Althea COOPER of Framlingham relict of Abraham who fell in the American War

Whilst carrying out some research on the British Newspaper Archive website today I was interested to find this death notice in the Ipswich Journal from Tuesday 26th November 1872 for an Althea COOPER and the mention of Abraham COOPER who fell in the American War.

The Ipswich Journal 26 November 1872

Althea was the daughter of Mr Constantine WOOLNOUGH a Plumber of Framlingham.

I have now found Althea COOPER a widow and a United States Pensioner aged 46 in the 1871 census records living at number 9 Fore Street in Framlingham with her son Lindsay C COOPER aged 9 who was born in Ohio in the USA.

1871 Census Althea COOPER

Source Citation – Class: RG10; Piece: 1762; Folio: 4; Page: 1; GSU roll: 830789

Source Information – 1871 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.

There are many old photographs of Framlingham in Suffolk on the Historical Photo Archive website at

I have then found a Military record for Abraham COOPER in Ohio showing his enlistment date of 3rd September 1864 withy the 9th U.S Heavy Colored Artillery – he is aged 23 and his occupation is given as a Barber.

US Troops Military History 3 9 1864

Source Citation -The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served with the United States Colored Troops: Artillery Organizations; Microfilm Serial: M1818; Microfilm Roll: 155

Source Information – U.S., Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.

I need to some more research to see if they married in the UK or the USA and I wonder how they met!

Simon Last

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John DIX died 4th April 1895

Further to my recent research into the death notice card for George DIX and the discovery that he had died in a tragic accident on the railway, I also had a death card for John DIX George’s brother, who had died five years later on 4th April 1895 aged 23.

john dix

Again as he died so young I was intrigued as to the cause of his death and on receipt of his death certificate found that the cause was recorded as Epilepsy – from this certificate I also discovered that his occupation had been a Gamekeeper the same as his father James Holmes DIX.

John Dix death cert

I have a photograph of James DIX and his wife Eliza at their Gamekeepers cottage in Parham Wood in Suffolk with two of their children.

James Dix & Eliza Clowe Parham Wood

I looked at the 1891 census and found the family living at this cottage and John was aged 19, living with his siblings Emily, Ellen (my Great Grandmother), Charles and Amy.

1891 Census John Dix

It must have been heart-breaking for the family losing these sons so young and due to the death notice cards being kept within the family I have been able to research their stories further.

Simon Last

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Half a Century on the Railway – Beccles Funeral of Mr C DIX

Following on from my recent research into the death of George DIX who was tragically killed in a railway accident in 1890, I have now discovered new information about another DIX relative who worked for half a century on the railways.

Chester DIX my Great Great Uncle was born in the September quarter of 1873 in Dunwich in Suffolk and was the brother of my Great Grandmother Ellen Louise LAST (nee DIX)

Chester married Thirza Elizabeth BRUNDLE on the 30th September 1896 in London and they had four children Ivy, Frederick, Daisy and Cecil.

The census reports show Chester working on the railway and his obituary from the newspaper after his death on 24th April 1949 is titled:

Chester Dix Obituary


‘A native of Dunwich Mr DIX joined the old G.E.R Railway at Marlesford near Framlingham as a Porter in 1890. He occupied that position at various stations for eight years. In 1898 he was ordered to Beccles as a Signalman.

Parham Station 002

However as the box was open for only three months he was transferred to Geldeston as a Porter – Signalman.

1911 Census Chester DIX

In 1912 he was transferred to Beccles Swing Bridge as relief Signalman. He remained there until 1920 when he was appointed ticket collectors at Beccles Junction Station.

After three years in that capacity Mr DIX returned to the Swing Bridge as Signalman. In 1926 he was moved to Wickham Market Junction Box, but sustained an injury which led to his return to Beccles in 1927. From the until his retirement in 1938 he was one of the gate-keepers at Grove Road crossing’

Yet again the old newspaper archive has proved invaluable in discovering more about my relative and his 50 year link to the railways of Suffolk.

Simon Last


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The tragic death of George DIX 3rd May 1890

When I started researching my family tree several years ago my dad had a box of old papers and photographs that he very kindly lent me to see if I could link the various documents to the family members I was discovering in my research.

Amongst these items were several memorial cards including one for George DIX my Great Great Uncle, who had died on the 3rd May 1890 aged only 22 and the wording said ‘who met with an accident on may 1st’ and this intrigued me to investigate further.


