Friday, May 27, 2011

Taylor at Birmingham, UK

Researching the Taylor family at Birmingham, UK sounds like an awesome task and indeed it has proven to be. Unfortunately I know very very little about my great grandmother Ellen Taylor. She is my mtDNA line as well which has proven to provide me with more information than the actual records. Tantalizing tales in my childhood about this particular family line circulate in my memories as I try to discover more about her.

My mtDNA which is H11a2 according to the latest build of the Phylogenetic Chart and which, by the Blood of the Isles mtDNA database, may have its origins in the Argyllshire County of Scotland has a couple of unusual mutations which have resulted in my have 27 matches with HVRI and 26 matches at HVRII in the control region and no perfect matches thus far in the Coding region although I have five matches with the Coding region minus one probably personal mutation. All of these matches, I am happy to say, take me back to Argyll Scotland or County Antrim Ireland making me think that the Ireland people may have emigrated from Scotland in the late 1600s early 1700s at the time of the Planters. So with that in mind, I am looking at my great grandmother and thinking at what period of time did your line arrive in the Birmingham area? Did they come from Ireland during the Famine? Did they come from Scotland at the time of the Industrial Revolution looking for work? Did they come even earlier and do they have deep roots in England? Was the Irish lullaby that my grandmother sung (and she knew it from her mother) because she was Irish or was it just popular? So many questions and no answers thus far.

My great grandmother had a reddish tinge to her dark brunet hair and my grandmother used to say that I looked like her somewhat because I was tall and thin (my grandmother was just over five feet so five feet six inches looks tall!). Then I have this mass of curly hair which she was apparently gifted with as well and the rosy English complexion (which I think might be Scots as well). But no pictures unfortunately have survived of my grandmother's parents.

My grandmother's siblings were all sent to Canada by the Birmingham Union and I have learned a great deal about their placements here in Canada (two in the Maritimes and two in Ontario). My grandmother was already working in England and decided to emigrate to be with them when the last two were sent to Canada in 1908. Surprisingly my grandmother never said she had a hard life as a child. Actually the reverse, her father worked two full time jobs and they always had a nice home and everything else that went towards a nice life when she was a child. She was the eldest of seven children born in 1886. Her father is a bit of a mystery except I can trace back quite a ways on some of his lines - his parents were Buller and Welch and his grandparents were Buller, Beard, Welch and Cheatle. I can find him on the census in 1851, 1861 and 1891. I have his birth registration and his baptism. I know exactly where he lived and where his father worked and I have a picture of the house. All good and interesting information but he disappeared from 1861 to 1886. His father died in London (probably on a buying trip for their pork butcher, confectionary, news shops businesses) and at that point everyone moved in with Grandmother Welch who owned a few buildings that her husband had had as restaurants. But he wasn't with her on the 1871 census. His younger brother was an apprentice jeweller and I do find Clement Charles Buller in South Africa later. Was Edwin in South Africa? I haven't found him there yet but I know that he was in Africa because my grandmother said he was.

Anyway, life was pleasant my grandmother always said when she was a child until her mother died when she was eleven years old. Grandma liked going to school but at that point her father needed someone to look after the children and Grandma was it unfortunately. Now her father must have been educated somewhat because he then taught her in the evenings so that she would not miss out on school which was excellent. Plus one brother was just two years younger and he would soon be up to her form when she left. But still she had to take on cooking and sewing and looking after a small baby (Aunt Sarah was just 14 months when her mother died). Plus there were two other sisters 6 and 4 years of age. Twin brothers had died at two and three weeks of age in early 1895. Grandma always said that her father would take them for little trips when he could and except for not being able to go to school life was still very pleasant. Then her father took ill with pneumonia and he passed away 21 Oct 1899 and life changed drastically. They were all placed at Marston Green Home in Coleshill which again Grandma said was a pleasant place but sad because now both of her parents were gone. She was trained as a seamstress and went to work at 16. She lived with a younger sister of her mother (Kate Taylor) until she went to Canada in 1908 at the age of 20. I also know that her Taylor grandfather was a shoemaker.

With that in mind I collected over time all the birth registrations for Ellen Taylor born in Birmingham between 1859 and 1861. Her death registration of 27 Feb 1897 stated that she was 37 years of age. My grandmother said she was 37 and the other clue that dangles about at the back of my mind is that her birthday and my mother's were close in time. My mother was born on 18 October and the Ellen Taylor that most fits in with all the details was born 9 Oct 1859 which makes her 37 years of age when she died 27 Feb 1897. This Ellen Taylor is the eldest daughter of Thomas Taylor and Ellen Roberts who were themselves married 29 Jun 1857 at Saint Martin Parish in Birmingham. They had seven children all of whom I have located on the census. The seven tends to ring a bell somewhat as well - my parents had seven children and it is a vague memory that my mother used to say that her grandmother had had seven children and I know that wasn't her father's mother.

But am I correct? There is a sister named Kate which ties in with my grandmother's story as well. But of the rest I have no knowledge or family lore. One other item about Ellen Taylor was that she had an illegitimate child Florence Elizabeth Taylor who was born 24 Dec 1879. Florence Elizabeth Taylor was sent to Canada as a Home Child in 1887 to London Ontario where she lived until her marriage to Arthur Andrew Hull 19 January 1898 at London Ontario. They had two children Violet Christiana (born 28 May 1899) and Allan Wilfred (born 29 May 1902). Unfortunately I do not have any further information on this family other than that they moved to Chicago in 1913 and Sarah my youngest great aunt went with them. Sarah was actually sent to live with Florence Elizabeth Hull and her family in 1908 by the Birmingham Union. I find Florence at Aston Workhouse in 1881 on the census but the Ellen Taylor also listed there has her age as only 20 so I suspect it is not Florence's mother. Where Ellen Taylor is in 1881 I do not know for sure. I know where Edwin and Ellen Buller lived from 1886 to 1899 but I do not know where either of them was from 1881 to 1886 when my grandmother was registered (born).

Looking at Thomas Taylor and Ellen Roberts, I have traced them back a couple of generations to see if I can find anything that would help me to ensure that I have the correct parents for Ellen. Unfortunately the marriage registration for Edwin Buller and Ellen Taylor has not yet been located. I again have this strange story about them; marrying in Paris, France but I have not yet attempted to find that information. Why would they go there I wonder? But perhaps I should just follow the family lore as it might give me the answers I need and I think perhaps that will be my next research day for the Taylor family at Birmingham.

My grandmother had a wonderful life actually and was a very happy person. The sadness of those few years after her parents died was replaced soon by coming to a new country and starting a new life. She married John Routledge Pincombe in 1913 and enthusiastically learned all about farming since she was actually a "city girl" and perhaps her time at Marston Green prepared her somewhat for that as they used to have a garden that they tended there. She was "Head Girl" of the cottage where she lived and probably learned a great deal about managing people as she used to take care of organizing the hired hands who came in to help with harvest time. In her memory I would like to learn more about her mother's family and perhaps as time passes I will be able to do that.

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