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Family History: My maternal grandfather's side

As I've mentioned in my previous post. I've spent many, many late nights researching my family history. I started 10 years ago and quickly got sucked in. I do wish I had asked more questions when relatives were still alive as there are many gaps. We have DNA results due back in early December, in the meantime, I am sharing what I know so far.

My maternal grandfather's name was Herbert George Wood (Bert) - a lovely man who used to buy us a packet of Fruit Pastilles every week. He was born in 1920 in Thornton Heath, Croydon to Herbert Wood and Ivy Willis.

I know that my great-grandfather, Herbert James Wood, was a tram driver in Croydon. He was born in 1889 at 6 Bridge Row, Cross Road, Croydon to parents Robert Thomas Wood and Elizabeth Mary Beadle. His mother died in 1900 - when Herbert was just 11 years old. My great-grandfather married Ivy (Nellie) Willis in 1915 their daughter Vera was born in 1916 but sadly died at the age of 8. Herbert died in 1971. That is him on the far right. Then below that is Herbert as a young man.

Herbert James Wood, Croydon

My 2 x great-grandfather Robert Thomas Wood was born in 1852 in Brighton, Sussex to William Wood and Catherine Stepney, who were also both from Brighton, East Sussex. Wood is a pretty popular surname so going back further is proving difficult! His wife, Elizabeth Mary Beadle was born in Addington, Croydon in 1849 to William Beadle and Ann Spanswick.

William Beadle was born in 1806 in Addington and Ann Spanswick was born in 1810 in Shirley, Croydon to William Spanswick and Frances Wright. The Spanswick family can be traced back to the 1700s in Croydon. This rare and interesting surname is of Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor or unrecorded place, perhaps a "lost" village. Seems we have a huge connection to Croydon!

I am going to hop to my great-grandmother Ivy Ellen Willis, known as Nellie. She was born in Greenwich, London in 1887 to William Alfred Willis and Sarah Kingham. My Nan had once told me that Ivy was Irish and she was an orphan, so I had to do a bit of digging. It seems her father William Willis died when Ivy was 6 years old and her mother Sarah passed away when Ivy was 15. In 1911 at the age of 24 Ivy was working as a servant for the Button family at 28 Northampton Road in Croydon to William Julius Button (a cashier), his wife Ella and children Audrey, Joan and Peggy. She married Herbert Wood in 1915. She passed away in 1961.

Where is the Irish connection? Her father, my 2 x great-grandfather William Alfred Willis appears to have been born in Devon in 1862. At the age of 9 his family have moved to Greenwich. His parents were William Willis and Louisa Martin, both from Devon.

Sarah Kingham, my 2 x great-grandmother was born in 1864, I am unsure exactly where, it looks to be Greenwich also. Her parents however, Jospeh John Kingham and Catherine Owens may be holding the Irish connection. Jospeh Kingham was born in 1837 in Greenwich to Thomas Kingham and Mary Ann Saw. Catherine Owens appears to have been born in Ireland in 1836 to James Owens and Mary Barnwell. As far as I an aware James Owens was born in 1811 in Westmeath, Ireland as was Mary. In the 1851 census they are all down as living in Greenwich.

It looks to be my 3 x great-grandparents who link us to County Westmeath in the centre of Ireland.

This is where my trail ends and I would love to know if I have got it right. On this side again strong connections to the South East with some Devon ancestry and a touch of Irish.

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