Category Archives: Story

Robert Sergeneson and Maria Gardiner – connected to the father of witchcraft?

I am known for my keen reading habit and I often order books which I mean to get around to reading at some stage. This usually leaves me with a pile which from time to time I decide I need to sort out. This week I noticed the pile was getting rather large, and after some ruthless sorting, I decided that there were only four which I needed to do anything with; the rest could be filed on my bookshelf as reference material.

One of the books I decided it was time to browse and determine what to do with it was Philip Heselton’s on “Witchfather: A Life of Gerald Gardner”. It turns out that I’d bought the book because it had a pedigree chart for some members of the Sergeneson family, who are in my Serjeantson West Riding of Yorkshire tree. That motivated me to browse the book to see how its subject, Gerald Gardner, was related to the people on the chart.

Gerald Brousseau Gardner was born in 1884 in Lancashire. He married Dorothea Frances Rosedale in 1927 and spent time working in Ceylon, Borneo and Malaysia. Just prior to WWII, while living at Southridge, Highcliffe-on-Sea, Dorset, it is thought that Gerald was initiated into the New Forest Witches coven. He became devoted to promoting this new found religion and became involved in initiating people into the Wiccan culture. There is now a blue plaque on his former home Southridge, which names him as the “Father of Modern Witchcraft”.

Gerald’s parents were William Robert Gardner (1843-1935) and Louise Burguelew Ennis (born about 1843). William was the youngest son of Joseph Gardner (1791-1865), a well-known timber merchant from Liverpool and Maria Jackson (1801-1876). The connection between Gerald and the Sergeneson family is through his aunt Maria Gardner (1833-1914). The following chart shows the key relationships in the Gardner family.

Abbreviated chart for the Gardner family

Maria Gardner married Robert Sergeneson (1828-1896), in 1856; they had five children: two boys and three girls. By the 1891 census the family were living in Litherland, Lancashire with Robert’s occupation recorded as a master cooper and Edmund’s as a commercial traveller for timber. The following chart shows Robert, Maria and their immediate family.

Family chart for Robert Sergeneson and Maria Gardner

The Sergeneson family had moved to Formby, Lancashire by the time Robert died in 1896. In 1901 both Maria and her son Edmund and his family are living at separate addresses in Formby. Maria was living on her own means and Edmund was a commercial traveller in hard woods.

It’s in 1907 that Gerald Gardner received an invitation to visit the Sergeneson family whose address was Redholme, Freshfield Rd, Formby. The following OS map from 1927 shows the location of Redholme marked in blue:

OS Lancashire XC.3 date 1927

Heselton’s records that Edmund’s wife Nellie explained to Gerald that she was his godmother and that Edmund’s mother Maria was his aunt; someone he had never met. They were also connected through Nellie’s family. When Gerald returned home to Blundellsands after the visit, he apparently asked his mother why he hadn’t previously met his godmother, Nellie. It seems that the Sergeneson’s were Methodists; a faith no longer practised by the Gardner family. This did not put off Gerald continuing to visit the family.

Edmund and Nellie continued to live at Redholme. In the 1921 census Edmund was recorded as a manager at J Gardner and Sons, hardwood merchants, Peel Rd, Bootle. The company had been established in the late 18th century; it specialised in tropical and sub-tropical hard and fancy woods. Edmund and Nellie continued to live at Redholme until their deaths in 1925 and 1930 respectively.

So now just three more books to browse and decide what to do with!

Lastly – I would like to know more about the Sergeneson family mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

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 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography:

1921 Census. https://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed June 2022.

Biography and Genealogy Master Index (BGMI). https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Births, marriages and deaths. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Census records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Formby. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/Formby : accessed June 2022.

Gerald Brousseau Gardner. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27782244 : accessed June 2022.

Global, Find a Grave Index for Burials at Sea and Other Select Burial Locations, 1300s to Current. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

Heselton, Philip. (2012) Witchfather: A Life of Gerald Gardner, Volume 1 Into the Witch cult. Loughborough: Thoth Publications.