I therefore decided to order a copy of his death certificate and discovered that he had died as a result of a tragic accident on the railway where he was working at Marks Tey in Essex as a Shunter for the Great Eastern Railway Company – the cause of death was reported as follows:

“Shock to system accidently knocked down and run over by railway truck – lived 2 days and 12 hours”

George Dix death cert

There was also an inquest date shown of 5th May 1890 in Colchester and I was able to obtain a copy of this report from the Essex Records Office in Chelmsford.

George DIX inquest report 1890  George DIX inquest report 1890 1

I also found newspaper articles reporting the accident and inquest and discovered that George had been engaged and due to get married later that year.

George DIX Bury and Norwich Post Newspaper 6th May 1890

Bury and Norwich Post Newspaper – 6th May 1890

I was pleased to discover so much more information about George and his death, albeit under very tragic circumstances and it all started because I was curious about the wording on his memorial card.

Simon Last

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Who was Ada – photo mystery?

Whilst researching my family tree with the surnames LAST, DIX, CRISP and SINCLAIR who were all based around Framlingham, Parham and the surrounding villages and I discovered in a box of old photographs the attached photo which says on the back:

Ada – 1 Mills Almshouses Station Road in Framlingham in Suffolk

 Mills Almhouses

 I know that the younger lady on the right is my grandmother Doris Edith LAST and that the photo was taken approximately between 1930 and 1940, guessing at her age in the photograph to when she was born in 1914 and the older lady I think is my great grandmother Edith Rosa CRISP who lived at 10 Bridge Street with her husband Walter.

10 Bridge Street 1

10 Bridge Street in Framlingham in Suffolk

 I am therefore trying to find out who Ada was, as she was obviously quite important to the family to have a photograph taken at that time.

Does anyone know who Ada was?

Does anyone have any information on the family names LAST, DIX, CRISP or SINCLAIR in Suffolk that they would be willing to share to help me with my family research?

Any help given will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Simon Last

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Queen’s Telegram on Diamond Day

During my own LAST family tree researched I discovered that my Great Grandparents Joseph and Ellen LAST (nee DIX) celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on the 24th October 1959 and mention of their wedding at the church in Parham in Suffolk in 1899 was in the local newspapers.

Diamond Day  Diamond Wedding

The family were obviously very proud of this landmark occasion and all the clippings were kept from the local newspaper, together with other letters and cards which marked the occasion.

I also found out that a group family photograph was taken of Joseph and Ellen with all their children and grandchildren (including my dad) and it is great to have all the generations together in one place and photograph.

Last Family 001  Joseph & Ellen

I just wish I had met Joseph and Ellen, as I have so many questions I would like to ask them about all the events they saw in their lifetime, but I am very grateful that I have all this family memorabilia to remember the 60th anniversary of their marriage.


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Seeking the elusive Edith Rosa SINCLAIR

I hit a brick wall several years ago in my own paternal family tree tracing details of my great grandmother’s birth.

Edith Rosa Sinclair

Edith Rosa Sinclair taken with two of her children Doris and Walter

Edith Rosa Sinclair married Walter Ernest Crisp on 5th April 1915 in Islington, London. The marriage certificate shows her age as 25, her father as Edward Sinclair deceased who was a commercial clerk and her place of residence as 44 Upper Park Street.

 Walter & Edith Rosa marriage cert

Edith Rosa CRISP (nee SINCLAIR) died on the 29th January 1954 in Ipswich Borough General Hospital in Ipswich Suffolk and the death certificate records her age as 64.

Edith Crisp (nee Sinclair) death cert

If either of the recorded ages are correct, her birth should be sometime between 1889 and 1901, but I can’t find any trace of her either on the 1901 or 1911 census or relevant birth index.

I did find a birth for an Edith Rosa SINCLAIR in 1881 with parents William and Clara, but again these do not fit with father’s name of Edward SINCLAIR on her marriage certificate.

Edith Rosa Birth Cert mother Clara

No one within my family knows much about her life before she married in 1915 and although it has been mentioned that she possibly came from Scotland I have also been unable to find her in Scottish records.

I thought the 1911 census would be the breakthrough I needed,  but I have not been able to locate her anywhere in these records at all and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the 1921 census may provide the clue I need.

The other strange thing is that within the surviving family members I have been in contact with no one can remember what date her Birthday was, as that may have helped a bit!

Her daughter Doris Edith (my grandmother) died tragically young aged 53 in 1967 the mother of six children, who would like to know more about their grandmother’s history and family.

I am therefore stuck with this line of my own family research, but ever hopeful that one day I will find the birth of the elusive Edith Rosa SINCLAIR!

 Edith Rosa Crisp with Dawn 1946

Edith Rosa CRISP (nee SINCLAIR) in 1946

Simon Last

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