In memory of Eunice Lippert

It is with deep sorrow that I inform everybody of the loss of my grandmother, Eunice Lippert (née Gargaro), who passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, 24th June.

Eunice passed away at 12:30am at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital near Shooters Hill in London at the age of 91. She was in the company of her family, who remained at her bedside throughout the last four weeks at King’s College Stroke Unit and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Screenshot 2015-07-04 15.13.512The funeral will be held on Friday, 17th July, 2015 at Eltham Crematorium in Falconwood, London.

For those wishing to attend or send flowers, please get in touch with the funeral directors for details:

Tender Touch Ltd, 17C Herbert Road, Plumstead, London SE18 3TB

+44 (0)20 8854 6222

Charitable donations to Macmillan Cancer Support are also kindly suggested. Macmillan played an important part in my grandmother’s care over the last few months.


Praying for my grandmother

After a couple of months inactive on the website, I had planned to return with some new updates for June — which I’ve now temporarily put on hold, with the news of my grandmother suffering from a stroke at the weekend.

Please join me in wishing her a speedy recovery. I shall pass on any messages as I remind her that everybody’s thinking about her while she continues to undergo tests and receive treatment at the Stroke facility at hospital.

She’s a fighter, our Nanna Lippert!

Battle of Coronel – First World War Centenary

To mark one hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War, I’m posting all the information and photos relating to my great grandparents and other ancestors during this period. Whether they were serving on the front line, helping out with the war effort at home, or being held at a civilian internment camp.

This post will focus on the Battle of Coronel and an uncle of my grandmother, George Hanes, who was on board the HMS Good Hope and ultimately died when the Germans sank his ship on 1st November 1914, killing all 919 officers on board as well as the HMS Monmouth where all 735 men on board died. This was the first defeat for the British Navy in more than 100 years.


This is photograph Q 21297 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 2107-01)

HMS Good Hope



The Battle of Coronel was one of the first major losses of British life during the First World War, and in its centenary year it was marked by a memorial service at Portsmouth, the city where the sunken Navy ships were based.

A cousin, Trevor Johnson, who is the great grandchild of George Hanes and Jeannette was interviewed for a local newspaper in Portsmouth, which wrote an article about the centenary memorial to commemorate those who were on board the ships that sank at the Battle of Coronel.

Here’s a some of the article published by Portsmouth News on 4th November 2014:

Trevor Johnson is the great-grandson of one of those who died on board HMS Good Hope.

His great-grandfather, Chief Petty Officer George Hanes, 41, died at sea leaving behind his wife and nine-year-old son.

‘The Good Hope was a ship not adequate to the task,’ says Trevor, 54, of The Heath, Denmead.

‘It had not much gunpowder of weaponry compared to the German fleet.

‘She was manned by reservists and not up for the task.

‘HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth were very much inferior in terms of firepower and also having very inexperienced hands on board compared to that of the German fleet.

‘To date the loss of hands within this one battle on one night is still the single most lives lost in any battle in history.

‘I looked into the battle for many years, and traced all the way back to the story of my great-grandfather.’

The British Film Institute recently restored one of the finest examples from the era of silent film — a telling of the story of the Battles of Coronel and the Falklands.

Twenty-four Royal Marines musicians lost their lives at sea at Coronel, and as reported in The News, 24 musicians from the present-day band service travelled to London last month to provide the backing score to the film.

The restored version will also be shown in Portsmouth on Sunday, at the No6 Cinema in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

Mr Johnston and his family will be there.

‘It will be a very emotional and poignant day,’ he adds.

In the same newspaper, he also gave his thoughts on organising a more prominent memorial in Portsmouth for those who lost their lives during the Battle of Coronel.

RELATIVES of those who lost their lives during the Battle of Coronel are calling for a more fitting memorial in their honour.

Trevor Johnson, whose great-grandfather George Hanes went down with HMS Good Hope, says the current memorial is not enough.

Currently the only tribute to the ship in Portsmouth is a silhouette painted on the railings of a playground, pictured above, in Ship Leopard Street, Portsea.

Mr Johnston says: ‘For a Portsmouth-based ship, and one lost in one the first battles of the First World War, we have nothing of significance to honour the brave men.

‘It would be nice in this centenary year if Portsmouth stood up and commemorated the loss of HMS Good Hope in a fitting manner.

‘There has not been enough done to celebrate the 1,600 lives lost in the battle.

‘I would love to see the council build a memorial to symbolise the heroism of all the men who lost their lives that night.’

