Posts Tagged ‘Crosby’

Dad’s notes on relatives from Butley

June 23, 2016

Butley is in south Suffolk, not far from Woodbridge.

I came across a note dad had made back in 1968. He visited Butley with his mum. Butley had been the childhood home of her mum – my great grandmother. Her maiden name was Sarah Ann Crosby.

Back in 1968 he knew very little. I’d have been a teenager and probably not much interested.

Here’s the first part of his note.


Dad’s writing never was that easy to read so I’ll transcribe.

Butley – 11-7-68

A woman named Crosby is remembered by the village shopkeeper. She married Charlie Mann the village cobbler. They had a daughter, Mary Ann whom my mother remembers visiting them at Isfield. Mary Ann went to Canada or America. There was also a son, Harry, killed in World War 1.

None of the children at the village school knew the name Crosby.

We now know a bit more than this. Eliza Crosby did marry Charlie Mann, We know of five children. Charles was born in 1888, Mary Ann in 1890, William (sometimes George) in 1892, Harry in 1894, and Edward in 1896.

There is a second part to dad’s notes.


Aunt Ellen married a Snowdon in Sussex and later he died and she married Huntley. It was this aunt who took charge of Sarah Ann. Sarah Ann worked at Gibraltar Farm.

There was an Uncle Ted and Uncle Jack.

In fact my gran had nine uncles and aunts called Crosby as well as her mother, Sarah Ann. Gibraltar Farm appears to be in Firle. I know my dad always thought that Sarah Ann moved to Sussex when she was a girl. I think from census records she was over 20 so being looked after by her big sister Ellen may not have been day to day care, but maybe helping her find a place to work.

It was interesting to find Dad’s note – largely correct but written on spoken testimony from his mum only.

A grave at Butley

January 16, 2016

Sarah Ann Stevens (née Crosby), who lived some of her life at Ringmer in Sussex, came from a village called Butley in Suffolk. Ancestors beforehand were Suffolk people and many had lived in that little village of Butley. It’s a fair bet that many are buried in the churchyard there, nestled close by the lovely thatched church.

image002 But there is just one grave I have found there with a family headstone and here it is.


Now that’s not so easy to read so we’d better try to digitally enhance it.


It reads In memory of Sarah the wife of James Crosby who died Oct 1828 aged 66 years.

Sarah was my great great great great grandmother and I find it amazing that I was able to come across such a survivor. Subsequent members of the Crosby family would not have had money for headstones.

Sarah had been born Sarah Fisk and she married James in 1784 at Butley. I’ve never managed to trace her Fisk line back and these days I’m less bothered than I once was.

Arthur Crosby and Maria Last

July 18, 2015

I have a fondness for my relatives from Butley in Suffolk which goes beyond how much – or rather how little – I know about them.

Arthur Crosby is a case in point. He was born, probably in 1829 in Butley and was baptised at the parish church there – still a pretty thatched building –  on 8th March of that year. He was the son of my 3 greats grandparents James Crosby and Mary Last. He was actually the 11th of 14 children I know James and Mary had. He was the brother of my great great grandfather, another James Crosby who was born in 1815.

In 1841 Arthur was living at home with his parents and other siblings. His dad died later the same year. Arthur was still living with his mother and his siblings in 1851. He was always in Butley.

On April 26th 1857 Arthur married Maria Last.


I do like the entries in the register. We can see that Arthur was a labourer as father and father in law had been as well. Arthur made a mark whereas it seems Mary could sign her name. William was the name of Mary’s father. He and the other witness, Eliza Last could not write names.

The question arises as to how or whether Maria was related to her new mother in law, Mary Last. I haven’t looked into that.

Arthur and Maria’s first child, a son called Alfred was born in 1858. His birthplace was given as Capel St Andrew – a part of Butley.

For all the censuses from 1861 to 1901 Arthur lived in Butley and was an agricultural labourer.

Daughters were born in 1868 and 1870.

Arthur died in 1903.

Maria worked as a dressmaker and still lived in Butley in 1911. She died in 1912.

