The Webbe family and New River Estate in Nevis

I was introduced to Ruth Hecht by Dr Madge Dresser at the University of Bristol who I’d contacted while looking into my slave owning ancestors. Ruth appeared in the Radio 4 Descendants podcast series I recommended and was prompt for the new Recommended category on this blog (helping both directly and indirectly with the resources for those researching slave owning ancestors contained in my post announcing it).

That was all hugely appreciated, but to top that she has produced the following report looking at the Webbe family ownership of the New River estates I had been looling into. It’s way more forensic than anything I have done, but as she explained it’s incredibly complicated and so she isn’t sure if it is completely correct for reasons explained below. But in answer to my Joshiah Webbe(s) and New River(s) Estates? post that asked whether their were two New River estates and two related Josiah Webbes , she says the answer to both of those questions is an emphatic ‘yes’!!

Webbe family tree which shows the ownership of two New River estates on Nevis
Continue reading “The Webbe family and New River Estate in Nevis”

Joshiah Webbe(s) and New River(s) Estates?

As you may have seen in the last few posts, I am exploring my slave owning ancestors. It’s not quite the ‘Blood Legacy: ‘reckoning with a family’s story of slavery’ by Alex Renton that has been recommended to me, but that’s one I will check out (not least because its reckoning theme is part of what I am trying to do with this series of posts).

Most of my ancestors involved with the slave trade owned plantations on the Island of Nevis in the West Indies, and through marriage not only were they connected to most of the other plantation owners there but also across the Leeward Islands. What’s been difficult is to find out more about the family history of some these ancestors before they appear on these islands because what is publicly available is patchy.

From what I have been told that patchiness is the result of various fires, invasions and earthquakes that over the centuries have destroyed a lot of the original documents. For example, during the French invasion of Nevis in 1706 records were “burned in the street” hence the earliest record that the Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) are working on being from 1705.

Continue reading “Joshiah Webbe(s) and New River(s) Estates?”

More Plantations: The Russell Family Revisited

Having looked recently at my plantation and slave owning Madan and Nisbet ancestors, I need to revisit my Russell ones (see earlier posts here). This is mostly going to be more genealogical because trying to fathom the complexities of how the estates of these and other related families got passed on from generation along with other legacies needs way more time to unravel than I can commit. And not least because that’s something that still appears to be ongoing at the Centre for the Study of legacies of British slave ownership (who have even cited this blog). I will try and tackle some of the ownership and passing on, but this post is also an attempt to check previous findings having found more about these families, including their plantation and slave owning.

Continue reading “More Plantations: The Russell Family Revisited”

More on the Cleaver family

Christina Clair Maitland aka Nina was my 2x gt. aunt and I have written about her here, after having been sent photos of her and her family by one of my not so distant cousins.

Nina married Percy Alan Cleaver and George Graham has added some more information about their family on his site including their 3 children:

  • Cerise Marie
  • Noel Ramsay
  • Bernard Box

Noel was Killed In Action in WW2, and Cerise died in mid-60s unmarried. My mother remembers meeting Cerise and her mother (Nina) at their apartment in Palace Mansions near Olympia in London. We don’t know what happened to Bernard.

George has also added information about a few more generations of both Percy’s paternal and maternal ancestors. If anyone has any photographs or portraits then please get in touch.

Generation 5: Paternal 3x  Gt. Grandparents…

In theory, there should be 32 ancestors in this generation, but two ancestors (Fitzherbert and Mary Wright) in the last generation were siblings so shared the same parents. And we can’t confirm the natural father of our great grandmother Annie Birtwistle (née Hartley), so that branch is currently a dead end. That means we not only have a duplicate pair of ancestors at this generation, but also a missing pair.  And so there are actually only 28 possible ancestors we can currently trace in this generation.

Continue reading “Generation 5: Paternal 3x  Gt. Grandparents…”

Breitmeyer Connection Revisited

De Beers Board 1890

As mentioned in my Breitmeyer Connection post, Frances Geraldine Kirby was the daughter of my great great great uncle Augustus George Kirby. She married (Capt.) Geoffrey Wyndham Breitmeyer, and George Graham has found out some more about them here, including their two children: Anthony G. (born 1925); and Patricia Fiona (born about 1933) who married John Henry Hamilton Stubber (4th Earl of Erne), who had at least one son Charles whose engagement to Miss L. Beckley was announced in the Telegraph last year (he was previously married to Maxine L. Day).

