Category Archives: Research

Site stats can help in odd ways

Sometimes I feel I get a bit obsessed with checking the statistics on this site. I like to see what visitors are searching for and what pages they read (or at least visit). This can be useful though – allowing me to respond quickly to my new Cullum cousin recently for instance. The stats can also prompt a tweak in the content, making me realise I haven’t quite got the content up to date or clear enough to answer a search phrase.

And sometimes a search term prompts me to check out what the hell they might be looking for, as its certainly not on Cutlock and Co. Today was one such, and after a while it led to a website new to me – the British Jewry Leeds Database. Leeds is where my Jewish Brookstone trail led, and yes there on the Database site was Jonny’s mother Toba Lazarus and the confusion of names around her two marriages and various offspring (see Finding that elusive Jewish connection).  There doesn’t seem to be any sources given for this lot of records,  so I can’t do my own check of the data or see if it might contain any more clues. But the additional marriage information (precise date, place: 10 Sep 1865, Belgrave St Synagogue for Toba and Isaac) is consistent with what you’d expect from a certificate or register entry, so good enough for the moment. The death date of Jonny’s father Isaac will be taken on trust – 25th April 1889.

Equally it is clear what is missing – and what is much more definite now I have a death for Isaac. The following appeared highly likely, given no other matching Brookstone in 1891, but was still a supposition. Jonny, or rather Jacob as he started out, was in the Jews Orphanage in Norwood, London at 1891 with two sisters, Annie and Eva, the youngest of the family. Presumably because Eva wasn’t born at the 1881 census, she isn’t on the Leeds database at all. I’ll have to get in touch to exchange notes.

That’s quite enough wordage for a quick update.


Keeping the family trees in sync

I started building my family tree using, but fairly quickly decided that my reference database would be using the connected Family Tree Maker software on my PC. A new version of this comes out every year, and the latest is due out soon – in America at the end of September and in the UK two weeks later (according to Amazon, which says release date is 14th October).

The differences between the annual versions can be quite small, such as minor enhancements to the reports available and customisable historical events for  the timeline view. This time though there is a key new facility – Tree Sync. At last the online and offline versions can be kept matched up without doing everything twice (or creating a new tree every time you want to sync).  There is a little information on TreeSync in Ancestry’s Customer Help FAQs.

If you haven’t started using FTM and/or Ancestry yet, it would be silly to buy the old version (the upgrade discount in the UK isn’t worth talking about). And for once I might not just be buying the new version, once I’ve found a decent discount, as a cheap way of getting an Ancestry subscription.

Also note

I’ve started a Family Tree Maker notes page – useful links and a few tips and on using the program.


An email on the FTM 2012 upgrade has arrived from British distributor Avanquest (lunchtime 26th Sept). Seems like the upgrade is available right now if ordered direct from them for £19-99 (includes one month Ancestry Essentials membership):

NEW TreeSync™ – Synchronise Desktop and Online trees! Easily update your online tree from your desktop, laptop and even your iPhone or iPad – and then simply click to sync so your tree is always up-to-date, no matter where you access it next. Share your tree with other family members and choose who can view and update it.

NEW Blended (Combined) Families View – see stepfamilies, adoptees and other blended families at a glance.

IMPROVED Smart Stories™ – gives you new tools for adding and editing your family’s details. Include facts about the individual and his or her spouse and children.

NEW Customised Fact Sentences – Now when you create an Ahnentafel, descendant report, or Smart Story you can change the wording of the fact or event sentences and also choose what data is included.

IMPROVED Notes Report that lets you display person, research, relationship, or fact notes you’ve entered for individuals in your tree.

NEW & IMPROVED Charts – Now you can display generation labels (such as parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents), add your own images and text and create a descendant chart that shows the relationship between two people whom you select.

NEW Index of Individuals Report that lists every individual in your tree and their birth, marriage, and death dates.

SIMPLIFIED Interface for Upgraders – A newly simplified interface integrating the best of previous versions.

Corrupt voting – great uncle accused

Another interesting new history search engine, going beyond the usual sources but creating new frustrations! It has passed the ‘Cutlock test’ though, sort of.

Connected Histories is a joint project of a number of universities and currently includes 11 major digital resources for Britain in the years 1500 to 1900 – see the Resources list. Some are academic in origin, others require access via a university or other institution, but there is some freely available material indexed. For example, there is the Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540-1835 and the Charles Booth Archive of images/maps.

I did the usual – insert “Cutlock” and see what appears. After a couple of false starts (ticking query type as ‘person’ didn’t give anything) up comes  a string of references to ‘Report of the commissioners appointed to inquire into the existence of corrupt practices at the last election for members to serve in Parliament for the city of Norwich, 1870’. Also an obviously connected 1868 petition.

