A snapshot of Bush Houses in 1911

The database of the 1911 census on Ancestry (for England and Wales) is currently in a rather frustrating half-way state. The images of the individual records are online, organised by the original Enumeration District. However the information on the records hasn’t yet been transcribed and indexed, so you can’t directly search them by name (or by anything else). The census summary books, where the local census collector tallied up the records for each area, ARE indexed but they generally only give the surname of head of household, and don’t directly connect to the individual images. If you already know where a family is likely to be, you have a chance of finding them, although the precise ‘Civil Parish’ each Enumeration District is grouped into can be less than obvious (particularly in Wales?).

The Cutlock Transcription

One thing that the 1911 images on Ancestry are useful for though, due to the original enumeration sequence, is exploring a particular place at the time of the 1911 census, on 2nd April {1}. Bush Houses in Cwmclydach (Tonypandy) is one such place worth exploring. I already had five Osborne related households known to be living here in 1911 {2}, but with 50 terraced properties in total, and many containing two families, there were certainly going to be more who’d moved from Somerset like the Osbornes, and possibly some more direct connections.

Bush Houses, rear centre/right

So I’ve downloaded the forms and transcribed the data  for the 71 households, which can be seen in this BushHouses in 1911 census spreadsheet.

A few statistics

– 95 Welsh speakers, out of 399 people (but some are youngsters not shown as speaking either Welsh or English). Nobody is shown as only speaking Welsh (although I have a nagging doubt that I might have missed one).

– Average of 8 people per house. Most houses are shown to have 5 rooms, which excludes “scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom” if the person completing the form had followed instructions.

– Counting all those up to and including age 18 years as children, there are 164 adults, 235 children.

There aren’t as many other families from Somerset as I expected – villages include Glastonbury, Meare and Carlingcott, as well as Bath. One adult is from Germany (Abram Glass), while in a family where the father isn’t present (but the mother is shown as married) two children were born in Wilkesbarre, USA. Was Dad still overseas trying to earn money, or perhaps due to the strike had gone off to find other work?

What the census doesn’t say

When you stop to think for  a moment, what stands out from these records is that there isn’t any indication that the census was taken while the Tonypandy coal miners strike, started November 1910, was still in full swing. Just one or two forms clearly state that the employer is Cambrian Colliery Combine, the focus of the dispute.

Most of these families would have been suffering greater hardships than usual from lack of money. See Tonypandy Riots page for a little more.

Osborne connections

The Osborne families in Bush Houses in 1911.

Already known:

  • Number 9 Ernest Osborne and Gwenllian (nee Herbert), plus young daughter Elizabeth Ann.
  • Number 10 Matthew Picton and Sarah (nee Thomas), with 6 children including Sophia, who marries a Gregory child (see no. 12)
  • Number 11 Levi Osborne and Elizabeth (nee Larkham), plus 3 children and niece Maud Pearce.
  • Number 12 Albert Gregory and Rose (nee Osborne), with 7 children.
  • Number 50 Richard Herbert (also known as Parry) and Eliza Ann, plus 3 children including Naomi, who marries a Gregory.

Newly discovered at Bush Houses:

  • Number 16 William Harwood and Amelia (nee Osborne), 1 baby boy.
  • Number 17 Probably the couple showing in the marriage records for 1910 as Bert James and Lizzie Osborne – Albert and Elizabeth.
  • Number 17 Edward Sheldon and Matilda (Osborne), plus 3 children.

Note 1. The 1911 census records on Find My Past , which had access to the sources first, are not arranged in this way. While you can search by address, getting all of them in one or two hits depends on the transcription being consistent, assuming that the individual householders had all written the address in a consistent fashion back in 1911. The latter is highly unlikely for Bush Houses (the location may be given as Blaenclydach, Cwmclydach or just Clydach, for instance), and the clarity of writing varies from excellent to terrible.

Note 2. Thanks to a previous subscription to the 1911 census on FindMyPast.

