Family Tree Academy 2020 End of Year Challenges


09 November 2020
Question B: newspaper clipping
Below are the answers to the Family Tree Academy 2020 End of Year Challenges. The challenges are set in the December 2020 issue of Family Tree. Read on below to find out how your answers compare to those of expert family history tutor David Annal (but no peeking until you've had a go at sleuthing the questions yourself)!

End of Year Challenges

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4 Queen’s Road - Hackney family

I       What is the full GRO reference for the birth of Daisy Mabel Hackney?

        Year: 1887

        Quarter: June

        Name: Daisy Mabel Hackney

        Registration District: Watford         

Volume: 3a

Page: 575      

II      What was Jessey’s maiden surname?

        George Hackney married Jessey Carnell at the Westminster parish church of St Mark, North Audley Street on 13 June 1881. Jessey’s birth was registered as Jessy Maria Carnell and her death was registered under the name Maria Hackney.

III     When and where was Florence Bates baptised?

        Florence was the Hackney family’s 15-year old general servant. The census tells us that she was born in Rickmansworth and a search of the GRO indexes reveals that there’s only one birth of a Florence Bates registered in the Watford District (which included Rickmansworth) in the late 1870s; Florence Louisa Bates, whose birth was registered in the June quarter of 1877. This leads us to the baptism of Florence Louisa, the daughter of William George and Caroline Susan Bates at St Mary, Rickmansworth on 1 July 1877.

        Although her age is given in the census as 15, she was born on 6 April 1877 so she was actually just short of her fourteenth birthday at the time of the 1891 census.

6 Queen’s Road - Sturman family

IV     What was George Sturman’s mother called?

        George can be found in the 1851 census, aged 1, living in Watford with his parents, George and Teresa Sturman. George senior had married Teresa Kirby at St Mary’s, Paddington on 5 November 1849.

V      Where was Mary Ann living at the time of the 1911 census?

        George and Mary Ann seem to have retired to the south coast in the late 1890s (the shop continued to be run as Sturman’s for some time afterwards) and George died in Bexhill in 1902. The 1911 census finds the widowed-Mary Ann living at Cecil House, Milward Crescent, Hastings.

VI     What, according to the adverts which appeared regularly in the Watford Observer in 1891, did George Sturman have the largest stock of in the town?

        Newspapers are a great source for our shopkeeper ancestors and finding an advert for their business can help to bring them to life. The adverts for Geo. Sturman, The Arcade, Queen Street, Watford include the claim that they had ‘The largest stock of DRESS AND DANCING SHOES in Watford’.

8 Queen’s Road - Morse family

VII    What school was John S Morse attending at the time of the 1891 census?

        The Findmypast website has an excellent collection of School Admission Registers and Log-Books and a search of this turns up a record for John Squire Morse. This tells us that he was admitted to Victoria Boys’ School in Watford on 2 January 1888 and that he continued there until 2 September 1891.

VIII   What, according to the 1861 census, was Benjamin’s father’s occupation?

        The 1891 census tells us that Benjamin was born in Bradenstoke in Wiltshire and we can easily find his birth, registered in the Cricklade district in the June quarter of 1854. It’s then a simple matter of finding him in the 1861 census, aged 7, living with his parents and siblings in the parish of Lyneham. His father, John Morse, was a Baptist Minister.

IX     Where and when was Fanny Morse (née Squire) buried?

        Benjamin and Fanny continued to live in Watford for the rest of their lives. Fanny died in 1923 and was buried at the parish church of

X      What was the number on Gertrude Morse’s National Identity card?

        The 1939 National Register was created principally for the purpose of issuing National Identity Cards and the register itself contains all the information you need to answer this question. First, however, you need to find Gertrude Morse in the 1939 register.

        Finding a reference to the marriage Gertrude A B Morse is, thanks to her distinctive middle initials, quite straightforward. She married in the Thanet registration district in the September quarter of 1924 but we don’t immediately know which of two men (Reginald Greenstreet or Thomas S Robertson) she married. There are a number of ways we can approach this problem but a simple (successful) search for Gertrude Greenstreet in the 1939 register provides the answer in this case. Reginald and Gertrude A B Greenstreet were living in Marshside, near Herne Bay in Kent.

