The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

What was new in 2017?

Project Progress

Another interesting year with progress made in the Family History, Silk Weavers named Collier and Find the Lady! Projects

No notable progress was made on the other 2 projects:

Sinking of the SS Britannia

The Big One!

Family History

As well as the Brecht One-Name Study below, potential progress has been made with the Gardiner Family Tree

Gardiner Family Tree

I did a random search to try and find John Gardiner's parents and may have found his christening:

Saint Matthew, Bethnal Green

John Gardiner born 14.7.1790 bp 1.9.1790
(Parents William & Elizabeth Gardiner)

There is a possible marriage of William & Elizabeth but this is speculation:

St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey

William Gardiner
married 12.11.1788
Elizabeth Hazelman

Brecht One-Name Study

I was pleased to hear from a branch of the Brecht Family Tree for the first time. The enquiry from the correspondent/cousin made me look at the 1891 Census records while I had the papers out.

I found that one of the missing entries for Edward & Clara Brecht had been recorded by the enumerator as Bright.

I also did some research into the name Lucy Ann (Cornwell) Brecht.

Research September 2017

In September 2017, I tried something that I have not tried before, i.e. to put a single entry in the name of a person named Brecht into Ancestry and let the whole database be searched.

Brecht is a rare name in the UK and I entered:

William Brecht
George Brecht
Charles Brecht
Edward Brecht
Henry Brecht
Julia Brecht

Entries from the database included:

- The Civil Registration of births, marriages & deaths
- Parish Records
- Probate Records
- Passenger Lists (by way of a link which appeared to require payment!)
- British Phone Books
- Electoral Rolls
- Local Directories

Whereas previous searches had shown the surnames of spouses who had married Brechts, these random searches also gave first names.

I did not respond to every record but I did come up with some additional information:

1. Some entries in Parish Records

Entries in Parish Records

2. Some entries in the Probate Registers

Entries in the Probate Registers

3. Entries in some Other Records

Workhouse, Stepney

Mary Brecht (54) Laundress
Henry Brecht (14)

Admitted 7.6.1862 Discharged 9.6.1862

Poor Law Removal& Settlement Records

Poplar Union - Order of Removal 6.3.1907

Sidney Brecht aged about 11 years
John Brecht aged about 8 years
Ethel Brecht aged about 4 years

- living in No 14 Cottage Grove and the Infirmary, Mile End Old Town
- father Edward Brecht (now absent) previously at 15 Southill Street
- by Clara his wife (now deceased)

Notes have been handwritten on the documentation:

- father left children at sisters in Rowsell Street
- wife died in ................1906
- previously in High Street, Poplar
- 15 Southill Street will set up
- no idea where father is

Note I had already noted in my summary of the 1911 Census entries that Edward Brecht had hit on hard times:

Entries in 1911 Census

4. First Names of Spouses Obtained

Brecht Spouses where first names found

5. Names where Spouses’ First Names not obtained

Brecht Spouses where first names not found

6. Entries in the name of Barnett-Brecht

Entries in the name of Barnett-Brecht

Additional BMD Entries

When I lived nearer to and worked in London, I made countless visits to Holborn and Islington to record entries in the Births, Marriages and Death registers (before they were moved to Kew).a requirement for a One-Name Study. These records were available in large heavy ledgers, in 4 quarters, which had to be hefted! I recently checked the Ancestry transcriptions up to and including 2005 and found 4 additional entries:


1992 - Rose M. Brecht
Ipswich December (Donald O. Taylor)
One I missed!

2003 - Paul M. Brecht
December (Rachel E. Bagulay)


2003 - Molly Pauline Brecht
Worthing August (DOB: 3.6.1916)

2005 - Ellen Eva Brecht
Brentwood February (DOB: 6.5.1902)

Electronic Filofax

After all these years, I have still not found the bp of my Great Grandfather George Frederick Brecht born c 1834/5 , giving his mother's name (we are largely in the dark about the family from 1819 - 1837).

Also I am not 100% certain about the German ancestors of my 2 x Great Grandfather Heinrich/Henry Brecht.

For the moment, I have decided to show the family tree in the Electronic Filofax with the potential parents of Harriet Piper (Henry's second wife, married in 1837)

I have assumed that the information about Henry's German ancestors is correct and have added it to the family tree.

I hope to give the Brechts the Big One! treatment this winter, when more information may come to light.

Silk Weavers named Collier

William & Hannah Collier

The year began with some more research into Silk Weavers named Collier.

A descendent of William Collier and Hannah Hood contacted me and it encouraged me to find an entry for William & Hannah in the 1871 Census, still living in Diamond Court.