J Gardner and Sons. https://gracesguide.co.uk/Joseph_Gardner_and_Sons : accessed June 2022.

Liverpool, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1919. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

The Wicca Man. https://www.dorsetlife.co.uk/2017/01/the-wicca-man/ : accessed June 2022.

UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed June 2022.

A new family tree?

When is a family part of a one name study and when is it not? I have collected quite a lot of data from the 1939 Register relating to Sarginson’s, and their many variant surnames. I came across a family of four living in Gateshead, County Durham who I couldn’t immediately place into another family group. Tracing their line back in time led me to a couple, David Sargent (1905-1850) and Catherine Allan (1808-1868), living in Cummersdale, Cumberland, over 50 miles away from Gateshead. The following chart outlines what is known about them and three generations of their descendants:

Descendant chart for Thomas and Catherine

In the 1841 census Thomas Sargent, a flax spinner, was living with his wife Catherine and five sons in Dalston Lane, Buckabank West, in the parish of Dalston. There were several mills in Dalston and it was known for cotton manufacturing as the following extract from Lewis’ topographical directory of 1848 explains:

Dalston from Lewis’ Topographical Directory of 1848

Thomas died in 1850. By 30 March 1851 Catherine, with her children James (born about 1831), Moses (born about 1834), Margaret (born about 1842) and David (1846-1890), had moved to Cummersdale. Their surname was recorded as Sargenson, living at High Cummersdale (marked on the following map in blue); Buckabank Mill is circled in green. Moses and James were working as agricultural labourers.

OS Cumberland XIII dated 1868

Catherine married her second husband Edward Roberts (1824-1871) in 1855, and in the 1861 census they were living at 24 Trinity Buildings, Caldewgate, Carlisle. Edward was an overlooker in a cotton mill, son David a power loom weaver and daughter Margaret a cotton winder. Catherine died in Carlisle in 1868, followed by Edward in 1871.

Other members of the family have so far been difficult to trace; this could be partly attributed to whichever surname they were using, either variants of Sargent/Sarjeant or variants of Sargenson.

Thomas and Catherine’s youngest son David, married Elizabeth Rea (1853-1930) on 17 September 1871 in the Carlisle Registry Office. David was a core maker and Elizabeth a cotton winder. They both gave their address as Bread St, Carlisle. Neither of the witnesses were members of David’s family.

By the time David and Elizabeth’s son James (1873-1951) was born, the family had moved to Gateshead in County Durham. In the 1881 census David was a hammerman (iron) and the family were at 103 Abbotts St. David died in 1890 and Elizabeth married John Fitzpatrick (born about 1869) not long afterwards.

It was David and Elizabeth’s great grandson David (1898-1951), who I originally found in the 1939 Register. He was a builder’s labourer living with his second wife Mary (1913-1978) and sons Sidney (1922-1976) and David (1939-1942) at 26 Hubert Terrace, Gateshead. David had followed his father James (1873-1951) into the building trade, although in the 1921 census he was recorded as being out of work. At that point he was living his parents James and Margaret and sister Margaret in two rooms at 65 Clasper St, Gateshead.

I am interested in knowing more about this family and specifically those I’ve so far been unable to trace. 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 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography

1921 Census. https://findmypast.co.uk : accessed January 2022.

1939 Register. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

Census records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

Cummersdale/Carlisle St Mary. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/CUL/Carlisle/StMary : accessed January 2022.

Lewis, Samuel ed. (1848) A Topological Directory of England. London: Lewis. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/england : accessed January 2022.

William Sargeson (1806-1886) – head gardener at Trafford Park

A while ago I was involved in a project researching gardeners. I came across William in a tree I’d developed for those descended from a group of Serjeantson families I’ve traced back to Kirkby Malhamdale in the West Riding of Yorkshire. I was intrigued to see that he had been a gardener at Trafford Park, Greater Manchester.

