Ww is for – What does that mean?…


Always a curious child, my lovely mum would shake her finger at me with the warning…Remember, Catherine… Curiosity Killed the Cat.” Well here I am… and still asking questions. 

Guess one of the reasons  researching Family History is such a pleasure is because as soon as you answer one question, there are always many more popping up begging to be investigated. In this Gould Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge I share just a few.



What fun those UK Census records are… I love pouring over them to get to the “nitty gritty” of my Ancestor’s lives – not only where they lived, moved to, married etc., but especially their Occupations. The tricky part of this can be that the enumerator has VERY bad writing but often it’s simply a job I’ve never heard of… e.g. my Scottish Great Grandfather, James Ogilvie, was a “Currier”. What??? … although, at times there’s an occupation I kind of know, but am not entirely sure about. Here are some examples:

ACATER – A present day caterer. A person who supplies food provisions to various outlets.

AUGER MAKER – Someone who made the carpenters augurs; a type of hand drill which was operated via a crosswise fitted handle.

ANVIL SMITH – A person who made Anvils and Hammers for Blacksmiths.

Blacksmith working with Hammer and Anvil – Wikimedia Commons Licence

BESOM MAKER – Made brooms, usually from twigs with a central pole.

CARMAN – Driver of a vehicle used to transport goods.

CARTER – Carries, or conveys, goods in a cart.

CHARWOMAN – Cleaning woman (domestic servant) who usually worked for hourly wages, often on a part time basis. They usually had several employers and, unlike Maids, did not “live in”.

CURRIER – A man who dresses and colours leather after it is tanned.

DAY MAN – Caual worker, usually employed for the day.

FLAX DRESSER – Prepares Flax prior to it being spun.

Flax Dresser – heckling. (Wikimedia Commons Licence)

HURDLE MAKER – Maker of Hurdles/Woven Fences, often made out of Hazel or Willow.  This was a surprise, to me. I thought “hurdles” are those fence like constructions made for horses to jump… {chuckle}

JOURNEYMAN/JORMAN – A Master Craftsman who has served his Apprenticeship, mastered his craft and no longer bound to serve for years but is hired day by day – often self employed.

LIGHTERMAN – Someone who operates a flat bottomed boat used in loading and unloading ships.

19C Lighterman (Wikimedia Commons Licence) Artist:James Abbott McNeil Whistler

VITNER – Wine Merchant.

VICTUALLER – A seller of food and drink. Usually refers to an Innkeeper.


Growing up with a constant stream of proverbs like: “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”, etc. I’m always fascinated, and curious, to discover their origins. Some are self-explanatory but others not so.  Here are some which were very common expressions throughout my childhood and am SO happy to have tracked down their origins.

*  In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes and when you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making it firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase “GOOD NIGHT SLEEP TIGHT”.

*  In English pubs ale is order by pints and quarts… So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell… “Mind your Pints and Quarts and settle down!!!.” It’s where the phrase “MIND YOUR P’s &  Q’s” comes from.

*  The saying “THERE’S NOT ENOUGH ROOM TO SWING A CAT” comes from the days when sailors were punished with “a cat o’nine tails” (whip with nine leather straps). However, because there wasn’t enough room below deck to lash the whip, the punishment was given on deck where there was enough room “to swing the cat.”

*  In the 1400’s a law was set forth that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick thicker than his thumb. Hence we the “RULE OF THUMB.”

*  Many years ago, in England, pub frequenters had a whistled bake into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a drink, they would whistle to get served. ‘WET YOUR WHISTLE” is the phrase inspired by this practice.

*  The saying “THE CAT’S OUT OF THE BAG” (i.e. a secret revealed) originates in medieval England when piglets were sold in open market places. The seller usually kept the pig in a bag, making it easier for a buyer to take home, but some dishonourable sellers would put a large cat inside the bag in an attempt to deceive. However, if a shrewd buyer looked into the bag then the cat was literally out of the bag. The following advice was first recorded in London around 1530:  

“When ye proffer the pigge open the poke.”

The bag was called a poke which is where the saying “BUYING A PIG IN A POKE” comes from, and means, buying something unseen and probably unwanted.


