Wednesday 17 December 2008

The Cruwys coat of arms

Joseph M. Crews in Texas has sent me the most stunning drawing of the Cruwys arms, which he did while on a recent visit to Cruwys Morchard in Devon. The drawing is a copy of the Cruwys arms as depicted in a stained glass window in the church. I liked the drawing so much that I have now decided to use it on my Guild profile page, and I am very grateful to Joseph for giving me permission to reproduce his artwork. The picture can only be reproduced as a thumbnail image on the profile page so I have also provided a full-size copy below.In heraldic terms the Cruwys arms are described thus: Azure. a bend per bend indented argent and gules between six escallops or. Escallop is the heraldic word for a sea shell or oyster shell. The shell was used as a badge by palmers on their way to and from Palestine and is thought to be connected in some way with the crusades. It is therefore quite possible that the first bearer of the Cruwys arms was involved in the Crusades, perhaps accompanying Richard the Lionheart on the Third Crusade. Richard I reigned from 1189 until his death in 1199. If the Cruwys arms were adopted during the later Crusades there are two possible candidates: Richard Cruwys and Robert Cruwys. Margaret Cruwys advises in A Cruwys Morchard Notebook that a Robert de Cruwys was mentioned in a Pipe Roll in 1175, and that in 1198 a Robert Cruwys was an undertenant of Henry Pomeroy. Richard de Cruwes, who was most probably Robert's son, was "taken into custody being accused of the death of Jordan de la Cell on Exmoor in 1200". This is probably the same Richard de Cruwes who witnessed the Tracy Deed, the earliest document in the Cruwys family papers. The document was also witnessed by Alexander de Cruwes who is probably Richard's son. I have provided a transcription of the Tracy Deed for Genuki Devon and it can be seen here. Richard was appointed as a justice of assize by the King, and there are many references to Richard de Crues in the early 1200s in the Patent Rolls. There is still a lot of work to be done on the early records, but it is unlikely that we will ever know for sure which Cruwys was the original bearer of the arms.

Thursday 11 December 2008

The will of David Crews
of Madison County, Kentucky

Marge Crews Telerski has kindly sent me her transcription of the will of David Crews of Madison County, Kentucky. David Crews was born on 3rd February 1739/40 in Henrico County, Virginia. He was the son of David Crew or Crews and Mary Stanley. He married twice. His first wife was Annie Magee or McGhea who was also his stepsister. Annie died in about 1801, and David then re-married, some time between 1801 and 1804, to Mildred Wilford. David was one of the first settlers in Kentucky along with the legendary pioneer Daniel Boone. He settled in Boonesborough, which was founded by Daniel Boone in about 1775. David helped to defend the community against attacks from the natives led by Chief Blackfish during the siege of Boonesborough in 1778. David reputedly fell out with Daniel Boone and decided to move to what is now Madison County, Kentucky, where he built Crews Station. He seems to have been a man of some wealth, and in the 1810 census he was living in Madison County, Kentucky, with 15 slaves in his household. He was said to have built a beautiful mansion house for his second wife Mildred near Richmond, Kentucky. The Crewses from Henrico County were all Quakers, and much of the family tree is recorded in the early Quaker records. Suzanne Johnston has transcribed some of the Quaker Henrico County Monthly Meetings for the period from 1699-1757 and a Word file can be downloaded from here. Paulette Smith provides an excellent account of the early generations of the Henrico County tree on her website.

David Crews died in 1821 though the exact date of his death is not known. He and his wife Mildred signed a deed dated 9th March 1821 and his will was proved on 5th November 1821 so we know that he died somewhere between these two dates. David's original will can be found in the Madison County Will Book C on page 192. The will is a particularly important document for this line because a lengthy court action ensued, providing vital genealogical evidence. The full text of the will is as follows:
In the name of God, Amen. I David Crews of Madison County and State of Kentucky do hereby declare this to be my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former Wills by me theretofore made.

In the first place I give and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Newland one dollar having heretofore advanced to her all I intend giving her.

Secondly I give and bequeath unto my daughter Mildred Beth [or Bell?] my Negro woman called Sarah to her and her heirs forever-

Thirdly I give and bequeath to my son Jeremiah Crews one dollar having heretofore advanced to him all I intend giving him.

Fourth I give and bequeath unto my son Elijah Crews one dollar having heretofore advanced to him all I intend.

Fifth I give and bequeath unto my son David Crews the land I purchased from Will [or William] Hay [Hoy?] being the land whereon I formerly lived lying on the west side of Tates Creek.

Sixth I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Nancy McQuin [McQueen?] one dollar having advanced to her heretofore all I intend giving her.

Seventh I give and bequeath to the heirs of my beloved son John Crews one dollar having heretofore in the lifetime of my said son John advanced to him all I intend giving him.

Eighth I give and bequeath to my daughter Rody one dollar having heretofore given her all I intend giving her.

Nineth It is my will and desire that my beloved wife Mildred remain on the plantation whereon I now live during her natural life or widowhood and that the stock and negroes --- by my executors kept on the plantation and that out of the proceeds arising from the farm my wife --- have a comfortable support during her natural life or widowhood. And that the ballance of the proceeds arising from the Farm, I wish my Executors to make use of in raising and educating my children by my last wife giving them a good English Education.

Tenth It is my will and desire that my negroes not be sold due that so soon as all my children by my last wife become of age that if it is possible they be equally divided between them.

Eleventh It is my will and desire that my negro man Jupiter be permitted at my death to make choice of which of my children by my first wife he pleases to live with and to the one he makes choice of I give and bequeath him and their heirs forever.

Twelvth I give and bequeath unto my son Andrew my tract of land lying on Muddy Creek to him and his heirs forever.

Thirteenth I give and bequeath unto my son Temple the tract of land whereon I now live on [at?] the death or intermarriage of his mother which ever may first happen.

Fourteenth It is my Will and desire that residue of my Estate both real and personal be equally divided between my children by my last wife towit, Andrew, Temple, Anna , Sophia, China to be equally divided amongst them when they become of age all of them.

Lastly I do hereby institute and appoint John Pace and David Irvine my Executors of this my only true will and Testament. In Testimony -- hereof I have thereunto set my hand and affixed my seal to this my last will and testament this 12th day of May 1819.

David Crews

Signed sealed and ask-- In presence of R C Holder, William [or Will] Jenkins, Jno. Duncan, Thos. I Gentry, R. A. Sturgus Kentucky, Madison county

I David Irvine----- of the court for the county aforesaid do hereby ---- that at a county court held for Madison county on Monday the fifth day of November 1821 this Instrument of ----- was produced in open court and proven to the last will and testament of David Crews Deceased by the oath of John Duncan and Thomas I. Gentry both subs--- we ---- thereto and order to be recorded and the same has been done accordingly.

Update on Cruse's Stores

I have now made great progress on the line of Cruses who ran Cruse's Stores in Rottingdean, Sussex, for most of the twentieth century. Andrew Millard very helpfully reminded me of the Historical Directories website . Kelly's Directory of Sussex for 1911 and 1915 lists a Walter Cruse, grocer, at 14 Upper St James' Street, Brighton. Jimmy Cruse, the founder of Cruse's Stores, was said to have had a grocer's shop at this address before opening the Rottingdean store in 1918. There are no matching entries in the GRO indexes in Sussex for James or Jimmy Cruse, but there are corresponding entries for Walter Cruse, so it seems certain that Jimmy and Walter are one and the same person. Walter Cruse was born in 1870 in New Shoreham, Sussex. He was the son of Richard Cruse, a gardener, and Mary Jane White. Walter married Laura Holford in 1904 in the Brighton Registration District. The mother's maiden name is unfortunately not given in the GRO indexes before 1911, but the birth of an Eric Walter Cruse is registered in Brighton in the September quarter of 1905 who is almost certainly Walter and Laura's first child. From the death indexes I know that Eric was born on 9th July 1905 and that he died at the age of 92 in Lincoln in 1998. Ronald Thomas Cruse, Walter and Laura's second son, was born on 19th August 1909 and died in 2004 aged 95 in the Worthing Registration District. Walter and Laura did not enjoy such long lives as their sons. Laura died in 1918 at the age of 48, leaving Walter to raise his two young sons on his own and manage the grocery business. Walter died in 1931 at the age of 61 supposedly from "overwork".

