The 'Tewkesbury Branch' 

Notes on Surl Family Tree 3  

1800 +

Click on the icon or mini-portrait to view photos of the person in the Picture Gallery

Generation 6


John Surl - For more details of John and his first wife, please see Tree 2 Notes, para 6.1 and for a  discussion on the linking of the two family branches, please see section 2 of the Introduction while for more info about the Gloucester parishes & churches mentioned in the text, please see section 3 of the Intro.

Gloucester in 1805

John's second marriage was by licence to a Frances HERRING on 3rd November 1810 at St Mary de Lode, Glos. Although the parish for both is listed as St Catherine's, a Memorandum on the recently found 'Marriage Bond' explains "The groom and William Herring (witness - a Cordwainer of the City of Gloucester) are bound in the sum of £200 to marry (Frances) at St Mary De Lode being the next adjoining parish of St Catherine where no Church or Chapel now stands". John is recorded as a Brazier and a widower while Frances is a spinster and the recently found Marriage Allegation gives his age as 45 and hers as 26yrs (=b1784). This birth is much later than  previous estimates but is possibly a little too optimistic for her because when she died, the birth year given was 1781. According to a write-up on Allegations, ages were approximate and the bride was not normally present at the interview so perhaps the approx 12 years between them was purposely expanded to nearly 20 to represent another cause for the marriage by licence. .. 

No suitably fitting Frances Herring had been traced in Gloucestershire but a baptism record has been found at St Catherine's in Gloucester on 4th March 1781 for a Francis Herring which correlates exactly with her age given at death. Although there's no 'son' or 'dau' to confirm the sex of the infant, it is interesting to note that while she was Frances in the parish record of her marriage, she is Francis in the Bishop's Transcript of this record so the differential spelling seems to have been less important in those days than now.

Other info has recently (2015/16) come to light which goes a long way further to proving that this is 'our' Frances. The baptism in 1781 says she was the daughter of Thomas Herring (d1789 in St Catherine's Gloucester) and his marriage reveals his wife to have been Elizabeth nee DIX (d1818 in Gloucester) while other offspring included an older son than Frances called William and a younger called James. The two witnesses to Frances's wedding were Elizabeth Herring and William Herring, the latter probably acting because her father Thomas had died by then. William was also a witness to the Marriage Bond. Incidentally, her younger brother James later settled in Tewkesbury - could he be why her son James was so-called and why he too moved away to Tewkesbury ? 

John and Frances Surl had three children - James 7.1, Samuel  7.2  and Mary 7.3 below. Frances was buried in St Catherine's, Gloucester on August 30th 1835 aet 54 while John followed at the same church just 9 months later on 16th March 1836 aet 67.


Generation 7

 7 Children of Frances Herring and John Surl (6.1) 

James Surl - b30th Dec 1810. As mentioned in the Introduction, originally the only clue to his year of birth was his age at death in 1855 quoted on the death certificate as 35 yrs, making him born 1820 and therefore unlikely to be a sibling of 1791 John of Newent. However, this would have made him only 14 when he first married so about 1811 - fairly soon after his parents' wedding - was considered more likely. Initially this was confirmed thanks to the 1841 census which quotes his age as 30 (so actually 30-34 due to rounding) but a non-conformist baptism has since been found which gives his actual birthdate (as 30/12/1810) and baptism on 7th Jan 1811. 

Like his half-brother John before him, he left Gloucester when he was in his twenties for pastures new in Tewkesbury where, on 17th May 1834 he married Sarah STEPHENS (b1806). They had two children, both of whom were short-lived :
- James born in 1835, christened on 14/6/1835 and died 17th Feb 1836.
- Mary Ann born 11th April 1838 surviving only 14 days, dying on 25th April of convulsions. 
Sarah herself died less than two years after that - of a hemorrhage - in Quakers Meeting Yard, Tewkesbury on 1st March 1840. (Half brother John Surl had been apprenticed to a Wm Stephens and his wife Mary Ann. Could this be a close relative ?)

In the 1841 census he is shown as a Tin Plate Worker living with Mary Surl aged 20 (his sister, see 7.3 below) at what looks like Lemon Place, Oldbury Road in Tewkesbury. The previous entry in the census is for Nelson Cottage so the location was most likely to have been a (now demolished) cul-de-sac opposite the market car park.  

On 27th December 1841 in Tewkesbury Parish Church he married Ellen MEW (1821 to 11th April 1845), daughter of Thomas MEW, a waterman and his wife Elizabeth. Though she called herself 'Ellen' upon marriage and when reporting the births of her sons, she was called 'Eleanor' by her parents when she was baptised on 21/12/1821 as well as at the end of her life by her sister Ann who reported her death in 1845. During the course of their marriage, which again was truncated to just four years due to the death of his wife, James and Ellen had two children - James and John (see 8.2 & 8.3 below for more details). Although both were successful in their careers and between them had seven children, neither lived to reach 50 years of age, just like their father. .

At the time of James junior's birth in 1843, the family were living at Barton Street in Tewkesbury (Barton Street was one of the three streets which met at 'The Cross' in the centre of the town, High Street and Church Street being the other two). It is understood that the family business of Braziers and Tinsmiths was somewhere near The Cross, and that a major source of custom was the fabrication and repair of kettles and other utensils.

On 11th May 1846 again in Tewkesbury Parish Church, James married Mary DREW (bap 14/6/1818 in Donnington Herefs) and this marked a significant reversal in female fortunes as she outlived not only her husband and all their various children but also all but two of the grandchildren too ! She was described at the time as a Spinster, Servant, 'of Tewkesbury', daughter of Thomas Drew, Labourer. She already had a son, also called Thomas Allen DREW (8.7), who was born in late 1841 (so aged 4 at the time of the marriage to James) and, like the other boys, pursued a career in the fledgling gas supply industry. James and Mary produced 3 children of their own during their 9 years together - Mary, Frances and William - see 8.4 to 8.6 for more details. 

