Picture by Rupert Fox from a design by Michael William Alabaster

 

The Alabaster Chronicle 

The Journal of the Alabaster Society 


 
NUMBER FIVE,   AUTUMN 1995 
 

Contents



Editorial

by Laraine Hake - August 1995

Welcome to Alabaster Chronicle Number Five! Before you "file it" or even sit down to read it, may I point out that there is some work for you to do first! The additional coloured bits of paper relate to a variety of topics: renewal of subscriptions (boring); refurbishment of the Guildhall Garden, Hadleigh (interesting); details of the next Alabaster Gathering (exciting) - well, at least you get some variety!

This is a "bumper issue", in size at least, mainly because of the gradual publication of the 1881 census indexes. The opportunity to utilise this latest finding aid for the family historian was not an opportunity to be missed. On the other hand, the size of this Chronicle may have something to do with me being even more verbose than usual. We did receive several favourable comments about the articles, written by other members of the Society, in the last Chronicle.

Please do keep sending them in. The second part of Tony Springall's "The Winthrop Family" appears in this issue, as does John Stammers Alabaster's continuing "Notes on Alabaster Demography". In this episode, John has included his own, more recent information and reminisences about Branch I. Both he and I would be very grateful if others of you could provide any small snippets about your own immediate branch that could be used with other, forthcoming, statistics that John has produced.

The Alabaster Society continues to grow in size: we now have almost 80 members, representing many more in their immediate families. The members include people living in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, and even Thailand, as well as the UK.

Once again, many thanks for all your letters, telephone calls and, now, email (!); I really do enjoy hearing from you all. Do think about making the decision to join us in Hadleigh in April, 1996. It is still eight months away, but a fair bit of planning has to be done before then, as you can imagine. It will be the first "big" Alabaster Gathering since April 1993 and should be great fun.

Laraine Hake 28th August 1995
To Contents


News from Around the World

18th March 1995: Beryl Neumann reports from New South Wales, Australia
In search of Samuel West Alabaster: his Will states ".... lately of Nerrigundah, now of Sydney, Store Keeper and Baker".
We ventured south from Sydney on the coast road. We found ourselves a nice flat at Narooma, and Hans went off fishing. I visited the Tourist Office, found a local map, and mentioned Nerrigundah. The lady said there was nothing there, but very kindly gave me the name, address, and telephone number of a lady that lived not far from there. I phoned her the next day and she said she would meet us at the crossroads at mid-day. According to the signpost it was only 11 miles on the mountain road but took some 30 minutes. It started off on bitumen and finished up on very very rough dry stony ground with me hanging on to the seat hoping the car would not roll off the track down into the valley. The lady was there at the crossroads. We said hello and we followed her to Nerrigundah. It was a gold mining town in the 1850's and had a few thousand people living there. There was one monument, one store with house attached and one telephone box. The store and house had been vacant for 12 months but the lady had the key and on showing her the Will and Death Certificate in my hands she very kindly invited us in and we had a nice chat in the kitchen over a cup of tea. I managed to obtain the booklet from her and she gave me the name and address of the lady that used to live there, the author of the booklet. We took some photos and then proceeded to follow the lady to her house. She and her husband lived in a log cabin and Hans and I had a most enjoyable afternoon with them. We returned to the highway on the flat river bed route of some 18 miles which took 1½ hours. Sad to say that Samuel West Alabaster was not mentioned in the booklet but the name of Boyle was. His reputed wife was called Ann Hoyle. I have written to the lady that showed us around, the lady who used to live in the store and house and to the local Family Historical Society - I do hope that I come up with something. If I can confirm some information then I will forward on to you copies of the booklet and photos etc.
Samuel West Alabaster (IV) was the eldest son of Robert Alabaster and Mary Ann (nee West) He appears to have emigrated to Australia in the early 1850s. Beryl has been on his trail, and even located and cleaned up his grave! LH

18th July 1995: Millie Knox, Clevedon, Avon .....information from the War Graves Commission records... reads as follows:
"BRENDA ALABASTER, aged 9 died April 1941, 1 Beaufoy Road, Tottenham, and St Mawes, Longfield Lane, Cheshunt....." Little Brenda may have lived in Cheshunt but died in Beaufoy Road, which incidentally is near the Tottenham Hotspur football ground.
Brenda was the granddaughter of John (IIIB) who was orphaned at the age of 9, and thus in the Workhouse in 1881 (page 19). It is interesting that little Brenda is listed in the War Graves. Were all casualties of the War listed as War Graves, or was there something particular about her War Death? LH.
"FREDERICK CLIFFORD ALABASTER, 2nd Lt. 5th Royal Warwicks, died of wounds 25th August 1916, buried in cemetery, Birmingham, Brandwood End."
From the book - "Officers who died in the service of British, Indian and East African Regiments and Corps 1914-1919."
Frederick Clifford (IIA) was the second son of Arthur Alabaster and Catherine, nee Birch, grandson of Edward and Margaret, nee Jackman, and gt grandson of James the publican LH.

Over the Internet: no interest in this name personally, but I checked the 1846 Post Office London Directory and four Alabasters are listed: Charles, Straw & Fancy Hat Maker, 58 Piccadilly, George, Carpenter, 1 Queen St, Finsbury, and James, Market House Public House, Finsbury Market William, Straw hat maker, 7 Chapel Street, Holywell mount.
This is a reply that I received by email  --  yes, I got it! see Chronicle Number Four  --  to a general query I posted on the Genealogical Forum re Alabaster! These entries each represent members of Branch II: Charles was IIC, George and James were IIA and William was IIB. Charles had actually died some years earlier - perhaps the business was still in his name, but it is more likely that the directory was very out of date! Further proof that you cannot believe everything you read! LH.

