Friday, 18 May 2018


(Elizabeth Douglas b.1873 d.1928)

Elizabeth Douglas was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Douglas, 
who was my maternal great-grandmother.

She was born in Glasgow, Scotland on the 16 May 1873 and was one of three sisters who came with their father to Liverpool from Scotland.

It is believed that she had met my Norwegian great-grandfather while living in Glasgow. 

Peder Gerhard Ingebretsen, (...his Anglicised name Peter Gerard Englebretsen), worked as a mariner on ships which carried goods into and out of the ports of Britain. The exact circumstances of their meeting is not known, but it is believed that the couple met and started a relationship while Peder was on shore leave from the ship.

Elizabeth's mother passed away, and her father brought the family to Liverpool

On 1 November 1890 Elizabeth and Peder were married in Holy Trinity Church, Toxteth, Liverpool. The couple went on to have at least eight children. Three daughters survived - Hannah, Elizabeth and Martha. 

Elizabeth Douglas died in Sefton General Hospital, Liverpool in 1928. 

She died of mitral stenosis - a valvular defect in her heart which led to heart failure.  

Friday, 27 April 2018


(Toxteth Street, Liverpool 8)

Betty Welsh (right) and her friend Ruby out for a stroll in the sunshine. 

There is no date on the photo, but the presence of bunting and age of my aunt 
(around 19 years of age) seems to indicate that this was around the time of the 
VE day celebrations in May 1945. 

The location of the photo is believed to be Toxteth Street, 
which ran between Park Street and Harlow Street, Liverpool 8.

Friday, 20 April 2018


A family photograph of the ERLIS family of Toxteth.

Thomas & Frances Midwood Erlis are pictured sitting outside their home, the outside of which has been decorated to celebrate a royal event - 
possibly the Silver Jubilee of George V of 1935. 

It was a normal, happy family moment caught by the camera. 

But along with many other families who lived in Liverpool at the time, the Erlis' were to suffer tragedy during the Second World War.

On the 6 May 1941 the family home at 12 Gaskell Street, Toxteth took a direct hit during a German air raid.

Their daughter Lilian, seen here standing proudly next to her Mum, was killed as a result of the bombing. She is officially listed among the war dead of Liverpool for 1941. A separate post about Lilian can be found <here>.

But the mother of the family was also badly injured. Frances tragically lost both her legs during the incident, and was forced to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair - a fact remembered by my own mother.

(photo courtesy of Lilian Wilson and Marion Wilkinson)

Friday, 13 April 2018


A photo of my grandmother - Elizabeth WELSH (nee ENGLEBRETSEN) - attending a family party at her sisters home in Lordens Road, Huyton.

Pictured with her is her brother-in-law Charles IRVINE, the husband of her sister Hannah.

Born around 1892, Charles was father to five children - Charles Gerard (b.1916), May Henrietta (b.1918), Edna Marion (b.1921), Hannah (b.1924) and Lilian (b.1928).

Charles served in the Great War, although I have as yet been unable to find his war record.

His son Charles was tragically killed on 9th April 1945 at Bari, Italy when a liberty ship (the SS Charles Henderson) was being unloaded and the ammunition on it exploded.

Of the couple's children, the three middle sisters - May, Edna and Hannah - survived. I have fond memories of all three of them, and also the subsequent cousins (their children) who I grew up with.

I asked Mum about her specific memories of Charles Snr, and she recalled that he would often give her half an orange before she had her breakfast when she slept over. "Get that down'll do you good," he'd tell her.

The final star of the photo above must be the phonograph - the handle on the front being used to wind the clock / spring mechanism inside which drove the turntable around and play the record. 

I have a few old 78 RPM records of my Mum's in the garage downstairs. 

I wonder if any of those were ever played during that happy family party, all those years ago.    

Friday, 6 April 2018


Back once again after a blip of a couple of weeks - hectic family life and a stinking cold are just two of my excuses, but apologies nevertheless!

Anyway. Here we have a photograph of my great-grandfather on my Dad's line - Joseph Frederick SEAMAN. 

Joseph was born in the Everton district of Liverpool on the 18 September 1877. He was the third eldest son of Joseph SEAMAN and Mary RAVENSCROFT of North Wales.

Joseph Frederick married Sarah Anne SMITH of Liverpool in St Dunstan's church, Edge Hill on the 15 April 1900. 
Joseph Frederick and his wife Sarah Anne SEAMAN
After what appears to be quite a long and happy life, in which the couple had at least ten children,  Joseph finally passed away on 17 June 1958 in Newsham Hospital, Liverpool. He died of congestive cardiac failure.   

Friday, 16 March 2018



Two photographs of my grandmother, Elizabeth Welsh (nee Englebretsen).

The first photo shows her photographed in a professional studio in Liverpool. It is estimated that she was around nineteen years of age when the photo was taken, which-- with Elizabeth's year of birth being 1895 --would put the date to be around 1914.

In the second photo, my grandmother is pictured standing on the steps of one of the large houses she used to serve. It is believed that she worked with an agency who provided service staff to families - for example, cooks, maids, cleaners, housekeepers etc. My aunt also informed me that she had been directly employed to at least one family as a general maid.

The houses were said to be those in the Princes Park area of Liverpool, which at the time were owned by prosperous businessmen and their families.

I'd love to be able to trace the property itself and see whether it is still there.

#familyhistory #genealogy #englebretsen    

Friday, 9 March 2018


Martha ENGLEBRETSEN (married name, ERLIS), and her daughter Marion.

Martha (b.1912) was the youngest daughter of my Norwegian great-grandfather, Peder Gerhard INGEBRETSEN and his wife Elizabeth DOUGLAS. 