        We can then take the 4-letter Enumeration District code from the top of the page, and together with the Schedule No. and Sub No. work out that the number on Gertrude’s National Identity card was DJAA 81-2.

10 Queen’s Road - Goodson family

XI     What was Kate Goodson’s full name at birth?

        This is a lesson in how careful we need to when it comes to our ancestors’ names. A search for the birth of Kate Goodson (or Catherine/Katharine etc.) will fail to produce a promising entry but if we take a more flexible approach and just search for the surname Goodson in the Watford district around 1870, we soon find the answer. Kate was registered as Myra Kate Goodson.

XII    When and where were Charles Goodson’s parents married?

        We know from the 1891 census that Charles was aged 53 and that he gave his place of birth as Tring, Hertfordshire. Working back through the censuses we can then find Charles as a 4-year old in the 1851 census, living in Tring with his parents, Thomas and Eliza, and a large number of siblings, including a sister at least 13 years older than him. We can also find Charles’s birth in the GRO index which tells us that his mother’s maiden surname was Waters.

        All that remains is to search for the marriage of Thomas Goodson and Eliza Waters, focussing on the Tring area in the early 1830s and we can quickly find their marriage at the parish church in Tring on 29 July 1830.

XIII   Who did Emily Durrant marry in 1898?

        We can easily find a promising reference for Emily in the September quarter of 1898 but as with Gertrude Morse (see question X above) we can’t immediately tell which of two men she married. In this case we have matching references for Edward Smith Hollis and Charles Ebenezer Knight.

        A search of the GRO birth indexes looking for Hollis children with the mother’s maiden surname Durrant turns up nothing but the same search with the surname Knight produces results for what looks like two families, one in the Staines district and one in West Ham. Although Staines is quite close to Watford it turns out that the West Ham family is the right one and a search of the 1901 census finds Charles E and Emily Knight living at an address in North Woolwich Road, West Ham. This is clearly our Emily as her birthplace is given as Buckshill in Hertfordshire.

14 Queen’s Road - Parrott family

XIV   What was William Parrott’s middle name?

        William’s full name was William Searle Parrott.

XV    Where was William living in 1921?

        We’re still a year or so away from the release of the 1921 census but there are still sources that we can use to track down our ancestors in the inter-war years. The most important of these is electoral registers and a simple search finds William Searle Parrott in the 1921 register living at Farm Colony in the parish of Hadleigh in Essex.

        Hadleigh Farm Colony is still run by the Salvation Army today.

XVI   Violet G Stapleton is described as William’s niece. How exactly were they related?

        William’s wife was Louisa Emily Harris and a search for Violet’s birth in the GRO indexes reveals that her mother’s maiden surname was also Harris. Annie Clara Harris married Ambrose William Stapleton at St Peter’s church in St Albans on 9 May 1877 and the entry in the parish register shows that one of the witnesses was Louisa Emily Harris. The 1871 census finds Louisa and Annie both living with their parents at an address in St Albans High Street.

        Violet, then, was the daughter of William’s sister-in-law and therefore his niece by marriage.

XVII  What is the full name of Hubert, the 19-year old student from Demerara? (Note: the enumerator has mis-transcribed his surname)

        One of the biggest problems with using the census is that what we are looking at (apart from in 1911) is second-hand at best. The summary books were compiled by the enumerator from the original householders’ schedules and it’s inevitable that mistakes will have crept in during this process.

        In this case the enumerator has evidently been unable to read the surname of the first of the two students . It looks like he’s written something like Iriver but Hubert’s full name (which we can find from a number of later sources) was Hubert Aloysius Irwin. Hubert became a successful chemist, trading in Ealing for many years, before dying in January 1931. He was buried at Ealing and Old Brentford Cemetery.

16 Queen’s Road - Neech family

XVIII In which two parishes were the banns for William and Amelia’s marriage read?

        William Neech and Amelia Rowe were married at the parish church of St John the Baptist, Great Gaddesden on 19 April 1869 after banns had been read at Great Gaddesden and at St Mary’s church in Watford on 28 March, 4 April and 11 April.

XIX   How many children did William and Amelia have?

        Unusually for the time, William and Amelia had just one child, their son, Sidney, who was born on 21 January 1870.

