My Canadian Baldwin cousins

In 2010 I put forward a part of my family tree for the Scavenger Hunt on Rootschat, a weekly quest for various members to concentrate their research into helping one of the other members.

For more information see the Scavenger Hunt.

I wanted to see if I could fit in two Baldwins I had found who emigrated into the family of Corlis and Hester Baldwin, my 4 x great grandfather who came from Ireland to London sometime before 1829.  I’ve still not been able to fit Henry at the beginning of the hunt into my family.  But bit by bit the information pointed to the fact that Thomas was the son of Corlis and Hester Baldwin.  Although seeing his birth or baptism record of course would once and for all prove it.

The evidence is thus far:  according to all the census records I have seen for Thomas he was born c 1817 in Ireland.  The marriage certificate for Thomas Baldwin and Margaret Morgan, 1839 in St Giles in the Field, Middlesex, gives Thomas’s father as Corlis Baldwin, shoemaker which my Corlis was.  Thomas was also a shoemaker.

There is also Thomas and Margaret’s first son who was born in 1840 and died 1844.  He was called Corlis and according to various sources in old Irish naming patterns, the first son was always named after the father’s father.  Certainly the second son, John was named after Margaret’s father, as per the marriage certificate.  The third son was named Thomas after his father, all right so far.  Does that then mean that Thomas (snr) had an eldest brother called James – the fourth son, and did Margaret have an eldest brother William. This is yet to be found out.

Also Thomas and Margaret were living in St Giles in the Field, the same parish as Corlis and Hester/Esther with their youngest son, William (my 3x great grandfather).  I need to check out where Little Denmark Street is in relation to Buckridge Street to see how close they were.

I continue to research this interesting family who ended up in Keppel, Canada, and have recently found 3 grandsons who all fought in WW1, one died and is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

If you have any information about this family please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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Soldiers’ effects – Percy Harmer and Henry Baldwin

The recent addition of these records to Ancestry‘s many and varied databases proved interesting in my family research.  I looked for both Percy Harmer and Henry Baldwin and found their entries.

Soldiers'effects for Percy Harmer
Soldiers’effects record for Percy Harmer

Percy and Henry were both Great Great Uncles of mine, killed in WW1 and I have been slowly collecting available records about both soldiers to enable me to tell their stories.  Neither man married or had any descendants and so were forgotten as time passed.  But now with the information I have found once again these two young men who sacrificed their life for their country can be remembered.

With this aim in mind any records are useful.  The Soldiers’ effects do not really tell me much I didn’t already know except that it confirms who they were, where and when they died, their Service number and the regiment they served in.  The useful addition to this is the amount of their effects of course and who it was authorised to.  This information is very useful as a check that the soldier is who I thought he was, in the case of Percy to his father James and in the case of Henry Baldwin to his mother, Jane Elizabeth.  Both these facts tally with the information on my family tree.

I will now spend some time searching on surnames on my family tree to see if I can find any other family members who might have fought and died during WW1.

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World War 1 heroes – Henry Baldwin and Percy Harmer

This year, 2014, with it’s big anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, I have thought a lot about my own ancestors and their own involvement in the war. Research into the available records have revealed that a number of my ancestors fought.  For instance I found service papers that revealed that Albert John Terry, my great grandfather didn’t enlist until 1917, and unfortunately he forfeited 7 days pay for leaving his kit hanging up in the kitchen!

It would appear that most of my ancestors who were involved returned from the war except for two great great uncles:

Gravestone of Henry Baldwin
Gravestone of Henry Baldwin

Henry James Baldwin born 30 September 1885 in Hoxton, Middlesex.  He was my great grandfather, Reuben Baldwin’s eldest brother.   From service records found so far it would appear that Henry and his brothers were sent from London at an early age to train at the naval base of Portsmouth.  Henry became a regular soldier and he appeared on the 1911 census in Hong Kong as a Gunner with the 87th Company Royal Garrison Artillery.  From the little I have managed to learn so far they were called back to Europe at the beginning of WW1 and he died at the 4th siege battery at Ypres on 16 June 1915.  His informal will leaves all his personal belongings to his mother.

Gravestone of Percy Harmer
Gravestone of Percy Harmer

Percy Harmer on the other hand was born on 28 January 1899 in Dallington, Sussex and he was only 15 years of age at the outbreak of war.  The 1911 census had him living at home with his family and he was still attending school, no doubt at Dallington village school.  It is likely that by 1914 he had followed his brother’s example and was working as a farm labourer on one of the many local farms nearby.  I haven’t managed to find his service record but from information found on the web it appeared he was probably one of ‘Lowther’s lambs’ and enlisted early 1916 at the age of 17.  He was in the 11th batallion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, one of the Southdown Batallion.  More information can be found at

Unfortunately he died on 3 March 1918 in the Somme during the last great push by the Germans.  He was 19 years of age and his name appears on the memorial in the Town Hall in Eastbourne.

With both these young men dying, any potential family lines ended and when their close family died they became forgotten.  Through my family history research I have resurrected their existence and through telling their stories once again they can be honoured for fighting for their country.

For more information about the war dead from Dallington check out the Dallington village website.  Roy Iremonger has researched the names of the young men from Dallington who fought and his book can be found here:

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