William was baptised on 13 April 1806 in Hawkshead, Lancashire to father James. In later records he provided his birthplace as either Hawkshead or nearby Coniston. A definitive 1841 census record has not yet been found for him. However, in 1851, he was recorded as a gardener working at Trafford Park. Trafford Park Hall had been built in 1762 and, with the adjoining area, was owned by the de Trafford family who can trace their origins back to the 13th century. The following OS map shows the hall (marked in blue) and the extent of the estate in 1848. Barton is circled in purple.

OS Lancashire CIII dated 1848

William continued to work at Trafford Park, although in both the 1861 and 1871, he had moved into the nearby village of Barton upon Irwell. In 1861 his address was Canal Side and his sisters Margaret (1815-1874) and Jane (1808-1879) and two nieces lived with him. In 1871 just Margaret and Jane were with him at 11 Canal Bank. The following outline descendant chart shows William in blue, his sisters in red, nieces in pink and nephews in green.

Outline Descendant Chart for James and Family

When the 1881 census was taken William was 75, and back living at Trafford Park, where he was head gardener. While I was unable to find a newspaper report of William’s death, I did come across a report of the death of the owner of Trafford Park in the Manchester Evening News (4 May 1886). Sir Humphrey de Trafford, a prominent Catholic, died “after a lingering and painful disease”. His funeral was held at All Saints Catholic church which he had had built in Barton about 20 years before his death.

William died on 24 June 1886 and was described as being “late of Trafford Park”, suggesting that he was still there when he died at the age of 80. He was buried in St Catherine’s churchyard on 29 June 1886 and his headstone has the following engraving:

“In loving remembrance of

WILLIAM SARGESON

During 42 years

Head Gardener at Trafford Park

Died June 24th 1886, aged 80 years”

Inscription from Headstone for William Sargeson

The inscription helpfully includes a reference to his work at Trafford Park and that he worked there for 42 years; probably from about 1844. Sadly, his headstone is broken with the cross having come away from the plinth. Probate was granted to two of his nephews, Thomas and William, who are marked on the above outline descendant chart.

Trafford Park Hall – about ten years after William’s death, the Hall and its surrounding land had been sold to E. T. Hookey, who registered Trafford Park Estates Limited in 1896. The area around the hall was gradually developed for industrial purposes, facilitated by the building of the Manchester Ship canal in the late 19th century. The hall (circled in blue) can still be seen in the following 1927 OS map of the area; however, it had been demolished by 1939.

OS Lancashire CIII.12 dated 1927

Finally – I am interested in knowing more about William and his family. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the maps used in this blog have been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography

Barton on Irwell. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/BartononIrwell : accessed January 2022.

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

Coniston. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/Coniston : accessed January 2022.

Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. eds. (1911) A History of the County of Lancaster. London: Victoria County History. Vol 4, pp. 329-335. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol4/pp329-335 : accessed January 2022.

Kirkby Malhamdale. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/KirkbyMalhamdale : accessed January 2022.

Lewis, Samuel ed. (1848) A Topological Directory of England. London: Lewis. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/england : accessed January 2022.

Manchester Evening News. https://findmypast.co.uk : accessed January 2022.

Probate records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

Trafford Hall, Trafford Park. https://historicengland.org.uk/ : accessed January 2022.

UK and Ireland, Find a Grave Index, 1300s to Current. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed January 2022.

James Sargisson (1844? -1864) – was he wrongly convicted of murder?

While I was researching Sargison’s for my one name study I came across a record in FindmyPast’s Crime, Prisons and Punishment collection for a James Sargisson who was committed for trial in 1864 at the Leeds summer assizes. He was sentenced to death on 17 August 1864 for the wilful murder of John Cooper in Abbey Lane in the parish of Laughton-en-le-Morthen in the West Riding of Yorkshire.  The case became known as the Roche Abbey murder. Cooper, a gardener, had been bludgeoned to death on the evening of 9 April, after having visited a tavern in Brookhouse. His stolen watch and keys were later found in James’s lodgings and James admitted to seeing the “deed being done by another man”.  This man was later identified as George Denton. He too was sent for trial with James but was not convicted. Denton’s case was defended by legal counsel Mr Vernon Blackburn. The grand jury decided that the evidence provided by James could not be corroborated and Denton was released. James does not seem to have had any access to legal counsel.

