Attention all you sleuths

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Grandad
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Attention all you sleuths

Post by Grandad »

In my genealogy research I have come across a page of interest from the 1881 census. I would appreciate any help in deciphering the surname of the widdow in the 4th line down followed by her three children. I think the surname starts 'Hol' and possibly ends 'ans' but I have tried many combinations and none fit. Any thoughts on the surname would be appreciated. Many thanks, Grandad
1881 census Joshua Downes.jpg
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by hatusu »

Could the 4th letter be 'm', as in 'holm', the Viking word for 'island'. (Surnames often came from place names)
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by newcastle »

hatusu wrote: Sun Feb 13, 2022 5:48 pm Could the 4th letter be 'm', as in 'holm', the Viking word for 'island'. (Surnames often came from place names)
That would be my guess too. And Holmans is a fairly common name.
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by Grandad »

@hatusu @newcastle
Thank you both for your responses, I think that is probably correct. I had tried 'Holmans' but without any success. Must just keep searching....
Grandad :gg:
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by newcastle »

I’m just wondering whether that 3rd letter is actually an “l”.

It closely resembles the “h” which is indisputable in some other names .

Admittedly, a name commencing “Hoh…” is pretty unusual!
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by HEPZIBAH »

newcastle wrote: Mon Feb 14, 2022 1:07 pm I’m just wondering whether that 3rd letter is actually an “l”.

It closely resembles the “h” which is indisputable in some other names .

Admittedly, a name commencing “Hoh…” is pretty unusual!
I spent some time looking at this yesterday and that was what I kept coming up with.

Searching through English surnames on line and I couldn't come up with much other than what has been suggested - the n's an m's do seem to appear to be written very much the same.
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by Grandad »

Thanks for your interest folks. I try to limit my searches to direct lines but so often I get sidetracked if something of interest arises. Such is the case here.
I have some interest in Joshua Downes who is listed on the 1881 census return. He is a great grand uncle so not direct line. However I found that in the 1871 census he was living with his sister (my 2x great grandmother) who with 5 children was widowed in 1867. She did however have 2 more children after her husbands death and I am seeking more information about who was the father OR was there an incestuous relationship with her brother?????
Then, finding Joshua in a lodging house in Canterbury and probably down on his luck, I wondered if he could have developed a relationship with Fanny Holmans. So that is the sort of line that I am investigating purely for interest because none of these people are directly related to me.
These Victorian times were very hard for some. The lodging house where Joshua was staying in 1881 housed the head and his wife and 3 children plus 12 lodgers including Fanny and her 3 children. It is not a big house and as it is near to where I live, I took a picture on Saturday. Must have been somewhat overcrowded don't you think? ;)
18810000 19 pound Lane Canterbury.jpg
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by A-Four »

As I previously wrote Grandad, a certain member of my family is researching the East London side of our family, it proves very difficult, when road names change, even work-house details, etc. Then there is the old style hand writing, even so he has been able to trace back to weddings in one of Hawksmoor's old churches in the East End of some old family members. Now he's going back even further than that, many surprises have shown up, many not happy,.......but that is life, especially in the old East End.

I informed him of your quest above, and has advised you become a member of a certain Facebook group who he says has experts on the squiggly hand writing stuff, and able to give top advise you may need on many other aspects.

It is called,........Who do you think you are? Magazine group.

Good Luck.
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by A-Four »

I once owned a house not so long ago in York Square in the East End, I discovered that in the 1880's thirty eight people lived in that three bed roomed place, not including children, and that area was suppose to be quite reasonable to live then.
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by Grandad »

Wow! That's what you call a 'Full House' A-Four.
Until 1861 the census return included a column headed 'Whether blind or deaf and dumb'..
This was changed in 1871 to 1) Deaf and Dumb, 2) Blind 3) Imbecile or Idiot 4) Lunatic.
I suppose it was left to the census enumerator to determine which classification should apply.
Thank goodness that diagnosis and treatment of mental illness has moved on since that time.....
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by A-Four »

Grandad wrote: Mon Feb 14, 2022 6:00 pm Then, finding Joshua in a lodging house in Canterbury and probably down on his luck, I wondered if he could have developed a relationship with Fanny Holmans. So that is the sort of line that I am investigating purely for interest because none of these people are directly related to me.
These Victorian times were very hard for some.
I am not certain here but, I think we have to remember that Great Britain throughout this period was constantly at war within the old empire, without even mentioning the Great War. Therefore, when a woman lost her husband, the widow would often marry someone from the immediate household out of sympathy and protect the woman from a future life in the work house.

