Brough, Busby, Smart, Woolven) family ancestors

Brough (Northumberland origins), Busbys (unknown origins), Hobbs (Banbury and Bewdley origins), Jones (Cheltenham origins), Smart (Gloucs and Black Country origins), Woolven (Sussex origins).

William Busby is unknown; we know of his whereabouts from 1888 to to 1901, but not the beginning or end of his life. In the 1891 and 1901 censuses, he said he was born on board ship in the Irish Sea. As there are a number of possible William Busbys from Oxfordshire, this study tracks those forward from known data from when they were in Oxfordshire in 1840 to 1860. The database thus includes some interesting insights into a rural 19th century life.

The database includes probabilities and possible aliases. These web pages show these (not always consistently) using question marks.

Full index (Work in progress)

Agnes and James home page || Full alpha list || in order of dob || Some 'Smethwick' links || contact web site editor


Frank William Brough 1916, Chiswick, Middx  
Joshua Jordan Brough 1874, Acton, Middx18/03/1874 
William Brough 1814, Redhouse, Longbenton, Northumberland31/07/1814William was born in the Long Benton (now Longbenton) area north of Newcastle. He later reported (to his son) that he spent his early years in the Long Benton/Killingworth area. In adult life (as can be seen from his marriage, census returns and places of birth/deaths of his children) he moved around England, notably taking a job (in the late 1840s) with the Great North Railway, and eventually settling in West London: first working as a grocer and then opening up a laundry. Much of what we know of his later life comes from what he told his son JJ Brough in the 1880s and recounted by JJ to his son in the late 1940s. For example, in a 1948 letter (exact transcription):

He was a voracious reader and studied Theology.

He married young and referred used to call us his "bakers dozen". I infer that he had 13 children, 12 by his first wife But I can only account for 8 believing the other 4 to die young as it was a matter of course to breed rapidly in those times knowing 1 in 3 would die. We have altered all that.

In all probability it was through necessity of needing more money that caused him in middle age to leave the GNR and start a Laundry in Latimer Road, Shepherds Bush. I sincerely hope that washing linen brought in more money than engine driving but from what I know of the business I am inclined to doubt it.

By 1889 he was seemingly suffering a type of dementure, losing his mind and his way home. Inevitably the laundry business failed and Aunt Sarah bailed him out to the tune of £50. But it was clear things couldn't go on indefinately and so we mortgaged Stanly House in 1893. A year or so afterwards William took to his bed and died 5/1/1898 of abdominal obstruction the same problem that affected Aunt Elizabeth in 1894.

Probate for his estate to the value of £225 10s was granted to his wife Mary (née Jordan).

GNR ran the line to York (wikipedia entry for GNR) and also operated over NER lines, northward to Scotland (wikipedia entry for the NER). He also seems to have run a shop for a short time in London, before opening the laundry (see census); something not mentioned by his son JJ Brough. It seems he was (like many from the Newcastle area) an engineer. We do not know how or where he met his first wife, but we do know that in 1839 the couple were in Paddington (London) and in 1841 they were in Lane End, Longton, Staffs, where William worked as an engineer in a pottery company. In 1843, he was in Morpeth, Northumberland, working as an engineman.

The family's location in 1841 is confirmed by the birth registration of his daughter Mary Ann Brough (1841-2), whose mother's name is given as Tomalin, and place of birth as Longton. So (like his great grandson Michael) he worked at least for some time in the pottery industry in Longton!

Augustine Busby 1819, Leafield, Oxon28/11/1819Augustine is a well-documented character from the Leafield/Northmoor/Finstock area (Oxfordshire). He dies at age 49, a typical (maybe even good) life expectancy for an Oxford agricultural labourer at that time.
Evelyn Busby 1920, Moilliett St, Smethwick, Staffs  
Hilda Busby 1896, Smethwick, Staffs Hilda lived into the 20th century.
James William Busby 1889, Hockley, Birmingham, Warks, England James was born in Hockley in 1889, and died young (36) of TB. Reported by Agnes Busby (wife) to this database's editor; all life certificates in editor's possession.

When Agnes and James were first married they lived at 73 Moilliett Street (then in Smethwick, now Birmingham, B18). The owner of that dwelling (and thus on the electoral roll) was his mother Harriett Elizabeth Busby (seen as Harriett or Elizabeth Busby in several electoral rolls). This property may have been a shop.

Rose Harriet Busby 1893, Smethwick, Staffs Rose lived well into the 20th century. Remembered as "Aunty Rose".
William Busby 1839, Northmoor, Oxon Another of the many William Busbys in Oxfordshire.
William Busby c1839, Leafield, Oxon This is the William Busby known to have been born and brought up in Oxfordshire. His father was Augustine Busby. His whereabouts after 1861 are unknown, as is the place and date of his death (his wife reported he was alive in 1871).
William Busby c1841, (on ship), Irish Sea?, (at sea) William Busby is James's father. In the only two census records we have for him (1891, 1901) he gave his place of birth as the Irish Sea circa 1841. But his whereabouts from 1841 to 1888 are a mystery. He may be the same William as one from Oxfordshire (but then, what was he doing in the Irish Sea?); see notes below.

