Tag Archives: Freeth

A close family in life, and in death ~ Tombstone Tuesday

When I received a transcript of Mary Jane’s burial details from Lewisham Council, I wasn’t surprised to see she shared a grave plot. But I was surprised to find out that she was sharing it with five other people! (My previous post describes my search for the grave at Brockley Cemetery.)

It’s been a fascinating exercise to see who all these people were.

The plot was originally purchased by “Mr Rio G M Stapley” of 131 High Street, Deptford, on 12th June 1896 for £3, and the memorial on the grave is described as “Flat stone & Curb set on Landing (Full Memorial)”.

I can find no “Rio Stapley” in the censuses, but living at 131 High Street, Deptford, in both 1891 and 1901 is Michael P. Fannen, an Irish-born Roman Catholic priest, along with two other priests and a couple of housekeeping staff. Should “Rio” be “Rev”? It looks like the grave was donated or paid for by the local church, or perhaps a kind parishioner.

Person no. 1
On the 15th of June 1896, 17 year old Edmund Carroll was buried there. From checking the censuses, it appears he was the second son of John and Honorah Carroll, born in Deptford, Kent. His birth was registered in the September quarter of 1878 in Greenwich. (John Carroll was my great great grandmother’s third husband.)

Person no. 2
Honorah Carroll was buried in the same plot on 10th of February 1900, and was 55 years old. The censuses show her to be John Carroll’s wife, and give her birthplace as Co. Kerry, Ireland.

In 1901, John Carroll married Mary Jane Wright (previously Freeth, formerly Clarke), my great great grandmother.

John and Mary Jane Carroll, November 1917

John and Mary Jane Carroll, November 1917

Person no. 3
The third person interred was 41 year old John Carroll, eldest son of John and Honorah, buried on 8th February 1918. He was also born in Deptford, and his occupation in the 1891 census was pupil teacher.

On the 18th of February in 1918, the ownership of the grave transferred to Mr John Carroll of 180 Evelyn Street, Deptford.

Person no. 4
Johanna Colligan (transcribed as “Colhgan” in the burial register copy) is listed as the fourth internment on 16th of March 1918. She was 44 years of age, and John and Honorah’s eldest child. She married Richard Colligan in 1901, and they appear to have had three children: Honora in 1902, Michael in 1905, and Margaret Mary in 1910.

By March 1918, John Carroll had lost his wife and three of their four children.

Person no. 5
John himself joined them on 26th of January 1923, aged 76 years.

Person no. 6
The last person to be interred there was Mary Jane at 76 years of age, on 17th of February 1932.

On 4th of March 1932, the ownership transferred to Mary Freeth (no address given), Mary Jane’s eldest daughter.

Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Mary Jane’s grave ~ (Not so) Wordless Wednesday

Last week I posted a couple of photos of Brockley Cemetery in Lewisham. This is where my great great grandmother, Mary Jane (Clarke) Freeth/Wright/Carroll, was buried in 1932.  I’d found her entry in the Greenwich Union death register and discovered she had been buried “by friends” in Brockley Cemetery1.  In May 2012 I contacted Lewisham Council and a lovely staff member there sent me Mary Jane’s burial details, as well as a map marked with the location of her grave. Eureka!

My mother was visiting from New Zealand at the time, and together we set off to find Mary Jane’s grave. This is what we were confronted with in the Roman Catholic section of the cemetery:

Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, London - June 2012

Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, London – June 2012

You can see how overgrown the area was – it was almost impossible to read any of the gravestones, even where the inscriptions were still legible.  After an hour, we gave up the search.

My next step is to contact the Friends of Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries, in the hope that they may be able to pinpoint the grave location more accurately. And to buy some heavy-duty gardening tools.

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. Board of Guardians, Workhouse Woolwich Road (Greenwich Union, London, England), “Register of Deaths”, Mary Carroll death, 12 Feb 1932; digital images; Ancestry.com, London, England, Deaths & Burials 1813-1980 (http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 23 Jun 2011).

Postcard to a brother

Yesterday I posted a photo of my half great great aunt, Mary (Mollie) Freeth, dressed up in Japanese costume. She sent this postcard to her (half) brother, Alexander Wright, my great grandfather, who was with the Royal Irish Fusiliers at the time.  This is what she wrote on the back:

Postcard from Mary Freeth to Alexander Wright

Postcard from Mary Freeth to Alexander Wright, date possibly around 1910

Alec Wright
10207 D Company
Royal Irish Fusiliers
Salamanca Bks
Inf???
Aldershot

Here’s luck for the 17th of ould Ireland

Here is a copy of Will’s snapshot of me – it is not so good as his is it. How are you getting on? also Hilda I hope she is well – give her my love. Have you seen Rose Godfrey lately? Give her my love. I must write to her soon. Am very busy just now – with fond love from your big fat Japanese sister Mollie.

As far as I know (from family legend), Alexander deserted from the army and somehow turned up in New Zealand. I need to do some digging and find out more about his time with the Fusiliers, and also how he managed to get passage to New Zealand.

