My inspiration to start researching my own family tree came from one day wanting to look at a photo album my Dad had. I’d looked at it before as a child but of course wasn’t overly interested then. I sat with my Dad and had a pad and pen and wrote down the page and location of each photo and I wrote down whatever my Dad said about the people in the photos.
I knew we had a folder tucked away somewhere that had all the certificates and wills that my Dad had for his side of the family, being an only child he took possession of these items after both his parents died in 1975.
I asked his permission to carefully remove the photos from the album. This was a tricky task as his Dad had glued the photos down onto white card which were then put into a ring binder. Those I couldn’t easily peel off the card were left on. I didn’t want to damage them. It was interesting to see what sort of things had been written on the back of them, from names and places to shopping lists! I scanned them in and started to draft a tree from the information I knew and then started to work my way back from there.
One of my favourite old photos from this particular album was the one I use for the blog cover photo – this one.
I’d had the photo digitally restored some years ago – this was the original:
As you can see it had some creases and some green inky type blobs. I cleared up the green myself but a lovely person tidied the rest up for me.
This family group is my 2x great grandfather James Large and his wife Eunice nee McDonald, their eldest daughter Annie and youngest daughter Dorothy.
This photo would have been taken around 1906. As with a lot of Victorian and Edwardian photographs people didn’t often smile when having their pictures taken. It wasn’t like these days with ‘cheese’. People often had to sit still for quite a while. They all look quite joyless, and probably not without good reason.
James Large was born in Manchester in 1870. He was the son of another James and his wife Ann Jackson. James senior was a Carter by trade. He and his wife Ann had five children in all, William born 1851, Samuel born 1852, Sarah born 1855, Martha born 1863 and then James junior. Initially I thought that they had just had four children, but recently after Ancestry had published their Manchester parish records collection I found the baptism of Martha at Manchester Cathedral. She sadly died in 1866 – as yet I do not know what caused her death at the tender young age of 3, but living in an industrial city such as Manchester often meant that there were many diseases that could claim the lives of children in their tightly packed neighbourhoods of terraced houses and poor sanitation.
The loss of Martha wasn’t the first James and Ann had suffered. Their son Samuel had passed away the same year Martha was born. It took me a while to figure out what had become of Samuel as he appeared on the 1861 census with the family but disappeared. I couldn’t find a death entry for him on the GRO death indexes and I was left scratching my head for a while. I then checked out the death indexes on the website LancashireBMD and there he was – Samuel Large died in 1863 in Ancoats sub-district aged 10. Since that discovery the GRO index transcription on FreeBMD has been updated and his entry included.
It is always worth checking the local indexes as sometimes entries were missed off the central GRO indexes.
James and Ann moved around a little during the first four years of their marriage. They had married at Manchester Cathedral in 1850 almost exactly a year before the 1851 census was taken. At the time of their marriage James was living at 1 Sutton Street, Manchester while Ann was living at 20 Tame Street. By 1851 they were living at 17 Back Quay Street. Using the Manchester Rate Books on FindMyPast I was able to discover that in 1852 James and his new family were living at 6 Kennedy Street – just a few doors down from his father William who lived at number 12. By 1854 they had moved to the house they settled in – 33 Tame Street – back to the same street Ann had been living on at the time of their marriage.
Manchester Image Archive have a photograph of 111 Tame Street which gives a good example of the type of house James would have lived in. Tame Street no longer exists as it was as it is now much shorter and has apartment blocks built on it.
From the Manchester Rate Books Tame Street and Kennedy Street were listed closely together. Looking at modern maps it seems they were not so close but it may be that street names have been changed since then. One thing I would like to do is locate a detailed street map of Manchester for the Victorian period to see just how close the streets were, but it is clear that the family didn’t stray too far, remaining within the Ancoats area.
By the time James junior was 10 years old he had been orphaned. His mother had died in the May of 1880 aged just 53 of Morbus Cordis Syncope (heart disease). Then a mere four months later his father followed aged 52 in the September of Disease of the Heart. I suppose the lucky thing was that James was much younger than his eldest brother William who it seems looked after him. In the 1881 census they are still living in the family home in Tame Street – by then William was married with a family of his own. He had married his wife Jane when his little brother was just two years old. So he already had a fairly established family by the time his parents died. William had followed his father and was also a Carter. He and his wife had six children, one of which died in infancy. Unfortunately James’s world was due to be shaken once again when his big brother died in 1890, he was buried on the 2nd August that year at the Philips Park Cemetery.