Walter's father Richard Cruse was born about 1832 in Chailey, Sussex, and was the son of Richard Cruse, an agricultural labourer, and Mary Mitchell. The Chailey tree can be traced back to Thomas Cruse and Joan Wood who married on 18th November 1688 in Chailey. Richard Cruse worked for most of his life as a domestic gardener. He married Mary Jane White in 1858 in the Tavistock Registration District in Devon. Mary Jane was born in 1838 in Winchester, Hampshire. It seems likely that both Richard and Mary Jane were in service in Devon and that this is probably where they met. Richard and Mary Jane had eight children: Caroline, born in 1862, Charity Clara, born in 1864, Elizabeth, born in 1867, Walter (Jimmy), born in 1870, William Henry, born in 1872, Thomas, born in 1876, Edith Ellen, born in 1879, and Gladys, born in 1887. Caroline was born in Brighton and the other seven children were born in New Shoreham, Sussex. Two of the children died at a young age: William Henry died in 1899 at the age of 27, and Edith Ellen died in 1902 aged 22. Elizabeth married John Thomas Foster in 1900 in the Epsom Registration District. In the 1901 census John and Elizabeth Foster were living at Wateringbury Road, Nettlestead, Kent. John, 32, was a grocer's manager. He is therefore the Jack Foster, brother-in-law of Walter/Jimmy, who subsequently ran Cruse's Stores in Rottingdean. Mary Jane Cruse née White died in 1893 and Richard died in 1910. Their deaths were both registered in the Maidstone Registration District.

Monday 8 December 2008

Cruse's Stores, Rottingdean

Valerie Hedgecock has sent me an interesting article, dating from June 2001, which was published in one of the local Brighton newspapers. The article relates the history of two village stores in Rottingdean High Street which are remembered with great affection by their old customers and were renowned for their tradition of great service. Richardson's Stores was established in 1823 though under a different name, and continued to trade until 1962. Cruse's Stores opened in 1918 at 14 High Street on the opposite side of the road to Richardson's, and the two businesses enjoyed a friendly rivalry.

Cruse's Stores was founded by Jimmy Cruse, who had previously worked as an assistant at Richardson's Stores. By the time the Rottingdean store had opened Jimmy already had a shop at 14 Upper St James's Street, Brighton. His ambition had been to open ten branches but he apparently died by 1931 from overwork. The Brighton store was managed by Jimmy's brother-in-law Jack Foster, who was joined in 1928 by Jimmy's son Ron. It traded as a grocer's until the end of 1962, when it was converted into a greengrocer's by Ron's son Alan. The greengrocer's store continued in business for a further 16 years before closing in 1995.

I've not yet been able to work out which tree these Rottingdean Cruses belong to. From the GRO indexes I've been able to establish that there was a Ronald Thomas Cruse born on 19th August 1909 in the Brighton Registration District. He died in October 2004 at the age of 95. The only James Cruse I can find in Sussex in the 1901 census was born c. 1857 in Chailey. His wife Alice was already 40 in 1901 and would possibly have been too old to be the mother of the Ronald Cruse born in 1909. I cannot find a record of the death of Jimmy Cruse in the GRO indexes up to 1931, and I have not yet extracted the deaths after this date. I suspect I will need to wait for the release of the 1911 census before solving this problem. In the meantime I would be very pleased to hear from anyone with further information about this line. I have now scanned the article and can send out copies on request. The article has some lovely old photographs of the store and pictures of Ron Cruse and his father Jimmy.

A Cruwys calendar girl

Judith Bowen has kindly alerted me to a story in the North Shore Times in Australia about Joan Cruwys, a sprightly 94-year-old who is one of the calendar girls featured in the 2009 Senior Road Safety Calendar. You can read the full story here. The calendar is available free of charge from a number of local councils in North Sydney and through local senior groups and centres, retirement villages and council facilities across the northern Sydney region. Joan is the widow of Harold Herbert Cruwys (1908-1986), who is descended from the Brushford tree from Somerset. Joan and Harold emigrated to Australia in 1959.

Friday 5 December 2008

Margaret Cruse of Essex and Virginia

I came across the following interesting posting on the Rootsweb mailing list for Madison County, Kentucky:

The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume XIII (July, 1905), No. 1, pages 53-64, "Virginia Gleanings in England," has the following:

DANIEL LLUELLIN of Chelmsford, Essex, planter. Will 6 Feb 1663/4; 11 Mar 1663/4. Lands, tenements, hereditaments in Charles county in upper part of James River in Virginia, to wife Anne for life, then to son Daniel LLEWELLIN. Ditto as to goods, but to daughter Martha JONES his sister two seasoned servants. Also to son Daniel LLLUELLIN best suite, cloake, coate and hatt, second best hatt with silver hatband, all Linnen, and my sayle skinn Trunk. To friend Mary ELSING of Chelmsford, spinster, for care, one of best white ruggs and my new peece of Dowlas, saving sufficient for a winding sheet to bury mee. To Mary DEERINGTON of Chelmsford, a widow one of wurst white ruggs. To daughter Margaret CRUSE 40s. for ring and to her husband ditto. To son-in-law Robert HALLOM ditto. To master Chr. SALTER living in Wine Court wiwthout Bishopgate and Anne his wife 10s. each for gloves. Goods sent over this spring and summer to be sold for debts due. Rest to son Daniel.

Executors: Thomas VERVELL of Roxwell, Essex, gent., James JAUNCY of Cateaton Streete, London, Merchant, Giles SUSSEX of Thames Street, London, Hottpresser, and Master William WALKER of Colchest:, Essex, Shopkeeper. To be buried in parish church of Chelmsford neare the Reading deske and friend Doctor John MICHELSON to preach.

Witnesses: Robert LLOYD, Tim CODE, senior, scrivenor.
The names CREW, CREWS and CRUSE start to appear in Charles City County, Virginia in the late 1600s but as yet we have been unable to find their place of origin. DNA testing shows that nearly all the CREWS of Virginia are related. An ancestral file on the IGI suggests that Margaret LLEWELLYN married a James CRUSE. I've no record of such a marriage and wondered if anyone had any further information.

Tuesday 2 December 2008

A Cruwys connection with Charles Darwin

I had a long chat on the phone the other night with Norman Cruwys who has provided me with some further anecdotes about his family. I was intrigued to learn that one of his relations, Elizabeth Ann Cruwys née Bradford (1856-1939), the wife of his great uncle John Albert Cruwys (1858-1933), had supposedly at one time worked for the naturalist Charles Darwin, author of The Origin of the Species. I therefore decided to do some research to see if there was any truth in the story.

