Beside myself with excitement this evening…

Genealogy is a funny game – sometimes, nothing for ages then a stream of breakthroughs all at once!

Earlier today I was delving into some records and found a branch of the family with sons serving in WWI. Until now, I hadn’t found any ancestors of the right age to be involved. So I am sure there is more digging to be done there to uncover their war stories. One individual, in fact, sadly died in the War in April 1918.

This afternoon I was googling George Campion Postans (as one does!) and found a link to him in a family tree on Ancestry. I am beside myself with how much information is in this family tree which the owner has kindly allowed me access to (the owner is a distant cousin!). It includes some wonderful sources which I will be spending some time examining.

A very good day for the family tree, all in all! Don’t know how I shall sleep for the excitement though!

Calling all potential relatives…

Map of Suffolk, 1910

Hello everyone and a special hello to all new blog followers this week! So glad you could join us! I now have a fairly substantial family tree to work with and with this in mind I’d just like to see … Continue reading

On the trail of Frederick George Postans…

edited-possible-frederick-g-postans

As mentioned in yesterday’s blog post I’ve been trying to find the final resting place of Frederick George Postans. I now know quite a lot about his life. See this post on his workplace, Newmarket Post Office, and this one on his biographical details so far. … Continue reading

Looking for burials

I am currently trying to trace some Postans burials which may or may not have been in Suffolk or Cambridgeshire. Updates to follow if/when I get any news!

The trouble with relatives who live and work in different counties is that there is some confusion about where they might be buried which has given rise to this detective hunt I’ve found myself on this morning.

 

If and when I find these family burials I’d love to go and see them, and possibly be the first family visitor they’ve received in the best part of a century.

 

Fingers crossed!

On the trail of Joseph Mears

County Roscommon in the 19th century.

I am thrilled to be able to add some updated information on my 2x Great-Grandfather, Joseph Mears. He appears in a previous blog post here. I was thrilled this week to be contacted by a reader who is also descended … Continue reading

What about the Gardners and Mears families?

Enough with the male line – I think I need to take a break from the Richard/William Postans confusion and explore a little of what I’ve found out about my grandmother’s family.

A recap – my grandmother was born Muriel Ethel Myra Gardner in West Bromwich in June 1905. Out of five siblings, she was the only child of her parents to go on and have children of her own. Her father was Hubert Edward Gardner, born 1880 in Kidderminster. Her mother was Ethel Beatrice Mears. Both my maternal great-grandparents came from the most enormous Victorian families, which I will endevour to summarise as succinctly as possible!

Ethel Beatrice appears to be one of 12 children – their splendid names are as follows:

Alice May, Catherine Helen, Edith Jane, Ethel Beatrice (my great-grandmother), Florence Maud, Gertrude Emily, Margaret Isabel, Muriel Lillian, Charles Frederick, Joseph Henry, Agnes Theresa and Arthur Harold. The older children were born in the 1860s and 70s in the Kidderminster area, and the younger ones were born in the environs of Birmingham. I am not at present sure if all of these children survived to adulthood.

It seems as though Ethel Beatrice gave birth to her daughter Muriel while living near her family – they lived in the Aston Manor ward at the time of the 1901 census and in Handsworth in 1911. My grandmother was born in West Bromwich (I have the names of various football teams going through my head at this point!).

Margaret Jane Mears was Ethel Beatrice’s mother, and she is recorded as being born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire in 1849. Her husband was Joseph Mears – born in Ireland in 1839 and living in Northampton by the age of 3. One could speculate that the cause of the migration might be the worsening economic situation in Ireland at this time – although the well-famed Potato Famine didn’t begin until 1845.

Sadly at the moment I don’t know whereabouts in Ireland Joseph’s family came from. In the census records from when Joseph was an adult (and therefore reporting his own origins) he states that his place of birth was Northampton. This is intriguing – is Joseph unaware of his birth in Ireland, or is he trying to disguise his Irish roots to overcome possible prejudice against the Irish in England? He was fortunate that his surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and therefore not overtly Irish-sounding. It’s a fact that his decendents knew of his Irish background since my Great Uncle Teddy described Joseph as Irish.

