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.