I already knew that Elizabeth Ann Bradford married John Albert Cruwys, a coachman, in 1886 in the Bromley Registration District. John was the son of William Henry Cruwys, a farmer, and Mary Jane Wonson, and is from the tree which originates in Brushford, Somerset. According to the 1891 census Elizabeth was born in about 1856 in Swaffham Bulbeck, Cambridgeshire. I discovered from the IGI that she was baptised on 24th August 1856 in Swaffham Bulbeck and was the daughter of William Bradford and Jane Hullyer. Her birth is registered in the June quarter of 1856 in the Newmarket Registration District. In the 1861 census Elizabeth, aged four, was living with her parents, William and Jane Bradford, at Hare Park, Swaffham Bulbeck. Her father, William, 50, was a farmer's labourer. Her mother, Jane, was 40. Elizabeth had a brother, Walter, aged two, and a sister, Silina, aged nine months. By the time of the 1871 census Elizabeth, now aged 14, had left home and was working as a domestic servant. She was living with Harriet Palmer, 63, a clergyman's widow, and her daughter Sophia Palmer, 23 at Shrey's Almshouses in the parish of St Giles in Cambridge. Once we get to the 1881 census the story suddenly becomes very interesting. Elizabeth Bradford, now said to be 26 (though in reality she was only 24 or 25), was a housemaid living at Down House in Downe, Kent, which was none other than the home of Charles Darwin and his wife Emma. It was a very large household, and I have provided a full transcription of the census entry below.

Down House, Cudham Road, Downe, Kent
Charles Robert DARWIN Head M Male 72 M.A., L.L.D., (Cambs) F.R.S., J.P. Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Emma DARWIN Wife M Female 72 b. Maer, Staffordshire
Elizabeth DARWIN Daughter U Female 33 b. Downe, Kent, England
William E. DARWIN Son M Male 41 Banker B.A. (Cantab) b. St Pancras, Middlesex
Sara DARWIN Daughter-in-law M Female 41 b. United States
George H. DARWIN Son U Male 35 Barrister M A (Cant), F.R.S, b. Downe, Kent
Francis DARWIN Son Widower Male 32 M.A. M.B. (Cant) b. Downe, Kent,
Bernard R. M. DARWIN Grandson Male 4 b. Downe, Kent
Herman FRANKE Visitor M Male 33 Music Director and Violinist b. Saxony, Germany
Rose C. FRANKE Niece M Female 34 b. Etauria [Etruria], Staffordshire
Charles Wood FOX Cousin U Male 33 Barrister b. Hampstead, Middlesex
James JOHNSON Servant U Male 23 Footman Domestic Servant b. Marylebone, Middlesex
Frederic HILL Servant U Male 20 Groom Domestic Servant b. Bromley, Kent,
Margaret EVANS Servant U Female 49 Hedgebottom, Shropshire, Cook Domestic Servant
Augusta DICKSON Servant M Female 44 Ladies Maid Domestic Servant b. Hamburg, Germany (British Subject)
Elizabeth BRADFORD Servant U Female 26 House Maid Domestic Servant b. Bullbeck [Swaffham Bulbeck], Cambridgeshire,
Harriet IRVINE Servant U Female 23 House Maid Domestic Servant b. Offham, Kent
Mary WILKINS Servant U Female 19 Kitchenmaid Domestic Servant b. Sundriger [Sundridge], Kent
Pauline BADEL Servant U Female 29 Nurse Domestic Servant b. Switzerland
Harriet WELLS Visitor U Female 24 Ladies Maid (Domestic) b. Portswood, Hampshire,
Leonard DARWIN Son U Male 31 Royal Engineers Lieutenant b. Downe, Kent

Charles and Emma Darwin moved into Down House in 1842. Some of their children were born at the house and it was here that Darwin worked on his theories of evolution and natural selection. We do not know how long Elizabeth Bradford was employed in the Darwin household, but Charles Darwin died at Down House on 19th April 1882 at the age of 73. Elizabeth quite possibly continued to work at the house after Charles's death, but would almost certainly have stopped working either upon her marriage to John Albert Cruwys in 1886 or upon the birth of her first child, Bessie, in 1889. By 1891 John and Elizabeth Cruwys and their two-year-old daughter Bessie were living in the High Road in Farnborough, Kent, and John was working as a coachman (groom). John and Elizabeth went on to have just one other child, a son, William John Cruwys, who was born in 1891 in Farnborough. Bessie married William Rice in 1919, and William married Doris Gregory in 1919. I do not know if there are any living descendants but I would love to hear from anyone who has further information about this family and the Charles Darwin connection.

Saturday 29 November 2008

More Tiverton marriages

Guild member Barbara Roach has sent me the final batch of faux marriage certificates from her recent Tiverton Marriage Challenge. The outline details are as follows:

- 1879 Parish Church, Kentisbeare: Jane Crews, daughter of John Crews, sawyer, and Charles William Field, butcher, son of Edward Field, farmer

- 1882 St Peter's, Tiverton: John Cruwys, mason, son of George Cruwys, labourer, and Sarah Quant, widow, daughter of John Chown, mason (Witheridge tree)

- 1891 St Catharine's, Withleigh: George Cruwys, carpenter, son of George Cruwys (deceased), and Hannah Jane Darch, daughter of John Darch, dairyman (Witheridge tree)

- 1894 St Andrew's, Cullompton: Harriett Louisa Crews, daughter of Thomas Crews, gardener, and David Bastone, farm labourer, son of David Bastone, dealer

- 1906 St Catharine's, Withleigh: John Sidney Cruwys, mason, son of John Cruwys, mason, and Lily Mary Stoneman, daughter of John Stoneman, labourer (Witheridge tree)

- 1906 St Catharine's, Withleigh: Annie Elizabeth Cruwys, daughter of John Cruwys, mason, and Frank Charles Chilcott, dairyman, son of William John Chilcott, soldier (Witheridge tree)

- 1909 St Catharine's, Withleigh: Sarah Elsie Cruwys, daughter of John Cruwys, and labourer, and Frank Allan George Collard, labourer, son of Isaac Collard, labourer (Witheridge tree)

- 1910 St Peter's, Tiverton: Thomas Edwin James Cruwys, labourer, son of John Cruwys, mason, and Edith Baker, daughter of John Baker, labourer (Witheridge tree)

All of the Cruwys marriages from this challenge relate to the Witheridge Cruwys tree and I have sent copies to all my contacts who are researching this line. If anyone else would like copies of any of the above certificates do please get in touch.

There are a number of other Guild marriage challenges in the pipeline, most notably those for the Brighton, West Derby, Toxteth, Birmingham and Cheltenham registration districts. I have also submitted entries for the second phase of the Shoreditch marriage challenge which covers the period from 1861-1880. I hope to receive some further certificates from these challenges in due course so watch this space!

Friday 28 November 2008

DNA discounts for Christmas

Family Tree DNA, the company we are using for the DNA project, have announced price reductions for DNA tests ordered through surname projects in the run up to Christmas. The 37-marker test is reduced from US $149 to just $119. If you have not yet joined the project this is an ideal opportunity to take advantage of the lower prices or perhaps you can buy a kit for a male relative with the surname as a Christmas present. You can read more about the project on the DNA website. Make sure you check out the pedigrees to see which lines are already included. If your line is not yet represented I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions do get in touch. I have provided a copy of the letter from Family Tree DNA below with full details of the Christmas pricing.
Dear Family Tree DNA Group Administrator,

In keeping with our end-of-the-year tradition, effective November 26th, 2008 we'll institute special pricing at Family Tree DNA for your new-kit-purchasing participants.

The products that will be offered at the special prices are:

Y-DNA37 $119
Y-DNA37+mtDNAPlus $199
Y-DNA67 $218
Y-DNA67+mtDNAPlus $308
mtDNAPlus $139
Full Genomic mtDNA $395
SuperDNA $613

This offer is good until December 31st, 2008 for kits ordered and paid for by that time.

