Thursday, 23 October 2008

Eliza Cruse from London to Sydney

I have been busy sorting through another batch of information which was sent to me in the post by David Cruse. His latest collection relates mostly to the various London Cruse lines. Amongst David's files was some correspondence from the Archives Office of New South Wales dating from 1988 concerning an Eliza Cruse who emigrated to Australia in 1872. David had initially written to New South Wales enquiring about a Mary Cruse who was listed in the indexes to the 'Assisted immigrants arriving in Sydney, 1860-79'. However when the archivist checked the records it transpired that the records related not to Mary Cruse but to Eliza Cruse. The online indexes have not been corrected so if anyone has been looking for Eliza they will probably not have been able to find her emigration records.

The papers supplied by the NSW Archives show that Eliza Cruse sailed from London to Australia on the Canning, arriving at Moreton Bay, Sydney, on 8th January 1873. Eliza was described as a housemaid aged 23. Her native place was St. Pancras, London, and her parents were William and Sarah. Her mother was living in Bloomsbury, London. She was a member of the Church of England and could read and write. She had no relations in the Colony, and she was of good 'bodily health'. I had no record of Eliza in my database but with a little help from the censuses and other sources and I was soon able to reconstruct her family.

Eliza was one of ten children born to William Murdock Cruse and Sarah Caster. She was born on 31st July 1849 in St Pancras, London, and was baptised on 7th April 1850 at Old Church, St Pancras. Unfortunately William and Sarah married prior to the beginning of civil registration and I do not currently have any record of their marriage. The family have a variety of interesting occupations. Eliza's father, William, was a bookseller. Her eldest brother George William Cruse (born c. 1837) was a policeman in the Metropolitan Police. Her brother John (born c. 1838) was an attendant at the South Kensington Museum, which I presume is the old name for the Natural History Museum. Her brother Walter (born c. 1840) moved to Gravesend in Kent and became a bookstore clerk. Another brother Edward (born 1845) joined the Royal Navy. The London Cruses all have an uncanny knack of living in unindexed London parishes which are not on the IGI and this family is no exception as they lived for many years in the genealogical black hole of St George's Hanover Square before moving to Brompton in about 1845, and then St Pancras by 1849. In the 1851 census they were living at 12 Greenland Grove, St Pancras. I can find no trace of the family in the 1861 census, and suspect that St Pancras is another one of the London districts which has a number of missing pages. I have also been unable to locate Eliza in the 1871 census. Her mother Sarah can however be found living at 7 Gee Street, Somers Town, St Pancras. She was now widowed, and was described as a retired bookseller. Two of her children seem to have been recruited to carry on the family business: William, 23, was a bookseller's assistant, and Harriet, 19, was a stationer's assistant.

Coincidentally I have recently been working on another London Cruse line with connections to St George's Hanover Square. The George Cruse who married Mary Dickson (see my earlier posting) was born c. 1814 in St George's Hanover Square. We know from his marriage certificate that he was the son of Charles Cruse, a bookbinder. Eliza's father William Cruse was born c. 1811 in St George's Hanover Square, and could well be the brother of George Cruse, especially with the book trade links.

Is there anyone researching the family of William Murdock Cruse and Sarah Caster? Does anyone know what became of Eliza after she emigrated to Australia?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Tiverton marriages

I have received an impressive collection of marriage certificates from the Tiverton Marriage Challenge courtesy of Guild member Barbara Roach. The Tiverton Registration District is a particular hotspot for the Cruwys surname and has the second highest concentration of Cruwys marriages. (South Molton is the district which has the most Cruwys marriages.) Barbara was able to find all but three of the marriages I requested. I have put details of the marriages she found below with a note of the tree, where known, in brackets. I have sent copy certificates to the researchers who are working on the respective trees. If you are interested in any of these marriages and have not received a certificate please get in touch.

- 1848 The Parish Church, Huish Champflower: Isaac Cruwys, labourer (widower), son of John Cruwys, labourer, and Elizabeth Sexson, daughter of Philip Sexson, labourer (Oakford/Wiveliscombe tree)

- 1852 St Peter's Church, Tiverton: James Cruwys, cordwainer, son of George Cruwys, mason, and Maria Davey, daughter of John Davey (occupation not recorded) (Mariansleigh tree)

- 1856 The Parish Church, Stoodleigh: George Cruwys, labourer, son of William Cruwys, and Ann Wilkins, daughter of John Wilkins, labourer (Witheridge tree)

