Several years ago, I acquired a book for almost-free that a public library was discarding, Intelligence At The Top by Major-General Sir Kenneth Strong. He was chief of intelligence for General Eisenhower in North Africa and then Europe. I bought the book for its military history value rather than any connection with the name. Recently, with a Wednesday evening to spare, I figured it wouldn't take long to find out if the major-general was closely related to the Strong family of my great grandmother Emily and her father Robert. More on that later, but first a little more about Robert Strong and his family of origin.
Intelligence gathering begins with the 1901 and 1911 censuses for Robert Strong, which give his wife's name as Amelia, and - great for genealogists - his father-in-law as Abraham Hemingway. Thus, his wife was Amelia Hemingway, and their marriage record is easy to find as BMD Marriage Index Mar1882 Barrow-in-Furness 8e 970. Just as Middlesbrough , Yorkshire experienced huge growth in the nineteenth century, so too Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire grew from a population of 2,700 in 1831 to 58,000 in fifty years. Barrow is not far from Carnforth, and you may remember (from the previous post) that Abraham had worked for the Furness Railway.
I have that marriage certificate for Robert Strong and Amelia Hemingway. Robert's occupation is given as Publican, his address as 2 Rawlinson Street, and his father is Joseph Strong, Sea Captain. Amelia's address is 28 Salthouse Road, and her father is Abraham Hemingway, Engineer. If you search a google map, you will see the addresses are quite close to each other. The streetview for 2 Rawlinson shows that it is still a pub, The Queen's Arms. The couple were married in St Luke's Church, Barrow-in-Furness, shown above, which unlike the pub, closed for regular services in 2008. The witnesses were Abraham Hemingway and Hannah Marshall.
For the 1881 England Census both Robert Strong and the Hemingways lived at the addresses given above. And here is the household of Robert's brother, Anthony:
Anthony Strong Head Mar 31 Publican Yorkshire, Middlesbro
Mary A Wife Mar 29 Lancashire, Walney
Anthony Son 3 Lancashire, Walney
Margaret Daur 2 Lancashire, Barrow
Jane Daur 1 Lancashire, Barrow
Robert Son 2 mos Lancashire, Barrow
Robert Brother Unm 25 Boatman Scotland
Sarah J Hankwood Servant Unm 32 General Domestic Worcestershire, ?
Robert is here Boatman, although maybe Barman is nearer the truth, and perhaps this is a transcript error. However, by 1891 Anthony is described as Waterman, and in 1901 as Ferry Boatman, so perhaps this is what Robert was doing in 1881. By 1911 Anthony is a Pleasure Boat Owner, testimony to Barrow's re-positioning as a tourist resort. As we saw, Robert later became a stationary engine driver for the railway, specifically, a driller.
Anthony's wife in 1881 is Mary Ann, who died a few months later (BMD Death Index Sep1881 Barrow-in-Furness 8e 445 Age:28). With four young children to care for, Anthony quickly remarried (BMD Marriage Index Mar1882 Barrow-in-Furness 8e 961) to Margaret Swainson Huartson, and they are found together in subsequent census returns through 1911.
I have not yet found a census record for Robert Strong in 1871, but the 1861 Scotland Census has the following from 10 Laird Street, Greenock:
Joseph Strong Head 53 Shipmaster England
Jane Wife 40 England
Joseph Son 18 Engineer England
Sarah Daughter 16 England
John Son 13 Scholar England
Hannah Daughter 10 Scholar England
Anthony Son 11 Scholar England
Robert Son 5 Greenock, Renfrewshire
Agnes Dulton Servant 21 Glasgow, Lanarkshire
This is the same family as that found on Commercial Street, Middlesbrough in the 1851 England Census:
Joseph Strong Head Mar 45 Master, Steem [sic] Boat Durham, Newcastle
Jane Wife Mar 33 Durham, Hartlepool
Sarah Daur 7 Scholar Yorks, Middlesbro
William Son 3 Scholar Yorks, Middlesbro
John Son 3 Scholar Yorks, Middlesbro
Anty Son 1 Scholar Yorks, Middlesbro
Catherine Martin Servant U 17 Yorks, Middlesbro
In 1851, Joseph (junior) turns out to be visiting in the household of Robert Gargett on East Street, Middlesbrough, although I do not know their relationship with the Strongs. It would be tempting to conclude that William Strong, missing in the 1861 Scotland Census, had died in the interim. However, a William Strong, born about 1848 in Middlesbrough shows up again in the 1881 England Census in Barrow-in-Furness, so I'm expect he was merely visiting elsewhere in 1861. And note that William and John are twins; they become Butcher and Tailor respectively, both living in Barrow by the 1881 England Census. I can find no further record of Sarah. But I do find more for Joseph (junior) below.
