Category Archives: william anthony brignal

A life too short: Fanny Jane Brignal 1863-1888

My great grandmother, Fanny Jane Brignal, like many women in the 19th Century had a short life, dying in child birth.  Nevertheless, she played a very important role in giving life to 4 children, 2 of whom migrated to New Zealand.

The 1861 Census shows that Fanny Jane’s parents were living with her younger brother, George Dodds Brignal (2 yrs) in the All Saints Parish at Newcastle Upon Tyne.  Fanny’s father William Anthony Brignal was born in Durham, and his occupation at this Census is “Wholesale Druggist”.

Fanny Jane was born in March 1863, in Newcastle Upon Tyne. [ England and Wales free BMD Index 1837-1915].

Fanny was 8 years old at the time of the 1871 UK Census.  She was living in the St Andrews Parish, Jesmond Ecclesiastical Parish in Newcastle Upon Tyne, with her family:

Father: William A Brignal 34 yrs  – Newspaper Publisher & registered (?) chemist.

Mother: Mary A. Brignal 33 yrs

Brother: William J Brignal 5 yrs

Servant: Kate Richardson 18 yrs

In the 1881 Census, William Brignal (45 yrs) and his wife Mary Anne Brignal (44 rs) are in the household of her parents (possibly visiting from Liverpool), George and Francis Dodds (both 70 yrs) and the Dodds’ grandson, George R Allison (16 yrs) at 51 Beverley Terrace, Tynemouth.  Also in the household are servants, Annie (21) and Mary (18) Richardson. George Allison is listed as a Commercial Clerk.

Curiously, at the time of the same census (1881), Fanny Jane’s husband-to-be James Sinclair (20 yrs) is living in his father’s household at 26 Beverley Terrace. Meanwhile, Fanny Jane Brignall (two Ls), 18 years old, appears on the 1881 Census record as living at 16 Low Hill in West Derby (Liverpool). Also in the household were Fanny’s brothers,

George Brignall (22 yrs) – Estate Agent

William Brignall (15 yrs) – Draper

Fanny’s cousin,

Isabella Brignall (20 yrs)

and a servant, Rhoda Adams (20 yrs)

This was likely to be the home of the parents, William and Mary Brignal.

Church Street, Liverpool, c.1880

Church Street, Liverpool, c.1880: from Streets of Liverpool.

In 1882, Fanny Jane returned to Tynemouth to marry James Sinclair. The marriage notice in the Newcastle Daily Journal, Wednesday June 7, 1862 says:

North Shields, Primitive Methodist Chapel on the 6th inst., by the Rev Vian Williams, asisted by Rev John Stoddard, James, eldest son of John Sinclair of Cullercoates, to Fanny Jane, only daughter of W. A. Brignal of Liverpool.

The marriage certificate records that the chapel was in Saville Street, that the witnesses were John Sinclair and Isabella Ella Marshall, and that James Sinclair’s Rank or Profession was “Tobacco Manufacturer”.  It also records that Fanny’s father, William Anthony Brignal’s occupation was “Journalist”.  It gives James age as 22 yrs and Fanny Jane’s as 19 yrs and states that both Fanny Jane and James were residing in Beverley Terrace.

The Newcastle Daily Journal of Thursday 12 October 1882, reports celebrations for the recent marriages of James Sinclair (bn 1861 son of John Sinclair) and his cousin, James (bn 1959 son of Robert Sinclair), who married Sarah Jane (née Brewis) in September of that year.

MARRIAGE CELEBRATIONS:  – On Tuesday evening, about 40 of the male employees of the firm of Messrs John and Robert Sinclair, tobacco manufacturers, of this city, were entertained to an excellent dinner at the Crown Hotel, Clayton Street, in celebration of the recent marriages of the Messres James Sinclair. After dinner, various toasts were given and duly honored, the toast of the evening, “Long life, happiness, and success to the newly married sons of the respected heads of the firm,” being admirably put by the Chairman (Mr Joseph Davidson), and enthusiastically received by the company. – Last night, about 200 employees of both sexes, including several invited friends, were further entertained to tea in the Temperance Hall, Nelson Street.  After tea, an adjourment was made to Northumberland Hall, Grainger Street, for the convenience of the unexpectedly large company, when Mr James Taite, jun., was called to the chair. A lengthy and exceedingly entertaining programme of songs, glees, violin solos, &c., was gone through, to the great delight and satisfaction of all present.  Mr John Sinclair, jun., ably presided at the piano on both occasions.

Grainger Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne poscard, posted 1902.

Grainger Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne poscard, posted 1902. [see more about this image, and the history of Newcastle at the Island Guide website.]

Sadly the newly wed Fanny Jane Sinclair only lived for just under 6 more years. Fanny Jane’s death notice:

NEWCASTLE, 17. Stratford Grove, Heaton, on the 20th inst., aged 25, Fanny Jane, the dearly beloved wife of James Sinclair, and daughter of W.A. and M.A. Brignal of Liverpool, and grand-daughter of the late Geo.Dodds of Cullercoats.

Above that on the same page in the BIRTHS section,

NEWCASTLE, 17. Stratford Grove, Heaton, on the 20th inst., the wife of James Sinclair of a daughter.