I’m not sure if there are any descendants. Alfred married Julia Collins, also of Butley but they do not seem to have had children. Arthur’s daughter, Annie Mara was born in 1868 and died in 1882. The younger daughter, Mary Caroline Crosby was still a spinster in 1911 and I think she died in 1918 still as Mary Crosby.

But of course, I’m happy to be told I’m wrong and that there are descendants.



March 6, 2015

Some of my long ago ancestors came from the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk. My three greats grandfather, Edward Cullingford Smith was born there in 1795. Now don’t get any idea that it’s a double barrelled surname and an indication of poshness. Oh no! It’s just that Edward’s parents, Mr Cullingford and Miss Smith weren’t married at the time although they did manage to tie the knot before the next child, Lucy, came along.

Edward’s first born was my great great grandmother, Mary Ann Cullingford Smith. From the genealogy point of view that lack of a timely marriage by her parents is a real curse for it meant that oh so difficult to trace Smith name went down to her. All the clues I can get to usage suggest that the Smith part was only used for those formal things – like birth and marriage certificates.

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.

As a little aside, I always reckon I can get a sense of how Ellen talked from the censuses. She was a Suffolk girl who moved to Sussex and enumerators – even her husband, married in later life, didn’t know Blythburgh and had to write down what she said. Her hubby, on the 1911 census wrote this.


That’s Blyburrey. The 1881 enumerator had written blibury.

Blythburgh is on the edge of the River Blyth and is surrounded by a marshy area. The village – and from the name you can tell it was once an important place with Burgh status, sits atop a little hill. I can’t say the church is a favourite of mine. It is simply vast – also an indication of past wealth in the area – and very ornate. I might prefer more simple and homely, but it is impressive and it stands out as a beacon from miles around.

On a visit to that church I purchased a piece of art showing the village across the marsh and river.


It is always so hard to snap a picture behind glass. Glass reflects and that photo doesn’t do justice to the original which has been created using pastel colours.


There’s the village with the church sitting atop the little rise in the ground. I love it so I say a big well done and thank you to the artist.


Paul Bennett is Paul O’Leary Bennett and he is a man who clearly loves his home area – Blythburgh. In writing this blog I have found his web site and I can tell you I drool over his pictures. They catch the atmosphere of the Blythburgh area so well.

In case anyone thinks this is a bit of a commercial, I don’t know Paul and he doesn’t know me.


Frederick Crosby

September 15, 2014

Meet the Relative

Frederick Crosby was my great great uncle. I never knew him.

He was born in Tunstall in Suffolk in 1845. His parents were James Crosby and Mary Ann Cullingford Smith who were my great great grandparents. Don’t get any idea that the double barrelled surname of Mary Ann implied any kind of high status. It was quite the reverse. Her father was born out of wedlock and was officially a Smith but used the name of his dad (and mum when they married) of Cullingford.

But let’s look at Frederick. By 1851 his parents had moved down the road to Butley and we can find Fred there for both the 1851 and 1861 censuses.

Frederick then became a part of the family exodus from Suffolk and in 1871 we find him working on a farm near Tillingham in Essex. Several members of the Crosby family moved there.

But agriculture was very depressed and Frederick moved to Durham to become a miner. Here he married a girl from East Anglia called Ann Smith. I say a girl, but she was already 41 when they married in 1878. She was a widow and her maiden surname was Buck.  They had a daughter, Mary Ann Crosby who was born in 1880. She died in 1960.

In 1881 Fred, Ann with children from her first marriage and baby Mary were in Consett and Fred was a miner. The 1891 address was lovely – Delight Bank in Collierley, Durham.

Ann died in 1897. There is a memorial card.


In 1901 we find just Fred and daughter Mary Ann in Collierley with Fred now working as a roadman.

Fred remarried in 1904 his wife was Elizabeth Skipper. She was a widow, nearly twenty years younger than Fred. She brought her children to the marriage. The following year they had a son, also Frederick Crosby.

I wonder if this photo of Fred senior dates from around that time.


The 1911 census shows the family in Collierley.

Frederick died in 1929. Elizabeth in 1944.