Note 3. If you want to find these records on Ancestry, they are at Wales > Glamorgan county > Rhondda civil parish > Rhondda sub-district > Enumeration district 42 > images 488 to 629.

Also See


A question of religion in Yorkshire

Parish records for West Yorkshire were released on Ancestry this week. Not many ancestors or distant relations in this area, and the few who were in Leeds had left Poland, presumably due to the persecution of Jews there. Parish records were of course held (and created) by the Church of England, so are very unlikely to include those of the Jewish faith. I had a look, just in case.

There is no sign of the Brookstone family in these records, but the related Gladstones do appear. Toba Lazarus, who married Isaac Brookston 1865, had previously married Moses Gladstone – originally Gluckstein – in 1860 {1}. Son Moses/Morris/Maurice Gladstone marries Charlotte Annie Jane Waterfield in St Georges Church, Leeds 1889 and the baptism and marriage records of two of their daughters are available. Surely they must have changed religion. The element of doubt is that no death/burial records have been spotted so far – could they have reverted at the last resort?

And do I assume the Brookstones kept the faith from their absence in the parish records? The surname does get misspelt and mis-transcribed a lot but I have checked several variations.

PS Ancestry – why do new records not get properly recognised by your Family Tree Maker software until several weeks after release? It is annoying having to save images in a separate process and then re-transcribe the info.

Note 1. See Finding that elusive Jewish connection

In praise of .. Ancestry’s Member Connect Activity feature

The Ancestry website has a flexible (personalised) front page, where you can arrange or hide various modules showing particular information. I have chosen to have ‘Recent Member Connect Activity’ as the the top left box, which I find a bit addictive. It highlights activity by other Ancestry members connected with records which are on your own tree (or the ‘shoebox’ save-for-later area). There’s something new every week, often most days, usually just showing you who else has some vague interest in a particular person in the tree, saving a census or birth record say, as its easy to do. This can be a bit of a time waster when the same fellow researchers re-appear, or the link is tenuous. Or occasionally good for a laugh when they have got things obviously wrong. But it can come up trumps, as it did twice this weekend.

On Friday, I spotted Ancestry user kejama1 had added records to Samuel and Mary Myhill – Mary is a great great aunt. On having a look at where she had saved these, I could see that she had only one of Mary’s children, Kate Jane Watts Myhill. In my tree this is Katie Jane Watts, born 1875, several years before Mary married Samuel.

Sam Myhill and offspring

Yes, another illegitimate offspring amongst the ancestors. But what grabbed my attention was the presence of Katie’s husband, as I had yet to track this person down. Edmund John Pike married Kate in 1903 in Smallburgh, a Norfolk village but also the name of a larger registration district which includes Worstead, the Watts family home. He had previously married Caroline Chichester Hewys, but she had died in 1902.

{Katie Jane Watts is the one on the right in the photo}

As Kate was working in the London County Lunatic Asylum at Colney Hatch in 1901 and Edmund was a clerk in Tottenham at that time, how they met is rather open to speculation. In the 1911 census the couple are in Watford, with one son, Harold Edmund Baron Pike. At 1932 , on Edmund’s death, the probate record says Harold is an accountant. Kate Pike dies Watford 1945.

After that success with a first cousin twice removed on Friday, it was a surprise to find another seriously helpful connection appear on Saturday evening as I returned to the front page before logging out of the Ancestry site. This is one I would probably never have found without such help.

Margaret Ann Osborne, born 1874 Bargoed, was an older sister to great grandmother Amelia. I had looked quite hard to find what had happened to her after the 1891 census, but was stuck with choosing from four possible husbands and assuming she had married as Annie Osborne (she appears with that name in 1881 census). So a ready made and well sourced tree from ‘elisharvey’ was very welcome. Annie, as she indeed appears in most places, had married Clifford Charles Taylor (one of the 4 possibles) 1896 Pontypridd district (Rhondda/Tonypandy area). Four Five children from him before he dies in 1902, and she remarries in 1905 to George Trask. Trask, along with Osborne, is a prominent name in Merriott, Somerset {1}. Indeed George had been born there about 1864, and in 1891 was lodging with an Osborne family from Merriott in Salford, Lancs. Annie and George have two children by 1911, when they were living in Weymouth, working together selling fruit. A third, Phyllis, appears 1916.