In 1851, after the move to High St in Tewkesbury, James is shown as a "Brazier employing 1 man" together with wife Mary (b Donnington, Herefs), Thomas (confusingly with surname Surl, b Worcs) plus James, John, Mary & Frances (all b Tewkesbury). James died on 25th Sep 1855 and on his death certificate ('informant' = 'Mary Cox' of 'High Street, Tewkesbury', "present at the death"), he is then described as a Tin Plate Worker.

In 1861, 6 yrs after James's death, Mary is the head of the family and shown as an 'Ironmonger' living in High St, Tewkesbury together with son Thomas Drew (19) and stepson John (17) - both described as Tin Plate Workers - plus Frances & William (scholars).

It had been thought that Mary then switched vocation back to domestic service and died on 7th Jan 1870 because a death certificate had been obtained some years ago by SJS for a Mary Surl, aged 50, Domestic Servant, who died at High Street, Tewkesbury.  However, it now transpires that in 1870 there were TWO Mary Surls in central Tewkesbury - either living together or within yards of one another - and both of almost exactly the same age but it has now been proven that the one who died was James's unmarried sister Mary (7.3 below)

On the contrary, Mary Surl - nee Drew - remained in the Iron Mongery business until retirement. In 1871, 1881 and 1891 she is still in High St and all confirm her identity with birthplace of Donnington, Herefordshire. In 1871 she employed "one man and a boy" whilst in 1881 she is shown as "Tin Plate Worker Master Employing One Man". Also living with her in 1881 are one Ann DREW, 'mother' aged 89, shown as having been born in Dymock, Herefs, and William Surl shown as 'son', a Gas Stoker aged 26. In 1891 it is Mary, William and 3 boarders at 23 High St. 

By 1901 though she seems finally to have retired since she had moved to Cotteswold Road, Tewkesbury, where she is living with her 52yr old widowed daughter Frances Pinchin. In 1911 she is in 3 rooms in what her 40yr old carer, Ellen Devereux, describes as "Lilley Alley" in Tewkesbury but the census calls it "Back of Swilgate".  This is not as bad as it sounds for Swilgate is the name of the river that runs through central Tewkesbury & past the Abbey to reach the Avon; Swilgate Road runs along its northern banks in the town and Lilley's Alley (as it is now known) links the 'back of Swilgate Road' with the Cross (High St, Barton St & Church St), so just yards from where she was 70 years before. 

As mentioned earlier, Mary outlived all her children and most of her grandchildren by a margin, dying in Tewkesbury in 1912 at the age of 94.

7.2 Samuel Surl - Born on 26th Feb 1813, Christened in March 1813* in the non-conformist Wesleyan chapel, as per his brother James above (Nat Archive RG4), which was how he was originally found and how his parentage was confirmed.

* The recently obtained image below shows why most transcriptions have the baptism as 1815 but the adjacent entries are all for 1813 so it is believed that the final figure is a rather poor 3 rather than 5.

Samuel died aged 4½ in Jan 1818 and was buried on 10/1/18 at St Catherines in Gloucester just a few days after his grandmother, Elizabeth Herring nee Dix.

7.3 Mary Surl - Born 20th Sept 1819, Christened as being of St Catherine's Parish in the Northgate Street Wesleyan Chapel in Gloucester on 24th October 1819, died in High Street Tewkesbury 7th Jan 1870

As noted under James above, she is shown in the 1841 census living with him in Tewkesbury. In 1851 she is shown as Mary SURLE, age 31, unmarried and a servant (cook) in the household of the Rev James Bearcroft, the Rector of Hadsor, at Trench Lane, Oddingly, Droitwich. (Hadzor and Oddingly seems to be a joint parish, 1 mile SE of Droitwich)

She has at last been traced in the 1861 census transcribed as "Maria Serce" but clearly SERLE in the original manuscript entry. As guessed, she was again in service - still as a cook and still unmarried - but this time, aged 41, at the Parsonage, Abbotts [sic] Court in the village of Deerhurst (near Odda's Chapel, approx 5 miles SW of Tewkesbury). 

When she died  in 1870, her death record again quotes her as being a domestic servant, this time in High Street, Tewkesbury. The informant of the death was a Mary Pittman, a stocking-maker, of Malvern's Ct, Tewkesbury, "present at the death". Malvern's Court is literally next on the census listing to the Ironmongery business of Mary Surl nee Drew in the High St - so the two Mary Surls had been close neighbours while Mary Pittman, like Mary Surl nee Drew, had been widowed relatively young. It is plausible that Mary Surl became ill and was no longer able to continue in service so went to live with one or other of the two widow Marys.  Oh yes, and Mary Pittman was the same age as the other two Marys too. How quite contrary (and no wonder that the 1870 death record was originally wrongly attributed to Mary Surl nee Drew). Please also see 7.1 above   



Generation 8 

  Children of James Surl (7.1) and (1) Sarah Stephens
8.0 James Surl - born in Tewkesbury in late 1834 or early 1835, he was christened on 14/6/1835 and died 17th Feb 1836.

Mary Ann Surl -  b 11th April 1838 in Tewkesbury. Survived only 14 days, dying on 25th April 1838.

  Children of James Surl (7.1) and (2) Ellen Mew

James Surl - born at Barton Street, Tewkesbury on 10th Jan 1843, died 18th April 1887 in Stow-on-the-Wold, Glos.