Most 19th century Cutlocks found so far can be connected to the family tree somewhere, so the Francis mentioned here was plausible. And while no dates of birth are given in what is visible in the search results, it does say he is a bricklayer, which matches 4x great uncle Francis Cutlock, born July 1814 Norwich. Oh dear, looks like he was taking bribes on who to vote for at the parliamentary election, but as access to the Report is via an institution it also looks like I’m not going to find out anything more precise. At least I know he owned property – the Representation of the People Act (second Reform Act) of 1867 extended voting to urban working men meeting the property qualification. And apparently (from UK parliament website) the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act 1883 effectively ends serious corruption in British elections.

Has anyone reading got access to the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, which is where the search results take you?

But I have done a little more digging and have discovered in the online Hansard archives for 5th July 1870:

MR. C. S. READ , who apologized for addressing the House at so late an hour (1 o’clock), said, that the conduct of the Norwich Commissioners had excited the gravest discontent in that city. It was rather extraordinary, in the first place, that the Commissioners, instead of beginning where Baron Martin had left off—that learned Judge having discovered all the bribery, though not the sources from which it had proceeded—should have begun de novo, should have examined 1,500 witnesses, have sat for 33 days, asked nearly 45,000 questions, and put the the city to enormous expense. And what was the whole foundation of the Commission? Why, the story of a small boy that £1,000 had been sent down by the Carlton Club to bribe the electors of Norwich; and as soon as the origin of the story was discovered the inquiry collapsed. It was a mistake to suppose that every one who voted after 2 o’clock was of necessity bribed, or that every one who was a zealous partizan was employed in corrupting others.

So that bribery accusation is now somewhat less certain.

Theophilus Farrall shipping agent and electrical inventor

One family connection I hadn’t previously pursued very far was that of my cousin Geoffrey and aunt Irene (Watkins). Their father/husband was Charles O’Brien, revealed to have a middle name of Theophilus on his wife’s death certificate – I have a feeling he hated this name.

I had only got a little info on place of birth and parents for Charles. It was likely that a birth registered in 1912, mother Farrell, was his but that was not enough data to go on in amongst a large number of O’Briens. Having been prompted by a brother that it was rather unfair of me not to dig further, I ordered the wedding certificate (1948) to confirm the birth year and get a name for his dad. Thumbs up to to GRO (General Records Office) – ordered Monday evening online, arrived Saturday post.

So with the additional piece of information that his father was Charles Frederick O’Brien, printer, plus an address in Enfield, hey presto – I can discover loads about his mother’s family. And sod all on the O’Briens, although perhaps the 1911 census will help,  once I have a sub for it.

The first step was to find the elder Charles’ wedding, eventually found as 1910 Edmonton to Mary Aseneth L Farrall (not Farrell, note). Oh joy, a distinctive middle name. Easily found in the 1901 census in St Pancras district {2}: parents Theophilus D Farrall (born Audley, Staffs 1843) and Mary E S – who proved to be Mary Ellen Sophia Chapman (born 1859 St Pancras district). That’s a cheat as in 1901 Theophilus (do I recognise that name?) claimed to be 5 years younger, which was repeated on his death registration in 1908. Possibly not the only cheat from him, but I mustn’t jump ahead.

Theophilus gave his occupation in 1901 as Electrical Engineer Inventor, and  a quick Google was in order. The result was provided by Google too – a page from Electrical Engineer publication for 1890 mentioning a provisional patent dated 18th March “Improvements in method and mechanism for generating heat, steam, and light by electricity. Theophilus Davies Farrall 52 Chancery Lane.” The address would be for his patent agent. At the time Theo is highly likely to have been in America – his children were born 1885 Indiana (Theo junior), 1889/90 in Chattanooga (Mary and Amy), 1892/93/95 New York (Florence, Victoria, Rowena/Rosina). Then 1898/1900 in St Pancras, London (Ruby, Dorothy). No English 1891 census located {1}.

Briefly going back to the O’Brien line, the only census entry found for a Charles Frederick O’Brien in 1901 also states that he was born in America. No more precise than that – if this is the right person he was an attendant in the lunatic asylum in Banstead at the time of the census.

Theophilus was born in Staffordshire to a colliery clerk, and other occupations shown for him on census returns are shipping and commission agent (1871, Staffs), glass manufacturer (1881, London St Pancras {2}). On his marriage certificate in 1879 it says ‘railway clerk’, living at Leighton Road, Kentish Town. So  the most interesting leap is between 1879 and 1881 – no obvious connection between making glass and paperwork springs to mind.

One of Theo’s sisters was Asenath Farrall, the likely source of that distinctive middle name for Mary. The middle D for all of Theo’s children is probably for Davis (or Davies), his mother being Mary Davis (maiden name as shown by a number of family trees).See Footnote {3} for more.

There’s also a possible criminal register entry for 5 April 1872 (found not guilty of embezzlement and fraud) in Somerset. The entry is for Theophilus Davis McDermot Farrall. As a Staffordshire shipping agent in 1871 I would guess it was possible he’d have business in Somerset, but where would the McDermot name have come from?


