Saturday, January 11, 2014

Turning Down the Empty Glass #3

Click on the numbers for two earlier parts of this 4-part series, those relate to paternal ancestors. #1......#2

My mother's father, my maternal grandfather, was Sidney Bulpitt. Like my paternal Grandad Scott, so with "Siddo" or "Daddy Sid"(pet names for him), he also had made his way up to Yorkshire from the south of England in his youth, looking for better work opportunities. I sometimes tell myself that genes from these two wandering grandfathers of mine shaped my own wanderlust. My parents were great wanderers also, in their day.

Bulpitt is a fairly unusual surname. It's thought to derive from the place from whence families of Bulpitts, Bulpits, Bulpens, Bulpins, Bulepin etc.originated: the bull pit would have been a pit or depression in the ground where a bull or bulls were kept, either for stud purposes for the area, or a pit where bulls were kept for the ancient and very nasty "sport" of bull-baiting. The Bulpitts, and other versions of the name, must have lived near to a bull pit, I guess. The word bull came from Old Norse 'boli', which morphed into Old English 'bula'. The surname was first noted in the county of Somerset, adjacent to, and to the west of Wiltshire where Sidney Bulpitt was born. Many of his antecedents came from the county adjacent to Wiltshire to the east : Hampshire.

I've come up with little, other than names and dates and places, on this branch of my family, but as will become obvious, I do have more old photographs of some of these relatives than I do of the relatives in my father's lines.

Sidney Bulpitt was born on 10 June 1890 in a rural village, Upper Chute, in Wiltshire. His parents were Charles Bulpitt and Caroline (nee Newman/Smith). He was, I think, seventh of 10 or more children. Some of his siblings: William, Alice, Emily, Frederick, Albert, Mary, Susan, Lillian, Eliza, Dolly and Ruth, born between 1877 and 1900.

Sid's mother Caroline's parents were Henry Smith born in Fyfield, Hampshire and Sarah Newman. Henry Smith was son of John and Mary Smith of Fareham Hampshire, born around 1810; Sarah's parents: Edward and Louisa Newman of Andover, Hampshire, born around 1812.

 Sid's parents seated, and 5 of his elder siblings. 

 Caroline Bulpitt centre, daughter Dolly left, an in-law ? at right

Sid's youngest sister emigrated to Ontario, Canada. I met three of his other sisters, who all, eventually, made their homes around London; also knew one of his brothers, Albert, "Uncle Bert". I met Bert when I lived for a year or so in the south of England, in Brighton, where he had worked for most of his life as chauffeur to a wealthy family. He was a bright, happy guy, full of fun. My grandad was a fun guy too, in his own way. If stories are to be believed (they probably are)Sid was something of a philanderer in youth, in middle-age too, but his marriage to my grandmother lasted long enough for them to celebrate a Diamond Wedding anniversary (60 years).

 Sid and Micky

 Sid with his sisters

 Sid's sister who emigrated to Canada

 Sid's brother Albert ("Bert") and wife Rose

In the 1911 census, at age 21, Sid was still listed in Wiltshire, as a carter, working on a farm, boarding with the senior carter in Wherwell, a village in Hampshire. By 1915 though he had moved some 240 miles northward to East Yorkshire and had married my grandmother, May. They had two daughters, my mother, Mary, and her younger sister, Lillian -Aunt Lil - (see blog post HERE).

Once in Yorkshire Sid didn't stay with agriculture or horses and carts for very long. He somehow learned how to drive one of those new-fangled horseless carriages, and worked as driver for a local taxi firm in the market town close to where he lived.

My mother is in the car somewhere, Sid at the wheel

Sid with a  rather more stately vehicle

When a local 'bus service needed drivers Sid became one of the first 'bus drivers in the area. Just before World War 2 he had somehow saved enough to buy his own taxi, and for many years was the local taxi man.

 Sid and his taxi

When business became scarce, years later, he drove an ice cream van around local villages in summertime, along with various other jobs at the local post-war air field close to home. He had a streak of ingenuity in him - he electrically wired the little cottage where he and grandma lived most of their lives together. His knowledge of electricity was negligible, but that didn't stop him! It's a wonder the cottage didn't burn down, but it didn't. I lived with "Siddo and Nanny" for a couple of years or so, as a very young child, during the worst of World War 2.

Sid lost most of his his sight in his last years - but never lost his determination to overcome all difficulties.  He died in 1978.