In closing, I have to say that when mum warned that “CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT”, I knew that I was being told to STOP asking endless questions … but what was this “bizzo” about “killing the cat?”.  Now I finally know the origins of this proverb.

Originally it was “CARE KILLED THE CAT“. The term “care”, at that time, meant “worry and sorrow”, not looking after/protecting, as is our more contemporary meaning.

Now it all makes sense and the young child, which still resides within me, can settle down… Yep, born pedantic 🙂

Here’s a vid you might enjoy:






Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel.  

Finding Christiana…

Ahhh… Christiana Ogilvie. We found you!!!

It’s such a joy to find a missing relative but the feelings that wash over me when finding a little child whose memory has become faded, or maybe even lost, in the mists of time are indescribable… and so it was when John and I found his Aunt, little Christiana.

John is my second cousin and Great Nephew of my Grandmother, Marie (Ogilvie) Crout.  Like Marie, he was born in Leeds, England but he migrated here to Australia, with his wife and family, in the mid 1960’s. We have only recently “found” each other through a joint interest in, and love of, Family History and it’s great fun to share our discoveries.  In a recent email he mentioned his mum saying that his dad had a sister who died as a child then shared her birth and death registration dates from his archives.

That was it and in no time, at all, we were off and away and soon found the relevant documents to put his Christiana Ogilvie firmly in her place on our shared Family Tree.

My Grandmother, Marie Ogilvie, was born the third of seven chilldren to Emma Chadwick and James Ogilvie in 1880, Leeds, England.  She had only two brothers and my cousin John’s Grandfather, also named John, was older than Marie by just three years.  I’m thinking they must have had warm feelings for each other as Marie had the honoured position as a witness at his Wedding when he married Lucy Ann Johnson in All Souls Church, Leeds, in 1897.

Buslingthorpe St Michael, Leeds, England

Later that year Lucy gave birth to their first child, a little girl, whom they named Christiana. The family were living at 4 Wharfdale Grove, Leeds on 27 Apr 1898, and John was working as a Leather Shaver, when Christiana was Baptised in St Michael Church, Buslingthorpe, Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Sadly little Christiana died in her first year of life and just a few months after being baptised. 

East Yorkshire Badge

John and Lucy went on to have another 7 children, four boys and three girls. Their fifth child, Jack, is the father of my 2nd Cousin, John, who is sharing this delightful journey of discovery with me.  John and Lucy’s last child, Doris, was just 17 months old when her father enlisted in the “6th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment“, British Army “Short Service” for the duration of WW1. 

Sadly John Ogilvie was killed in action in Flanders, France on 13 Mar 1918 and never did return to England and his family.  Lucy was both mother and father to their children continuing to live in the home they had shared at 16 Barkley Avenue, Leeds, until she passed away there on 2 Nov 1961, a much loved and honoured mother, grandmother and great grandmother. 

Christiana was named after her Great Grandmother, Christiana (MacKenzie) Ogilvie who married John Ogilvie in Elgin, Scotland.  They had four children; Alexander, James, Margaret (Maggie) and Jean.  James took on the trade of “currier”, moved to Leeds, married Emma Chadwick and named their first child, a girl, Christiana after his mother.   Their son, John, did the same.

I agree with Cousin John that the death of his Grandfather’s baby daughter is probably the reason “why the name of his grandmother never occurred again.”

Rest In Peace … little Christiana Ogilvie

© Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family  

Oceana …

What’s in a name? … Such a beautiful name and so unusual … intrigued, I pursue the story of Oceana Charlotte Willshire.

It was 24 Oct 1857 and George and Jane (Morrant) Willshire, with George’s brother James and his wife Ann (Richards), stood on the Southampton dock amongst 215 Irish and 120 English “assisted migrants” all saying their final farewells and readying themselves to board the “SS Stamboul” for the long trip to South Australia.

Emigrants never knew how long the voyage would take.  It could be three months of enjoyment but more often it was a nightmare.  Only the wealthy could afford cabins, most travelled in steerage accommodation, between the upper deck and the cargo hold.  Shipowners had found emigrants a new source of profit and had built a flimsy, temporary floor beneath the main deck and on top of the cargo hold. The loss of life on these journeys was appalling particularly among the women and children.  At times the casualty rate was as high as ten per cent.

