The Cambridge Roundabout

Whilst I’m putting together the next series of posts about my family history research,  here is a postcard photo of the Cambridge Roundabout at the junction of the North Circular Road (A406) and the Great Cambridge Road (A10) in North London.  I’m guessing that this card was produced in the mid-late 1960s.   This parade of shops is called Kendal Parade. 


The Cambridge Roundabout, Edmonton

The scene is very familiar to me: I lived near here as a child and at  around the time this photo was probably taken I  was often sent to the shops to get various items. I remember the bakers (one of the shops on the left hand side) which on Good Friday was the only shop open, selling hot cross buns.   Further round the parade of shops was a greengrocer’s – my memory of this shop is having to go in and ask whether the beetroots were ready or not!  

Beetroots could be bought raw to cook at home but if you didn’t want the trouble of boiling them  you could buy them  ready to eat, boiled by the greengrocer fresh every day.  The greengrocer wouldn’t sell them until they had cooled down so if they weren’t ready it meant a return trip a little later in the morning. 

The road junction has been completely remodelled now,  but this parade of shops still remains, as seen in this image from Google Streetview.


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My Saunders great aunts and uncles


This final post in my series  looking at my  great aunts and uncles features the Saunders side of the family.

My great grandparents, John William and Emily Saunders (nee Ferry) married in 1897 and had 7 children:

  • Emily Ada, born 1898
  • Esther, born 1899 (my grandmother)
  • Elizabeth, born 1901
  • John William, born 1904
  • Beatrice May, born 1907
  • Francis Frederick, born 1910
  • Doris, born 1916

 Tracking down their whereabouts in the 1939 register was not as easy as I’d expected.

John William Saunders (my great grandfather) had died in 1920. In an earlier blog post I wrote about how I hadn’t managed to find my great grandmother Emily in the 1939 register. I’d been assuming that she had remained in Walthamstow – she died there in 1946, so it seemed reasonable that she would have been there at the start of the war.

Where were they all in 1939?

  • Emily Ada had married Sydney James Gaylor in 1924. By 1939 they were living in Victory Green, Portsmouth, where Sydney worked at the Admiral Superintendent’s House at HM Dockyard. There is one closed record which must refer to their daughter – and then, below that,  I was surprised and pleased  to find my great grandmother, Emily Saunders! Of course, it should have been obvious to me that she might have been living with / visiting her eldest daughter.
  • Esther, my grandmother, was living with her husband, my grandfather, Frederick George Neville Sheepwash in Lawrence Avenue, Walthamstow.
  • Elizabeth had married Albert Walter Boosey in 1926. In 1939 they lived in Hazelwood Road, Walthamstow. Albert worked as a dustman.
  • John William, a train lighting electrician, and his wife Elsie, a machine operator making insulating wire, were living at 36 Colchester Road Walthamstow (the address at which my great grandmother Emily died in 1946). A daughter is also recorded at the same address.
  • Beatrice May – after a lot of searching I believe I have finally found Beatrice in 1939, living at Sylvester Road, Walthamstow with her husband Arthur Masefield (a paper machinist, heavy worker).   It took me a while to locate her because I had always known her husband as my mother’s “Uncle Joe” so I had been looking for a Joseph in the records. There is one closed record in 1939 which probably refers to their daughter who was born in 1937.
  • Francis Frederick and Doris were both living with my grandparents in Lawrence Avenue Walthamstow.

see also my earlier post:

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My Sheepwash great aunts and uncles

Following on from my recent posts about my great aunts and uncles on my father’s side  of the family I’ve done a little research into the siblings of my grandfather Frederick George Neville Sheepwash.

The Sheepwash children

The children of Edward Neville Sheepwash and Alice (nee Miles)  were as follows:

  • Edward James , born 1881
  • Abraham Neville, born 1884
  • Alfred John, born 1886
  • Alice Elizabeth, born 1888
  • Frederick George Neville , born 1898 (my grandfather)
  • Martha Clementina, born 1899

Where were they all in 1939?

