Search This Blog

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Some Records at the London Metropolitan Archives I'd Like to See

I can spend hours seaching the website of the London Metropolitan Archives.  Here are some records related to the Elliot family which I would like to see. In some cases, the descriptions alone give us additional detail to the information we already have.

1) Elliot, Robert.
from the collection of the Corporation of London, dated July 1800
Company:  Curriers Admission by Servitude/apprenticeship, master Thomas BURTON, Newport Street, Middlesex, currier, Father:  Charles ELLIOT, Hayes, Middlesex, Victualler.

That's our Robert!  This must be his formal acceptance as a currier.  Thomas Burton, his master, was also his brother-in-law, husband of his sister Lydia. I can't find a corresponding record for any of his brothers.

2)  Insured:  Alexander Maxwell, 21 Bell Yard Temple Bar Bookseller.
May 3, 1819
Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance Group

Alexander Maxwell was the husband of Mary Elliot (daughter of Charles and Lydia Elliot).  It would be interesting to see what he was insured for.

3)  Admission of Samuel Stone, upon surrender of Mary Bailey, formerly Mary Hatch, widow of Edmund Bailey, and Richard Hatch, eldest son and heir at law of William Hatch.
June 7, 1805
This pertains to a property transfer in Hillingdon. The Edmund Bailey mentioned in this record may be Lydia Bailey's brother, rather than her father.

3)  Papers of Executors of Charles Elliot, Deceased, Legacy duty, forms, accounts etc.
ACC/0538/2ND DEP 3714
I have a copy of Charles Elliot's will, but these papers, in the files of Woodbridge and Sons, Uxbridge, the Elliot family solicitors, would give a more detailed account of what he left behind.  Charles Woodbridge of this law firm was related to the Elliot family by marriage.

There are also several files in the archives relating to Josiah Elliot's bankruptcy.  For example:

4)  Drafts and Correspondence Concerning a Proposed Release
ACC/089/02/08/0014 (to 0025)
The Adam and Eve:  from the Collection "Fuller, Smith and Turner (Brewers).

5) Hayes--Particulars of Sale of the "Adam and Eve" malthouse, stabling, cottage, garden, orchard, and meadow in Hayes.
From the above collection:  receipt for deposit of purchase money by Josiah Elliot of Hayes.  The description of the property that goes with the malthouse is interesting.

6)  Lease.  John Mickley to William Elliot.
July 20, 1792.
Messuage, currier's shop, garden and a building used as a leather cutter's shop down a yard off south side of Uxbridge, High Street.  Term:  21 years.  Rent:  14 pounds 14 p.a.  With a list of fixtures.
Agreement for purchase, 1826, John Bailey to William Elliot for shop and bakehouse adjoining the premises.

From the collection of Woodbridge and Sons, Uxbridge, solicitors.
ACC/0538/2ND DEP/3075
Is this John Bailey related to the Elliot family?

7)  Lease.  Henry Lott Mason and Sarah Mickhem His Wife to William Elliot.
May 11, 1813.
Premises as in the lease above.  Rent 21 pounds per annum, term 21 years.
ACC/0538/2ND DEP/3076
Woodbridge and Sons, Uxbridge.

Notice that the rent is much higher in 1813 than it was 21 years before in 1792.

8) Deed of Covenant to Surrender Copyholds Held of the Manor of Hayes.  Mrs. Mary Bailey to William Morten.
March 25, 1837.
ACC/0538/2ND DEP/3718
Premises as in ACC/0538/2ND DEP3717 and three cottages erected thereupon also all that messuage divided into three in Baggs Lane, and a parcel of land with a dissenting Chapel in Hayes. To secure an annuity of 123 pounds. INCLUDES 26 Jan 1833 copy of the will of William Bailey of Hayes, sole legatee subject to a legacy of 200 pounds to Richard HATCH of Shottersbrook, Berks.

The land mentioned is part of the previous file (Agreement for Sale.  William BAILEY to John Fox KEMP.)
Woodbridge and Sons, Uxbridge.

9) Miscellaneous Woodbridge papers including a number of personal letters.
ACC/0538/2ND DEP/1564
1839-1934;  33 items
These papers span a number of years.  Wouldn't it be great to see correspondence from family in Canada?

10) John Elliot Has Taken The Oaths Required For A Justice Of The Peace.
July 12, 1798.
Is this our John Elliot?

