by the use of brick and tufa blocks (a porous stone used for building at Rome and Naples) in the construction of the nave arches – Norman arches of brick are very rare; there is no other church like this in the whole of Suffolk.

Baptismal font c.13th century, St Mary's church, Polstead, Suffolk ~ August 2011

Baptismal font c.13th century, St Mary's church, Polstead, Suffolk ~ August 2011

The plain baptismal font probably dates from the 13th century, and was completely restored in 1961.  The original base has been enlarged and the lead bowl with drain has replaced the original.   The original 17th century wooden font cover has been replaced by one made of fibre-glass, in a symbolic design design of the Dove and undulating waters of Baptism. (It was designed by a nun of Oxford, who had trained at the Slade School of Art.)

There is much architectural joy to be discovered in this church.  I found it to be a very lovely and simple place of worship, with lots of historical bits and bobs to savour.  It’s where some of my Wright ancestors were baptised and married, and some buried in the graveyard.

St Mary's church graveyard, Polstead, Suffolk ~ August 2011

St Mary's church graveyard, Polstead, Suffolk ~ August 2011

  1. Polstead Parochial Church Council. Polstead Church and Parish, based on an original history by Laurence S. Harley FSA, first published in January 1951, Polstead Parochial Church Council (Suffolk: 2005)

Polstead, Suffolk ~ Wordless Wednesday

Polstead, Suffolk - August 2011

Polstead, Suffolk - August 2011

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

St Mary’s Church, Polstead, Suffolk ~ Wordless Wednesday

St Mary's Church, Polstead, Suffolk - August 2011

St Mary's Church, Polstead, Suffolk - August 2011

Are you trying to trace members of your family in Polstead?

Are you trying to trace members of your family in Polstead?

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

West Yorkshire research trip – Part 4

I posted a photo last week of Rothwell’s market cross – a replica of the medieval one, which originally was close to the current site.  I have several census returns where the address is simply “Near Crop” or “New Cross”, or maybe they are the same?   In the following instances, they look quite distinct:

1861 England census, Rothwell - detail

1861 England census, Rothwell – detail

1871 England census, Rothwell - detail

1871 England census, Rothwell – detail

In fact, the second one may even be “Near Cross”.

Samuel Nunns and his wife Sarah, my Elsie‘s great grandparents, were living at “Near Crop”, Rothwell at the time of the 1861 census.1  Their children were Henry 9, William 8, Thomas 6, Joseph 5, and Sarah 1.  Ten years later, the family are at “New Cross”, Rothwell, and with two more children: John 7 and Charles 6.  Sarah is not listed this time.  The four older boys are now working in the coal mine along with their father.2

By 1881, Sarah is widowed and living at 12 Cross Street with sons William, Joseph, John and Charles.3  Meanwhile, her eldest son Henry has married Tamar Dickinson and is living at 21 Cross Street along with children Sam 7, Elizabeth 5, John 4 and Joseph 1.4

At Rothwell Library, a helpful staff member pointed out the “new cross” on an old map, and mentioned how her family had lived near there.  Perhaps this is the area of “New Cross”?  I was looking for Cross Street which is still there, though most (if not all) of the old houses seem to have gone.  Cross Terrace is also there – did the old houses on Cross Street look similar to these?

Cross Terrace, looking down Cross Street, Rothwell - August 2011

Cross Terrace, looking down Cross Street, Rothwell – August 2011

By 1891, both households had moved from Cross Street, to other streets in Rothwell that I failed to locate during the summer.

This week I discovered a fascinating document – Rothwell Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan – which details the town’s historic areas, one of which is Cross Terrace.  Apparently all round that area is the “historic core” of Rothwell.  There’s a whole heap of information about the history of the town and its architecture.  On the Leeds City Council website, there are similar Conservation Area appraisals for other towns, including Oulton.  The references at the end of each document are definitely worth a look, if you’re interested in the local history.

  1. “1861 England Census, Samuel Nunns (35) household, Rothwell, Yorkshire,” Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 30 Dec 2010, digital image, citing PRO RG9/3359, folio 6, page 5, GSU roll: 543120, Hunslet registration district, Rothwell sub-registration district, household 22, 07 April 1861.
  2. “1871 England Census, Samuel Nunns (44) household, Rothwell, Yorkshire,” Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 30 Dec 2006, digital image, citing PRO RG10/4517, folio 6, page 5, household 26, GSU roll: 848472, Hunslet registration district, Rothwell sub-registration district, 02 Apr 1871.
  3. “1881 England Census, Sarah Nunns (56) household, Rothwell, Yorkshire,” Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 05 Aug 2011, digital image, citing PRO RG11/4494, folio 5, page 3, GSU roll: 1342076, Hunslet registration district, Rothwell sub registration district, ED 1, 03 Apr 1881.
  4. “1881 England Census, Henry Nunns (29) household, Rothwell, Yorkshire,” Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 30 Dec 2006, digital image, citing PRO RG11/4494, folio 5, pp 4-5, GSU roll: 1342076, Hunslet registration district, Rothwell sub-registration district, ED 1, household 21, 03 Apr 1881.

Market Cross, Rothwell, West Yorkshire ~ Wordless Wednesday

Replica of Rothwell's market cross, thought to be close to the site of the original medieval cross, August 2011

Replica of Rothwell's market cross, thought to be close to the site of the original medieval cross, August 2011

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

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