Archive for the ‘Thompson’ Category

Following Robert Thompson

In My Genealogy, Thompson on April 21, 2011 at 6:47 PM

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There is a curious grave near my Thompson ancestors’ grave in Reading, Berkshire, England.  It bears only the name Elizabeth Gill.  Is it coincidence that she bears the same surname of one of the Thompson wives?

That’s what started my little search this evening.  A quick glancing search through various online digitized records and there was a link between an Elizabeth Gill and a Robert Thompson.  Aha!  I have a (well, many actually) Robert Thompson!

So, I followed his life online.  How strange it is to follow a person’s life in 10 year increments (census to census), to boil their entire life down to a few pages of census printouts, and a couple of  entries.

It turns out this is not the Robert Thompson associated with Elizabeth Gill.  He is, however, my second great granduncle and it was about time I got to know him better.

He, like his siblings, was born in Devizes, Wiltshire in the 1830s.  In the 1850s he’s away at school with his brother, and by the 1860s he has moved, with the rest of the family (parents, siblings, etc) to Reading, Berkshire.  Like many of the siblings he followed in his father’s shopkeeping/selling footsteps.  He is listed in the subsequent census as a Pork Buther, Pork Curer, and Shopkeeper.

In his 30s he married a young woman named Rose.  She was from an adjacent county.

Through the years the couple had several nieces and nephews stay with them, including one, a Mabel Skinner (I haven’t fit her into the tree yet), who was with them at age 6, and remained until at least age 16.  It seems they never had any children of their own, and Rose confirms this in the 1911 census when she writes “none” in the column requesting the number of children born alive.  She’s a widow at that time.

Robert died in 1906, in Reading.  Rose lived until 1927 when she too passed away in Reading.  They both serve as yet further examples of the importance of following the dead-end branches of the family tree.  This couple has much more to tell more, and hopefully I’ll find out much more as I continue my research.


Wordless Wednesday–Robert E. Thompson

In My Genealogy, Thompson on February 10, 2010 at 11:16 AM

or rather, Word-full.  Page showing  children elected (limited spaces) into the Royal Albert Orphan Asylum at Bagshot, Surrey, England, from an Annual Report of the orphanage.  Robert Ernest Thompson was my great-grandfather, and “won” a spot at the orphanage (there was voting involved), where he stayed Dec 30, 1885 until he was old enough to leave in Dec 18, 1891.  His siblings (at least the youngest 5 of the 9) were placed with family members, only Robert was placed in an orphanage.  I’d certainly liked to know why, or how that decision was come upon.  He did not have happy memories of his orphanage years.

Yet another Geneabloggers topic!

Tombstone Tuesday–Thompson, Thomas and Hannah (Reading, Berkshire)

In My Genealogy, Thompson on February 9, 2010 at 10:00 AM

The story went that the Thompson parents (parents of my great-grandfather who came to Canada) had a family grave,  but only they were buried there.  It was told as a rather sad story.  So when I went to England in 2006 for research, I of course had to see if I can find this fabled grave.  Earlier searches of the much-touted National Burial Index, which may work for many, yielded up nothing for my Thompsons.  A trip to the Berkshire Record Office (Archives) in Reading however were very helpful.  I found they were in the Reading Cemetery, which would seem a simple place to find, being as I was in Reading.  Working “on the fly” (most things I do I have researched fairly extensively a day or two beforehand), I found the general area the cemetery should be.  A wrong bus in the wrong direction and a fair bit of walking later, I finally arrived at Reading Cemetery (at Cemetery Junction).

It was not at all what I was used to here.  Here at home our cemeteries are immaculately manicured properties, with an office near the entrance usually open weekdays with generally helpful staff.  Not so at Reading Cemetery.  No office, no staff, and what looked like a rather overgrown and unkempt cemetery.  Luckily I had taken a copy of a cemetery map I had found at the archives, with the grave’s position identified only as being in section 30.

