William James Mabley (A 52 Ancestors Post)

For one family in Bewick Street, South Shields, in Durham England, Thursday October 16th 1924 would become a day of sadness and ongoing remembrance. William James Mabley, aged 58, a coal merchant, died of Lobar Pneumonia and Heart Failure (1). William was survived by his wife Florence Mary (nee Barnes), his newly married daughter Florence (now Mrs Thomas Wood), daughters Caroline, Olive, Dorothy, and Edna, and sons William (from his first wife Hannah), Sydney & William. He was pre-deceased by his first wife Hannah (nee Forester) and their second son Henry, by his parents William Mabley & Elizabeth (nee Hins), and two children from his marriage to Florence, George & Audrey.

Although recorded as a coal merchant at the time of his death, William had worked since a teenager as a Lath Render (2, 3, 4), and in later years as both a Lath Render & Builders Merchant (5). He is also recorded as being an Employer (4, 5), indicating he may have owned or managed a business. Probate records indicate that he left effects valued at over £4,000. (6)

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William James Mabley
born about 1866 Woburn Sands, Buckinghamshire, England
died 16 October 1924, South Shields, Durham, England
My Great Grandfather

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There are two definitions of a Lath Render, which is the more accurate for William’s line of work is unknown.
Lath Render: Someone who rends/rives (i.e splits) wood to form laths. (7)
Lath Render: Someone who worked in building industry, as a plaster’s assistant, applying the first layer of plaster to the lath. Laths were used mostly for interior walls and ceilings. They were strips of wood which were nailed to the wall studs, which allowed the plaster to be applied more effectively. (8)

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1) England and Wales, death certificate for William James Mabley, died 16 October 1924; citing 10a/773/444, December quarter 1924, South Shields registration district, South Shields Second sub-district; General Register Office, Southport.
2) 1881 census of England, Bedfordshire, Woburn, folio 16, page 26, William Mabley; PRO RG 11/1637
3) 1891 census of England, Durham, Westoe, South Shields, folio 142, page 43, William J Mabley; PRO RG 12/4160
4) 1901 census of England, Durham, South Shields, folio 70, page 25, William Mabley; PRO RG 13/4731.
5) 1911 census of England, Durham, RG 78 PN 1745B, RG 14 PN 30336, registration district (RD) 556, sub district (SD) 1, enumeration district (ED) 77, schedule number (SN) 345, 17 Bewick Street South Shields, William James Mabley.
6) Ancestry.com, England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966 (Ancestry.com Operations Inc)
7) Michael & Janet Wood, Obscure Old English Census Occupations (http://www.worldthroughthelens.com/family-history/old-occupations.php : accessed 27 Aug 2013), http://rmhh.co.uk/occup/l.html.
8) Family Tree Service, Family Tree Service Census Occupations (http://www.familytreeservice.co.uk/census%20occupations.html : accessed 12 Jul 2014), http://www.familytreeservice.co.uk/census-occupations-l-Lath-Render.html


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Did he come before, or did he follow later? (A 52 Ancestors Post)

On 25 December 1885, the Parramatta made port in Sydney New South Wales, Australia. On board were a crew of 55, passengers numbering 59, (1) and a general cargo valued at £20,900 (2). Among the passengers there is a family listed: Fanny Holden and her children Harry, Fanny, Ellen K, Ethel, May, and Howard. But, there is a notable absence from this list. Where is Fanny’s husband, and the father of the children? Where is Henry Howard Holden?

The voyage was described in the Evening News (3) newspaper on 26 December 1885 as

Captain Goddard of the well-known trader Parramatta, which arrived yesterday morning from Plymouth, September 19, reports passing Madeira on the ninth day out, and carried brisk north-east trades to latitude 18deg north, fifteen days out. Thence to the Equator light baffling winds prevailed. Crossed the line on October 21, thirty two days from Plymouth. With moderate winds and very fine weather the meridian of the Cape of Good Hope was passed on November 14, fifty-six days out, and an extremely pleasant run of twenty-four days was had along the parallel of 40deg south to longitude 123deg east. Thence to the end of the passage nothing but light and contrary winds were experienced. On Monday, December 11; when in 40deg south, and 131deg east the wind set in at north-east, taking the ship south of Tasmania. On the south coast had extremely fine weather, but wind almost calm. Passed Cape Pillar on the 19th; the wind and weather on the east coast have been very unsettled and warm. On the 24th at 5 a.m. when off the Dromedary, a southerly set in which took the ship to the Heads. The vessel brings a large number of passengers, and comes into port in her usual good order. Two passengers died of consumption. Mr. A. G. Mickley on October 7, and Mr. John Spicer on December 12. The voyage with this exception, has been a very pleasant and social one, and the passengers speak in high terms of the kindness and courtesy shown to them by Captain Goddard and his officers.

