Updated: 04 May 2013

Problem, CAN-U-HELP?

Please contact the author on

if you can.....

Problem #31


Can you read the last word of an inscription on a photo of a wedding which took place in Wirksworth in 1872?
It reads
"August 7th 1872
Relatives at the Wedding of H.A.Hubbersty and F.A.Hubbersty

The last word may be the name of the place where the photo was taken.
To me it looks like "-mill" but I can find no placename in Derbyshire that looks like the writing.
The Wedding took place on August 7th in Wirksworth, so all these people cannot have moved far from the Church in all that heavy clothing!
The main people concerned owned Wirksworth Hall, a few yards from the Church
but the windows do not match.

Problem #30


Samuel SLACK 1881-1924
Hi John - I tried to send this via Derbysgen but it was rejected because of the photo attachment. I found this old family photos today that I didn't even know I had.
This picture is of my grandfather Samuel Slack. Just wondering if anyone can identify the uniform. I do know that he was a postman so wondering if this is a postman's uniform. I also found a photo of my grandmother and her sister, my great aunt Sarah who lived in an old stone cottage up on the moor.
Any help greatly appreciated.

Anne in Hamilton, Ontario Canada

Census for 1911 for 11 Wash Green, Wirksworth
SLACK Samuel Head    Mar  M 30 1881 General Labourer DBY Middleton
SLACK Harriet        Wife F 26 1885 Married 7 years  DBY Aderwasley
SLACK Samuel Herbert Son  M  6 1905 School           DBY Wirksworth
SLACK Eva            Dau  F  4 1907 School           DBY Wirksworth
SLACK Millicent      Dau  F  2 1909                  DBY Wirksworth
SLACK Hilda          Dau  F  1 1910                  DBY Wirksworth

For earlier Tree and Censuses in this family, see Problem #29

Problem #29


Hello Anne,
Here's a sketch of a tree centered on your Millicent

Anne from Ontario wrote 2 Nov 2011
My Millicent was born Brooks, married Samuel Slack, then Robert Doxey. When looking thru the paperwork I found there are several Slacks that married Doxeys, so more links to investigate!
It is the Samuel SLacks that are difficult to prove!
I found a reference to a inquest of my great-grandmother, Millicent Doxey and it was held at Moot Hall. She died by suicide at Hopton Quarry on 21June 1923. Do you know if it is possible to get a copy of these Moot Hall records? How would I go about getting a copy?

           Samuel  1779    Elizabeth
           1792      |
     |      |     |     |      |       |
    1780   1782  1783  1786   1789    1792
    Grace  Ruth  Ruth  Isaac  Samuel  Luke
                       Isaac   1812    Hannah
                                1816            1816
                                Samuel  1836    Mary
                                1859      |     1886
           |       |     |     |       |      |       |       |
          1837    1839  1842  1842    1849   1851    1852    1857
          Hannah  Ann   Mary  Joseph  Grace  Thomas  Samuel  Eliza
                                    1853             1852
                                    Millicent 1873   Samuel
                                    1923       |     1880
                                       |              |
                                      1878           1881
                                      John           Samuel

1911 Census for 11, Wash Green, Wirksworth
SLACK, Samuel         Head Mar M 30 1881 General Labourer DBY Middleton
SLACK, Harriet        Wife Mar F 26 1885 Married 7 years  DBY Alderwasley
SLACK, Samuel Herbert Son      M  6 1905 School           DBY Wirksworth
SLACK, Eva            Dau      F  4 1907 School           DBY Wirksworth
SLACK, Millicent      Dau      F  2 1909                  DBY Wirksworth
SLACK, Hilda          Dau      F  1 1910                  DBY Wirksworth

Census references:
1861 Isaac/Ann
1861 Charles/Elizabeth
1861 Samuel/Hannah
1881 Millicent
1891 Robert/Millicent
1901 Robert/Millicent
1901 John
1901 Samuel

Problem #28


Hello Paul,
Here's the best tree I've come up with so far. Samuel Smith born 1821 has a middle name of Spencer in Wirksworth PRs, its named after his grandmother! If I can get further back than Richard 1745-1822, I'll add it here. The 1806 marriage was in Brassington, there may be more children there. Richard 1745-1822 was business partner to John Smedley of Lea Bridge 1764-1840, founder of Smedleys Mills (still going strong)