Like her two surviving sisters, Hannah and Elizabeth (my grandmother), she was named ENGLEBRETSEN at birth, as this was the Anglicised version of the surname which her father adopted in this country.

Martha and her husband, John Frederick ERLIS (b.1913), lived in Prophet Street in Toxteth, Liverpool 8 with their family - daughters Marion and Lilian.

We only lived around the corner in Hughson Street and I remember the family fondly, our two families growing up, remaining close and sharing many happy times. 

Friday, 2 March 2018


 Betty Welsh - Hotel Sahara

A photo of my aunt, Betty Welsh, dressed in a skimpy costume and standing next to an advertising board which stood in the foyer of the Gaumont cinema, Princes Park, Liverpool.

It was common during the 1940's and 50's for such advertising to be seen, giving details of movies which were 'coming soon' to the cinema chain. Local advertising companies would sometimes be called in to create the items, which might then be passed on from cinema to cinema.

On whose idea it was to dress my aunt in a skimpy costume, I have no information at all. I only found this photo after she passed away and we were sorting through her effects. 

For all movie fans out there, the film itself was released in 1951 and starred Yvonne De Carlo, Peter Ustinov and David Tomlinson (see link below). 

 Hotel Sahara - IMDB Link

I might see if I can get hold of it, buy some popcorn and enjoy a night at the movies!

Thursday, 22 February 2018


Felice and Mary Agnes D'Annunzio

Above is a photograph of Felice D'Annunzio and his wife, Mary Agnes (formerly Douglas) with two of their children, dressed in their Sunday best clothes. The photo was taken at the beginning of the twentieth century, probably in Liverpool, during the early 1900's.

It appears to show one of their children dressed as if ready for baptism, the other-- slightly older child-- dressed smartly, his boots polished and shining.

On checking our family records, I believe the older child to be Henry Edward D'Annunzio, who was born on the 10th June 1902 and lived until he was ninety-four years of age. He married a lady called Jane Lloyd, but at present no further details of the family are available. 

Judging by his probable age in the photograph, it is likely that the younger child could then be his sister, Maria Eleanora D'Annunzio, born in 1906. She later went on to marry Thomas Fitzsimmons and had at least four children. 

Felice was brought to Liverpool by his parents, along with his siblings, after leaving the ancestral home in Atina in Italy. The collective families then established themselves in Liverpool, where some of their descendants still live to this day.

One of his siblings, Filipo (also known as Puche) Annunzio, is the great-grandfather of my wife, Sandra. Felice is, therefore, her great-uncle.

Thursday, 15 February 2018


Maurice Lait (centre) - listed as missing in WW1

This is a photograph which has been added to our family record only recently.

I had already written some of the story of my 2nd cousin (three times removed), Private Maurice LAIT, on another blog post on this site which you can find <here>

But one of the things which was missing from it was an actual photo of the man himself.

I received a message from a researcher who is looking into some of the deceased from 1916, to say that he had found this photo of my relative in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph newspaper.

At the time it was posted he had been listed as missing. It was a plea for information from his mother who was living in Buxton, Derbyshire.

Unfortunately, Maurice was found to have been killed in action on the 1st July 1916.

His name is listed on the Thiepval Memorial in France.

I am so grateful to the researcher who sent me this photograph. I had gathered a fair amount of information about my cousin, but what was missing was an actual image of him.

For this kind gesture, I am extremely grateful. 

Friday, 9 February 2018


Hannah, Martha & Elizabeth Englebretsen

Pictured in the back garden at the new house in Lordens Road, Huyton, the three Englebretsen sisters - Hannah, Martha and my grandmother, Elizabeth.

The photo is not dated, but we estimate that it was taken shortly after WW2 ended when Hannah, her husband Charles Irvine and their family were living in a property built in Huyton - in what were then the suburbs of Liverpool.

A couple of other photographs from this day exist in the family archive, and there is no doubt that the family were enjoying a party - there is a wind-up gramophone pictured on one, another shows some of the family dancing in the garden. Unfortunately, the reason for the 'do' hasn't been recorded. 

However, my mother fondly recalls visits up to the house with her parents when they lived in Toxteth. At the time, the young teenage girl used to feel that Huyton was 'out in the country', being situated on the edge of the main city conurbation at that time. The area was surrounded by greenery and visitors from Toxteth needed to catch two trams or buses to get up there. It was a house she remembers fondly and with love.

The house was home to succeeding generations of Hannah's and her daughter's family, until relatively recently when my aunt (also named Hannah) passed away.

The house was then sold to a local family, who will hopefully find as much love there as they all did. 

Friday, 2 February 2018


 Joan and the Boys

Mum Joan SEAMAN around 1959/1960, with Gary on her knee and Graham holding the lorry. Pictured in a rare colour photo of the time, sitting on the couch in her parents rented home in Hughson Street, Toxteth, Liverpool 8. The house was a small two-up, two-down terraced house in which we were all living at the time. 

My Gran and Grandad slept in the main bedroom at the front of the house, while Mum, Dad, Gary and myself slept in the smaller back bedroom. My brother and I would eventually sleep in bunk beds - Gary on the bottom, me on the top. My Aunt then slept downstairs in the front parlour room on a fold up sofa bed. 

As if all this was a bit basic, there was also no bathroom in the property. We had to get washed in the back kitchen, after it had been warmed up from the heat of the stove-- or had to take a stand-up bath in front of the fire in an old tin bath. When not in use the bath would usually hang up on the wall outside the kitchen in the backyard.

Finally, there were no indoor toilet facilities in the property. If we needed the loo we would have to go down to the bottom of the yard and do our business in the outside toilet. There was no heating or lighting in the cold brick-built shed. We would need to go down there during the snow in winter or with an umbrella when it was raining. 

Not good. Oh...and don't forget your torch whatever you do!