8th August 1995: Beryl Neumann, New South Wales, Australia: Geoffrey Mansfield from New Zealand phoned me last week and I am meeting them soon. He did mention that they were thinking of going over to England in April. I said that as far as I knew the Gathering would be in Hadleigh on the last weekend in April.
This could be termed a mini-Gathering itself. It is amazing that members of the Society are meeting on the other side of the world. Also good to know there may be visitors from a distance with us in 1996. LH.
We visited Windsor a couple of weeks back. Our tree for Thomas Alabaster was looking terrific. It has grown at least double its size since we planted it. The leaves looked very healthy and it had many pinkish small peppers growing on many branches. This time next year I should be able to sit underneath and sip afternoon tea under the shade of the tree.
This is the tree Beryl and Hans planted, in memory of Thomas the convict". See Chronicles Numbers One and Two. LH

6th June 1995: Celia Dodd (the mother of one of my Year 10 pupils!) reports:  
I spotted these by chance in the S.O.G. library last week. I hope it is of some use.
Warwickshire M.I. Vol II: St Mary's Parish Churchyard, Moseley, Birmingham 13 (formerly Kings Norton):
Fanny wife of Edward Alabaster Born 10th Sept 1839 Died 5th December 1904;
Edward Alabaster Born 4th January 1828 Died 9th September 1912;
Edward and Fanny are Branch IIA, and can been seen on the 1881 census on page 22 in this issue.
M.I.s are Monumental Inscriptions, that is inscriptions on gravestones and the like.
Information from Celia proves that is worth talking to my pupils about something other than mathematics on occasion! They actually seem to enjoy me going off at a tangent but whether this is because of a deep seated interest in family history on their part, or for some other reason, I am not sure!! Celia is collecting all references to the name Godson, so please keep your eyes peeled. LH.

18 April 1995. Mrs Mary Jones, Member of Essex Society for Family History:
A fellow member of ESFH has obtained a copy of a sheet from "Surrey Comet" of 1st Oct 1910 for me, to provide me with an obituary I want. In the next column there is a detailed story about an Alabaster. Would you like a copy?

CHURCH WORKER HONOURED   Work for the Town and Church
This is the heading that is followed by more than 20 inches of detail about the presentation to "Mr and Mrs J. H. Alabaster of handsome gifts as a recognition of the valuable work which they have done in Richmond."
This is James Harris Alabaster, (1851 - 1920) (IIA), eldest son of James Alabaster who part founded Alabaster, Passmore & Sons Ltd, printers and puhlishers, who himself was the eldest son of James, the publican.

18th April 1995. Dorothy Gould, USA:
About the wedding picture of my grandparents: the list was fastened to the picture. There is also a picture of grandfather at 90 years old, and of my grandmother with her first child: she was beautiful and dressed in a hoop skirt.
Another of her when she was older, with her 4 little girls, also one of my father at about 4 years old.......These things were all dumped in a box when I received them. My maternal grandmother`s family bible was on the bottom with letters, a civil war medal, deeds to property in Colorado which she had once owned, and newspaper clippings in no order. There was a letter from Uncle Alfred in which he mentions his daughter Mollie living in Africa.......
It is a source of continual delight and astonishment to me that photographs and papers, relating to long deceased Alabasters, should continue to surface from all parts of the globe. The wedding picture referred to here is of the marriage of Alfred William Alabaster (IIA) to Isabella Catherine Rodgers, in 1865, along with a list of the names of many of the people pictured thereon. Alfred William was the eldest son of James the publican hy his second wife, Mary Ann Roper, and can be seen on the 1881 census on page 23 in this issue (below).

July 1995 Brian Hill, Surrey:
Thank you for your letter.......when I placed my entry in Family Tree Magazine.....I had lost the trail of William George......all I had was a copy letter written by my late mother saying .... he had been sent to Canada ...... I struck gold at Kew, and now have definite details which I will be following up. ......I will not take up your kind offer.... to share your information as I find the excitement is in the chase....
This was a reply to the letter that I had sent in response to a request for help on the name Alabaster in a copy of Family Tree magazine. Brian Hill`s search relates to William George Alabaster, brother of his grandmother, ahout whom he has now found further information, some of which he has shared with me. Apparently William George was "emigrated to Canada" as one of "3 pauper children" when he was about 12 years old in 1890. Really fascinating stuff: I do hope that we hear more from Brian Hill eventually.

June 1995 Raymond Green, Member of Suffolk Family History Society and Saxmundham Local History Group:
Ipswich Record Office on the 22nd May, looking at ...LONG PAPERS, Title Deeds, Saxmundham, Alabaster to Long 1765, Ref No. HA 18 (CFC/1/1).
Those who joined the tour on the Sunday following the first Gathering may remember Raymond as the gentleman who showed us Saxmundham Church. Since then he has looked out for Alahaster references and passed them on to me. I am very grateful to him. Following up this reference has led me to a lot more detail ahout William Alabaster (IV) who lived in Saxmundham in the eighteenth century. I hope to have a synopsis ready for when we visit Saxmundham again, next April. LH.