SJS writes - "His mother died when he was only 2 years and 3 months old, his father remarried (Mary DREW) when he was 3 years and 4 months, and his father died when he was 12½. It appears that the family moved to High Street (Tewkesbury) before he was 10, otherwise nothing is known about his childhood." 

The 1851 census bears this out - James jnr (age 8) is with the family at schedule 177, High St, Tewkesbury. SJS continues "He appears to have followed the family's trade for, at the age of 22 when he married in London, he described himself as a "Tinplate Worker, Journeyman". The dictionary definitions of 'Tinplate Worker' and 'Tinsmith' are virtually synonymous whereas 'Tinman' may be a dealer in tinware as well as a worker in tin. 'Journeyman' means 'one who works by the day : any hired workman : one whose apprenticeship is completed', ie works for someone else rather than on their own account. Obviously it it possible that the terms had subtly separate or conjoint significations within the mid-19th century tin working trade". 

He has at last been found in the 1861 census (horribly mis-transcribed) but the original page clearly shows him as an 18 yr old  Tinplate Worker (from Tewkesbury, Worcestershire - what a sauce!) lodging at 22 Upper North St, Islington so it does look as if he didn't serve, or at least complete, a formal apprenticeship. (Upper North St is now Northdown St & is just to the north east of Kings Cross Station and another young Tin Plate Worker was a lodger in the same house)

In Dec qtr 1865 he married Sarah Ellen Elizabeth EGAN, a milliner, also aged 22. Family legend was that she hailed from Tipperary, Ireland - given her Catholic faith, father's name of Patrick and father's occupation of 'plasterer' would not contradict this (!) but she was actually born in Mar qtr 1843 in Hoxton, Shoreditch where she lived with her parents at 19 Upper John St until her marriage. What is true though is that both Sarah's father (1815-73) and mother (Mary - 1819-78) were born in Ireland but exactly where is not shown in any census. Their other daughter (Mary Ann, b1854) married Joseph John O'Brien, parents of Beatrice (below).   

Going back to James & Sarah, an unusual feature was that two wedding ceremonies were held - one Protestant and the other Roman Catholic - the latter on 1st Oct 1865 at St Monica's Roman Catholic Chapel, Hoxton Square, Hoxton Old Town, at which the witnesses were Joseph O'Brien (actually Joseph Smith O'Brien, father of Joseph John O'Brien) and Catherine Burke. The address quoted  for both bride and groom on the certificate is 19, Upper John Street.

Between 1866 and 1872, James and Sarah produced five children (Polly, Sarah Alice, James, William and Ellen - see 9-8.2 below). Polly's Birth Certificate of 1866 suggests that the family home had by this time moved to 4, York Row, Pearson Street, Haggerstone whilst that for James Joseph in 1869 indicates a return to Upper John Street in Hoxton but this time to No 20 and they also appear there in the 1871 census. 

The exact location of Upper John Street is not known as many streets in the area have been redeveloped or renamed, but Hoxton is that locality immediately to the west of Kingsland Road (the A10) south of Dalston Junction whereas Haggerstone (now Haggerston) is that immediately to the east. Hoxton, Haggerstone and parts of Hackney form the northern part of the Shoreditch registration district - hence Shoreditch appearing as the birthplace or residence on some censuses - and it borders with Finsbury and Islington immediately to the west. Incidentally, Pearson Street is very close to the almshouses which now form the Geffrye Museum that houses several products of the 19th century tinsmith's art.

James, like his brother John and step-brother Thomas, sought his fortune in the rapidly expanding gas manufacture and supply industry. In the 1871 census he is listed as a 'Gas Meter Maker' but  he later emigrated to Iquiqui in Northern Chile - a new town in a recently independent former Spanish colony - to take up the post of Gas Manager. 

SJS adds - "Many Britons settled permanently in South America during this era but James returned to England in the mid-1880's to assume the position of Gas Manager at Stow-on-the-Wold, a small Gloucestershire town high on the Cotswold Hills. In retrospect this was not a wise move as there is a local saying "Stow-on-the-Wold, where the wind blows cold" and it is understood that the sudden change of climate was the cause of his death in 1887 at the age of 44."

It is not known whether or not Sarah and all or any of the 3 surviving children accompanied James during all or part of his time in Chile. The letter Sarah wrote in support of her son William after he was taken into the workhouse in1888 intimates that they remained in the UK but equally, despite many attempts, they have not been located anywhere in the UK in the 1881 census. 

On 11th June 1887, Sarah was granted probate of James's estate which totaled £110/9/-. It had been thought that Sarah returned to London immediately afterwards but it appears that she was resident in Birmingham for a time in 1888. In 1891 she was back in London, living with her two daughters and 7 yr old niece Beatrice Brien (actually O'Brien - see above) at 4, Bushberry Road, Homerton (near Hackney Wick / Hackney Marsh) but by 1901 she and the two daughters had moved up to 334A, Essex Road, Islington, London. However she died  in the March quarter of 1905 at the age of 62 in Billericay in Essex .... but what prior connection she had with deepest darkest Essex is not known for definite but it does seem that her nephew George Edward O'Brien (Beatrice's elder brother) died aged 23 in Billericay in Jun qtr 1901 despite being listed in Spring 1901 with his siblings and parents in Cleveland Park Ave, Walthamstow. 

8.3 John Surl - b 14th April 1844 (Barton St, Tewkesbury), died 22nd May 1892.

Although he, like James and half-brother Thomas, also pursued a career in the gas supply industry, John resisted the lure of foreign climes and South America in particular, preferring instead to stay in England and reside at such exotic locations as Crewe, Nantwich, Rugby and then (as gas manager) Hinckley, Leicestershire, where he was responsible for the considerable expansion of the plant. His final move in 1878/9 was back to Tewkesbury to become manager of the gasworks there but he still maintained contact with Hinckley as a consultant for several years thereafter. 