My grandmother told me a couple of years ago when talking about her family and cousins, that she remembers Aunt Jeannette and her husband had a daughter named Dorothy down in Portsmouth, who married Harold Pridham. Dorothy and Harold had a daughter who was a teacher and went abroad with her husband. My grandmother also recalls one of George and Jeannette’s children or grandchildren marrying a Shah of Persia. Next time I’m visiting my grandmother, I’ll ask if she remembers anything else about George Hanes and his family and I’ll add it to this post.

Portsmouth News’ full article was published on 4 Nov 2014 and can be found here, “Slaughter at sea – but we never lost hope“.

Edmonton Cemetery: Emily Jane and Richard Taylor

Screenshot 2014-10-20 01.39.37I found out that the grave of Emily Jane (née Boulden) and her husband Richard Taylor is located at Edmonton Cemetery almost a year ago, but I hadn’t managed to plan a visit as it’s not a part of London that I’m around very often.

On the 15th September, a day which turned out to be one of the last warm sunny days of this year, I set off on my bicycle for a 60-mile cycle ride to Edmonton Cemetery and back. I rode through the Olympic Park for the first time and up the canal tow path which takes you all the way to Tottenham, the town where the Taylor and Chase family seem to have had a strong connection with for many years.

I received an email from a third cousin who gave me the plot number for the grave, so this time – thankfully – I didn’t have to do any searching through burial records to find such information, just a pleasant walk through the cemetery to find the plot.

Edmonton Cemetery opened in 1884 and is a large cemetery run by the local authority, Enfield Council. It’s well kept and the flower gardens at the main entrance are lovely and picturesque. Records for the cemetery can be searched at Enfield Crematorium but according to the council’s website, there is a fee – even if you want to perform the search yourself.

Emily Jane (née Boulden) and Richard Taylor grave at Edmonton Cemetery

The gravestone is partially covered by soil and grass so I thought it best not to disturb much of the grass growing over it, as it’s probably doing a good job preserving it.

What I could read from the gravestone says the following:

In Loving Memory of Richard Taylor, born 30th June 1849 died 7th April 1922

Of Emily Jane, his wife, born 22nd May.. [the rest is covered by grass]



Place information and the problem with boundary changes

From day one of researching my family history, when entering a place of birth or death, I have always put the accepted modern-day county rather than the historical county as the event place. So Deptford would be in London and Christchurch would be in Dorset, rather than Kent and Hampshire respectively. It has always pained me to stick to this method as it brings about many errors and questions, such as why do I put Bromley as in Kent or Romford as in Essex, when they have been in London since 1965? Bromley is completely within London now, yet it would be difficult to find somebody giving their address as Bromley, London — rather than Bromley, Kent. So what makes one boundary change more acceptable than the next?

I think the reason I stuck to the above method has something to do with just how many boundary changes have taken place over the past century-and-a-bit and how it is mind boggling that London only covered the City of London for such a long time without any changes. That means, for example, that Westminster could not be listed as London until 1889, having been in the historic county of Middlesex. This makes confusing reading when you see somebody listed as being born in 1881 in ‘Deptford, Kent’ and then marrying in ‘Deptford, London’ in 1901. This happens again with anybody from Bristol, which is referenced as being in the counties of Gloucestershire, Somerset and Avon during different periods. It also became a county in itself in 1373 and again in 1996, when the county of Avon was abolished. The 1996 boundary still remains..!

But going further back in the family tree means my method of sticking to modern boundaries, which might not even last another decade, becomes irrelevant. Somebody born in Croydon in 1700 would definitely not have been born in London by any stretch of the imagination. Croydon would have seemed a world away from the City of London, with no direct trains taking you there in 20 minutes; it probably would have not been possible to even get to London and back in a day!

Entering place names for my German side of the family further magnifies the problem. Their hometown was in Stolp in what was then the Kingdom of Prussia in the German Empire. Stolp is now known as Slupsk and is located in modern day Poland. I couldn’t use modern boundaries and place names in examples such as this as they were not from Poland. I realised I was drawing my own lines, using some historical boundaries and borders but not others. The whole reason I thought using modern boundaries was a better idea, was to make things less complicated – referring back to my examples in the first paragraph – but in actual fact, I just caused more confusion!

In trying to retain some sort of blanket system when naming birth places, I’ve lost the sense of historical accuracy in all of it. So I have begun editing all the pages on the site and my family tree software to reflect the name of the county and in some cases even country at the time of the event.


