Frederick Attwell

I am still researching this relative quite intensively, but I first became aware of him a few months back when I found him mentioned in the Windsor Union Workhouse Relative’s Book. His entry was one which kind of confirmed my suspicions regarding the Smith/Attwell combination as his relative was given as Mrs Smith (Attwell), grandmother. This meant he was the child of one of Elizabeth Attwell’s own children, but which one? After looking through the Baptism Book at the Old Windsor vicarage, I found two Fredericks, one a Frederick William Attwell, born 1897 to Elizabeth Attwell, Single Mother at the Windsor Union Workhouse, the other was a William Frederick Attwell, born 1909 to Elizabeth Attwell, Single Woman, Crimp Hill House (another name for the Workhouse).  The Relative’s Book had stated that the Frederick I was looking for was born in 1909, so I know that he must be the one. This means that his mother was Elizabeth Attwell (b 1877), daughter of Elizabeth Attwell (1855). The entry for his birth in the BMD registers is as Frederick William, not William Frederick which led me to believe that the earlier Frederick must have been the son on Elizabeth (1855) as I couldn’t find a death entry which would justify having two children of the same name.

The next time that Frederick (1909) popped up was in the School Records of St Peter’s School in Old Windsor, he joined the school in 1916, his parent/guardian was given as ‘The Master – Boy’s Home’ and his address was Albany House. He left the school in 1920, the note next to his entry reads, ‘Left the country (Gone to Canada)’. I later discovered that Albany House Boy’s Home was part of the Windsor Union Workhouse.

I was told that around the late 19th & early 20th century, a lot of children were sent to Canada (via Liverpool) to start new lives out there, so I started digging around passenger lists (http://www.CollectionsCanada.gc.ca ) etc. and up popped Frederick on board the SS Metagama, leaving Liverpool 3rd Sep 1920, arriving in Quebec on the 11th Sep 1920 with the Macpherson party, destination Marchmont Home, Belleville, Ontario.  Some more digging gave me some interesting background information on the emigration process (http://ist.uwaterloo.ca/~marj/genealogy/children/Organizations/birt.html) and some names of people to contact who may have more information. A couple of emails later and I got this information from John Sayers of BIFHS (http://www.bifhsgo.ca/home_children_index.htm ):

On film #T-14948 is a copy of Frederick’s landing card, or 30A card. Between 1 Jan 1920 and 31 Dec 1924 Canada used the 30A Landing card rather than a copy of the ships manifest, in 1925 they went back to the manifest.

Ship Metagama, Frederick ATTWELL(his signature has Atwell), aged 11 born Windsor.  Church of England.

From the Liverpool Sheltering Homes to the Marchmont Home, Belleville, Ontario.

4′  1″ tall, medium complexion, brown eyes, light brown hair.

(It should say nearest relative from where he came but that has been left empty)

 

Film #T-15420 Inspection Reports

Fred ATTWELL aged 11, born 26 March 1911?, came from Windsor in 1920 through the Macpherson/Birt organization.

18 Feb. 1921 all areas good, has board, clothing and food and with Mark Morton, Lot 1, Conc. 3, Hungerford Township, Thomasburg, Hastings County, Ontario. (Just north of Belleville)

12 May 1925 – has been at the same place throughout, is slow at school.

13 May 1926, $130 a year, with Joseph E. Chapell, Thomasburg.

15 June 1927, $160 a year with William J. Webb – RR#2, Tweed

16 Nov. 1927 – Address uncertain.

21 June 1928 – Did not see – gone from Percy McTaggart, RR#2, Tweed.

Was with Mr. Shaw of Thomasburg.

31 July 1929 – $12 month, Mrs. Ella May, Thomasburg.

Completed.

 

Film #C-4732 – RG76, Vol. 64, File 3081, Part 3.

Medical certificate dated 18 Aug. 1920 for 28 children including Frederick. 

Also a Form B, with Attwell, Frederick born 26.3.09 from Windsor Union

Also from Windsor Union were; Edith Bonaquest, 10; Leonard Brown, 15; three Sowden girls and Edith Terry. Twin Brown boys Charles and Frederick did not sail.