Monday 17 November 2008

Charles Kingsley and the Cruse tapestry

I've been a member of the Somerset and Dorset Family History Society for nearly a year now but have only just got round to adding my interests to the society's website. Shortly after submitting my post, I received an e-mail from none other than the Society's webmaster Alan Brown whose wife coincidentally has Cruses in her ancestry from Clovelly in North Devon. Alan has put details of his wife's Cruses and various other lines on his website. He has also kindly sent me a Gedcom file of the Clovelly Cruse line which has saved me a lot of hard work inputting all the data into my family history program.

Clovelly is a picturesque fishing village on the North Devon coast, and is now a popular tourist attraction. Not surprisingly the Clovelly Cruses feature several mariners and fisherman, with a number dying at sea at a young age. On one tragic evening on 17th May 1917 Thomas Cruse and Catherine Tucker Howard lost two of their sons, James Thomas Cruse and William Thomas Cruse, when their ship the SS Kilmaho was torpedoed by a German UB20 submarine just off the Cornish coast near Lands End. Only one of the crew of 21 survived.

The Clovelly Cruses have a particular claim to fame with a link to Charles Kingsley, the author of The Water Babies and Westward Ho! Kingsley spent much of his childhood in Devon. His father was the rector of Clovelly from 1830-1836 during which time the Kingsley family lived at the Rectory. Elizabeth Cruse née Hickling (1807-1886) was Kingsley's nursemaid during the early 1830s. Elizabeth was born in 1807 in Teigh, Rutland. She married Richard Cruse, a merchant seaman, on 8th December 1831 in Clovelly, and continued to work for the Kingsleys for a short time after her marriage. Charles Kingsley's christening gown is still owned by the Cruse family. His cradle was also stored in the family's shed for many years but was sadly broken up for firewood and burnt by someone who didn't realise its significance! The photograph below of Elizabeth Cruse née Hickling was kindly supplied by Alan Brown and is reproduced with his permission.Alan's wife's family also have another treasured heirloom, the Cruse tapestry (below), which has a most interesting history. Alan tells me: "A few years back a solicitor's office in Bideford were having a clear out and threw an old framed picture in a skip. The whole thing broke and the tapestry was revealed, being used as a backing. Fortunately one of the office staff knew my wife's uncle, and passed it to him."The Cruses recorded on the tapestry are not the direct ancestors of Alan's wife, but it is still very fortunate to have such an unusual possession in the family. William Cruse the head of the family on the tapestry, was a farmer. He married Jane Martin in 1825 in Langtree, Devon. They moved away from Clovelly and settled in Frithelstock. One of their sons, Oliver (born 1833 in Langtree) emigrated to America, where he settled in Seattle, Washington. He married Jane Sowton and had nine known children.

Sunday 16 November 2008

Shoreditch marriages

A batch of faux marriage certificates has arrived from Guild member Howard Benbrook following his recent Marriage Challenge for the Shoreditch Registration District. I have provided an outline of the certificate details below together with the name of the tree, where known, in brackets:

- 1840 St Mary Haggerston – Sarah Dunsford Cruwys, daughter of William Cruwys, wheelwright, and Joseph Lake, tailor, son of Joseph Lake (Thorverton tree)

- 1845 St Leonard's, Shoreditch – Thomas Cruse, cellarman, son of John Cruse, carman, and Mary Ann Furze, braidmaker, daughter of John Goode Furze, shoemaker (John Cruse and Mary Rook line)

- 1849 St Leonard's, Shoreditch – Frederick Martin Cruse, cooper, son of George Cruse, cooper, and Harriett Huntley, sempstress, daughter of Thomas Huntley, fishmonger

- 1855 St John the Baptist, Hoxton – George James Fordree, carman, son of George James Fordree, general dealer, and Martha Cruse, daughter of Edward Cruse, carman (John Cruse and Mary Rook line)

- 1856 St Leonard's, Shoreditch – George Cruse, scaleboard cutter, son of John Cruse, box maker, and Mary Ann Kelley, servant, daughter of John Kelley, dyer

- 1857 St John the Baptist, Hoxton – Henry Cox, firewood cutter, son of Henry Cox (deceased), firewood cutter, and Mary Ann Cruse, daughter of Edward Cruse, carman (John Cruse and Mary Rook line)

I have sent copies to those people who are researching these lines. If you are interested in any of the above marriages and would like a copy of the certificate please get in touch.

Thursday 13 November 2008

DNA pedigrees

I have been busy revamping the DNA project website and preparing outline pedigrees for the participants. The pedigrees can now be found on the website, and can be located by clicking on the results tab at the top of the page. Some project members have only just started out on their research, whereas other project members have been researching for 30 years or more. I have done extensive research on some of the lines, whereas others, and in particular the American lines, are completely new to me. The length of the pedigree does not however always reflect the time devoted to the research. Some lines are lost in London in the early 1800s whereas others go back for many centuries. The American research is particularly problematic because so many records were lost in the Civil War, and the records which are available are not as informative as their British counterparts. It's interesting to see the results in outline form because you can see at a glance how the surname has evolved over the years, often in different ways in different counties and countries. In one line in Wiltshire Cruse changed into Scruse, in two of the American lines Crews changed to Cruse, and in Newfoundland in Canada, Cruse changed to Crews. There is also the unusual Cruwys spelling which was only used from the late 1700s onwards to conform with the spelling used by the family at Cruwys Morchard in Devon. To complicate matters further the Cornish branch of the Cruwys Morchard family predominantly adopted the spelling Crewes. No doubt other evolutions of the surname will come to light as research progresses.

When I started the DNA project back in September 2007 I really had no idea what to expect, but the response has been most gratifying. We now have an astonishing 44 project members, far more than I ever anticipated. We've made some very interesting discoveries with matches linking together trees which were not previously known to be connected. We still have a number of people with no matches, and I hope that as more people come forward for testing they will get matches in due course which will enable them to progress their research. There are also a number of kits still being processed, some of which could potentially provide some interesting results. Do check out the pedigrees and if your line is not included do get in touch.

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.

Saturday 27 September 2008

Cruses of Chailey, Sussex

I've been in touch with Kerry Baldwin via Rootschat and she has kindly given me the details of her Cruse line from Chailey in Sussex, which I've now added to my database. Kerry has made her tree available on her website though there is no mention of the Cruses on any of the public pages. If you want to access the tree you will need to e-mail Kerry and ask for a password. This is a small tree going back to the marriage of Thomas Cruse and Joan Wood in 1688 in Chailey. Cruses have lived in Chailey for at least seven generations right through to the mid-1800s. The Cruse name died out in Kerry's direct line - her ancestors James Cruse and Alice Lee Rhoades had six daughters and no sons.

Monday 22 September 2008

Crews/Cruse of Dartmouth, Devon

Margaret Torode in New Zealand has kindly sent me details of her husband's Crews/Cruse line which moved from Dartmouth in Devon via Paignton to Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Between the two of us we've now managed to trace the tree back a further two generations. The line begins with the marriage of Benjamin Cruse, a mariner, and Dorothy Wills in 1781 at Dartmouth St Saviour. Benjamin and Dorothy had two children: Dorothy, born in 1782, and Benjamin, born in 1785. Dorothy seems to have died young, for in 1787 Benjamin Crews, now a widower, married Mary Weymouth. Benjamin and Mary had nine children, at least three of whom died in infancy. Benjamin then seems to have married for a third time in 1805 to Elizabeth Ball, a widow. The research into this line has been greatly helped by the wonderful transcriptions of the Dartmouth St Saviour marriages which have been made available online on the Dartmouth History Group's website. We now need to do some further work on the Dartmouth St Saviour burials and baptisms.