              1745            1749
              Richard  1770   Ellen
              1822      |     1810
   |     |        |          |      |      |
  1771  1776     1778       1781   1785   1789
  John  Richard  Elizabeth  Nanny  Ellen  Mary
         |                  1858
        1777            1783                                      1773              1801
        Richard  1806   Elizabeth                                 John      1826    Elizabeth
        SMITH=====v=====CHARLTON                                  BAMFORD=====v=====MATHER
        1859      |                                               1847        |     1856
                  |                                                           |
                  |                                                           |
 |------|-----|---|---|--------|-----|------|-------|        |--------|----|--|--|--------|--------|
 |      |     |       |        |     |      |       |        |        |    |     |        |        |
1807   1809  1812    1812     1814  1818   1821    1823     1826     1828 1830  1835     1836     1838
Eliza  Mary  George  Richard  John  Henry  Samuel  William  William  Ann  Mary  William  William  Mary
                     1812     1862   |             1827     1825      |   1830  1835     1836
                                     |                                |
                                     |                                |
                                    Henry        1841                Ann
                                    1860               |             1874
                                           |       |       |     |
                                          1842    1844    1846  1849
                                          Helena  Elenor  John  Henry

Census references:
Richard Smith 1841, Richard Smith 1851, John Bamford 1841, Henry Smith 1851
MI references:
Ellen Fowler's memorial
Tradesmen 1791:
John Bamford, hosier, Richard Smith, hosier
Richard Smith 1745-1822, hosier, was partner to John Smedley, who founded Lea Mills, still going strong.
Other notes from Wirksworth website:
Samuel FROST married Nanny Smith daughter of Richard and Ellen Smith nee Fowler..Richard was partner to Thomas Smedley father of John Smedley of Lea Mills.. Richards sister married Thomas Smedley ... Richard and Thomas leased Lea Mills from Peter Nightingale who worked the mill before Smedleys..
1.Hannah born 1750 married Anthony Alsop of Wensley Head Barmaster Soke & Wapentake of Wirksworth Lead Merchant / Smelter born at Wensley brother of John Alsop who married Hannah Smedley sister of John Smedley 1st son of Thomas Smedley Hosier Wirksworth in partnership with his brother in law Richard Smith.. Anthony and Hannahs daughter Lydia married her cousin Luke Alsop Lead Merchant Lea son of John and Hannah Alsop nee Smedley. Via the Wass / Alsop family marriage the Alsops became major Lead Mine Owners up to the demise of the Lead trade in Derbyshire. their kinsmen of Wass owning Mill Close Mine up to the 1930s... Richard Smiths sister Mary married Thomas Smedley father of John Smedley one time partner with Peter Nightingale It is his name on the walk way bridge joining the two mills at Lea.. Smiths are also my kin via my Frost family and by the families of Bush (married into my Wigley family) and Fowlers.
Samuel Frost was a Grocer, Rope Manufacturer, and was manager of Wirks. Savings Bank where Andrew Macbeth & Cash solicitors now have their office.. His wife was dau of Richard Smith, Hosier original partner to John Smedley..
Samuel married Nanny Smith daughter of Richard Smith orignally from Tansley Richard partner for a time to Thomas Smedley of Steeplegrange at a Hosiery Workshop on North End Wirksworth .. Thomas father of John Smedley 1st partner for a time with Peter Nightingale whose name founded John Smedley Lea Mills.. his son John Smedley establishing the firm
Ince page 078c:
16 Elizabeth md Richard SMITH of Wirksworth butcher

Problem #27


Hello Ed and Jeanette Messenger ,
I received your KNIVETON family tree, all the way from Texas, linking your family in Derbyshire and USA, many thanks. I have been able to extend it backwards a little way, using my Wirksworth parish registers for KNIVETON. However, it looks like the records cease with John KNIFTON, there's no no marriage or baptism for him. Around 1710 the surname gradually changed its spelling. The first V in the family was 1707, the last F was 1781. I've tried to show this with the letter placed after the date.
A bit more information: My surname book says: KNIVETON, KNIFTON. Matthew de KNYVETON 1275, Assize Rolls, Staffordshire. From Kniveton (Derbyshire), pronounced "Nifton"