George had 3 more children from a previous marriage – one of whom was lodging in 1911 with my great grandparents Charles and Amelia at Blaenclydach (I had wondered who his parents were!). So far I have found more info on two of the combined group of children – Annie Ellen Trask (born 6 July 1906 Tonypandy) marries William John Duignan 1929 in Weymouth, while Clifford Charles Taylor (born 9 Sept 1901 Tonypandy) has numerous entries in the ‘crew manifests’ available on Ancestry. He is going back and forth between Southampton and America as a ship’s cook, in later years a sauce cook on the Queen Mary. That’s the second  first cousin twice removed found “all at sea” in less than a week (see Stanley Cullum).

Note 1. See Merriott Families Genealogy site for pages on each of the main surnames.

All at sea with a new cousin

So this makes the nice large wall chart of dad’s family “out of date”, if that’s the right phrase for having newly discovered historic information. With a bit of help from the Ancestry Facebook page {1}, I’ve downloaded the 1911 census form for my ‘half great great uncle’ William John Cullum from the actual Ancestry site. And yes, there is another offspring that was not recorded in the 1901 version. I had guessed there would be two, so I won’t make any great claims here. (Doesn’t a “half great” equal to ‘a no more than adequate’ great uncle?)

In mess dress. Photo courtesy Muriel Shephard

Stanley John Cullum was born 1904 (21st April from two sources) in Catford, south east London, and died December 1984 Lewes district in Sussex. I believe that district includes the place where his father was at the end of his life, Burnt House in Newick, but I’m not at all sure he took over that property. The wonderful Phone Book directories available on Ancestry have a Stanley J Cullum in Hastings in 1954, 1956, 1964 and 1966 (and other dates in between I haven’t checked) – Oak View , Westfield Lane – which is pretty likely to be him. He would be my (half) first cousin twice removed.

What is much more interesting is the Passenger Lists records – in this case USA ‘list or manifest of aliens employed on the vessel as member of crew’.  These show without doubt that he was a ship’s engineer. Here’s the data:

  • January 1947 – arrival at Portland, Oregon, USA, from Vancouver, Canada, ship  Lochmanar, “refrig. eng.”, 20 years service at sea.
  • May 1947 – arrival at Everett, Washington USA, from Vancouver, ship Lochmanar, “refrig. eng.”, 21 years at sea.
  • May 1953 – arrival San Francisco, from Vancouver, ship Pampas, Chief Engineer, 27 years at sea.
  • Feb 1956 – arrival San Francisco, from Vancouver, ship Paraguay, Ch Engineer, 29 years at sea (gives fill date of birth).

The records give his height – about the same as mine – varying from 5 foot 6.5 inches to 5′ 9″!

Given about 30 years at sea, I was surprised there weren’t more such lists, so another look while I write this finds four more. All from earlier years, and all starting from Vancouver or New Westminster, British Columbia.

  • Nov 1933 arrival at Seattle, ship Nebraska, 4th engineer, 8 years at sea.
  • Aug 1934 arrival at Bellingham, Washington, ship Nebraska, 4th engineer, 10 years at sea.
  • Aug 1935 arrival at Seattle, ship Narenta, 4th engineer, 9 years at sea.
  • Dec 1935 arrival at Seattle, ship Narenta, “asst ref eng”, 9 years at sea.

And I also have now noticed that all the 5 ships were owned by Royal Mail Lines Ltd.

Nearly all of these are quite short voyages – were there more just within Canada? Or if he didn’t embark at the American port, would he still show on the manifest? As the US records only cover up to 1957, there could be later ones waiting in the wings. But what about getting to Canada from England in the first place, and going to and fro, assuming the Hastings phone number is his? A bit early to be using airlines (would be too costly even for a chief engineer)?

