#FHWC2013 (23): Black Christmas, Part III

Two weeks ago, I wrote “Saving Grace” supplying what little I knew about my maternal grandmother and her family.  

Last week, I wrote Part One and Part Two of “Black Christmas” about Grace’s UK-born ancestors and the questionable relationship as to who was possibly her grandfather.

Since then, with help from an ATKINSON cousin (Hi, Cherel!) and Malcolm HEMINGWAY from the Hemmingway-UK message boards, a little more information has come to light … but there is one piece that everyone is speculating on.  A part of me wants to believe it, but the hypothesis is a bit of a reach, and although it might be the right individual, we cannot be 100% certain.

To make it easiest for me to relate (and for you to follow along), I am presenting the information starting with my mother, Ethel and taking it back from there, generation by generation.

GENERATION 1: my mother, Ethel Alice ATKINSON

  • 1940: birth certificate lists parents: James ATKINSON and Grace HEMINGUAY; also wedding date: 04AUG1934
  • 2016: deceased

GENERATION 2: grandmother, Grace Ethel HEMMINGWAY

  •  1913: birth certificate lists her name as “Grace Ethel HEMMINGUAY” (unless it is just sloppy penmanship)parents: Hamer HEMMINGUAY and Esther Ann NEEDMAN;  < (wasn’t that NEEDHAM before?);
  • MAR1919: Border Crossings (Canada to Island Pond, VT, USA) to final destination of Liverpool, UK: Grace is listed as 5yrs old, younger sister Esther (3), brothers John (15), George (9), Sarah (11), and parents Esther Ann (40) and “Emer” (45);
  • MAR1919: Megantic (manifest Portland, ME, USA to Licerpool, UK)
  • NOV1919: Empress of France (manifest of returning Canadians) Grace listed as 4yrs old and younger sister Esther still 3; Grace should be 6yrs of age by 1919
  • 1937: death certificate of daughter, Lenore Elizabeth ATKINSON, lists name as “Grace HEMINGWAY”;
  • 1959: obituary lists her name as “Grace Esther HEMMINGUAY” (opposed to spelling on birth certificate);
  • 1982: obituary of husband (James Henry ATKINSON) lists her as “Grace Ethel HEMINGWAY”;
  • 1984: bill of sale of gravestone for Grace Ethel ATKINSON

GENERATION 3: great-grandfather, Hamer2 HEMINGWAY

  • 1881: born
  • 1884: “Amor” baptized in Middlestown St. Luke; “son/o George/Elizabeth of Barnsley, miner”
  • 27JUL1901: Manchester Marriage Banns (pg.201), “Hamer HEMINGWAY” wed “Esther Ann NEEDHAM” in Astley Parish 27JUL1901; groom’s father: Hamer HEMINGWAY, bride’s father: Isaac NEEDHAM;
  • 1911 Canadian Census: lists Hamer (30) and Esther A. (30) HEMMINGWAY with four children, Albert* (10), John (7), Sadie (3), and George (1);
  • 1913: listed as father on Grace’s birth (17DEC1913) certificate, w/mother: Esther Ann NEEDMAN;
  • OCT1916: Border Crossings (Canada to Niagara Falls, NY, USA) “Amer” age 35
  • MAR1919: Border Crossings (Canada to Island Pond, VT, USA) to final destination of Liverpool, UK
  • MAR1919: Megantic (White Star Lines) passenger ship list (Portland, ME, USA to Liverpool, UK)
  • NOV1919: Empress of France (manifest of returning Canadians)
  • post1958: gravestone for “Hamer HEMINGWAY 1877-1954” and wife “Esther NEEDHAM 1878-1958” (Hamer2’s birth is listed on his grave as 4yrs sooner 1877 than previously 1881 reported)



NOTE: *Adopted son, Albert is Albert Edward FULLER, son of police constable, William John FULLER (age:23) and the former Jeannette Violet FULLER (maiden name unknown).  According to Sicilian passenger manifests, the brown-eyed, brown-haired boy was a BARNARDO HOME CHILD from London, arriving 11MAY1911 — one day after his tenth birthday!


