Meet the Relative

Charles Mann

Charles Mann was actually an in-law. My Great Granny was Sarah Ann Crosby and she had a sister called Eliza who was born in 1854. These two were born in Butley in Suffolk. Great Granny, like nearly all of the Crosby family moved away and she made her home in Sussex, at Isfield, but Eliza married Charles Mann in Butley on 24th December 1885.

Charles came from Yoxford and was born in 1856. Yoxford is a few miles north of Butley and we can find young Charles there in 1861 with his parents – father was a farm worker – and younger siblings. By 1871, teenaged Charles was a shoemaker’s apprentice. He was learning the trade that supported him through his life. He was still living with his parents in Yoxford. Ten years on, in 1881, Charles was still with his parents, but by now, as a fully-fledged shoemaker, he’d have been adding to the family economy.

Quite why or when Charles moved to the Butley area, we don’t know – but we have the wedding date and from then on we find Charles, Eliza and a growing family in Butley. Actually, their first two children were born in Chillesford. Charles remained a shoemaker or bootmaker according to 1891, 1901 and 1911 census.

I have a photo of Charles working outside as he approached old age.


I think Charles died in 1931 and Eliza in 1932.

The little extra in the story came in 1887 when my great grandparents, living in Isfield Sussex, had a baby boy they called Charles Mann Stevens. He surely must have been named in honour of his uncle and it suggests that despite distance and poverty, the two families certainly maintained contact. Sadly, Charles Mann Stevens died in 1888, the year his cousin, Charles Mann was born in Butley to Charles and Eliza. What a shame these cousins never had a chance to meet.

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2 Responses to “Meet the Relative”

  1. Janet Says:

    Reblogged this on Janet’s thread and commented:
    I hope to make my ancestors come alive the way this blogger has done.

    • locksands Says:

      I was lucky here that a book I was able to buy had information and photos of members of my family I didn’t know. I think we have to find all the sources we can and I always prefer stories to just dates. Even censuses allow you to develop a bit of a story with occupations, neighbours, possibly house size or fertility and sometimes even the way a person spoke can be gauged by how the enumerator wrote something down.
      Dates only tell us things that we really know – like we had (most of us!!) 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents etc. If that’s what we report on a blog then the chances are that the people out there won’t be interested at all. So I say do your best to turn those dates into stories – make the ancestors human!

      I wish I could do it all the time!

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