Sunday, 23 August 2009

Can I mention the cricket now?

Because that would be rude and insensitive to our Australian readers (including one of my co-authors) and completely bemusing to most of our other subscribers.
Just to say that Swann and Broad are Nottinghamshire lads, and that makes me very happy.

(For those who have no idea what I'm rambling on about click here.)

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Monday, 17 August 2009

Miles Fitzhenry, cowkeeper in Birmingham (Fites Henry - another deviant spelling of the surname)

From the Wright's Directory for Birmingham 1869
FITZHENRY Miles, Cowkeeper, 68 Warwick Street

So where was he in the 1871 census?
Firstly in the intervening 2 years he had moved - to King's Norton in Worcestershire.
Secondly, the enumerator had written his name (in beautiful handwriting) as
Miles FITES HENRY, and all the other members of the household as "(Forename) ditto".
Ancestry copied this inaccuracy throughout the family.
When FindMyPast got hold of it, Fites became Miles' middle name so he is found indexed as
Miles Fites HENRY, with all the other members of the family indexed as (Forename) Henry.

So where had this variant spelling come from?
Looking at Miles' marriage to Betsy Young in the 1st quarter of 1859, his surname is correctly spelt as Fitzhenry.
Their eldest daughter was also born in the 1st quarter of 1859 and she is registered as Esther FITESHENRY
The next child is Edward and I can't find him registered under any variant of Fitzhenry, but putting "Edward" and "Aston" as the registration district (which was where all the subsequent children were registered) I found an Edward MILES registered in September 1860 (Aston 6b page 224 if anyone has the certificate and wants to share). The other children were all registered as Fitzhenry (when there is a registration listed for them).

Here's the corrected version of the census entry.
1871 census England
Head M 35 1836 Ireland county Galway milkman

FITZHENRY, Betsy (nee Young)
Wife F 32 1839 Worcestershire Northfield

Daughter F 12 1859 Worcestershire Northfield Scholar

Son M 10 1861 Warwickshire Birmingham Scholar

Son M 9 1862 Warwickshire Birmingham Scholar

Son M 7 1864 Warwickshire Birmingham Scholar

Daughter F 4 1867 Warwickshire Birmingham Scholar

Son M 1 1870 Warwickshire Birmingham

Daughter F 3 months 1871 Warwickshire Birmingham

RGnumber:RG10 Piece:3080 Folio:118 Page:13
Address: 52 Thomas Street, Kings Norton County:Worcestershire

Missing from this list are 2 children who died in infancy:
Mary Ann Fitzhenry born and died in the 4th quarter 1867
John Fitzhenry born and died in the 1st quarter 1869

Miles Fitzhenry himself died in the 2nd quarter of 1893. His age of death was given as 68 which would have actually made his date of birth 1825 rather than 1836 as was stated in the census.

Are any of these Fitzhenrys your family? Drop us a line and let us know.

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Sunday, 16 August 2009

Daniel Fitzhenry - rugby league legend ... and some more cricketing Fitzhenrys!

It's not often when you're doing the Sunday ironing with the sports channel on the radio, that the name "Fitzhenry" breaks through your half-time* lapse of concentration.
Daniel Fitzhenry had just scored the winning try for the English rugby league team Hull Kingston Rovers.

This prompted me to open up the laptop and do the first of several pieces that will be posted over the next few days. We don't often do posts about the living members of our family, but everything that is here is on the web (so no secret).

This first bit is from Wikipedia
Daniel Thomas Fitzhenry born 8 December 1979 in Macksville, New South Wales, Australia.
Macksville is a small town of about 2600 and (again according to Wikipedia) has a noted rugby league team, the Macksville Sea Eagles. However Daniel started his rugby career at Dorrigo & Nambucca Heads. He made his pro debut for Wests Tigers in 2002 and played for them until 2007 after which he moved to Hull. Apart from the various rugby league stats pages, there's not much else on the web about Daniel. He hasn't even updated his myspace page since 2007!

Googling Macksville and Fitzhenry, I found Adam Fitzhenry playing cricket for Nambucca-Bellingen. Another cricketing Fitzhenry! And completing the whole rugby league - cricket crossover thing, we have Andrew Fitzhenry, the former Parramatta rugby league half back described as "an accomplished keeper/batsman" by the Australian Times On-line.

* it was half-time between Tottenham Hotspurs and Liverpool. Regular readers know of my allegiance to Spurs, as my family have been supporters since the early 1900s when two of my great -great uncles allegedly had trials for the club.... something that the club has no record of at all.
And in the time it's taken me to write this entry Spurs have won 2-1. Hurrah.

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Thursday, 13 August 2009

Christmas weddings

Dennis Miller wrote to me to tell me that I had made a mistake with the marriage of his great-grandparents John Joseph Marney and Ellen Fitzhenry.
I had recorded that they were marrried on 20th December, when actually they wed on the 25th December 1897.
Dennis commented that this was the sixth Christmas wedding in his tree. I have 3 couples in my database who were married on Christmas day - my great-great-great grandparents Michael Fitz-Henry and Sarah Phillips in 1839, Edward Clement and Mary Fitzhenry in 1862 (from Lesley Champion's family tree) and the Marney/Fitzhenry marriage as metioned above.
I'm sure that I read somewhere that weddings and baptisms were done free of charge on Christmas day which was why it was such a popular date amongst the working classes. The couple were also likely to have one of their rare days off work together on this date.
From previous trawls through parish registers, I imagine the churches must have been busy places on Christmas day!