There is bound to be more on Royal Mail Line ships on the web, so time for a trawl.


The Royal Mail Lines site run by Stuart Nichols has some information on the ships operating in the last days of this company during the 1960s. Both Pampas and Paraguay were a “General freighter built principally for Brazil and River Plate services.” About 5,500 tons, Harland & Wolff, Belfast. So that gives a different spin – was Stanley mainly operating in South America? On the other hand, a general shipping site, shipslist.com, has his earlier ship Lochmonar as running a UK to Vancouver service.

Nothing further found for the 1930s ships Nebraska and Narenta yet, beyond their tonnage (around 8,250) and that they were built at Workman Clark, Belfast.

Further Update

Following contact with this side of the family, Sept 2011, I now have more details and a wonderful photo. Coming soon.

Note 1 1911 census: At the moment there isn’t an index to the census images on Ancestry, so you have to use the summary books index. Unfortunately a) this usually only shows the surname of head of household – you need a very good idea of where someone is likely to be to stand any chance, and b) transcriptions aren’t 100% it seems. So I’ve only located the right Cullum image on Ancestry because someone with a Find My Past sub found it over there first (Find My Past had exclusive access to 1911 census for a year or so).

Also see

Cutlock and Cullum, A fruitful life for an accountant (re Stanley’s father).

Following four brothers from Somerset

Back to filling out the foreign connections ‘down under’.

The trip to Tonypandy in April resulted in acquiring a copy of ‘Descendants of Joseph Osborne’, compiled by Sue Osborne in Brisbane, Australia. (Note the document is known in my notes as JOT) She has traced her husband’s line back to Joseph, born around 1803 in Merriott, Somerset, who is also my 4 x great grandfather.

Much of the information is also available on the Merriott Families Genealogy website, also created by Sue. I’ve used this as a base for my own summary of the descendants, on a new Australia/NZ page.

Four Osborne brothers, four paths

The known offspring of Joseph Osborne and wife Mary Lawrence are Robert born 1824, George about 1826, Harriet about 1829 but died 1834, Joseph about 1831 and Samuel about 1833.

The four boys trod different paths.

Samuel in Australia

Samuel arrived in Australia September 1858 at Moreton Bay with wife Mary Ann Moucher and son George. Unfortunately both Mary Ann and their second child Joseph died the following year, and George in 1861. Samuel re-married in 1860 (Melbourne, 25th May, Wesleyan Church) to Fanny Harris. There’s nothing very definite known about Fanny’s history – her death record gives parents as John Harris and Sarah Plows, and there is a suggestion she came from Upper Chelsea in London, date of birth vague.

JOT has a number of notes on Samuel’s occupation – perhaps a milkman at one stage, then a dealer, and in Post Office directories (1888-90) as a horse dealer. On reading this, it seems Samuel was following in elder brother Robert’s footsteps but thousands of miles away.

Samuel died 11th March 1902, and is buried at Lutwyche Cemetery Brisbane. His wife and eldest son Henry George (who never married) were later buried in the same plot. Samuel’s grave , borrowed from Merriott Families Genealogy site:

Grave of Samuel Osborne 1833-1902, Lutwyche Cemetery, Brisbane

George in New Zealand, maybe

The trail for George is rather uncertain at present. He is in Australia by 1860, where he marries in Melbourne, same day and place as Samuel, 25th May. The wife is recorded as Ann Morany, but this appears to be a misspelling. Mulrainey is suggested by JOT, but a search on Ancestry.co.uk throws up a Mary Ann Melrainey attached to a New Zealand tree. This is new information for our tree and an enticing find.

The Australian records of George end in 1862 with the birth of son Samuel at Port Curtis (now part of Rockhampton), Queensland, 1st May. This lack of further records in Oz makes the Kiwi connection more likely, but unfortunately what is available online for New Zealand is limited. The electoral roll records for Greymouth, West Coast, New Zealand do, however, give some support to the following:

  • George, second son for George and (Mary) Ann, is born 1865 Dunedin, dies 15 Aug 1907 Otago. George works as a groom.
  • Son Samuel (b 1862) marries Augusta Johanna Forsyth 17th Feb 1898 Hokitika, West Coast, and dies Greymouth 2 Oct 1902. Samuel is shown as a labourer.