One of the last photos of Sid and May with my parents and me

So - what of Sid's parents, Charles and Caroline, and their history?

Charles caused confusion. I have to thank someone who must be a distant relative of mine for shedding light on the muddle. On a genealogical message board some years ago he'd asked for assistance. He too had encountered confusion. He had obtained marriage and death certificates for Charles Bulpitt, his great-great grandfather. Charles was married to Caroline Newman in 1876 in Chute, Wiltshire, on the certificate Charles' father is noted as George Bulpitt. Census returns for 1871, 1881, 1891,1901 and 1911 all show Charles being born in Hurstbourne Tarrant, a village about five miles north-east of Andover, Hampshire, between 1843 and 1847. However, there is no Charles Bulpit(t) registered as born around that time or in that area. The death certificate shed some light. Charles is described there as Charles Warwick Bulpitt (died 1922 in Chute). A Charles Warwick is shown born around 1846 in Hurstbourne Tarrant - the birth certificate named his mother as Louisa Warwick, no father is listed. In the 1851 census there is a Louisa Warwick (Aged 25) unmarried, and living with her father in Hurstbourne Tarrant, but no sign of a Charles Warwick (or Bulpitt).

In the 1861 census a 15 year old Charles BULPIT, born in Hurstbourne Tarrant, was living with grandparents, John and Eliza Bulpit in Andover, Hampshire.

John BULPIT aged 56, carter, born in Hungerford, Berkshire.
Eliza aged 52 born in Pambourne (Pangbourne?) Berkshire.
Charles, aged 15, grandson/carter, born in Hurstbourne Tarrant.

In census of 1851 the same John and Eliza Bulpitt had a son, George aged 24, listed as living with them, he born in Hampstead Marshall. John and son George were both agricultural labourers. No sign of Charles in 1851. In 1861 George BULPITT appears as married and living in Andover. If this is the same George Bulpitt, he was then an innkeeper, his spouse Ann, formerly Ann Potter, who had been living next door to the Bulpitts in 1851 with her innkeeper brother.

It would appear, then, that Sid's father Charles was born out of wedlock, but was acknowledged by the father, George Bulpitt, as his son.

John Bulpitt's father was another John Bulpitt (born 1761), his wife was Martha, formerly Martha Shepherd, and that's as far as I've been able to trace the Bulpitt name, no extra detail has emerged, so far.

So...Louisa Warwick was my great-great grandmother. She didn't marry George Bulpitt, though their son took his name. Louisa possibly married another George later on - a George White/Wight in 1853 in Andover. I cannot be certain this is the same Louisa Warwick, but it seems likely.

Louisa Warwick's father and his antecedents can be traced back to the mid 1600s, but nothing is known of them other than their names. Louisa's father was Richard Warwick, beyond him were another Richard, two Williams, a Stephen and an Edward Warwick, he born 1624. These Warwick men married women from families of Cummins, Potticary, Cowdery, Welloway, and Moore.

Turning down an empty glass to my grandfather Sidney Bulpitt then, along with his, and therefore my, ancestors.
And when Thyself with shining foot shall pass
Among the guests star-scatter'd on the grass,
And in thy joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made one - turn down an empty glass!


mike said...

Interesting stories connected to chasing your pedigree, Twilight...I like the family photos. My sister often comments about all of the old photos containing distant family members, but accessory people, too...unknown whether they, too, are family or friends or who-knows-whats. Always wise to mark the backs of photographs with descriptors of individuals in the photo. Doesn't matter these days with the digital photos...I have my doubts whether digital will survive, as I lost so many digital photos when my computer crashed last year.

My sister is closing-up her genealogy desk after manning it for ten years. She said that she got what she was after, and then some, but is satisfied now. She wants to move on and quit obsessing over ancestry links to research. I think that she's a bit disheartened that other members of the family alive today (me, for one) are not as enthused by her endeavors. I sense that she feels she has completed a major dissertation without recognition for her sacrificed hours.

