In life we warm to some more than others, family research is no different.
This weeks ancestor, holds a huge part of my heart, and even though I never met him, for some unknown reason he pulls on my heartstrings. He intrigues me and I just can’t help but love him.
Maybe it’s the love, my Dad held for him, and the way my Mums eyes alight when she talks about the love and respect my Dad had for his Grandfather Frank, that draws me to him, or his friendly face.
No matter the reason, he owns a piece of my heart and lives on through us. I very much wish I could have met him.
When I stated researching my Family History back in 1997, Great-Grandad Frank, throw a massive spanner in the works when I discovered a skeleton in the cupboard, one of many in our family’s history.
When you find that skeleton, you don’t know if you should keep it to yourself or speck out. After months of self debate, I decided to tell my Grandfather Don, who took it on the chin and belly laughed, that he never knew.
Great-Grandad Franks heritage is still a mystery, one that may never be solved, but I kinda love that about him. He’s definitely not letting us forget him, that’s for Sure.
So why not grab yourself a cuppa, get comfy and let me tell you his story.
No Father was named on his birth certificate.
His Mother Estella, was working as a Domestic Servant at Sherfield English, Hampshire, England. She registered his birth on March the 10th.
Alfred was Estella’s third child.
The 1891 Census shows Frank, his Mother Estella, and his two sisters Alice and Florence, residing in Newtown Lane, Newtown, Romsey, Hampshire. They occupied 2 rooms in the house.
Estella was working as a Laundry Worker.
Their neighbors were John Stockel, his wife Emily and their children,Charles W Stockel,
Frank E Stockel, Walter H Stockel, Effie Stockel and Bence Stockel.
Between the 6th April 1891 and the 20th of November 1890, Frank, Estella, Alice and Florence moved out of Romsey to Shirley, Southampton. The family moved in with a man called Alfred Newell. They were residing at 10 Pound Street, Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire, England. Later that year on the 21st November, Franks Mother Estella, married Alfred Newell, at The Register Office, South Stoneham, Southampton.
Jumping forward to 1901, the family had grown in size.
Frank, his Mother Estella, and Father/Stepfather Alfred and their children, Amy, Edith, Ella, Florence, Beatrice and Alfred Jnr, were living back in Romsey, at number 11, Cherville Street. The occupied 4 rooms.
Frank, Alice and Florence, are now using the surname Newell.
Alfred was working as a Nursery Gardener. Florence was working as a General Servant – Domestic.
Their neighbors were, George Putnam, his wife Emma and their children William, Emily and Elizabeth.
Between 1901 and 1911, Frank, his parents Estella and Alfred and Frank’s Brothers and Sisters, had moved next door to number 9, Cherville Street, Romsey, Hampshire.
They welcomed another daughter/sister into the family, Evelyn Winifred Newell, in 1905.
They faced the tragic loss of Franks Sister, Edith Maude Newell, on the 26th September 1907.
And the devastating loss of their Mother/Wife Estella, on the 21st December 1907.
Estella and Edith both died at home at number 9, Cherville Street.
You can read more about Estella’s hard life and her children, here and here.
The 1911 census shows, Frank, still living at home with, Alfred and his siblings, Alice Rudgley/Newell, Alfred, Amy, Dorothy, Gertrude and Eveline Newell, still residing at 9 Cherville Street, Romsey, Hampshire.
Frank was working as a Porter at a grocers,
Alfred was working as a Gardener in a Nursery, Alice was a Housekeeper for her Father, Alfred (Junior) worked in the Romsey Jam Factory, and Amy was a Domestic Servant.
They occupied 5 rooms.
On the 13th March 1915, Franks family nearly doubled in size, when Alfred married a widower called Sarah Emily Watts nee Tiggs. Sarah Emily had 7 children from her first marriage to a gentleman called Alfred Watts.
She still had 3 of her children living with her, Florence Louisa, Elizabeth Ada and Edith May Watts, at the time of their marriage.
They would have become a massive part of Franks life, especially as Franks Brother Alfred would go on to marry one of his step-sisters, Sarah Ellen Watts. (You can read more about Alfred’s life here and here.)
On the 26 April 1919, Frank Newell (born Frank Rudgely) married Eva Kate Hatcher, daughter of George Hatcher and Fanny Hatcher nee Pearce.
They got married at Romsey Register Office by Arthur Elcombe Register of marriage and Augustus John Harrington, superintendent Register.
The building’s location of the where the marriage was held is possibly Number 10, Abbey Waters, Romsey, Hampshire. (This location is not confirmed as yet.)
On the 15th November 1919, Frank and Eva Kate, welcomed their Son, Donald George Newell, (my Grandad) into the world.
He was born at 157 Middlebridge Street, Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Frank was working as a General Labourer.
He registered Donald’s birth on the 19th December 1919.
My Grandad, Donald, was their only child, but after the death of Eva’s sister Florence Fanny Hatcher, on the 11th Dec 1918, one of her daughters, Iris Dowling was put into either her Grandmother Fanny Hatchers nee Pearce’s, care or into Frank and Eva’s care.
Iris was treated as their own and was like a sister to my Grandad Donald.
Family rumour has it, Frank signed up for the Great War. At present I can not find any documentation to back this up. We do know though, that Frank lost his toes due to Frostbite, while serving in the tranches, psychically changing his life forever, I’m sure mentally to.
My Uncle Steve remembers his Grandad Frank, was a man of few words and I wonder if the war had scarred him deeper than the wounds visible to the eye.
I loss track of Frank up until 1939. The 1939 registry, taken on the 29th September 1939 shows, Frank, Eva, Donald, Iris, and Eva’s Mum Fanny Hatcher nee Pearce, residing at 27 Portersbridge Street, Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Very little is known about Frank after this point apart from his residence which stayed the same right up until his death.
Frank Newell/Rudgley, died at home, 27 Portersbridge Street, Romsey, on the 10th October 1972.
His death certificate states that his occupation was a retired Storeman.
His cause of death was, Heart Failure, Chronic Bronchitis and Papillomas of Bladder.
Irish Bundy nee Dowling registered Franks death on the 10th October.
Frank was buried on the 13th October 1972 at, Romsey Cemetery, Romsey, Hampshire, in Grave P67.
Sadly that’s the end of Franks story for now, but I will do my upmost to try to fill in the blanks, especially his life in the military.
Before I sign off, I asked my Uncle Steve, if he had any memories of his Grandad.
He told me that, when he was roughly 10 years old, he would visit his Nan and Grandad after school. Frank would always send him out to the local shop to buy him a pack of 10 cigarettes and then onto to The Public House, at the end of their street, commonly known now as, The William aka The Tipsy Pig, to get his jug filled.🍺
How times have changed, there is no way on this earth our locals would let that happen now but what a wonderful special memory to have and to treasure.
I love how my Uncle Steve and my Mum, both have very similar memories of him.
Frank sat in his chair, woodbine in hand, listening to the boxing on the radio.
I can picture him now.🙂
May you Rest in Peace Great-Grandad.
You are far from forgotten.
1890 – 1972
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