To Contents


The Winthrop Family -- Part II

by Tony Springall

John Winthrop the younger followed his father to Boston in 1631 and, following news that the French were colonising to the north with "divers priests and Jesuits", was sent by his father to found a colony at Agawam. In 1634, it was decreed that the place be called Ipswich, after Ipswich in England, "in acknowledgement of the great honor and kindness done to our people, who took shipping there." John the younger, religiously a more moderate man than his father, subsequently held many political offices including the first governorship of Connecticut.
New England and Boston prospered and the descendants of John Winthrop played a prominent role in the region's development.
Their story is too voluminous to be told here but the King's Burial Ground gravestone gives a flavour of the family contribution which stretched far into the 19th century.

Winthrop Family Grave in King's Chapel Burial Ground. Boston:

      John Winthrop 1588 - 1649 1st Governor of Massachusetts
      John Winthrop the Younger 1606 - 1676 1 st Governor of Connecticut
      Maj. Gen. Fitz John Winthrop 1638 - 1707 Governor of Connecticut
      Maj. Gen. Walt Still Winthrop 1642 - 1717, Chief Justice of Massachusetts
      Adam Winthrop 1647 - 1700
      Colonel Adam Winthrop 1676 - 1743
      Prof. John Winthrop LLD. 1714 - 1779
      Ann Winthrop 1756 - 1789 Wife of David Sears
      Thomas Lindall Winthrop 1760 - 1841 Lieut. Gov. Massachusetts
      Francis William Winthrop 1799 - 1819
      Thomas Lindall Winthrop 1834 - 1920

One descendent not mentioned on the gravestone and particularly deserving of note because of his link back to Groton is Robert Charles Winthrop. This great-great-grandson of John Winthrop the younger was a successful lawyer, prominent state politician and long-time president of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Among his many publications was "Life and Letters of John Winthrop". Perhaps it was his appreciation of the value of historical records that prompted him to return the plaque commemorating Adam Winthrop`s burial "long in the possession of his family in America" to Groton church in 1878. 

What of John Winthrop? He died in 1649 and the plaque next to the family grave provides his Epitaph, penned by the future inhabitants of his 'visible Kingdom of God':

"'We shall be a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us."

These are the words of John Winthrop, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company.
Winthrop dedicated his life to the creation of a model Christian community where people would live upright lives of concern for each other and fulfil their obligations in God's social order.  

The people who joined Winthrop's colony were not all of the same mind.
Religion and salvation of the soul were central to Puritan life. But New England also offered great possibilities for material gain and, instead of a communal spirit, an increased sense of individuality. Winthrop died aged 61 years in 1649, no doubt a disappointed man. He is buried here along with his son and grandson, each a governor of Connecticut.
Although Winthrop's vision of the new land was not completely realized, other visions, hopes and talents contributed to the wealth of commerce and human activity that have distinguished Boston.'

References:
1. Some account of the early generations of the Winthrop Family in Ireland, Robert Charles Winthrop (the Younger), 1883
2. Every Day Life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony', George Francis Dow, Dow Publications Ltd, New York, 1988 (orig 1935)
3. The Winthrop Fleet of 1630: An Account of the Vessels, the Voyage, the Passengers and their English Homes from Original Authorities, Banks 1930
4. Builders of the Bay Colony, Boston Public Library
5. The Winthrop Woman, Anya Seton, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1958 (thanks to Laraine for pointing this out)
6. Muskett, Suffolk Manorial Families
7. Visitation of Suffolk 1561, Harleian Society

Tony Springall (IIA)
To Contents


Family History Research - Mystery Story or a Jigsaw Puzzle?

by Laraine Hake

One of the fascinations about any family history research is that it rarely comes easily: people cannot always be found where you expected them to be, and what is recorded in "official records" is not always accurate, whether by accident or design, but it is collecting and making some sense of the odd, sometimes spurious snippets of information that makes it so satisfying, and such fun!

About ten years ago, when I first became interested in more Alabasters than just my direct line of descent, I visited Somerset House and collected copies of all the Alabaster Wills that had gone through probate between 1858, when the indexes start, and 1900. Wills can vary from the straight forward, "I leave all my worldly goods to my wife/husband", type to the far more interesting and useful variety that mention lots of relatives by name. Amongst the ones I collected at this time, there were two in particular that fell into the latter type.  

The Will of Mary Ann Alabaster of Row No. 104, Great Yarmouth, made in 1866 mentioned four children:
my daughter Mary Ann the wife of William Ingram my daughter Martha the wife of Samuel Halfnight both of Great Yarmouth ...and my daughter Virtue the wife of Frederick Frinneby of Brixton Road London Brush Manufacturer ......... and my son Henry William West Alabaster of 28 White Street Borough, London, Baker.  

Mary Ann died in 1870, and her age is given as 82. However, in the 1851 and 1861 censuses, her age appears as 50 and 60 respectively. This led to speculation as to which was correct, a birth date of 1801 or 1788. As the four offspring mentioned were born between 1821 and 1828, in Great Yarmouth, it would have been easy to assume that the censuses were correct.  

Fortunately, there was a codicil to this Will, added in 1870 which mentioned another daughter, Lettice Christmas. A Lettice Alabaster was baptised 14 February 1808 in Kessingland, Suffolk, daughter of Robert Alabaster, shoemaker and Mary Ann nee West, which appeared to tie up with the last forename of "West" given to Mary Ann's son Henry. Further research into the parish registers of Wrentham, Suffolk, which was given as Mary Ann's "parish of origin" on the census, revealed a baptism of Mary Ann West, daughter of Samuel West and Letitia, nee Stannard, on 17th August 1788, so it appears that she "lost" 13 years whenever the census enumerator came to call!

