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George Blyth Family History

George Blyth genealogy 1875-1964

GEORGE BLYTH was the first child of Charles Blyth(e) and Elizabeth English, who were married sometime during the 2nd quarter (April-June) of 1875. According to the 1939 Register of England and Wales, he was born on 27 May 1875. Assuming this is accurate, this entails that Elizabeth was pregnant at the time of her marriage. George was subsequently baptised on 25July 1875 at Belford, Northumberland. At that time, his father Charles was a farm labourer living at Twizels Village.

In the 1911 Census, Charles and Elizabeth stated they had 11 children during their marriage. However, at the time of writing, only 10 have been found. This may suggest that Elizabeth had had a still birth. The known children are (dates refer to the date when baptised):

  1. George: 25 July 1875
  2. Robert: 3 May 1877
  3. Violet: 6 June 1880
  4. John William: 26 November 1882
  5. Andrew: 14 December 1884
  6. Walter: 20 May 1888
  7. Elizabeth: 23 November 1890
  8. Charles: 19 February 1893
  9. Agnes: 21 June 1896
  10. Arthur: 22 October 1899

Living with grandparents

It appears that, from a young age, George lived with his grandfather, rather than with his parents. In the 1881 Census, when George was just 5 years old, he is listed as living at Harehope Hall, Northumberland with his paternal grandfather George Blythe (52 years of age) and his grandmother Violet (54 years); together with their 29-year-old daughter Jamima (sic) and 24-year-old son Walter.

Ten years later, the 1891 Census lists George as still living with his grandparents but now at a cottage in Old Bewick, Northumberland: Jamima and Walter have moved out. His grandfather worked as a gardener and, at 15 years, George was working as a groom.

By 1901, at the age of 25 years, George was still living with his grandfather at Nursery Hill, Old Bewick, Northumberland. His grandmother Violet had died one year earlier at Harehope Hill End, Northumberland on 20 March 1900 at the age of 73 years. His auntie Jemima (sic) Ogle had now returned to the home as a widow, with her 12-year-old son Thomas. This is the first time that George’s occupation was given as Rural Postman (GPO).

Memorial Card for Violet Blyth died 22 March 1900
Memorial Card for Violet Blyth 1900 (grandmother)

George’s grandfather, presumably after whom he was named, died at East Lilburn, Northumberland on 30 November 1906 at the age of 78 years. George was 31 years at the time. Having lived with his grandfather all his life, one can surmise that this was a particularly stressful time for George: a loss of normalcy, a loss of routine, a loss of a loved one.

Memorial Card for George Blyth - died 30 November 1906
Memorial Card for George Blyth 1906 (grandfather)

Marriage

A year after the death of his grandfather, George married Mary Jane Tait on 11 July 1907 at Presbyterian Church, Glanton. He was 32 years old, and she was 26 years. [Note 1]

Living at Roseden

The 1911 Census lists George and Mary living alone at Roseden, Wooperton, Northumberland. George was 35 years at the time, had been married three years, and was still working as a Postman (GPO). Interestingly, George had taken a couple of photos set in his home hamlet: Roseden Cottage and Roseden Farmhouse.

Montage of Victorian postbox and rural countryside scene
Read about George’s career as a postman

Living at Percy’s Cross

The Census return for 1921 still shows George and Mary living alone [Note 2]. Now, however, they are living at Percy Cross (sic), Wooperton, Northumberland. George was 46 years old and once more listed his occupation as Postman. Of interest again is the fact that George has taken photos of both the Percy’s Cross and Percy’s Leap monuments, as well as the Percy’s Cross Cottage in which he lived with Mary:

BVPC0059W4
Percy’s Cross Cottage [Ref: BVPC0059]

George continued to live at Percy’s Cross Cottage with Mary into his retirement: the 1939 Register lists him as a retired postman.

Children

To date, there is no evidence that George and Mary had any children.

Death

The 1964 Probate Record states that George died on 14 May 1964 – just 13 days before his 89th birthday. He died at Preston Hospital, North Shields. His address was given as The Grove, Lisburn Street, Alnwick. His estate was worth £1043. His wife Mary had died seven years earlier on 24 October 1957 (aged c. 77 years).