A combination of local newspaper entries and census records for Laughton-en-le-Morthen helped me to establish James’ parents, John Sergison (1813-1893) and Elizabeth Row (1818-1890). The surnames in records for both John and James varied significantly. A feature which I’ve already written about in a previous blog post.

James was baptised on 21 April 1844 in All Saints Church, Laughton-en-le-Morthen. He was recorded with his family in the 1851 census living at Brookhouse in the parish of Laughton-en-le-Morthen. His father John was an agricultural labourer. By 1861 James was a farm servant at Pond Farm, Dodworth in the parish of Silkstone, where the head of the family was John Coldwell, a farmer of 60 acres.

All Saints Church, Laughton-en-le-Morthen by Richard Croft, CC BY-SA 2.0

A newspaper report of the murder at Laughton-en-le-Morthen in the Leeds Intelligencer (27 August 1864), provided some background into James’s family. His parents were living in Brookhouse at the time of his trial and this was where James was born. The report goes onto say that James received very little education and that “at a proper time he was sent for farmer’s service”. He was described as being about 11 stones in weight and about 5ft 7 ½in high. It seems that the murdered man John Cooper was about three stones heavier and much taller than him and the report goes onto suggest that James could not have murdered him on his own. The report describes Cooper as “stout, tall, muscular and active” and that “we most sincerely hope that if another person was concerned in the foul and cowardly murder a few more days may disclose the secret as to who he is”.    

James was sentenced to death by hanging at Armley Gaol in Leeds. He was hanged outside the prison at 9am on 10 September 1864 with another prisoner Joseph Myers. It was the only public execution which ever took place outside the prison and according to newspaper reports attracted a crowd of 80,000-100,000 (Morning Advertiser, 12 September 1864). After his death James was buried in the prison graveyard.

Modern photo of Armley Gaol by Kenneth Yarham, CC BY-SA 2.0

Not everyone at the time believed that James was guilty of murder. A reporter visited James’s residence at Lockwood near Huddersfield after his death and interviewed Mrs Schofield (Leeds Mercury, 20 September 1864). James began lodging with the family in May 1862 and secured work in a nearby brickyard. He stayed with the family for about a year and then returned to Laughton-en-le-Morthen where he secured work. After his conviction he asked that none of his old companions or fellow workers go to Leeds to see him being hung. The reporter also interviewed Mr Haigh, the manager of one of his previous employers, who described James as “willing and obliging; he could set himself to any kind of work and nothing came wrong in his hand”. He then went onto say that he was of good character and “could not say a word against him”. A colleague of James’s, Sanderson, was also interviewed; he said that:

“Jim was foolish for not letting us know when he got into trouble; for we would have tried to get him a reprieve; they’ve hung him, but they’ve hung the wrong one – he never did the murder”.

Perhaps there was a miscarriage of justice here as it seems unlikely that James could have assaulted Cooper on his own. His lack of education could have been a contributing factor as well as an apparent lack of legal representation. Maybe James was guilty of receiving stolen goods but not murder. He was survived by his parents John and Elizabeth who continued to live in the parish of Laughton-en-le-Morthen until their deaths.

I am interested in knowing more about James and his family. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Bibliography

Armley Gaol, Leeds. http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/armley.html : accessed December 2021.

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed December 2021.

British Newspapers. https://findmypast.co.uk : accessed December 2021.

Croft, Richard. All Saints Church, Laughton-en-le-Morthen. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page : accessed December 2021.

England and Wales, Crime, Prisons and Punishment, 1770-1935. https://findmypast.co.uk : accessed December 2021.

Laughton-en-le-Morthen. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/LaughtonEnLeMorthen : accessed December 2021.

Silkstone. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/WRY/Silkstone : accessed December 2021.

Yarham, Kenneth. Armley Gaol. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page : accessed December 2021.