Margaret's husband is descended from William Crews (baptised on 2nd November 1799), the son of Benjamin Cruse and his second wife, Mary Weymouth. William Crewse married Susanna Berry Carey in 1819 at Dartmouth St Saviour. At the time of the marriage he was a mariner, but he subsequently joined the Coastguard Service and became a coastguard and chief boatman. The Coastguard Service was only created in 1822 so William was quite possibly one of the earliest recruits. We know nothing of his early career but by 1837 William was the coastguard at St Alban's Head (also known as St Adhelm's Head) in Worth Matravers, Dorset. There is a photograph of the coastguard cottages at St Alban's Head, where William and his family would have lived, on Wikipedia. By 1841 William had moved to Whippingham on the Isle of Wight.

William and Susanna had six known children, five girls and a boy. Their son William was educated at the Greenwich Hospital School in London, but did not follow in the family maritime tradition. Instead he became a wheelwright and settled in Paignton, Devon. Some of William and Susanna's children moved to Guernsey in the Channel Islands. The spelling of the surname veers backwards and forwards between Cruse and Crews in the Dartmouth St Saviour registers. However, all of the descendants of William Crews and Susanna Carey seem to have adopted the Crews spelling from the 1820s onwards.

Sunday 21 September 2008

Cruses of Imber, Wiltshire

I've been working on and off for the last couple of months on the tree of the Cruses from Imber, Wiltshire, and have now finally finished inputting all the data into my Family Historian database. David Cruse has once again done all the hard work on this tree by extracting the parish register entries and assembling the tree with the help of the censuses. Unfortunately David's copy of the tree was stored in an old drawing package on an ancient computer and it wasn't possible to transfer the tree to his new computer so it has all had to be entered from scratch. Lynn Ellison contacted me back in August about the Imber Cruses and I have now finally been able to send her a report on this line. Lynn has also kindly provided some additional information on the more recent generations of her family.

The Imber Cruse tree begins with John Cruse and Eleanor Gambon who married in about 1760. They had three children, William (born 1761), Betty (born 1763), and John (born 1775), all of whom were baptised in Chitterne, Wiltshire. Both John and Eleanor were buried in Chitterne, John in 1804 and Eleanor in 1806, but unfortunately the burial registers do not record their ages. Of their three known children only one lived to adulthood. John junior died in infancy, and Betty died in her teens. However, William, their first-born son, lived to the ripe old age of 74 years. He married Jane Potter in 1785 in Chitterne and they went on to have nine children, all of whom were baptised in the nearby village of Imber. Cruses appear in the Imber registers right through until the 1920s, and they are all descended from William and Jane. The Cruse spelling was not used consistently until 1840, and many of the parish register and civil registration entries prior to this time were recorded under the spelling Crews. Some of the earlier parish register entries were recorded as Scuse, Schuse, and Squse.

I suspect that the Imber Cruses are related to the Urchfont Scruse/Cruse tree. The John Cruse who married Eleanor Gambon is very probably the John Cruse, son of William and Elizabeth Cruse, who was baptised on 24th February 1733 in Urchfont, Wiltshire. Unfortunately the surviving parish register entries do not provide conclusive proof, and I suspect that we will have to wait for DNA evidence to provide the answer. A test is under way for a Scruse from the Urchfont tree, and the search is now on for a living Cruse from the Imber tree.

Friday 19 September 2008

A song recital by Laurie Cruwys

I have long been puzzled by the identity of the Laurie Cruwys who receives a few brief mentions in The Times newspaper in the 1920s for her song recitals, but this week the mystery has finally been solved after I made contact with Norman Cruwys, a descendant of the Brushford Cruwys tree. Laurie is Norman's first cousin once-removed. Her full name was Laura Audrey Cruwys. She was born in 1900 in Clapham, London, and was the only child of Lawrence Cruwys, a police court usher, and Sarah Louisa Hicks, the daughter of Henry Hicks, a gentleman of some wealth.

Laurie Cruwys gave a song recital at the Aeolian Hall in New Bond Street, London, on 1st February 1926. She was accompanied by the pianist Herbert Dawson playing on a Bosendorfer piano. The Times published an anonymous review of the recital on 4th February 1926:
Songs like Vaughan William's "Silent Noon," "Parry's ''Sleep," and Stanford's "A Broken Song" are not easy to sing, but they show at once whether a singer has got musical feeling or not. Miss Laurie Cruwys, who gave a recital at Aeolian Hall on Sunday night, has got that essential feeling; she also has a good contralto voice of a soft, cooing quality that is quite attractive. She must, therefore, continue her singing, but must take steps to strengthen her production. It is probably a matter of breathing more deeply and spending her breath more freely, for at present she does not command the latent power which must be there. Phrasing becomes precarious and tone thin on sustained notes, when only the top part of the lungs is in action. The quality is uneven, sometimes tight, sometimes breathy, sometimes, as in the head register when she sings softly, perfectly controlled and charming to hear. Except for one really bad song, signed, we noted with regretful surprise, by Granville Bantock, the programme was excellent and was interpreted with lively intelligence. "Consolidation" should now be Miss Cruwys's motto.
I do not know whether Laurie continued with her singing career after receiving this somewhat critical reception from The Times reviewer. Norman recalls that Laurie married a German man by the name of Ben Ashofer. The surname was subsequently Anglicized, possibly to Ashley. There is no record of Laurie's marriage in the English civil registration records, so it seems likely that she married abroad, probably in Germany. We know that she did not have any children, and that she went to live in Harrogate in Yorkshire. Does anyone know what became of her?

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Cruse of Liverpool

One of my new DNA project members is descended from the Liverpool Cruses and as a result I have spent some time over the last few days working on his family tree. The certificates from the Guild's Liverpool Marriage Challenge were very timely, and four of these new certificates have now been linked into the Liverpool tree. The Liverpool line can so far be taken back to William Cruse, a tinman, who was born about 1811 in Lancashire, and his wife Agnes. They had two known children: John Moreton Cruse (c.1836-1899) and William Hugh Cruse (born 1840). Nothing further is yet known of William Hugh Cruse, but I now have a lot of information on the descendants of John Moreton Cruse. John married Margaret Bird in 1858, and they had ten children, four of whom died in infancy. The middle name Moreton was given to four of their children. John followed in his father's footsteps and worked as a tinplate maker. By 1881 he was described as a safemaker. From the addresses where the family lived we suspect that John worked at Milner's safe factory in Liverpool. Two of John's sons, William and Alfred, also appear to have worked at the factory.

There is still much work to be done on the Cruses of Liverpool and there are many names which are not yet linked together. I suspect that there are a number of different Cruse lines in Liverpool with some at least originating in Ireland. It will be interesting to see if the DNA results match with any of the English Cruse lines or with any of the Irish Cruises.

Monday 1 September 2008

DNA discounts extended

I was very pleased to learn from Family Tree DNA that their Sizzling Summer Sale has now been extended until 30th September. Full details of the discounted prices can be found on the DNA Project website. The reduced prices for the last two weeks of August have already helped bring a few more people into the DNA Project, and we now have 33 participants from six different countries (England, France, Australia, Canada, America and Cambodia). Many people will have been on holiday in August so I hope that the extension of the sale will encourage a few more people to take part.

The sale couldn't have come at a better time as I have just had an article about DNA testing published in the September 2008 issue of the Berkshire Family Historian, the journal of the Berkshire Family History Society. The only Cruse in the BFHS is already a member of the project, but I hope that the publicity might help to attract some further interest. Dennis Wright has kindly made the article available on his website and a slightly expanded edition of the original article can now be found online here.