  • Edward James was living in Forest House, Leytonstone (part of Whipps Cross Hospital, formerly an annexe to the West Ham Union workhouse)
  • Abraham Neville had died in 1898 on the training ship Cornwall  (see my earlier post on this
  • Alfred John was a patient in Brentwood Mental Hospital
  • Alice Elizabeth was living with her husband James Manston and their children at Priors Croft, Walthamstow
  • Frederick George Neville was at Lawrence Road, Walthamstow,  with his wife Esther (nee Saunders), Esther’s brother, Francis F Saunders and her sister, Doris Saunders
  • Martha Clementina was living at Greville Road, Walthamstow with her husband Cecil Kennerley

My grandfather had changed his surname to Neville by this time and I don’t know whether he had stayed in touch with his older brothers or his sisters.   His home in Lawrence Avenue was not far from where Alice lived in Priors Croft.  Martha was a little further away in Greville Road but still within an easy walk.   I can’t recall my mother ever speaking about any of these relatives – her uncles and aunts; for a long time she was close to the Saunders side of the family but there was never any mention of the Sheepwash families.

My grandparents, Frederick Neville (Sheepwash) and Esther (nee Saunders)

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My Mason great aunts and uncles

Following on from my recent post about my Brittain great aunts and uncles I have checked and updated my records relating to the siblings of my grandmother, Rosalind Mason.

The Mason children

The children of Herbert Cecil Mason and Georgina (nee Briancourt) are as follows:

  • Winifred May , born 1905, married George Woolford in 1925
  • Herbert Cecil, born 1906, married Louisa Parsons in 1930  ( a separate post about him will follow)
  • Rosalind Esther, born 12th June 1908, married Ernest James Brittain in 1926
  • Eric John, born 1910, married Violet Scripps in 1936
  • Doris I, born 1911, married (i) Ernest Start in 1934  (ii) Leslie Turner in 1966
  • Ivor Francis, born 1912, married Kathleen Ford in 1939
  • George Ronald, born 1915, married Gladys Cook in 1948
  • Victor Irving Mason , born 1919, died 1919
  • Joyce (details withheld)


I think the girl on the left is my grandmother, Rosalind Esther, with her sister Winifred May on the right. I’m unsure which of their brothers is standing in the middle.

Where were they all in 1939?

In 1939, at the start of the war, most of the Mason siblings were still living quite near to their parents.

  • Winifred and George Woolford were living at  Goulding Court, Hornsey, N8
  • Herbert Cecil had died in 1934
  • Rosalind and Ernest Brittain were at Boyton Road, Hornsey
  • Eric and Violet Mason were at Hillfield Avenue,  Hornsey
  • Doris and Ernest Start were at Kings Crescent, Stoke Newington
  • Ivor and George were at The Fairway, Palmers Green with their parents (Herbert and Georgina) and probably with their sister Joyce too, as there is a closed record there.

It’s been interesting following these close relatives forward rather than just hunting for records that take us back in time.     I wonder whether my father would have known all his aunts and uncles?  Did I ever meet any of them when I was a small child?

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My Brittain great aunts and uncles

Checking out the Brittain siblings

I’ve recently updated a previous post ( about my Brittain family after receiving some information from a cousin about the identity of three of the people in a photograph.  This prompted me to look again at my grandfather’s eight siblings.  When I first started researching my family tree, I was given a rough handwritten tree which provided the names and marriage details of all of them, so I assumed that this was correct and added them to the tree.

Finding out that the brother that I had listed as “Charles” was in fact Thomas Charles, and that I’d attached some incorrect details from Ancestry, I went back to check each of the children of my great grandparents, George and Betsy Brittain.


George Francis Brittain (1881-1963), his wife Betsy (seated) and is this their daughter Minnie?


 Children of George Francis Brittain and Betsy (nee Wiltshire)

In brackets I’ve added the names I was originally given; I presume these are the names they were usually known by.

