Did you know Thirza Butler?

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I am wondering if you could help out with some family research I have been doing over the last few years by putting a notice in your newspaper.

To cut a long story short, I began looking for information about my great grandma as it was a bit of a family mystery as to who she was, my grandma always said she’d never known her.

All we had to go on was a bible with her name, Thirza Butler age 17, written inside. Using online ancestry sites and the library I found that she had been born in Wessington, Derbyshire on December 12, 1877 to John and Ann Butler, nee Harrison. I then uncovered 10, yes 10!, siblings with addresses at Amber row, Wessington and Dale Cottage, Wessington. George, Ellen, John, Ruth, Edward, Joseph and Matthew were older than Thirza, she was followed by Hannah, Isiah and Martha. All had the surname Butler, although the eldest two were registered as Harrison-Butler.

With the help of the 1901 census, I managed to discover that Thirza had left Derbyshire and was living in Sheffield as under house maid with the Tyzack family.

However, the next year she must have returned to Wessington as this was where my grandma, Eva,was born in February 1902! On Eva’s birth certificate her parents are given as William Watson and Thirza Watson but I can find no trace of a marriage and indeed no trace of William Watson.

The trail goes a little cold after that and not until 1905 can I find Thirza once more, this time she is in Sheffield again and married to a Thomas Smith. The marriage certificate states her name as Thirza Butler, not Watson, and gives her status as spinster!

The sad ending to this is the next discovery. Having then found Thirza’s death certificate, I know she died in 1910 aged 32 after a fall at 2 Ladybalk Township, Pontefract. I found the newspaper report of this and discovered she was eight months pregnant at the time of her death. All very sad and mysterious, where was my grandma, Eva, at this time? Possibly still in Derbyshire with grandparents as she had no recollection of her mother.

So, I was wondering if this may jog someone’s memory of a family story of 11 Butler children, Thirza leaving to be a house maid and returning to have a baby and maybe they can fill in the rest of the story.

Mrs Susan Francique

58 Newsome Road, Huddersfield. Tel. 07834483251