Tag Archives: Chester

Workday Wednesday

I’ve recently been responding to some hints on Ancestry.com, those little green leaves that tell you that there are records in their database that may contain information about ancestors in your tree. In particular, I’ve been looking at the Rycroft family, my maternal great-grandmother’s mother Eliza Rycroft.

Eliza was born in 1842 and baptised in St. Oswald’s Parish, Chester in Cheshire, England in 1842. This parish was associated with the south transept of Chester Cathedral, inside the ancient walls of the city. Her family lived on Princess Street where her father Thomas was a pawnbroker. Her mother was Sarah Purslow. Eliza married James Dobb Price (also a pawnbroker) in 1866 and they lived next door to her parents. Eliza is noted as a grocer in the 1871 census. They had four children, the second of which was my great grandmother Emily Minnie Price.

Stephen Robert Goddard and Emily Minnie Price
Stephen Robert Goddard and Emily Minnie Price

Eliza died in her late 30s and the children were split up: the elder two lived with their grandmother next door and the younger two went to live with their father’s mother and her second husband, Thomas and Mary Ruscoe, in Toxteth Park (now Liverpool), about 30 miles away. A few years later, Minnie emigrated to Canada where she met and married my great-grandfather, Stephen Robert Goddard.

What interested me yesterday morning was that it became apparent that another Rycroft family member also came to Canada, specifically, the Toronto area.

Anne Rowe (1849-1904)
Anne Rowe (1849-1904)

Eliza was the first of five children born to Thomas and Sarah. Thomas William was born in 1848; Sarah Jane was born in 1850; John Stanley Ford was born in 1851; and Annie Eliza was born in 1854. Thomas is listed as a carpenter in the 1871 census. (Sarah and Annie work with their parents as “pawn brokers assistants”. John heads off to Lancashire to be an “assistant master” in a school.) Thomas sails for Canada on the Nestorian in the summer of 1872 and six years later, marries Ann Rowe in Toronto.

By 1881, they have a toddler (Annie) who dies shortly thereafter and an infant (Stanley) and are living in St. Patrick’s Ward where Thomas continues to work as a carpenter. By 1891, they have three growing sons (Stanley, Percy, and Jamie) and Thomas is now listed as a clerk. Jamie dies the following year at age 4 of diphtheria.

In 1901, Thomas is working as a clerk in a store and making $500 per year, well above others who live on his street. Stanley is a piano maker, making $200 per year, and Percy is a machinist, $200 per year. They are now living at 261 Church St (currently in the middle of Ryerson University) and Thomas is a warden at Holy Trinity (Anglican) Church. In 1904, Ann dies of general peritonitis.

Holy Trinity Church on Trinity Square, Toronto, c 1870-5.
Holy Trinity Church on Trinity Square, Toronto, c 1870-5.

I have been unable to Thomas Sr. in the 1911 census. But death records show that he died in 1912 of heart disease. He was living at 425 Wellesley Street.

In 1904, Percy marries Jean MacPherson and they have two children in the following two years, Dorothy and John. Then they move to Watertown NY where he is a collar-maker in the harness industry. I believe that they return to Canada but I haven’t verified this yet.

Stanley Rycroft (b.1881)
Stanley Rycroft (b.1881)

Stanley marries Frances Mabel Riches in 1907 and by 1921, they are living in Parkdale at 31 Prince Rupert Ave. Stanley works at Gourlay Winter and Leeming, a piano factory and makes $1560 per year. They have two children, Frances and James. I kwow that Gourlay Winter and Leeming go out of business in the 20s, so I’m not sure where Stanley ends up (yet.)

I haven’t taken this story much further, but I know that there are lots of references to Rycrofts in the local paper from those years that I haven’t begun to explore. Even better, I likely have some Rycroft cousins on this side of the Atlantic that I haven’t met yet. If you know or are related to any of these people’s descendants, please get in touch.


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Family Recipe Friday: Christmas Edition

When we cleared out my mother’s condo, I grabbed her recipe boxes with the intent of uploading the family favorites to share with my siblings.

I knew that there were a few cards in my grandmother’s handwriting that I wanted to save and possibly make. I’m one of the increasingly rare breed who love fruitcake and today share three Christmassy recipes.

The first is for Dark Christmas Cake. I recall these cakes arriving by mail (?) in Ottawa from my mother’s mom, Daisy Goddard, who lived in Toronto.

My Grandma Gear (Eva Daisy Goddard) in her kitchen on Nairn Ave, Toronto.

One day, I came home from school to find a syringe in the sink and the cake on the counter. My mother (a physician) had been injecting some kind of alcohol into it well in advance of Christmas so that it would have time to absorb the goodness. The recipe is in my grandmother’s handwiting.

Family Christmas recipes_0001

Next up is a recipe for Mince Meat from Daisy’s mother, Emily Minnie Price. Minnie was born in 1869 in Chester, England, the second of four children of James Dobb Price (bookkeeper) and his wife Eliza Rycroft (a grocer).

Emily Minnie Price
Emily Minnie Price

Minnie’s mother died in 1881 when she was twelve and she and her sister went to live with her maternal grandmother, Sarah Rycroft, and three of Sarah’s unmarried children, then in their 20s. Sarah was a pawnbroker with a shop at 26 Princess Street. The younger two children went to live with their paternal grandmother mother.

Minnie emigrated to Toronto in 1889 a couple of years after Sarah died and, two years later, married my grandfather, Stephen Robert Goddard. Here is her Mince Meat recipe: it has no instructions, just the ingredients, which was probably pretty common in those days.