George Francis, born 1902, married Jane Ford in 1926

Florence Margaret (Cissy) born 1904, married Frank Fairbank in 1922

Ernest James, born 1905, married Rosalind Mason in 1926 (my grandparents)

Dorothy Bessie (Dolly) born 1907, married Arthur White in 1930

Elizabeth Ellen (Nora) born 1910, married Frank Page in 1930

 Thomas Charles (Charlie) born 1912, married Ivy Ling in 1935

Margaret  (Margery) born 1914, married Frederick Vale in 1937

Lily Maud (Maude) born 1917, married Charles Vale in 1938

Minnie E, born 1921,  married Jack Glenister in 1945

I think this photograph was probably taken in the  1950s on the sea front at Canvey Island:

George, Betsy and ? (maybe one of their daughters?)

Where were they at the start of WW2?

I also checked where they all lived in September 1939,  as shown on the 1939 Register.  This gives a picture of a very close family, none of whom had moved very far from where they grew up.

  • My great grandparents, George and Betsy, lived at 65 Coburg Road, Wood Green, north London.   Their youngest daughter, Minnie was still living at home, and also in the house were Dorothy and her husband Arthur White, with their daughter Sheila, and Lily Maud and her husband Charles Vale.  There is also a 68 year old single woman named Florie Cole.  I don’t know whether she is connected to the family  or is perhaps a lodger.
  •  At 18 Caxton Road we find Elizabeth Ellen with her husband Frank Page and their daughter Violet.  Also in the house is Margaret with her husband Frederick Vale.
  • The eldest son, George F, and his wife Jane were a little further away, at 10 Stanhope Road Friern Barnet.  Also with them was a 24 year old single woman, Olive Ford.
  • Back in Wood Green, at 26 Silsoe Road, Florence Margaret Fairbank was living with two children, Harry and Arthur.  Four other records are still not visible but presumably these are the couple’s other children.
  • My grandfather Ernest James and his wife Rosalind were in Hornsey, at 52 Boyton Road.

At the time of writing, Thomas Charles and  his wife Ivy Ling are proving elusive, which is annoying as it was identifying Thomas Charles that started me on this aspect of my  research.  In 1938 they appear on the Electoral Roll at 51 Hornsey Park Road, and in 1945 they are at 59 Coburg Road,  but so far I can’t locate them in 1939.

I was unaware of any of these great aunts and uncles as I grew up so this research has been very interesting for me.   If you have any information about any of the people mentioned do get in touch.

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A Settlement Examination in Shoreditch

In 1856 my great great grandfather, John Miles,  underwent a settlement examination in Shoreditch.  He was aged 46, a resident of 5 White Hart Court, Hoxton, the address at which he was living at every census from 1841 until 1871.  His wife, Elizabeth, was 38 years old and they had the following 9 children:

Jane, aged 17, born in Mail Coach Yard, Sara 16, John 14, Emma 11, Helen 9

Ephraim 6, Martha 5, Harriet 3, Abraham, 2

John stated that he and his wife had married “in Lambeth 15 years ago last July” (i.e. in 1841).  This ties in with the marriage certificate I have for them. By 1856 he had  lived in Shoreditch for 43 years, which suggests that his parents must have moved there from Southwark when John was a very young child, as he was born around 1812.

The notes from John’s Settlement Examination

A record on another page mentions that they had lived in White Hart Court for 22 years.  The margin states “Irremovable” suggesting that the parish may have wished to move them on but had no grounds for doing so.  This is confirmed by the comment that John was  “irremovable by residence”.

I assume that the reason for this settlement examination was that John must have sought relief from the Board of Guardians and needed to prove his right to this assistance as he had been born in Southwark.

Interestingly, the same set of records also gives details of some other settlement records involving a Richard Miles – might  this be my elusive 3x great grandfather?  More research is needed.

Data source: London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1930 on Ancestry in assocation with the London Metropolitan Archives.

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A possible sighting of a 3x great grandfather?

I’ve been searching in vain for any records which might relate to my 3x great grandfather, Richard Miles.  When his son, John Miles, married in 1841 he gave his father’s name as Richard Miles, deceased, a basket maker.