Abraham& Ann Collier

While I had the papers out, I had another look at other Colliers in the 1690- 1710 years and found another Silk Weaver, Abraham Collier Silk Weaver Number 2000, the earliest entry for a Silk Weaver to date. The 3 earliest entries have all been at St Dunstan's in Stepney.

Abraham Collier married Ann Russett 5.8.1694 at St Dunstan's and it appears that the couple had 12 children,
according to bp records at St Botolph's, Bishopsgate, St Dunstan's and St Leonards, Shoreditch.

The entries in the St Dunstan records state that Abraham was a weaver in Bethnal Green and Spitalfields.

The entries in the St Leonard records give the family address as Hollywell St.

It could be that some of the family became weavers.

Abraham & Elizabeth Collier

In looking for other Abraham Colliers, I found a series of strange entries:

Fleet Prison

Abraham Collier
married 8.6.1750
Elizabeth Farmer

This was a clandestine marriage under the Rules of the Fleet, but was recorded in 2 church records:

St Botolph, Bishopsgate

Abraham Collier, Weaver of St Botolph, Bishopsgate
married 8.6.1750
Elizabeth Farmer

Unnamed "Spitlefields" Church

Abraham Collier Weaver of Spitlefields
married 8.6.1750 (against the date, the word "Gillotts" is written)
Elizabeth Farmer


Parents of James Collier

As shown in a Timeline, Abraham & Elizabeth could be the parents of Chris' ancestor James Collier:


New Silk Weaver

In typing up some records, I reviewed the information we had on Family 6 and found the marriage of James Collier and Mary Ann Vickers, which showed that James' father was John Collier, Silk Weaver, who was new to us.

I temporarily set up a Family 4 with James& Elizabeth Collier of 9 Virginia Row, Bethnal Green (1851), whom I could not marry up with any other Family.

Things we wish we knew

For some time, I have wanted to publish a summary of what we have found out to date and things we wish we knew,under each family. At long last, I brought the summary to a form that might be published:

I am sure that there are still Silk Weavers named Collier we are yet to find, which may mean that some of the Collier Silk Weavers Families in the Register of Families may link up in some way.

I have reached some conclusions to date:


Find the Lady!

I have proved that it was Mary (Fawcett) Murray, wife of Major Henry Murray, who kept the Victorian Calling Book that my mother bought on Lymington Market.

Ruby Claudia Stuart Murray

A correspondent sent me a picture of both sides of a condolence envelope, sent to Henry & Mary's daughter Ruby, from his collection. It was edged in black and addressed to:

Ruby C.S. Murray
Hoopers Hill
New Milton S.O.

The envelope was stamped Cambridge 4 May 1908 and stamped on the back Brockenhurst R.S.O. postmark 5 May 1908.My correspondent explained that this was unusual and interesting.

Copies of the front and back of the envelope may be seen by clicking the link below:

Found the Lady again and once more!

He directed me to the website about GB Railway Sub-Offices and Postmarks:

GB Railway Sub-Offices (R.S.O.s)

It appears that until 1900 there were only a few Railway Sub-Offices (R.S.O.s) which used postmarks to identify their status. From 1901 a large number did, but the R.S.O. designation was abolished in 1905.

In 1901 Ruby Murray was aged 9 and lived with her parents at Efford Cottage, Everton per 1901 Census (the family also lived there at the time of the 1891 Census).

Major Murray's address was given as Hoopers Hill, Milton in the release of a marriage settlement trust in 1922. Use of the old name Milton is a little odd, because a Mrs Newhook opened a New Milton Sub Post Office opposite the station and the new name of New Milton was adopted in 1896/7.

Found the Lady again and once more!

One of the members of the Milford on Sea Historical Research Discussion Group found the graves of Henry & Mary Murray in the graveyard at All Saints Church, Milford on Sea.

This inspired me to review the dates that the Murrays were in Hoopers Hill including the 1911 Census. A fuller account may be found by clicking on tnhe following link:

Found the Lady again and once more!

Major Pringle Taylor

A correspondent sought further information about Major Pringle Taylor who lived at Pennington House. The house is not located in Lower Pennington Lane near the Oakhaven Hospice as I thought, but in Ridgeway Lane.

Visit to Galway

It was the Galway entries in the Calling Book in 1885 that provided the final piece of the jigsaw that proved that Mary Murray was the lady who kept the Calling Book.

There were a number of outstanding questions, so it was exciting to have the opportunity to visit Galway, though with mixed fortunes!

Visit to Galway August 2017

Colin Bower
24 December 2017

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