In Jun qtr 1866  he married Harriet BRADLEY (b 17th June 1845 in Tewkesbury, died March Qtr 1924 in Tewkesbury) and they had two children - Emily & Alfred - see 9-8.3 for more details.

In the 1871 Alfred is intriguingly listed as "Tin Man & Manager of Gas Works" at the Gas Works in Hinckley with wife Harriet and baby Emily.

The 1881 census shows the family at 'The Gasworks, Oldbury Road, Tewkesbury' with Emily aged 13 born in Crewe and Alfred, 3, born in Hinckley. Also in the household is Samuel James Osborne, aged 16 and born in Tewkesbury, listed as Nephew and Railway Clerk. He was Harriet's nephew (son of her sister Emma Bradley who had married a James Osborne originally from Northampton) and SJS reports that "he had the first motor car in the area in 1899". Samuel married a Mary Brown in 1888 and their daughter, Rose Anne Osborne married John & Harriet Surl's son Alfred .... so Alfred was both Samuel's first cousin and his son-in-law. Mary nee Brown died in 1903 so Samuel re-married in 1905, one Emma Milward in Kings Norton, and his interest in cars is perhaps explained by a 1911 trade directory in which he is listed as a 'Motor & Cycle Dealer' in Tewkesbury High Street.  

The National Archives contain the following conveyance dated  29 September 1880 - 

(1) Sarah DEE, spinster of Tewkesbury
(2) Edward Lashford CAVE of Bromyard, Hereford, gent
(3) James BALLINGER of Kingsholm, brewer
(4) Joseph WILSON of Shuthonger Twyning, farmer
(5) John SURL of Tewkesbury, gas manager
Nos. 19 & 20 Sherborne Street formerly occupied by William THOMAS, and Solomon GARDNER, now occupied by Jas. MANNERS and Matt GURNAY (schedule included 1867-1875)
Consideration: £132 plus 10/-
Witnesses: John R. BAILEY, clerk to (2), Edward BATY, of Wark Northumberland

In the 1891 the whole Surl foursome is still at the Gasworks while James Osborne & Emma nee Bradley are shown running a coffee shop at 105 Church St in Tewkesbury (now the Job Centre) however their son, Samuel James, has switched to being a 'clerk to a corn merchant' 

Click here to view the wonderful Obituary to John in the Tewkesbury Register of May 1892. Harriet was granted probate on 7th July 1892 in the rather surprising sum of £3035 3s 3d.

In the 1901 census, Harriet is listed (with son Alfred) in Union Place, Tewkesbury, aged "53" and "living on own means". In 1911 the two are living at Providence Cottage, Chance Street, Tewkesbury (a six roomed house), Harriet listed simply as a Widow & Alfred as a Builder's Clerk. 

Harriet died in Tewkesbury on 16th March 1924 aged 75, 4 years after her daughter. Probate was grated to son Alfred in London on June 2nd in the sum of £5139 12s 2d (so she was obviously a shrewd investor), the address still being given as Providence Cottage and Alfred as a Builder's Clerk. 


  Children of James Surl (7.1) and (3) Mary Drew
8.4 Mary Surl - b late1846 (recorded in Mar qtr 1847), died 3rd Dec 1860 at High Street, Tewkesbury, age 14. 

Death certificate quotes her as the daughter of James Surl, Tin Plate Worker (deceased) and cause of death as Inflammation of Bowels. Informant was Mary Cox of High St, Tewkesbury.

8.5 Frances Surl - b 3rd quarter 1849 in Tewkesbury, known as "Fanny". 

At home with her mother in Tewkesbury up to 1861 but by 1871 she had ventured north to Over Darwen near Blackburn in Lancs where, at age 21, she is a general servant in the employ of 45 yr old Thomas Grime, a 'Paper Manufacturer employing 56 men', and his wife Mary. By 1881 she had returned to Glos - to 3 Queens Circus in Cheltenham to be precise - where at the age of 31 she was working as a 'Servant - Cook Domestic Servant' for none other than Eliza (59) and James Lillywhite (55) "British Sport Outfitter". 

She has at last been traced in 1891 - transcribed as Frances Turl - and, as previously surmised, she was indeed still in the Cheltenham area as a house servant, in Charlton Kings to be exact, which is where, on 5th December 1892 (= at age 43) in St Mary's Church she married one William PINCHIN (also aged 43). On the marriage certificate, he is shown as a Labourer (son of Charles Pinchin, shepherd, deceased), she as a Domestic Servant (daughter of James Surl, Ironmonger, deceased). In the 1891 census, William is a boarder in Ryworth, Charlton Kings and shown as an 'Ag Lab' born in Healing, Glos (probably Hawling, nr Winchcombe as a William, son of a Charles, is in the censuses there from 1851 to 1881 and consistently shown as born there.)

After little more than four years marriage, William died aged 48 in Cheltenham in Mar qtr 1897. Frances then moved to Tewkesbury to live with her similarly widowed mother and is shown with her in Cotteswold Road in 1901. Frances Pinchin died in Tewkesbury in 1909 aged 60, three years before her mother.

Although it is theoretically possible that they could have had offspring - indeed  the birth of a Winifred Mary PINCHIN was recorded in Cheltenham during the 1st quarter of 1893 - there were other Pinchin families in the area at the time. Had there been any offspring, they would have been under seven years of age in 1901 so ought to have been living at home with their mother but none is mentioned and Winifred has not been traced in 1901 nor a death in the intervening period. The balance of probability though is 'no issue'.

8.6 William Surl - b 24th July 1853. As mentioned under his mother above, he was living at home with her in 1881 and working as a 'gas stoker' (with age quoted as 26) and he was still with his mother at their new home in High Street Tewkesbury in 1891.. 

