Local newspapers can often provide more information about our families than we get from official documents such as BMD certificates and census returns. The British Newspaper Archive website has made searching newspapers much easier. Most of the articles I have found about my relatives are reports of court cases and inquests. Here are some of the tales of unexpected or early deaths in my family. Continue reading
The death of Henry Clifton
Henry Clifton was my great-great-great-grandfather Daniel Holtom‘s cousin, i.e. my 1st-cousin-5-times-removed. He was shot dead by George Ditton, the gamekeeper of Mr H.J. Sheldon of Brailes, on 18 February 1864, aged 29. As reported in the local newspapers Clifton, a farm labourer, and fellow labourer John Holtom were walking home along a footpath leading across one of Mr Sheldon’s farms when Ditton accused them of trespassing. A struggle ensued and Clifton struck Ditton with a stick. Ditton then pointed his double-barrelled gun at Clifton and shot him dead. Ditton was charged with wilful murder, but committed for trial at the Warwick Assizes on the lesser charge of manslaughter. While in Warwick Gaol awaiting trial, Ditton suffered greatly from remorse and mental anxiety, and his health was in a precarious state. On 10 April he became suddenly worse and died that day. Continue reading
My great-great-grandmother, Kate Holtom, was born in Brailes, Warwickshire in 1862. Her father, Daniel Holtom and Daniel’s mother, Charlotte Clifton were also born there. Charlotte’s parents Joseph Clifton & Mary Davis were married in Brailes in 1795. Joseph’s parents may have been Leonard & Esther Clifton. A 2 line article in the Hereford Times of 1785 says that Mrs Clifton, wife of Mr Leonard Clifton, of the George Inn at Brailes, in Warwickshire, was last week safely delivered of three daughters, all living. Mrs Clifton had before 19 children, all born alive and baptized. It is recorded in the parish register that all the triplets died within a few days. Continue reading
Tell anyone your hobby is researching your family tree, and one of the most common responses is ‘How far back have you got?’ Here is my answer to that question.
On all of my lines, I have gone back at least 4 generations, i.e. to my great-great-grandparents. Going further back depends on many factors, but I have found that the most important is whether a family stayed in the same area. The line I have provisionally got furthest back with stayed in one village for 6 generations, about 180 years!