{1} Little of the 1890 US census has survived.

{2} St Pancras district includes Kentish Town.

{3} Tree so far:

Richard Farrall b 1814 Bunbury, Cheshire, m Mary Davis (b 1816 Shropshire). Offspring all born Staffordshire – Theophilus Davis b 1843, Asenath b 1845, Louisa D b 1846, Augustus D b 1850.

Theophilus (R A) Davis Farrall (died 1908 Edmonton) m Mary Ellen Sophia Chapman 18 June 1879 Kentish Town, St Luke parish church. Offspring as above.

Mary Aseneth L Farrall b 22 July 1889 Chattanooga, Tennessee, died 1976 Redbridge district, London. Married Charles Frederick O’Brien 1910 Edmonton district.

Charles’ maternal grandfather was Theophilus Davies Farrall (although the precise name varied somewhat) – in 1901 has gives his occupation at Electrical Engineer Inventor. So I thought I’d Google him and the attached is the result. Odd that his address is given as London – as Charles’ mother was born in America 1889 and looks like a sister of hers was born there 1892 – so must be patents agent address. Theophilus was born in Staffordshire to a colliery clerk, and other occupations he shows on census returns are shipping and commission agent, and glass manufacturer, and looks like he was a railway clerk when he moved to London/married. There’s also a possible criminal register entry (not guilty of embezzlement) but seems odd that he would be in Somerset. 

Charles’ maternal grandfather was Theophilus Davies Farrall (although the precise name varied somewhat) – in 1901 has gives his occupation at Electrical Engineer Inventor. So I thought I’d Google him and the attached is the result. Odd that his address is given as London – as Charles’ mother was born in America 1889 and looks like a sister of hers was born there 1892 – so must be patents agent address. Theophilus was born in Staffordshire to a colliery clerk, and other occupations he shows on census returns are shipping and commission agent, and glass manufacturer, and looks like he was a railway clerk when he moved to London/married. There’s also a possible criminal register entry (not guilty of embezzlement) but seems odd that he would be in Somerset.

Finding that elusive Jewish connection

The joys of the chase! I’ve cracked a conundrum on the family’s Jewish connection.

I’d at one time thought that granddad’s first name of Levi (which he hated) had a  Jewish connection. While both his grandfather and a cousin had the same name (if sometimes spelt differently, most often Levy), there is no other hint of such a link.

What has been more certain is great great aunt Lily Osborne married Jonny Brookstone, of Jewish origin and probably from Poland. I found no trace of him coming into the country but did find a Jacob Brookstone of the right age and background, born in Leeds 1880 and in the Norwood Jewish Hospital and Orphanage at 1891 with two likely siblings.

Until today I’d only found his parents Isaac and Mary in the 1881 census (both with Polish origin). It was clear from the records that they had all  been busy anglicising their names – Jacob became Jack became John/Jonny for instance. Brookstone had lost its ‘e’ in 1881, and I guessed it might be Brookstein before then but hadn’t had any joy.

Checking back, to put a short mention on this site, I realised I hadn’t looked at the second page of the 1881 census record very closely. This showed two half siblings by the name of Gladstone – a chance to find  a re-marriage of the mother perhaps? Eventually, yes. I tried some obvious surname variations, assuming Gladstone was another anglicisation. No luck. Then I put br*kst* into FreeBMD’s Name Search facility and tried a few of the names which came up in the marriage search.Working backwards from the end, as I like to do, it wasn’t a long exercise. Bruckston!

Now the only problem was that there appeared to be three males to one female (most marriage registration searches throw up two pairs). Could Toby Gluckstein/Gluckston in anyway be Mary Gladstone?? Seemed a bit of a stretch. Having also found a Moses Gladstone as a likely first husband, lo and behold, a Toby Lazarus appeared to be one of the three males to one female in the search results. Hm, interesting. And a search for Moses Gladstone on Ancestry threw up 1861 census with wife Toba Gladstone.

That’s a result I reckon. Our wonderful Yorkshire registrar couldn’t handle Toba as a name, creating Toby. And Toba herself found Mary easier to use day to day, so it appeared on the census.

Good detective work, and no one got hurt. Welcome Toba Lazarus into the family tree as mother-in-law to great great aunt Lily. I hope you found a good life in this country, or least better than the repression in Poland. Sad that you only lived to about 45, leaving a  seven year old Jacob/Jonny Brookstone behind.

A couple of reference notes

History of Norwood care

From WDYTYA magazine July 2010: “many Jewish immigrants from Russian-controlled areas settled in Leeds as this was en route from Hull to Liverpool where people hoped to find a ship to cross the Atlantic to the USA.” Implied – they ran out of money to make the journey or otherwise ran out of steam. Jonny’s presumed little sister Eva is recorded as travelling to the USA in 1920, going to join a cousin (Mrs Annie Stein) in Buffalo, NY.