Archive for January 2014

Mystery Monday: Burgoyne or Congdon! What was my gr-gr-grandmother's maiden name?

Category: Brick Walls

Hibbitt Family Tree section

John G Hellier & Mary Ann Burgoyne

Having recently sent away for some details about the children of John Gale Hellier and his wife, Mary Ann, I acquired by default a copy of the couple's marriage certificate amongst some documents which had been submitted to a Bristol orphanage re two of their children. This marriage has been a stumbling block for me for a number of years but a mystery still exists.

Marriage Certificate - John G Hellier and Mary Ann Burgoyne
The Marriage Certificate of John G Hellier and Mary Ann Burgoyne
(Click the image above to see a larger version.)

My great-grandmother's birth certificate shows her mother's name as Mary Ann Hellyer formerly Congdon. However, the recently discovered marriage certificate states that her maiden name was Burgoyne. They married at Shanagolden Church in the parish of Shanagolden in the County of Limerick - family legend had supported an Irish connection. I am going to need to obtain further certificates to see what they give as Mary's original surname.

The ceremony took place on 15th February 1871 and, unusually, the couple's first child wasn't born until 1878. John was in the Navy and I will have to study his naval service record in greater detail but, on first glance, it would seem that he was based in Plymouth much of the time. This is where John and Mary settled and had their children but perhaps she didn't come to this country immediately.

Place names: Tavistock and Plymouth in Devon; Shanagolden, Ardaneer and Foynes in the County of Limerick, Ireland.

[Why Mystery Monday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

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Site Updates - Surnames: Geake & Savory

Category: What's New at

Hibbitt Family Tree section

Edward C Savory & P Eileen Geake

I have added quite a number of facts and footnotes for my great-aunt, Patricia Eileen Geake (known as Eileen), and her American husband, Edward Carlyle Savory sr.

The couple met when Edward was stationed near Tavistock, Eileen's home town, during WWII. They married in 1945 and moved to America where they set up home and had twin boys. Sadly, Eileen died at the age of 41 years and it's understood that she suffered from multiple sclerosis.

Bill and Phyllis Geake, Eileen Geake and Edward Savory
My grandparents, Bill and Phyllis Geake, on the left
and Eileen and Edward on the right

Place names: Tavistock in Devon, Pontypridd in Wales, Richmond in Virginia, and Hyattsville in Maryland.

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Site Updates - The life of my 2 x Great-aunt Kate Louisa Hellyer

Category: What's New at

Hibbitt Family Tree section

I have added further details about my great-great-aunt, Kate Louisa Hellyer:

Born the eldest child in 1878 to John Gale Hellier, a stoker in the Royal Navy, and his wife, Mary Ann (nee Congdon), Kate had a difficult start in life. She was 12 when her mother died and was listed on the 1891 census as a 13 year old housekeeper in her father's home, no doubt looking after her four younger siblings who were also residing there. Three others were living elsewhere including her youngest brother, John, who had been born a few months before his mother's death and had been adopted.

Kate had only just turned 17 when her father died in 1895 and she was further separated from her younger sisters when they were sent to various orphanages.

In March 1897, she had an illegitimate child, Reginald William Hellyer, in the Devonport Workhouse. This must have been a frightening and awful time for her; she had no parents to lend her support and, it would appear, no other family members willing or able to help.

Kate married Thomas Hambly at the beginning of 1899 and her next child, Thomas John V Hambly, was born around the same time. It transpired that Thomas senior was not prepared to bring up Reginald so he was adopted out by Barnardo's to a couple named William James Parkes and his wife, Mary Ann (nee McCarthy).

Kate's first husband died during 1900, probably a short while before the birth of a daughter, Hilda Louisa Hambly, and the following year she married John Stone. Kate had several more children by John and the 1911 census shows that her two children by Thomas Hambly also lived in the same household in Laira, Plymouth. One can only speculate as to whether Kate might have been able to keep Reginald if she had met John sooner.

John Stone was a railway signalman and it makes perfect sense that the family should live in Laira as there is a railway depot there to this day. Kate might have lived there for the remainder of her life. My mum never met her great-aunt Kate but she is aware she lived in Laira because my mum's Auntie Lily (Lily Alice Geake) used to visit Kate. Lily bought my parents an iron for their wedding in 1959 with the wrong voltage because she had assumed the voltage for Plymstock, where my mum and dad were going to live, was the same as for Laira which was only a few miles away.

In 1931, Kate was widowed for a second time and she died in Plymouth in about 1955.

Place names: Devonport, Keyham and Laira which are all now within the city of Plymouth, plus Bovey Tracey and Ivybridge, all in the county of Devon.

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]