A member of The Federation of Family History Societies
St James' Church, Haslingden
St John's Church, Bacup
St Mary's, Church Rawtenstall


Rossendale Branch Newsletter October 2010

Programme: 2010

Wednesday 6th October

Missing believed dead

Bill Taylor

Wednesday 3rd November

10 minute talks by our members.

Wednesday 1st December

Christmas Social.

Wednesday 5th January

Research & Advice

Research and Advice Sessions

at Rawtenstall library every Tuesday 1.30 – 3.30 pm and every Monday at Haslingden Library 5.30 – 7.30 pm

Rossendale Branch has a group of members who are on hand every Tuesday and Monday, to assist members of the public with their Family History enquiries. You will find us upstairs at Rawtenstall or Haslingden on the appropriate days, as indicated above. When contacting us with an enquiry, please include your membership number. Not a member? Then see the Benefits of Joining on our Home Page.

The LFHHS Resource Centre

The Society’s Resource and Research Centre at 2 Straits Oswaldtwistle, BB5 3LU is open every Thursday from 1pm – 5pm. and the Centre will now open on the 1st Saturday of each month 1pm


Irish Ancestors?

If you have Irish enquiries, our Irish Branch also has Advice & Research Sessions at the Staits on most Saturdays 1.00pm- 4.30pm

Coming Events

Saturday 13th November at the Berrick Saul Building, University of York.

Sex, Violence and Religion in the Northern Province 1300 - 1858

The Borthwick Institute for Archives is pleased to introduce a one day conference to celebrate the launch the York Cause Papers database. Topics will include the use of the Cause Papers in Local and Family History, ecclesiastical lawyers, memory and gender storytelling in the courts, tithes, penance and marriage. There will also be an introduction to the database. The price for the day is £18.00 which includes refreshments and lunch. Full details can be found at http://www.york.ac.uk/media/library/documents/borthwick/projects/Conference_Flyer.pdf

The York Cause Papers, records of the cases held in the church courts of the Diocese of York between 1300 and 1858, are the most extensive records of their type in the United Kingdom.


News Notes and Queries

Our Advice and Research Evening held at Longholme last month was very well attended and we were able to use our expertise and local knowledge to help those members who were able to join us, We are well aware that many of you are unable to attend in person but we are keen to help our out of County & overseas members whenever we can.

Recently, I noticed that there was a Rawtenstall related enquiry on the Society’s Members Forum from Sue Potts-Bury..

Sue was trying to make sense of a family diary which said:

22nd May - Aunt Fanny in Minehead Hospital.
29th May Aunt Fanny’s funeral: Left Accrington for Rawtenstall at 1.30 pm. Funeral at 2.30 pm.

Who was Aunt Fanny? Michael Hiluta checked the Rossendale Free Press around this date and found an article regarding a Frances Benson’s body having been transported from Minehead to Rawtenstall for burial, at Longholme Methodist church. We checked the Society’s microfiche of the MIs and were able to give Sue the location of the grave and all the people buried in it. As you can imagine, she was delighted.


by Sue Potts - Bury member no. 9019

What a tangled web our ancestors wove for us to untangle?

My research is mainly based on my BURY ancestors – most of whom came from Tockholes/ Darwen/ Liverpool areas and some were at one time hand and power loom weavers. But in doing my research I often go off on a tangent. The following is one of them:

My Great Grandfather Evan Marsden Bury from Moon’s Mill – which is now known as Walton-le-Dale, Preston - married Hannah Jenkinson – she was from Rydal, Westmorland. She was one of nine children – the last two being twins – Francis and Frances. They were born 20th July 1865 and Christened 17 August 1865 in Rydal, Westmoreland.

Francis married Joseph Benson (from Rawtenstall) in 1903 at Ormskirk, Lancashire.

A whole pile of diaries had come into my sister’s possession. They belonged to Mary Helena Harris nee Bury. She was my Great Aunt Lena – a truly lovely person. I am still ploughing my way through them. Some I cannot read as she learnt how to write in shorthand – and I believe that the shorthand is in Esperanto. The ones I can read are helping me in my research, but there are names that crop up and I say to myself "Who can that be?" Also in my possession are numerous photos –there was one photo; made into a postcard; of a sweet looking, genteel lady – on the back is printed "Tattersall’s Artists & Photographer, Accrington" and in my mother’s handwriting the words ‘AUNT FANNY’. My Parents died in 1996 and 1999; so a bit of detective work and a lot of presumptions had to be made. (A bad thing I know - but I’m fairly sure).