Geoffrey Wyndham Breitmeyer was the son of Ludwig Breitmeyer and Mary Carteretta Valpy who lived at 11, Connaught-Place, London, and Rushton Hall, Kettering. It appears as if Ludwig was originally German and was granted British Nationality in 1914. The 3 sons I have identified all seem to have fought for the British Army in WW1 with Gabriel Charles Alan Breitmeyer being awarded the MC.  I’m pretty certain that Ludwig Breitmeyer is standing on right in the photograph above of the De Beers board from 1890. There’s an record showing that Mary Carteretta Valpy is the daughter of Gabriel Charles Blandy Valpy.

Continue reading “Breitmeyer Connection Revisited”

The Breitmeyer Connection

Beatrice Gwendoline Kirby, or Gwen, was the daughter of my great great great uncle Augustus George Kirby. She married Lt.-Col. Sir William Joshua Rowley, 6th Bt. and my mother remembered her saying that she had a sister called Baba who married a Breitmeyer. I’ve never been able to find out more until today, but Gwen’s youngest sibling was called Frances Geraldine, so I guessed she might have been know as Baba. Turns out that a Mrs. Frances Geraldine Breitmeyer is listed in the London Gazette for the death of Captain (Retired) Geoffrey Wyndham Breitmeyer on the 13th February, 1952. He lived at The Manor House, Didmarton, Gloucestershire, formerly of Orchard Lodge, Avon Dassett, Warwickshire. I can’t find out much more about him although think he served in the 9th Lancers in WW1 and was decorated. Interestingly, there’s a G.W. Breitmeyer listed as an attendee in an announcement from The Times on George H. Graham’s site about the funeral of Rear-Admiral Arthur Hale Smith-Dorrien in 1933. Arthur Hale Smith-Dorrien was the Uncle of Gwen and Frances Kirby, and brother of their mother Edith. Would be interesting to know if Geoffrey and Frances had any children.

The digital portrait collection

The Wedding of Giles Simon Kirby and Angela Mary Julie Birtwistle 1952

This post is a version of my Genealogical dead ends revisted post, but it’s about the photograps and illustrations I’ve found of my ancestors rather than just their names. I’ll do one about places sometime, and also about biographies, etc. I have set up a photostream on FlickR so you can see all the images in a slideshow, and I will link to the individual photos from the names of ancestors I have identified below.  Continue reading “The digital portrait collection”

New site design but where to go next

I’ve come to a bit of an impasse with all the family history, partly because I have a lot of other things  on my plate, but also because I’m not sure what else to follow-up and that’s based on not really being clear who my audience is now. Originally, I was just trying to find out more about our Kirby ancestors. My father had the photograph of our great great grandfather Alfred Octavius Kirby (1843-1919) above and a medal from Henley, which showed he’d rowed for Cambridge. Their Alumni records showed that Alfred O. and his brother Augutus George went there and that their father was called George Goldsmith Kirby (GGK). We found out that GGK had married Hannah Sarah Watts, and that her parents were called Joseph and Hannah from Stratford, Essex. That’s all we know about them, and although we’ve found out quite a bit about GGK and his offspring the only thing we know about his ancestors is that his father was called George, who according to the Lincolns Inn records was a gent and might have died before GGK was admitted there. So that’s as far back as we can go with Kirbys and Watts. From what we can tell our family are now the surviving branch of Kirbys that are descended from George Goldsmith Kirby, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone else researching this family. So that’s the end of the road on this mystery so far. Who knows maybe someone else will get in touch with another lead, but I won’t hold my breath. If I have time I’ll look again at other dead-ends.

joining the dots on The Peerage – Foxes and Wrights

I’m a big fan of Darryl Lundy’s The Peerage site, not because I’m a snob, but because it’s free and I like the way you can trace ancestors along the various branches. Every so often I send Darryl some updates and also try and join the dots and dead ends on his site that are connected with my ancestors. I recent noticed that he had a Sir Douglas Fox and a Sir Charles Douglas Fox. I think they are the same person. Continue reading “joining the dots on The Peerage – Foxes and Wrights”