Drew of West Penwith and Beyond

A meeting place for researchers of the Drew family of West Penwith and Redruth areas, and their associated families. If you have come across this site during searches for Drew family history, and you feel you might be connected, please contact one of the members to have your name added to the members list.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Ponderings & Musings

Pondering No. 1. Elisabeth and Jennifer Honeychurch Williams.
Elisabeth was married to William DREW and Jennifer was married to Bennett DREW. William (b. 1767) and Bennett (b. 1771) were brothers. Is it safe to assume that Elisabeth and Jennifer were sisters? Does anyone have anything on the parentage of these ladies?

Musing: 1771 was the year after Lieut. James Cook claimed the east coast of Australia for The Crown. Puts a special perspective on the history, for me.

Pondering No. 2. Where are all the other descendants?
Thanks to the collaboration of Linda and Mary, we have knowledge of Robert born back in the middle of the 17th century. We are all descendants of his son, Edward, and there is a shedload of us. But where are the people researching the descendants (if any) of the other sons Robert and John? Did Robert have other children? Of Edward's children, we are all descendants of Bennet(t) and Grace. What about MargeryDrew m.Thomas Clemas? Where are the Clemas researchers? And what is Augustin's story? Down a step to Bennet(t) and Grace - 7 known children and this is where our lines start to diverge, but our lines descend from Bennett and Robert. Chris, Janet, Graham and Geoff from Bennett's second marriage, Ann from Bennet's first marriage, and the rest of you from Robert's marriage and dalliance. All the way down, there are 'gaps' in our current knowledge. Fewer and fewer, I admit, but gaps persist.

Musing: I wonder who and where all the others are, the ones we don't have any knowledge of? When we look at genealogy websites, we see familiar surnames (sometimes coupled with familiar forenames, too) to whom we have no connection yet established.
Pondering No. 3. The grandchildren with no parents
My great-great-grandfather, Edward George DREW, had a teenage dalliance with an Elizabeth DINGEY (b. c.1789, d. 1858) who was an older woman (and deaf, according to one census). I have been able to trace a fair bit of the family of the son of this relationship, Edward George DREW-DINGEY.

In the 1881 Census, I find this little snippet:
Schd.51, Mylor Bridge, Edward G Drew, Head, Married, 51, Sawyer, Cornwall-Mylor Bridge
Also in household: Hester A Drew, Granddaughter, 1, Cornwall-Mylor Bridge.
Hester Ann DREW born Dec Q 1879, Falmouth, Vol.5c, p.158.
Hester Anne DREW married George Trevillian STEVENS Sep Q 1907, St Germans Vol.5c, p.41.

Fair enough, but in the 1891 Census we have:
Schd.46, Mylor Bridge, Edward G Drew, Head, Married, 6, Sawyer, Cornwall-Mylor
Also in household:
Hester A Drew, Granddaughter, 11, Scholar, Cornwall-Mylor
Frederick J Drew, Grandson, 8, Scholar, Cornwall-Falmouth.
Frederick Joseph DREW born Mar Q 1883, Falmouth, Vol.5c P.164.
Frederick J DREW marries either Beatrice MC Bickford or Emma B Saunders, Sep Q 1911, Plympton, Vol.5b p.455

In 1901 Census, young Frederick is still there:
Schd.41, New Row, Mylor, Edward G Drew, Head, Married, 71, Sawyer retired, Cornwall-Mylor
Also in Household: Frederick J Drew, Grandson, Single, 18, Gardener, Worker, Cornwall-Mylor

Looks as if I'll only solve this puzzle by sending off for the relevant Birth Certificates. There are a few other mysteries associated with the children of Edward George Jr., but I'll save them for later.


Well, Cousins Jack and Jenny, you can see from the list at top right that the acceptances are coming in. I have also added a bit to the box up the top for anyone who might stumble on this place during their researches (although I tried to find it with a typical Google search and it wouldn't show) and might like to join. Please consider this as "your" site, not "Geoff's", and take ownership. Look on me as the facilitator only, to use the modern jargon .

This morning, I have checked the little box that makes you 'administrators' of this blog. That means that as well as being able to make posts and add comments, you can:
- Edit posts made by others, by using the little pencil icon that has appeared at the bottom of all posts. I would suggest that you add, rather than subtract. If this works well, we could discuss opening the blog up to the world a little by allowing non-members to comment - we can always moderate the weirder comments.
- Invite others to join the 'circle'. I can't be the only one collecting contacts, surely.
- Add links via the Template (if you know about HTML language). If you have a link you would like added to the list, and are not confident about HTML editing, pop the address in a thread or comment so I can do the necessary.
- Change Settings (not advisable at the moment).