Thomas Francis Sergison (1853? -1902) – soldier

My one name study into the surname Sarginson has revealed a number of soldiers with the surname variant Sergison/Sergesson, many of whom were born either in Ireland or Scotland. During my research I have disentangled two individuals: Francis Sergison a Roman Catholic baptised in Barony, Glasgow in 1851 aged 3 and Thomas Francis Sergison, probably Church of England, born apparently in Witton Park, Durham. A summary of what I’ve been able to find out about him so far is included in the following descendant chart:

Descendant chart for Thomas Francis Sergison

Clues to his birth have so far not led to finding out about who his parents were. No attestation record has been found for when he enlisted in the Royal Artillery (RA)  in 1875 and the RA establishment books which are available on FindmyPast only start in 1883. One military record for him dated 1882 suggested he was then aged 24, indicating his birth was about 1858 not 1853 as indicated on his census records. When he married Kate in 1883, he gave his father’s name as Francis, a house steward. Despite extensive research I’ve so far been unable to find either a birth certificate or baptism record for him. In both the 1891 and 1901 censuses he gave his birth place as Witton Park, Durham, a village which at one time had extensive ironworks. It gets a brief mention in Lewis’s 1848 topographical directory of England as follows:

Extract from Lewis’s Topographical Directory of England

I am interested in knowing more about Thomas Francis, also known as Frank, do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Bibliography

Births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed December 2021.

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Witton Park, in Wear Valley and County Durham| Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time. URL:  https://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/23211 accessed: December 2021.

Lewis, Samuel. (1848) A Topographical Directory of England. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/england/pp636-639 : accessed December 2021.

London Electoral Registers. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  : accessed December 2021.

Military Records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/  and https://findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed December 2021.

Thomas Sarginson (1835-1869) and his wife Mary Beaty (1840-1892)

Whilst I was researching Thomas and his family, I found a record for Mary and their two sons that showed they were living with her father in the 1871 census in Longtown, Cumberland. Both Mary and her father Robert (born about 1814) described themselves as widowed.  My next step was to find out more about Thomas. I found a death record for him and a number of newspaper articles which described how he had committed suicide in Longtown in 1869. 

Thomas had been baptised on 9 October 1835 in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Appleby, Westmorland. His parents were Thomas Sarginson (born about 1808) and his first wife Mary Richardson (1805-1838). The register records his father’s occupation as a veterinary surgeon. After his mother died Thomas’ father married Ann Rockliff (1808-1871) with whom he had another son William (born 1843). The following descendant chart shows the family relationships:

Descendant Chart for Thomas Sarginson

By 1851 the family had moved to Newcastle upon Tyne in Northumberland when Thomas senior gave his occupation as a chemist. They had moved back to Westmorland by the 1861 census and by that time Thomas junior had met and married Mary Beaty. The household census entry reads as follows:

AddressNameRelation to Head of FamilyConditionAge MAge FRank, Profession or OccupationWhere born
ColbyThomas SarginsonHeadMarried52 Veterinary practitionerNewbiggin Cumberland
 Ann SarginsonWifeMarried 53 Penrith Cumberland
 William SarginsonSonUnmarried 18ScholarAppleby Westmorland
 Thomas SarginsonLodgerMarried25 Student Royal Veterinary College EdinburghAppleby Westmorland
 Mary SarginsonWifeMarried 24 Scotland
1861 Census for Thomas and family

Interestingly, Thomas the younger’s entry listed him as a lodger, not a son, and it was annotated with the words “practising as a veterinary surgeon”. Thomas and Mary went on to have two sons:

  • William Robert Sarginson (1861-1931) – his birth was registered in Longtown but he did not consistently use this information on later census records.
  • Frederick Arthur Sarginson (1864-1877) – his birth was registered in Longtown and his death on 26 September 1877 in Barrow in Furness, Lancashire.  His mother Mary registered his death and their address was given as 29 Napier Street, Barrow.

Thomas committed suicide, at the age of 34, on 11 October 1869 in Longtown, Cumberland. He had obtained prussic acid from a local surgeon, Dr Francis Graham, citing his need for it professionally as a veterinary surgeon (Carlisle Patriot, 15 October 1869, page 4). An inquest was held into his death presided over by the coroner, Mr Carrick, and a jury was appointed (Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser and Literary Chronicle, 19 October 1869, page 4).