No marriage record has yet been found for him. 

He died in the Sep quarter of 1892 in Tewkesbury at the quoted age of 39


  Previous Children of Mary Drew

Thomas Allen Drew - b 9/10/1841, bap 28/11/1841 at Pendock, Worcs. A year or two older than half-brothers James and John, he seems to have been the one who started the move away from tin into gas. Little is known other than that he became gas manager at Pernambuco in Brazil and, according to the death notice in the local paper for John in 1892, he died there 'a few years ago'. 

In the 1851 census he is shown with the Surname of Surl and birthplace of Bremerton, Worcs. SJS comments "I cannot locate this. It could be Kemerton a few miles east of Tewkesbury which has been variously in Glos & Worcs as the boundaries have moved." At age 19 in 1861, he was still at home in Tewkesbury as a 'Tin Plate Worker'.but this time shown correctly as Drew while his birthplace is definitely 'Glouc' but the place looks a bit like Painswick. 

Subsequent research has revealed that it was Pendock he was from, a village half way between his mother's birthplace of Donnington and Tewkesbury and which is literally on the border of Gloucs and Worcs so is in one county for some things and the other for the rest. 

It is believed that he did not marry or have any children.


 Generation 9


9-8.2 Children of Sarah Egan & James Surl (8.2)
9.21 Mary Ann Elizabeth Surl (aka "Polly" and later "Winifred") - b 3rd August 1866 at 4 York Row, Pearson St, Haggerstone West, Shoreditch London. Possibly named after her mother's younger sister, Mary Anne (Egan), she was not only the eldest but also by a fair margin the longest lived of Sarah and James's children.

Shown as an "artist" in 1891 (as per her sister Alice below) when the family was at No 4, Bushberry Road, Homerton (Hackney Wick) but her occupation in the 1901 census has been crossed out (and is impossible to decipher) after they had moved to 334A Essex Road, Islington. 

Hence in 1901 there was a Mary Ann aka 'Polly' from each of the Newent & Tewkesbury Surl family braches living within a stone's throw of one another in London ! Did they know of each other? Did they visit each other ? And which Polly put the kettle on ?

A family legend ran that both she and younger sister Sarah Alice married German photographers. Whilst this is certainly true of Sarah Alice, no such has marriage ever been found for Mary Ann but there is a  marriage record for 'Mary Ann Elizabeth Surl' as a spinster in York on 23rd October 1909 to a 31yr old steel-worker, William Henry RIMMER. Granted her age of 40 is a tad optimistic (she would have been 43) but the proof that "she's our girl" comes from parental names of Sarah Egan & James Surl. Mary is shown as a catholic, living at 118 Yarmouth Road while her spouse was a "bachelor", a catholic, and also of 118 Yarmouth Road. 

To give her spouse his full name, Frederick William Henry Rimmer was born on Oct 25th1876 in Shoreditch, London (so was actually 34, not 31), the son of William Henry Rimmer (shown on Fredk Wm's marriage cert as just Henry) a Commercial Clerk, b1849 from Everton (Liverpool) & Louisa Ann HOUGHAM (shown on Fredk Wm's marriage cert as Haughman) b1853 from Broadstairs (Kent). However, with 2 marriages (to sisters) behind him in New Zealand in the 1890's, the truth of his claim to be a 'bachelor' is distinctly questionable. Certainly a 25yr old seaman F W Rimmer left London 16th August 1899 aboard the 'Waimate' bound for Auckland, NZ where it was due to arrive on October 7th and his 2nd NZ marriage took place in Auckland on 30th December.

Going back to Fredk Wm's bride, for proof positive of her identity, guess who was her witness ? Yup - none other than her sister Alice Frohnhauser, also shown as being from Toronto. So, yes, the York we are talking about here is the Canadian county in which Toronto sits but, fear not, Islington is only a few streets away from Yarmouth Road. On the ship's passenger list when she emigrated in 1908 (together with sister Sarah Alice and her daughter) there is a margin note that the party was heading for 'friends' at 124 Yarmouth Road, Toronto .... but just who they were is not currently known. The occupants of 124 in 1911 were the Browns, James b Ontario 1870 and May b1871 in Ireland (arr Canada 1890) but there's no obvious connection with them and they could easily have moved in between 1908 & 1911. Equally, there seems to be no obvious connection with the Davidsons at 118 Yarmouth Rd but again, they could have moved in after Mary Ann & Fredk William married, or this might just have been an accommodation address for the couple. 

Thanks to Peter Dean in Canada, Mary Ann & 'William' plus their daughter have now been found in the Canadian 1911 census (above) at 575 Gladstone Ave, W Toronto. Both are shown as born in England (he arriving 1901 and she 1908) & both age 34 (= born 1876) but for Mary Ann this is either very wishful thinking to the tune of 10 years or a slip of the enumerator's pen. With them is 8 month old Lillian Winifred - Lillian Winifred Alice Louisa Rimmer to quote her birth record, born on 7th Sep 1910. However the entry for William has been crossed through with 'died' written in the margin but so far no death record has been found. On the contrary, evidence from Canada suggests that he reverted to Frederick (or Fred), lived until 1947 and is buried with his wife in St Catharine's  (Ontario), albeit with a birth year shown on the MI of 1874 rather than 1876. Hmm.

