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Week 3: My ancestor was a Grocer

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  • Week 3: My ancestor was a Grocer

    This is an opportunity to showcase your grocer ancestor, you might want to offer a short biography and speak about their work eg
    Birth location/date
    Family background
    Where you've found them on the census
    Their workplace/employer
    Any tips on researching this occupation?

    [Next week: Dressmaker/needlewoman]

  • #2
    Not a direct ancestor but the younger brother of my 2x great grandmother (and my avatar), George Godfree who was a co-founder of King & Godfree grocer and now delicatessen, in Melbourne. The family were farmers in Great Rissington, Gloucestershire. Their father left the farm to their mother, if she wanted to continue, and the oldest boy took it on. All but one of the 9 daughters were married by this time.

    George Godfree was left two hundred pounds in his father’s will, which was proved on 1st January 1851, and by the 30th March he was an apprentice grocer, living with his maternal uncle, Thomas Smith, a grocer, in Paddington.

    Gold had recently been discovered in Australia and the first gold arrived in London ports in early 1852. In July and August that year, about 5,400 people sailed from the United Kingdom to Melbourne. Two months later the figure was 15,941. Presumably George decided to try his luck too and left Plymouth on the Koh I Noor on 23rd October 1852.

    I have told his story here, illustrated with the help of a member of FTF:

    Prominent resident of Yapeen and Residents of Melbourne.

    Apart from the usual sources, I made copious use of Trove for the many newspaper references about the family and the business.
    Caroline's Family History Pages
    Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.


    • #3
      I wrote about my grocer ancestors William James Crisp (3x ggf) Jonathan Hawes (2x ggf) and William Thomas Badcock (2x ggf) back in 2008 for the FTF magazine.

      Since then a few other facts have come my way, by buying WT Badcock's childless uncle John Badcock's will I have found he left William some money in 1858 which would have been a considerable help. I have also had another photo of WJ Crisp, in his retirement. I have used newspaper sources as well though not found much more. I seems that soon after WT Badcock's death his sons sold the two businesses to a grocery chain, the money was split between them and my great grandmother.

      I am also in touch with the great granddaughter of the "faithless grocer" mentioned in the article.


      • #4
        My 4x great grandfather James Heys had two jobs, as a weaver and a grocer. He was born on 13th Nov 1804 at Briercliffe in Lancashire to Robert Heys, a weaver and his wife Ann.

        In 1841 he and his wife Ann/Nancy were weavers living at Cop Row with their daughters, Cop Row is a row of handloom weavers' cottages in Briercliffe but by 1851 he was combining handloom weaving with being a grocer, his next door neighbour was also a grocer as sole occupation so I suspect they were in partnership.

        In 1861 he was still a grocer and his address was Cop Row & Shop but he was also a powerloom weaver so he would have had to have left the house to go to a mill for that so although Nancy is listed as a housekeeper I guess she was running the shop as their unmarried daughter was also out weaving, though their married daughter (Ann Nutter "late weaver" my 3x ggm) living in the same row with small children may have helped out.

        The Briercliffe Society has a much later photo of a shop in Cop Row which apparently is much altered from the original building , but I don't know if this is the one my ancestors had. The Briercliffe Society also has baptisms from Haggate Chapel which is how I know James's birthdate. Parts of Cop Row are still standing.

        I have looked for the Heys in newspapers but found nothing.


        • #5
          My Grandmother May Everitt was a Grocer between 1926 and at least 1934. Living in Lowdham St Nottingham, have no records of this except one of her sons was born there. Also Dad's memories.

          May was born May Hurt 12 Jan 1897 and Married William Everitt 20 Dec 1919 at Nottingham registry office. She took the shop over from her sister Georgina when they moved to be publicans in Nottingham.

          Also have my 2 x G Grandfather George Hurt being a grocer along with loads of other jobs.

          He was born Jun 1823 in Barton in Fabis Nottinghamshire. Married Ann Priestley 19 Apr 1847 in Barton.