Recently I found a record of a burial at St Saviour, Southwark, which is in the same area where John Miles stated he was born.  This burial was of a Richard Miles, son of Richard Miles, basket maker:

I don’t yet know whether I can find evidence to back up my hunch that this might be a link to my family tree, but it gives me some ideas about how to continue the search.

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A widow’s pension

In previous posts I’ve written about my great grandfather , John William Saunders (1875-1920) who died in 1920 having served  in WW1. He was wounded  and taken prisoner in 1917.  I have wondered whether his widow, my great grandmother Emily, received any kind of pension or support after his death.

Now that Ancestry has moved many of its military records to Fold3,   even with a full (and expensive) subscription it’s impossible to see the details of a record unless an additional subscription is purchased.  I took advantage of the free access to WW1 records over the Remembrance weekend last month and was pleased to find a pension record relating to John William Saunders.

The record shows that John suffered from “GSW (gunshot wound) in left arm, mediastinal growth, and TB disease of lungs”.    He had been awarded the Silver War Badge in 1919, presumably when he returned to England after his time as a prisoner of war in Germany.

His widow, Emily, must have  applied for a pension and was eventually awarded an £8 grant which was paid on 19th August 1921, almost a year after John’s death.  It’s not clear whether this was a one-off grant but there is no mention of a weekly sum so I assume it was a single payment.  She had 7 children , some old enough to be out working and perhaps supporting the family.

Emily’s address was given as 36 Colchester Road, Boundary Road,  E17.  Her previous address, 33 Tenby Road,  Walthamstow, was crossed through.  The Colchester Road address is where her son, John William Saunders (born 1904) was living with his wife in 1939.

Writing this has made me realise that I haven’t researched what happened to all the children of John William and Emily Saunders.   I remember my grandmother, Esther, and her younger siblings but now I need to dig into the records and find out more!

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George Blackburn (1801-1856)

Earlier this year I was leafing through a recently arrived copy of Family Tree magazine when I reached an article about how to develop your research and break down some of the “brickwalls” which face us all from time to time when an ancestor just doesn’t want to be found.  One of the pieces of advice was to ask for help from the genealogy community and not to soldier on alone.

For several years I had been struggling to find out anything about my 3x great grandfather George Blackburn. I knew that he had married my 3x great grandmother, Eliza Card, in May 1856 and had died in August later that same year.  All I knew about him was that he had described himself as a painter when he married, he gave his father as William Blackburn, a card maker, and  that he was 55 when he diedI had searched in vain to find him on the 1841 or 1851 census because I had no further information.

Spurred on by the  article in the magazine I decided to post an appeal for help on the Facebook group “ The Brickwall Club”.  Within a few hours I was stunned to receive several useful pieces of information – all of which had been there to be found if I’d used the full search facilities properly on sites including FindMyPast and Ancestry.  My heartfelt thanks go to the members of the Brickwall Club Facebook group who located George and filled in a missing piece of my family tree.

At the time of his marriage and death, George Blackburn was living in Drury Lane, London.  I thought I’d searched the street thoroughly but I hadn’t noticed a “George B Wilson” , a painter, living with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Ellen.    This record made it easy to find several other pieces of information.  The following is what I have learned so far:

George Blackburn was born in about 1801 in Halifax.  His father, William , was a card maker, presumably making the cards used in the looms in a cloth or woollen mill.

By 1841 George had moved to Liverpool.  He is on the census for Clayton Street, living with his wife Elizabeth, daughter Ellen and a 60 year old woman called Mary Blackburn, possibly  his mother or an aunt?  George, Elizabeth and Mary were stated to have been born outside Lancashire. Ellen was born in the county.


George Blackburn and family in Clayton Street, Liverpool, 1841


This is surely the same family who appear as “Wilson” on the London 1851 census, living in Drury Lane, .  This record provides George’s  link to Halifax although at the moment I can’t explain where the surname “Wilson” has come from.  Logically this could perhaps be Elizabeth’s maiden name?