Saturday 30 August 2008

Liverpool marriages

I have received a bumper pile of Guild marriage certificates from the Liverpool Marriage Challenge. Guild member Susan Atkins kindly offered to search the parish registers in the Liverpool Registration District from 1882 to 1911 to find marriages for Guild-registered names. I had a surprisingly large total of 14 Cruse marriages in this time frame and Susan was able to find nine of the 14 marriages. The remaining five marriages will probably have taken place in the Register Office, and details of these marriages can only be obtained by ordering the certificates. I have been aware for some time of a cluster of Cruses in Liverpool but have not yet had a chance to investigate this line. In the meantime I have listed below outline details of all the certificates I’ve received. I would be pleased to hear from anyone researching these lines and would be happy to provide copies of the certificates:

1882 The Parish Church Liverpool: William CRUSE, tin plate worker, son of John CRUSE, and Emma Jane FAIRHURST

1891 St Nicholas Church, Liverpool: Catherine CRUSE née McCUSKER, widow, and Thomas McCAFFREY

1892 St Simon’s Church, Liverpool: John Francis CRUSE, carter, son of Peter CRUSE, driver, and Esther Jane LOFTHOUSE

1898 St Stephen the Martyr, Liverpool: Sarah CRUSE, daughter of Patrick CRUSE, van driver, and Michael FINN

1898 The Parish Church, Liverpool: Ellen CRUSE, daughter of Patrick CRUSE, van driver, and John PASSEY

1898 The Parish Church, Liverpool: Alfred CRUSE, labourer, son of John CRUSE, labourer, and Mary Catherine GAVIN

1906 The Parish Church, Liverpool: Mabel CRUSE, daughter of William Henry CRUSE, labourer, and Ernest Henry MARSH

1908 St Nicholas’s Church, Liverpool: John CRUSE, window cleaner, son of William CRUSE (deceased), lamplighter and Mary RANDLES

1909 The Parish Church, Liverpool: Mary Elizabeth CRUSE, daughter of William CRUSE, safebreaker, and John Macdonald

More marriage certificates

I have received a bumper crop of marriage certificates from three recent Guild Marriage Challenges. I would like to thank my fellow Guild members Peter Copsey, Shelagh Mason and Shirley Forster for all their hard work extracting marriages from the parish registers in the Lambeth, Chertsey and Eastry Registration Districts. I have now sent out copies of the relevant certificates to all the interested parties. Most of the marriages are from existing trees but there are a few new names who are currently unfamiliar to me. The full list of certificates is given below with the names of the trees, where known, in brackets. If anyone is interested in any of these names and has not received a certificate please get in touch.

1873 marriage in Deal Kent: James Charles CRUSE, chemist, son of Charles CRUSE deceased, and Lucy JONES (Rode tree, Somerset)

1889 marriage in Addlestone, Surrey: Charles Alfred CRUSE, poulterer, son of Alfred CRUSE deceased, and Mary BUTLER

1892 marriage in Brixton, London: Ada Louise CRUWYS, daughter of George CRUWYS, gent, and Thomas Vincent (Mariansleigh tree, Devon)

1899 marriage in Tulse Hill, London: Ellen Mary CRUWYS, daughter of Robert CRUWYS, architect, and Reginald John YARNOLD (Mariansleigh tree, Devon)

1905 marriage in Tulse Hill, London: Bessie CRUWYS, daughter of Charles CRUWYS, builder, and Robert Ingram Howe PIPPETTE (Mariansleigh tree, Devon)

1900 marriage in Brixton, London: Benjamin James CRUSE, traveller, son of Benjamin Adams CRUSE, traveller, and Julia Ann GOLDING (Kenton tree, Devon)

1901 marriage in Lambeth, London: Albert Humphrey CRUSE, bookkeeper, son of Charles CRUSE, box manufacturer, and Lila Ann HAZARD (Bermondsey tree, London)

1907 marriage in Brixton, London: Eliza Ann CRUSE, daughter of Thomas John CRUSE, cabinet maker, and Arthur Randolph (John CRUSE and Mary ROOK line, London)

1910 marriage in Stockwell, London: Arthur Samuel CRUSE, insurance agent, son of Benjamin Adam CRUSE, commercial traveller, and Florence Ada HILLMAN (Kenton tree, Devon)

1942 marriage in Deal, Kent: Joyce Ellen CREWS and Raymond WALE

1946 marriage in Deal, Kent: Leslie Arthur CREW and Coral Margarita FOAT

1958 marriage in Deal, Kent: Florence CREWS and Derek RICHARDS

Sunday 24 August 2008

Thomas Cruwys and the Battle of Towton

There is an interesting article in today's Sunday Times magazine about the Battle of Towton, which can also be read online on the Sunday Times website. The Battle of Towton is of particular interest to me because my ancestor Sir Thomas Cruwys (d. 1471) fought at the battle on the Lancastrian side in support of Henry VI. The battle took place on 29th March 1461 (Palm Sunday), between the villages of Towton and Saxton in Yorkshire (about 20 kilometres south-west of York). It is remembered as the bloodiest battle ever fought on British soil. Henry VI and his supporters were defeated by the Yorkist army of Edward IV, and some 28,000 men are believed to have lost their lives. Sir Thomas Cruwys miraculously managed to survive the massacre of the Lancastrian army. After the battle he received a royal pardon from King Edward IV, but was forced to forfeit many of his lands. The Deed of Pardon is in the family archives at Cruwys Morchard House. Sir Thomas survived for another ten years after the Battle of Towton. Undeterred by the carnage he had witnessed at Towton he fought again at the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4th May 1471, but was again on the losing Lancastrian side. Sir Thomas Cruwys's inquisition post mortem records that he died on 12th May 1471. After the battle some of the defeated Lancastrians sought sanctuary in Tewkesbury Abbey. The victorious Yorkists forced their way into the abbey and the surviving Lancastrians were all beheaded. Sir Thomas was quite possibly one of the group who was slaughtered in the Abbey, or he might simply have died of his wounds.

Monday 18 August 2008

It's raining frogs!

I've just learnt of a useful new website Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers which is provided by the US Library of Congress. The website provides searchable digital images from a range of US newspapers for the period from 1890 to 1910. The website can be found here. I was most surprised to find the following story from Cruwys Morchard in The San Francisco Call on 11th September 1910. Enjoy!
Death Ends Croaking When Sun Rises After Storm

LONDON, Sept. 10 – Gloucestershire recently reported the arrival in that section of snakes which milked the cows. Now Jack Ayre of Temple Bottom, near Cruwys-Morchard in Devonshire, reports that after a violent thunder storm he found a long stretch of road covered with thousands of frogs, "which cried like rabbits".

Ayre expresses the opinion that the frogs came down from the sky, and he is supported in his view by another resident of the district, who has had experience of monsoons abroad.

This expert says that in the stillness which precedes monsoons in tropical regions all sorts of creeping things come out of their hiding places and croak. They are often carried up into the air by whirlwinds, and when the monsoons break, down they come again, as appears to have done at Cruwys-Morchard.

It was midnight when Ayre made his discovery. In the morning there were still a number of frogs left but many were dead.

Saturday 16 August 2008

DNA discounts

I have been notified by Family Tree DNA, the company who are running our DNA project, that they have a Summer Sale with substantial discounts on the costs of the various DNA tests. The discounts apply until the end of August 2008. If you have been thinking of taking part in our project then it is now an ideal opportunity to join and take advantage of the special prices. We have already made some very exciting breakthroughs with the DNA testing which has enabled us to link together previously unconnected trees. The details of the promotion are shown below.

Dear Group Administrator,

In June, Family Tree DNA ran our most successful promotion ever, in which we offered a significant discount on many of our test upgrades.