- 1856 The Parish Church, Bradninch: William Cruwys, farmer, son of William Cruwys, farmer, and Mary Anne Wonson, daughter of William Wonson, farmer (Brushford tree)

- 1860 The Parish Church, Brampton: Mary Ann Crews, daughter of Robert Crews, labourer, and Charles Brice, labourer, daughter of William Brice, labourer

- 1862 The Parish Church, Halberton: Daniel Cruwys, National Schoolmaster, son of Robert Cruwys, and Susanna Ascott, daughter of Thomas Ascott, wheelwright (Mariansleigh tree)

- 1866 The Parish Church, Blackborough: Elizabeth Crews, daughter of John Crews, labourer, and Charles Radford, scythe stone maker, daughter of William Radford, scythe stone cutter

- 1873 St Peter's Church, Tiverton: Samuel Steer Cruwys, wine merchant, son of Robert Cruwys, and Marion Helen Jamieson, daughter of James Jamieson, wine merchant (Mariansleigh tree)

- 1878 The Parish Church, Uffculme: Sarah Crews, servant, daughter of John Crews, sawyer, and John Lemon, son of William Lemon, labourer.

I was particularly pleased to have the details of the marriage of Samuel Steer Cruwys. As some of you might recall from an earlier posting, Samuel emigrated to Australia after his business went into liquidation. With the details from the certificate I have now been able to establish that his wife Marion stayed behind in England. She re-married in 1894, after Samuel's death in Australia, either to George Frederick Bartlett or William Snow.

Barbara is still working on the final stage of the Tiverton marriage challenge which covers the period from 1880 through to 1910. I have submitted a further nine marriages for this period and I look forward to receiving details in due course, if Barbara is able to locate them in the respective marriage registers.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

The Cruwys clan in Tiverton

Kelly Searle has sent me this lovely photograph of her great-grandparents Thomas Edwin James Cruwys (1888-1961) and Edith Baker (1887-1965) with their six sons. Thomas was born in Witheridge, Devon, and is the son of John Cruwys (1860-1919) and Sarah Chown (1851-1921). Thomas and Edith settled in Tiverton after their marriage. The photograph is probably taken in the garden of their house at 56 Council Gardens. Thomas and Edith's youngest son, Sidney, was born in 1926, which would suggest that the photograph dates from the early 1930s. Pictured on the back row (from left to right) are: Victor, Jack (John), Thomas Henry, and Ernie. In the front row (from left to right) are: Sidney, Edith, Thomas Edwin James, and Charlie. The boys are all looking distinctly grumpy, and were no doubt not amused at the prospect of putting on their ties and Sunday best to have the photograph taken!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Master Tom Cruwys the boy soprano

I bought this lovely old postcard (below) on E-bay. The Master Tom Cruwys in the picture is my great uncle. Tom was born on 18th February 1890 at 169 Ashmore Road, Kilburn, London, the fourth son of Frederick Augustus Cruwys and Emma Gough. This picture was taken in commemoration of the occasion when Tom had the honour of singing at the Alhambra Palace, Leicester Square, London, on Monday 21st November 1904 before H.M. Queen Alexandra, H.R.H. Princess Victoria, and Prince and Princess Louise of Battenburg. At that time the Alhambra was the largest theatre in the world. Tom went on to perform a tour of the north, appearing on stage with Fred Karno and Charlie Chaplin. He subsequently sang at the Queen's Hall in London and St George's Hall in Liverpool. He also played the part of the babe in the ''Babes in the Wood'' pantomime at Crystal Palace.We have an old letter card which I think belonged to my great-grandparents which has a selection of press reviews from the various local newspapers. I have transcribed the reviews below.
Press Opinions

MORNING LEADER, Nov. 19th 1904 – The newest boy singer, Master Tom Cruwys, who appeared this week at the Alhambra in a soprano part, is a remarkably confident and dignified addition to the list of musical boy prodigies of the past season, has a well formed and particular musical range, and reaches his high notes with expression and ease. For so small a performer his voice carries well to the back of the huge hall, and but for his stage personality a listener might easily suppose the vocalist to be an accomplished lady soprano.

THE STAR, Nov. 19th 1904, - The chief event of the week has been the appearance of a new boy singer at the Alhambra, Master Tom Cruwys. He possesses the ordinary range of a soprano, with the same richness and fulness of tone.

LLOYDS NEWS, Nov. 19th 1904, - A charming boy Soprano, Master Tom Cruwys, is an acquisition to this entertainment.

THE ERA, 20th Nov., 1904 – A boy singer, Master Tom Cruwys …..this week at the Alhambra. He has … of sweet quality and remarkable range … his high notes are particularly clear.