Although he was said to have a good business, initially practicing in Westmorland and then Penrith, he was reported to have taken to drinking and been unkind to his wife Mary. In her evidence to the inquest Mary said that they had been married for nine years and had two children. She had left him four years ago and retuned to Longtown to live with her father. Three months ago, Thomas had persuaded Mary to return to him but a week before his death had left saying that he was going to collect money but he didn’t return. She had been left without money for food and all the furniture in the house, except the children’s bed, had been removed by her husband’s aunt and uncle. The only food they had had been provided by the neighbours. Mary had written to Thomas advising him of their plight but he hadn’t come home so she retuned to her father Robert Beaty’s house in Longtown (Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser and Literary Chronicle, 19 October 1869, page 4). Robert was the gateman at Longtown railway station. Mary described her husband as:

Deceased looked very wild when he got drink, and was very passionate. He was much reduced in circumstances. She had always done her duty as a wife to him, the quarrels taking place through his drinking.” (Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser and Literary Chronicle, 19 October 1869, page 4).

When Thomas returned to the home he shared with Mary and his children on 11 October he found that it was deserted; he then made his way to Longtown where he bought the prussic acid, half an ounce in a small phial. Dr Graham described Thomas as being sober and cleanly dressed (Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser and Literary Chronicle, 19 October 1869, page 4).

After buying the acid Thomas went to his father-in-law’s house to see his wife. He was refused access, took the acid and fell down. What happened next was described as follows:

He was carried at once to the waiting room of the station and medical assistance brought, but it was of no avail, he died about an hour later, apparently without pain.”  (Carlisle Patriot, 15 October 1869, page 4)

The jury found that the “deceased had committed suicide by poison while insane”.

OS Cumberland X 1868 – extract showing Longtown and the railway station

 There is a postscript to this story as regards Dr Francis Graham. He was fined 5s at the Longtown Petty Sessions for “unlawfully selling a quantity of prussic acid without labelling the bottle with the word poison” (Christchurch Times, 30 October 1869, page 7).

After the death of Thomas, Mary continued to live in Longtown with her father and sons until at least the 1871 census:

AddressNameRelation to Head of FamilyConditionAge MAge FRank, Profession or OccupationWhere born
Longtown CottageRobert BattieHeadWidower56 GatekeeperLongtown, Cumberland
 Mary SargensonDaughterWidow 30DomesticLongtown, Cumberland
 William SargensonSon 9 ScholarLongtown, Cumberland
 Frederick SargensonSon 6 ScholarLongtown, Cumberland
1871 Census for Robert, Mary and her sons

The family left Longtown sometime before Robert Beaty’s death on 9 September 1892. His death certificate records that he died at 43 Napier Street, Hindpool, Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. Robert was described as a general labourer and his daughter Mary was the informant for his death. Mary was also the informant for her son Frederick’s death on 28 September 1877 when they were living at 29 Napier Street.

Thomas and Mary’s oldest son, William (1861-1931) was boarding with the Abbott family at 29 Napier Street, in the 1881 census. He was described as a fitter born in Appleby, Westmorland. The head of the household was Victor Abbott, a railway guard.

Mary continued to live in Barrow-in-Furness and in 1891 she was living in James Street with her occupation given as a monthly nurse. Mary died on 12 March 1892 at 18 James Street. Her son William was the informant when her death was registered. By then he was living at 16 Oxford Street, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham.   William met and married Eliza Dunning (1865-1932) and together they had six children. In the 1911 census he was described as an engine fitter.

I am interested in knowing more about all the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

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 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography

Appleby, Westmorland. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/WES/Appleby : accessed March 2021.

Baptisms, marriages and burials. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed March 2021.

Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/BarrowinFurness : accessed March 2021.

Census records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed March 2021.

Longtown, Cumberland. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/CUL/Longtown : accessed March 2021.

Newspapers. Collection: British Newspaper Collection. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed March 2021.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : March 2021.