1650? John 1676? KNIFTON====v==== ? 1719F | | |-------|--------|--|---|----------|------| | | | | | | 1677F 1678F 1682F 1684F 1686F 1690F George William Henry Elizabeth Sarah Thomas | 1761V | 1676 George 1700F Dorothy KNIFTON====v====DEAN 1736V | 1756V | |----------|---|----|-------|-----|-----|-------| | | | | | | | 1701F 1703F 1705F 1707V 1710F 1714V 1719F Elizabeth Hellena George John Mary Hannah Sarah | | 1703 George 1727V Mary KNIVETON=====v=====FARRAND 1782V | 1781F | |-------|--------|-------|----|----|-------|--------| | | | | | | | 1734F 1736V 1738F 1740F 1742F 1746V 1749V Hannah Dorothy Joseph Benjamin George Charles Nehemiah 1813V | | 1746 Charles 1773 Martha KNIVETON=====v=====HIGGINS 1794V 1793V

Problem #26


Terence WAGG writes:
Your site is really great and you deserve priase for your efforts. It has, however, placed me in a bit of a dilemna as, in researching my family surname (WAGG) I find it absent from all but your unabridged master index, where it appears only once and even then it seems to have been corrupted to WRAGG. I confess that even in my lifetime, the most common corruption of my name has been to WRAGG and, although I would hate to point an accusing finger at anyone - and especially you having authored this woonderful site, but it is apparent that either the LDS records are wrong or your own and hence my dilemna. I would point out that I have confirmed many records shown on the LDS indicies from transcripts of Parish records etc. and as such I have always, in the past, been inclined to trust them. My information is, mainly based on LDS searches, that I have several ancestors connected with the immediate Wirksworth area dating back to 1620 These are as follows (ALL have the surname WAGG)
1620 (2-11-1620)Roger married Grace Etton at Wirksworth
1663 (3-5-1663) Ann married James Wall at Ashbourne
1705 (18-10-1705) Elizabeth married Edward Adams at Wirksworth
1704 (29-6-1704)Mary was born at Crich
1717 (6-10-1717)Mary married Thomas Smedley at Allestree
1748 James married Anne Hunt at Allestree
1767 Mary married George Holmes at Matlock
1773 Sarah born (to James & Ann) at Allestree
1775 John was born at Kirk Ireton.
1782 Katherine married John Berresford at Duffield
1808 Mary (Whagg) married Joshua Orridge at Duffield
Your own records show a Catherine WAGG -daughter of John, born at Alderwasley on 25 Jan 1782 but (rightly or wrongly) this has been changed to WRAGG. Mary Wagg (daughter of Christopher) was born at Crich on 29 Jun 1704 and later married a Joseph Wright at Barrow upon Trent on 10 Feb 1729. (This marriage is confirmed in the Barrow Church records, but it cannot be 100% certain of being the same Mary Wagg) I do hope you can help shed some light on this and I look forward to hearing your comments.

Hello Terence,
How interesting! I didn't know there was a surname WAGG, but I checked in my "Dictionary of English Surnames" and it says WAGG was first mentioned in 1230 as Walter WAGGE in The Great Roll of the Pipe for the twenty-sixth year of Henry the Third for Hampshire. It may be a nickname from Olde English wagian 'to shake, waddle'. A later mention is Henry atte WAGGE in 1327 in Surrey, which may come from Middle English wagge meaning 'Dweller by the marsh or bog'.

Of the entries you mention, only two appear in the Wirksworth Parish Registers, for which I have microfilm. These are shown below, photo taken from my microfiche reader with a digital camera.On second look, they are both WAGG, not WRAGG, but understandably I assumed it was poor spelling as there are 515 entries in the Wirksworth PRs for WRAGG, and (now) only 2 for WAGG.

I can find no entry (for any date) in the Wirksworth registers for the marriage of Elizabeth WAGG and Edward ADAMS at Wirksworth, certainly none for 18 Oct 1705. All the other places you quote are outside my area of study, and I cannot comment.

I will rectify the two entries for WAGG in my database, and produce a new surname in my list. Checking all the other entries I have for WRAGG is a big job, so can you give the date of any other of my entries you suspect.

Roger WAGG et Grace ETTON nupt 2 November 1620

Catherine daughter of John WAGG baptised 30 Dec 1761

Problem #25


Margery Witham wrote:
During the 19th century many of my ancestors must have walked from Bonsall to Cromford and I would like to know if there is a path across fields which would link these two villages rather than walking along Via Gelia?
Hoping someone with local knowledge can help me please.

The 2½ inches to 1 mile Ordnance Survey map might help. The short green dots show Public footpaths, and long green dashes show Public Bridleways. The map is dated 1994. Unfortunately I believe 19th century maps do not show such detail. The black and white map below is from a local guide for Matlock, dayed about 1920.
John Palmer, Dorset, England.