[See the Heaton History Group website for information about, and images of Heaton’s history]

Fanny Sinclair (22 yrs), as this daughter was named, was in the household of her aunts, Ann Lindsay (46 yrs), Jane Miller Sinclair (42 yrs), and Margaret Thompson (née Sinclair, 41 yrs) at 26 Beverley Terrace during the 1911 census.  Margaret’s husband Frederick William Thompson (accountant, 43 yrs) was also in the household, along with their children and some servants.

Fanny Jane’s older children were Marion Margaret (bn 1 Aug. 1883), William John (bn 1884) and Stephen/Stewart/James (bn c.1886)

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under biography, fanny sinclair, james sinclair, john sinclair, liverpool, marion margaret sinclair, newcastle upon tyne, primitive methodist, tobacco, william anthony brignal, william john sinclair

Family history & changing times

Over the last year or so I have been looking into some of my family history.  It has revealed a few surprises, brought forward some mysteries, and opened new and intriguing lines of research.  As with every family history, it comprises a network of bloodlines, that overlap and intersect at specific moments of time, in diverse locations.  And, when tracing the routes through which these lines all led to my life, begun in New Zealand, I am intrigued by the vast changes in the course of individual lifetimes: changes in the economic contexts, social change, political struggles and technological capabilities

Two of my grandparents came from Scottish working class backgrounds: he the son of a tinsmith, and (when single) a mill worker; my grandmother the daughter of an engineer from a line of shoe makers.  There’s an intriguing photo of my grandfather and fellow cadet at the Mitchell Library cadet, in front of a statue in Glasgow, in Edwardian suits, in the first few years of the 20th century.

Mitchell Library c1911

Mitchell Library c1911, North St, Charing Cross area of Glasgow, on Virtual Mitchell Library

My grandparents married in a boat off Manly beach in Sydney, early 20th century, then came to Auckland for my grandfather to take up a job as Auckland City Chief Librarian, curator of the Art Gallery and Director of the Old Colonialist Museum.

Anglo-Irish great grandparents born during and/or just before the Irish potato famine near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh: families largely of teachers, lawyers, clergy, military men, and at least one owner of a heritage residential property.  Such families fared better during the famine than the poverty-stricken Catholics.  See for instance, this record of the Workhouse in Enniskillen:

Enniskillen1 workhouse 2003

Enniskillen – Workhouse building, 2003

My great grandparents married in Melbourne in 1869, then journeyed almost immediately to the Northern Kaipara, to start the New Zealand family lines Paparoa. [The Back Roads blog has an interesting record of the Paparoa Dairy Cooperative of 1895-1896]

Paparoa Settlers’ Annual Picnic and Group of Small Children, 1900.

– Image from Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19000727-6-4 [Auckland Weekly News 27 July 1900]

The Matakana mystery man: my great grandfather, James Sinclair, and his brother, were the eldest and youngest sons of a successful tobacco manufacturer in Newcastle on Tyne.  How did they come to be living in Matakana, Rodney at the beginning of the 20th century?

– Image from Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19021218-12-1. [Auckland Weekly News 18 December 1902]

At the headquarters of navigation: The S.S. Kotiti lying at Matakana Wharf, on the Matakana River, Auckland, 1909.

– Image from Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19091223-3-2 [Auckland Weekly News 23 December 1909]

Why do my great grandfather and his daughter appear to have become estranged? She doesn’t seem to have acknowledged his existence in Rodney, yet she had married my grandfather of Paparoa, in 1916, and lived there for the rest of her life. She seems to have grown up with the tobacco manufacturing family in Newcastle Upon Tyne before migrating to New Zealand in 1915.

Victorian Newcastle, images, The Guardian,2012

Victorian Newcastle, images, The Guardian,2012

James Sinclair had married the daughter of William Anthony Brignal, a newspaper manager, temperance campaigner and secretary for the Railway Men’s Mission. Born in Durham, he lived for a time in the Tyne and Wear area, but was most active in the Liverpool area where he lived the last period of his life, dying in 1895.  How political was he?  He worked for the radical Sunderland Daily Echo soon after it began publishing: it was set up to oppose the Conservative Party and was aligned with the Liberal Party.

 – Image belongs to Sunderland Daily Echo.

It actively campaigned on issues such as taxation and Home Rule for Ireland. He later worked for the moderately liberal Liverpool Daily Post. This was a significant period in the rise of the popular press.

All these life strands led to my immediate family that came into being soon after WWII. The prior lines in the New Zealand family branches included the following occupations: farmer, teacher, lawyer, librarian, accountant/manager, post office worker, telephone/telegraph operator, “gentleman” (Remittance Man?).

The various lines of my ancestry from the past couple of centuries, seem to have come from various parts of the north of England and Ireland, and from Scotland.  In earlier times, many would have lived in the border territories between Scotland and England.  They include a mix of people from the poorer and middle sections of society; largely protestant, but from various denominations and political positions.

NOTE: I have learned of these family lines from family statements and records; official birth death and marriage certificates; census and other records found on the online Ancestry Library; newspaper articles accessed via Papers Past, Trove, and the British Newspaper Archive and the New Zealand Herald on microfilm; cemetery records.

1 Comment

Filed under enniskillen, glasgow, james sinclair, liverpool daily post, matakana, mitchell library, newcastle upon tyne, paparoa, politics, railway men's mission, sunderland daily echo, temperance, william anthony brignal