Thursday, August 25, 2016

Snohomish Interlude

Rumors abound that the blogger fell into a Blog Hole, something like a black hole, and equally difficult to explain. Actually, I've been roaming the Pacific Northwest -- specifically the area from Seattle, north to Mt. Baker, east through North Cascades National Park, and south to Wenatchee on the Columbia. I have not seen Sasquatch, but have seen a wingless Boeing 737 fuselage on a flatbed rail car in Wenatchee on its way to the the Boeing assembly plant at Everett.

Genealogy is to blame for this trip.  The trip began with two fantastic days at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, Washington. This is the third annual conference put on by the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society. The headliners were Blaine Bettinger and Lisa Louise Cook. What a treat! There was an outstanding complement of other speakers, but I didn't get to hear them because I was busy giving four presentations myself.

After the conference closed on Saturday, I did attempt a small genealogy excursion. My wife's grandmother's sister drifted from Minnesota to Snohomish County, Washington. I don't know much about her life, but she died in Snohomish County in 1969.  From, I knew that she was buried in the G.A.R. Cemetery just outside the town of Snohomish. Thinking a G.A.R. cemetery in Washington was probably a small, walkable cemetery, I expected to easily find the grave. But, the cemetery was much larger than expected and it was a hot dry day. The grass burned to a crisp. The sun glared off the flat grave markers. The sections were not visibly numbered. The office was closed. There was no cemetery map. I did not find Kate Jackson or her husband, Samuel.

Monday took us north to Lynden, an area where Dutch immigrants first arrived in the late 1800s. Some Dutch folk from Siouxland (NW Iowa and adjoining parts of Minnesota and South Dakota) sought greener pastures in Whatcom County in the early 1900s. Among them was John Zylstra and his wife, Marie Zorgdrager. Marie was my Dad's cousin. I have misty memories of visiting their farm east of Lynden, near Sumas, in 1962 -- a trip centered on the Seattle World's Fair. John and Marie had five children, the youngest of them twin daughters who were just a year older than me. It dawns on me now that they were 2nd cousins!

I know nothing of what happened to the twins, but John died in 1990 and Marie in 1993. They are buried in a small cemetery at Nooksack, in the shadow of the Cascades. This gravestone I found.

I paid my respects -- although I'm not sure what that phrase means. I think it means I remembered them, however vaguely. I did not know them well, but they were important relatives to my Dad. I would like to find out what happened to the twins.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Once a Tidball, always as Tidball?

Once found in Bristol in the 1861 Census of England, the Tidball family was rather easily traced. You see, English civil registration records (1839-forward) and English church records (going back much farther) are a genealogist's dream.

William Tidball, 32, married Mary Ann Bisgrove, 29, 6 March 1855, at the parish church of St. Philip and Jacob in Bristol. The marriage registration names their fathers: Michael Tidball and William Bisgrove. Mary Ann, 41, died 9 May 1865 in the St. Philip and Jacob district. English death registrations did not record the parents or birthplaces of the deceased, but Mary Ann's registration did name her husband, William, a maltster's labourer.

William had four young children -- Elizabeth, Thomas, John, and Michael -- all age 10 and younger -- and needed a wife. Age 44, he married 40 year-old Elizabeth Selina Morrish 7 June 1866 in the parish church of St. Mary, Redcliff. She was the daughter of a shoemaker, Samuel Morrish.

The 1861 and 1871 censuses stated that William was born in Brushford. With the ages reported in the censuses and the marriage registrations, the target is a William born at Brushford about 1821-23. Actually, the target is a baptism record, because civil registration records date from only 1837.

Indeed, William, the son of Michael and Eleanor Tidboald, was baptized 14 April 1822 at Brushford. Tidboald, eh?

What about William's childhood and early adult years? The first Census of England in 1841 found William and seven younger siblings with their parents, Michael and Ellen, on East Nightcott Farm.

William enlisted at Bristol in the 34th Foot in October 1846, and was discharged April 1848.* In 1851, he was a servant a few miles away in the home of his Uncle Gregory at Poole Farm in Knowstone, Devon. He was 30 years old and single.

