We had a lovely week in North Cornwall last month & during the week I had seen a shop in Camelford that looked really inviting! Full of vintage and retro stuff, so we stopped there on the Wednesday and wasn’t I lucky that the lovely lady Cleo in the shop had a few old photos.
I chose most of what she had and among them was the round wooden framed photo of the lady below with her name on a piece of paper just about staying stuck to the back.
Suzannah Waterhouse (nee Leggett) actually could be Liggett/Liggitt/Liggit/Leggette are just some of the various spellings I’ve found for this surname.
After Cleo had kindly done a search of her shop to see if she had any more old photos that I might like she suddenly remembered that she had a Wedding Photo in a frame under the counter that someone had asked her to put by over a month previously. She got it out to show me and amazingly it was written on the back and the surname was the same, Waterhouse!
The two I realised were connected or at least I hoped they were connected, Cleo let me have that too as she said she hadn’t heard from the person about it and like me wanted the two photos to be kept together. What a lovely lady, thanks so much, Cleo!
Do pay a visit to the shop if you are away in Cornwall this summer and in the area, it’s a fabulous shop. It’s called The Really Groovy Shop (29 Market Place PL32 9PD) and that’s just what it is! As they say on their Facebook Page ‘Vintage dream in an Aladdin’s Cave. Selling everything you can imagine!‘
Here are some more recent photos below from their Facebook Page, it’s looking good!
So that evening I started a quick family tree on Ancestry for Agnes and Arthur and I soon realised that Agnes’s mother’s name was Susanna (Leggett) my hunch was correct as my research had led me to a marriage in the third quarter of 1868 for a Susannah Cox Liggitt to Joseph Waterhouse in Birmingham, Warwickshire that seemed the most likely so I added them both in as parents. Why Cox? often a parent’s surname is carried forward as a middle name in a child, I’ll come back to that.
The family were from Worcestershire and that made me wonder how did the photos get to Cornwall, did someone in the family move there or was it a house clearance and they were divided at an auction. My wifi signal made it difficult to do too much while we were away but at least I had made a start.
I was struggling to find Suz/sannah’s birth with the surname Leggett or one of the variations. so I thought what if it was Cox and then changed later for some reason to Leggett. Here it is COX, SUSANNAH PLUMMER GRO Reference: 1844 S Quarter in WELLINGTON UNION (SALOP) Volume 18 Page 180. As you can see her mother’s maiden name is Plummer on this record but it looks from other records it should be Plimmer including on her parent’s marriage record.
Frederick married using the surname of Cox and later took the name of Liggitt, I would love to know why and what happened in his life. Frederick Cox and Ann Plimmer‘s marriage is below. I had to smile when I saw this, I’ve occasionally found hands and fingers before on record scans and here we have two thumbs scanned for posterity.
I’ve cropped it so you can see Susannah’s parents’ details much clearer here. Just the one thumb!
So starting with 1841 the year Frederick and Ann married I gradually went through the dates on the GRO website adding children to the couple using the surname of COX. I was able to confirm most of them that are mentioned on the various census records. Eliza 1843-1923, Susannah 1844-1917, Frederick 1846-1921, Elizabeth 1847-1848, John Cox 1849-, Agnes Elizabeth 1851-1902, Henry Alfred 1853-1854, Emily 1853-, Henry 1855-, Alfred 1857-, Sarah Ann 1859-. Then with a gap of six years after the couple had moved to Birmingham Florence Maud Liggitt 1866-1958 was born and registered as Liggitt. But then as you can see just by looking at the various census records below for the family it gets steadily more complicated, as I mentioned earlier, there are so many variations of the name Leggett in the records it gets harder and harder to confirm who’s who, as the children that married and then died all used one or the other variations of Leggett/Liggett/Liggitt/Liggit/Leggette, I’m so glad this is not my family I’m researching!
How lucky to find the image below on Ancestry and not just the transcription, always a huge bonus! As you can see they married on the 1st June 1909, not the 3rd. Also, we have fathers’ names so at least I have a good start to finding the rest of Arthur and Agnes’s families.
I shall start with Agnes Bertha Waterhouse who was born on 28 November 1882 in Aston, Warwickshire, she was one of eight children that I have found so far, their father Joseph Waterhouse 1846-1912 as stated on the marriage record above, was an engineer, on various census records he was an engineer and machine maker, an employer and on earlier records being described as an engine fitter. Agnes’s and her sibling’s mother was Susannah Cox (Leggett) 1845-1917. She married Arthur Betts in 1909 in her hometown of Aston, Warwickshire. They had five children during their marriage, Vera Beatrice 1911-1995, Arthur 1913-1928, Edna A 1923-Arthur Betts family2018 and lastly Gwendoline Bertha 1925-2020. Agnes died in 1958 at the age of 76.