George was buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Old Bewick, Northumberland with Mary.

George Blyth family tree [click to enlarge]

Postscript

What about George’s parents?

It appears that George never lived with his parents but was raised by his grandfather until his grandfather’s death in 1906. That said, George does seem to have lived in close proximity to his parents, either in one room of a two-room cottage or immediately adjacent to his parents. This is explained in the following timeline summary.

In 1881 George’s father Charles Blyth was living with George’s mother Elizabeth Blyth (née English) in Old Bewick with their 2nd and 3rd children: Robert and Violet.

In 1891 Charles and Elizabeth were living in a cottage at Nursery Hill in Old Bewick with their 2nd-7th children: Robert, Violet, John William, Andrew, Walter and Elizabeth. Interestingly this appears to be a two-room cottage, next door or adjacent to where George was living with his grandparents [Note 3].

Ten years later in 1901 Charles and Elizabeth were still living in the cottage at Nursery Hill in Old Bewick. Now, they lived with all ten of their children other than George and Violet, who was 20 years old at the time the 1901 Census was taken. One can plausibly assume that she moved out of the family home because she got married – although we have not investigated this. Once more, George appears to be still living next door or adjacent to his parents. He still lives with his widowed grandfather [Note 4].

By 1911 Charles and Elizabeth were living at Old Bewick with children 7-10 i.e., Elizabeth, Charles, Agnes and Arthur [Note 5]. By now George’s grandfather had died, George had got married and he was living with his wife Mary at Roseden, Northumberland.

It seems a little peculiar that, seemingly from birth, George lived with his grandfather and never returned to his parents’ home, despite all their subsequent children living with them. Again, it is tempting to think that there may have been some sort of social stigma at play: Elizabeth was pregnant at the time of her marriage and so, perhaps, the child was given to the grandparents in an effort to ameliorate this. Of course, this is speculation. It could just as easily have been an issue of economics – a young, newly-married couple may not have been able to immediately support a new-born baby – or any number of reasons.

Notes

  1. The marriage certificate of George Blyth and Mary Jane Tait confirms that George’s father was Charles Blyth, a woodman, and not William Blyth, as shown on several family trees on ancestry.co.uk.
  2. While evidently living alone, George and Mary had two visitors in their home on the day of the 1921 Census (19 June 1921): Joseph Stocks a draper’s assistant (20 years of age), and Mark Stocks a motor mechanic (18 years).
  3. The National Archives, ‘Census of England and Wales’ no. RG12/4271, 1891. George’s parents are listed under Schedule 17, page 3 and George was living in the next sequential entry, i.e., Schedule 18, page 4.
  4. The National Archives, ‘Census of England and Wales’ no. RG13/4849, 1901. George’s parents are listed under Schedule 23, page 3 and George was living in the next sequential entry, i.e., Schedule 24, page 4.
  5. Charles and Elizabeth Blyth’s 8-year-old granddaughter Sarah Jane English who was born at Eglingham, Northumberland was also living with them at the time of the Census.

Credits

  • Memorial Cards for grandparents Violet Blyth and George Blyth courtesy of, and with permission for use by, Chris Robinson of Powburn (personal collection, 2019).
  • We are grateful to Jane Glass for providing an initial sketch of George’s genealogy as part of her research into her own family history. This paved the way for a review and extension of an understanding of George’s family history (see below).
  • The research on which the above account is based was carried out by Judy Beaumont of Billingham, Tees Valley. Judy is a long-term friend of the Breamish Valley, having conducted various researches that have been published on this website (see: James William Atkinson, ‘The Thompson Tree’ of Jean Givens, The Old Powburn Shop and the Wooler War Memorial). We are very grateful for all her efforts.

Further information

Montage of Victorian postbox and rural countryside scene
George Blyth: Postman-Photographer
George Blyth Photographic Collection header
Discover the George Blyth Photographic Collection
George Blyth photographer header
George Blyth Photographic Legacy

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