This wedding took place 101 years ago today💒This wonderful photo was among the job lots that I bought from Ebay last November, from the seller of the wedding book photos.
If only all old photos were like this with all this much information on the back, we would all be able to claim back our ancestors and see their faces.
Firstly I started my research with the person that I had the most information about on the back of this postcard Robert Montague Bennett who had a daughter called Revd. Susan M (Bennett) and she had married a Mr Nuttall. I was also thinking at the time that as one of the bridesmaids was HB and also the groom was DB their surname might also be Bennett. The initials on the back also indicate that he is second from the left in the back row RMB.
I had already established that the photographer Hamilton was in Staple Hill, Bristol area during the early 1900s so at least I had a possible area to find the families. I started a tree on Ancestry with Robert Montague Bennett and added his daughter. Thank goodness for that middle name! I put in the full name on Find My Past narrowing it down to civil marriages in Bristol, Gloucestershire and there was just one in 1928 marrying Agnes Elaine Smith in Bristol, Gloucestershire. So then I looked for birth on Find My Past of a Susan M Bennett in the 20 years after that marriage with the surname of the mother being Smith in Bristol and I got lucky as there was only one in 1933. What a good start, this enabled me to gradually add more family information to Robert and Agnes.
Robert Montague Bennett was born on 8 August 1889 in Stinchcombe, Gloucestershire, his father, Charles (1855-1926) and his mother, Alma Shipp (1855-1944). He married Agnes Elaine Smith in October 1928 in Bristol, Gloucestershire. Robert had 3 sisters Madeleine, Margaret and Sylvia and 1 brother Charles Wilfred who died in 1919.
So the groom DB wasn’t Robert’s brother and the bridesmaid HB wasn’t a sister, the next option was a cousin. Robert’s father Charles had 5 sisters and just 1 brother John Leonard Bennett who married Laura Jones in 1883 and they had 2 children that I’ve found called Gordon Bennett and Katherine Gladys, so no match there for the first cousins. So it has to be the wider family, maybe they are not Bennett? Before I thought more about that I decided to tackle the puzzle from a different angle as I might get lucky, so I looked for a D Bennett in the civil marriages on Find My Past exact date of 1921 in Bristol, Gloucestershire and bingo there was just the one! A Donald Bennett married a May Habgood in the third quarter of 1921. Whoop whoop a DB and MH! How brilliant but I need to confirm.
I started a separate Ancestry tree for Donald and May. Donald Bennett was born on 15 January 1888 in Bitton, Gloucestershire, his father, Alfred Evan Bennett (1888-1966) and his mother, Elizabeth Charlotte Rogers (1857-1925). Donald married May Habgood on 27 July 1921 in Redland, Gloucestershire. Here’s their marriage record below from Ancestry, ‘Bristol, England, Non-Conformist Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers, 1644-1981‘.
As I added more family to the couple I realised I had found all the answers that I needed to identify most of the people in the photo, Donald had 1 sister called Harriett Mary Bennett HB. May had 3 sisters, left to right in the photo Ellen (Nellie) Kate Bennett, Dora Marion Bennett and Edith Marjorie Bennett.
As I have found no Kembury, Skinner or Budd surnames in either of these family trees for Bennett’s I have to assume that they were friends of Donald and May. But I still cannot link the two Bennett trees, so frustrating, surely they have to be connected somewhere it’s just too much of a coincidence to not be connected or have I missed something or someone! Or is it just a coincidence they have the same surname? Maybe someone out there knows the families? If you do please get in touch!
Here’s just a little about Donald and May‘s family history starting with their family tree and then with a very surprising discovery about May!
Donald’s Grandfather John Davis Bennett was born in Mangotsfield and was by trade a Stone Mason just like his father George Bennett. John in later records is described as a Builder. Donald’s mother Mary (Jones) was also a local girl born in Stapleton, Gloucestershire. John and Mary had married at St James Church, Mangotfield on Christmas day 1856 they had seven children that I have found so far, one being Donald’s father Alfred Evan Bennett.
Alfred is described as an Accountant at the age of 24 on the 1881 census above but then by the time of the 1891 census a Commercial Traveller, 1901 and 1911 also a Commercial Traveller for a Corn Milling company, so maybe a modern day Sales Representative? Alfred married Elizabeth Charlotte Rogers in Keynsham, Somerset in 1884, the couple had three children Harriett May 1886-1958, Donald 1888-1966 and Alexander Ernest born at the beginning of 1891 and died later that year. Six years after Elizabeth died in 1925 Alfred married Lilian Kate Davies, Alfred was 73 and Lilian was 55 and unmarried. Lilian died just three years later on 19 Dec 1934 but Alfred was 88 when he passed away. After his second wife died his unmarried daughter Harriett was living with him at the time of the 1939 register.