This is derived from information in the Tamati/Aubrey family tree on Ancestry, which unfortunately doesn’t give any sources.

Joseph farming in Somerset

Back in Somerset, brother Joseph moves from the home village of Merriott to Misterton by 1861, and is recorded as a farmer up to the 1891 census. First wife Rebecca Abbott dies 1869, and he than marries Mary Pitcher. He outlasts her too, as in 1891 he is recorded as a widower. His own death is probably 1896.

Robert the dealer

My 3 times great grandfather Robert also moves from Merriott to Misterton. His occupations, as shown in the census records, are variously General dealer, Horse dealer, Tranter, Hawker, with one count of ‘ag lab’.

Although he stayed in Somerset, many of his offspring moved to the Welsh coal valleys. See the Osborne/Scott page for more on this family line and also the Moving for Work section of Tonypandy and the Rhondda.

Displaying the family tree

At what point do you decide that the data on your family tree is good enough to be reproduced in printed form? Not just your usual stack of A4 printout, but as a decent quality wallchart?

That has been my dilemma for about the last year, with Dad first dropping hints that it would be good to have, then more recently being rather more definite that he would like to to be able to see the connections between all the ‘new’ family members that I had discovered. Given his poor eyesight and limited use of his computer, the electronic versions that I know and love aren’t that much help.

It seemed a good point to draw the line when I finally married off the last aunt in the Neal family (Alice in Canada). There may still be one or two Cullum relatives not fully accounted for, but that was about it for direct cousins, aunts and uncles.

My short-list of possible producers of suitable wallcharts was very short – Maxbal Genealogy was the only one I’d found. The website is rather old school, and isn’t entirely to my taste but it does work and all the graphics are legible and undistorted (unlike two possible alternative producers I found later). There is perhaps too much choice, so it takes a while to click around the site to find all the possibilities. A Custom Charts – All-in-One seemed to fit the bill here, as I wasn’t after a conventional ancestor/descendants tree, but rather all (great) aunts/uncles and direct cousins to Dad.

Then the fun began. As all text on the tree needed to be a reasonable size (I specified minimum 10 point) so dad had a reasonable chance of reading it without difficulty (or at least no greater difficulty than reading the newspaper), it was obviously going to be quite large. I hoped it would fit their largest standard size of A1 – about £50 if wasn’t just black and white. Their original advice after seeing a pdf file I’d created from Family Tree Maker’s (FTM) relatively basic chart making facility was that it would be about 50% over A1, but they couldn’t give a precise figure (or price) until the data file was processed. (They say they accept just about any file from the main genealogy computer programs, but in fact the standard Gedcom format was what they wanted.)

I would have liked much clearer information on the website about delivery options and costs. Usually I won’t even think about ordering from a firm which doesn’t supply this, as it can increase costs alarmingly. Fortunately Dad was paying! I was also confused by only seeing a PayPal payment option – its a while since I have used this service and had forgotten that it would take a credit/debit card payment without having to set up an account.

Maybe it is down to having some techie knowledge, but what I really found missing was any explanation of how the data file might be processed – turning data into output has all sorts of potential pitfalls as well as possibilities. It wasn’t until the file had been processed and a draft design returned that I could get a feel for what came out of the Gedcom generated by FTM, rather than how the data displayed within FTM itself. But then any changes to the data would have cost extra.

I was keen to reduce the place names from the long details useful in compiling the tree to a simplified form (for example “Norwich St Clements, Norfolk, England” would be better shown as just Norwich),; I had got the ‘wrong’ choice when the person had had more than one occupation in some instances; and the place and date for the occupation was unnecessary (and hadn’t been specifically requested to be output). Fortunately Maxbal then offered the option to truncate place names at the second or third comma, which pretty much did what I wanted, and switching off place and date here was no problem either. Good enough not to waste time and money on any messing about. One change to the default text background colour (a rather horrible green) to a much more readable plain white and we were away.