Hannah of the 1861 Scotland Census married journalist Tom Payne Marshall (BMD Marriage Index Dec1875 Ulverston 8e 1227) and is one of the witnesses on Robert and Amelia's marriage certificate. After Joseph Strong (senior) died, his widow Jane shows up in the 1881 England Census with Tom and Hannah.
Here are the BMD Birth Index references for the above Strongs:
Joseph Strong Mar1843 Stockton 12 258
Sarah Strong Mar1845 Stockton 12 254
John Strong Dec1847 Stockton 24 262
William Strong Dec1847 Stockton 24 262
Anthony Strong Dec1849 Stockton 24 288
Hannah Strong Jun1851 Stockton 24 344
Unable to find a Scottish Birth Index for Robert Strong, I sent for Hannah's birth certificate, which gives her birthday as 31 March 1851 on Commercial Street, Middlesbrough. Her father is Joseph Strong, Master Mariner, and mother Jane Strong, formerly Hughes. Which is interesting since the LDS database, England Marriages 1537-1973, shows the marriage of Joseph Strong and Jane Hughes on 25 April 1837 at West Acklam, Yorkshire, the parish church for Middlesbrough. However, there are no further details such as fathers' names. In the 1841 England Census for Durham Street, Middlesbrough, I find Joseph Strong (30), M[aster?] Mariner and Jane Strong (20). Their immediate census neighbors are a family headed by one William Hughes (40) Baker, possibly her father.
A search with familysearch.org (LDS) for births and baptisms of surname Strong, parents Joseph and Jane gives one series of baptisms belonging to a different couple of the same names. Cross referencing their children's names with the England censuses shows that the father is a coal miner, living in Lamesley near Wickham, Durham.
Of more interest, the following records, from the same search, likely belong to the family of my 3x great grandparents:
England Births and Christenings
William Strong son of Joseph and Jane Strong
West Acklam Christening 17 March 1838; burial 14 September 1840
John Hughs Strong son of Joseph and Jane Strong
West Acklam Christening 28 July 1839
John Strong and William Strong sons of Joseph and Jane Strong
Middlesbrough, Yorkshire Christening 30 October 1847
Scotland Births and Baptisms
Thomas Strong son of Joseph Strong/Jane Hughes
Birth 24 February 1859 Greenock, Renfrewshire
From this, if they are all for the same family, it would appear that their first two children, William and John had died, and they later re-used the names for the twins. The Scotland birth is likely their child. Joseph and Jane (nee Hughes) Strong were in Scotland from 1856 at the latest (i.e. when Robert was born) and did not leave until 1861 at the earliest (i.e. census time). Between these dates Thomas was born. I have found no more records for him. An 1871 census transcript for Joseph and Jane and family would probably yield some good information.
England Births and Christenings also give this record which could belong to either of the families:
Hannah Strong daughter of Joseph and Jane Strong
Middlesbrough Circuit Primitive Methodist Christening 6 April 1851
I can now add the following BMD Birth Index entries for:
William Strong Mar1838 Stockton 24 188
John Hughes Strong Sep1839 Stockton 24 200
And their BMD Death Index entries are, both from freebmd and both difficult to read:
William Strong Sep1840 Stockton 24 154 (or 134)
John Hughes Strong Sep1839 24 156?
And finally, back to Major-General Sir Kenneth Strong. His wikipedia entry gives parents John Strong and Ethel May Dobson. He was in fact their only child.
Their marriage record show John's father as Joseph Strong, Market Gardener and Fruiterer. The 1901 England Census gives just such a person at 157 Dalton Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Joseph Strong, Widower, born about 1844 in Middlesbrough, Market Gardener. I don't have his 1891 census return, but I can trace his family back through 1881 and 1871 censuses. The only Joseph Strong born around this time and at this place would be Robert Strong's oldest brother, making the major-general my Grandpa Stuart's second cousin. To confirm this, I would need only the marriage certificate for Joseph Strong and Jane Bond, BMD Marriage Index Sep1865 Ulverston 8e 926. Until then, I am relying on Joseph's place of birth and age from various censuses, and the Barrow-in-Furness connection among Robert's brothers.
It turns out that when Intelligence At The Top was published in the 1960's, Ultra, the decryption of the German Enigma code (among others), was still classified, preventing Sir Kenneth from mentioning it. This compromises some of the history, but now I have a family connection with the book!
|Major-General Sir Kenneth Strong|