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Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Thin Shadow of Patrick Fitzhenry

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In the ongoing search for the connections of my mysterious Michael Fitzhenry, only one other Bristol based Fitzhenry appears to have left his gossamer trail. Patrick Fitzhenry, a trader and adventurer of fleeting - and dubious - success, is recorded in the Bankrupcy records from the 1790s. However, recently a small entry referring to the afore mentioned Patrick came to light, which not only tells us a little bit about one of his business adventures, but names another probable family member.
The book " Bristol Privateers and Ships Of War" by D.Powell (published by J.W Arrowsmith Ltd Bristol 1930) has a chapter dealing with the French Revolutionary War (1793-1815), in which the ship LANGRISHE was mentioned. The owner of this 266 ton ship was none other than Patrick Fitzhenry. The following declaration was made 5 March 1793 in relation to this ship by Captain John Fitzhenry. "In May it was reported that the Langrishe had taken the French ship Double Union from Martinque to Marsaiiles, with a cargo of sugar, coffe and cocoa, and sent her to Gibralter. The prize arrived at Kingroad [the area of the Severn estuary leading into the mouth of the Avon River on which Bristol lies] on 8 June and was sold the following month. The Langrishe was wrecked at Montego Bay, Jamaica on 21 October 1793".
Who was Captain John Fitzhenry ? It beggars belief that there was no family connection between the owner - Patrick - and Captain - John Fitzhenry.
Clearly Patrick ("late of Bristol, for ten years past a merchant trading in England, Africa, Newfoundland, and Ireland") had displayed his success through his purchasing of property at Westbury on Trym, Bristol, as the bankrupcy proceedings required him to sell off his Mansion house, coach house, messuages and tenements, pothouse, pottery, closes, pieces and parcels of land, to settle some of his debts. The enforced auction took place 16 April 1793, raising the not insubstantial sum of 3550 pounds (assessed as being around 400,000 pounds today). His major creditor was listed as John Chivers, and a John Fitzpatrick (should they be Fitzhenry?) received a further 1000 pounds.

So though frustratingly limited, we now have a little more meat on the bones of the mysterious Patrick Fitzhenry, but also a new connection - naval Captain John Fitzhenry. The search continues!

Monday, 10 August 2009

John Fitzhenry - born in ?Wolverhampton in 1828 to Australia

Alan Hagenson sent me some details about another unrelated (to him) Fitzhenry line which his sister had put together and I put on the Blog in June. Here it is.

I was intriged that the origin of this line John Fitzhenry came from Wolverhampton, now part of the great metropolitan conurbation of Birmingham in the West Midlands. But in 1828 was an up and coming but still relatively modest industrial town in the County of Staffordshire. Fitzhenrys didn't come from there.

So today I had a road trip to the County Archives in Stafford.

In 1828, Wolverhampton had one Anglican church (St Peters) and one Roman Catholic church (Ss Peter and Paul). I started off with the first - I've found it's always easier to track down Anglicans(!) but he wasn't there, allowing for a couple of years each way.
As Fitzhenrys around this era were more likely to be new immigrant Irish and therefore Catholics, I looked in the range 1826-1832 for the Ss Peter and Paul registers. It did help that the Catholic population was considerably smaller than the Anglican one (and therefore fewer entries to wade through), but still no John FH.

So...checking his life in Australia, I found that he had married Julia Carter in Scots Church Sydney which is a Presbyterian church. Were the family non-conformists? I'd never spotted a non-conformist Fitzhenry this far back, but there were a scattering of Presbyterian, Methodist, Independent Congregation and Quaker chapels and meeting houses around the Wolverhampton area.

Unfortunately the Fitzhenry family didn't seem to attend any of these chapels either.

John may have been born in Wolverhampton but either it was outside the time span I was searching in or he didn't get baptised or otherwise recorded in the area. Any pointers to this man's origins gratefully received.

As an intersting side issue, the records for the Quaker births were interesting - not only was there a witness to the baptism of the child but there had to be a separate witness who had seen the child being born. And the marriage records were just lovely - each page was a written record of the words used by the couple plighting their troth and then everyone at the wedding signed the marriage certificate.

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Sunday, 9 August 2009

More about Norman Fitz-Henry in Portland Oregon

The past month has been hectic with work and the cricket season, but now at least work has lightened up a bit...
The wonderful Brian Bouchard who is a local historian covering the Ashtead, Surrey area has given me another lead with Norman Edward Fitz-Henry, last seen working in Portland Oregon and dying in Tahoma, Washington in 1901. (Brian has also been an invaluable source of leads for other aspects of the Ashtead Fitz-Henrys)
The entry that I found in the Portland Commercial Directory for 1897 read:
"Norman E FitzHenry (Portland Ptg Co) 204 Stark, bds 29 4th N."

Brian wrote:
I suggest the abbreviated word is "Portaging" and Norman was involve in the portage round Celilo falls on the Columbia River - see Oregon Steam Navigation Co history.
Which may explain why Norman was up in Washington when he died.

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