52 Ancestors #28 – Travel – Ann Carson

Week 28 prompt, Travel! We only have to go back 2 or 3 generations to find that all of our ancestors have travelled. The majority of mine on both my father and mother’s side, have travelled from the UK to arrive here in Australia sometime in the past 100 years or so. For this post, which I’m now calling newsletters, I’m going to introduce you to my great-grandmother Anne Carson, otherwise known as Constance Annie Caddy.

Why a newsletter? Well, many people ask me, what is a blog? What do you mean by a post? I usually say an online diary, but I’ve decided a newsletter is much easier to understand. Writing a diary online sounds a bit too personal. So, from now on, I write the family history newsletter.

Constance Annie Carson_B1861

Anne (with an e) was the name given on her birth certificate dated 8th May 1861, at West Hallam, Derby, England. Later she takes on the full name of Constance Annie. Her father is John Carson a master painter and mother Anne formerly Hollingworth. The 1861 census that was taken in April that year, does not show Anne as she was born a month after it was taken. Listed are her parents John, aged 35, a house painter employing 4 men; mother Anne aged 33 and an older sister Mary aged 2.

To put this into the ‘travel’ dialogue I need to first explain where it all started. Back in about 1986 when I commenced researching my family history, I soon expanded to my mother’s mother’s line, the Caddy/Carson/Hollingworth.  This was back before the internet was born and there used to be a research directory called the GRD, a Genealogical Research Directory. A subscriber, Jack Hartley had listed his name and research interests with names that were similar to mine, except the Caddy’s. It turned out that he was connected to me through the Hollingworth line but what a fantastic contact he turned out to be. Jack lived in Derbyshire, so he was right on top of all the records that were available at that time. We wrote back and forth, week in, week out, year after year. Then in 1998, Bob and I had the opportunity to travel to England and meet Jack and his wonderful wife Dorothy. We stayed several days with them and they took us everywhere that our ancestors would have walked in Ockbrook and West Hallam, even to the Derbyshire archives where I was able to touch (with gloves) the old records that had our family names written in them. We visited the pub for a meal that another family had owned in years gone by. It was wonderful! By 2002, when we had the opportunity to travel again, Dorothy had passed away and now more recently, Jack too has since passed on. But what wonderful people they were, researching the physical records and sending the paperwork through the old-fashioned snail mail. I still have the letters, and jokes, he sent.

Ockbrook, Derbyshire

Jenny at the road sign for Ockbrook in 1998.

Back to Anne’s story. The first census she appears in is 1871, at Green Lane, Ockbrook with her parents now 10 years older, Mary 12, another sister, Florence aged 7 and Anne at 9, are at school.

In 1881, Anne has now gone out to work and boarding at 76 Park Street, Lenton, Nottingham. The head of the house, Francis Bevin is a Lace Maker, his wife Elizabeth a Lace Mender and 19-year-old Anne is working as a Lace Pattern Maker. Another boarder in the house, Annie Cooper is a Dress Maker. Lace was a very popular accessory, so was Anne making this exquisite work for the Bevin family business?

For over 100 years, Nottingham was the lace making capital of the world. Lace was made of silk and woven by hand, it was expensive and the preserve of the wealthy. As part of the industrial revolution, Nottingham inventors and entrepreneurs sought a way of producing lace that everyone could buy and they completely changed the nature of the industry.

In 1799 there were six lace makers in Nottingham; by 1832 there were 186. The invention and manufacturer of lace making machines replaced the time consuming manual process and drove the rapid growth of lace making.

[Source: Nottingham Industrial Museum] 

Constance Anne Carson married James Ryan Caddy, an Iron Moulder, in Radford, Nottingham on the 18 August 1883 when she was aged 22. Unfortunately, her father John had passed away some years before in 1873. Soon after, their first child, Thomas Holling(s)worth Caddy was born. Young Thomas was only 6 months old when they left England behind to start a new life in Western Australia. They arrived in Fremantle, on board the Lady Douglas to start a new life first in Fremantle and finally settling in Northam.

Uncle Ray Herbert used to tell me stories about how he and his mother, Annie Herbert nee Caddy, and my mother Patsy, would go to Northam to visit their grandmother. By this time, James Caddy had passed away in 1931 and Raymond remembered sitting on his grandmother’s bed reading the bible with her and seeing all the photos around the walls of people he didn’t know but appeared to be in uniform and Patsy complaining that he had his feet on the bed.

During her time in Northam, my great-grandmother Anne must have taken up lace making again, as just recently my second cousin Kerryl, sent 4 doilies that had been made by Anne and left to Kerryl’s mother, daughter of Thomas Hollong(s)worth Caddy.  I was ever so grateful to receive them and share this story with her descendants.

As I do, I went online to find out a bit more about lace making and came across a document, the Lace Classification System by Rosemary Shepherd 2003, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney that describes the many different lace making techniques. Rosemary points out that ‘The definition of lace as a decorative openwork fabric in which the pattern of spaces is as important as the solid area is not only appropriate for historic and traditional lace but also takes into account current and future developments in technique and expression.’ Technique was chosen as the primary characteristic of lace for the Powerhouse Museum classification system and it was this document that helped to determine that the fine lace doilies are Crochet Lace, constructed from a single thread, looped by means of a hook. It is thought to have been developed early in the nineteenth century, from a denser kind of looped fabric used for items of clothing. This surely must have been the technique that Anne used when she was a Lace Pattern Maker in the 1880s.

My grandmother taught me to crochet and it’s my preferred technique over knitting. Is it in my genes?

Anne Caddy nee Carson suffered a heart attack on the 17th May 1941 and is buried next to her husband James in Northam.

Gravestone James Ryan Caddy

Gravestone of James Ryan Caddy and Constance Annie nee Carson



About Jenny MacKay

Just a person who is looking forward to retirement and enjoying the golden years!
This entry was posted in Blog, Caddy, Carson and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to 52 Ancestors #28 – Travel – Ann Carson

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors #30 – Colourful – 4 Generations of Colourful Weddings | jenealogyscrapbook

  2. Carol Wheat says:

    Very interested in your HOLLINGWORTH Family, as my 4th Great Grandmother on my mums paternal line is Rebecca HOLINGSWORTH. Born & Bapt. Feb 1765 Parish of St Clements Danes, England and Buried St Giles, Camberwell 12 Jan 1842.

  3. tstatton says:

    Whilst in Italy, we went to Isola Barano (a tiny island off Venice) and watched the old ladies of the village make lace. They used needle and thread to make exquisite lace – real works of art. There is a museum on the island showing the history of lace making. Fancy Anne being a lace pattern maker. How lucky are you to have some lace doileys made by your ancestors. Another very informative and interesting story Jenny.

  4. Alison Wood says:

    Interesting Jenny , I have some of the modern day Nottingham lace. My daughter Chantelle lived in Nottingham for a year when she first moved to the UK. She bought me a small tablecloth, I can’t see on here where I can post a photo though.

  5. I am in awe of lacemakers- what a skill. When visiting England I did come home with a bobbin or two as I searched the second hand shops at Olney. Some even had the lacemaker’s name etched into them. I wonder if my children will adore and keep my crocheted doilies that are now close to 50 years old. That’s scary😊

    • Jenny MacKay says:

      These ones arrived in the mail yesterday and I wanted to write about them straight away. I’d forgotten momentarily that Anne had been a lace maker. These doilies confirmed it and she had a talent.

  6. Jamie Gates says:

    Love the idea of a family history newsletter! I’ve never liked the idea of an online diary either

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