11) Worshipful Company of Cooks
Site location:  Guildhall 
With luck, we might find information about Charles Elliot and his apprenticeship--maybe even his father's name!  This must be a huge collection. 
Unfortunately, the prices for getting an archivist to look up a record for you are sky-high.  I'd love a trip to London (sigh...).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Another Visit to the Archives of Ontario

I love archives, but good heavens, can they be frustrating.  Take the Archives of Ontario, for example.  It takes me a cool two hours to reach the archives from downtown Toronto by public transit--so, since I go home again afterwards, it's four hours of travel time for an afternoon there.  The York University subway station can't come soon enough--once it's in, the archives will be right on its doorstep.  Sadly, it's not due to open until 2016.  Anyway, once you get there, you have to find what you're looking for, and they couldn't make it more complicated if they tried.  To find a will, for example, you have to have the name of the person you're looking for and the date and place of their death.  Then you consult a binder, which directs you to an index on microfilm for that year and place.  Once you're found the person indexed on the microfilm (which can take a while) you jot down the number of the probate record and the date it was filed.  DON'T forget to get BOTH of these pieces of information because you'll never ever ever find the record you're looking for (don't ask me how I know).  Once you have these in hand, you go back to the binder, where you look up the probate number, and get directed to the microfilm which has the actual will.  Then you have to find the will on the microfilm (sometimes it's in probate number order, sometimes it's in date order).  You shuffle back and forth on the film a lot until....finally!  There it is!  Then you look up the next person.  It's worth it to me, because I find wills really interesting, but as a librarian, I can see how it could be a whole heck of a lot easier...and wills are among the easiest things to find there.   The Ontario Archives really needs more cataloguing staff.

Anyway, I found several family wills today.  I'm going to start with the will of Violet Elliot, daughter of Robert Watt Elliot and granddaughter of William Elliot.  She died a spinster, and her will is short and sweet.   She names her brother William Scott Elliot her executor along with the National Trust Company Ltd, and leaves her estate to her nieces and nephews, whom she does not name individually.  Her will is located on MS 584 Reel 411, probate #90031, probated January 23 1940(she actually died on December 1, 1939).

Violet had a total estate worth about $38,323.00, much of it invested in stocks:

I also found the will of William Elliot's brother John Elliot, who was (obviously) a son of Robert Elliot and Ann Bland.  He was also the husband of Harriot Pontifex.  He died on December 12, 1883 in Toronto.  His will is on microfilm GS1, reel 994.  His will gives us his occupation, Clerk of the York County Council (retired).  He names a granddaughter, Amy Smith, and two daughters, Fanny Elizabeth wife of James Smith, and Harriot Ann Elliot.  He also makes a bequest to James Smith and to two nieces, Ann Hilton and Sarah Dixon.  He leaves his brother William a life insurance policy, but it may only be entrusted to him to divide up among the nieces--that's not entirely clear to me.  His executors are his brother William, James Watson, whom he refers to as a friend (James Watson is the husband of Sophia Watt Elliot, William's daughter) and his son-in-law James Smith. At the end of the will he gives a profession of his faith in God:

"...and I commend my said Grand daughter and my said Daughters to the care of a good God, who has promised to protect all those who put their trust in him.  I hope also, that they will live happily and comfortably together during their lives, and enjoy the fruits of my savings, and at length, join us in Heaven above, and be for ever happy."   

John's estate is worth about 3,000.00 in cash assets (see below), but as you'll notice above, the bulk of his estate seems to be in property.

 The next paper mentions a codicil, but I couldn't find it.  Here's William leaving the executor duties to the other two executors nominated:

Now let's go to the will of Robert Watt Elliot, William's son and the husband of Catherine Scott.  This is the son who took over the family pharmaceutical manufacturing business as William grew older.  This will is pretty short considering the complexity of his estate. He died November 12, 1905, and his wife Catherine is the executrix. The will is located on MS 584, reel 1786, probate # 18388, probate date January 13, 1906.

Notice that Robert Watt was worth about half what his father William was, even though you would still certainly call him prosperous  his entire estate is worth just under $50,000.00.  Already the family fortunes seem to be slipping a little. I like knowing that he owned a horse and carriage.  Notice the detailed accounts:  his household goods and furniture are worth $573.00--it's calculated down to the dollar.