Hint: Whenever you enter the blog, hit your browser's refresh button, to make sure you have the latest version showing.

Aussie DREW and TALLACK connections.
A message from Daryl Povey this morning:
"Hi Geoff
I have decided to just add your email address as a DREW contact on the Sandford NICHOLLS page at...
In that way they can contact you and you can discuss the Blog idea with them.
Interested in your feedback on the Blog idea as i have been thinking of this for my own use.

I have asked him to check his site, as I cannot get connected to it.

Well, that's about it for the moment.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Drew and Tallack Descendants in Victoria, Australia

Yesterday, I contacted Daryl Povey of Ballarat & Districts Genealogical Society to ask him to direct any known researchers of the Drew/Nicholls connections in the Sandford/Casterton districts of SW Victoria to this blog, or to me for invitation to join the list of contributors. He has offered to place a link to this blog in the appropriate places on his website, and in return I have linked his site to ours.

In about 1854, Emma NICHOLLS (with her husband John SCANTLEBURY) and her brother John Thomas NICHOLLS (with his wife Elizabeth "Betsey" TALLACK) migrated to Victoria on the "Panama". Well, the Ballarat site says 1854, but as far as I have been able to discover so far, the "Panama" did emigrant trips in 1853 and 1855. They settled at Sandford, near Casterton in SW Victoria, and are counted as "First Families" or Pioneers of the area.

Emma and John Thomas were children of Harriet Hannah DREW (my 2nd great-aunt, b. c.1798 in Gwennap) and John NICHOLLS. "Betsey" TALLACK appears to have been the niece of Jenefer TALLACK, Harriet Hannah's mother, so husband and wife were 1st cousins once removed. Looking further, we see that their first daughter, Mary Emma (b. c.1854, at sea) married a John Nicholls SCANTLEBURY. I will try to look into this a bit further, but my guess is that this couple were first cousins.

(Links to go in here as soon as the Ballarat site becomes accessible - some problems this morning, maybe Daryl is working on the links.)

Poor Little Philip Drew

Family research can reveal some sad, but unusual, things.

Before I 'met' Chris, I had discovered from census data that my great-great uncle John Drew had two daughters, Annie Mary (1881 census) and Jane (1891 census). A quick search through FreeBMD revealed that Annie Mary had died in 1887. Chris was not aware that her Nan, Jane, had a sister, which is not surprising as Annie Mary had died when Jane was less than a year old. But Chris was sure that her Nan had memories of a mysterious brother named Philip. So where was he in the 1891 Census?

Widening the search out of London picked up a Philip Drew residing in the Darenth Asylum and School in Kent. Even though the age had been obscured, and place of birth recorded as 'Unknown', the age looked as if it was either 8 or 6. Using these ages to search FreeBMD births gave a Philip Drew born in Pancras June Quarter 1883, which accorded well with the location of John Drew and family at that time. Even though the Darenth Asylum and School, from what I can gather from published info on the internet, was a relatively enlightened place for the times the strictures of the census enumeration process caused Philip to be given the Occupation of "imbecile". We can only guess as to what this really means; brain damage at birth, Down Syndrome, or Cerebral Palsy are the most likely conditions he might have suffered.

The only other real possibility (the 1885 Philip Drew), when checked on the 1891 census, appeared to be still with his parents.

It didn't take long to come up with a death of a Philip Drew in March Quarter 1894 in Darenth, Dartford, Kent. So, Jane would have just turned 7 when Philip passed away.

I suppose the lesson here is that we should not discount the family oral history even if it appears fanciful or unsupported by 'facts'. We just haven't checked out all the possibilities. The other lesson is that people don't always appear on the census where we think they should be.

And some never appear on a census - Arnold Drew, John Drew's brother, was born and died between the 1841 and 1851 Census. And, to make matters worse, his mother married and died in that same time span. This latter occurrence had me most confused (for a while) as to who was really my great-great grandmother!

Our First Steps

Good to see the acceptances of my invitation to this little experiment. I know that at least two invitees are currently offline, having holidays, so it might be a while before they turn up.

Could someone please try making a post, rather than just adding a comment - I'm not too sure how the system works.

I had promised Thelma that I was going to post a scanned image of notes on the deaths Jennifer (Tallack) Drew and Uncle Richard Tallack from Edward George Drew's "Register", but the CD that Chris sent me seems to be having 'issues' and , like a dill, I hadn't made a copy as soon as it arrived. I still have Chris's handwritten trancript (well, it is with Uncle Ollie right now), but the actual image would have been better. I will try some things tonight on the big computer at home to try to retrieve the information.

