#52 Ancestors Week 5: Branching Out

The Children of my Great Grandparents: Emma and Harry Cutting

This week I have been branching out to locate all the children born to my great grandparents, Emma and Harry Cutting. At first, my research using the Census records from 1871 to 1891, uncovered the births and baptisms of 7 children born between 1869 and 1887.

Their son, Charles Harry Newland Cutting, was my grandfather.

When I looked at the long gap in between the birth of their first two daughters, Emily and Olive, and then a 5-year gap between Henry Craddock and Andrew Ralph, I wondered if there had been other children born but who had not survived infancy. I searched for Burials of children with the Cutting surname, between 1870 and 1877 in Kingston. 

I discovered that five other children, born to Emma and Harry, had died as infants. A little social history research revealed that the child mortality rate in the United Kingdom, for children under the age of five, was 329 deaths per thousand births in 1800. This means that approximately one in every three children born in 1800 did not make it to their fifth birthday.

I could only verify that these were children of Emma and Harry, by the address shown on the Parish Burial registers for each of them. The parents’ names were missing, and there was no mention of the cause of death.

My thoughts were then for Emma, who had born 11 children and lost 5 of them. Emma’s child-bearing years spanned almost twenty years, a feat that would daunt the mothers of today.

Each of the children who died young was between 10 months and 3 years of age.

Further research highlighted the top five causes of death: 

1871-1880 Smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, diphtheria, whooping cough

I do not know why Emma’s children died, but I do know that she and Harry grieved over each of them. Perhaps there are headstones in the Kingston Cemetery for each of them. Another bit of ‘branching out’ in my research to find their records if I can.

Arthur John Cutting

The next piece of branching out involved exploring the lives of my great uncles in a little more depth. Only three of Emma’s sons survived to adulthood, Charles, Arthur, and Andrew. I had explored details of Charles Harry Newland, my grandfather, and his brother Andrew (Uncle Andy), so now it was time for Arthur John to take centre stage.

There had been little known of him before this research; a single man with no descendants who had a varied working life. His occupations included being a Carpenter in 1901, an Ironmonger in 1911, a Painter in 1921, and an Apartment House Keeper in 1939. Once again, a stroll through the census records had revealed these facts about Arthur.

Arthur had also served in the Royal Flying Corps in 1915 and I used my subscription at the Forces War Records in the UK to get further information about his service record. The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the over-land, air arm of the British military during most of the First World War. Arthur’s attestation date was 7 December 1915 and his age was 35 years. His brief description: Height 5 feet 10 inches. Weight 143 lbs. Chest 36 inches, expansion 3 inches. 

You can read a little more about the Royal Flying Corps here. 

Something had motivated Arthur to enlist in the RFC and serve his country; was that something more than patriotism? Was he also motivated by the knowledge that his younger brother Andrew Ralph, who had joined the Navy in 1914, had become a Prisoner of War? (The story of Great Uncle Andy is here if you are interested.) Thanks to the research into the medals for Andrew Ralph, I noted his award of the 1914 Star Medal Roll and his listing as Collingwood Battalion POW 9/10/14. Branching out often means checking the details for siblings in a family to find other connections.

I did not have any further details about Arthur John Cutting between 1921 and 1939; at least none that I could glean from the Census records. So a little more research was required to see if they listed him in the Trade Directories or Electoral Rolls. So far, no luck in that research. Then the 1939 register came into view in FindMyPast – success.

The 1939 register transcript displayed Arthur John’s age as 59, and his occupation as Apartment HouseKeeper at this address: 18 Paragon Grove, Surbiton. On further scrutiny of the original document, I discovered that there were 17 people living at that address, including Arthur himself. The Worsop family of 4; the Brownes, husband, and wife; the Gills, husband, and wife; the McLean family of 4 and the Hall family of 4.

Paragon Grove in Surbiton is in the London region of England. The postcode is within the Berrylands ward/electoral division, which is in the constituency of Kingston and Surbiton. On further research, it seems to have been a fashionable part of Kingston with several apartment buildings.

Great Uncle Arthur John Cutting seems to have branched out with his various occupations and I know that there are other stories for him, just waiting to be found.

Although I have branched out among the children of Emma and Harry Cutting, I have not strayed far from Surbiton, Kingston-on-Thames in Surrey where most of my maternal family lived for generations. (Note: the property at 13 Park Road, Kingston, is now a Chippy. See photo in the feature image above.) However, I remind myself, that I have yet to explore the lives of the female children in this family group, Emily, Olive Emma, and Annie Maria. This is research for another week, and another story or three!

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