I did have trouble locating the marriage of Robert and Mary Ann: they each came from a parish close to the Suffolk- Norfolk border, so this seemed to be the logical area to search. However, the marriage eventually materialised, 23 August 1807, in St Mary's, Whitechapel! Both of them gave themselves as "of this parish". The reason for this is a mystery in itself, but perhaps one of them was working in London; on the other hand, the fact that Mary Ann would only have been just 19 and baby Lettice was due the following February may have had some influence. It seems a long way to travel!

Further research over the years has produced details of the rest of the family of Robert and Mary Ann, as well as the likely reasons they were not mentioned in her Will:

      1. Lettice ALABASTER-934 (12 Feb 1808)
      2. Samuel West ALABASTER-941 (11 May 1809-04 Mar 1869)
      3. William ALABASTER-936 (23 Sep 1810-17 Apr 1855)
      4. Daniel ALABASTER-937 (08 Feb 1812-02 Jan 1866)
      5. Robert ALABASTER-1067 (c.1814-Jun 1832)
      6. Horace ALABASTER-1068 (c.1819-Aug 1819)
      7. Mary Ann West ALABASTER-1053 (c.1821)
      8. Horace West ALABASTER-1027 (c.1823-1864)
      9. Martha West ALABASTER-1 069 (c.1824)
    10. Virtue West ALABASTER-1 071 (c.1826)
    11. Henry William West ALABASTER-1 070 (15 Apr 1828-13 Ju11873), pictured below:

When Mary Ann drew up her Will in 1866, most of her sons had already died and her eldest son, Samuel, was in Australia. Perhaps there had been a "falling out" with Lettice, her first born, but she was reinstated before Mary Ann's death in 1870. Henry William West Alabaster

The other Will which was of particular interest was the precursor to an even more convoluted mystery. This was the Will of "Elizabeth Ann West Alabaster (commonly called and known as Elizabeth Ann West)", drawn up in June 1899. In her Will, Elizabeth Ann mentioned her sons, "Henry William West Alabaster, Waiter Alabaster Caster, Arthur Alabaster West and Fred Alabaster West" and her daughters "Louise Alabaster Turner, Letitia Alabaster Caster and Elizabeth Nicols". She also referred to "the framed photographs of myself and of my late husband Henry William West" (see picture, left). The variety of names and surnames of the children certainly aroused interest and the name "Henry William West Alabaster" definitely indicated a link with the previous Will.

There were problems, however. I had found a marriage of a Henry Alabaster, baker, son of Robert Alabaster, shoemaker, at St Botolphs, Aldgate in 1847. The only Robert, shoemaker, of whom I was aware, was Robert of Great Yarmouth, so this seemed likely to be his youngest son. However, Henry was given as "full age" which did not tie up with a birth in 1828. His bride was one Eliza Gray, also full age. Possibly Eliza was one and the same person as Elizabeth Ann, but Elizabeth Ann's age at death was given as 54, which would have made her 2 years old in 1847. It did not seem likely!

I shelved the task, of solving who was who, but gradually more clues did appear. The 1851 census shows a Henry Alabaster, baker, age 33, parish of origin Norfolk, at Waterworks Row, Stratford, Essex. He has no family with him, but they could have been elsewhere on census night. This certainly seemed to be the Henry who married in 1847. The London Post Office Directory of 1856 shows a Henry Alabaster, baker, at Castle Terrace, Stratford New Town. So far so good! However, on the 1861 census, Henry Allibaster (sic), baker of 1 Castle Terrace, was aged 33, parish of origin Great Yarmouth. Suddenly we were back with a possible birth in 1828. His wife, Eliza was 40 and there were two children, Horace aged 11 and Virtue aged 9. The choice of names certainly pointed to their father being Henry William West Alabaster.

Thus, the mystery was left to simmer, whilst I wrestled with other, more straightforward Alabasters!

********************************************

At the end of October 1990, I received a letter which started, "You are unlikely to remember me but we met briefly.... on a weekend course about two years ago." The writer of the letter said that she had been looking for a Headstone for a friend in Australia in an early Victorian cemetery in the parish of Worthing, Sussex, and had taken this photograph of the Alabaster grave almost next door to the one she was looking for........ she had remembered that I was researching the name Alabaster!Henry William West Alabaster, grave

She went on to say, "I am sure you know all about Henry William West Alabaster & his wife, but I thought you might like the documentation for your records" (!!!) She kindly offered to make a note of the inscription if I wished. It read as follows:

In Loving Memory of
Henry William West Alabaster
Born 15th of April 1828 at Great Yarmouth
Died July 13th 1893
Age 65 years
There is from our household gone
A voice we loved is still
A place is vacant in our home
Which we can never fill
The Lord heard his prayer and answered it
Also of Elizabeth Ann the beloved wife of the above
Who died December 19th 1899
Aged 54 years

The entwined hands at the top of the gravestone are made of alabaster! 
So, by the type of coincidence with which family history research seems to abound, I had ascertained that the Henry William West Alabaster mentioned in the two Wills was one and the same. I was also quite sure that he was the same person who married Eliza Gray in 1847, naming his two children after his brother Horace and his sister Virtue.
Thus I was able to piece together his story.

Henry William West Alabaster was born in Great Yarmouth in 1828. In 1847, at the age of 19, he was a baker, living in St Botolphs, Aldgate, London, close to his eldest brother, Samuel West Alabaster, also a baker. At this time he met and married Eliza Gray, daughter of William Gray, baker. Eliza was about 30 years old at this time; Henry said he was full age when he married.