GENERATION 4: 2xgreat-grandfather, Hamer HEMINGWAY

1901: listed as father of Hamer2 HEMINGWAY who married Esther Ann NEEDHAM, daughter of Isaac


 Ok, time to put on your Sherlock Holmes deerstalker cap, and tell me what you make of the confusing mess that follows:


At this point, Malcolm makes a strong and valid argument: neither Hamer2 or Esther (NEEDHAM) HEMINGWAY could write!  In one of the supplied Passenger Lists, neither of them could read!  So, if the entry was wrong, they would not know it.  There is also the probability that the vicar got it wrong.

It is worth remembering that Hamer2 did NOT know his father (George), but may well have known his grandfather (Hamor, the Greengrocer), who had a habit of taking in stray members of the family.

Therefore, it is possible that Hamer2 mistook his grandfather to be his father?

If, this is so, the lineage would change to something like this:


  • 1850: born to Hamer HEMINGWAY & the former Mary WOODWARD; baptized 14JUL1850 Tankersley, St. Peter
  • 1871 UK Census: George residing with Mr & Mrs. John CARDWELL and family; meets Elizabeth
  • 29MAY1871: George marries Elizabeth CARDWELL
  • 1881 UK Census (Wombwell): w/ 4 daughters, Mary E. (9), Martha A. (7), Sarah A. (5) and Frances (2)
  • 22DEC1882 Memorial card: George killed at Cortonwood Colliery (“Fall of coal” 19DEC1882)
  • 1884: “Amor” baptized in Middlestown St. Luke; “son/o George/Elizabeth of Barnsley, miner”
  • 06JUN1884: Elizabeth (CARDSWELL)[HEMINGWWAY] married Obadiah BEAUMONT in Barnsley, (another miner)
  • 1891 UK Census (Hornsby): Obadiah (36), Elizabeth (38), step-children Martha (18), Sarah (15), James (9), step-grdson, George W (1)
  • 1891-1896: Obadiah dies (reference cannot be located at this time)
  • MAY1896: SS Lake Huron (fm Liverpool, UK to Montreal, QC, CAN) Elizabeth (45) & Hamer2 (15); possibly joining daughter/sister, Sadie JENKINS
  • 1901 CDN Census (ON, Niagara, Pelham): Joseph JENKINS (33), wife, Sadie M. (25) and “Moth” and “Widowed” Elizabeth HEMINGWAY (50)
  • 1901 CDN Census (ON, Toronto Center, Ward 3): widow, Elizabeth (50) w/Gertrude (25), William (18), Frederick (16), Edgar (10) & James (9); NOTE: James was 9yo in 1891 UK Census
  • ARGUMENT: James (9) CANNOT be Hamer; Hamer (25) marrying Esther Ann NEEDHAM (27JUL1901) in England
  • 1911 CDN Census: widow, Elizabeth (60) w/James (19) in Toronto, ON;
  • ARGUMENT: James (19) CANNOT be Hamer, Hamer (30), married & fathered four children by 1911 in Hamilton, ON
  • 27MAR1935: death certificate  of Elizabeth (CARDWELL)[1:HEMINGWAY] 2:BEAUMONT; informant: daughter, Mary E. BOWMAN of Buffalo, NY
  • 1940 US Census (NY, Erie, Buffalo): Avery (78) & Mary E. BOWMAN (68); reference cannot be located at this time

I do not believe that James can be Hamer, the age difference is too steep; but I do have questions of my own:

  1. What happened to Frances? She was 2 in 1881 UK Census and disappeared before 1891
  2. “Amor” (b.1884) is close to Hamer (1877/78), but there are too many questionable  tangents with him too.
  3. Grandson George W: where did he disappear to? He was 1yo in 1891 and 6yo in 1896 when Elizabeth & Hamer2 when to Montreal. Why didn’t George go too?

Too many other questions to add, so will keep for another day!


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