The name of Alice for their daughter was from her sister & Louisa from his mother but Lillian & Winifred are very interesting because Lillian O'Brien was Mary Ann's 1st cousin (daughter of Mary Ann Egan) who was the witness at her sister Alice's wedding while in both the Passenger and Aliens Lists for the SS Canada which arrived in Quebec from Liverpool on 24th July 1908, Mary Ann mysteriously appears as 'Winifred'. There is no known precedent for this name anywhere in her Mother or Father's families nor has any popular person of the day been found. The thot plickens! Anyway, apart from being Mary Anne upon marriage, the name Winifred seemingly stuck for some time but on both the MIs for her in the graveyard in St Catharines, Ontario, she is shown by her official name of Mary Ann Elizabeth (Rimmer) with death year quoted as 1951.    

John Altoft quotes his father John W E Altoft (born 1927) as saying that in the 1930's "Winifred  lived at 38 Marlborough Ave in St. Catharines (2 blocks away from Alice) with husband Fred Rimmer"

Sadly, although a few questions have been answered, they beg more. For their daughter Lillian, see 10-9.21

Aside re FW's parents -

Louisa Ann Rimmer nee Hougham (Fredk's mother) is with her husband in London 1881 but in 1891 she is Broadstairs, Kent with her aunt, Harriet Walker (head of household, nee Mortley) plus an Albert Henry Rimmer aged 2, a 'visitor', born Canada. It is likely that he was her son and that he was the Albert Henry Rimmer who died aged 2 in Lewisham in Dec qtr 1891, this location tallying with where Louisa's mother Ann was living in the 1891 census. It then looks as if Louisa went back to Canada as there is a record of an L A Rimmer (female, age unspecified) arriving (apparently alone) in Quebec from Liverpool in 1892 aboard the Circassian with intended destination given as Toronto. This all suggests that  Louisa & Wm Henry had emigrated to Canada in the 1880s (thereby explaining why he is not to be found in the UK 1891 census) from where she returned for a visit to the UK with her young son in 1891. More importantly, seeing that Fredk William hasn't been traced in 1891 either, it is possible that he emigrated with his parents. 

To prove that Louisa did end up in Canada, firstly there's a trade directory entry dated 1896 which quoted her as the widow of Wm Henry Rimmer (but no death record for him has been found). Secondly there's a death record for widow Louisa Rimmer in 'Homes of Providence', York, Toronto on Feb 9th 1937 whose husband was William Rimmer, father William Hougham and mother Ann Marley (actually Mortley) and birth in England was 1849 (well close). Burial was in Mt Pleasant Cemetery on 11/02/37 and the informant was one Alice L Hougham, her niece, of Belmont, Mass, USA who perhaps used a little exaggeration when she reported that Louisa was a Cook for 50 years before retiring in 1922.

Anyway, all this shows that there were members of his Rimmer family in Canada before Frederick arrived c1901, and that he had possibly already lived there for a time.

9.22 Sarah Alice Surl - b Jan 31st 1868 in Finsbury, London. 

Although shown in censuses as 'Sarah A' when very young, she seems later to have been universally known as 'Alice' (probably to avoid confusion with her mother, also a Sarah), indeed she appears in both the 1891 & 1901 censuses simply as Alice Surl. In 1901 she is listed as 'Artist photographer' at 334a Essex Road living with her widowed mother and sister Mary Anne (above). Also with them was Eugene Frounhauser (sic) as a 'photographer' with relationship 'partner' (in view of events later that year, presumably to Alice rather than her mother as head of the household !). He was age 29,  'working on own account' and from what looks like 'Cologne, Germany' but with 'British Subject' appended. To complete the household, there was a 34yr old boarder John Furze, a Draper's Clerk from Kilkhampton in Cornwall. 

On 3rd October 1901 she married 'Eugene' at 'Our Lady of the Good Counsel' Roman Catholic Church, Bouverie Road, Stoke Newington, his full name appearing as Julius August Eugen FROHNHAEUSER with his occupation now also 'artist and photographer' and son of Carl Frohnhaeuser, "Manager of a Powder Factory". To lend apparent weight to the family legend of the two Surl sisters marrying two German photographers, the marriage indexes for Hackney in 3rd qtr 1901 do separately show the marriages of Julius A E Frohnhaeuser as well as Eugen Frohnhaeuser. However, this is simply a duplication error because although officially Julius,  he was popularly known as Eugen / Eugene and indeed Alice later refers to herself as Mrs E Frohnhauser. As further proof , there's no trace of another Eugen, Eugene or Julius elsewhere in the 1901 census .... but interestingly there is a Carl Frohnhaeuser who would seem to be Eugen's brother. He also married an English girl too, but not a Mary. (Carl is shown as a 'boarder' at 33 Burgoyne Road, Hornsey, born 1871 'Germany, German subject' with occupation of "Electrical Motor Car Engineer" but his wife 'Dollie' is shown as born Poplar in 1873.)

Aside - I'm aware that my German is very limited & a little knowledge is a dangerous thing but I suspect that the correct original surname spelling in mixed/lower case was Frohnhäuser. However, I believe that it is or was a convention in Germany not to use accents on capital (upper case) letters so an extra 'E' was added in place of the umlaut (as in MUENCHEN for München (Munich)) hence the rather awkward spelling Frohnhaeuser .... so no wonder this was simplified at times to Frounhauser.  

Just as at Alice's parents' wedding, the address quoted for Alice & Eugine is the same - 334, Essex Road, Islington - but this time both witnesses were O'Briens : Joseph John and Lillian Annie (the same Joseph ?). 

  334 Essex Road in 2007        334 Essex Road in 2007

334/A Essex Road in April 2007 (Red section is 334A)

334 Essex Road lies approximately half way between Essex Road station and the Balls Pond Road. It is interesting to note that Marc Surl's flat is a couple of minutes walk from here and that Bouverie Road, Stoke Newington, is a matter of yards from the birthplace of both Geoffrey (1899) and Arthur (1902) Surl but it is doubtful if each family knew of the other's existence.