I got to the what I thought must be the correct area, judging by various pathways and how/where they merged.  There were areas I could see graves had been completely grown over with shrubs and trees, graves that would only be made accessible by some hard work with a weedwacker or machete.  A little more searching and I was lucky enough to find my Thompson grave, mostly clear of plant growth.  And indeed, there they were, Thomas and Hannah, alone in their grave.

I cleared off some of the vines as carefully as I could (recalling all the warnings about “cleaning” stones.  I talked to them (okay, that may sound strange to some of you), telling them how one of their sons had survived the orphanage, and had come to Canada to find love, a career as a warehouseman, and to have two children.  I left a photo of an original ambrotype of Hannah (below) at the site, with my contact details on the back, just in case any relatives should stop by (no contact to date).

Oh, and the family lore about room for the family, that seems to have come from the grave nextdoor to Thomas & Hannah’s–Thomas’ parents.  More about Peter & Sarah Thompson another time.


In Loving Rememberance Of











Thanks again to Geneablogger for the subject inspiration.

Surname Saturday-Thompson

In My Genealogy, Thompson on January 23, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Thanks to Geneabloggers for the topic suggestions.  I’ve been at a bit of a loss lately as to what to write about–too many and too little things!

So let’s dive right in.  You may think Thompson is an often common surname to attack in my first Surname Saturday, and you’re probably right.  But I could’ve chosen my Smiths!

My Thompsons (Robert, below, and siblings) came to Canada around the turn of the century, that being 1900, not 2000.  They had come from Reading, Berkshire, England.  For those of us on this side of the pond, that’s prounced “Redding”.  This caused me some issues for a few years as we had only oral history, that grandma’s father had come from “Redding”  England.  I looked and looked for a Redding or something similar.  Finally finding Reading I asked if that was perhaps it…no one could confirm or deny.  Then, somehow (perhaps a BBC TV program?), I heard the English pronounciation of Reading (Redding) and my mystery was solved!  But I digress here.

Some of that generation (born 1860s through 1870s) were also born in Dover, Kent, England.

Their father (Thomas, and his siblings) had been born in Devizes, Wiltshire, England which is where their mother was born and raised.  I have noticed it is not uncommon for marriages to occur in the parish or place where the bride resides, and for the new couple to reside nearby at least for a while.

Thomas’ father (Peter) was born in Wargrave, Berkshire, England.  So we’re back in Berkshire.  This is also where Peter’s father (another Thomas) was born.  We’re back to 1766 now.  (note: These last two generations are courtesy of a cousin’s work, Heather, in Australia.  Thanks Heather!).  My impression is that people were generally less mobile prior to the 19th century (1800s), so I would venture that my Thompson family lived in the Berkshire County area for some time prior to this.  However, there is more research waiting to be done to prove or disprove that!  And being that later generations included travelling cheapermongers (goods sellers), cheesemongers (cheese sellers) and bacon factors, it is also possible this family has not settled down in place for more than one generation over the past 500 years.  Hmmmm…no wonder I myself move every 3 to 5 years!

Thompson descendants--uncles and nephews

New Year’s Genealogical Goals

In Deacon, General Genealogy, Thompson on December 31, 2009 at 10:50 AM

I’m not usually one to do New Year’s resolutions–as my dad would say, I once made a resolution to never make resolutions and have kept it to this day.  However, goals are always a good idea.

I will finally order my grand-aunty Fran’s birth registration this year to see if it will shed any light on my secretive (aka brick wall) great-grandmother Deacon.  “Grandma Deac” has woven a pretty intricate trail, even if she didn’t mean to, and I have been on it for a decade or so now.  If nothing new comes up on said birth registration, then I shall let grandma Deac keep her secrets.  For now.

About two years ago I started getting copies of all the required documentation to prove my research.  I will continue this, as well as scanning (join Miriam over at AnceStories the last Sunday of every month for ScanFest) and transcribing it all into my program (Rootsmagic).

I would like to find out what ever became of my aunts Annie (nurse)  & Mary (music teacher) Thompson after World War I.  That will mean learning a few new research techniques, as I have not needed to do much research in the more modern era (what do you do when there are no censues?!).

I hope you and yours have a Happy and Healthy New Year!