Tag Archives: George Hill

Old-Timey Family Occupations

People in my family have liked to transport goods for a really long time.

Thanks to Ancestry I know that in 1901 my great grandfather Charles Edmund Hill was listed as a “Carter.” He and his new bride lived in Moon’s Cottage in “Long Ditton, Surrey.” I had always believed that Charles was an “ag lab” or agricultural labourer, as that was what he had done when he came to Canada but the census shows differently.

The 1901 Census from County Surrey, Civil Parish Long Ditton, has 21-year-old Charles E Hill listed as occupation Carter.

What is a “carter” you ask?

Carter is of Irish, Scottish and English origin and is an occupational name given to one who transports goods by cart or wagon originally believed to be of Gaelic and Celtic origins. (per Wikipedia)

I know from pictures that my great-grandfather Charles really loved his horses. Could this have tied from his past working as a carter?

When I dug a little deeper, I was able to find the marriage record for Charles’ parents – George Hill and Jane Wattingham. At the time of their marriage, George and Jane were both living in “Ham”, a little over an hours walk away from where Charles and Ada would end up living in 1901. It was a wonderful document to find because it listed another occupation you may not be familiar with.

Jane’s father is listed as William Wattingham – occupation Drayman.

The marriage record for George Hill and Jane Wattingham in 1874 has Jane’s father William Wattingham listed as a “Drayman.”

What is a “drayman” you ask?

A drayman was historically the driver of a dray, a low, flat-bed wagon without sides, pulled generally by horses or mules that were used for transport of all kinds of goods. Now the term is really only used for brewery delivery men, even though routine horse-drawn deliveries are almost entirely extinct. Some breweries do still maintain teams of horses and a dray, but these are used only for special occasions such as festivals or opening new premises. There are some breweries still delivering daily/weekly using horses, Hook Norton in Oxfordshire being one of them. (per Wikipedia)

Is it any wonder that many members of my Hill family ended up driving trucks or running trucking companies and are still involved to this day? My uncle ran a very successful trucking company until he retired and passed the reigns to his daughter. Several of my dad’s brothers ended up as drivers for local and long haul deliveries as well. My father took a slightly different route and decided to do repairs to vehicles to keep them moving and has enjoyed “turning wrenches” for the last 30 years.

What are some interesting occupations you have come across in your family tree? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

12 Months, 12 Ancestors – George Hill

Note: this is the seventh installment in my own version of #52ancestors where geneabloggers have been asked to write about a different ancestor every week for a year. To understand the concept, read my blog entry from January 19, 2014.

In honour of my father on his birthday today, I have decided to take my July installment of #12Ancestors into his family tree to look into one of his great-grandfather’s.

George Hill

Here is how I am related to this George Hill:

  1. Corina (Hill) Harris (me)
  2. Howard Lloyd Hill (my dad)
  3. Albert William Hill (my grandfather)
  4. Charles Edmunds Hill (my great-grandfather)
  5. George Hill (my 2x great-grandfather)
  6. George Hill (my 3x great-grandfather)

Hailing from the small village of Pyrford, Surrey, England, my 3x great grandfather was the seventh child of Henry Robert Hill and Elizabeth Bamblett. He was baptized 20 Nov 1833.

As far as English villages go, Pyrford was a small one and hasn’t changed too much over the last 200 years even though it is fairly close to London. In 1833, only 10 other children were baptized in Pyrford, most likely at St Nicholas’ Church.

St Nicholas Church in Pyrford, Surrey, England
St Nicholas Church in Pyrford, Surrey, England

The church itself is one of the main reasons Pyrford is on my list of must see places should I ever make the trek to England from Canada. Built around 1140 AD, the church is a fantastic example of a complete Norman church. For more information, visit the current website for the church here.

Part of the census from 1851 listing George Hill and his parents.
Part of the census from 1851 listing George Hill and his parents.

I have found census records from The National Archives indicating that at the age of 17, George was living with his older brother William who was 16 years his senior, his parents Henry and Elizabeth and two lodgers, Elizabeth Bamblett and James Bullen. From other research I have done, it appears Elizabeth Bamblett would be his grandmother, even though they have her listed as a lodger. George, William and Henry are all listed as “Agricultural Labourer.” A fancy word for farmer. In Pyrford, this was a very common profession. (Click on the census image to enlarge.)

Fast forward a few years and George finds himself in church once again as he marries Emma Harding. He a bachelor, she a spinster, the two joined in matrimony on 2 Oct 1852. (See this post previously listed in The History of Me for more details.)

Together, George and Emma had 8 children. Their oldest, George (my 2x Great Grandfather) was born in 1854 just two years after their marriage. He was followed by Elizabeth (1856), William (1857), Anne (1861), Mary Ellen (1865), Edith (1868), Agnes (1870) and Esther (1873).

George Hill, Family History, Pyrford, Surrey, 1881
George Hill and his family still at home in the 1881 Census.

By the 1887 census, George’s life was going really well. At the age of 47, he is living at Green Farm in Pyrford with his family and is listed as a farmer of 100 acres, employing 6 men and 2 boys. This seemed huge to me. 100 acres? No other census records for the Hill family show us as having any kind of money but here it is in black and white. (Click on the census image to enlarge.)

In the 1901 census, George and Emma’s children have all flown the coup. They are living alone at Green Farm. George, aged 68, has shifted back to being just an agricultural labourer. Reviewing the census names surrounding George and Emma, it becomes strongly apparent just how much the Hill family had expanded and taken over the Pyrford Green. Nearly all the houses had someone named Hill living in them.

Only a 102 short years ago this week, George took his final breath. He passed away on 15 Jul 1912 at the age of 78. He was buried in the cemetery outside St. Nicholas’ Church on July 18th of the same year.

Thanks to Ancestry.ca, I was able to find this index of his will:

George Hill, Will, Probate, Mary Baker, Pyrford, Surrey
George Hill’s will from the England and Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966

Mary Baker, wife of James Baker, was George’s 5th child christened Mary Ellen. She inherited his effects and as of the 1911 census, George and Emma lived with her. George’s occupation in 1911 is listed as “Market Gardener Retired” and I’m sure he rather enjoyed living with his daughter and grand-children.

As we near the 102nd anniversary of his passing, I’d like to pay homage to my 3x Great Grandfather. Judging by all the Hill men in my family, I imagine he would have dark hair and a twinkle in his eye. Knowing he was a market gardener, I believe he was a hard working man who strived to ensure his family was well fed and taken care of. I’m certain, he’d be incredibly proud of my dad, his 2x great-grandson and all he has done to take care of his family and to keep them together through the years. I know I’m certainly proud to say he’s my father.

Happy birthday Dad!

Howard Hill, Tractor, Dad
My dad, Howard (Howie) Hill on his very own John Deere Tractor happily working away in 2005.