What happened to the rest of the Bristol Tidballs?  Elizabeth married Edward Jennet; she died in 1885 in St. George, Gloucestershire. Michael died in 1892 in St. Philip and Jacob, Bristol. William Tidball's second wife, Elizabeth, died 4 May 1892 in St. Philip and St. Jacob. William died 28 January 1899 -- supposedly only 73 years old.

Brushford, Somerset, parish church
On a trip to England in 2009, we attended "Mothering Day" Sunday services at Brushford. The Tidballs are not remembered there, but their presence was keenly felt.

The blogger will probably take a break from the Tidballs, or whoever they were, next week because he will be traveling to Arlington, Washington, to speak at the Northwest Genealogy Conference. One of his talks deal with DNA and the Fawkners -- remember them? If a blog gets written, it might well be a DNA research story.


*Depot Rolls of the 34th Foot (Cumberland) for the period 1838-1873,” transcription viewed at, October 2009. The author has not viewed the original depot roll. The transcription indicates William Tidball, 20 years, six months old, was born at Brushford. This would make his estimated birth date April 1826. The William Tidball that enlisted is believed to be the same man because only one William Tidball was baptized at Brushford during this time period.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Matching up the Minnesota Tidballs in the English Census

The Tidballs were from England -- that much was pretty certain. Some family history notes passed down to John Tidball stated that his grandfather John's parents were William Tidball and his first wife, Elizabeth. One note stated that William married Elizabeth about 1859. Grandfather John's death certificate stated that his father was "Wm." Tidball, but did not record his mother's name. It stated that he was born 30 March 1862. The death certificate for his brother, Thomas, said he was born 29 December 1859, but did not name his parents.

John Tidball, about 19 years old, should have been with his parents in 1881. The index of the 1881 census lists 24 William Tidballs, including a William with a wife, Elizabeth, living in Bristol. There was no son John listed, but there was a daughter, Jane, 18. Could "Jane" have been John, or was this the wrong family?

Thomas had emigrated in 1880, so the best chance to find the family intact was the 1871 Census of England. The William Tidball family enumerated in the St. Philip and Jacob district of Bristol was a good match -- even though William and Elizabeth seemingly had been able to slow down the aging process.
St. Philip and Jacob, Bristol
 St. Philip and Jacob, Bristol
St. Philip and Jacob Out, Bristol
William, 39
b. Brushford
William, 51
b. Somersetshire
William, 59
b. Brushford, Somerset
Mary Ann, 30
b. Somerset, Walton
Elizabeth, 50, b. Trowbridge, Wilts
Elizabeth 58
b. Trowbridge, Wilts
Elizabeth, 5
b. Bristol

Thomas, 11
b. Bristol
Thomas, 11,
b. Bristol

John, 8
b. St. George's, Gloucestershire
Jane, 18
b. St. George's, Gloucestershire

Michael, 6
b. Bristol
Michael, 16
b. Bristol
Source: Census of England, images viewed at

As censuses so often do, the 1861 census offered a surprise. Thomas was there, as well a previously unknown daughter, Elizabeth. (John was not yet born). But, William's wife was Mary Ann, born in Walton, Somerset. Apparently, Elizabeth was a second, not first, wife. William obviously married Elizabeth after 1861, raising a question of whether John Tidball's mother was Mary Ann or Elizabeth.

A family photo album passed down from John Tidball's wife, Mary Ann (not to be confused with William's 1861 wife, Mary Ann), helped make sense of the census. One photo was labeled "Michael Tidball -- brother." This was presumably the Michael born about 1865. Another photo of an older, not so handsome woman, with a child about 2 years old, carried a handwritten note: "Liz's baby and boys' stepmother." This was apparently William's second wife, stepmother to the younger boys -- Thomas and John -- but it is not immediately apparent who Liz's baby was.

Using the photo album and English civil registration records, the blogger will sort the family out next week, setting the stage to track the Tidballs back to Brushford, Somerset.