Some examples of boundary changes in England:

Before 1889: Deptford, Kent
After 1889: Deptford, London

Before 1889: Bermondsey, Surrey
After 1889: Bermondsey, London

Before 1965: Sidcup, Kent
After 1965: Sidcup, Greater London (although still contentious)

Before 1965: Croydon, Surrey
After 1965: Croydon, Greater London (again, still causes debate)

Before 1965: Knockholt, Kent
After 1965: Knockholt, Greater London
After 1969: Knockholt, Kent

Before 1974: Stockport, Cheshire
After 1974: Stockport, Greater Manchester

Before 1974: Manchester, Lancashire
After 1974: Manchester, Greater Manchester

U. A. Mabille, tobacconist

This is an advert which I recently discovered on the front page of the Blackheath Gazette, 4 June 1897. It is for the tobacconist shop at 52 Lewisham High Street, which Ursmer Augustin Mabille ran for a number of years.







Best Brands of Imported Cigarettes.



Fancy Goods of the Best Quality.

U. A. Mabille - tobacconist advert from front page of Blackheath Gazette (4 June 1897)


Blackheath Gazette Front Page 4 June 1897 - Advert for U A Mabille Tobacconist - Page 1


He placed adverts in the Blackheath Gazette on a couple of occasions, also appearing in the 9 July 1897 edition of the newspaper.

During May 2011, whilst visiting the Lewisham Local History Library, I found a very early photograph of Ursmer’s tobacconist shop, dating from 1890, which shows U. A. Mabille located next door to The Joiners’ Arms, a prominent pub in Lewisham at the time. The 18th century buildings in the photograph were demolished in 1907 to make way for the buildings which still stand today.

The photograph is taken from a local history photograph book, Around Lewisham & Deptford, by John Coulter (published 2005; ISBN: 0750941367)

Visit to St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery

This weekend I took the Central Line over to East London to take some photographs of the grave of my great grandparents, Albert Ernest Brindley and Florence Emily (née Taylor) at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery in Leytonstone.

Albert Ernest Brindley & Florence Emily (née Taylor) grave

St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery entrance


Charles and Frank Taylor: A mystery solved

After a bit of research and getting in touch with two cousins on the Taylor/Speller/Chase side of the family, who along with my grandmother have shared their memories and pieced bits of information together in this family jigsaw, I’ve realised that Charles Taylor and Frank Taylor who I had believed until recently to be two separate children of Beatrice and Laurence Taylor, are in fact the same person.

There was always a mystery when I started doing the family tree a few years ago about this unknown son of Beatrice and Laurence named Charles who appears on the census in 1911. But just because there were no memories of him, it didn’t prove he didn’t exist, so I added him to the tree as he was listed on the census.

On the other hand, my grandmother did remember having fond memories of visiting her Uncle Frank Taylor who married ‘Aunt Lil’ and ran a television/radio shop in Manor Park. So I added him to the tree also and tried figuring out why he wasn’t there with Beatrice during the 1911 census, as she was at this point living with another man named Alfred H. Walker in Walthamstow. At the time, I thought this meant Frank had to have been born before 1910 because she was no longer with Laurence after 1911. But then there was the discovery a couple of years after starting my research into the Taylors, that there was in fact another Taylor child born to Beatrice and Laurence in 1913 named Laurence James Taylor. This meant that the couple got back together some time after the 1911 census was taken and this made me then think that Frank Taylor must have also been born when they got back together between 1911/1912 and 1915 when Laurence died.

As my grandmother had told me about Uncle Frank Taylor being married to Lil, I thought that with this piece of information it would be relatively easy to find a record for a Lilian/Lily and Frank Taylor marriage. I remember searching for a possible marriage for Frank Taylor with no luck a couple of times with no luck. If it did exist somewhere, the marriage record would have been the only document for Frank Taylor as I was unable to find any matching record for him, including that of his birth.

Then thanks to the efforts of my cousin Gillian Worwood, she discovered a marriage record between a Charles Frank Taylor and Lily Porter in the district of Stepney in 1928. It took a while for me to realise, but it started to occur to me that Frank was actually Charles! It seems that like many other (mainly male) members of the Taylor/Speller/Chase family, Charles seemed to go by a different name (possibly his middle name, or possibly a nickname that stuck) as his marriage record showed.

It definitely explained why there was a mystery of nobody having any memories of another child named Charles Taylor. Now that all the pieces are coming together, I reckon that Laurence James Taylor was very likely the only child born to Laurence after Beatrice’s relationship with Alfred H. Walker had ended.

This confirms the relation of Uncle Frank and Aunt Lil that my grandmother had told me about and also takes the number of children that Beatrice and Laurence Taylor had together down from five to four. The best part of having merged the rather empty profiles of Charles and Frank together, is that I am well on the way to completing the missing birth dates and events for all the children of Beatrice who at the beginning of my research were some of the most difficult of my ancestors to track down!

With thanks to Mary Beatrix Wood and Gillian Worwood.

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