After a voyage of just over 3 months with children aged 11, 9, 8, 4, 3 and 18 months, spending Christmas Day on board ship but in sight of the new country, probably knowing no-one in the unfamiliar town before her, probably not knowing where her husband was, knowing that two men had died of a potentially contagious illness while on the voyage, what sort of thoughts and feelings would Fanny have had as the new year approached.

Why did her husband Henry not travel with her? Did he come ahead to find work, find a home, and establish connections with others who could guide them in this new country? Did he stay in England to finalise matters there and follow at a later time, hoping that his wife and children would be able to find themselves a home at least in New South Wales?

Henry Howard Holden, when and how did you arrive in Australia?

(1) Mariners & ships in Australian Waters, PARRAMATTA, http://mariners.records.nsw.gov.au/1885/12/127par.htm
(2) MONETARY AND COMMERCIAL. (1885, December 26). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13607659
(3) ALONG THE WHARVES. (1885, December 26). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 – 1931), p. 4. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111345173

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That Unruly X….Chromosome That Is


Wow – I knew the X-Chromosome combined differently to the rest of our DNA, I didn’t realise it would be This different. Certainly casts a new light (or shadow) on the various DNA matches I have that appear to match on the X chromosome.

Originally posted on DNAeXplained - Genetic Genealogy:


Something is wrong with the X chromosome.  More specifically, something is amiss with trying to use it, the way we normally use recombinant chromosomes for genealogy.  In short, there’s a problem.

If you don’t understand how the X chromosome recombines and is passed from generation to generation, now would be a good time to read my article, “X Marks the Spot” about how this works.  You’ll need this basic information to understand what I’m about to discuss.

The first hint of this “problem” is apparent in Jim Owston’s “Phasing the X Chromosome” article.  Jim’s interest in phasing his X, or figuring out where it came from genealogically, was spurred by his lack of X matches with his brothers.  This is noteworthy, because men don’t inherit any X from their father, so Jim’s failure to share much of his X with his brothers meant that he had inherited most…

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The Future Generations (A 52 Ancestors Post)

I was looking at old photos from my Media Studies class in high school today, and thought “What am I doing, this is just my childhood, it’s not family history.”

But then I stopped myself and thought “Hold on, this might just be my childhood, but it’s also the coming generations family history.”

If I don’t write down and record my own story and the details of my life as I live it, how are the future generations of my family going to know who I was? Am I going to be reduced to a name and three dates in the family history files? How will they ever know that I did cross stitch, or crochet, or beading as hobbies, or that I collected teddy bears & cats, or that I did Digital Scrapbooking, that I enjoyed Photography (even if I wasn’t very good at it), or that I did volunteer work, or that I worked as a cleaner? And more importantly, how will they know what my feelings were about these different hobbies, jobs, collections, and talents. How will they know so many of these things, if I don’t record them somewhere?

A Flower A Friend from High School . A "Selfie" from High School days - using a tripod and a timer

Take the time to record your own stories while you research the stories of your ancestors, lest you inadvertently leave behind only your name and a few dates about yourself.

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Mary Ann Tongue – Found (A 52 Ancestors Post)

Finally, I have had a break through in one of my family walls. Last week I posted about my Great Great Great Grandmother, Mary Ann Tongue, and how I had not been able to locate her birth or baptism record. Well, that post (which you can read here) was not even 24 hours old when a friend of mine messaged me with the transcript of Mary Ann’s baptism. Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather since I had not only checked that site on numerous previous occasions (FreeReg) and not found it, but I had searched through the very parish register I then had to go back to and search again. How I missed her the first time, I don’t know, but there she was, plain as day.


Tongue, Mary Ann daugr of John & Elizabeth Tongue – baptised on 15 July 1810 in Chelmsford’s St Mary the Virgin St Peter & St Cedd Cathedral.

Which, if she was baptised shortly after birth, put her age at death as 58 years … or 60 in 2 years – one of my theories about her declared age last week.

So, thank you Barbara, for checking a site I had checked before and finding that they had updated their records to now include Mary Ann. Now I just need to find/confirm her parent’s marriage, of which I have a couple of suspects, one is looking more promising than the others. But that’s another story. As is finding out why her father was in Chelmsford afterall.

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