David Ritchie Masterton Oswald

David was the second husband of my two times great grandmother, Eleanor Isabella Coxhead.  He was born in Wemyss, Fife, Scotland on the 18th April 1914 to James Oswald and Janet Reid Ritchie Masterton.

His parents had both previously been married to others.  James Oswald, the son of James Oswald and Margaret Paterson had been married to an Elizabeth Tweeddale, and Janet Reid Ritchie Masterton, the daughter of Robert Masterton and Ann Ritchie Hill, had been married to a James Doddes Picken.

It was quite a surprise to find the marriage in Edinburgh when we visited some years ago, as we were looking for a possible marriage for Eleanor’s daughter, Frances Eleanor Chapman.  At that time we had no idea that Eleanor’s first husband, Henry Chapman, had died in 1928 in Rotterdam.

David R M Oswald and Eleanor I Chapman nee Coxhead married at the Nicolson Street Church of Scotland church in Edinburgh on the 26th July 1935.  The service was carried out by William Galbraith Taylor, minister.  The witnesses were Malcolm Mattocks of 321 West Port, and Elizabeth Lewis of 55 Home Street.

At the time of the marriage, David was a railway porter aged 21 of 12 Grange Court, Edinburgh, and Eleanor, a widow, aged 56 of 12 Beaumont Place, Edinburgh.  Although her age is listed as 49 on the marriage certificate.  She must have looked young for her age.

Apparently David wasn’t living with my grandmother, Beatrice, and her grandmother, Eleanor Isabella at the time of the 1939 national register at 2A Greenside Place, he had possibly signed up for military service by that time.  The next thing we hear of him is from a newspaper clipping from 1946:

DRM Oswald desertion from Eleanor Tuesday 8th January 1946 LEP
From the Tuesday 8th January 1946 edition of the Lancashire Evening Post

This would tie in with him not appearing on the electoral register at 114 Miles Street, Preston with Eleanor Isabella for a couple of years.

Eleanor Isabella Oswald died on the 7th January 1951 of 114 Miles Street, Preston;  and was buried with her parents, John and Mary Coxhead (nee Holmes) at Preston Cemetery.

By October 1951, David was living at Bath Street in Newton Heath, close to Manchester.  On the 3rd October 1951, he married a Clara Davidson (maiden name Jackson), a raincoat machinist, also at that time widowed, daughter of Joseph Jackson at Manchester Register Office. The witnesses were J Jackson and J Mellor.

At some point David and Clara moved upto Scotland, and were living in Bonnyrigg.

David Ritchie Masterton Oswald died in 2009, aged 94.

If you know of David or any of the other people mentioned above, i’d be pleased to hear from you.  Please click here to get in touch.



Frances Eleanor Chapman

I thought it might be a good idea, given recent updates, to list all that we know in relation to my great grandmother, Frances Eleanor Chapman.

Frances was born on the 18th November 1905, the address listed on the birth certificate was “Back of Woodclose Cottage Bembridge R.D.”, on the Isle of Wight.

Her parents were Henry Chapman, a “marine stoker”, and Eleanor Isabella Chapman nee Coxhead.  The birth was registered on the 22nd December 1905.

On the 14th January 1906, she was baptised at the Holy Trinity Church of England Church in Bembridge.

By 1911, Henry, Eleanor Isabella and Frances Eleanor had moved up to Preston, Lancashire.  They appeared on the 1911 census at 96 Wellfield Road with Eleanor Isabella’s mother, Mary Coxhead nee Holmes, who had been born at Hazel Ridge, near Cartmel in 1852, her husband John had died that year, and Mary would die the following year, and be buried with him at Preston cemetery.

On the census, Henry Chapman is stated as working as a second engineer on a Preston corporation dredger, while Eleanor Isabella is listed as a weaver at a cotton mill.

The records of employees working on the dredgers are very delicate, however, it could be established that in 1911 Henry was working on the “Gilbertson” dredger.

On the 25th September 1912, Frances Eleanor was admitted to St. Matthew’s C of E school in Preston, the address they were living at was 11 Cavendish Road.  Henry appeared in Barrett’s directory of Preston in 1917 at the same address, listed as an “engnr.”

But, Frances wouldn’t be staying at that school for very long, indeed, under “Remarks”, the word “Removed” is given.

The family had moved to Edinburgh at some point between being listed in the trade directory in 1917, and “Harry Chapman” appearing on the 1920 valuation roll at 61 Home Street, Edinburgh.  Frances would have been 15 in 1920.

Frances, a restaurant waitress, had met somebody in the latter part of 1924, and had a baby girl, my grandmother, Beatrice Eleanor Chapman on the 8th August 1925 at the Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital not far from Holyrood. The address given on the birth certificate was 61 Home Street.

According to the Lothian Health Service archives entry for the birth, Frances intended to marry the father, but no father’s name is given anywhere.

It must have been tragic for the family to hear the news from workmates who’d travelled with Henry on the ship “Borthwick”, that he’d died of acute sepsis at a hospital in Rotterdam on the 20th August 1928.

It is most likely that Henry, the second child that we know of, of Frances Eleanor, then in domestic service, gave birth to in Edinburgh towards the end of 1930, was named after her dad.  She gave 5 Gibb’s Entry, Edinburgh as her address.  In 1930 her mum, Eleanor Isabella, was listed on the valuation roll at 17 West Richmond Street, Edinburgh.