LICENSED VICTUALLERS MIRROR, 2nd Dec., 1904 – Master Tom Cruwys has an astonishingly strong, sweet and clear voice of soprano calibre. He gives a really clever rendering of "Il Bacio", and for an encore renders "The Swallows" delightfully.

SOUTHPORT GAZETTE, Feb 11th, 1905 – Master Tom Cruwys, the boy soprano possesses a voice of singular purity and fulness, his upper notes having a splendid roundness of tone. His songs are delivered in cultured style, and the way he surmounted the difficulty of "Sing Sweet Bird" was a triumph of expressive singing, which was renewed in "Mary of Argyle".

SOUTHPORT GRAPHIC February 11th 1905
Master Tom Cruwys, whose picture we give, has made quite a triumph at the Palace this week. This clever little boy has just finished a most successful pantomime engagement at the Crystal Palace this Christmas. His first hit, however, was made at the Alhambra, London, where he had the honour of singing before Her Majesty Queen Alexandra, Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria, and Prince and Princess Louise of Battenberg.
Tom's singing career sadly ended when he was shot through the nose at Thiepval in World War I. Tom served firstly with the Honourable Artillery Company and then, after receiving officer training, joined the Worcestershire Regiment at Vimy Ridge where he was made Captain. He ended up at Passchendaele where he was again severely wounded by gunshot on 31st July.

Tom was also a talented artist and before the war he had studied at the Hammersmith School of Art. After the war Tom became a civil servant at H.M. Office of Works, where he worked on the architectural side. In 1926 he joined Messrs. Trollope and Son, the West End firm of interior decorators, as senior artist. He remained there for five years and then began working for himself. Tom's designs include the ballroom at the Dorchester Hotel, and the staterooms of the Aquitania and Mauritania. Tom struggled to make a career as an artist during the Depression and in 1939 he joined his brother Herbert (my grandfather) in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, where he found employment at Dowty Rotol. In his spare time Tom enjoyed drawing the local Cotswold scenery and churches, and I have a large collection of postcards produced from his wonderfully detailed black and white sketches.

Tom married twice and had two daughters by his first wife Clara Mascord. His younger daughter Mary married Derek Robbins, the World War II veteran. Tom died on 24th October 1963 at 82 Station Road, Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Robbery at Woolworths

I found the following interesting newspaper article when browsing through the New York State historical newspapers on the Fulton History website. The article was published in the Rochester, New York Democrat Chronicle on 11th December 1939.
Robbers Vainly 'Burn' Safe;
Containing $2,500 Receipts

Foiled after burning off the combination on a safe in the Woolworth store at 1785 Dewey Ave., safecrackers fled early yesterday morning, leaving behind more than $2,500 in cash locked in a strong box they were unable to open.

The three-inch thick steel built-in box with a small hole cut by an acetylene torch was still hot when the attempted robbery was discovered, shortly after nine o'clock, by Paul Cruwys, store manager. A few coins were scattered about the floor of the office but none of the currency was missing.

It took several store employees more than five hours to pry open the box to determine whether any of the bills had been taken. Many of the bills were burned from the heat of the torch flames. So intense was the heat that some of the silver wrapped in packages was melted together, Cruwys said.

The robbers gained admittance to the store's second floor office by cutting a wire screen over a skylight on the roof of the building and dropping to the office floor directly below. Once inside the office the men tacked cardboard, torn from boxes, over the windows and hung a strip of oilcloth over the door to prevent any light from showing outside.

As they worked, the yeggs[?] from time to time cooled off the red hot safe door and strong box with water from the fire extinguishers. One of the extinguishers was found to be empty and another nearly empty.

In their flight the men left behind two acetylene tanks, a bolt cutter, two wrecking bars, a jimmy, some rope, a hammer and two suits of overalls. Whether they were frightened away or gave up the job after failing to open the steel box containing the $2,500 was a question police and Detectives John Fleming and Charles Sweeney, assigned to the case by Capt. of Detectives Edward Collins, could not answer.

The store, which opened for business only a few months ago, is located near the Ridge Road intersection.
Roger Paul Cruwys was born on 28th October 1905 in Somerville, Middlesex, Massachusetts. He was the son of William Crawford Cruwys and Laura May Davy. His parents were both born in Prince Edward Island, Canada, but moved to America in 1892. Paul Cruwys died on 17th December 1966 in Wellsville, New York. He had two sons by his wife Elinor Mary Walsh (1909-1970).