Problem #24


Hello Alan,
Can you recognize anything in this view? Whatstandwell is between your patch and mine, and I thought some of the view might be in yours.
Scan of postcard entitled "The view from Shiningcliff, Whatstandwell" (undated)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60

Problem #23

Hello Ros,
Here is a scan of the microfilm of the entry in the Wirksworth Parish Registers. Its the best my scanner can do, at 1200 dpi, and considerably brightened. It looks to me as if the scribe has written the name he is used to using, "Reverend Bennet" (his boss), then tried to cram a reference to the firstname into what little space is available. I thought it looked like a J, so would be John, but maybe you are right, there is only one Curate of Wirksworth, so must be an A for Abraham.

But that raises another problem. Abraham and Jane Fallows were married 5 Apr 1776, and this John was baptised 11 Jun 1776, so Jane must have been 7 months pregnant (at least) when she married. This sort of behavior was fairly common among the flock at this time, but surely a scion of the Church would have tried to set a better example to them?

There are 6 other entries in the Registers referring to a John BENNET of Brookwall, between 1768 and 1777, 3 baptisms and 3 burials, and his wife seems to have been Mary who died in 1777. But there is no mention of him being a church official.

So on the balance, I think you are right, and have discovered the missing son of Abraham Bennet F.R.S. When I hear from you, I will correct the page in my website.

Scan of microfilm of entry of Baptism in Wirksworth Parish Register for 11 June 1776.

By the way, a friend of mine (lives nearby) went to an SOM school for 5 years, leaving in 1940. Also her 2 sisters and brother. The school was called Purbeck House, in Swanage, Dorset, England.

Problem #22

Hello Lorna, Here is my solution of the SPENCERs you emailed me. SPENCER is 3x commoner than the next commonest surname in Wirksworth, so pedigrees have to be guesses. Here's my guess. Exact dates can be found in my PRs at: SPENCER

                |              |
               1727            ?
               Thomas   1753   Hannah
        |       |     |       |       |
       1754    1757  1761    1764    1767
       Thomas  John  Hannah  Martha  Isaac
        |              |
       1754            ?
       Thomas   1772   Ann
       1806       |    1803
 |      |      |       |         |       |    |          |      |
1772   1775   1778    1781      1784    1786 1789       1792   1796
Henry  Henry  Hannah  Benjamin  George  Ann  Elizabeth  James  Anthony
1772   1794                      |
                                 |               |
                                 |               |
                                1784            1789
                                George   1806   Mary
                                1819       |     ?
      |     |       |       |          |        |
     1808  1809    1811    1812       1815     1817
     Mary  Simeon  George  Elizabeth  Dorothy  Sarah
           1809     |
                    |               |
                   1811            1810
                   George   1829   Hannah
 |       |        |       |       |     |      |          |       |
1828    1829     1833    1835    1840  1843   1845       1847    1850
George  Francis  Samuel  Simeon  Mary  Alice  Elizabeth  Hannah  Henry

Problem #21

HURD of Kniveton
Hello Susan, Here is an enlargement of Ince 033c, which shows John and William HURD and the two Marys. Compare this with the transcription on my website and see what you think. This scan is from microfilm in my library, the resolution is better when viewed on my microfilm reader.

Problem #20

Tinker Sick
Ann Kerry writes:
I have been looking for the place - Tinker-sick, as one of my husbands ancestors came from there. Have you any idea where it was situated?

Well, Placenames of Derbyshire said it was the name of a small stream, flowing into the R.Rother, but I could not find it. Lots of DERBYSGEN members had theories,-- could it be Tinkersley? -- but no-one was certain. The another email from Ann:

Hello John,
Thanks for looking for me, but I think I have found it not 2 miles from where I live. It is at Tapton which is part of Chesterfield & I never knew it was called Tinker sick. I have attached a copy of the map for your information, dated 1896-1900. Thanks once again.

On Ann's old map, there is the stream called Tinker Sick, there's also a farm with that name, and also a hamlet, now called Tapton. The Chesterfield Road is now the A619 about 1 mile East of Chesterfield. Brimington Cemetery is now a large Crematorium.

Problem #19

Noreen writes:
...I don't know whether the Ince info is a misprint or not...