Henry and Eliza had two children; Horace Robert Alabaster, born December 1850 in Poplar and Virtue West Alabaster born September 1853 in West Ham. In 1851 Henry was still pretending to be older than his true age, telling the census enumerator that he was 33. By 1861 perhaps being ten years older than his real age was not so attractive; he gave his real age of 32.

At some point before 1873, Henry met Elizabeth Ann; she was born about 1845, so would have been 17 years younger than Henry, and 28 years younger than Eliza. Their son, Henry William West Alabaster, probably their first child, was born in March 1873. His birth was registered in Portsea. Various other children were born to the couple, registered under a bewildering variety of surnames! Eliza (nee Gray) appears in Stratford and Great Yarmouth on the 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses (see page 23), as "Head" of her household, and "married", so there was clearly no divorce. From St Catherine's indexes it can be surmised that the death of Eliza was registered in June 1893 at the age of 78, in West Ham. That same quarter, June 1893, the marriage of Henry William West Alabaster is registered in Brighton. As can be seen from his elaborate grave stone, he died on 13th July, the same year. 

********************************************

Earlier this year, during the Spring of 1995, two of the members of the Alabaster Society, George and Millie Knox, attended an Open Day organised by Gloucester Family History Society as representatives of Weston Super Mare Family History Society. Millie was wearing her Alabaster Society lapel badge (see inside front cover). A reporter from the local radio station asked her what the badge represented and Millie spoke "live" on Radio Gloucester about the Alabaster Society. Later that day, the reporter returned to Millie and told her that there had been a telephone enquiry about the Society, and Millie gave him my address.

A couple of weeks later, I received a letter from a lady signing herself  "Irene Alabaster Healy", enquiring about the Alabaster Society. "A friend heard a programme on Gloucester Radio and thought I would be interested...." Before I replied, I automatically checked out my Alabaster database, which includes all of the details of the Alabasters entered in the indexes at St Catherine's, to see if I could locate a suitable birth of an Irene Alabaster, or a reference to an Alabaster marrying a Healy. I could find no such link. In my reply I asked "whether Alabaster is part of your surname, your maiden name or a second forename"; it occurred to me that Alabaster could even have been wished upon her by a Godparent!

In reply Irene wrote, "Dad was:- CHARLES WILLIAM ALABASTER-WEST born on September 10th 1904 son of ARTHUR ALABASTER-WEST and ELLEN of London, Greenwich & Deptford. .....My brother and sister, like myself, were given the ALABASTER as a forename - so we have kept it as part of our name (even though married). My brother's three daugllters and grand-daughter also have the ALABASTER as a forename."

I was absolutely staggered. Irene's maiden name was West: here was a clear link with the family of Robert and Mary Ann (nee West), even though the juxta-position of the names was back-to-front. It was only when I re-examined the Will of Elizabeth Ann that I recognised Arthur Alabaster West as one of the sons she mentioned in her Will. I replied to Irene, sending her the outline, as I saw it, of Henry William West Alabaster's life and the details of Elizabeth Ann's Will.

Irene's reply was all that I could have hoped for.

"I read your letter with increasing excitement and in the middle of it rang my brother to tell him all about it!.......Realisation of the truth of it all dawned on me when I read the names of Elizabeth Ann West's children. You see I have a photograph of Henry William - my great grandfather........ On the back of it my father had written that his grandfather was born in the Yarmouth area and that he died in Worthing in 1893. He had also written the names of his father's brothers and sisters - 'Lizzie, Louis, Letty, Harry, Fred and Walter'."

*************************************************

This then was the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Not only do we have a new member of the Society, Irene Healy (nee West) who has found that in other circumstances she would have been nee Alabaster, but we actually have a photograph of Henry William West Alabaster, youngest son of Mary Ann and Robert Alabaster of Kessingland and Great Yarmouth, brother of Samuel West Alabaster, who went to Australia, uncle of Captain Daniel, who discovered and named Lake Alabaster and great uncle, several times of Society members, John Brian (descendant of William (1810-1855)), Hal and Michael (descendants of Horace West (1823-1864), as well as great grandfather to Irene, herself.

Footnote: From the surnames that Elizabeth Ann gave her children, I have assumed that her maiden name was Coster. To verify this, I visited St Catherine's House last week, got the reference number of Henry's marriage in 1893, and checked it against an entry for Coster. It matched! There was no need to buy the certificate: I had the necessary assurance. I did, however, order the birth certificate for Arthur Alabaster West (no hyphen at that time) just to tidy up loose ends. The certificate arrived yesterday. In the space for "Name, surname and maiden surname of mother" it says "Elizabeth Ann West late Coster formerly Lee". Perhaps the puzzle is not yet quite complete!   

26th August 1995.
To Contents

Notes on Alabaster Demography

Pt. 2. General distribution of Branch I of the "Hadleigh Alabasters"
by John Stammers Alabaster (I) 

I tried, in the first two notes of this series (Alabaster Chronicle No.3, pp. 14-15, 1994 & No.4, pp. 18-20, 1995), to draw some very general conclusions about the status and movements of the Hadleigh Alabasters as a whole, based upon the number of registered Alabaster births in England and Wales and elsewhere. The results showed (in Figs. 1-5) an increase in birth-rate roughly in line with that of the population as a whole, and a slow movement away from Hadleigh, mainly to London, followed by a dispersion to other parts of the country and abroad. Within this general picture, however, there were some quite marked differences between the different branches, and it is these that I would now like to explore further, starting with Branch I.  