A Christmas Pudding recipe labelled “Grandma Gear’s” was from my great grandmother Janet Forbes Morren. She was from Aberdeen and emigrated to Canada in 1899 where she married a Walter Gear in Calgary. Janet’s father, WIlliam Morren, was an engineer and was away a good bit of the time on steam ships. (The census regularly showed his civil parish as “Vessels”.) Janet’s mother, Barbara Gordon, died in 1886 when Janet was just eight years old, and she and her sister Margaret went to live with her older sister Williamina (who was 15 years her senior) in Edinburgh (then Leith North.) She ended up in Toronto (a long story for another time) and lived close by my grandmother and family.

Her Christmas Pudding recipe. Again, no instructions.

Family Christmas recipes_0002

Would love to hear from relatives who have stories or anecdotes about these recipes or these three women. The second and third recipe are in the same handwriting. Can anyone identify it? I hope to take a crack at the recipes in about six months.

Rycroft – Price Memorial Cards

Further to yesterday’s post about the Pritchard family In Memoriam cards, I thought I’d write about the other two cards that were found along-side them, those of my ancestors.

In Memory of John Stanley Ford Rycroft.
In Memory of John Stanley Ford Rycroft.

John Stanley Ford Rycroft was my maternal great-grandmother’s uncle. He was born in 1851 in Chester, England, the son of Thomas Rycroft, a pawnbroker. He appears to have lived much of his life on Princess Street, taking up his father’s profession, with a brief appearance on the 1871 census as an assistant master at Grammar School House in Farnworth.

Farnworth Grammar School

The record of probate shows that he left an estate of £4032 to his widow, Elizabeth Rose. He does not appear to have had children and his sister Annie Eliza lived with he and his wife, and worked as his assistant.

The other memorial card was for Arthur Rycroft Roscoe Price, my great-grandmother’s brother.

In Memory of Arthur Rycroft Roscoe Price
In Memory of Arthur Rycroft Roscoe Price

My great-grandmother’s mother died sometime before 1881, and the two younger children (Arthur and Edith) went to live with their maternal grandmother’s second husband in Toxteth Park, now Liverpool. (Yeah, it gets complicated.) The eldest two, Frances Amy and Emily Minnie, remained on Princess Street in Chester. Frances was a teacher and eventually became an Anglican nun. My great-grandmother Emily Minnie emigrated to Canada in 1889 where she met and married my great-grandfather, Stephen Robert Goddard, two years later.

Edith remained in Lancashire and worked for a baker (1901).

Wilson's Homemade Bread& Cakes, Garston
Site of Confectioner at 81 St. Mary’s Rd, Liverpool where Edith worked for owner Joseph Helsby.

Arthur married and is listed in various censuses as a tobacconist and a cycle-maker’s clerk. He had two daughters, Amy and Florence. He died relatively young at age 50 in 1922, leaving an estate of £440 pounds to his widow, Hannah Jane Mitchell.

If you are related to any of the above, then you’re related to me! Please leave a comment or contact me to share information.

Seeking descendants of William and Emily Pritchard, of Chester.

After yesterday’s heartening results of reaching out through social media with the letters from Barnardo’s, I’m going to try this again.

Some months (years?) ago, I was given four death announcements by one of my aunts who had found them in my grandmother’s trunk. Two were for relatives and two were for unknown (to me) persons, a brother and sister. I wondered why my grandmother had these, but as it turns out, they were neighbours of her maternal grandparents in Chester, England. These latter two are reproduced here:



William and Emily (Hewitt) Pritchard of Chester, England, lost two children 6 months apart. On 19 Nov 1884, their daughter Annie Eliza died at age 9 years and 6 months. On 17 May 1885, their son Charles Norton drowned in the River Dee. Both were interred in Chester Cemetery.

I tried to make contact with someone on ancestry.co.uk who appeared to be descendants of this family, to no avail. I will try again, linking to this post.

Their story as I can understand it through some research:

William Pritchard was a 32 year old bricklayer in Chester on the 1871 census and lived with his wife Emily (aged 28) and their 1-year-old son Charles at 4 Albion Street. On the 1881 census his son is now 11 and his daughter Annie appears (aged 6). They live at 20 Princess Street, next door to my Rycroft ancestors who are at number 22. Both Charles and Annie die between census years 1881 and 1891. On the 1891 census, William and Emily have three children living with them: Joseph (19), Samuel (10), and Minnie (6). They are living at 25 Raymond Street. So Joseph, identified as an Assistant Ironmonger,  appears to have been missing from the 1881 census. In fact, I found him listed as a visitor with Sarah and Samuel Hewitt, sister and brother, and probably his aunt and uncle as his mother’s maiden name was Hewitt. They lived at 5 Volunteer Street.

In 1901, William (62), Emily (56), and Minnie (16) are living at 35 Raymond Street and William is “living on his own means”.

William dies on 23 April 1910, leaving an estate of £2138 to his widow Emily and to David Lythall Hewitt, shoe manufacturer, likely a relative of Emily’s. William’s address is noted as 5 Volunteer Street.

In the census of 1911, Emily is noted as widowed and still living with Samuel and Minnie, now at 7 Volunteer Street. Emily is noted as having “Private Means” and Samuel is a Draper’s Assistant.

Of personal interest are the names in this story. My great-grandmother’s name was Emily Minnie Price (b. 1870). She would have been the same age as Charles, and a next-door neighbour, so likely a playmate. (My) Emily’s father was a bookkeeper and her mother was a grocer.  her mother Eliza Rycroft dies in 1881 and Emily and her siblings continue to live on Princess street with her widowed grandmother, Sarah Rycroft, a pawnbroker.

Emily Minnie Price
Emily Minnie Price, my maternal great grandmother.

This is a cup that has been passed down to me.

Cup reads Emily Minnie Price, 24 Princes (sic) Street, Chester

If you are related to this Pritchard family and would like the In Memoriam cards, please get in touch!