Category Archives: Ireland

From Workhouse to Senior Civil Servant

I viewed the release of the 1921 census with some excitement and was even more pleased when I was able to add it to my FindMyPast subscription. I have slowly started using it to enhance the information I have on members of my one name study who were born in the latter half of 19th century and into the 20th century. One tree I’ve been working on contains Sargison/Sergisons (and other variants) who lived in Lancashire, although in many cases their ancestors were from Ireland.

While searching the 1921 census I came across a family of Sargisons living at 25 Osborne St, Salford, Lancashire and a new person to add to my tree Philip Harold Sargison (1920-1989). Philip’s father Ernest (1888-1970) was described as a grey cotton goods salesman and his mother Ethel Maude Higham (1889-1968) as having home duties. The family were living with Ernest’s brother Albert (1892-1966), a cotton goods salesman and his wife Edith Jones (1894-1984).  Osborne St is circled in black on the following map (OS Lancashire CIV.NW d1923) and two nearby dye works are in blue. This area of Salford was known for its textile industry in the 1921 census.

Ernest and Albert’s father was Archibald Sargison (1865-1947). He was the son of a soldier, Holmes Sargison, who had been in the 7th Dragoons. Holmes was born on 22 April 1834 in Belfast, Antrim, Ireland and unfortunately a death for him has not so far been found. However, his wife Margaret McManus (1840-1874) died in nearby Cheetham. By the 1881 census Archibald was an inmate in the Salford Union Workhouse, New Eccles Rd, Salford and his sister Mary Anne (born 1871) was an inmate in the Boys Refuge and Industrial School in 14 Francis St, Cheetham.

Archibald went onto marry Sarah Ellen Chapman (1868-1961) in 1886 and they had a family as shown in the following descendant chart:

By the 1921 census Archibald, Sarah and daughters Lilian and Nora were living at 8 Milford St, Weaste, Salford. Archibald was a tobacconists assistant working for Messrs O Mahoney Ltd and daughter Nora an assistant chemist working for J J Rigbys Ltd, soap manufacturers.

So where does the civil servant come into this story? Archibald’s grandson Philip Harold Sargison (1920-1989) joined the Civil Service/executive class in 1938, after an open competition. Two sets of records on FindMyPast, the London Gazette and the Britain, Royal and Imperial Calendars, (1767-1973), were particularly helpful in following Philip’s career in the Civil Service.

By 1939 Philp was an assistant accountant grade II in the War Office. He served in the South Lancashire regiment in WWII and by 1946 had been awarded an MBE. After the war he returned to the War Office and in 1962 was the Deputy Command Secretary in the War Office. The last record I could find for him was in 1973, when he was recorded as Director (Assistant Secretary) of the Directorate of Accounts (civil pay) in the Ministry of Defence. At some point Philip had moved to Bickley, Kent where he died on 4 June 1989.

I am interested in knowing more about the family who I’ve written about in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence and sourced from the NLS maps site


1921 Census of England and Wales. accessed November 2022.

1939 Register. accessed November 2022.

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials.  : accessed November 2022.

Britain, Royal and Imperial Calendars, (1767-1973). accessed November 2022.

Census records.  : accessed November 2022.

England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995.  : accessed November 2022.

GB Historical GIS/University of Portsmouth, History of Salford in Lancashire, Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time accessed: November 2022.

London Gazette 1665-2018. accessed November 2022.

Manchester, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930.  : accessed November 2022.

Military Records.  and : accessed November 2022.

OS (1923) Lancashire CIV.NE Map. : accessed November 2022.

UK, British Army Lists, 1882-1962.  : accessed November 2022.

UK, City and County Directories, 1766-1946.  : accessed November 2022.

Edward Sergesson’s (1803-1859) military career and two of his great granddaughters

Edward was born about 1803 in Stranraer, Wigtonshire, Scotland. He enlisted as a private in the 19rh Regiment of Foot in Leicester, Leicestershire, England on 7 December 1820. Edward was a cordwainer (shoemaker) by trade and aged 17. He was described as five feet five and a half inches tall with a fair complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. Edward had voluntarily enlisted for the bounty of three pounds to serve King George IV. At the time the regiment was commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Hilgrove Turner who is known as the officer who escorted the Rosetta Stone from Egypt to England. (He has an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.) After Edward swore the Oath of Fidelity, he received the sum of two shillings and six pence.