Actually, I was originally told he’d deserted from the navy, because of this photo:

(Ephraim) George Wright

(Ephraim) George Wright

On the reverse is inscribed the name “Alexander”:

(Ephraim) George Wright - reverse

(Ephraim) George Wright - reverse

Family members concluded that Alexander had been in the Royal Navy, and had jumped ship. I’ve since identified the mystery sailor as Alexander’s brother, (Ephraim) George Wright, and that it is his handwriting on the back. He obviously wrote on the photograph to whom he was sending it!

Mollie, my “Japanese” aunt ~ Wordless Wednesday

Mary (Mollie) Freeth, my half great great aunt

Mary (Mollie) Freeth, my half great great aunt

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Mollie? Or Pollie? ~ Wordless Wednesday

 

Mary (Mollie) Freeth?

Mary (Mollie) Freeth?

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Mary Jane gets hitched

I’ve been searching for my great great grandmother Mary Jane Clarke‘s first marriage on and off for some time. I’m not sure why I’d never thought to search the Irish Civil Registration Indexes on FamilySearch before now.  Possibly because I didn’t know they were there!

I’d done a search on Ancestry, which hadn’t brought up anything, and I’d searched on FreeBMD as well, thinking it would have been registered in England.  Nada. Mary Jane’s birth was before civil registration started in Ireland, so I was hoping that if I could find the marriage certificate for her first marriage, it might tell me a little bit more about her and her father. By the time of her second marriage, to my great great grandfather Ephraim Wright in 1882, her father was deceased.

The one place I hadn’t looked for a marriage was in perhaps the most obvious place – where their first child had been born! Mary (Mollie) Freeth gave her birthplace as Co Meath in the 1891 England census, when she was living with her mother, stepfather Ephraim, and half-siblings. Her birthyear was around 1877.1 Her brother Percy had been born the following year in 1878 in Aldershot, Hampshire, and it was his birth certificate that had given me Mary Jane’s first husband’s full name – James Freeth.2

On the Friday before I was heading off to Dublin, I was compiling some notes for the trip and getting together some research goals. I re-read some of Donna Moughty’s blog posts on Irish research, which prompted me to look at FamilySearch’s Irish Civil Registration indexes. I found a marriage for a James Freeth in Navan, Co Meath, in 1877. I then searched on my great great grandmother’s maiden name, Mary Jane Clarke, and found a similar marriage record for her – and the volume and page numbers matched! Eureka!3

So, I had all the information I needed to order a photocopy of the marriage record from the General Register Office’s research facility in Dublin.  You can do searches of the indexes there, at a cost.  Much handier to do your searching online for free.

When I received the photocopied record, I was excited to see lots of information I didn’t have.  The marriage took place at the Roman Catholic Chapel of Navan on 05 February 1877.  Mary Jane was 22 years of age, living in Railway Street in Navan, and worked as a servant.  Her father John Clarke’s occupation was listed as ‘Soldier’ – a fantastic lead to follow up.  James was 23 and also a soldier – a sergeant with the 94th Regiment, living in Navan Barracks.  Witnesses were Wm. Smith, Corporal 94th Regiment and Franny Carroll.4

  1. “1891 England Census, Ephraim Wright (age 30) household, St Paul Deptford, London,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 01 Oct 2010), citing PRO RG12/494, folio 67, p 63, GSU roll: 6095604, Greenwich registration district, St Paul Deptford sub-registration district, ED 2, household 323, 05 Apr 1891.
  2. England, birth certificate for Percy Freeth; 31 Aug 1878, Farnham; citing Sep 1878 [quarter] 2a [vol] 111 [page], General Register Office, Stockport.
  3. “Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958,” index, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org : accessed 27 May 2011), from General Register Office.
  4. Ireland, marriage certificate for James Freeth and Mary Jane Clarke; 05 Feb 1877, Navan, Co Meath; citing No. 25, vol 2, p 960, General Register Office, Ireland.

This is the Face of Genealogy

Mary Jane Carroll (previously Wright, previously Freeth, formerly Clarke)

Mary Jane Carroll (previously Wright, previously Freeth, formerly Clarke)

This is my great great grandmother.  If it hadn’t been for genealogy, I would never have known about this wonderful woman, and my life would be all the poorer for that.

This post is in response to a recent article published by LAWeekly.

My Mary Jane

Of all the ancestors I have discovered in my research so far, Mary Jane Carroll (previously Wright, previously Freeth, formerly Clark) is the one whom I’d most like to meet.  She comes across as an incredibly strong and loving mother, full of life and spirit.

In a recent post I showed a newspaper clipping with her and her children around her.  Apart from her eldest daughter Mary1, they were all born in England, but Mary Jane’s strong Irish roots apparently ensured a very Irish household.

