Friday, 20 June 2008

Reeves in Awsworth

My great great grandmother Alice Reeve was born in Awsworth in 1835. How do I know this? Well, as 1835 was two years before the civil registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths came into force she wouldn't have had a birth certificate so the only way of finding a birthplace is from Parish Registers and Census Returns. The census returns of 1841 don't record birthplaces; they just note if someone was born in or out of the county of their residence at the time the census was taken. From 1851 onwards birthplaces are recorded and my great great grandmother is listed as 16 years old and her birthplace recorded as Awsworth. From this it is possible to work out a year of birth, trusting that the enumerator hasn't made a mistake or indeed that the head of the household hasn't either made a mistake or told a white lie, of 1835. This can be checked with parish registers at the county archives. In 1851 Alice is living with her father William Reeve who was also born in Awsworth and her mother Amy who comes from Eastwood. They are living on The Lane, which is the main street through the village and used to be the main route through to Ilkeston. I wonder if they lived in one of the houses below?

On Christmas Day 1860 Alice Reeve married my great great grandfather Joseph Limb, probably at the church below. She left Awsworth and went to live in Joseph's birthplace of Shipley in Derbyshire. In 1861 the couple are living in Shipley next door to Joseph's widowed mother. With them in the household is Sarah Ann Reeve, Alice's daughter born two years before she married Joseph - father unknown.

The Parish Church of St Peter's, Awsworth was built in the 1740s but only the chancel remains of that time. The church was rebuilt in the early 1900s. Opposite the church is the Board School founded in 1878 but of course, this was too late for Alice to have been a pupil there.

Below you can see the girls' entrance which is separate from that of the boys. I don't think the building is still used as a school today. By 1871 Alice and Joseph have moved to Staveley in Derbyshire, I expect to find work, but by 1881 they have returned to Awsworth. Their younger girls Susanna and Mary Jane age 10 and 8 in 1881 may have gone to the board school using the girls' entrance. In 1891 the family are living on The Lane with an extended family including Alice's brother Thomas Reeve and her eldest daughter Sarah Ann Brammer and her four Brammer grandchildren.

In 1841 Awsworth was a hamlet consisting of just under 60 households; household occupations seem mainly to be colliers, agricultural labourers and cotton frame work knitters. Of the 58 households 16 are occupied by people with the name Chambers - obviously the most prolific family of the hamlet, followed 5 families with the name of Reeve. One of these families lived in Glass House Yard, which years before was famous for its glass making industries. By 1881 there are no Reeve families living in Awsworth - except Alice who has returned with her family. By 1901 the family have moved again this time to Shirebrook in Derbyshire and again moving for work. I wonder what they would all have made of the newest employer in town.


  1. Wel,here I am ,on your family history blog. Of course I find this VERY interesting.I love history.Did some research about my ancestors,and maybe, if i can find the time, i wil make a little blog about them.But for the moment I am reading and enjoying yours..


  2. glad you find it interesting, I think family histories are fascinating:)

  3. your blog is fascinating! i have several comments...first, i saw your profile and i love keane, kt tunstall, and a tale of two cities. secondly, i'm going to be reading a man for all seasons in english lit. this year. thirdly, i love history, including family history. my grandfather (poppa) was passionate about geneology and, thankfully i inherited his enthusiasm for the subject. also, last year my older sister rachel (shelley), returned from amission trip to england for a year. now she'll be leaving for africa soon...anyway, i love these photographs, i think the uk is simply beautiful...i'm actually considering going to university there. also i had a seventh generation uncle, arthur middleton, who graduated from cambridge university and later in the 1700s signed the american declaration of independence. have a great week and brilliant blog!

  4. hello tessa, I'm so glad that you enjoyed reading my blog. How wonderful that you have such an illustrious ancestor - like you I think history is fascinating. Good luck with your studies - A Man for All Seasons is a wonderful play and the film is superb - even though it was made so very long ago - one of the actors in the film - John Hurt - was born in Shirebrook, where many of my ancestors come from, when his father was a Vicar there. Apparently, as children, he and my cousin Brian, mentioned in one of my earlier posts, used to play together.

  5. I came to your blog via the dutchess. Great pictures and interesting family history. It's great when we can pass on our family ancestory, enjoyed reading.