Ann, I would dearly like to see where some of those old, dead Drews lived in Mousehole and thereabouts if you could manage it. I have looked at the Frith Collection photos (see Links on the sidebar) of Mousehole, Paul, and Newlyn and find them fascinating and sometimes sit and look at the screen and wonder which house held an ancestor.

Anyhow, I am supposed to be working. Later, cousins (and "cousins in law" when Michael shows up).

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The History Of My Family History Quest

As happens in all families, there is a little bit of oral history floating around (most of it inaccurate), and about 6 years ago I started to try to collect this together. Unfortunately, I left it a bit late to start recording it because the people who could have really been useful, my grandparents, were all deceased. Then, in February 2001 I broke my leg rather badly and was housebound for some time. In order to occupy myself, and because my daughter (then in Year 9, the second year of High School here) was nagging me, I arranged an internet connection which allowed me out into the world. I started digging around for family information and, to my surprise, found that I could actually stumble onto some good stuff.

Then an uncle died, and left a whole stack of old photos (of the Wiltshire part of the family, mostly) that I began to shuffle through and identify. Dad also found two boxes of stuff in the rafters of his shed; photos, clippings, odds-and-sods that my grandparents had collected from the time they met (WW1) and never threw away. That really gave me the impetus to get moving on working out who all these people were.

I went the usual route - Ancestry, GenesReunited, etc. and then came across British Genealogy Forums where the good people were of much assistance. GR started to bear fruit, with Devonshire family contacting me first. Then the Essex mob started to drift in, but very little yet on the Wiltshire lot. All along the Drews were proving elusive.

Then, one day, I had a GR contact from Graham, asking if my great-great aunt Jane Drew might be the same person as his Nan; indeed, she was. Then, a day or so later a lady named Chris left a message for me at British Genealogy. She had been Googling on Edward George DREW and came across a thread of mine in BG; her Nan was Jane Drew, too. So, besides having some information flowing in, I was also able to reunite these cousins. Chris then put me in touch with another cousin of hers, Janet, so suddenly I had 3 third cousins I'd never known about. Those three have recently had a little family get-together in Southampton, and I'll be spending some time with Janet very soon as she is now in Australia on holiday from New Zealand.

With the new information plugged into an expanded GR tree, it wasn't too hard to find some likely Hot Matches on GR, and the rest, as they say, is (family) history. Colin and Des found me, and then over the past month Linda and Mary have opened up a whole new world of Drews. Ann and Kathryn popped up, and Kathryn brought Juliet (the first contact to have been born a Drew) to the party. Michael also appeared, with Louisa Drew in his tree, but not on his direct line. Thelma has lots of Drew names, but they are in Devon. However, she has a Jennifer Tallack that married one of "our" Drew men (my gggrandfather Bennett) and Jennifer's niece Elizabeth (Betsey) Tallack who married one of Jennifer's grandsons, John Nicholls. That couple, and some other family members, migrated in 1854 to Victoria, Australia.

So the past few weeks I have been collating all this new information and merging it all together into one BIG DREW TREE. Time now for sanity checking before I send it out so everyone can see where everyone else fits.

Enough for tonight.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Starting Out

This is an idea I am trying out so that people researching the DREW families (and their connections) that originated from West Penwith (especially Penzance, Paul and Mousehole) can collaborate and socialise. These DREWS and their descendants spread out across Cornwall, the United Kingdom and the big wide world (with the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa so far noted).

I have been sitting down with a list of email addresses and am inviting you all to join in this adventure and contribute. Or, at least, to learn about each other, swap information and, more importantly, try to avoid duplication of effort.

As I am relatively new to this form of communication, there could well be a steep learning curve for us all. Although the blog is 'members only', it is still not totally private (Blogger does not list it for casual browsing, but it is still open to the determined internet searcher) so any posted detailed content should relate only to dead people - for the living, post nothing that can identify you to someone with evil intent (stalkers, spammers, identity thieves, or people who want to trace their families back to Adam and Eve without putting in the necessary effort, for example). I will have the power to smite any inappropriate comments that might appear, but I have tried to the best of my ability to make it so that only the invited few can comment. I see in the settings that others can be given administration privileges, and we can explore that aspect as the blog evolves.

If any of the original invitees know of someone who would be an asset, or have an active interest in this topic, then a message to me giving their email address would allow them to be invited in as a member.

So, enough for now. Once you have received your invitation, leave a comment or contact me by e-mail to let me know what you think.

Happy Hunting
Geoff Drew