Friday, 3 October 2008

George Cruse and Mary Ann Dickson

I've received details of another Cruse family in London which I've not yet been able to place in any of the existing London Cruse trees. This line begins with George Cruse who was born about 1814 either in Westminster, London, or St George's Hanover Square (the place of birth is different on the two census entries we have for him). George married Mary Ann Dickson, the daughter of John Dickson, a baker, at St Margaret's Church in Westminster in 1839. According to the marriage certificate George's father was Charles Cruse, a bookbinder. There were a number of bookbinders in the Rode tree from Somerset, some of whom moved to London, but at present it is not possible to see a connection between the two lines. George showed no interest in following his father's trade. He seems to have worked in a variety of jobs, and is described variously as a labourer, a drug porter, a drug warehouseman and a chemist.

George and Mary Ann Cruse had five children, one son and four daughters. Their only son, George, died at the age of four from water on the brain. Their second daughter Frances Caroline Cruse (born c. 1847 in Westminster) emigrated to Australia in 1871. She married John Hay (born 1834 in Aberdeen, Scotland) in 1877 in Melbourne. John and Frances Hay subsequently moved to New Zealand, and many of their descendants still live there today. According to family legend John Hay was reputed to have run away to sea as a young boy. He was supposedly shipwrecked, and was abandoned by a man who later became Mayor of Timaru, a small city in New Zealand. There was a famous incident in which John confronted His Worshipful Honour the Mayor, poking him in the stomach with his cane, and saying "you left me to drown". It has not yet been possible to substantiate this story. George and Mary Ann's youngest daughter, Alice Elizabeth Cruse (b. 1852 in Westminster) married George James Dyke, a waterman, some time before 1874 though there is no record of their marriage in the GRO marriage index. George and Alice Dyke settled in Limehouse in the East End of London. We currently have no information on the whereabouts of the other two daughters Mary Ann Cruse (born 1842 in Westminster) and Harriet Amelia Cruse (born 1849 in Westminster).

The London records at the London Metropolitan Archives and the Guildhall Library are in the process of being digitised, and I'm hoping that we will then finally being able to make some progress with all these London families. The first records are due to be made available early in 2009 on Ancestry. More information about the digitisation project can be found here.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Cruse family at Stonehenge

Mel McNaught has sent me a most wonderful photograph of the Cruse family at Stonehenge. The photo is believed to be of Thomas Cruse (born 20 April 1809 in Horningsham, Wiltshire), the son of Jeremiah Cruse and Elizabeth Knight, and his wife Ann Cruse née Brace (born 12th November 1809), the daughter of Joseph Brace and Harriet Bryant. Thomas descends from the line which originates in Rode in Somerset. Thomas and Ann Cruse lived in the High Street in Warminster, Wiltshire. Thomas was an estate agent and land surveyor who worked with the Warminster Turnpike Trust. He also served as the churchwarden at St Denys's Church in Warminster for 63 years. We are not too sure of the identity of the other people in the photograph, but Thomas and Ann's son Edmund Cruse (1848-1894) and daughter Maria Elizabeth (1845-1911) are possibly included in the group. Ann Cruse née Brace died in 1883 and Thomas died in 1889, so if they are indeed the elderly couple in the photograph then it must have been taken before 1883. Outdoor photographs from this period are very rare, as very few people owned a camera and most photographs were taken in studios. Mel is trying to locate the original photo album from which the scan was taken. If we are able to study the original photograph it should be possible to date it more precisely, and at the same time get a better-quality scan.Coincidentally Stonehenge has been very much in the news in the last week with the broadcast of the fascinating BBC Timewatch programme on Saturday about the recent archaeological dig at the site. There are some very interesting pages and video clips on the BBC History website about the dig which can be seen here. These days of course it is not possible to get close up to the stones as the Cruses did in the 1800s, and the monument can only be seen from a distance behind a low fence.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Edwin Cruse the law clerk

The nineteenth-century newspaper collection has revealed an interesting story about Edwin Cruse from the Berkshire Cruse tree. Edwin Cruse was the son of George Cruse, a butler and gamekeeper, and Sarah Chivers. He was born in May 1849 in Boxford, Berkshire, and baptised on 1st July 1849 at St Andrew's Church, Boxford. Edwin went to work in London as a clerk in a solicitor's office and ended up in prison after being found guilty of forging two cheques. The story was reported in the Daily News on 26th February 1868.


Edwin Cruse, 18, a gentlemanly-looking youth, described as a law clerk, pleaded guilty to two indictments charging him with forging a cheque for 81l, and another for 50l.

Mr. Sleigh was instructed to prosecute. The prisoner was defended by Mr. Cooper.

