The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Progress Report 2005

Progress in the following subjects in 2005 has been summarised under the following headings:

Family Tree Magazine
Family History
Brecht One-Name Study
Naval History: Sinking of SS Britannia 1941
Local History: Find the Lady!

Family Tree Magazine

I placed an advertisement in the March and April 2005 editions of Family Tree Magazine, in which the web-site was promoted for the first time. Reference was made to the One-Name Study, the Sinking of the SS Britannia and the Victorian Calling Book (Find the Lady!)

Family History

The web site became more of a working document, with:

Some time I plan to list the entries in the Parish Records obtained to date.

Family Tree

- Record of Each Person

The record of each person included in the Family Tree is in the form of an index card with each "card" having links to related people and a names Index

Family Tree Names Index


Initially it was not the intention to include every name obtained over the years. Instead I wanted to list our direct ancestors only. I have decided though that from time to time I will select another 100 names to add. There are now approx 200 people listed in the Names Index and I have used an asterisk * to denote our direct ancestors.

My Life

I added the information given to our daughter Helen and our son Steve by our parents when they researched the family tree in their first year at St George's School, Harpenden:

Bower Family Tree

Benjamin Bates Bower

I was able to solve the mystery of "whatever happened to Benjamin Bower" by obtaining his death certificate in 1876 (age 56) which showed that he reverted to being a tailor living in Raven Row, Whitechapel, near his brother Alfred who had a photographers' studio in Whitechapel Road.

William Bower

I made two visits to the London Metropolitan Archives and looked up the records of the training (correction) ship "Exmouth", which used to be moored at Grays in Essex, to which my grandfather was admitted in 1878 (age 10) and left in 1881 to join the Canadian owned "Bell" bound for New York as cabin boy.

This explains why he told my father that he had sailed on "blue-noses", i.e. he went to sea between leaving the "Exmouth" to go to sea before he joined the Navy in 1883.

The Jones Family

I obtained the 1880 marriage certificate of Martha Hannah Bower (Jones) and Frederick Hennenn in Stepney; they both gave their address as Charles Street. (Selina Hennenn was a witness).

The Hayes Family

After a fruitless search, I used the freebmd web-site to find the marriage of Thomas William Hayes and Elizabeth Bradbrook in 1854; bit of a surprise when their son Henry was born in 1849! Previously I had found Elizabeth's family in the 1841 and 1851 Censuses.

The new London 1891 Census solved a mystery as to who Stone Marsh Hayes (1881 Census) was. It turned out to be Thomas Hayes!

The Seabourn(e) Family

My great grandfather James Seabourn died in 1866. I obtained the marriage certificate for the second marriage of Ellen Maria Seabourn (formerly Holbrook) to John George Robson in 1872.

Collier Family Tree

The Colliers

I will continue to try to differentiate between a number of Colliers, in the East End, who were silk weavers. A marriage certificate for Thomas William Collier (father Thomas William Collier, Silk Weaver) in 1873 did have a witness James Benjamin Collier which may help me.

The Gardiners

Joan Hughes, Woman Aviator

On a U3A visit to the Society of Genealogists, I obtained a copy of an article which appeared in Family History Monthly (Edition 69 published in 2001), about the Air Transport Auxliary which Joan Hughes joined in World War II:

Joan Hughes, Woman Aviator


Following an initiative by the Society of Brushmakers' Descendants (, I was contacted about brushmakers named Marjoram and on searching my records found that I had had a similar request from the correspondent's cousin!

Brecht One-Name Study

Births, Marriages and Deaths

For the Brecht name, I added a list of the births, marriages and deaths registered in England since 1837, to the web site:

List of Brecht Births, Marriages and Deaths

Heinrich k/a Henry Brecht

On the two visits to the London Metropolitan Archives I proved that Heinrich Brecht and Henry Brecht were one and the same. Unfortunately the records of St Mary's Islington in 1808 (banns and marriage) did not give any further information, i.e. the couple's ages, addresses or parents' names.

John Christopher Brecht

A cousin found a very exciting entry:

John Christopher Brecht married Susannah Pardom on 25 May 1795 at St Mary's Whitechapel

But who were they!