I love it when I find connections or possible meetings of couples as in the census record of 1881 above you can see Alfred’s future wife Elizabeth with her family, her father was a Grocer in this one, on previous census records being described as a Baker and Grocer. But look at the last person on the census working as a General Servant for Elizabeth’s family, it’s Hester Bennett, she was Alfred’s unmarried sister so could this have been how the couple first met?
May’s Grandfather James Habgood was born in Cirencester, Gloucestershire he is described in earlier census records as being a Metal Merchant. In the 1871 census, James is described as an Iron Merchant and Shipowner. In 1881 he employed 12 men and 1 boy. James’s wife Louisa (Emmett) died in 1883, the couple married on 12 November 1848 at St Peter’s, Bristol, and they had ten children that I have found so far. James was a Visitor in Derbyshire and described as a Retired Metal Merchant on the 1891 census. James died in February 1900 in Redlands, Bristol.
May’s other Grandfather was William Turberville, Licensed Victualler. William married Katherine Hayter on 21 March 1853 at St George’s, Hanover Square, London they had 3 sons and 1 daughter Kate. Katherine died in 1865 and William died in 1867 leaving their four young children, I think from my research that they were likely cared for by various relatives until the boys became of an age to apprentice out and Kate to marry, this family group needs more research. But the British Newspaper Archives on Find My Past came up trumps again for William Turberville’s death.
According to Layers of London: “The Kings Head opened about 1824 and was closed in about 1861 when William Turbeville was the victualler. He moved on to the Plough in the same street, Museum Street, Bloomsbury, London. The Plough is still open today. It was rebuilt in 1864 according to newspaper sources and licensing transfers for July 1864. Thomas Bennett was the victualler from at least 1836 to 1851“. Was that Thomas Bennett related to Donald Bennett in any way I wonder? It looks likely from just a little research into the three brothers that they were apprenticed, two into the Jewellery trade this is one document I found so far on Ancestry.
I’m always astonished when I read these Indentures. Edward Henry Turberville had no wages to himself nor was he allowed to get married. He did afterwards marry in the last quarter of 1877 to Julia Cox after his 7 years was up! They had 6 children and he was still a Jeweller at the time of the 1911 census.
So back to Donald and May as you can see from the family tree earlier in this Blog they had one son Alfred Arthur Bennett who married and had three children. I’m hoping I might get some answers as there are descendants out there somewhere.
The amazing discovery about our bride May was, if you hadn’t noticed from the dates, she lived to the wonderful age of 106! May (Habgood) was born on 12 May 1892 in Barton, Gloucestershire and she died in July 1998 still in Gloucestershire. You would think there would have been something in the Newspaper Archives after her death or even when she reached 100 but I haven’t been able to find anything at all. I was hoping for a nice obituary with more information about May but I’m still hopeful that someone might get in touch.
Remember you can always email me at email@example.com if you would prefer not to leave a comment here.
Here’s the direct link to the Bennett Habgood family tree on Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/tree/182884918/family?cfpid=162378265850
Here is also the link to the small family tree of Robert Montague Bennett on Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/tree/182311022/family?cfpid=402378354621
🌻For my followers on Twitter and Instagram, I am thoroughly enjoying my break from Social Media and finding some wonderful details about my own family history and also scanning lots and lots of wonderful family old photos and letters and it’s keeping me very busy.
Till next time then………
Lovely Post Lynn and a lovely family. I notice on the beginning photo all the ladies are wearing the same hats. Never the less its a lovely photo. Hope the weather has cooled down a bit for you. Take care and stay safe.
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Thanks Rita, yes I wonder if they managed to buy all the same ones for the bridesmaids all maybe they bought plain ones & customised them with their own flowers, they look lovely🌸xx
What a lovely story, I do envy you your detective skills, if only I could do the same with my family. We have a lady called Isabel Habgood in the village, she is a local historian and has written much about the history of Wroughton.
With love, Lynne
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Thanks Lynne! I wonder if she’s a descendant of the same Habgood family? xxxx
Lynn, you are amazing. From this beautiful photo you have researched and written a really wonderful story. I do hope some of their descendants find this. They would be thrilled, as I am with my family that you have written about.