His wife Harriett indicated (in 1911) census that he was deceased and that she had been married for 22 years; that would make his death late 1910 or early 1911.

Possible death recorded in Kings Norton in October-December 1905 (6c, p 207). Under investigation.

Rebecca Hart c1825, Elmstone Hardwicke, Gloucs Born in Elmstone Hardwicke: a small village/hamlet near Cheltenham. Moved (with her family) to West Bromwich in the 1870s (in the census, Watville Rd is shown in Handsworth, but it is very near the Hawthorns).
George Hobbs 1827, Banbury, Oxon16/12/1827George (and his brother and sister) left Banbury, where their family had been for some time and went to Aston. Typical of mid nineteenth-century migration from the rural workplace to the towns. One of a number of sons from the same family that became maltsters.
Harriet Elizabeth Hobbs 1859, Aston, Warks08/05/1859Unlike her husband William, Harriett's life is well-documented. She had five children who lived to majority, and one (name as yet unknown) who died as an infant. We have a portrait of Harriett and her husband William. Although Harriett spent all her life in Aston (Birmingham) or Smethwick, both her parents came from a rural background: her father George from Banbury and her mother Frances (Fanny) from Bewdley.

After her husband died, Harriett owned property (notably 73 Moilliett St), where she may have run a shop. As an owner of property, she was on the electoral roll.

John Hobbs 1780, Milcombe, Oxon02/07/1780John appears to have spent the first year or so of his life in the Bloxham/Milcombe area, then moving to Neithrop, and Banbury about 1800. He spent the rest of his life there as far as we know, although his whereabouts in the 1851 census are unknown.

John was married twice; he had at least 6 children by his first wife, and 12 by his second wife. One of his children (James) emigrated to the USA, and worked as a maltster. Joseph and George (sons from his second marriage) also became maltsters (in Aston/Birmingham) and John was himself a maltster as well as a labourer (the malting work may have been seasonal). Brewing was an important industry in 19th century Banbury. He lived to a great age for an early 19th century working-class man (over 80). Obviously an interesting man, reflecting what was happening in the Banbury area in the early 19th century.

Joseph Hobbs 1825, Banbury, Oxon22/11/1825Joseph Hobbs was born and brought up in Banbury, then moved to Aston with his brother and sister between 1841 and 1851 and became (like several in his family) a maltster. Typical of the rural to urban migration of the time.

After he married in late 1853, he stayed in Aston.

Allen Jones c1822, Cheltenham, Gloucs Born in Cheltenham, and trained as a wheelwright. By 1844, he was practising as a carpenter and lived in Tewksebury Rd, Cheltenham (Harper's Cheltenham Directory and Guide 1844, shown as Jones, Allen, referenced at to West Bromwich in the 1870s. Died sometime between 1891 and 1901.

He was living at 43 White Hart Row, the same address as his wife Rebeccah. This road is now partially destroyed and known as White Hart St.

Caroline Emily Jones c1856, Cheltenham, Gloucs The daughter of a wheelwright (Allen Jones) from rural Cheltenham. The family came to the West Bromwich area (then referred to as Handsworth in the census) sometime in the 1870s. When married, she lived mostly within a short distance of Victoria Park, Smethwick.

The 1911 census indicates Caroline had 9 children born alive and one of those had subsequently died).

Mary Jordan 1838, 22 Henry St, Marylebone, London  
Margaret Meeke 1750, Ruardean, Gloucs02/09/1750Margaret was married three times. Her second marriage (in Gloucester) was to Richard Read whose residence was Ruardean, and she clearly lived there in the Ruardean/Walford area after that, as when her second husband died and was buried in Ruardean, she married for the third time to Henry Smart from Ruardean (her residence was given as Walford). She appears to have children (Margaret and Henry) by her third husband Henry Smart at the age or 42 and 44. She lived until she was 77, and was buried just North of Ruardean and Walford in Upton Bishop. A remarkable woman!
Hannah Savage 1821, Barn Hill, Kings Norton, Worcs11/03/1821 
Hannah Sheward 1790, Rock, Worcs21/02/1790Hannah is also referred to an Ann (and Shuard/Sheward). Her father is unknown at present (Hannah and her brother Joseph may have been illegitimate): her mother Phebe Sheward married James Pennell in Kidderminster, 1798.
Harry Simmonds c1865, Eastbourne, Sussex, England Harry was reported by JJ Brough to FW Brough (both of whom knew him) in his 1947 letters to have been Ruth Symmonds illegitimate son, probably following an affair that Ruth had with an Italian waiter. This is consistent with his presence with his grandparents in Lewes in the 1871 census. So this seems to be certain. He was her illegitimate son.

On the face it, Harry was thus born in late 1862 or early 1863, in Eastbourne, where Ruth had been with her parents in the 1861 census. She may by then have been in service in Brighton. Certainly, there is a birth of a Henry Simmonds registered in Brighton in 1862. So she might have conceived the child in either Eastbourne of Brighton, and given birth at her parents house (common practice in those days), and then registered the birth in Brighton. We do not have the birth certificate to hand as yet to confirm this.

