Tuesday, 5 January 2010

More on Terence Millington’s brothers and sisters

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Terence Millington’s oldest sister, Annie married a man named William James Vickers on 26th December 1896 at St Barnabas, Birmingham. At the time of her marriage she was 23 years old, a spinster living at Back 27 Ruston Street and her father was recorded as John Millington, a labourer. Her husband, William Vickers was a 25 year bachelor from 3 Back of 40 Ruston Street. He was a Burnisher and his father was William Vickers, a Brass Dresser (deceased).

In the 1901 census, William J and Annie Vickers are recorded at 9 St Martins Terrace in St Martins Street. As we shall discover further on, this is the same street in which Terence and Phoebe were also living in 1901 and where my grandfather William was born in 1900. According to this census record, William and Annie Vickers did not have any children in 1901, in spite of having been married for 5 years. They did however have a 23 year old boarder named Rose E Clays, a press worker metal cutter from Birmingham. William was recorded as a 30 year old brass dipper and Annie was recorded as a 27 year old screw worker.


A close off St Martins Street near Five Ways (date of photo unknown). Terence and Phoebe Millington lived here and my grandfather William was born at a close off St Martins Street called Shipton Place in 1900


In 1907, Annie Vickers was the person who registered the death of their aunt, Mary O’Hagan. She was present at her aunt’s death in her home in William Street, although Annie’s own address is given as 7 St.Martin’s Terrace, St.Martin’s Street.

Terence’s second sister, Alice, married Henry James Harris at Birmingham St Immanuel on Christmas day 1897. Alice was a 19 year old spinster of William Street, whose father was recorded as John Millington, a wood turner, whilst Henry James Harris was a 24 bachelor, also from William Street. His profession was a striker and his father was Joseph Harris, a miner.

In the 1901 census, Henry and Alice Harris were registered at 2 back of 107 Granville Street, once again still living in Lee Bank in the parish of St Thomas. I am convinced that there are a number of errors contained in this census record in the recording of people’s ages, for instance whilst Alice’s age is given correctly as 23, which ties in with her age on marriage, Henry Harris on the other hand was recorded as being 36 when actually he should have been about 27 or 28. Henry’s occupation is recorded as a blacksmith striker, which does fit with the marriage certificate.

Also recorded at the same address at 107 Granville Street were John and Alice Millington, although again, their ages are completely out – John is registered as a 20 year old general labourer and Alice as 18 years old. Actually they should have been about 60 and 54. I believe that it is definitely our g-g grandparents because there was no one else named John or Alice Millington in the close family at that time and there are no other records for a John and Alice Millington living in Birmingham in the 1901 census. It is not unusual to find errors in census records, sometimes they occurred when the census was being taken on the doorstep and sometimes they have occurred in the transcription process – especially when the quality of handwriting was poor or hardly legible.

Two children were also registered in the 1901 census at 107 Granville Street. One was a baby called Henry Harris, the 3 month old son of Henry and Alice. The other was a 2 month old child named Harry Millington whose relationship to the head of the family (Henry Harris) was recorded as ‘nephew’. Again, this is an interesting record, we know obviously that Terence had a younger brother named Harry, who was the youngest of John and Alice’s children by 8 years and that his age in 1901 should have been about 12 or 13.

I can not find another Harry Millington registered in Birmingham in 1901 who fits the right age profile – so it raises the possibility that this is the fourth age error in this particular record. But if so, how do we explain him being the nephew of Henry Harris rather than his brother-in-law? But if this genuinely was a 2 month old baby, then this Harry Millington must have been the child of someone else, i.e. of Terence or one of his siblings. Incidentally, there are no Harry or Henry Millington births registered in Birmingham or Aston for 1901 or the preceding few years. There is obviously a mystery here which may only be cleared up on viewing the original census record.

In 1919, Alice Harris registered the death of their mother, Alice Millington, nee. O’Hagan who died at 3 back of 188 Spring Hill on 19th March aged 74 (widow of John Millington – wood turner). Alice Millington died of Acute Bronchitis which she had had for 7 days. Her daughter Alice Harris was present at the death and her own address was recorded as 11 Hatchett Street.

My father’s sister Kathleen Robinson once told me that she believes that Alice Harris may have become homeless in her later years, living a life on the road amongst ‘tramps’. Kath recalled that she remembers hearing stories of how Alice and her comrades would catch rabbits for food. I have no other evidence to substantiate this anecdote.

Terence’s younger brother Harry married a woman named Mary Taylor on 30th May 1909 at Birmingham St Mark. Harry Millington was a 21 year old bachelor from Back 77 Nelson Street. He was a furnace man and his father recorded as John Millington, a wood turner (deceased). Mary Taylor was a 19 year old spinster from Back 77 Nelson Street and her father recorded as Joseph Taylor, a tube drawer (also deceased).

Terence’s youngest brother, Harry (1889-1943), fought in the Great War. It is believed that Harry was in a regiment of smaller soldiers called the Bantams.


Anecdotal evidence about Harry has been related to me by my father’s cousins, Brian and Terence Millington (sons of my granddad’s brother George). There is a family photograph which shows Harry in army uniform wearing a snake belt. It is believed that Harry served in one of the Bantam Battalions during the Great War (1914 – 1918). These were apparently battalions for “vertically challenged soldiers”.

In March 2003, Terence wrote to Brian saying:

“I recall Dad saying that his Uncle Harry was in the Black and Tans during the Irish war of independence in 1920. These were well paid volunteers who had previously served in the 1st World War. They were not a very popular bunch of individuals according to the Irish account, which could explain why Dad used to refer to him as ‘a bit of a tartar’ ”

Birth indexes for the Registration District of Birmingham indicate that the following three children with the surname Millington were born to a mother with the maiden name of Taylor. There is a strong possibility that these three were the children of Harry and his wife Mary Taylor:

Edgar W. Millington born in 1922

Elsie M. Millington born in 1924

John Millington born in 1928

There is a record in the death index for the death of a Harry Millington in Birmingham in 1943 aged 54.
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