Sadly, Eugene and Alice's married life lasted little more than a year as he died in early 1903 at the age of 30, his death being reported as 'Julius Frohnhaeuser'. Curiously this was registered at Steyning in Sussex, a registration district that included the seaside town of Shoreham where there were many sanitoria at that time so it is plausible that he was suffering from TB and was sent down there to the purer seaside air to recover. Despite their short marriage, they did have one child - Marie (aka Stella) - in August 1902 in Islington (the district applicable to Essex Road). See 10-9.22

A photographic trade directory for 1901/2 lists 'Surl, Miss Alice, 334A Essex Road' whereas in the 1903 edition the entry becomes 'Surl, A & Co' reflecting her partnership/marriage but from the 1904 directory edition onwards, the business at that address becomes that of one Sidney Bell. However, contrary to earlier thoughts, it now seems that she did continue in the photographic business after Eugine's death because she is listed on the PhotoLondon website as Alice Frohnhaeuser at 33 Queens Road, Walthamstow between 1905 - 1907. Walthamstow was not only where some O'Brien cousins had lived but also where the other Polly Surl's in-laws, the Chancellors, had their paint business. Small world ?

Self Portrait - Alice Surl of the "Takewell Studio", 'Artists & photographers' 

Alice's mother died in 1905 so, seemingly with little left to keep her in England, she, her daughter & her sister emigrated to Ontario, Canada aboard the s.s. Canada from Liverpool on 16th July 1908 arriving in Quebec on 24th. As "Alice Frohnhauser" she was a witness at her sister's wedding in 1909 in Toronto then again (as Mrs E Frounhauser) at her daughter's wedding in 1922 at St Catharine's Ontario (near Niagara). However, it seems that in 1917 she wrote two patriotic songs ("What the khaki lads can do for dear old England" and "Hurrah for the lads in khaki") under her maiden name of Sarah Alice Surl (source Canadian National Archives), but then again to have used her proper married name might have been rather unwise in that context during the middle of WW1 !

Like her sister, she was in West Toronto in 1911 and has finally been tracked down, transcribed as Alec Mohnhauser (!), as a lodger at what looks like 146 Grace (St) with year of immigration shown as 1875 (!) and occupation of housekeeper, but daughter Stella Marie is not mentioned.  

Her grandson (John W E Altoft, b1927) recalls "in the 1930's Alice lived at 26 Charles Ave in St. Catharine's. My sister June & I lived with her because Stella Marie had separated from her husband (John Altoft b.1902) and could not manage all 4 children herself. Alice also had reverted to using her maiden name of Surl and she would sometimes go back to Toronto to live for short periods. While she was there she would paint. She stayed at a house on Boon Ave with someone I knew as Aunt Flossy. Boon Ave is less than 2km from Yarmouth Road".

No more information known at present other than that she died on July 8th 1941 and is buried, together with her daughter Marie in Victoria Lawn cemetery, St Catherines, Ontario.

9.23 James Joseph Surl -  b 31st May 1869 at 20 Upper John Street, Hoxton Old Town, Shoreditch; died 1889 in Watford aged 19. 

James Joseph was by no means a strong child, apparently suffering from epileptic fits. His death in 1889, just two years after that of his father  marked the end of the male SURL line in this branch of the family. Why his death is recorded in Watford is a complete mystery because, after his father died, he moved with his mother to Birmingham then, around 1888, he was was the subject of a 'Removal Order' back to Hoxton. 

9.24 William Thomas Surl - b Dec quarter 1870 in Shoreditch, died Jun qtr 1871, Shoreditch. Shown in the 1871 census as being 4 months old.
9.25 Ellen Frances Surl - No index entry for her birth has yet been found but she was believed to have lived from 1872 to1873. This has now been confirmed by the tracing of a death record for her in Shoreditch for Dec qtr 1873, aged 1. 


Children of Harriet Bradley & John Surl (8.3)


Emily Blanche Surl ('Minnie') - b 1867 (in Crewe, Cheshire), died Sep qtr 1920 in Tewkesbury

On 26th October 1897 she married Albert Henry HULBERT (1868-1960) a 'journeyman carpenter' of Cheltenham. Although baptised as this in St James Gloucester on Nov 22nd 1868, he is shown in BMD as Albert Ernest, born in Gloucester, Dec qtr 1868. The local paper, the "Tewkesbury Weekly Record", for 30/10/1897 reports under marriages:

"Hulbert-Surl - 26th Inst., at the Wesleyan Chapel by the Rev F Haliday, Albert Henry, second son of George Hulbert, of Cheltenham, to Emily Blanche (Minnie), only daughter of the late Mr Councillor John Surl of Tewkesbury."

In 1901 he is shown as Albert H but in 1911 his name appears in full as Albert Henry so where the Ernest came from on the Birth registration is anyone's guess. 

Old family trees have shown " No issue" and this is borne out by the 1911 census which shows the couple living at "Walcot", Ashchurch Road, Tewkesbury "married 13 years" and 0/0/0 children. "Albert H Hulbert" died aged 92 in Cheltenham in Dec qtr 1960, just over 40 years after his wife. However, he had re-married on 3/8/1922 one Ethel Rose Andrews so his probate was to her.


Alfred John Surl - b 23rd Sep 1877 (in Hinckley, Leics), died 5th May 1954.

In the 1901 census he is shown aged 23 living with his widowed mother in Union (?) Place, Tewkesbury and working as a 'Builder's Clerk'. Ten years later the situation is the same but they are are short distance away in Chance St (just off Barton St, the main A38 out to the north) 

On 19th Oct 1925, at age 48 (and less than a year after his mother had died) he married Rose Anne OSBORNE who was 14 years his junior (b 6th Jan 1891, died 1st Sep 1967) and daughter of his 1st cousin Samuel James Osborne.