 I can't believe a house on Pembroke Street is worth $3,000.00.  Those were the days!  If only it had come down to us (sigh...).

Here we can see exactly what he was invested in at the time of his death.  The railway stock seems to have been a bad decision!

Next is the will of Thomas Sutherland Stayner, husband of Harriet Rose Elliot (William Elliot's daughter;  notice that her name is consistently spelled "Harriot" in these documents) and Robert Watt Elliot's brother-in-law.  His will is located on MS584, reel 1105, probate # 17383, date of probate November 19, 1904  (he died on June 11 of the same year).  His family is a little complicated as Harriet was his second wife.  His oldest son Winslow is from his first marriage and is living in England at the time of Thomas' death.  His  sons Harry and Dudley are from his second marriage to Harriet. .  The grandson he mentions is Winslow's child.  Thomas' will is long and involved.

Thomas' codicils (there are two) are quite interesting;  the first deals with changes in property value of his real estate, and the second deals with bequests of individual items, such as tableware, art, family photos,  and books, which he would like specific children to have.  He also leaves his watch and chain to his grandson Joscelyn.  I like his final bequest to Winslow, the "Large china bowl in the drawing room, supposed to have been used at my christening."  Harry gets a silver tray which is a "gift from Minnie and Janie" (Janie is presumably Cynthia Jane Elliot).

There is an affidavit from Harry Stayner which is a bit curious.  He says that at the time of his father's death he was living with Thomas (and presumably Harriot as well, although he doesn't mention her) and they were boarding temporarily in Davisville (Toronto).

There are a lot of other probate papers in this estate file which I won't include here because they have to do mainly with estate taxes etc. and don't seem to have much family history value.  Here are papers relating to the value of his estate-he is much wealthier than his brother-in-law Robert Watt Elliot, and most of his money appears to be in stocks rather than property:

Thomas' wife Harriot Rose also left a will, which I didn't have time to get on this trip--I'll look for it in my next visit.

Next is the will of William Elliot Watson, son and eldest child of James Watson and his wife Sophia Watt Elliot (daughter of William Elliot and Mary Oliphant).   This would make him a grandson of William Elliot and nephew to Robert Watt Elliot and T. Sutherland Stayner.  He is a chartered accountant.  William Watson's will is on GS1 reel 1053, probate #11407.  He died March 5, 1896, at the age of 35, of "la grippe", leaving a wife, Hattie Alberta (Badgely) Watson.  It is unclear whether they have any children.   He leaves his estate to his wife and any children;  if they predecease him he leaves one third of his estate to his wife's family and two thirds to his mother Sophia (if his wife and mother both predecease him he leaves the two thirds to be divided up between his siblings, whom he names). His estate is not particularly large.


I know that the archives also holds wills for Sophia Watt Elliot (another child of William Elliot and Mary Oliphant, and the mother of the above William Elliot Watson) and Sophia's husband James Watson, as well as Harriet Rose Stayner and Cynthia Jane Elliot, and Thomas Hilton, the husband of Louisa Elliot (William Elliot's sister).  What I'd really like to find is the will of Robert Elliot, William's father, but so far I've been disappointed.  It's possible that he didn't leave one. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Obituaries for Robert Watt Elliot

Robert Watt Elliot was the son of William Elliot and Mary Oliphant, and the sister of Mary (Elliot) Scott. Here are two obituaries from the Toronto newspapers.  The first is from the Toronto Daily Star,  Monday November 13, 1905, page 9:

"Robert W. Elliot.  At the age of 71, and after a year's illness, Mr. Robert W. Elliot, head of the firm of Elliot and Co., Limited.  wholesale druggists, died at the family residence, 109 Pembroke street, yesterday afternoon.

He is survived by his widow, one son, W.S. Elliot, who is in charge of the business, and two daughters, Mrs. Biggar, wife of Lieut.-Col. Biggar of Ottawa, and Miss Violet Elliot, at home. Deceased was member of Jarvis Street Baptist Church, a member of the National Club, and a past president of the St. George's Society.  He was for several years president of the Toronto Rowing Club, and was a lover of all healthy outdoor sports."