I have already emphasised that, whilst the statistical and graphical examination of number of births is a useful way of gaining some general idea of family events, it is only a small part of the effort needed to tell the story properly, especially when the information is incomplete. In the case of my own branch, we have full details of only 72 registered births, including six from Claydon, Suffolk, although others are known to have occurred. Of the 72, about two thirds are used here to build up an over all picture of Branch I from its beginnings in Hadleigh up to the present day. This is shown in Fig 6 (the number of which follows on from those in Notes 1 & 2), So there is already a loss of some detail: for example, I have included only two of my own 10 grandchildren!

Nevertheless, the overall features remain, namely, that after our heyday in Hadleigh, the sale of land in Nawton and the establishment of several generations at Claydon, we became settled for a while in Rayleigh. Later we moved on to other parts of Essex and London and then a large "twig" branched off to Wales, where several of us remain to this day.

John Alabaster, youngest son of William, a yeoman of Baylham (who inherited the princely sum of two guineas from his father-in-law!) was listed as owner of an ale-house in Rayleigh over the period 1800-1827, leased at £10 per year in 1818. This was called the 'Half Moon', and still exists. His son, John Abel Alabaster, carried on as owner, and was said, by my father, to have been acquainted with a well-known local highwayman called Gentleman Jim! Perhaps that had something to do with the disapproval he had from his father-in-law (Mr Stammers of Southminster), and may have led to a subsequent change in trade as he later became a carpenter and builder. His son, Edwin Stammers Alabaster, continued this tradition in London, first as an apprenticed carpenter and then as a master builder. (The Stammers family is still extant in Southminster). Edwin Stammers Alabaster, in turn, named one of his own sons Henry Stammers Alabaster (my grandfather) and the practice has now extended through to my eldest grandchild, Alexander Stammers Alabaster. Another of Edwin's sons, Richard Rickard Alabaster, also carried on the family trades, as described by his daughter May Millican in No. 2 of the Alabaster Chronicle (pp.79).

John Abel Alabaster's daughter, Mary, married John Thomas Elliott, of Mill House, Aveley, Essex. He was miller blacksmith, wheelwright, coachbuilder, and stand-in lay preacher! The couple had a warm welcome for other members of the family, including Mary's brother, Edwin Stammers Alabaster, and his son, Henry Stammers Alabaster (my grandfather): the latter got on well with his cousins, so much so that he fell in love with the eldest, Mary Jane and, despite the family's disapproval, eloped with her on her 21st birthday! So now there were carpenters on both sides of that family.

My grandfather, although distancing himself initially from East Anglia to set up his own tailoring business in Swansea, often returned to Mill House with his family. My father, Reginald Elliott Alabaster, recalled, "My grandfather was a fine character, very hardworking, an excellent craftsman and very religious, we all went to chapel on Sundays, where there were men in fustian breeches washed almost white, and smoked overalls reaching nearly to the knees, with leggings; this was the farm-worker's outfit at the turn of the century. My grandfather, having a business, wore a frock coat and silk hat...... we would gather in the drawing room with numerous relatives who would bring their violins and have a hearty sing-song - but only sacred or serious music was permitted!

The shop was on the ground floor of old Swansea Castle and, initially, the family lived upstairs. Castle Street was quite close to the docks, the haunt of a notorious local character who, one dark Saturday night, just before closing time, burst in, lurched over the counter and announced, "I'm Billy the Bully, and I want five pounds". My grandfather, quick as a flash, grabbed his huge cutting shears, leaped straight over the counter, pressed the points firmly in Billy's bulging tum, and replied, "And I'm Henry Alabaster, and if you don't get out, I'll run you through." This was a tale that we, as children, could lap up, time after time! "Tell us about Billy the Bully, Grandpa!"

While my grandfather remained in Swansea, the rest of his generation remained in Poplar, London and Essex. His eldest brother, Edwin, fought in the 24th Regiment during the South African campaign, gaining the South African Medal and Clasp. He was severely wounded by Zulu spears and left for dead at, it is said, the famous Defence of Rorke's Drift on 23 January, 1897, but it is more likely that this occurred at the infamous defeat at Isandlwana on the previous day. After further service in India he was finally discharged medically unfit, his constitution having been "impaired by exposure on active service". One brother, William, started the West End Tailoring Co. in 1898, which was taken over by the youngest brother, John Abel (Jack), in 1926.

Tailoring continued into the next generation with my father who, although trained in London, also set up in Swansea. My brother, William Henry Elliott Alabaster, is still in Wales, farming close to Swansea, and so his children represent the fourth generation in that area. The rest of the now Branch I Alabasters have dispersed to Stevenage and then Rugby and Linsted Parva, Suffolk, except for Edwin Stammers Alabaster, son of Jack, who emigrated to Canada in 1957, where he and his two daughters and their children have all settled.

To those of the female lines, who have had to be excluded from these notes, I apologise, but at least it is good to see some of them - Stammers, Elliott and, perhaps, Abel - remembered as family names.