In the 1911 census; staying with Mary Jane Jenkinson at Ambleside, Westmorland, was a FRANCES BENSON 45yrs – sister, and a JOSEPH BENSON 57yrs – Brother-in-Law – Manager, Flag-Stone Quarry, born Rawtenstall. Also on that same census was Harold Bury, Nephew and Hilda Daisy Bury, Niece.

As I wasn’t too sure of my facts and trying to piece together notes from dates and names in numerous diaries was a headache; As a member of LFHHS I asked the forum for help and advice on how to check up on some facts. I live in down south in Hampshire so it’s none too easy for me to nip up to Rawtenstall and Accrington Libraries or the Record Office. Rita Hirst and Michael Hiluta of the Rossendale Family History Branch came to my rescue. In fact they told me that Frances is buried in the Benson family grave in the churchyard where the Rossendale branch hold their meetings.

Things were beginning to come together – here are just a few of the entries from Auntie Lena’s diaries with names of different people:

5th April - met Aunt Fanny. (Auntie Lena lived in Bridgwater, Somerset)
22nd May - Aunt Fanny in Minehead Hospital.
25th May – Aunt Fanny passed away 4 a.m.
27th May – Went with Hilda to Accrington. (Hilda Daisy Passmore nee Bury was not only Frances’ ’ Niece but she was also a Nursing Sister at Minehead Hospital and was the informant on her death certificate).
28th May – Francis (Jenkinson – Frances’ twin brother) & his son Willie arrived. Other visitors were Mrs Law and Mr. Law Snr. (Frances Step-Daughter’s in-Laws from Porter St. Accrington) Mr. & Mrs. Hollows and Mrs. Overstall
29th May Aunt Fanny’s funeral: Left Accrington for Rawtenstall at 1.30 pm. Funeral at 2.30 pm. Service conducted by Reverend Calvert.
30th May – Went to Rawtenstall to see grave. Called at Aunt Maggie’s. (?)

9th Feb – Gertie passed on. (I have at least two or three Gertrudes for Ancestors – which one? Thanks to Rita and Michael I now know that she is Frances’ Stepdaughter - the daughter of Joseph and his first wife Mary. Annie Gertrude (Gertie) was married to James (Jim) Law of 6 Porter Street, Accrington.)
12th Feb - Went to Accrington. Stayed night at Dora’s. (?)
13th Feb – Service at home then Gertie was cremated at Carleton.
14th Feb – Left Accrington for Rawtenstall. Gertie’s ashes laid in grave.

I have the death certificates of Frances and Gertie.. Frances died of Pneumonia and Gertie died of Chronic Endocarditis. Gertie’s full name is Annie Gertrude Law nee Benson. They are both buried in the Benson family grave with Joseph Benson – father and husband respectively of Annie Gertrude and her mother Mary along with other members of the Benson family. The grave is a square stone with a cross. Rita and Michael kindly gave a lot of information to me and I thank them very much.

Rita suggested that I get in touch with Rawtenstall library – which I did, and they also were extremely helpful; finding, scanning and sending me information and details that they found in their records.

Having gained the date of Gertie’s death; for some reason I checked the next quarter’s death register. There I found the death of Emily Gertrude Bury, another Great Aunt. She had been married to Harold Bury (the same Harold who was on the 1911 census at Ambleside) for only three years before he was killed in WW1 – I didn’t know if she had remarried or where she was, so I had been searching for Emily’s death registration for a couple of years. She had never remarried.

I wonder how many of you out there, reading this, recognise some of the names. I have been very fortunate that there are such lovely people out there willing to help a complete stranger – all the people on the LFHHS forum, Rita, Michael, Tricia Barnfield from Rawtenstall library and Tricia’s work experience girl. I thank them all very, very much. Please, all of you take a bow.

Sue Potts-Bury. sue@juniper.me.uk