Arthur Betts was born on 8 September 1885 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, one of nine children that I have found so far, their parents were Benjamin Betts who was a dairyman and later in his life a farmer and their mother was Ann (Townsend) 1859-1931. Arthur was also a Farmer at the time of his marriage in 1909 just like his father but later by the time of the 1939 Register his occupation was a Chauffeur, it also states he was in the Observation Corps. They had their three daughters still with them at the time of the 1939 Register Vera was an Elementary School Teacher, Edna an Art Student and Gwendoline at School still, although it says Commercial afterwards, so maybe an apprentice. The family were living in Himbleton a village in Worcestershire at this time. Arthur Betts died on 27 May 1965 in Worcester, Worcestershire, at the age of 79.
As I had been researching I wondered if any of the other photos belonged to the same family even though they had been separated and spread around the shop, so I took another closer look at them, two that were in fairly modern frames, below right, I hadn’t scanned because it was obvious that they were copies of original old photos. But I hadn’t taken them out of the frames, I had a feeling…..so I took the first one out, the full-length view of the lady, with difficulty as it had stuck to the glass and it was indeed a modern copy, nothing on the back. Then the next one, and as I removed the back I saw the writing! It was Agnes Bertha Betts on her 21st Birthday and the first one that I had taken out of the frame was obviously the same lady, fabulous! Looking more closely at the copy photos I could now see that it was the bride in the large image. Someone in the family must have all these originals and had made copies to spread around the wider family.
So how many of these other people in the photos below that I bought belong to the Waterhouse and Betts families? I suspect this older Victorian photo on very thin original paper could be, as the family look a bit like Arthur Betts don’t you think. But the others I’m not sure.
Agnes Bertha Betts on her 21st Birthday, photo below.
This full-length photocopy of Agnes below as I said was damaged as it was stuck to the inside of the photo frame glass. So I thought I would try out the new ‘REPAIR’ tool on MyHeritage.com and I’m very impressed, all the bits that were missing because they were stuck to the glass have been repaired beautifully. Fabulous if you want to share a scan with friends and family or if you want to have a new copy made.
This is the family group photo that I bought in Camborne below I wonder if they are this family?
During my research, I came across a couple of links to some forums where people and descendants were chatting about the family, not recent postings though. Here’s one: “Ann Plimmer was my great-great-grandmother. I am a descendent of her daughter Susannah, by her daughter Agnes and her daughter Gwendoline”. This is part of Sheena’s biography on WikiTree “I was born in 1948 at Millbrook in Cornwall, in the home of my paternal grandparents. At 2 weeks of age, my mother and I joined my father in Wadebridge, where he had lodgings and worked as an optician. I slept in a drawer across 2 chairs because they couldn’t afford a cot“
I did find that Gwendoline the youngest of Agnes and Arthur’s children died in Cornwall in 2020 so did these photos once belong to her. Looking at the family trees on Ancestry I see that Sheena, above, has got a public tree with some of the photos I’m sharing on here, sadly she hasn’t logged in for over a year, but when I’ve finished this Blog I will send her a message and see if I get a response.
This is the public family tree I have compiled on Ancestry for the families of Betts Cox Leggitt and Waterhouse: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/tree/183706850/family?cfpid=322393365919
On another forum I found this: 1) “Hello, I am new to the Forum so I hope I am posting in the right place. Thanks to posters who have mentioned Whitehead Street in earlier posts. I now know exactly where it was located. In the 1871 census, my 2 x great grandparents Frederick and Ann Leggett, five of their children, a grandson and a lodger lived at Whitehead Street (Bath Place). In the 1871 rate book for Whitehead Street, Aston notes that Frederick Liggett occupied, at a gross estimated rental of 9 Pounds 12 Shillings, 1 of 5 dwellings owned by M A Russell.
I am wondering if Bath Place may have been “back-to-back” houses. I note a number of other sets of buildings – Victoria Place, Barr Buildings and Lowes Buildings.
Hoping somebody in the Forum may have some knowledge. Thanks, Patricia“
Patricia also writes: 2) “I am very happy to know where my gt gt grandparents Frederick and Ann Liggett (various spellings) lived. It seems when they moved from Wellington, Shropshire sometime between 1861 and 1866 just about their whole family joined them, and seemed to settle around the Aston and Erdington area. My grandparents lived in Turf Pits Lane, Erdington before emigrating to Australia in 1920. Cheers, Patricia“. Both above are from the Birmingham History Forum. Forums are a great way to find little snippets of extra information about your ancestors.
One of Agnes Bertha’s 7 siblings was Thomas Alfred 1877-1967 and his occupation was a Mechanical Engineer but in his spare time he loved fishing and he wrote this book: WITH NETS AND LINES. BY T.A. WATERHOUSE (PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF ANGLERS) Author’s account of his angling experiences, chub, roach, tench, perch, and eels, mainly in Lincolnshire. Includes much material on his involvement with managing fisheries and their fish stocks. By a president of the National Federation of Anglers.
Just one of the rabbit holes researching these families has got me lost down ha ha.
Till next time then…………