Saturday, April 20

Research Trip to Folkestone (part 3) - The Holy Grail

The Musgrave and Le Butt families lived and worked in Folkestone from around 1840. As part of our research into their lives and times, we visited Folkestone for a research trip from 3rd to 5th April 2013. We have described some of what we discovered in previous posts at ...

Tthis post describes the final, dramatic twist to our trip ... the Holy Grail. We were aware of the London Gazette entry describin the formal winding up of the Musgrave & Co business by Reginald Bradby's daughter, Sheila, on 26 August 1972. Sheila died in 2006, after her sister Patricia in 1998, so it appeared that this was likely to be a dead end. However, the address given in The London Gazette entry had been a Musgrave family home since 1938 so I had planned to call there on what I thought would be a highly spurious off-chance that I might find some sort of clue. Then, from one of the records that we found in the Heritage Centre, we came across a new name, P M Etchells. This was overstamped on to a Letterhead as a company director .. and was the signature on the letter itself (see: Part 2 - Photos, Docs and Ephemera). So, armed with this snippet, I called in at the address, still half-expecting to come away with nothing - but .. imagine my surprise when it turned out the occupants were the son and daughter-in-law (and his wife) of P M Etchells, formerly Patricia Mary Musgrave, Reginald Bradby's daughter, making thm my second cousins 1x removed, great grandson/daughter of William Robinson Musgrave and great-nephew/neice of George Clarke.

Well, feeling rather shell-shocked, we were invited in and spent about four hours with our new-found relatives going through the whole family tree and everything that had led up to our trip to Folkestone. They had actually lived at 26 Sandgate and both have distinct memories of the business and the family. More important even than theses memories, though, they also have a huge array of records, documents, memorabilia and photographs, including Joseph Robinson Musgrave's original parchment will .. and Joseph John Musgraves's family bible with it's handwritten introductory pages listing all the details of family births, deaths and marriages from 1853 to 1883.

In the realms of amateur genealogy, I don't believe that it actually gets any better than this ...

Discover your family story at Genes

Monday, April 15

Research Trip to Folkestone (part 2) - Photos, Docs and Ephemera

As part of our research into the Musgrave and Le Butt families in Folkestone from around 1840 and, particularly, the life and works of George Clarke Musgrave, we visited Folkestone for a research trip from 3rd to 5th April 2013. We spent a considerable amount of time in the Heritage Centre and came up with quite a hoard of photographs, documents and general Musgrave & Co ephemera ... here's a small selection

28 & 30 Sandgate - Musgrave Home and Main Business Premises

24, 26 & 30 Sandgate - Musgrave Shops

Musgrave Delivery Van

Joseph John Musgrave Fined for Refusing Jury Service
Folkestone Chronicle 30 Jun 1866
Discover your family story at Genes

Friday, April 12

Research Trip to Folkestone (part 1) - Properties and Addresses

As part of our research into the Musgrave and Le Butt families who lived and worked in Folkestone from around 1840, we visited the town for a research trip from 3rd to 5th April 2013. From our records, we know that both the Musgraves and the LeButts lived in a number of properties. Unfortunately, many of these are now gone but some are still there and, from some old photographs of others that we found in the Heritage Centre, we managed to solve a couple of address riddles.

1. We assumed that the LeButt properties at 5 Broad Street and 5 Broadmead Terrace may have been the same following a change of street name. Well, the street names did change ... but not how we thought. In fact Broad Street disappeared and became part of High Street in the late 1860s - then the whole lot was renamed as The Old High Street when large parts of Folkestone were rebuilt after the war bombings. And what may be even more interesting for us is that J J Musgrave Drapers was at No 7 High St in 1871, right next door to Thomas LeButt's business at No 5. J J Musgrave and Sarah Anne LeButt were married at this time but I wonder whether they might have met and gazed lovingly into each others' eyes over a shop counter ??
[note: I am aware that this is most probably a totally unrealistic, romantic notion and it is far more likely that following the death of his first wife, Grace Button, the previous year, J J Musgrave needed a new mother for his children and a re-affirmation of his status as a businessman, family man and pillar of society ... and Sarah Anna just happened to be around]

2. There has been some confusion about No. 12 The Leas regarding who lived there and when .. and about the 1891 census mix-up regarding William Robinson and Catherine Grace Musgrave being listed as son and daughter of John Moore who lived at No. 11. (see: Why You Shouldn't Trust Census Returns) Well, it turns out that this was not as silly as it might sound because, as in (1) above, some of the streets were renamed in the 1860s. Probably more relevant, though, is that No 11 The Leas was a hotel and, architecturally, it had absorbed part of No 12. In the attached photos you will see that there is a connecting lobby (single storey) between the two properties and in fact, the hotel (No 11) included the right hand half of the adjacent building (No 12). The LeButt and Musgrave residence at No 12 was in the left hand half of the house as you look at the Moores Hotel image .. and it is the first building on the left (with the 3-storey flat roofed extension) in the image entitled 12 The Leas

12 The Leas

12 The Leas and Moores Hotel
Discover your family story at Genes

Tuesday, April 2

Why you Shouldn't Trust the Census Returns

There are some things in life .. and in genealogy .. that we should all be able to trust as perfectly correct all of the time. For me, the meticulously compiled census documents recorded for the whole of the country every ten years have always been one such touchstone of reliability - but, after finally breaking down one of my brick walls, I have now learned that this is definitively not the case.

In the 1891 census, there is no listing for George Clarke Musgrave at any of the several properties owned or lived in by the Musgraves in Folkestone. Why?, well it turns out that he was actually in Maidstone, at the home of one Sarah Reif, a dressmaker, where he was probably on a business errand for his father .. but his name on the census return has been spelt as "Murigage". Then, to compound this even further, George Clarke's siblings, William Robinson and Grace Catherine, who were actually living at No. 12 The Leas are listed as the son and daughter of a Mr John Moore who is a Boarding House Proprietor and Head of House at No. 11 The Leas. Not content with this, the census enumerator then decided to make things even more confused by listing the two servants and the two boarders staying in William and Grace Musgrave's property at No. 12 - and the seven occupants of No. 13 as actually being resident in No. 11 .. ???

So, one census return, three relatives that I was attempting to research and, on just two of the two hundred or so pages of the census, fourteen errors. A lesson well and truly learned, methinks ...

1891 Census - George Clarke Musgrave

1891 Census - 11, 12 and 13 The Leas
Discover your family story at Genes