Beatrice was placed in an orphanage in about 1932, as i’ve mentioned before, and Henry told me that he was fostered to a family in Scotland.

This is all that we know of Frances Eleanor Chapman to date.

UPDATE – 7/6/2016 – Frances Eleanor Chapman born 1905 does not appear on the 1939 Scottish National Register.

If you recognise any of the above, please do get in touch by clicking here, would be pleased to hear from you.

UPDATE – 4th July 2016 – Rechecked through all Frances E Chapmans who marred in England and Wales, cross crecking birth dates with 1939 England and Wales national register.  No matches.

An alternative great grandfather theory

Following on from yesterday’s post

When my great great grandmother, Eleanor Isabella Chapman (a widow aged 57) remarried in 1935 to a David Oswald (aged 21)  in Edinburgh, there was a witness called Elizabeth Lewis.

I’m thinking Elizabeth Lewis was possibly someone who Eleanor knew, rather than a friend of David’s.  And so, I took that thought, and decided to do a search of the Scottish 1911 census to see if I could find an Elizabeth Lewis, possibly the same generation as Eleanor, in the Edinburgh area.

There is one I feel could be a possible, Elizabeth Lewis, wife of James, born in about 1864  in Lanarkshire.  I found their marriage, her maiden name was Caldwell, and her parents were William Caldwell and Christina Anderson.  James Lewis’s parents were James Lewis and Jane Reid.

James and Elizabeth Lewis were living with 2 sons in Edinburgh in 1911, James (aged 22) and William (aged 8)

William married in December 1924 in Edinburgh, while I couldn’t find a marriage for the right James, born in about 1889.

Jane Reid’s name is interesting, as the Reid surname crops up in relation to David Oswald as well, 2nd husband of Eleanor Isabella.  David’s mum was called Janet Reid Ritchie Masterton, born in 1874 in Lanarkshire to Robert and Ann (nee Hill)

I have searched the matches I have on Ancestry DNA, and there are a few who have Andersons in their trees.

The case continues……

If you’ve heard of any of these people, especially Frances Eleanor Chapman, and have any stories, or photos that you’d be willing to share, then please do get in touch by clicking here.

The case of the missing great grandparents

Beatrice Reilley 1901 Scotland Census
Could this be my great great grandmother?

It’s quite frustrating looking at a gap in the family tree, and a gap which is in relatively recent years.  That gap is where my great grandfather should be.

He could be anybody!  Well, a male who was in the Edinburgh area of Scotland in about November of 1924 at least.   My grandmother, Beatrice, was born there in the August of 1925.

So who was he?

He was possibly of a similar age to my great grandmother, Frances Eleanor Chapman. (born in 1905 in the Isle of Wight)  She could have met him in her job as a restaurant waitress, or he could have possibly been a handsome neighbour, or a family friend.  He could have been a sailor and known her dad, Henry, who was working as a stoker on ships.

Then there’s my great grandmother…….

I’ve tried searching for marriages and deaths for Frances in England, Scotland and Wales after the birth of a great uncle in Edinburgh in 1930 as it could have been that she married my great grandfather after both children were born, or, of course she could have married someone else, but nothing seems to fit.  I’ve managed to cross reference several of these marriages with the 1939 England and Wales National Register, and ordered some of the others, but still nothing.

Also (a useful tip for anybody else) I tried doing a search of the National Register just using the date of birth, and variants of the first names, which brings up a few results, once again, cross referencing these with the marriages, and nothing.

So, it appears Frances moved elsewhere.

There is a Frances Chapman who married either a James Kevin Dunroche, Thomas Savage or a Thomas O’Hanlon in the Wexford registration district in Ireland in 1939, and I located a death registered for a Francis O’Hanlon aged 51 in the Dublin South registration district of Ireland in 1956.  I’ve ordered this certificate, and yes, I realise that Francis is spelled with an “i” rather than an “e”.  But, you never know!

UPDATE 2nd June 2016. The Francis O’Hanlon who died in 1956 was a male

UPDATE 3rd June 2016.  The marriage in 1939 was between Frances Chapman, whose dad was Thomas, and Thomas O’Hanlon

So, going back to my great grandfather, or possible great grandfather.  I recalled recently that at one of the addresses Beatrice was supposed to have lived at there was a “Beatrice Reilly” registered.   It struck me, perhaps Reilly was her dad’s name, and that Beatrice was our Beatrice!  Also I began to wonder where Beatrice had got her name from.  The name Eleanor obviously runs in the family, but Beatrice?  That was a new one.  Maybe that was her paternal grandmother’s name? Of course, all total guess work mixed with a bit of detective work.

I took to the internet and began to search the Scottish census for a Beatrice Reilly (or similar) in the Edinburgh area who would be about the right age to be her dad’s mum.

I found one!  A Beatrice Reilley, wife of John, born in France (an Italian subject) in 1867, I also discovered her maiden name was Cuilli through one of the “suggested records”.  This would fit with something I remember mum’s birth father saying years ago when he visited in the 1980s.  He said that there was some link with France.

Of course, not 100% proof of my theory, but still, the case overall is very appealing, don’t you think?

If you’ve heard of any of these people, especially Frances Eleanor Chapman, my great grandmother, i’d love to hear from you.  You can contact me by clicking here.