In this case it appeared that the prisoner was in the service of Messrs. Lewis and Co., solicitors, Southampton-Street, as clerk, and he took advantage of the opportunity the position afforded him to obtain access to the cheque-book of his employers, and draw two cheques for the amounts mentioned upon Messrs. Coutts and Co., and obtained the money, the whole of which seemed to have been squandered away within a very short period.

Mr. Cooper addressed the court in mitigation of punishment, and said that the prisoner was very respectably connected, and he was one of eleven children, and his being placed in his present position had been the cause of the deepest distress to those with whom he was connected. He had gone into the situation he occupied fresh from the country, and had unhappily fallen into bad company, and this had led him to commit the act which he now most deeply deplored. On the grounds of the youth of the prisoner and his previous good character, he entreated the court to pass a lenient sentence.

The Recorder, after conferring with Alderman Causton, addressed the prisoner, and said he was unable to discover any ground for departing from the usual sentence in such cases. He was in a good position, and, being the clerk to a solicitor, he must have been perfectly well aware of the nature of the crime he was about to commit. He appeared, however, to have committed two distinct forgeries, and obtained 130l, by means of the forged instruments, and the whole of the money seemed to have been squandered away in the course of six weeks. He felt, therefore, bound to pass upon him the sentence of five years' penal servitude.

Edwin was in fact one of 12 children, though only eight of his siblings were still living at the time of his trial. Three of his brothers died in infancy within a few weeks of each other in August 1859, and they are all buried at St. Gregory's Church in Welford: John died at the age of eight and was buried on 6th August, George died at the age of just three weeks and was buried on 11th August, and Arthur died aged four and was buried on 31st August.

The 1871 census reveals that Edwin was sent to the Male Convict Prison in Gillingham, Kent. He was described on the census page as a law clerk aged 21. If Edwin served his full five-year term he would have been released from prison at the end of February 1873. He seems to have found himself a bride remarkably quickly as he married just one month later. His new bride was a 20-year-old girl from Devizes in Wiltshire by the name of Charlotte Rosanna Wild. They married on 31st March 1873 in Welford, Berkshire, where Edwin's parents were now living. After their wedding Edwin and Charlotte must have travelled immediately from Welford to Liverpool to catch the steamship the Hibernian to emigrate to America. The date of departure is not known but the passenger list for the Hibernian shows that the ship arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, on 23rd April 1873. Edwin and Charlotte both appear on the passenger list. Edwin is described as a clerk. Somewhat surprisingly they booked an intermediate passage rather than sailing in steerage.

We pick up their story again in the 1880 American census. Edwin and Charlotte are now living in the 8th Ward in Precinct 4 in Baltimore. Edwin, 31, is working as a book agent, and Charlotte, 25, is 'keeping house'. They have two children, George, 6, and Ernest, 4, who were both born in Maryland. Julia Wilson, 23, a seamstress, is also living in the household with the family.

Unfortunately most of the 1890 US census was destroyed in a fire and the census for Maryland has not survived. I have however been able to locate Edwin in some directories at around this time. In the 1890 Baltimore City Directory an Edwin Cruse is listed at 831 W Barre, Baltimore, Maryland, with a business called The Sun, which is possibly a reference to the Baltimore Sun newspaper. There is also an Edwin Cruse listed in the Washington DC Directory the same year. He appears as a clerk residing at 729 5th Northwest, Washington, DC. In the 1891 Washington DC City Directory Edwin Cruse was again listed as a clerk but he had now moved to 447 Florida Avenue Northwest.

The final sighting of Edwin is in the 1900 American census. Edwin, 51, is now working as a patent ally and living in Kenilworth Street, Washington, DC. Charlotte must have died because Edwin now has a new wife, Jennie, 42, who is from Connecticut. The census helpfully tells us that they had been married for 10 years. They have two children: Daisy B Cruse, born in October 1880 in Connecticut, and Catherine Cruse, born in June 1894 in Maryland. Daisy is probably Edwin's stepdaughter as the census indicates that her parents were both born in Connecticut, whereas Catherine's father was born in England and her mother was born in Connecticut. In the 1900 census Edwin's son George is working as a district lawyer in Manhattan, New York. He is married to Nellie, 26, and they have a six-month-old son called Donald. I have not been able to find any trace of Edwin's younger son Ernest Cruse in 1900.

After 1900 the trail goes cold and I have not been able to locate Edwin and his family in any of the later censuses, and I cannot find any record of his death in the available online records. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has further information about Edwin and his children.