However, the 800 ton “SS Stamboul” captained by I.A. Smith was said to be lofty, well lit and ventilated.  It was well adapted for emigrants.  The provisions were good and abundant and the passengers expressed themselves satisfied for the way in which they had been treated.  Mr Henry Richards, the Surgeon-superintendent, appeared to have performed his duties efficiently, however, there were eleven deaths on this ship. This was more than three percent of the number embarked and a ratio of mortality far higher than the average.  Why this high loss of life? 

The Surgeon-superintendent’s journal shows that, just before entering the northern tropics, the weather was very wet and stormy producing inflammatoray colds, and the sudden transition to tropical heat produced low fever and diahorrhoea. There was much sickness throughout the ship. 

Often the steerage accommodation was so far down in the hold that water would seep up through the planking.  Ventilation and light were poor and came only from the hatches when they were open, however, during a storm access to the main deck was impossible as the hatches were battened down tightly. 

A storm could last from a few days up to a week, or longer, the hatches remained closed and the passengers kept below deck.  Furthermore, light could not be used durings storms because of the danger of fires.  The Surgeon-superintendent of the “SS Stamboul” complained that the fire-engine onboard  was useless, “breaking like a glass” after the first or second trial, so increasing the risks from fire aboard ship.

It would have been, in conditions just like this that Jane Willshire went into labour and, on 11 Dec 1857, George and Jane Wilshire’s first little babe was “born at sea off the coast of Brazil.”  They named her Oceana Charlotte Willshire – Charlotte being the name of her two Grandmothers.

Mary McMahon gave birth to her little boy five days earlier, on 6 December, aboard ship.  Nineteen days after Oceana’s birth, on 30 Dec 1857, a little girl was born to Thomasina Moynes.  Sadly her little boy John died, aged 3, the following month, on the 29 Jan 1857, just three days before making landfall.  The cause of John’s death was given as “marasmus”, a form of malnution in young children, often occurring after weaning, and largely due to infections and diahorrhea.  It is still a common cause of infant death in developing countries.

The “SS Stamboul” left Southampton, England on 24 Oct 1857 arriving at Port Adelaide on the 1st day of February 1858 with 336 immigrants for the 21 year old Colony of South Australia. Eleven people died and three new little souls were born at sea. So many brave and courageous people took great risks and faced incredible dangers leaving their family, friends and homeland to create a new and better life on the other side of the world.

Oceana Charlotte Willshire arrived in Australia, amongst the first group of assisted migrants to South Australia for 1858, wrapped in her mother’s arms … forever to be know as the little girl “born at sea off the coast of Brazil”.

As a child, Oceana lived with her parents and nine siblings around the Clare/Riverton area.  She married twice, gave birth to eight children (7 survived) and moved to Coal Creek in the Gippsland, Victoria where her husband, George Osborne, worked as a Coal Miner.  Oceana died at Millicent, South Australia at the age of 84, 28 Sep 1942, amidst a large extended family.  She is buried in the Millicent Cemetery.

Fascinated by her beautiful name, little did I know that the babe, who was “born at sea off the coast of Brazil” and named Oceana Charlotte Willshire, is the grand aunt of the wife of my grand uncle, Victor Alic Murray – Jessie McIntyre.

Discovering my relationship to Oceana through her sister Henrietta Willshire, who married William John Lester, was a huge surprise.  They had nine children and seven survived childhood.  William John Lester’s parents immigrated” aboard the “SS British Trident”  two years before the Willshires arrived on the “SS Stamboul” and he, like his wife, was the first generation of Australians in the family.


The Ships List:  http://www.theshipslist.com
Flinders  Ranges Research:  http://www.southaustralianhistory.com.au
South Australian Government Gazette, 13 May 1858
South East Family History Group:  http://www.sefhg.org

© Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family 

My Scottish Grandmother… Marie


Ah, Marie … whatever must you have thought watching your Ozzie Grandchildren delighting in the knowledge, and exotica, of having a Scottish Grandmother and also a Scottish Grandfather? …but this is your story Marie not Harry’s. His can wait for another time.