Rootsweb Message Board

- Roots of the Brechts and Brights in the USA

In addition to the 4 lists mentioned above, I added information about the roots of the Brechts and Brights in the USA, from Frank Logue, Coordinator of the Rootsweb message board:

Roots of the Brechts and Brights in the USA

Indication of Population Distribution

I updated the summary: Indication of Population Distribution including some details of population in Belgium and Holland:

Indication of Population Distribution

Naval History

Sinking of the SS Britannia

Looking through my father's bookcase I found a book: The Secret Raiders by David Woodward, that I do not remember seeing before and have extracted some of the content:

Local History

Find the Lady!

- Victorian Calling Book

1891 Census for Hampshire

With the 1881 Census, I was able to print off the entries for the whole of Lymington and print off full details from the CD-ROM. The 1891 Census was harder work.

I purchased the Hampshire index to the 1891 Census published by the Hampshire Genealogical Society. The 1891 index gives areas by code. By using the codes, I printed off names of interest and identified some more names in the Calling Book, i.e. Archer Burton and Hockings.

I visited the libraries in New Milton and Lymington to view the Census on fiche and was able to find more potential matches.

West Galway Family History Society

The Victorian lady visited Galway in Jan-June 1885 and met approx 50 people. I e-mailed the West Galway Historical Society to ask if they could identify some of the people and places mentioned, some of which are difficult to read.There was no response.

Society of Genealogists

The historical records of Galway are limited but the Society did hold some directories and other publications which enabled me to identify key families in Galway's history and the correct spelling of some names.

Newspaper Article

I put a letter about the Calling Book in the local paper and followed it up with visits to local Historians.

Visits to Local Historians

I published an interim report and made it available to some local historians. They were able to identify some more potential matches and the availability of another source which I had overlooked, i.e. directories of Hampshire.

Visits to Local Libraries

I visited local libraries to find out what directories that they held and found some more potential matches.


In view of the number of potential people and places where they lived (either potential matches with the Calling Book or candidates to be the Victorian Lady), I put the information to date into a database.

This will provide information in various formats and which may also be updated.

Newlands Manor, Milford on Sea

The opportunity was taken to take a photograph of Newlands Manor where the West (later Cornwallis West) family lived.

A note on the family was added as an appendix:

The Extraordinary (Cornwallis) West Family of Newlands Manor

The Rookes of Lymington

I received an e-mail from Canada, with some very interesting information, from a descendant of Elizabeth Home (1810-1894). She married Leonard Charles Rooke (1797-1852), youngest son of Sir Giles Rooke and Harriet Sophia Burrard (two very important surnames in Lymington history).

Elizabeth and Leonard Rooke lived at Formosa House in Lymington and we know that our Victorian lady met the Rookes of Formosa and other members of the family including Mrs W Rooke and Mrs Rook (Woodside).

I added some photographs of Woodside Gardens:

Photographs of the Lymington area including Newlands Manor and Woodside Gardens

For the 10 Rooke entries, see Name Index:


Find the Lady! - Name Index

Nearly Found The Lady!

There are 3 addresses mentioned in the Calling Book which warranted further research, i.e. was it where the Lady lived or merely a place that she visited?

The following residents were identified:

6 Highfield, Lymington

Entry in Calling Book - Mrs Castle (1884)

Entry in Censuses, Directories etc:

1875/8 - Mrs Laura Castle
1881 -
1891 - Mrs Adelaide Taylor, widow of Major General Pringle Taylor


Efford Cottage, Milford (Everton)

Entry in Calling Book - Mrs Blackwait, Goff, Roberts, Warrens, West (1886)

Entries in Censuses, Directories etc:

1874/5 - The Misses Symonds (could be related to Theresa Symonds who married John Whitby and died at Newlands in 1850 and Admiral Symonds who died in Milford in 1868)
1881 -
1891 - Capt Henry Stewart Murray and his wife Mary


Hoopers Hill, Milton

Entry in Calling Book - Blunt, Mrs Clinton (from Ashley Clinton) (1882)

Entries in Censuses, Directories etc

1874/5 - Lt Col Legard
1878 - Capt Walter Hunt-Grubbe R N, C B
1881 -
1891 - Major James Tillyer Blunt and his wife Emma



At one time 6 Highfield was of great interest until I found that Mrs Castle lived there.

There does not appear to be any evidence that the lady lived at Efford Cottage nor Hoopers Hill. So for the moment, the conclusion must be that she lived in Lymington but where will have to remain a mystery!

Home Page

In view of the increase in the amount of information contained in the web site, I redesigned the Home Page, e.g. I have put all of the Names Indexes together:

Summary of Names Indexes

Colin Bower
December 2005

Links to:

Progress Reports - Index

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