Now that our lab has had time to process the high volume of orders generated by that promotion, we are ready to challenge the record that we set in June by returning to you with our "Sizzling Summer Sale". This time, the promotion is geared towards bringing new members to your projects by offering the following big incentives:

Y-DNA12 orders include a FREE mtDNA test (Y-DNA12+mtDNA promotion price of $99; normally $189)
Y-DNA25 orders include a FREE mtDNA test (Y-DNA25+mtDNA promotion price of $148; normally $238)
Y-DNA37 orders price REDUCED to $119 (normally $189)
Y-DNA37+mtDNAPlus orders price REDUCED to $189 (normally $339)
Y-DNA67+mtDNAPlus orders price REDUCED to $288 (normally $409)
mtDNAPlus price REDUCED to $149 (normally $189)

This promotion goes into effect immediately and will be available until August 31st, 11:59PM CST.

As always, thank you for your continued support!

Best Regards

Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA

Thursday 14 August 2008

Catching up

We've been away on holiday in Sicily for the last two weeks arriving back home in the early hours of Sunday morning at a very soggy Gatwick airport. In between dealing with mountains of washing I've been trying to catch up on the huge backlog of e-mails. I was delighted to learn that the DNA project now has two new members - two people from the Cruise of Ireland project have now joined my group. I'm waiting to receive details of their pedigrees. The results are through for our tester from the Sampford Arundell Cruse line in Somerset. He currently does not match anyone within the project. I have been somewhat surprised at the genetic diversity amongst our Cruse testers. Of the six English Cruses tested so far only two have close matches. There are however a lot of English trees which are still not represented and we will get a clearer picture of the number of genetic families when more people have tested.

I was very pleased to receive two packages in the post containing marriage certificates from two Guild Marriage Challenges. The Marriage Challenge is a project whereby Guild Members do look-ups in a specific Registration District to find marriages for Guild-registered surnames. Peter Copsey has sent me seven Cruwys/Cruse marriage certificates in the Lambeth Registration District, and Shelagh Mason has found four Cruse/Crews/Crew marriages for me in the Eastry Registration District. I shall be updating my records in due course and sending out copies of certificates to the appropriate people.

I have posted an album of Sicilian photos on my Facebook page (you can find me on Facebook under the name Deborah Cruwys Kennett). For those of you who are not on Facebook I have included below a photograph of our holiday resort, Giardini Naxos in Sicily, showing Mount Etna in the background.

Thursday 17 July 2008

Cruse of France

I have just discovered a fascinating website which gives statistics and maps on the frequency and distribution of surnames in France. There seem to be two main clusters of the surname Cruse in France: one in the Gironde département and the other in Paris. The Gironde cluster is probably accounted for by the Cruse wine-making dynasty who owned the Chateau Pontet-Canet for over 100 years. Further information can be found in the Wikipedia article on the Cruse family.

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Courtney Cruwys of the 37th Foot

I have been in touch in the past with Ryan Hill and Susan Wood, both of whom are descended from the Thorverton Cruwys tree. However, I had lost contact with them and have been unable to pass on some of the latest findings on this line, the most exciting of which was the discovery of Courtney Cruwys's service in the 37th Regiment of Foot (the Royal Hampshire Regiment) during the Napoleonic Wars. Fortunately I've now been able to locate Ryan through Genes Reunited and this week I was able to give him the good news about Courtney and provide an updated report on the Thorverton line.

Courtney Cruwys, the son of Courtney Cruwys and Elizabeth Prowse, was baptised on 11th December 1768 in Thorverton, Devon. He lived to a very great age, dying in 1862 when he was either 93 or 94 years old. The only clue about his army record was from the census entries where he was described as a "pensioner" in 1851 and 1861 and an "Army P" (presumably army pensioner) in 1841. However, trying to locate a soldier's record at the National Archives without the name of the Regiment is a virtually impossible task.

Luckily Barbara Chambers has worked tirelessly over the years indexing various army records from the Napoleonic War era and compiling them into a large database. While at the Bracknell Family History Fair in January I visited Barbara's stall and took the opportunity to have a search done in her indexes. Courtney at first proved to be elusive but she eventually located him by searching on his Christian name – his surname had been spelt Crowes! Barbara's Regimental Indexes revealed that Courtney joined the 37th Regiment of Foot (the Royal Hampshire Regiment) as a private on 11th February 1794. I've now managed to locate Courtney in the National Archives catalogue. His service record can be found in WO 97/1113/290. The index entry confirms that he was born in Thorverton, Devon, and he was known as "Courtney Crowes alias Courtney Cruise". He served not only in the 37th Foot Regiment but also in the 12th Royal Veteran Battalion and the 1st Royal Veteran Battalion. He was was discharged at the age of 52, and shortly afterwards married Sarah Weslake though we have not yet been able to locate the marriage. The Royal Hampshire Regiment do not appear to have been on active service in the Napoleonic Wars but were instead garrisoned in India, the Far East and the Caribbean, losing many of their men to sickness. We now need to get Courtney's discharge papers to find out more about his army career.

If anyone is researching Napoleonic War soldiers I can highly recommend Barbara Chambers' services. She no longer attends family history fairs but can be contacted through her website. Large numbers of men served in the army during this period and often there is no clue in the conventional records other than a marriage at a surprisingly late age.

Tuesday 24 June 2008

Cruse/Scruse of Wiltshire

I have been in contact with Carol Patis via the Wiltshire Rootsweb mailing list and Carol has kindly sent me details of her Cruse/Scruse tree from Wiltshire. Carol is descended from Thomas Scruse who was born on 2nd February 1799 and baptised on 10th February 1799 in Maddington, Wiltshire. Thomas was the eldest son of Oliver Cruse and Ann Feltham who married on 19th March 1798 in Maddington. Although Oliver's name was spelt Cruse in the marriage register, the spelling changed to Scruse when Thomas was baptised which is perhaps not surprising as the surname would have been spelt as it sounded and the final S in Thomas could easily have blended with the surname Cruse to form the name Scruse. The Scruse spelling was used consistently by Thomas's descendants and also by the descendants of his brother Joseph Scruse who was born on 11th August 1802 and baptised on 29th August 1802 in Orcheston St George, Wiltshire. The Wiltshire Scruses seem to account for a large majority of the Scruses who appear in the civil registration indexes from 1837 onwards, and some of this family have also settled in Australia.

Ann Feltham was probably Oliver's second wife. An Oliver Cruse married Sarah Topp on 18th April 1792 in Fishton Delamere, Wiltshire. They had three children: Thomas (baptised 3rd February 1793 in Orcheston St George), Hannah (baptised 9th November 1794 in Orcheston St George) and Elizabeth (probably born in 1796 in Orcheston St George). Sarah and the three children died on 13th January 1799 in Orcheston St George. The sad story of their deaths is recorded in the following poignant entry in the parish register:
Thomas, Hannah and Elizabeth Cruse, son and daughters of Oliver and Sarah Cruse who were burnt to death by their mother in a fit of insanity Jan 13th and buried Jan 15th. Sarah the wife of Oliver Cruse and mother of the above three children died in consequence of a wound she gave herself on Jan 13th and was buried 24th.
It has not yet been possible to determine the ancestry of Oliver Cruse with confidence. An Oliver Cruse was baptised on 30th November 1747 in Netheravon, Wiltshire, the son of Robert Cruse and Hannah Silverthorne. This Oliver married Joyce Peircey on 12th May 1770 in Orcheston St George. No record has been found of any children from this marriage. Joyce died in 1791. Did this Oliver Cruse then go on to marry Sarah Topp in 1792? By this time Oliver would have been around 44 or 45 years old. I only have details of Oliver's three marriages from various indexes and there is no indication that he was a widower, though this information was not always provided in the early registers. If the three Olivers are indeed all one and the same person then we can trace the line back a further two generations to Robert Cruse and Sue Hill who married on 9th October 1665 in Urchfont, Wiltshire.

