Granny’s Auntie Ellen

If Ellen was my gran’s aunt then she must be my great great aunt. Needless to say, I never knew her but I did know she was a favourite of my gran.

Ellen’s birth goes back a long time. She was born on 7th September 1840, in Blythburgh in Suffolk. This was a couple of months before her parents married. Her parents were James Crosby and Mary Ann Smith. This begs the question of whether Ellen was a Crosby or a Smith – but it goes deeper than that. Her Mother, Mary Ann was a Smith – also born before her mother married a Cullingford, so young Mary Ann became known as Mary Ann Cullingford. So just possibly Ellen was a Cullingford. What with these possibilities and the fact that Helen and Ellen were interchangeable names, it’s no wonder I haven’t yet found Ellen in the official birth records. However, she was baptised at Blythburgh Church on 25th October 1840.

For the 1841 census Elenor Crosby lived with her parents in Blythburgh. By 1851 they had moved to Butley, further south in Suffolk. They had arrived there in about 1848 after a stay in Tunstall also in Suffolk.

In 1861 Ellen was a servant in Marylebone London.

Before 1871 Ellen married. The 1871 census shows Ellen as Ellen Snowden and her husbands as William Snowden from Capel St Andrew which is very close to Butley. But the couple had moved to Sussex – to Isfield in fact and William who had been a shepherd in Suffolk was now a game keeper in Sussex.

Once again, records rather have me beaten. I cannot trace a marriage although a William Snowling married an Ellen Smith in the Uckfield district in 1862. Isfield is in the Uckfield district.

William died in 1881 – before the census was taken – so that year we find Ellen as a widow. She was working as housekeeper to George Huntley – a young widower. This situation continued in 1891. But in December of that year Ellen became Mrs George Huntley.

And that’s where we find Ellen in 1901 and again in 1911.

In about 1912 Ellen probably accompanied her niece and great nephew to Lewes where they had Sticky Back photos taken. Ellen was now in her 70s.


Ellen died in 1921. George joined her in 1924. They are buried at Isfield and have a stone.


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One Response to “Granny’s Auntie Ellen”

  1. Blythburgh | Locksands Life Says:

    […] The most recent of my relatives to have been born in Blythburgh was my great great aunt, Ellen, who was the daughter of Mary Ann Cullingford Smith and her partner, James Crosby. Mary Anne and James also tied the knot after her birth and Ellen was always known as a Crosby but officially she was a Smith as well! Ellen has featured on this blog for I have a photo of her and my gran always described her as ‘a favourite aunt’. You can click here to see that post. […]

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