January, 1995

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1881 Census
(or where our ancestors were on 3rd April, 1881)

by Laraine Hake

As those who are actively engaged in family history research probably are aware, almost the whole of the 1881 census for the whole of England and Wales has now been indexed. These indices are being issued, county by county, as they are completed under the auspices of the Federation of Family History Societies, of which we, the Alabaster Society, is a member. Gradually, then, we are becoming aware of the whereabouts of more and more of the Alabaster family on the night of April 3rd 1881! The details I have received during the past six months include the following:
(For anybody who is not used to reading census returns, the numbers at the top refer to the PRO's film and folio number and the headings of the columns are:
(1) NAME and Surname of each Person (2) RELATION to Head of Family (3) CONDITION as to Marriage (4) AGE last Birthday (5) Rank, Profession, or OCCUPATION (6) WHERE BORN

1750/10 Hornchurch Village, Essex

ALABASTER  Walter

Hd

M

54

Carpenter

Essex Hornchurch

                        Louise

Wife

 

54

 

 

                        Arthur

Son

Un

19

Carpenter

 

                        Leonard

Son

 

14

Scholar

 

                        Ernest

Son

 

11

    "

 


This is the family of WaIter Goodard Alabaster (IIIA) several times great grandfather of various Alabaster Society members. Three of his older children, William Henry, Margaret Ann and Albert Alfred, were already married and presumably living elsewhere by then. Another older son, WaIter John, did not marry until 1884 but not in the home of father on that night. Henry, aged 18, and Frederick, aged 16, are also missing.


1750/13 Hornchurch Village, Essex

COLLIN  Albert

Hd

M

34

Tailor

Essex Hornchurch

      plus wife and three small daughters, plus

ALABASTER Henry

Appr

 

18

Tailor`s Apprentice

Essex Hornchurch


This, of course, is the Henry (IIIA), son of Walter Goddard, not living at the home of his parents, above!


1743/51  7 Albion Terrace, Romford, Essex

ALABASTER

Robert

Hd

M

50

Iron & brassfounder

Essex Hornchurch

 

Sarah

Wife

 

45

 

Essex Writtle

 

Harriet

Dau

Un

16

Assists at home

Essex, Romford

 

William

Son

 

14

Scholar

 

 

Roger

Son

 

13

    "

 

 

Letitia

Dau

 

11

 

 

 

Ellen

Dau

 

  7

 

 

 

Alberta

Dau

 

  5

 

 

 

Henrietta

Dau

 

  1

 

 

 
This is the family of Robert Hedges Alabaster (IIIA), brother of WaIter Goddard Alabaster of the previous census. Walter Goddard and Robert Hedges were the youngest offspring of Roger Alabaster and Margaret, nee Hedges. Three of Robert's older children, Robert Hedges, Alfred John, and Sarah Ann had already married and left home by the time of this census, in 1881.


1729/119 Bethnal Green Workhouse & School, Leyton, Essex

ALABASTER  David

Pauper

U

11

Scholar

Bethnal Green

                        John

Pauper

  9

Scholar 

Bethnal Green

 
I think that this is an example of being made aware of past Alabasters as real people: flesh and blood. I would never have found this entry amongst the many names of the large "Institutions" without the aid of an index, as there was no reason to have realised that these two boys were in the Workhouse. However, further research does give some indication of the reason. David and John were the sons of David Alabaster and his wife Annie, nee Aaron (IIIB). Their father, David, had died in 1877, at the age of 33, apparently leaving Annie with four young children: Ann 10, David 8, John 6 and Mary Ann six months. Annie died aged 35 during the first quarter of 1881, leaving the children as orphans. Presumably Mary Ann was not in the Workhouse: she was certainly living with the sister and brother-in-law of her mother ten years later, at the age of 14, on the 1891 census, and they may have taken her in immediately. It is good to be able to report that both David and John appear to have survived the Workhouse and went on to marry in 1898 and 1899 respectively.


1731/30 3 Mayfield Cottages, Walthamstow, Essex

ALABASTER  George

Hd

M

41

Carpenter

Middlesex Hackney

                        Celia C.

Wife

 

39

 

 

                        Celia S.

Dau

 

19

 

 

                        William

Son

 

14

Carpenter`s Labourer

 

                        Walter C.

Son

 

11

Scholar

 

                        Henry

Son

 

  9

 

Middlesex Kingsland

                        Jane C.

Dau

 

  7

 

Essex Walthamstow

                        John J.

Son

 

  5

 

 

                        Julia H.

Dau

 

  3

 

 


This is the family of George Alabaster (WofW), another several times great grandfather of various Alabaster Society members.
The eldest son of the family, George Thomas Alabaster was not there on census night, but this is explained by the following entry.

1738/47 Harlow, Harlow Tye, Essex

CHAPLIN      Joseph

Hd

M

64

Farmer 26 Acres

    

   plus wife and

 

 

 

 

 

ALABASTER George

Serv

U

17

Ag Lab

Essex Walthamstow 


This is George Thomas! He does not appear to have taken to the agricultural life because by October 1882 he had joined the Royal Artillery. He served with them in India between 1883 and 1888.
 

1752/39 High Street, Aveley, Essex

ALABASTER Mary

mother

Wid

75

 

Essex, Southminster

BROOKS       John Henry

son

28

Game Kpr 

Nrthmpton, Whittlebury 

BROOKS    Jane Stammers

dau

M

36

Game Kprs Wife

Essex Southminster 


This is Mary Alabaster, nee Stammers (!) from whom certain members of Alabaster Society have inherited their last forename! Mary was the mother of Jane, so John Brooks was actually her son-in-law. Jane's second forename is actually given as "Shammus" in the newly created index, but I have checked the originial, and it is definitely "Stammers"! Obviously too much of a challenge to the uninitiated!

1129/69 5 Park Terrace, Chichester, Sussex

FLEET             George

Hd

W

61

Sawyer

Hampshire

ALABASTER  Hariet

Dau

 M

23

General Servant 

Sussex Chichester 

                        Letitia E.

