#7 Catharine CRASSINGHAM – 52 Ancestor Challenge

No Story Too Small– Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge of 52 Ancestors this year, has been the inspiration to writing up my family history stories.

My 4th great grandmother Catharine CRASSINGHAM was baptized 29 March 1789 at Staplehurst in Kent, England. She was the third child of Richard CRASSINGHAM and Hannah AVERY.

On the 30th of May 1815 at All Saints, Staplehurst, she married William MILLS and they both made their marks in the register.

They baptized their first child on 26 November 1815 at Staplehurst, a son William. He later married Harriet BURR.

Hannah was baptized 06 Jun 1819, but I know nothing more about her.

Daughter Sarah was baptized February 8 1823 and died in 1831 only 8 years old.

Catherine MILLS was buried on the 3rd of October 1824, age 35 years. She had never left Staplehurst in her short life.

#6 Margaret Maria BRYCE – 52 Ancestor Challenge

No Story Too Small – Amy Johnson Crow issued a challenge of 52 Ancestors this year.
And so I continue writing up my family history stories.

Great grandmother Margaret Maria BRYCE was born 20 August 1874 at Brandon Lane, Boyne Colliery, Saint Oswald, Durham, England, to James BRYCE & Isabella HALL.  She was the third child born to this couple after Jane in 1870 and Mary Ann in 1872.

Soon after her birth, the family moved to Lancashire.  John George Hall BRYCE was born 1876, Henrietta in 1878, Charles William in 1880, Thomas in 1882, Isabel in 1883, Minnie in 1888 and Robert Arthur in 1895.

At age 16, on the 1891 census for Ormskirk, Lancashire, Margaret Maria BRYCE is a domestic servant for the MEREDITH family.

On 21 February 1897, Margaret Maria BRYCE married Frederick Charles LEA and the marriage was witnessed by her brother John George Hall BRYCE and her sister Henrietta BRYCE.

Their first child was born 11 December 1897 and named James Bryce LEA to honour his grandfather who was killed in 1896 in a colliery accident.

Muriel Isabel LEA who was my grandmother was born 16 June 1899. Followed by Arthur Frederick in 1901 and Dorothy Margaret in 1903.

In April of 1906 the family boarded the Dominion for a 24 day voyage to Canada. Imagine travelling with children aged 8, 6, 4 and 3. They must have been so happy to finally land in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
They obviously stayed in Montreal as they had a daughter Helen Mabel there in 1907 and Winifred Joyce in 1909.

The family then moved on to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Frederick Charles LEA passed away in 1946 and Margaret Maria LEA in 1957.
They are both interred at Mountainview Cemetery in Vancouver.


This is the story of my great grandfather Cyrus SPAIN who was born on the 17th of May 1864 at Boxley, Kent; his birth certificate shows his name as Siras, his father Edward SPAIN, a brick maker, his mother Maryann SPAIN formerly MATHAMS.

By the 1871 census which was taken 2 April 1871 the family is living at 61 Upper Stone Street in Maidstone, Kent.  Cyrus is a 6 year old scholar, with his father Edward 34, mother Mary A 34, sister Susan 8 and brother Edward 4.

On April 3rd 1881 the family is now living at 33 Jewry Street in Maidstone, Kent.  Father Edward is 43, mother Mary Ann is 44, older sister Susan 18, younger brother Robert 9 and Cyrus 16 and his brother Edward 14 are working together in a printing office.

This closeness between Cyrus SPAIN and his brother Edward was to continue throughout their life.

In the spring of 1887, the two brothers Cyrus (22) and Edward (20) left Kent and made their way to Lancashire.  They left Liverpool for a 37 day voyage aboard the Circassian, an Allan Line ship, to Halifax, Nova Scotia; destination Port Arthur, Ontario and then on to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Ellen SHARP left Kent and arrived in Vancouver where she married Cyrus SPAIN on 26 October 1889 with Edward being the best man.

The 1891 census shows the two brothers living next door to each other and by this time, Cyrus & Ellen have a little daughter Ethel Annie 5 months.

A month later, Julie Caroline HORTON arrived from Kent.  Cyrus was then the best man at the wedding of his brother Edward & Julia.

In the summer of 1893, a son Cyrus, junior, joined the family.

Two years later in 1895, Mabel Ellen was born.

William Alexander SPAIN was born 13 December 1898.

The 1899 Vancouver City Directory, shows that both Cyrus & Edward worked for the CPR railway as car repairers.

James Earle born 1900 was the fifth child of Cyrus & Ellen.

The sixth child was Frederick in 1902.

In 1904 the couple had twins but they both died.

On the 20 Dec 1905 Edith Alma SPAIN was born and in 1910 the birth of Allan completed the family

Cyrus passed away on 6 Nov 1928 in Vancouver and is buried at Mountainview, Vancouver

My thanks to Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small who inspired this challenge of 52 Ancestors this year.


52 Ancestor Challenge – # 4 – William MAKINSON


William MAKINSON born 4 July 1884 at Royton, Lancashire in my great great uncle.
The fourth child of Evan Bradshaw MAKINSON and Jane LEA, he was only four years old when his father died.

In 1891 he is in Birkenhead, Cheshire with his widowed mother Jane, and siblings John, Minnie, Rachel and Ernest.

By the 1901 census, the family is still in Birkenhead and William is now a shoemaker living with his stepfather Thomas ALLMAN, mother Jane and siblings, Minnie, Ernest, Amy, Sarah and Lottie.

The 1911 census shows William MAKINSON is a single, Able Seaman with the Royal Navy on board the “Superb” in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

We have a marriage certificate for William MAKINSON in 1913 where he claims to be 37 when in fact he was only 28.
He was probably trying to narrow the gap in ages with his bride, a 50 year old widow named Catherine BRIDGER who was born Catherine STREET.

Was this a marriage of convenience? Why would a young man of 28 marry a woman of 50 who had 5 young children living with her in 1911?

It appears that William served in the navy until after the war and then transferred to the Merchant Navy and served on board ‘Viper, Mettonian, Ulysses, Hector, Alcinous and Trulus. His final posting was to SS City of Pittsburg

According to the Marine Register William died 13 April 1940 at sea age 55, the cause of death was pneumonia and he was buried at sea just off the west coast of Africa.

The documents released giving the details of his death give his last place of abode as Newling Street, Birkenhead – this was the home of his elder brother. William’s wife, Catherine is listed in the trade directories in 1920 as a beer retailer in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Yet, Catherine is listed as his wife and next of kin in his personal file. Were they separated or was there some other reason for them living apart. A nephew who remembers William had no knowledge of his marriage – did the rest of the family know about it?