William Sargison killed by lightning

Sometimes, when researching people, a specific record catches your eye. This was certainly the case with William Sargison (1786-1811), whose burial record from the parish of St Mary the Virgin, Cottingham, dated 14 June 1811, indicated that he was the son of Thomas (Sergeason/Sergesson) and gave his cause of death as “killed by lightening”. At the time of the incident Cottingham was located in the East Riding of Yorkshire, near to Hull, and its position has been marked on the following map (see bibliography for map attribution):

Map from Vision of Britain website

William is included in the “Sargison South Cave and beyond tree” which includes people living in Cottingham.

The story of William’s death seems to have been picked up by newspapers outside the local area. For example, a report in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal (24 June 1811, page 4) reported that:

During a thunderstorm at Cottingham, near Hull, on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Sarjeson, his son William, and his nephew, being all engaged in hoeing turnips, the former at the end of the field and the nephew and son at the other, the latter (son) was suddenly struck dead by the lightening, his face on one side was completely scorched, and his hat, clothes and shoes, all rent to pieces.

In other reports William’s age was given as 22 and that he was “a remarkably steady young man” (Stamford Mercury, 21 June 1811, page 3). None of the reports identify his father by his first name although they do report his surname in a number of different ways: Sargerrison and Sarjeson are just two examples.

William was buried in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Cottingham, Yorkshire (see bibliography for photograph attribution):

St Mary the Virgin, Cottingham, Yorkshire

William was the youngest of two sons born to Thomas Sargison (1747-1825) and his wife Jane Milburn (1746-1815). His elder brother Thomas (1773-1839) continued to live in Cottingham with his wife and children. Thomas and William also had seven sisters, some of whom I’ve been able to trace. The following chart shows Thomas, Jane, and the children and grandchildren that I’ve found so far.

Descendant chart for Thomas and Jane

Bibliography

Baptisms, marriages and burials. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed March 2021.

Cottingham. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/ERY/Cottingham : accessed March 2021.

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Cottingham, in East Riding of Yorkshire and East Riding | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time. URL: http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/979  Date accessed: 11th March 2021

Newspapers. Collection: British Newspaper Collection. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed March 2021.

St Mary the Virgin, Cottingham. East Riding Archives, CCO, via Wikimedia Commons : accessed March 2021.

Ronald Ragsdale Sargison 1910 to 1987

Ronald (a member of the Sargison South Cave and beyond tree) was born on 10 November 1910 in Nottingham, England to parents Percy John Sargison (1876-1952) and Lucy Ann Ragsdale (1878-1951). At the time of the 1911 census Percy was described as a draper and outfitter and the family were living at 95 Sherwood Street, Nottingham. By 1939 Percy and Lucy had moved to 29 Ribblesdale Road and Percy was a credit draper and outfitter. In contrast their son Ronald was a Clerk in Holy Orders, single and living with Clarence and Elizabeth Beardall at Woodlands, Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire.

The following timeline for Ronald’s career has been constructed using a combination of primary sources (education, newspaper articles, passenger lists, probate records and electoral registers) and secondary sources. I was only able to access online resources which I subscribe to so have not been able to utilise clergy related occupational sources like Crockfords Clerical directory.

Table 1: Timeline for Ronald 1930-1951

Ronald married Olive Thompson (1910-1979), a widow, in Q4 1951, in Nottingham. Olive’s first husband, Frederick Thomas Thompson (1907-1951), had died on 28 June 1951. Olive had three children with her first husband, two of whom accompanied them when they went to Guyana in 1956. After their marriage the following table shows what happened next to Ronald’s career and his new family.

Table 2: Timeline for Ronald and Olive 1962-1964

The ship Ronald, Olive and family travelled to Guyana was called the Arakaka. It had been built in Teeside and was launched in 1946 as a cargo steamer. On its voyage in 1956 it carried 12 passengers and was operated by the Booker Line.