Over the years, I've expressed feigned enthusiasm upon learning of newly discovered links to our shared genes. Our mother had many tales of ancestors and relationships with intertwining plots and twists and struggled to relate her stories to us uninterested children. It's a bit ironic that now my sister has an even bigger genealogical composition, my mother is way too demented to comprehend and appreciate my sister's research.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - I should add that I enjoy the biographical information regarding my ancestors. That information is much more difficult to ascertain...the individuals would have to maintain an available diary or some-such, or have been slightly famous. My sister has provided the outline of data points, but I like the colorful fill-in. Rather like your post on John Sargent yesterday...sure, he's no doubt a point on ancestry genealogical trees, but it's so interesting learning about the person's endeavors while here.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I doubt digital photos will survive in the way photographs from film (and before) have survived.
I lost all my old and irreplaceable photographs in a fire in 1996, what I have now, post '96, were originally my mother's collection.
Now my husband stores pics from our travels and backs them up so they won't be lost in case of computer crashes, but it's still not the same as being able to pull out a proper album, turn the pages and study the photographs.
We seldom print any photos - and really, we should. If electricity were to disappear, for whatever reason, all photos stored digitally would be lost for ever.

Anyway, thanks for taking a look at this post. I realise it'd not be of general interest, but I started this 4-post series, so I'd best finish it. :-)

What I hope is that over time someone might read one of the 4 posts who is distantly related, and leave a comment. this has happened once already from post #2. A lady living currently on one of the Spanish Islands has ancestors related to one of mine.

As you probably gathered anyjazz (husband) collects vintage photographs and posts them at his "Lost Gallery" and on Flickr. He has been contacted on a few occasions by relatives of subjects of some of the photographs, sometimes with interesting tales about them. He's always very happy when that happens.....cannot ever understand how all of the lovely old photos could ever have been cast aside.

It's impossible to glean information on biography of ancestors, sadly, unless they did something extraordinary, or stories have been passed down the generations. most of mine were agricultural workers of one sort or another, so their stories would be pretty mundane, I suppose, even if I could know them - but there are brick walls I'd love to break through - such as who was Grandad Scott's father (post #1); why didn't Louisa Warwick marry George Bulpitt (this post); and a mystery in #4 still to be prepared, where did my maternal grandmother's father come from?

What I need is a time machine, with the possibility of just watching and/or listening to how these mysteries came about !

mike (again) said...

Sorry, if I gave the impression that I'm not interested in your tree. You do provide a biographical insight to your immediate lineage, which provides information to me about the individuals' lives...and to an extent about the story of that era. Most of us do know the stories of our parents and grandparents...perhaps our great-grandparents, too...but typically not much more into the past.

Most of us never think our stories are worthy of documenting for future generations...too mundane perhaps. Surprisingly, many historians have gleaned monumental provisions from diaries and letters of history's deceased. Of course, the ability to write required an education of some sort, which precluded many of our ancestors from that activity. The diaries of Anne Frank comes to mind, Anais Nin, and the old civil war diaries., too.

BTW - Diaries, journals, newspaper accounts, and letters were used to reconstruct the devastation incurred on the lives and environment in Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, and extending far beyond those states caused by the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811 - 1812, a series of approximately magnitude 8 quakes that literally reshaped the Midwest and changed many pioneers' lives. You like sci-fi dystopian might enjoy reading about pioneers that actually endured their version of a dystopic future for several decades. I just read a review for a new publication, but there are a number of books:

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Oh no - I didn't get that impression. LOL! I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I got the impression of...... ;-)

Yes, it'd be wonderful to have a diary of an ancestor, even if only on the most ordinary of topics it'd shed light on the rhythms and concerns of their lives.

I used to have a bundle of letters, to me, from my maternal grandmother - but lost them in a fire. I do have a tattered letter from her father (will be in the #4 post) but it's brief and concerns where they'll visit at Christmas. I'm always surprised at the decent handwriting they had, considering the one-room schools they attended for a few years before they were set at work in the fields or as servants. All four grandparents had nice handwriting, and decent spelling.

I'll look into getting a book on the New Madrid earthquakes - thanks for the recommendation.
Pioneer tales always interest me.

Speaking of books - I'm currently around 1/3 into "11/22/63" by Stephen King. Best read I've had for quite sometime too! I've never read any King before. Time travel is a winning theme for me and here it's done by one who is obviously a first-class storyteller. :-)

mike (again) said...

I just read the Wiki page for "11/22/63" and it sounds like an excellent read. Don't read the Wiki page, as it provides the conclusion!

I'd probably like "11/22/63", too. I don't like blood and gore, but there have been exceptions to that rule. Your "11/22/63" sounds more a psychological thriller and not too bloody or vile. I trend toward fantasy novels and every-day-life-with-a-twist novels (think Anne Tyler)...some biographical nonfiction, if the subject intrigues me.