So where in Ireland is she from?  Good question!  And one which has many answers…

First off, a brief run down of what I know about her life.  She was born in Ireland, the daughter of John Clark2.  At some point she married James Freeth and had at least two children with him – Mary (known as Mollie) born in Meath, Ireland around 1877, and Percy born in “South Camp, Aldershot, Hants” on August 31st, 1878.3 In the newspaper clipping I have it says “she had for her first husband Colour Sergt…” – this I am assuming is James Freeth, and it sounds likely he was in the military. (I have not found a service record for him yet.)

Mary Jane and Ephraim Wright (probably wedding photo, 1882)

Mary Jane and Ephraim Wright (probably wedding photo, 1882)

Something happened to James, because on March 13th 1882, Mary Jane Freeth, widow,  married Ephraim Wright, bachelor.2 They go on to have five children1:

  • Lavinia born around 1883 in Deptford, Kent
  • James Arthur born around 1885 in Deptford, Kent
  • Joseph William born around 1887 in Rotherhithe, Surrey
  • Ephraim George born around 1889 in Deptford, Kent
  • Alexander (my great grandfather) born June 27th 1891 in Deptford, now London5

On November 26th 1894, Ephraim (senior) died of “Enteric Fever”, otherwise known as typhoid.6 He was thirty three years old and left his widow Mary Jane destitute.  According to my (first, twice removed) cousin Lalli7, the local Catholic priests helped place Lavinia into a girls school, and two of the boys – James and (Ephraim) George – into St Joseph’s Orphanage in Orpington.  Joseph was brought up by Mary Jane’s sister Annie and her husband Joseph Sullivan.  And wee baby Alec was kept by Mary Jane.  Such hard times, having to let your children go.

In 1901 “Mary Clark Wright”, widow, is living in Deptford with two of her sons: James 16, who is a messenger, and Alexander, 9, a school boy.8 However, in the June quarter of 1901, she marries John Carroll9, and it was as “Grandma Carroll” that my cousin Lalli knew her.

John and Mary Jane Carroll (previously Wright, previously Freeth, formerly Clark), Nov 1917

John and Mary Jane Carroll (previously Wright, previously Freeth, formerly Clark), Nov 1917

On February 12th 1932, Mary Jane died of cerebal thrombosis at 2A Woolwich Road.  She had been living at 180 Evelyn Street, the “widow of John Carroll, General Labourer”.  The informant was her son, George Wright.10

Tomorrow I’ll tackle the mystery of her birthplace.

  1. “1891 England Census, Ephraim Wright (age 30) household, St Paul Deptford, London,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 01 Oct 2010), citing PRO RG12/494, folio 67, p 63, GSU roll: 6095604, Greenwich registration district, St Paul Deptford sub-registration district, ED 2, household 323, 05 Apr 1891.
  2. England, marriage certificate for Ephraim Wright and Mary Jane Freeth; 13 Mar 1882, Lewisham; citing Mar 1882 [quarter] 01d [vol] 1019 [page], General Register Office, Stockport.
  3. England, birth certificate for Percy Freeth; 31 Aug 1878, Farnham; citing Sep 1878 [quarter] 2a [vol] 111 [page], General Register Office, Stockport.
  4. “An Imperial Service Family”, undated clipping from unidentified newspaper; digital image, scanned May 2009 from original held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; inherited from Audrey Dearness, Gisborne, NZ.
  5. England, birth certificate for Alexander Wright; 27 Jun 1891, St Paul Deptford; digital image, scanned May 2009 from original held by [NAME AND ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]; inherited from Audrey Dearness, Gisborne, NZ, daughter of Alexander.
  6. England, death certificate for Ephraim Wright; 26 Nov 1894, Greenwich; citing Dec 1894 [quarter] 01d [vol] 552 [page], General Register Office, Stockport.
  7. Alice (Lalli) Coppinger (Lomita, California), interviewed Dec 1991; audiotape privately held by author.  Coppinger, now deceased, was granddaughter of Mary Jane.
  8. “1901 England Census, Mary Clark Wright (age 45) household, St Nicholas Deptford, London,” Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.co.uk/, accessed 2010), citing PRO RG13/526, folio 118, p 60, Greenwich registration district, North Deptford sub-registration district, ED 18, household 300, 31 Mar 1901.
  9. “England & Wales, FreeBMD Index: 1837-1983,” database, FreeBMD (http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 2010), marriage entry for John Carroll and Mary Jane Wright; citing Jun 1901 [quarter] Greenwich 1d [vol] 1817 [page].
  10. England, death certificate for Mary Jane Carroll; 12 Feb 1932, Greenwich; citing 1932 Mar [quarter] 01d [vol] 1231 [page], General Register Office, Stockport.

Imperial Irish ~ Wordless Wednesday

An Imperial Service Family (clipping from unknown publication)

An Imperial Service Family - Back L-R: Percy Freeth, Joseph Wright, George Wright, James Wright, Alexander Wright (my g grandfather). Front L-R: Mollie Freeth, Mary Jane Carroll, Lavinia Wright. (clipping from unknown publication)

Wordless Wednesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.