During his military service Edward remained in the 19th Regiment of Foot. Unfortunately, his service record does not provide much detail about where he went with the regiment, although it is likely that he served in the West Indies and Ireland. Edward married his wife Mary Hennessey (1802-1864) in 1837, in Ireland, where his son Arthur was born about 1839. Their next child Mary Ann was born in 1843 in Jersey.

Edward was promoted to the rank of Corporal on 29 November 1836; a rank which he retained until the end of his service on 13 April 1843. He was aged 39 years and 4 months on his discharge and described as being five feet six inches tall with dark brown hair, brown eyes and a swarthy complexion with no marks or scars on his face or body.

After his discharge Edward returned to his trade as a cordwainer and settled in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. With his wife Mary they had three more children: Edward James, John and (Thomas) Francis. Edward died on 3 March 1859 in Glasgow and Mary on 8 June 1864 in the Glasgow Poorhouse.

Edward and Mary’s son, Edward James Sergison (1845-1876), also became a soldier with the 2nd Battalion of 12th Regiment of Foot (later the Suffolk Regiment). He enlisted on 7 June 1859 and became a drummer. During his 13 years-service Edward spent just under two years in the East Indies. Sadly, he was admitted to the Sussex Lunatic Asylum on 3 February 1876 and died there on 19 March 1876.  His son Charles Sargison (1874-1937) enlisted in the Suffolk Regiment on 13 November 1889 aged 14 years and 8 months. He was discharged on 12 July 1892, probably as a result of suffering from ametropia, having served in Egypt and India.

Charles married Jane Elizabeth Deacon (b 1871) on 29 April 1897 in New Ross, Wexford, Ireland. Charles was from Stillorgan, county Dublin and a farmer. They had four children: one son and three daughters. By 1911 Charles was a grocer and farmer and the family were living in Stillorgan where they had a shop and a second-class house with between 2 and 4 rooms and 4 windows in the front.

Stillorgan commercial postcard dated around 1905 (Unknown source, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Two of Charles and Jane’s daughters became nurses. Both Isabella Florence Sargison (1898-1995) and Minnie Frances Sargison (1902-1954) trained in England and then returned to Ireland. Minnie was the first to undertake her training as nurse between 1923 and 1926. She trained at the Brownlow Hill Infirmary in Liverpool which was a large workhouse infirmary which was demolished in 1931.  By 1928 the Nursing Register shows that Minnie had returned to Ireland and was living in Grove View, Stillorgan.  

Brownlow Hill Infirmary, Liverpool (Unknown Author, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Despite probably being a member of the British Red Cross Society Voluntary Aid Detachment in WWI, Isabella did not start her nursing training until 1924.  Her Nursing Register entry reports that her previous occupation was as a typist and that she was a cyclist. She trained at the Walton Institution in Liverpool and was registered as a Queen’s Nurse in 1927.

Both Isabella and Minnie added midwifery training to their qualifications, with Isabella completing her district training at the St Patrick’s home in Dublin between 15 April and 15 October 1829. The home was for mothers and babies and was run on strict lines. Both the Superintendent’s and Inspector’s reports indicated that Isabella was a good nurse but “lacking in enthusiasm and initiative”. However, it was noted that her “patients like her”.

By 1931 the Nursing Register shows that both Isabella and Minnie were living at Gove View, Stillorgan. They remained there until about 1937 when their address is given as 16 Sallymount Gardens, Ranelagh. They moved there with their father Charles as this was the address recorded for him on his 1937 death certificate; his daughter Minnie was the informant. Isabella and Minnie did not marry; Minnie died in 1954 and Isabella in 1995.

What I’ve found most useful in developing this story is the range of military records and the UK and Ireland Nursing Registers which can be found on-line. I am interested though in finding out more about the family. If you have information that you would be willing to share with me do please contact me.  


Ireland. @ accessed November 2020.

London Gazette. : accessed November 2020.

Military records. : accessed November 2020.

Military records. : accessed November 2020.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. : accessed November 2020. UK and Ireland Nursing Registers. : accessed November 2020.