George Wilson / Blackburn in Drury Lane, London, 1851


A George Blackburn married an Elizabeth Issott in August 1830 in Leeds, again, the occupation is given as “painter” which ties in neatly with my George although so far I haven’t been able to find any birth record for an  Elizabeth Issott born in Wakefield  in about 1811. This may refer to  another George and therefore might not be connected to my tree.

George’s daughter Ellen was baptised in Manchester in 1833 – the record states father George, a painter, mother Elizabeth.

Ellen Blackburn’s baptism


The family certainly appears to have moved around a lot – what had brought them to Liverpool by 1841?  Whatever the reasons, by 1843  things weren’t going so well ,and George petitioned for insolvency in 1843. Perhaps it was this that prompted the family to use the surname Wilson in 1851?


George and his family next appear in the 1851 census, in Drury Lane, as mentioned above. In 1854 his wife Elizabeth Wilson Blackburn died of dropsy at the age of just 43.

On 10th  May 1856  George married Eliza Card at the parish church of St George Bloomsbury.   Interestingly, on the same day in May 1856 at St Giles in the Fields , George’s daughter Ellen married Edwin Green , a silversmith.

George died of pneumonia on August 22nd 1856,  just 3 months after his marriage .  He was buried at the City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery on August 27th 1856.  My 2x great grandmother, Esther Annie Blackburn, was born in March 1857.

There are still plenty of questions to be answered but for now I’m happy that, with the help of the Brickwall Club on Facebook,  I have discovered a great deal more about my  3x great grandfather, George Blackburn.

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Another great great great grandmother – Eliza Card (1818-1869)

My 3 x great grandmother, Eliza Card, was born in Westbury, Somerset and baptised in the parish church there in 1818.  Her parents were John Card and Hester / Esther , and according to family stories, John was a wealthy landowner and disowned his daughter when she married a divorced man.  Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, I’ve found no evidence to suggest that this is true!

According to Eliza’s baptism, the 1841 census and Eliza’s marriage certificate, John was a tailor, so he was probably a respectable tradesman in the small village, which even now has only about 800 inhabitants.

Eliza had two siblings: Jesse, her brother, was baptised in 1813 and her sister Ann  was baptised in 1816 .

By the time the 1841 census was taken, it seems that Eliza and her sister Ann were living in London, at Laurence Pountney Hill in the City of London. Both are listed as “Milliners” aged 20.

The 1851 census shows Eliza living on her own in Southampton Street, Clerkenwell. Aged 32, she is now a dressmaker. Five years later, in 1856, she married George Blackburn, a painter of 152 Drury Lane. Eliza’s address is given as 16 York Place, Pentonville.  At the moment I haven’t found George on the 1841 or 1851 censuses so I have no idea where he originated.

Sadly, their marriage was extremely short, as little more than 3 months later, George died. Eliza gave birth to my great great grandmother, Esther Annie Blackburn, on 26th March 1857 at 152 Drury Lane. In 1859, she had another daughter, Jane Matilda Blackburn.  Jane obviously could not have been George’s daughter so I need to check to find her birth or baptism record. In 1861 Eliza and her two daughters were living at 4 Royal Arcade, St Giles. Eliza is now described as a “window blind maker”.

Eliza died in March 1869 of bronchitis and pneumonia. She was 49 years old.   I was surprised to find a probate record for her but I think she must have made the will to ensure that her two daughters were looked after following her death. In the 1871 census her daughters, Esther Annie and Jane Matilda, were living with their aunt, Ann Card, who was by now a lodging house keeper of 22 Princes Street, Marylebone.

Probate record for Eliza Blackburn


Eliza’s life in London seems to have been fairly difficult. Most of the areas in which she lived were poorer, less respectable places where crime was rife and conditions often squalid. Whatever her motive for leaving Somerset and moving to London, she must have struggled to cope with becoming a widow so soon after her marriage, and having 2 small girls to bring up.

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