The Globe, November 13, 1905, page 12:

"Death of R.W. Elliot--Prominent Business Man Passes Away--Past President of the Toronto Board of Trade and of St. George's Society--Took Great Interest in All Out-door Sports.
Mr. Robert W. Elliot, head of the firm of Elliot and Co., wholesale druggists, died at the family residence, 109 Pembroke street, yesterday afternoon. Mr. Elliot, who was 71 years of age, had been ill for about a year.  Part of that time he was able to give some attention to business, but during the past few weeks he had been gradually sinking until the end came. He is survived by his widow, one son, W.S. Elliot, who is in charge of the business, and two daughters, Mrs Biggar, wife of Lieut.-Col. Biggar of Ottawa, and Miss Violet Elliot, at home.  

Deceased was member of Jarvis Street Baptist Church, a member of the National Club, and a past president of the St. George's Society.  He was for several years president of the Toronto Rowing Club, and was a lover of all healthy outdoor sports.

Mr. Elliot's business career was a successful and honorable one.  When comparatively young he succeeded to the drug business established by his father, the late Wm. Elliot, and in 1869 he was elected President of the Board of Trade.  During the term of his office the board took up the question of tariff, and made suggestions to the Government on the subject.  The board also suggested to the Government the appointment of a Railway Commission.  He took an active part in the work of organizing and pushing to a successful completion the Nipissing Railway, and in other ways worked to increase the railway and shipping facilities of the city." 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Who Was Ann Bland's Mother?

Ann Bland, who married Robert Elliot and moved to Canada with her family, including her son and our ancestor William Elliot, was the daughter of Stephen Bland:  he is named in several places, including the birth record of their son Josiah Elliot; also, his will names Ann the wife of Robert Elliot as his daughter.  But who was Ann's mother?  That's harder to figure out, as Stephen's will does not name a wife.  I have a candidate for the position, but I don't have definite proof.

I believe that Ann Bland's mother may have been Eleanor Bland (birth name unknown).  Here's my evidence: there is an Eleanor Bland who was buried at St. Paul's Church, Hammersmith, on August 16, 1810.  This was the church which Robert and Ann attended.  Just a few weeks later, on August 21, 1810, Stephen Bland of Hammersmith writes a will in which he leaves his estate to Ann and Robert (he also mentions their children John and Robert Jr.), his other daughter Harriott (sic) Pontifex, wife of Daniel Pontifex, and his son John Thomas Bland "son of my first wife Elizabeth Bland" (the implication being that Ann and Harriot are children from a second wife).    He also leaves property to two other sons, Edward and James Bland.  A few months later, on October 7, 1810, Stephen Bland dies and is also buried at St. Paul's Church in Hammersmith.  I wish I could see their gravestones;  they would probably definitively answer the question of their relationship!  The book The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Hammersmith by Thomas Faulkner (London, 1839) lists the following Blands buried in the St. Paul's yard:  E. Bland, 1741, E. Bland, 1764, John Bland, 1791, Stephen Bland, 1810, and James Bland, 1832.  No female members of the Bland family are mentioned.

According to the website British History Online, the churchyard also contains a tombstone for "John Highlord Bland, late of St. James's Street, sword cutler and belt maker to the King, Prince of Wales, ye army, etc. 3 August 1791. Aged 59".  

Suggestively, Robert and Ann name one of their daughters Eleanor.  Eleanor Elliot was born in 1804, and died in 1809 at the age of five.

None of this consitutes definite proof, however.  I have yet to find a marriage record for Stephen and Eleanor, or birth records for their children.  I will keep looking.

UPDATE:  Another researcher kindly sent me some marriage records for Stephen Bland.  On August 3, 1755, Stephen Bland married Elizabeth Parker in Fulham, Middlesex, England.  Elizabeth must have died since on May 18, 1769, Stephen married a second wife,Elianor Whittfield, again in Fulham.  These records come from the West Middlesex Marriage Index, provided by the West Middlesex Family History Society. So it looks like Ann Bland's mother was Elianor or Eleanor Whittfield.

This brief obituary was found in the European Magazine and London Review, Volume 9, Spring 1786, under the article title "Monthly Obituary, April 1786".  This must be for the second Mrs. Bland, Eleanor Whittfield.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Will of William Elliot of Toronto

William Elliot, pharmacist and businessman, died in Toronto on June 3, 1893.  His probated will was filed in Toronto on August 7, 1893, and can be found in the Archives of Ontario on microfilm # GS1 Reel 1036, record number 9838.