I have tried to find out as much as possible about Joseph Mears and I’ve come a little way so far. Great Uncle Teddy’s letter referred to Joseph as the owner of a newspaper – so going on this and with the help of Google I discovered that Joseph Mears was proprietor of the Kidderminster Sun and General Printers which was based in Trinity Lane, Kidderminster. The London Gazette records that Joseph was the sole owner of this business as of 18th October 1886.

 Joseph Mears London Gazette Oct 1886

I’ve tried to find archival material related to the newspaper but it remains tantalisingly out of grasp at the moment. I will attempt to progress this further as I should think we’d all find it fascinating to uncover writings by Joseph Mears and a bit more about what his (apparently short-lived) newspaper was like.

More to follow on the enormous Gardner family!

Barking up the wrong tree?

I’ve been lucky so far in that finding ancestors using Ancestry has been a straightforward business. Perhaps this is the gift of the unusual surname – there have been very few false leads with regard to the Postans family.

Until now.

I find my head spinning trying to work out which Richard and William Postanses ‘belong’ to us – the profusion of Georges, Fredericks, and Campions I could cope with. They are mostly close ancestors anyway and I’ve started to be able to recall details of their lives as individuals.

The Richards and Williams belong back in the late 18th and early 19th century and I’m getting quite confused about whether a certain branch belongs to us or not. The Suffolk ones I am quite confident in – but it seems that the line may then deviate from the East and move Westwards to Tewkesbury – a picturesque town in Gloucestershire. If this is the right branch, it may be difficult to find out what brought the family to East Anglia.

However – I still need to sort out the profusion of Richards and Williams on my tree – and I know I’m a beginner, but even I can figure out that it’s impossible for a father and son to be born within a year of one another so something has gone dreadfully awry! I am off to sort it out now!

 

 

Image

The grave of a Richard Postans in the grounds of Tewkesbury Abbey – which may or may not belong to our ancestor who died in 1780…

I am extremely grateful to the archivist at Tewkesbury Abbey, Pat Webley, for assisting in tracing the Postans family burials at Tewkesbury Abbey.

Newmarket Post Office: A Question Answered!

Yesterday’s blog post profiled my great-grandfather, Frederick George Postans (1839-1922). He lived and worked in Newmarket, Suffolk, for the greater part of his life. He worked as postmaster and lived in the Post Office located in Newmarket High Street. I was musing yesterday whether the existing Post Office was the same one – a Google search (God bless Google!) has revealed the answer.

The Website ‘Newmarket Shops’ has the following information:

  • The Post Office

  • Newmarket’s Post Office was originally across the road at No.122 High Street – now Thing-Me-Bobs, but this was the site of the 5th bomb that struck Newmarket during WWII on February 18th 1941 – the building was destroyed and two people lost their lives there.As a temporary measure the Post Office was transferred to the Memorial Hall – No.144 High Street, where it remained until 1951, when Willoughby House along with Frank Griggs’ house next door were demolished to make way for the present building.

(Found at http://www.newmarketshops.info/No.103_High_Street.html accessed 9th February 2014)

So, sadly, the original Post Office where Frederick spent virtually all his working life has disappeared. I will continue to try and find out more about the original Post Office and see if I can locate any images. I’ve put out a request on a Newmarket Facebook page so I hope that will bear fruit!

During the course of researching about the Post Office I have also turned up a fascinating account of the destruction of Newmarket High Street on 18th February 1941 during WWII. This is a very interesting side-alley in my research (which genealogy seems to regularly throw up!) and worth perusing although not directly relevant to my family. Sadly a Post Office worker was killed during the raid at his work.

 

Edit: The Facebook page ‘Old Newmarket’ has kindly linked to a photo in its archive of the old Post Office for me – it was rather thrilling opening this up for the first time and seeing the place where my Great-Grandfather lived and worked in the 1870s-90s. The image was provided by the Newmarket Local History Society and I am linking to it here so that you can click through and see it too! Wow. The power of the internet!

Is this Frederick George Postans?

I mentioned in an earlier post that Dad had shown me a number of family photos in his possession which his sister Jennifer had given to him earlier. The photos were framed and large  – unfortunately we can’t say with … Continue reading