Dad was delighted with the result. Each branch of the family is in effect in its own horizontal zone of three to five rows – Watts then Neal, Howes and finishing with Cutlock/Cullum. The uninitiated may take a while to get their heads round the structure, but it is neat, clear and pretty compact considering it encompasses about 160 people.

The poster did take a bit longer than expected to arrive. Royal Mail was the original mode mentioned by Maxbal, but Parcelforce was used and it took a three working days to arrive after a despatch date two days later than quoted. If it had been coming to me, that wouldn’t have been any concern at all but it did get a little embarrassing. A second copy for my own use was ordered a short while later, and this arrived much quicker, and by Royal Mail!

As I said on Ancestry’s Facebook page the other day, the chart from Maxbal was perhaps a little expensive (£80), and if you don’t prepare thoroughly beforehand you could get additional design charges. You need to really think through what you want to see on display in print, rather than on screen, though that would apply to any supplier. I had exported the branches of the family I wanted to a new tree in Family Tree Maker and cut out all unneeded individuals, and played around with format in FTM. What I hadn’t spent enough energy on was working out what showed up as the preferred data in the Gedcom file, but that does seem a pain too far.

Conclusion: a great result in the end.

Now I need to work on the missing data on Mum’s side. A first cut done in the same way via a Family Tree Maker export comes up with an even larger number of close relations, some 190 souls, and there are undoubtedly a few still to pin down.

Other suppliers

I have since found the following, who are exhibiting at an upcoming Family History fair (West Midlands area group).

Genealogy Printers Their website has distorted images, and also “invalid characters”, not giving great confidence in their computer design abilities, with the charts look rather basic.

Newtown Design (based Worcester) has rather too basic a website (and I dislike the italics and ancient style of web coding, giving no idea of costs.Could be worth checking out, though.

Ancestry has the MyCanvas service. This was rejected at the outset as being priced in dollars and from what I could see was an all-American production. Not something I even wanted to start exploring.

Brookstone in Leeds, Manchester, New York and Tonypandy

One of the earliest articles on Cutlock and Co was about tracking down the background to the Brookstone family, connected via great great aunt Lily Osborne’s husband Jonny. See Finding that elusive Jewish connection.

Jonny’s younger sister Eva,  born about 1883 Leeds, gets a mention there, but I couldn’t be sure where she went after 1901. With a full Ancestry sub I can now be confident that a voyage to New York in 1920 was indeed hers, with the full passenger list giving the right place of birth. She gave her previous address as Manchester, and eldest brother Louis can be found in that city in the 1911 census at Fermi Street, Cheetham, working as a fruit hawker. (Unfortunately no sign of Fermi St now.) Was she staying with that family? Rather than give this brother as ‘nearest relative or friend’, however, the passenger list has Harry Kay (friend) with an address in Crummock St, Hightown, Manchester. Another place I can’t find on a modern map, although the street appears in genealogy sources with both Hightown and Cheetham given as the district.

Brother Jonny is married by 1911, and living in Tonypandy, recorded as a House Paperhanger and Painter. Other sisters are probably married, but the remaining Elias Brookstone should be findable somewhere.

Eva herself is so far untraceable in the 1911 census. And her last known whereabouts are the place she was down to stay after arriving in New York,  on 11th July 1920 – cousin’s Mrs Annie Stein, 107 Forest Avenue, Buffalo. I can’t find her in the 1930 USA census, but it is quite likely she would have married. Marriage record availability varies from state to state, but a trawl on Ancestry and familysearch doesn’t come up with anything at all plausible.

So any help appreciated, on Eva B or her cousin Annie Stein.

Note: This Eva, sister to Jonny Brookstone and born about about 1883 Leeds, should not be confused with Eva, daughter of Jonny, born 1917 Tonypandy.