All the above seems plausible. Indeed, quite normal for mid 19th century illegitimate births. Except that Ruth was quite clearly only born in 1848, so she was only 22 or 23 by the time of the 1871 census — yet Harry was reported by his grandparents to be 8 at that time. Which would make Ruth only 14 or 15 when she gave birth! Possible, but very, very unusual. [Note that girls/women could marry once they were 12 until the 1920s in England. But births at such a young age were quite exceptional, and the mean age at which girls would have been able to conceive in 19th century England was probably about 16 (as opposed to the 12 to 13 of 2000).]

Given this discussion, the birth of Harry in 1862/3 must be considered putative as yet, until a birth certificate can be obtained.

Agnes Smart 1894, 4 The Avenue, Handsworth, Staffs Agnes was born in Handsworth (on the border with Smethwick), but lived most of her life in Smethwick (except for the period 1916 to 1923, when she lived in Moilliett St, as did her sister-in-law Phillis). After her husband James died in 1925, she brought up her 3 children on her own (although her sister Amy and brother-in-law Jack helped by looking after the children whilst Agnes was at work). From 1923, she lived in the same house until the end of her life (from 1945) with her daughter Evelyn and son-in-law Frank) and their children.

Agnes's early working career was at Baxters, the Parade, Birmingham (national phone central 2036): a company that stocked and sold nuts, bolts and screws. It is clear that Baxters was a family company, supportive of its employees. There was an annual outing to the Baxters' home in Worcestershire. It also participated in the Girls Friendly Society scheme, and Agnes was in this scheme for 3 years until she got married (the GFS was only for single women at that time).

Agnes ran a 'treble twenties' club (for those over 60) at St Marks church and was a local community warden for Greenfield Rd, into her 80s. In connection with this, she was interviewed by ABC television (it is believed the programme was broadcast on 17th October 1965).

After she retired (from the MEB) at the age of 65, Agnes visited Canada to see her sister Carrie (Caroline) and nephew (Joe Bradbury). She died in Dudley Road Hospital on the 5th January 1986.

Amy Smart 1885, Smethwick, Staffs After Agnes Busby's (née Smart) husband James died, Amy looked after Ken, Evelyn, and Peggy Busby after school, while Agnes Busby was out at work. At that time, the Pernell's lived near George Bett's School (the actual building was pulled down in the second part of the 20th century). As well as looking after her sister's children, Amy also looked after her own children of course. All this in a couple of rooms, with no running water; water was obtained from a tap in the yard (which included a horse stable), as reported by E. Busby. After he came home from work (unloading coal from barges), her husband John ('Jack') walked the children home to Greenfield Rd.
Caroline Emily Smart 1889, Smethwick, Staffs31/05/1889Caroline emigrated to Canada on the SS Montroy in 1924, departing Jan 29th 1924. She was to work for a friend of Miss A Sanders, Oakville, Toronto, who had paid for her passage. She travelled alone (with only £3), leaving her husband John at home in 75 Pool Rd. Her son joined her in 1929 (it is not clear about her husband, who was still living in Pool Road in 1929). She visited the UK at least once (see notes) and she was visited by her sister Agnes in the 1960s.
Henry Smart 1794, Ruardean, Gloucs13/07/1794Henry was probably born in or near Ruardean in Gloucestershire (or possibly a neighbouring area of Herefordshire such as Walford), He died in Dudley.
Henry Smart 1827, Dudley, Worcs02/09/1827 
Josiah Smart 1856, Langley Green, Oldbury, Worcs One of the key figures in this study. Josiah seems to have spent all his life within about a mile of Victoria Park, Smethwick. His grand-daughter remembered him living in Pool Rd
Mercy Symonds 1845, Tarring Neville, Sussex04/05/1845Mercy was married three times. She had 3 children with her first husband William, who died suddenly, leaving her penniless. She had to go back into service (she had been in service before she was married), leaving her three young children with her sister in Brighton (though her youngest at least later spent some time with her). Her two later marriages were to men she had been a housekeeper for; neither marriage lasted long. Her second husband died soon after the marriage, and she formally separated from her third husband only a year after they married.
Fanny (Frances) Taylor 1828, Bewdley, Worcs25/04/1828Fanny originated in Bewdley, Worcestershire and moved with the rest her family to Aston (Birmingham) some time in the 1830s. After she got married, she stayed in the area for the rest of her life.

At the time of her marriage (October 1855) she gave her age as 27, implying a birth between Oct 1827 and Oct 1828. Her baptism 25th April 1828 implies a birth that is probably after August 1827 (and before April 1828!). At her death, her age is recorded as 59, implying a birth between Sep 1826 and Sep 1827. Although some census ages have small discrepancies, we thus conclude she was born in 1827 or early 1828. She consistently gave her place of birth as Bewdley, which was the main settlement in the parish of Ribbesford (and thus where we would expect her baptism).

Fanny gave her residence as Highgate, Birmingham in her wedding certificate (1855). She was previously living in Frederick St, Birmingham (in service) in 1851. Highgate is just over a mile from Frederick St.

Florence Annie Woolven 1884, North St, Lewes, Sussex05/05/1884