They had two children - Samuel John and Emily Joyce (John & Joy) - see 10-9.32 for details. In the late 40's and early 50's the family home was in the village of Woolstone and, as mentioned on the Intro page, it was as a result of Alfred's farming activities being featured in the Lady magazine that led Arthur Surl to re-establish contact with this family branch.

Alfred and son John at Woolstone


 Generation 10

10-9.21 Children of Polly / Winifred Surl & Frederick Wm Henry Rimmer (9.21)
10.21 Lillian Winifred Alice Louisa Rimmer - born 7th Sep 1910 in Toronto.

One source said that she married a Mr North and this is supported by an MI for her in St Catharines which quotes her as dying in 1989 and her husband as George Leslie North (1907-2000), the '2000' clearly having been added more recently.

Also mentioned on the MI is Marion Lillian NORTON (1930-1996) and Herchal Stephen NORTON (1922- ) which suggest that Lillian married George North about 1929 (aged about 19) and that Marion Lillian was their daughter who died relatively young.

No more information known.

10-9.22 Children of Sarah Alice Surl & Julius August Eugen Frohnhaeuser (Eugene Frohnhauser) (9.22)
10.22 Marie Frohnhauser - aka 'Stella' then 'Mimi' -  born 1st August 1902 in Islington ....the London, England one, not the Toronto! 

In July 1908, when she was almost 6 yrs old, she emigrated with her mother & aunt Polly to Canada and, just like their changes of name, she became officially known as Stella or Stella Marie. To prove this story, her marriage record - as Stella Frohnhauser - in Lincoln, Ontario Canada, on 23rd Sep 1922 shows her as born in England, daughter of Alice Surl (correctly spelt, no less!) and Eugene Frohnhauser. The bridegroom was one John ALTOFT, b St Catharines (Ontario) in Sept 1902, the son of John Wm Altoft (b Feb 1882) & Elizabeth Gertrude Eves (bOct 1883). Witnesses were Mrs E Frohnhauser and Mrs Altoft so it also proves that her mother Sarah Alice was also still in Canada in 1922.

John Wm Altoft's father William (b1845 in Louth, Lincs, England) emigrated to Louth, St Catharines, Ontario in 1868 and 4 yrs later married Ellen Magdaline Weaver who was of German descent ... so Stella Marie wasn't the first German influence on the Altofts. Indeed in the Canadian 1911 census, the whole Altoft family is shown as German ethnic origin !  

Stella Marie & John Altoft had 4 children between 1923 & 1927 - June, Patricia, Salema Sally & John and more detail can be found on other websites.

John Altoft (snr) died 12/12/1951 in Toronto (although the Gilbey source quotes 12/12/1957 in St Catharines) but anyway it seems that they had separated in the 1930s and Stella subsequently remarried to become a McGaghran. She died in Dundas, Ontario, on  20th July 1985 but is buried with her mother in St Catharines.

Hence Sarah Alice Surl and elder sister Mary Ann Elizabeth both had just one daughter and all 4 of them are buried in the same graveyard in St Catharines. 


Children of Rose Anne Osborne & Alfred John Surl (9.32)


Samuel John Surl  ("John") - b 18th July 1926, died 14th May 2007. 

John became a company accountant. After his retirement, John was an immense help with this family history and, just six weeks before he died, he came up with the evidence to prove the nature of the link between the Newent and Tewkesbury branches. It is a complete coincidence that while he was christened Samuel but known as John, Stephen Edwin Surl was known as "Sam" 

On 14th June 1954, he married Margaret Beryl WAKEFIELD ("Beryl", b 17th Feb 1919, died 28th August 2007) and they had two children, Robert & Martin (see 11-10.31). After almost 50 years living in Cheltenham, they moved to Birdlip c 2001 and died there some six years later within weeks of one another. 

John & Beryl



Emily Joyce Surl ("Joy") - born 7th September 1928. 

Since she and her mother left Woolstone after the death of her father in 1954, Joy has spent all her life in Cheltenham. After her mother's death in 1967, she lived on her own in a succession of small apartments in the Pittville Circus area and worked for charity shops but in more recent times, due to declining health, she moved into sheltered housing.

After a short illness, Joy died on 10th July 2012 at the Oak Haven Care Home in Cheltenham with the cause of death certified as "old age". She was almost 84.


 Generation 11


11-10.31 Children of Beryl Wakefield & Samuel John Surl (10.31)
11.31 Robert Alfred James Surl - b 12th March 1955. 

On 16th August 1980, he married Jennifer Naomi CORNWELL (b 24th Jan 1955) in Barcombe, Sussex, and they have two children - see 12-11.31


Martin John Surl - b 2nd March 1957

On 5th June 1982, he married Elizabeth LAWLEY-WAKELIN (b 8th March 1958) in Cheltenham, and they have two children - see 12-11.32


 Generation 12


12-11.31 Children of Jennifer Cornwell & Robert Surl (11.31)
12.31 Living Surl - b 31st Jan 1984
12.32 Living Surl - b 9th April 1987
12-11.32 Children of Elizabeth Lawley-Wakelin & Martin Surl (11.32)
12.41 Living Surl - b 2nd July 1989
12.42 Living Surl - b 29th Dec 1989


Return to Tree 3

Return to Index Page


"The Family of James Surl, 1843-1887" is Copyright Samuel John Surl, 1985

Any other Copyright or Intellectual Rights applicable to listed information sources is hereby acknowledged.

All original material is © 1985-2020 strictly copyright Malcolm Surl, all rights reserved worldwide.

 To use any material from this site, written permission is required -  please apply to 

If you have any comments, corrections or new info, please do contact me !


Last updated 25th May 2020