Putting our Howes in order - September 2023

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Putting our Howes in order - September 2023

Post by mardler »

Happy new month, everyone. I’m writing this from an increasingly chilly Norfolk, just 36 hours away from returning to Florida, via the Washington, DC area to see my three granddaughters and their parents.

Progress to date
Much less sailing this month, and thus more genealogy! We've added over 500 people to our file this month, finishing on 207,601.

I've continued my efforts in examining each of 48,000 marriages in our file, trying to add more information from online sources not available when we did the original research. The focus is particularly those for England and Wales, where I'm adding index information for use by the Guild of One-Name Studies and its website: marriage-locator.co.uk, where people can frequently find the location of a marriage armed only with that index information. I'm now in the middle of 1902, having finished nine more years during the month. Pleased to have made a lot more progress.

Expatriate railway engineers
Back in May 2020, in a monthly newsletter (viewtopic.php?f=47&t=200), I wrote about the family of Joseph Tippett Howes of Bristol and how internationally mobile it was. In that section I wrote, "In the late 19th century railroads were being built all over the world and British railway engineers were highly sought after.' Indeed, they were!

Last month, I had an email from a man named Boris asking about a William Howes who helped to build the railways from Riga to Dinaberg (now Daugavpils) and thence to Vitebsk, in what is now Belarus. Boris is the great-great-great grandson of this William Howes. He had some limited information on the family and wanted to know if we could help with more. Since then, working together, we have swapped some 50 notes and have found that William married a Norwegian woman, named Karen Tonette Movig, though we do not yet know where! We have found Karen's birth and baptism record in a small town South of Oslo. We've found a birth record for his oldest child, William, in Denmark, birth records for other children in Lutheran churches (all in German) in Latvia and Belarus. Boris even came up with a hand-written naturalization petition from 1896 to the Russian Czar by William Sr's youngest son, Henry, which we now have placed on our site, together with a typed copy and translation.

It turns out that William's children, even though born locally, were regarded as British citizens by the then Russian authorities and could not do anything other than menial work. Henry notes that he had two sisters to care for. He was a railway engineer himself but could not pursue his occupation, and thus begged the Czar for a favour. It was granted. You can see what we know about this family here: https://howesfamilies.com/getperson.php ... ee=Onename, and on the linked pages.

The railway to Vitebsk was owned by a British company, quoted on the London Stock Exchange, and the company papers are now at the UK National Archives with a portion elsewhere in London. So I engaged a fellow genealogist to go check them out for us, to see if there was any reference to anyone named Howes. Sad to say that there was nothing.

Now, given that William had been in Denmark we looked at early Danish railways and found that they were started by an entrepreneur named (Samuel) Morgan Peto, who hired for his crew many people from East Anglian railways in the 1840s & 50s. So there is a potential clue to William's origin there. (Side note, Peto became very wealthy and completely rebuilt Somerleyton Hall in North East Suffolk. I've no doubt some of the local Howes people in our file were workers on his estate. In 1863, Peto sold the estate to the Crossley family and a Charles Howes from nearby Belton was their butler for 48 years!)

Bottom line: we still have to identify where William Howes came from. Does anyone have a family memory of such a man? I understand that someone in Boris's family has taken a DNA test. So maybe there will be more news soon.

The value of antiquities
This month, we had a note from a Matthew Day of Norfolk, saying that he had been out in the fields with his metal detector near Mattishall in Norfolk and had discovered a gold mourning ring for an Elizabeth Sherman who had died in 1805. Turns out she hailed from the Howes family of Morningthorpe and had married the Reverend Rowland Sherman. There's no doubt that it was her, because the date of her death on the ring matched the date in her burial register entry. You can see some pictures of the ring here: https://howesfamilies.com/showmedia.php ... nkID=13586. I'm sure Matthew cleaned it up but it's in remarkably good shape for 200 years old.

By researching Elizabeth's children and finding an abstract of her will in the death duty registers at the National Archives we were able to establish that the ring must have been made for her daughter, Anne. I'd never come across such a thing as a mourning ring before. Have I lived too cloistered
a life?! Still, interesting that such an old item can be used as a source in family history.

That's all folks. Thank you for your continued support.

PS, oh, and that pewter tankard we mentioned last month successfully sold on eBay yesterday for almost £50!
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