From what I am told, we have to study social history of that time, the East End of London was truly dreadful, and can only hope that Canterbury was, shall we say, a little more desirable.
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by A-Four »

Another thing that has to be given consideration, that after the each of the two world wars, widows were able to claim a pension, up until they married again. Many did not, and many had open relations, children were given the fathers surnames, or later given another surname.

Even in the 1950's and 60's a man and woman could live together, where she could still get a war widow pension, and the man could claim on his tax return for a live-in house keeper.
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by carrie »

My home town was famous for it's cotton mills. Many workers were required and a lot of two up two down homes were built to accommodate them. Quite high pitched roofs with attics that ran the entire street.
As the work became more unpopular with the British a lot of Indian and Pakistani started to work there and buy the small houses. After some complaints police investigated and literally hundreds of workers were living in the attics having the run of the whole street. Now that's what I call over crowding.
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by John Landon »

In my village in the Dales, the population was just 700, it hasn't grown much since I left there in 1970.

When looking into my villages history, it turns out that over 4000 people lived there.
This is why in many old 2 story cottages you will see where an outside staircase went up to a door on the second floor. The door is nowadays a window and the staircase long gone, but it turns out that in those 4 rooms a family would be living in each one.
Back in those days, there was a lot of mining of lead going on in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale.
The land was covered in trees in those days, but for logistical reasons it was easier to smelt the metal on site, so much of the woodland disappeared. The last bit of woodland went during world war one to make ammunition boxes.
This earlier activity that deforested the area is why the dales is famous for sheep farming. Many of the sheep farmers crossed the Pennines from Cumbria to farm there.


Now as a child living in an old Viking cottage while we were waiting for our house to be built, I remember seeing an old lady dressed in black in her bed. I would look up at her and she would look down at me. We never spoke. It was only a few years ago that I found out who she was, she was the sister of a Tennant farmer, and he retired and gave up the farm in 1916. His name was Albert Hammond.

My aunty who owns the old cottage brought out a poster for the sale of the farm equipment, and his name was on there. I can assume his sister was named Victoria.
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Re: Attention all you sleuths

Post by Grandad »

Thanks for all your interesting stories folks. :up
I get a great felling of connection if I go and photograph the front door of a house where an ancestor lived a century or two ago. Sometimes coincidences occur as in this story:

"So far I have found my 'Madams' line to be the most interesting not least for some coincidences that have come up. My paternal grandmother was born Julia Manuel in 1872. Various documents record her place of birth as Ospringe, Rodmersham or Luddenham, but all are in the area of Faversham Kent. Another link to this area appears on my maternal Madams line. My third Great Granduncle, Thomas Madams, is recorded in the 1861 census as Publican of The Shipwrights Arms at Hollowshore, Luddenham. The Shipwrights Arms is a seventeenth century inn with a history of more than three hundred years including pirates and smugglers. So there is a link of places of residence for both my paternal and maternal lines. A small coincidence which is quite likely in this corner of Kent in the Victorian nineteenth century.
But, fast forward about one hundred years. In the nineteen fifties and sixties my wifes parents lived in an apartment, one of six, in a converted early eighteenth century, grade II listed building. One of the neighbours and his wife decided to move their life in a new direction by going into the hospitality business. By total coincidence they became the publicans of The Shipwrights Arms. A warm and welcoming pub that we then visited many times until they retired. The Shipwrights Arms reputedly has ghosts, My Great Great Great Granduncle Thomas Madams perhaps"?
:) :) :)
Grandad :gg:
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