Victoria (1819-1901) was the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, and granddaughter of King George III. At the age of 18 she succeeded her uncle William IV, and in 1840 she married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, against her mother’s wishes. They had nine children but she became a widow in 1861.
Her reign of 63 years and seven months is the second longest in the history of the United Kingdom after that of Elizabeth II. Known as the Victorian era, it marks a period of profound social, economic and technological change in the UK and a rapid expansion of the British Empire.
The 1897 Diamond Jubilee
On 23 September 1896, Victoria surpassed her grandfather George III as the longest-reigning monarch in British history. The Queen requested that any special celebrations be delayed until 1897, to coincide with her Diamond Jubilee,
The Empire officially celebrated Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on Tuesday, June 22, 1897. This day is was proclaimed a public holiday in Britain and « in all countries where British subjects are resident », and festivities were held to mark the event throughout the Empire.
The family gathering during the Jubilee
My mother-in-law has a family photo of her ancestors taken during the Jubilee festivities in 1897.
I was able to colour it with the amazing MyHeritage In Color feature.
On the back of the photo are names noted decades ago by one of her aunts. But the rows are incoherent and incomplete…
Fortunately Peter Morris, one of her distant English cousins, has also undertaken genealogical research and has begun to compare this photo with other portraits he has collected from his family.
By joining our efforts, after several days of work, we managed to identify a large part of the 58 people present 123 years ago !
The RUSSELL – CLEWS ancestors
My wife’s great-great-grandparents are farmers RUSSELL John Negus and CLEWS Caroline.
They married in 1849 in Weston-under-Lizard in Staffordshire, and had 7 children. John Negus died in 1871 at the age of 51, and Caroline in 1872 at the age of 47. Their first son, RUSSELL Arthur Clews, my wife’s great-great-grandfather, married COLDICOTT Mary in Dudley in 1875, and died 5 years later at the age of 30. He was the only one of the 7 children of RUSSELL John Negus and CLEWS Caroline who died before the jubilee, but his children participated. And many of his brothers and sisters and their families are also in the picture :
– RUSSELL Arthur Clews & COLDICOTT Mary
– RUSSELL Sarah Jane & WALFORD Thomas Joseph
– RUSSELL Thomas Addison & FORSTER Ann Dorsett
– RUSSELL Emily & SARSONS William
– RUSSELL Annie Harriet & BURMAN Tertius Madeley
– RUSSELL Mary Victoria
RUSSELL Arthur Clews & COLDICOTT Mary
Arthur Clews died 17 years before this photo. Apparently his wife Mary is not in the picture. But three of their children have been identified:
- Alice Mary, my wife’s great-grandmother, 21 years old
- Annie Caroline, known as Carrie, 19 years old
- Arthur Clews Jr., 16 years old, the founder of the New Zealand branch of the family
RUSSELL Sarah Jane & WALFORD Thomas Joseph
Sarah Jane, born in 1851 in Walsall, married in 1875 in Blakenhall WALFORD Thomas Joseph. They had 5 children, of which at least 2 were present at the gathering :
- WALFORD James, known as Jim, 21 years old.
- WALFORD Susanna, 17, whose grandson Jonathan Hellyer JONES will marry Stephen HAWKING‘s wife after their divorce.
RUSSELL John Gilbert & BARROW Alice Edith
John Gilbert, born 1853 in Bromsgrove married Alice Edith in 1879 in Bloxwich BARROWW. They had 6 children. He is in the picture but I have not been able to identify his wife or children.
RUSSELL Thomas Addison & FORSTER Ann Dorsett
Thomas Addison, born 1855 in Bromsgrove, married in 1879 in Walsall FORSTER Ann Dorset. They had 10 children, of which the 6 eldest were present at the gathering :
- RUSSELL Annie Mabel, 18 years old.
- RUSSELL Ethel Clews, 17 years old
- RUSSELL William Shenstone Foster, 15 years old
- RUSSELL Sarah Caroline, aka Carrie, 13 years old
- RUSSELL Robert Addison, aka Bob, 11 years old
- RUSSELL John Negus, aka Jack, 9 years old
RUSSELL Emily & SARSONS William
Emilie, born in 1856 in Bromsgrove, married in 1878 SARSONS William. They had 4 children, of which at least 2 were present at the rally :
- SARSONS Arthur William, known as Artie, 17 years old.
- SARSONS Lilian, 11 years old
RUSSELL Annie Harriet & BURMAN Tertius Madeley
Annie Harriet, born in 1858 in Bromsgrove, married in 1891 in Barston BURMAN Tertius Madeley. I know of no children of theirs.
RUSSELL Mary Victoria
Mary Victoria, known as Polly, born in 1861 in Bromsgrove, married in 1889 Moseley JONES Harold Shirley, known as Harry. I don’t know of their children. She is in the picture, but apparently not her husband.
23 people identified out of 58, the work is still in progress…
There are still people to be identified, but this is becoming increasingly complicated. The only possibility would be to find descendants who own portraits, which would allow them to be compared with the family photo .