 

During my last visit to Berkshire Records Office, I spent some time looking through the records of the Workhouse and found several letters from the master to Miss [Lilian] Birt of the Liverpool Sheltering Homes during 1920, organising the emigration process, several mentioned Frederick and other children that were to be emigrated (including the ones mentioned in the info above). The departure from the home to Liverpool was also mentioned in the Master’s Journal.

 

So I now know where he was up until 1929 when he completed his indenture. Now I have to start looking for any descendants he may have but, being in England, this might not be so easy as I’ve only ever researched records in this country. If I can find a living descendant, not only will I make contact with this lost branch but I can then request information from Dr Barnado’s as they have now taken over the records and they will only give out records to the next of kin. There is a chance that they will have a photo of the young Frederick too.

Living Locally

Just a quickie today, I mentioned in the last post that I would talk about the benefits of living near your
ancestors. The vast majority of my known ancestors came from Berkshire, some from the west and, more
recently, I have found some from the east. I live 10 minutes from the eastern border of Berkshire, so it’s
not a huge difficulty in getting to the places mentioned in the records. In fact, my parents have recently
moved to within a mile of where a chunk of my dad’s family were born & grew up and I work in the same town as my grandfather was born.

This is all well and good, but what benefits does this offer, especially as a LOT of my research has been
done online? Well, the Berkshire Records Office (BRO) is only a 45 minute drive away, so I can often be found in there poring over microfiches, microfilms or even original documents to find new leads. More recently, I have been trying to find places mentioned in the records to get an idea of what life was like etc. This came in handy when a New Zealand cousin sent me a photo of a house, the only info written on the photo was the town ‘Old Windsor’. She gave me a few clues as to who was living there and why (they were apparently looking after the church). A little digging and I have found the house, Church Cottage, right next to St Luke’s Church, it’s still standing and it hasn’t changed that much. Other places that have gone are Bartlett’s Farm in Albany Road and Trafalgar Place. There are new(ish) houses where Bartlett’s Farm was and just a wasteland where Trafalgar Place stood though there is evidence of concrete floors & demolished brick walls scattered around.

While searching for Bartlett’s Farm, I came across a rather interesting set of documents at the BRO, letters
to and from Burnett Brothers & Sons in London, regarding the valuation of the property (amongst others). One of my relatives is mentioned in several of the documents as the then current tenant and there is even a hand-written letter from him. All of the documents are from 1897.

When I spoke to my parents about this search for old buildings, they handed me a book that a neighbour had given them when they moved in, all about the buildings in the town, it proved very useful in many ways, not least the fact that the author had printed he address in it and was still living there. I made a phone call and she agreed to meet me to chat about some of the houses. When I arrived, I was amazed to find she had all of the school records for the local school as the headmaster had decided to get rid of them and she felt she should preserve them for posterity. I am so glad she did, I found many of my relatives in there, including my own grandfather (the first time I’d seen him recorded as having been in the Workhouse, unlike many of his siblings who spent a lot of time in there it seems). It also confirmed my Smith/Attwell conundrum as he was recorded as Attwell but with a note stating his name was given as Smith when he was admitted.

The other interesting one was a mention of my Dad’s 1st cousin, Frederick William Attwell. His last attendance was in 1920 and the note next to it said ‘Left the country (Gone to Canada)’ his address was Albany House and the parent/guardian was ‘The Master, Boys Home’. I have since discovered much more about him, but using online resources and the kindness of other people halfway round the world, I will elaborate on that in the next thrilling installment!

Anyhow, none of this would I have found if I wasn’t close enough to visit the places in question. Speaking to locals is also a huge benefit, they will tell you things that no records will show, some of which are useful and some not, but when you find a clue that opens up a whole new branch, grasp it with both hands!!

I have several places further afield that I need to visit to try to further some of my other lines but I know I will only be able to get so far, as each little clue takes a while to research further and if you are only there for a few days, you can only get so much.

I know I am one of the lucky ones, most of my lot didn’t move too far.