Below is a scan and enlargement of the Ince entry. Compare it with: the website transcription (scroll down 6 mini-pedigrees).
I hope you will agree that the transcription is correct

Problem #18

Carol from Australia writes:
I am having trouble finding the name of one of my Ancestors on the 
1901 Census Matlock Derbyshire

Martha Belfield 56 H Chatham Kent (she is actually the Grandmother)
George Smith 20 Gson Derby
Herbert 17 Gson Starkholmes
Eliza A. 17 Gdaugh Starkholmes
Stanley 8 Gdaugh Matlock

Now I am obviously not sure but Stanley to me is a male name isn't it? 
Every record for the 1901 Census shows this grandDAUGHTER as Stanley. 
I have seen a copy of the original document and tried to place it in 
this email but with no success.
I have tried various spellings in the Ancestory uk website but nothing 
comes up.
I would really appreciate anyone's help with the name or even better 
to tell me exactly what the name is in the Census.
Thank you.
Kindest Regards,
Carol Dixon (KNOWLES)

Hello Carol,
You're right, it is Stanley, down as a Gdaur. Must be a Census taker's
error. Below is a scan of my microfilm, the best resolution I can get 
with my little scanner. Other mentions of the family are on my website at:
1901 Census
1891 Census
1881 Census
Email follows.
John Palmer, Dorset, England

Problem #17

From a postcard possibly date stamped 1910.
Taken in Matlock, Derbyshire, England
Did such a car exist in 1910?
Can anyone identify the type of car?

Problem #16

The origin of the surname WALKLATE, scan taken from "A Dictionary of English Surnames" by Oxford University Press,
ISBN 019860092-5 Price £9.99

Problem #15

Does anyone who knows Matlock know where this incredible building and river are? It is supposed to be a print from "Curiosities of Great Britain, England & Wales Delineated" by Thomas Dugdale, published by L. Tallis, London, c.1845. Did the River Derwent ever have such big sailing boats? Were there ever such big rowing boats?

Problem #14

What kind of Building is this? Its on a tinted postcard posted in 1905, see: X325. If I can read the large sign on the front I might be able to look up the owner in the 1901 Census. Any ideas?

It IS a Switchback!!! I searched my collection of old postcards, and found the rest of the switchback ride on another (very faint) postcard posted in 1904. It must have taken some building, and would not pass safety regs. these days. Did it have rails or what?

Problem #13

Photo from Bonsall History website

28. Tinted photograph.
Links to 1901 Census for Bonsall in Wirksworth website (and ages in 1901)
An estimate of girl's ages in the photo suggests the photo was taken in 1909. All the girls are from Bonsall.
The school is possibly the "School House" run by Alfred Moody in Arthur Lane.

Back row: Lizzie Bunting 8 | Julia Walker 10 | Hilda Sheldon | Winnie Brooks | Ada Poundall 7 | Hannah Bunting 6
Middle row: Hilda Young 5 | Margaret Brown 4 | Nelly Brown 8 | Lizzie Crofts 3 | Pamela Massey 5

Front row: Ada Gregory 3 | Minnie Brown 3 | Maud Kidd 4 | Eliza Bunting 6 | Emma Holmes

Problem #12

Hello Dawn Scotting.
Here's part of Ince page 029c. GREGORY pedigree. Scan lightened considerably to make dark parts readable.
Microfilm much easier to read on microfilm reader. 09 should be Anth[ony] not Ruth. Transcription error.
Sorry, will correct.
Enlargements added of "Anthony" and "Anth", Ince really did write his "n" like a "u".

Problem #11

18  pd Richard Bately for goeing to the Bishops  0  3  10
       visitation 2s 6d his oath 4s his
       presentmt 4s and for 4 hedghoggs 8d

Problem #10

This is a terrible thing to happen. What assurance do we have that it cannot happen with Poole Council, or anywhere in Dorset?

I belong to the International Tree Foundation (ITF) and am raising a plantation of 250 oaks from famous stock. This concerns me greatly.

Problem #9

What kind of writing or alphabet is this?? It appears in a notebook dated about 1785 written by Rev Abraham Bennet. It looks like shorthand to me, but I don't know shorthand. Could it be Arabic? There are only these two passages in 161 pages. Bennet also uses Latin, Greek and English. Perhaps these passages contain something very secret?

I suspect this is shorthand, using John Byrom's system, published in 1767 but superceded by Samuel Taylor's system in 1786. Abraham Bennet would have been 18 in 1767, with time and interest to learn to use "secret stenography", but too busy and old to learn Taylor's system.

Click on: Page 94. to see the context in the original document. Scroll sideways to see the whole image.

Click on: Page 75. to see the context in the original document. Scroll sideways to see the whole image.

Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, encoded, and copyright © 2003, John Palmer, All Rights Reserved.