Dau

 

  5

 

 

                        George

Son

 

  3

 

 

                        Jane

Dau

 

4 months

 

 


Harriet, nee Fleet, was the wife of Alfred John Alabaster, second son of Robert Hedges Alabaster (IIIA). Alfred was in the Artillery at the time of their marriage in 1875, so may have been away; alternatively, the couple may have separated.


3219/60 Napoleon Inn, Skirbeck, Lincolnshire

MACKINDER  Mary

Head

Wid

40

Innkeeper

 

              Daughter

aged 15,

 

Son

aged 13  and 

 

ALABASTER   Alfred

Lodger

Unm

59

Moulder

Essex  Romford 


Alfred was the eldest son of Roger, the ironfounder (IIIA), and elder brother of both William Goddard and Robert Hedges. He does not appear to have ever married, and there is scant information about him, although we now know where he was in April 1881! He died in Lincoln in 1897, aged 75.


2947/69 Park Road, Kings Norton

ALABASTER  Edward

Head

M

52

Commercial Traveller

Middx, Shoreditch

                        Fanny

Wife

 

41

 

Kings Lynn, Norfolk

                        Arthur

Son

U

24

Commercial Traveller

Hackney, Middx 

                        Herbert

Son

U

21

Factors Clerk

 

                        Annie

Dau

U

19

 

 

                Ellen Margaret

D

 

12

 

Kings Norton, Worcs

               Nora Catherine

D

 

  7

 

 

SMITH    Eugenie

Serv

U

16

General Servant

Aston, Staffs


Edward was the second son of James, the publican (IIA), by his first wife, Mary Ann Weston. Edward's first wife, Margaret, nee Jackman, died in 1866 at the age of 35. Edward married Fanny Dickenson in 1868. In 1887, six years after this census was taken, Edward's son, Arthur, was one of the founders of Alabaster & Wilson Ltd, Diamond Mounters and Goldsmiths: the 1891 census shows him as "Manufacturing Jeweller" employing others.

 
1707/118 112 Major Road, West Ham, Essex

ALABASTER  Eliza

Hd

M

65

Annuitant

Cambridge


Eliza was the first wife of Henry William West Alabaster (IV), although they do not appear to have been living together for some years prior to 1881. "Annuitant" means that she had some sort of regular private income, so some sort of settlement may have been agreed (see pp 9-15).
 

2973/39  1 Court  4 House, Thorp Street, Birmingham

ALABASTER  May A.

Dau of Hd

 

14

No occ.

London, Middlesex

                        John

Son of Hd

 

12

Scholar

London, Middlesex

                        Jane

Sis of Hd

 

6

Scholar

London, Middlesex


These are the surviving children of William Alabaster and Elizabeth Rawlings, (IIIB) More information on this census entry was detailed in Chronicle Number Four.
 

2434/58 Wells Road, Hayesland Park, Lyncome & Widcombe, Somerset

ALABASTER Alfred William

Hd

M

40

Commercial Traveller

London, Middlesex

                       Isabella C.

W

 

37

 

London, Middlesex

                       Catherine F.

Dau

Un

12

Scholar

Bath, Som

                       Isabella

Dau

 

11

Scholar

Bath, Som

                       Frank

Son

 

  9

Scholar

Bath, Som 

                       Walter H.

Son

 

  8

Scholar

Bath, Som

                       Edith

Dau

 

  6

Scholar

Bath, Som

                       Anne

Dau

 

  4

 

Bath, Som

SALTER         Edith E.

Serv

 

20

General Servant

Calne, Wilts

 
Alfred William was one of twins, first born children to James the publican (IIA), by his second wife, Mary Ann Roper. Alfred's twin, Walter John, only lived to 8 months. Alfred William lived until he was 96, dying in January, 1937.
 

2588/5 30 Egerton Road, Horfield, Bristol  

WILLIAMS     Harry J.

Head

M

27

Clerk

Essex Hornchurch

                        Kate

Wife

28

 

Surrey, Brixton 

                        Annie

Dau

 

  1

 

Glos, Bishopston, Bristol 

ALABASTER  Arabella

Visitor

 

28

 

Surrey, Brixton 


Arabella was the sister to Kate Williams, nee Alabaster, daughters of Robert William Alabaster (IIB). On this census they both appear to be the same age, but in fact Kate was born 1844, making her 37, and her younger sister, Arabella, was really 34, having been born in 1837. This is a reminder that all information on census returns is only as accurate as what the enumerator was told, or thought he heard! Arabella and Kate died within the same year as each other, 1931, by which time they had caught up with their correct ages: Arabella died in January 1931, aged 83, and Kate died in the October, aged 87. They are buried in their family grave at West Norwood Cemetery.

That sums up the information I have, so far, for Alabasters on 3rd April 1881. I am awaiting the London index with bated breath, and hope to be able to report on its findings in Chronicle Number Six.

See also this item in Chronicle 8: 1881 Census RW

To Contents

Family History Societies

It has been suggested that any member of the Alabaster Society who is actively involved in Family History Research may be interested to know to which Family History Societies other members belong.

Laraine Hake belongs to: East of London FHS, Essex Society for Family History, Suffolk FHS, Halstead & District Local History Society.

Millie and George Knox, 8 Woodland Glade, Clevedon, Avon, belong to: East of London FHS, London & North Middlesex FHS, Oxfordshire FHS, Waltham Forest FHS, Weston-Super-Mare FHS, Nailsea & District Local History Society.

If this type of information is of interest to others of you, please do let me know where your interests lie. If there are other names you are actively researching, we could print the occasional page of  "Members' Interests" too. Who knows, you may find you are related to another Alabaster on more than one line!

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