XX    In which unit of the British Army did Sidney enlist in July 1915?

        Sidney was too old to see active service on the Western Front but as a baker, his skills would have been of use to the military. On 20 July 1815, he enlisted in the 1st Battalion, London Regiment (the Royal Fusiliers) for the duration of the war. He was later transferred to the Labour Corps where he worked as a cook.

Thinking Outside The Box

Newspapers are an excellent source for fleshing out the stories of our ancestors’ lives and we can also find out some fascinating details from some of the less-well-known sources available on the major family history websites.

A      Who was involved in forming a brass band in Watford in 1884?

        The Watford Observer of Saturday 27 September 1884, includes a short piece on the formation of the Watford Brass Band, featuring ‘several well-known amateur musicians’. Whether George Sturman played an active role in the band or not, we don’t know, but he was named in the newspaper as the band’s secretary.

B      Who was a Deacon at the Baptist Tabernacle in Watford?

        Charles Goodson died in December 1905 and a short obituary was published in the Watford Observer a few days later. It tells us that he had had the premises in Queen’s Road for over 20 years and that he was a deacon at the Baptist Tabernacle.

C      Who married in 1910 but divorced just two years later?

        Daisy Mabel Hackney married William Henry Mansfield at the parish church of Bicester in Oxfordshire on 27 April 1910 but by the time of the 1911 census just a year later, they were living separately, Daisy at a boarding house in Kensington (although as a visitor and not a boarder) and William Henry at his farm in Oxfordshire.

        On 23 January 1912, William Henry opened proceedings in the High Court of Justice (Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division) against Daisy Mabel, asking for a grant of nullity. On 6 June 1912 the Court decreed that the marriage ‘be pronounced and declared to have been and to be absolutely null and void … by reason of the incapacity of the said Respondent [i.e. Daisy] to consummate the marriage.’

        The decree was made final on 16 December 1912.

        Interestingly, Daisy married again in 1913 and had two children by her second husband…

D      Whose ‘ventriloquial sketches’ caused ‘a great amount of laughter’ in 1899?

        The Herts Advertiser of 18 February 1899 carried a report on the ‘annual parochial gathering’ in King’s Langley, ‘an event always anticipated with interest in the district’. The entertainment included ‘lightning sketches’ by Mr Frank Dravine, solos and recitations by Miss Duane and Miss Ellis but it was Sidney Neech who seems to have stolen the show with his ‘ventriloquial sketches’.

E      Who travelled to Honolulu in 1917?

        Myra ‘Kate’ Goodson was a music student at the time of the 1891 census and in 1903, she married the composer, Arthur Hinton. In 1917, their names appear on a passenger list for the SS Siberia Maru, sailing from Yokohoma, Japan.

Transcription Challenge

We set you a real challenge for the end of the year, asking you to have a go at transcribing the whole of the page from the 1891 census, including the addresses, names, ages, occupations and birthplaces of all 31 people listed.

How do your results compare with those of our Family Tree Academy Tutor, David Annal?






4 Queens Road

George Hackney


Licensed Victualler


New Crompton

“Queens Arms”

Jessey Hackney






Daisy Mabel Hackney






Florence Bates


General Servant



6 Queens Road

George Sturman


Boot Manufacturer




Mary Ann Sturman





8 Queens Road

Benjamin S Morse


Watch Maker




Fanny Morse




Buckland Brewer


John S Morse






Fanny E Morse






Edith M Morse






Gertrude A B Morse






Fanny Banks


Jewellers Assistant




Annie Thompson


General Servant



10 Queens Road

Charles Goodson






Sarah J Goodson






Kate Goodson


Student Music




Ethel Goodson






Emily Durrant


General Servant


Bucks Hill

14 Queens Road

William S Parrott






Louisa E Parrott






Hubert A Iriver [?]


Student in Pharmacy &c

British Subject



Alfred W Hall


Student in Dentistry & Pharmacy




Jasper H S Parrott






Violet G Stapleton




St Albans


Lilian Darby


General Servant



16 Queens Road

William Neech




Great Gaddesden


Amelia Neech




Hemel Hempstead


Sidney Neech





18 Queens Road

Daniel Atkins


Chimney Sweeper




Eliza Atkins