Monday, 21 December 2009

Miles the Cowkeeper - an update

Earlier in the year, a random search through the Birmingham Directory of 1869 led me to Miles Fitzhenry who was variously a cowkeeper and gardener in Birmingham and Worcestershire.

Debra Harris wrote to us from Boston Massachusetts after seeing the post . She is Miles' great-great-grandaughter through her mother's side of the family. Her great-grandfather was Albert Miles Fitzhenry born in 1874, the thirteenth of fourteen children born to the Irishman Miles and his wife Betsy Young from Worcestershire.

Albert Miles married Mary (also known as Polly) in about 1894 (another of those elusive marriages that aren't in the GRO indexes - estimated to be about 1% of the overall total in England and Wales during the Victorian era). In the 1901 census he was a bicycle polisher - Birmingham having a florishing bicycle manufacturing industry at this time, and the couple had already had 4 of their 8 children. Debra tells me that Albert later owned a pet shop in Birmingham.

So who is the dapper looking chap in the photo with the natty suit? He's Debra's grandfather Percival Albert Fitzhenry (1897- 1995 and known as Henry) the third of the eight children.
He enlisted for army service in WW1 and his service records have recently been released as part of the digitisation of the records badly damaged during bombing in London during WW2. We know he was 18 years old when he enlisted in Birmingham in 1915, was 5 foot 8 inches tall, a machinist by trade and he gave his mother Mary as next of kin.

Thanks to Debra for the photo. If you think that you are descended from this family, then Debra would love to hear from you and she can be contacted be an email to the Blog or via the comments section. Considering Miles and Betsy had 14 children, there's bound to be some of you out there....

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