The 1891 census finds James living with his cousins at 20 Edensor Street, Beswick, Manchester. The head of the household was a John W Lockery an Iron Shaper, his mother Mary, his widowed brother Daniel an Iron Slotter and his sister Unity a Cotton Winder. James by now had an occupation – he was a Harness Maker. John Lockery’s mother Mary was James’s aunt – sister to his late father. Mary had been married twice – first to a George Dale and then to a James Lochery or Lockery.
Six years later James was getting married. I would love to know how he and Eunice McDonald met. Perhaps she had a job in Manchester and they met in the city somewhere. Eunice was born and brought up in nearby Mossley, Lancashire. Daughter of Elias McDonald and Jane Drake.
They married in Millbrook, Cheshire in 1897 and by this time James’s occupation was Saddler. I imagine that would have encompassed harness making as well as the saddles.
The following year brought their eldest child – Annie and then a year later a son, George who sadly died in 1900 the same year another son, James was born – he too died in infancy in 1902. Both George and James were buried with Eunice’s father who had died young in 1882 aged just 46 before Eunice’s 10th birthday. So in that respect James and Eunice had something in common – losing their father’s before the age of ten.
The 1901 census saw James and his family at 10 Off Staley Road, Mossley and he was still a Saddler. They were living with his widowed mother in law Jane who according to the census was living on her Own Means.
More tragedy was to come for James and Eunice who then lost twins Ernest and Doris in 1903 just a couple of short months after their birth.
By 1905 they had another daughter – Dorothy – known to my father as Dot. Then in 1908 they had another set of twins – Harold and William and sadly lost William when he was about 17 months old. Unfortunately it seems he was buried in a paupers grave in Mossley, not with his brothers or his grandfather (and by then also his grandmother Jane who had died in 1903.)
So when I look at the photograph from 1906, I see a family who had lost four children in such a short space of time. Little Dorothy looks almost doll-like with her little shoes on just perching on her mother’s lap. Annie certainly had her mother’s eyes.
In 1911 James’s occupation had changed and he was now a Metallic Enameller and they had moved to 75 Kilshaw Lane, Hooly Hill in Audenshaw. The 1911 census is great in that it gives you more information – you get to see how many years a couple has been married for (in their case 14) how many children had been born alive (so not counting still births) and how many had died (so in their case 8 children of which 5 had died.) It also gives you the area in which a person is employed so for James it showed he worked at an Iron Foundry. It also gave details of any disabilities and as it was the householders own forms as the enumerators books were destroyed, we also get to see our ancestors handwriting.
By 1919 Annie had married a young man by the name of Albert Hallas – a Railway Goods Guard.
This is them – possibly an engagement or wedding photograph.
James and Eunice by then lived at 2 Britannia Street, Ashton under Lyne and at the time of Annie’s marriage James was described as being a Wheelwright.
In 1933 Dorothy got married to a John Quiggin (known as Jack) from the Isle of Man.
And in 1936 Harold married a Sarah Hetherington.
Sadly Sarah died nine years after the marriage, they had no children. Harold went on to marry an Alice Brayshaw and had a daughter Christine, but that marriage ended in divorce and Harold died in 1969.
Both Annie and Dorothy looked rather lovely in the 1920s. I do love these photographs of them.
Dorothy and Jack had no children but were very close to Annie and Albert. Dorothy died in 1971, five years after Jack.
By the 1930s James and Eunice had moved slightly to 8 Britannia Street and were at the address in 1938 when Eunice died. She had collapsed in nearby Portugal Street, there was a post mortem but no inquest. She had died of Chronic Myocarditis and vascular disease aged 65. James’s occupation at that time was an Enameller in an Engineering Company.
At that time James had one grandchild, my grandmother Joan. She was the only child of Albert and Annie – although Annie once told my mother they’d had a stillborn son, she had never told my father about that, so he was quite surprised about it.
James outlived Eunice by some 23 years. The family seemed close, and my father has some good memories of James – or Jammy as he knew him.
Joan got married to Cliff and they had one child – my father. This is another of my favourite old photographs:
James eventually passed away in 1961 aged 90 at Ashton General Hospital. His cause of death was given as Congestive Heart Failure, but my father remembers he had been hit by a car on his way home from the pub one night. It may be that his death had come a short time after this accident, however it fails to have been mentioned as a contributing factor to his death. At some point it would be good to scour the local papers for that period to see if any car accident was reported.
Annie’s husband Albert died in 1964 and she died in 1972 just three years before her own daughter Joan and her husband.
So that is most of what I know about James Large. A hardworking man who liked a drink and a smoke every now and then. He had seen more than his fair share of family tragedy but had a very loving family.