I have no memory of dad ever talking about his mother, Marie Ogilvie, except for one occasion. I was growing into adulthood; he looked across the table and said quietly,

“You look like my mother, Catherine”

Sadly, during a time of great distress, Harry Scarborough Crout destroyed his mother’s photos. The thought crosses my mind that he may not have known much at all about his mother being only sixteen, and little more than a child, when he left her and his homeland to go adventuring in this wide, brown land.

However, dad was very clear about his mum’s nationality – Scottish – no doubt about it.  He spoke about her two red headed rather wild Scottish brothers and how they liked their whiskey. We marvelled as he described how one brother, in a drunken rage, took his dagger and slashed his girlfriend’s name from his arm after she betrayed him.  The creepy story, he loved to tell, about someone being walled up in a Scottish castle to die, had we four children shivering in our shoes. Whether these tales were fantasy or fact I do not know but we delighted in the drama and identified even more with our Scottish Grandmother, Marie.

Firmly imprinted in my memory dad’s pleasure in banging out Scottish tunes on the piano and the piano accordion …

“Cock-a-doodle, cock-a-doodle, I’m the Cock of the North”

comes readily to mind. He also delighted in “Deoch and Doris”…

“If ye can say, it’s a braugh bricht moonlicht nicht t’ nicht, then yer a’richt ye ken.”

Over the years, many sought our Grandmother’s Scottish birthplace and soon came to realise there are a huge number of Ogilvies in Scotland!!! At one time we thought it likely she was one of the border Ogilvies, and an ancestor of the famed balladist /poet Will Ogilvie. Although revelling in that romantic notion, persistence finally revealed the truth.

Unforgettable is the day my paternal grandparent’s Marriage Certificate finally arrived. Following the paper trail, it soon became clear that my “Scottish Grandmother” was born in 1880 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England the third child of Emma Chadwick and James Ogilvie and younger sister to Christina and John. Brother James was born in 1882, followed closely by sisters Lucy, Jennie and Maggie. The 1881 Census gives the family’s address as 27 Roxburg Street, Hunslet, Leeds and most likely Marie was born at home – so, not Scottish at all.

However, all is not lost for Marie’s dad, James Ogilvie, certainly was Scottish. James was born in 1854 in Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland, the second son of Christina McKenzie and John Ogilvie.  It seems that Marie may have been close to her father and identified with her cultural heritage through his Scottish Nationality. She was named Mary Emma but used the Scottish form, Marie, throughout her life. Most probably this would have been the version her father used and maybe her mother.

Two more children, Margaret Anne and Jean, were born to Christina and John, in Elgin. Their father died at home, 49 High Street, on 8 May 1858 when Jean was just a baby, leaving Christina to rear their family alone during very difficult times. 

James’ older brother, Alexander, moved to London shortly after their father’s death where he settled and raised his family.  James moved to Leeds, after 1871, marrying Emma Chadwick in the Leeds Registry Office on 18 May 1875.  He worked as a Currier and Leather Dresser all of his life, raising his family and dying in Leeds, Yorkshire England late in 1908 at the age of 54.  Margaret and Jean stayed with their mother in Elgin, Scotland.

Well, my Grandmother Marie wasn’t Scottish, after all, but she sure came from a long line of Scottish Highlanders.  Her dad and granddad were both born in Elgin and grandmother, Christina McKenzie, hailed from Drumnadrochet a little village close to Loch Ness.

Time and again we find that our beloved family stories may be out of kilter by a generation, or two, but a grain of truth often remains. 

Born an Englishwoman, Marie (Mary Emma) Ogilvie was a true Scot at heart … I believe.


(c) Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan~Meeting Marie~Finding Family

The Ogilvies



The Ogilvies descend from Gilbert, son of the 1st Earl of Angus, who had a charter to the barony of Ogilvie in Forfarshire in the 12th century. The founder of the Airlie branch was Sir Walter Ogilvie of Lintrathan, whose son held the lands of Airlie by a charter of 1459. The 8th Lord of Ogilvie was elevated to Earl of Airlie in 1639. The Ogilvies of Airlie were loyal to the Royal House of Stewart and suffered in their cause. They took an active part in the Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745. Airlie was attainted, but a pardon was granted in 1778. The Earldom was restored in 1826.