Howse your father? - September 2015

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Howse your father? - September 2015

Post by mardler »

Happy new month, everyone. Sailing's over for me for the summer and we're back to normal, if you can call what we do normal! We added just over 800 people to our database this month, which is about average for recent months. Raft of things to talk about:

Intertwining of our names
I still get asked regularly whether the House name has any relationship to the other names we study. In North America, we know a large source of people named House today were German people named HAUS and similar. However, for folks with English ancestry, my answer is to quote a few observations, eg:
- about 30% of nineteenth century males had their surname spelt more than one way during the course of their life
- we have four or five people in our database who had their names spelt HOUSE, HOWES, HOWS, HOWSE and HOWE during the course of their lives. (New readers may not know that we refer to having five different surnames as a "full house"!)
Our current contention is that our name standardized into different spellings in different parts of Southern England. And just to give you a further example, this month I have been in correspondence, though, with two related gentlemen; one is named Howes and the other Howse. Their common ancestor's name was written . . . . House! So, yes, there are connections between many families.

Prisoners of war database - anyone with an old relative?
This month saw the launch of an extraordinary database by FindMyPast: Prisoners of War, 1715-1945. Given the time period a huge number of conflicts are involved and indeed the prisoners themselves were not all British, but include British-held. If you have a FindMyPast subscription or can get access via a library, I do recommend checking it out. My long-term partner in this study, Ian Howes, found records in Japanese pertaining to his own father's imprisonment in World War 2. If you find out more about your Howes/etc ancestor, please do let us know.

Sporting databases
Did your ancestor play amateur or professional sport to a point where they had to register with a national body? Here are a few databases with a quite surprising amount of information about the individuals named:
British Athletics:
Global Cricketers:
US National Football League:
Major League Baseball players:
Anyone fancy going through any of these trying to identify people named House, Howes, etc?!

Puzzle corner - 1
We're a bit stumped on Winifred Annie Howse who married Frederick Coleman in Aston, Warwickshire in 1922. From the copy of the marriage register entry we can see that she was aged 20 at marriage and that her father's name was William, a painter, but there we get stuck, We have looked up, down, backwards, sideways, and so on, trying to find some trace of this lady and her family but, alas, have not succeeded. Can you help figure out who she was? Maybe we are missing something really obvious. It has been known!

My own puzzle corner - almost finished
A lady named Dee Foster wrote in from France this month, telling me that she had purchased a travel diary from a French bric-a-brac shop. The diary was clearly written in the early 1890s by an Edward John House, likely American, who must have been about 14 years old. He had a sister named Blanche and that is all she could tell. She wanted, and still wants, to find a descendant of this family to whom to return the travelogue. I started looking for an Edward John of the right age and fairly rapidly focused on a man from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but I couldn't find him in many census records. Neither could I find a Blanche.

It wasn't until I found Edward's gravestone at FindAGrave, that I cracked the puzzle. I clicked on the name of the graveyard, looked for other graves for people with the same surname and found Blanche's grave too. She had married into French nobility but although she had died young in Brussels, she had been interred in Pittsburgh. She left a very revealing will too, which had to be proved in Pittsburgh because she had retained property there. Turns out Edward and Blanche's father was a wealthy Pittsburgh banker.

As for Edward, he had a variety of positions, ranging from running an office printers to a coal mine owner to superintendent of the Pittsburgh Zoo. His wife died young and two of his children committed suicide in their 20's. The third lived a long life but was childless. Sad story, after all of which we still don't have any descendants to hand the travel diary to. Does anyone happen to know this family and whether Blanche had any children?

By all means read more at ... ee=Onename and associated pages

Puzzle Corner - 2: Jack the lad
Well, not Jack, but Joseph. See this man's record: ... ee=Onename.

You will see that Joseph Thomas Leslie Howes originally from Garston in the Liverpool area married six times between 1917 and 1940.

For the first five of these, he described himself as a bachelor, only reaching truthfulness again for the sixth where he correctly described himself as a widower. I recently bought certificates for all six of the marriages and there is no doubt at all that it was the same man. I figure there must be a story here. The first two of his three children that we have found so far took their stepfather's name and left their original Howes appellation deeply buried. So I'm guessing that there was some kind of dramatic parting of the ways between him and his first family, if not several of the others too. Some of the other "wives" had relatively common names making them difficult to trace. Doe anyone know this family and can relate more of what happened, in particular how Joseph managed to escape the "long arm of the law"? is very fast
Finally and to end on an upbeat note, another of our co-workers, Mike Howes, had a quite remarkable experience earlier this month. He has been gradually working through Birmingham and Warwickshire marriages for us building families outward from each marriage register entry.

Those of us with subscriptions know that you can make online corrections to their transcriptions and at some point later on you get a note saying whether they agree with your suggestion or not. Mike made a correction to a 1911 census record for a
Mrs A Foreman age 69 born Hohndenosth, mother of Florence Harothorne, which record should have read
Mrs A Freeman, age 69 born Handsworth, mother of Florence Hawthorne! (the 1911 census does actually say Foreman, but no matter)

Anyway, within TEN minutes of making his online correction, Mike tells me that he received an email from a lady for whom with that very correction he had solved a puzzle for her which had baffled her for some time. Amazing! Can anyone beat that for speed?

Interestingly, Mike's corrections no longer show on that census record, at least for me. So perhaps Ancestry disagreed with his corrections!

Thanks for your continued support, folks
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