Secondary sources suggest that after his return to England, Ronald was the vicar of churches in Balham, and Hawthorn and Trimdon, both in County Durham. Ronald and his wife Olive moved at some point to Dulverton Hall in Scarborough, a home for retired clergy, which was replaced by a new property in 2002. Olive died in Q3 1979 and Ronald on 18 October 1987. Both their deaths were registered in Scarborough.  

I am interested in knowing more about all the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share.

Bibliography

Carrington nr Basford. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/NTT/Basford : accessed January 2021.

Dulverton Hall, Scarborough. https://dioceseofyork.org.uk/news-events/news/dulverton-hall-one-of-the-cofe-pension-boards-best-kept-secrets : accessed January 2021.

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed January 2021.

FindmyPast British Newspaper Collection. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed January 2021.

Goodrich, Revd Derek, H. (1994) A Short History of St George’s, Georgetown, Guyana. Georgetown: Revd Derek H. Goodrich.

Kneesall. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/NTT/Kneesall/ : accessed January 2021.

London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed January 2021.

Passenger Lists Leaving UK, 1890-1960. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed January 2021.

Ronald Ragsdale Sargison. https://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/11014151 : accessed January 2021.

Tees Built Ships. http://www.teesbuiltships.co.uk/ : accessed January 2021.

UK, British Army Records and Lists, 1882-1962. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed January 2021.

UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed January 2021.

UK, University of London Student Records, 1836-1945. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : January 2021.

West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed January 2021.

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.  

Bibliography:

Ireland. https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/irl @ accessed November 2020.

London Gazette. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed November 2020.

Military records. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed November 2020.

Military records. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed November 2020.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. https://www.oxforddnb.com/ : accessed November 2020. UK and Ireland Nursing Registers. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/ : accessed November 2020.

Richard Sargeson 1789-1890

I recently received a query about a Richard Sargeson who died in 1890 and is buried in the MacMillan Pioneer Cemetery, Lancaster Township, Ontario, Canada. Details from the cemetery give his birth date as 24 May 1789, died 16 April 1890 and that he was a “native of Cumberland England”.  The question was: did he fit into any of my trees?  Well ever one to accept a request I set about trying to find him. I have two trees which feature Sargeson/Sarginsons and other variant surnames: Sarginsons in Cumberland and Westmorland and Serginsons of Cumberland and Derbyshire.

An initial search of both trees didn’t find a Richard Sargeson baptised in 1789, or thereabouts, in Cumberland. However, I did find a Richard Sargison baptised 30 March 1806 in Cumwhitton, Cumberland. His father George (1776-1862) was listed as a blacksmith in a number of records and at least two of George’s sons: George (1796-1885) and Isaac (1810-1893), were also blacksmiths. George is included in the Sarginson Cumberland and Westmorland tree. However, he did not marry his wife Ezat Wright (1771-1843) until 1797 although their first son George (1796-1885) was baptised before their marriage. It seems unlikely though that their son Richard is the one in question, although the Richard in Canada variously recorded his occupation on Canadian censuses as blacksmith and/or farmer.

I then set about collecting as much information as I could about Richard. His cemetery records said that he was aged 101 years, 11 months and 8 days when he died so I wondered if his death had been featured in a local newspaper. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a digitised copy of The Glengarrian or Glengarry Times on the web, although it looks like the Ontario archives might have copies of these. I live in the UK so visiting the archive isn’t a practical proposition for me. Richard was also not consistent when he reported his age on a number of the documents, I found for him:

  • 1851 Canadian census his age was given as 58 suggesting a birth about 1793.
  • 1861 Canadian census his age was given as 71 suggesting a birth about 1790.
  • 1871 Canadian census his age was given as 77 suggesting a birth about 1794.
  • 1881 Canadian census his age was given as 858 suggesting a birth about 1796.
  • Memorial inscription his age was given as 101 years, 11 months and 8 days.

Using primarily census records I constructed the following family tree for him and it is interesting to note that the first names George and Isaac appear in his descendants and also that in some of the later generations the surname changes to Surgeson.

Horizontal Hourglass Chart for Richard Sargeson

So, if you are able to shed any light on this mystery do please contact me.