As an interesting aside on the surname Scruse I have discovered that Scruse is the maiden name of Katherine Jackson, the mother of the singer Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson's grandfather, Prince Albert Scruse, was apparently born on 16th October 1907, and his Scruse family appear to be from Alabama. There seems to be very little information on this line and it would be interesting to do further research to see if there is any connection with the Wiltshire Cruses/Scruses, perhaps through a family of slave owners.

Saturday 7 June 2008

My mtDNA results

I've now received my mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test results from Family Tree DNA. Somewhat surprisingly my maternal line belongs to haplogroup U4, a small Indo-European haplogroup which seems to be quite rare. The haplogroup is found in only 1.63% of the population of England and Wales. The highest frequencies of U4 are found in southern Siberia, and it is also found in Eastern Europe, the Urals, in some German-speaking populations and in a few lineages in India.

Brian Sykes gives names to the seven main European mitochondrial haplogroups in his book The Seven Daughters of Eve. All the women in Europe can supposedly trace their genetic ancestry back to one of these seven women. Haplogroup U4 is not one of Sykes's original clan mothers but is a sub-clade or sub-branch of haplogroup U, otherwise known as Ursula. "Ursula" lived around 45,000 years ago. "Ulrike" is of more recent origin and lived around 18,000 years ago. Sykes describes Ulrike thus: thus:
The clan of Ulrike (German for Mistress of All) is not among the original "Seven Daughters of Eve" clans, but with just under 2% of Europeans among its members, it has a claim to being included among the numerically important clans. Ulrike lived about 18,000 years ago in the cold refuges of the Ukraine at the northern limits of human habitation. Though Ulrike's descendants are nowhere common, the clan is found today mainly in the east and north of Europe with particularly high concentrations in Scandinavia and the Baltic states.
I have so far been able to trace my direct maternal line back to Mary Ann Butler, the daughter of James Butler, a labourer. Mary Ann was born in Purton, Wiltshire, in around 1815. She married Moses Ball in 1842 in Walcot, Somerset. Moses and Mary Ann had six children who were born in Sherston, Wiltshire, and Westonbirt, Gloucestershire. My maternal line continues with their daughter Hannah Ball, who moved to London and married William Saunders, a coachman and stage coach driver, on 16th June 1872 at the Parish Church of St Marks in North Audley Street. The other names in the later generations of my maternal line are Tidbury, Rattey and of course Cruwys.

Mutations occur much less frequently in mitochondrial DNA and the tests are therefore not so useful as the Y-DNA test which we are using for the Cruwys DNA Project. Most people who take the mtDNA test have large numbers of matches in the various databases. Not surprisingly, with my rare U4 haplotype, I do not have a single match in the Family Tree DNA database. I have also uploaded my results to Mitosearch, the public mtDNA database sponsored by Family Tree DNA, but again I do not have any matches. It is also possible to search the Mitosearch database by haplogroup. There are only 472 people in the whole world with my haplogroup in the database at present.

I regard the mtDNA test as an investment for the future. My grandmother was an only child and my great-grandmother was the only daughter in her family. My sister and I have both had sons so our direct maternal line is now at an end. Sons do of course inherit mtDNA from their mother but they cannot pass it on to the next generation. My mtDNA results will have more value as more people in the UK get tested and once I start to make further progress with my research into my maternal line in Wiltshire. With a rare haplogroup it should also be much easier to verify my maternal line.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Cruses of Westbourne, Sussex

I have received two marriages from Guild members Lynda and Roger Goacher as a result of the recent Westbourne Marriage Challenge which they undertook at the West Sussex Record Office. I now have the full certificate details for the following two marriages:

- Henrietta CRUSE and William FAY who married in December 1895 in Westbourne, Sussex

- Frances Mary CRUSE and Henry James DAVIS who married in August 1900 in Westbourne, Sussex.

Henrietta and Frances are the daughters of George Cruse, a potter.

I have not yet worked on the Sussex Cruses. I suspect they belong to the line which originates in Chailey, Sussex. If anyone is interested in this family please get in touch.

Saturday 10 May 2008

Cruwys of Bristol

Last Saturday I had an enjoyable day out at the "Who do you think you are" show at Olympia in London. I came home with a number of new resources which I am only just starting to explore. One of my purchases was a CD from the Bristol and Avon Family History Society containing transcriptions of all the baptisms in the Bristol Diocese from 1813 to 1837. I was hoping to find the baptism of my great-great-grandmother Anne Cruwys née Wall. She emigrated to America in around 1901 when she was about 65 or 66 to join her son William and daughter Emily, both of whom never married. She spent the rest of her life in America living with William and Emily and died in Richmond Hill, Queens County, New York, in 1915 at the age of 79. I have her death certificate from America and her date of birth is given as 2nd October 1835. I know from the censuses that she was born in Bristol and in some of the censuses her place of birth is given as St Paul's, Bristol. Unfortunately there is no likely baptism on the CD so I can only conclude either that she was not born in Bristol after all or that she was baptised in one of the non-conformist churches. I know from her marriage certificate that her father was James Wall, a labourer, but I have also been unable to find any conclusive matches for Anne in the 1841 or 1851 censuses.

However, as always seems to be the case with family history research, sometimes new information arrives when you are least expecting it which allows pieces of another part of the jigsaw to fall into place. I found some baptisms on the CD which have now enabled me to add another branch to the Wiveliscombe/Oakford Cruwys tree. This branch begins with John Cruwys and Mary Weeks who married in 1834 at St Mary Le Port, Bristol. John was the son of Isaac Cruwys and Ann Burton. He was baptised on 29th July 1810 in Chipstable, Somerset. Like many other Cruwyses, he was a tailor. John Cruwys and Mary Weeks had two children: Selina and Alfred. Selina died at the age of 32, but Alfred married and had a family. Alfred died in a tragic accident and a report of the inquest was published in the Bristol Mercury on 24th and 28th July 1894:
Inquests in Bristol
Yesterday afternoon Mr. H. G. Dogget, the city Coroner, held the following inquests in Bristol,

Strange death of a shipwright
At the Redland police station, on the body of Alfred Cruwys, aged about 54 years, who was found dead in the Floating Harbour, on Friday, 20th. William Cruwys, of 11. Gloucester street, St. Philip's, identified the body as that of his father, a shipwright, who lived at 2, Brook cottages, Southville. Witness last saw him alive about a fortnight ago. During the last few months he had been subject to giddiness, and a short time back he had a bad cold. William Tanner stated that he knew deceased, who was working with him on the barque Liberty, alongside the New Quay, Hotwell road. On Friday morning deceased was engaged on a particular job, and witness was fastening a rail down. After breakfast they both started work, and witness noticed his companion picking his tools up, as if to leave the ship. Witness than lost sight of him. Subsequently the tools were found lying together on the deck. Thomas Bawn stated that on Friday, the 20th inst., he was engaged in ballasting the barque Liberty. He did not see Cruwys at work that day, as he was busy in other parts of the ship. At about midday a man named Tanner told witness that deceased was missing. On witness's return from dinner he found that the man was still missing, and so he got his creeps and began to drag for him, In about eight minutes he discovered his body on the port side of the bow of the ship. The vessel was lying broad side on the quay. He was in his working dress, and there were no marks of violence on the body. A verdict was returned to the effect, "That the deceased was found dead in the Floating Harbour, having probably fallen in accidentally and been drowned."