Family Mysteries

My main incentive for posting about Family History is the collection of letters and other documents which I inherited am am attempting to curate. I am filling in the gaps by Internet research, but there are some things I have not been able to find. I am listing them on this page so I can find them easily to research at suitable opportunities.


General Webster

Reputed to have been ‘a friend and admirer of General John Burgoyne’ (1722-1792), he was reputed to have named his son William Burgoyne Webster, He was a military man who traveled around a lot.

Having William Lawrence Burgoyne Webster (1867-1869) in the family lends credence to this, but I can’t find the son. The earliest William Webster I have good information about was William Webster (1796-1888), born and baptised in Canterbury.


Was the Harriet G. Wilson (niece – born about 1878) staying with Percival J Webster (1865-1904) in the 1901 Census related to Martha Ellenor Frances Enstone Wilson (abt 1873- ?) – who married Arthur Reuben Webster (1858-1936) on 17 Feb 1901 – his second marriage

When did Bessie Manning (1844- ?) (Arthur Reuben Websters first wife – married 14 May 1882), who had been married to Adolphus Hamilton (1846-1880), die – it must have been after 1891 (when she is in the Census with Arthur) and before 1901 (when he is a widower)


There is a probate record dated 16th March 1934 for a George Cansdale of 90, Mile End, Colechester who died 14th February 1934. Was this really George Edward Cansdale born in 1838, who was in Copford in 1851. Having married Elizabeth Maria Watts in 1860 in Bethnal Green they should be together in the 1861 Census. She died in 1868, which may be why the above probate went to Cecil George Cansdale and William Edward Cansdale, Rose Gardeners.

Harold James Cansdale was born in Fordham, Essex in 1866, where his parents show in the 1871 Census as George and Mary, with Mary being born in Aldham, Essex about 1843. Was she Mary Ann Garwood who married in 1860 in Colchester ?

Where was Harold James Cansdale in 1901 ? – and in the 1881 Census.

There is a George Cansdale born about 1840 in Copford, who married Mary Keble (born about 1842 in Aldham, Essex). Their children included George William Cansdale (1871 , Dalston-1972, Colchester), whose children include George Soper Cansdale.

Alice Grace Cansdale (1913-1931) – probate record.


When did Emma May (Born 5 Jan 1852) die, and where was she in the 1871, 1881 and 1901 Censuses (she is with her parents, aged 9 in 1861, and at 4 Chipstead Street in 1911, and Fulham Hospital in 1939.

Peter Findlay (1850-08-10, Tealing Forfar) probate record – He married Harriet May)


Is Jane Alexander Bryson who married Sir Arthur Hulin Gosling (Director General of the Forestry Commission and KBE in the 1955 Birthday Honours) in 1931 and died in 1969 related to the Brysons in the family tree ?

How many Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh were nominated by William Thompson

Research Electric Light in Leith (in relation to William Alexander Bryson)


Who was the William Langdon (and his son) who were owners of the Foundry at Marahamchurch. (John Brimmel married an Ann Langdon in 1852).

When did Mr Langdon (the son) sell the Foundry – was it 1856 ?

Who are the C and W Hillman (longstanding employees) who bought the Foundry in 1912.

Where are Henry and Edward Box (owners of the Foundry up to 1886) in the 1881 Census (and the 1891 Census)

Who was living at the Foundry from 1891 onwards ? (or even 1887 onwards).


I have not found a Census record for these Braunds

George Brand (1812-1901) – 1891 – Ann, his wife, and George and Agnes are at Strancliffe, but he is not there.

William Braund (1798-1890) – 1891

Mary Braund (1796-1876) – 1871


John Reitze, son of Justus, was born on 25th September 1830, but is missing from the 1841 Census. Did he die before then.

I can not find an 1851 Census record for Justus, or Elizabeth (his wife, rather than daughter).

Death date for Elizabeth Reitze – it is before the 1871 Census.


Mary Ann Lines (1850-1882)

Census 1871 (working as a housemaid at 100, Guildford Street, St Pancras)

Marriage Certificate to Benjamin Fitzhenry in 1875

Who made the chess table ?

In my Grandmother’s house there was a chess table, which was a life size version of the one in the Library of Queen Mary’s Dollshouse.

When my grandmother died she left it to my cousin, Toby, as he had given her a set of Staunton chess pieces to go with it. Unfortunately he has died, and I have no idea what has happened to that chess table.

According to family lore it, and the one in the Queen’s Dolls House had been made by a relative, but I do not know who that would be. According to the Royal Collection Trust it was made by Jaques of London, and “This rosewood chess table is an exact copy of a Chippendale table in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. It was made in 82 pieces and inlaid with rosewood and ivory squares.”

It could have been made by Arthur Williams Box – as he left other items to my grandmother.


  1. Hi – I can clarify some of your questions relating to the Box family of Marhamchurch. The John Box to whom you refer was the son of William Box (1759-1813) & Thomasin ( Heard) of Marhamchurch. John, (bap. 1787) became a clock maker and iron monger in Launceston. Listed in Pigott’s Directory in 1830 and in Pigott’s and Kelly’s Directories 1844 as running ‘an iron mongers and clock making business in Westgate Street.’ I believe this was the John Box who made the model beam engine referred to in the letter of Margaret Box. In 1841 he is listed as living in Marhamchurch with his wife Sarah, five children and his 75 yr old widowed mother Thomasin. John’s brother Thomas Box (1792-1847) is my great- great- grandfather and Thomas’ son Henry (1837-1908) my great- grandfather.

    1. I am fairly certain that John Box married Elizabeth Braund (1793-1849), who was the daughter of William Braund (1766-1840) and Mary Grace Badcock (1772-1843). Braund appears as a middle name in their eldest son (William Braund Box) and daughter (Mary Ann Braund Box). I think it was Daniel Box, married to Sarah Rider who was living in Marhamchurch in 1841, with Thomasin, and children John, Thomas, Henry and Mary. I am beginning to think that my mothers references to Sarah Pope are a red herring and that John was indeed the son of William Box and Thomasine Heard, and brother to Thomas, and Daniel. I have found John Box as a Clockmaker in Launceston in 1830 at

  2. I see from some web pages on the Royal Dolls House that several items were made for the house by specialist craftspeople but were donated by the companies that sponsored it. So (possibly) Jaques had the table made for them, then it was donated??

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