A friend of mine and his wife read all of "The Dark Tower" series and loved it...they highly recommended it. I've not read King prior, but I made it a point to look for the series at my local "Half Price Books", a used-book store that sells books for one-half of their original price (it pays to buy the oldest copies, as their cover price at the time published was so meager). But, I could only find the mid-series books and never did find book one of the set, though I looked for maybe six months. I finally gave-up.

I read two, three, or four books a week, every week, for the years 2001 through 2009. It was always a problem having unread books in reserve, ready for consumption! I've not read a book for the past several years. Oddly, the last book I read was "Good Omens", which you were reading a week or two ago. "Good Omens" was enjoyable, but not impacting...light and airy, but I didn't care for the ending.

I need to take the bus to "Half-Price" and refurbish an inventory!

Twilight said...

mike ~ I hadn't read anything by Stephen King before. Husband's daughter mentioned his "11/22/63"
when we were in Dallas with her and her husband in the Fall. The idea of the plot intrigued me, though I was wary of King's writing because of his link to horror stories which I do not like at all. I bought a used old Canadian library edition online, it is in bigger font than usual, making the book a door-stopping 1000+ pages long! The size of the print somehow makes the length of the book less intimidating though. :-)

I was well and truly hooked after the first few pages. I haven't found it to be over violent or nasty - there is the occasional hint of what King is capable of writing in that vein, but he doesn't take it far enough to distract from this theme. I do think you'd enjoy it.

I'm halfway through now. Thanks for the hint not to read the Wiki page - I don't want to know the ending - though as JFK did die in real life....well...The narrator's fate will be the more interesting facet.

I gave up on "Good Omens" half-way through and passed it on to husband who has just begun reading it. I didn't not like it, but life's too short to carry on reading when the plot is getting stale and taking too long to unfold. I haven't yet found the right Terry Pratchett book to spur me on to continue reading him - but quotes from his books never fail to make me chuckle.

mike (again) said... sites

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thank you - will follow those up in a mo

Emma Martin said...


I am doing my family tree and came across something strange. My nans granddad Thomas Knight, born in Wiltshire was married to Mary Ann Knight, born in Apporshaw Hampshire. They had 3 children, Thomas F Knight, Rose Knight & Frederick Bulpit.

Frederick Bulpit was born in 1883, when Mary Ann was 18. However..when doing a search on Frederick, Charles & Caroline also came up and they all lived in Chute Wiltshire. By 1901, Thomas, Mary Ann, Thomas JNR, Rose and Frederick had all moved to West Ham London (where most of the family still live today!).

I am so intrigued by all of this that I thought of googling the Bulpit name and your blog appeared!!

Emma Martin said...


I came across your blog after researching my family tree.

My nans grandad Thomas Knight was born in Wiltshire and married Mary Ann Knight born in Hampshire. They are 3 children - Thomas Knight JNR, Rose Knight and Frederick Bulpit. My nan always used to speak vaguely about someone being disowned/adopted in the family & it seems like Frederick happened to be the man.

After doing some more research into Frederick, his mum was Caroline & dad was Charles Bulpit. They are registered as having 7 children but not one of them being Frederick. The strange thing is, they all lived in Chute as did Mary Ann & Thomas. Mary Ann was 18 when Frederick must have been born and Charles was 36 and Caroline 34.

Thomas and Mary Ann then moved to West Ham in 1901, where the whole family have not moved since!

I am so interested in this story and was hoping that you could shed some light!

Twilight said...

Emma Martin ~ Hi there! I've been away from home, just found your comments - sorry for delay answering.

Oh - I'm so pleased to hear from you. Frederick Bulpitt was my maternal grandfather's brother. Frederick was 7 years older than my Grandad, Sidney. I can't tell you anything about Frederick though. The only one of Grandad's brothers I knew was Albert (Bert). I don't remember Grandad ever mentioning Frederick, but he might be in the photo on my blog - the one showing the family group with Charles and Caroline. Sidney wasn't in that one, those are his older siblings I think....not sure though.

As for being disowned - I haven't heard anything about that in connection to Frederick. Charles' father appeared to have disowned Charles himself though. As you'll see from the blog, his full name was Charles Warwick Bulpitt, he was born out of wedlock to Louisa Warwick, but his father on the birth certificate was noted as George Bulpitt. George married someone else later on, never married his son's mother. Maybe that's what your relative remembered?

If I can help further at all do let me know. :-)