          1861 census he was a publican at Reubans Head near Nottingham Castle
          1871 census he was a labourer
          1881 a glazier
          In 1877 his son George, my G Grandad married in Langley Mill the same day as his sister Julia and both said their father was a Grocer. Found him on the Trade Directories in Langley Mill as a Grocer to confirm it. Did wonder at the time why they both married there.
          1891 he was a Cottage Farmer in Wollaton.
          Seems to be a bit of a wheeler dealer but left a will of £82 10s in 1897.

          Searching Lowe, Everitt, Hurt and Dunns in Nottingham


          • #6
            Joseph Pilsworth Burnip had a number of occupations. He was born in Westminster in 1805 though his parents were married near Hull, a sister was also born in Westminster and there may have been a brother born in Winchester.

            Joseph was a grocer in 1841 in Sculcoates near Hull, his son Henry was born at 10 Worship Street there in 1844 when he was still a grocer, though in 1850 he was in a trade directory in the High Street, Epworth, Lincolnshire as a grocer although the 1851 census has him as a draper. He was still a grocer in a Poll book for 1852, thereafter he was a farmer of 4 acres an accountant and a vestry clerk.

            He ended his days in the house of one of his daughter Sarah in Doncaster, leaving his household goods to her and splitting his £25 8s 7d estate between Sarah and her sister Mary. His burial record at Epworth says he was a draper and vestry clerk.

            In the family a drip on the end of someone's nose was called a Joseph Pilsworth by some of his descendants.


            • #7
              Mary Dummilow was born 1831 Castle Donington and married John Whiles in 1850 at St Marys Church Nottingham. They had 4 children, the youngest born 1857. Sometime between 1861 and 1871 they parted ways and she lived with Edward Cullen until her death in 1893. She was my 3 x G Grandmother and on the 1881 and 1891 census she was a Grocer in Nottingham. Edward was a Tailor but not a relation to me at all. He son in law from the children of her 2nd relationship registered the death.

              Sorry it is so late but trying to sort things out on my tree.

              Searching Lowe, Everitt, Hurt and Dunns in Nottingham


              • #8
                Lin Fisher there's no such thing as late, my hope is that people will add to the threads at any time.


                • #9
                  Just found another one while looking for my pharmacist.

                  Robert Seeley was born 1826 in Richmond Surrey. He married Eliza Bayles on 21 Jun 1853 in Riseholme Lincs. She is a distant relative. He was a grocer and tea merchant. Died in 1901 and left a will

                  Searching Lowe, Everitt, Hurt and Dunns in Nottingham


                  • #10
                    I have several ag labs who gave up working on the land and became village "shopkeepers" in middle age. These were little "front room shops," a cross between "Open all hours" and Bill Seaton of "When the boat comes in." I can't prove it, but I've always thought it was probably the ambitious wives who were behind these little businesses - they were the ones with the drive and business heads, but were of the era when women were not yet empowered to conduct a business in their own right.
                    I remember "Mrs Billy D's" shop from childhood - mainly sweets, cigarettes, tinned goods, packets of dried goods, the local evening papers. She received a large fortnightly package from a draper in the nearby town - it came on the weekly bus. Inside were lots of small, individual packages. The draper's rep came to the village on Thursdays and took the orders, the items came on Saturday afternoon. Mrs Billy D sorted out the package and children were despatched to her shop to collect "their" parcel. Sometimes elderly neighbours asked you to go and collect their parcel from the shop, or Mrs Billy would ask you to deliver a parcel for her - it was customary for the recipient to give you a penny (1d for those old enough to remember!) as a tip. Of course, we might go straight back to the shop to spend it - she kept lots of penny treats! Mrs Billy had come to the village to teach at the school and then married the village joiner. Married women had to resign from their positions and so she opened her shop. That had been when my mother was a child.
                    Janet in Yorkshire

                    Genealogists never die - they just swap places in the family tree