|Ray Jerrems, Family Genealogist, Historian||
How the Project Jerrems Got Started
This document is intended to set out where we have reached in research on the people with the surname Jerrems in the USA. I have included details of earlier generations in England for general interest. The result is a rather detailed and technical document which does not make easy reading but records virtually all the genealogical research I (and others) have carried out. I have also drafted other documents, of an historical nature, picking up on different aspects of interest regarding the Jerrems families. I will send a list of these later.
My wife and I had been researching the Jerrems history in Australia. By a stroke of luck a distant relative in Melbourne (Noel Burns) and his wife Laurel had done a vast amount of research in 2001 and I got hold of it from him. It went back to the 1730s and forward (for our purposes) to the 1850s when a flock of Jerrems people came to Australia (including my great grandfather Charles), followed later by a William George Jerrems who had married a Mary Nicholl in Gainsborough, England in 1867.
To give an idea of the problems facing a researcher based in Australia, you have a population of almost 300 million people and 50 States with separate registration schemes.
I have had a low success rate in searching female lines (e.g. searching daughters of Jerrems families where the daughters have married), particularly where the husbands have popular surnames, because of the amount of work involved and my lack of access to US marriage records. My success rate for searching “Jerrems” in the US Censuses (a major source of information) has also been variable, due primarily to the fact that only part of the Censuses are available on line, and some of the transcriptions from handwriting have been inaccurate. Also, the latest Census available to the public was taken in 1930, over 3 generations ago.
|Ray Jerrems, Family Genealogist, Historian||
Focusing on William George, the First (US Forebearer)
RESEARCH ON USA GENERATIONS TRACING BACK TO WILLIAM GEORGE l Note: The reason for specifying William George Jerrems l is that most of the current Jerrems people in the US trace back to him. Initially William George migrated to Australia in 1859 (see above for details) and married Mary Nicoll in Australia in 1867. After the birth of 4 children they went to the US, possibly in 1876 (the year given by 2 of the boys in the 1920 Census), then to England (where Mae was born in 1879), then back to the US in 1881 (the year given by 2 of the girls in the 1920 Census) or in 1883 (the year given in William George’s obituary).
William George Jerrems l b1843 in Gainsborough UK, dMay 4th or 5th 1905 in French Lick Springs, Indiana (125 miles south of Indianapolis) (source- obituary), mMary Nicoll 1867 (born in England but date of birth not known, father Alexander Nicoll) in Australia. Issue were William George ll, Ellen or Hellen, Arthur Wallace, Alexander Nicholl (all born in Sydney), Mae and Annie Letitia (born in UK), and Donald Edwin l (born in US). No SSN for WG. Mary Nicoll died about 1930 in Santa Monica, California (source-newspaper report of unknown date on probate of her will) (no SSN). Possible that she lived with daughters Mae and Helen in Pasadena after William died, possibly the same person shown as "Mae" in the 1920 and 1930 Censuses.
Note that her siblings were Walter, Alexander, Emma, Letitia, Fanny, Annie, Helen, Alfred, and Donald, some of whose names have been carried into later Jerrems generations (source Sydney Ann’s handwritten family tree prepared as a schoolgirl).
NEXT GENERATION (ISSUE OF WILLIAM GEORGE l AND MARY
Beyond the Gravestone
This is the story of the two gravestones of Mary Jerrems and Jane Jerrems photographed by Sue Jerrems.
But who was Mary? She was the great great great great grandmother of Jerrems readers like you and I, with an extra "great" for the next generation. Her gravestone shows that she was born in 1750 and died on 15th January 1821, facts we did not previously know. We do not know when her husband William (the son of William and Cecelia Jerom) died but the gravestone indicates that Mary died before him, otherwise one would expect William to have been referred to as "the late William" or "William (deceased)".
Mary and William had 5 children, Jane, Mary (who died at birth), William (who we have nicknamed "Big Bill"), Robert and John. Later, Big Bill had a farm in Willingham-on-Stow, possibly the farm was originally owned by his parents William and Mary and even his grandfather William Jerom.
And who was Jane? Mary and William's daughter Jane was born in 1778, whereas the Jane referred to on the other gravestone was born in 1798. Although people often gave the same name to a later child when an earlier child died at a young age this is unlikely to be the case here because Mary was 48 in 1798. So I do not know who Jane was. Perhaps William Jerom had a brother and Jane was a grand- daughter of that brother.
Anyway, Jane obviously died single and had not moved away from Willingham-on-Stow, unlike Big Bill and many of her other relatives who had gone to Gainsborough.
Setting aside these dry genealogical facts, it is exciting to see our first tangible evidence that the Jerrems family did actually live in the Gainsborough area. Sure, we have seen numerous references in genealogical records, but here is something really set in stone (pardon the pun). To think that Mary Jerrems (in particular) was buried near that gravestone in that pretty graveyard on 15th January 1821 and that the gravestone is still there is amazing.
One can picture the scene at her funeral. It is midwinter and the leaves on the trees in the churchyard have long since fallen. The small St Helens Church has been packed with mourners because the Jerrems family has lived at Willingham- by-Stow and been parishioners of the church for almost a century. William and Mary have been stalwarts of the local community and all and sundry have flocked to the church to show their respects.
People who could not squeeze into the church are standing outside in their heavy coats, trying to keep warm. But the coldness of this winter’s day in northern England is tempered by the minister’s reminder that Mary had had a full and rewarding life. She had reached the age of 72, a good age for those days, and 4 of her children are in their forties. There are numerous grandchildren who have filled her home with their laughter and regaled her with their stories. This is a celebration of her life, not a mourning of her passing.
Mary’s son Big Bill, who has established a flourishing grocery shop in Gainsborough, has come over from Gainsborough (about 5 miles away) for the service. With him are his wife Elizabeth and their 6 children, all rugged up for the half hour trip.
The older girls (Ann aged 16 and Elizabeth aged 12) know the significance of the passing of their grandmother and wear black like the adults. But the younger boys (Thomas aged 7, later to become our great great grandfather, and Ecclesiastes aged 6) have not yet fully grasped the significance. Youngster John aged 3 and baby Mary think it is fun to have Grandpa and so many aunts, uncles and cousins to talk to.
The family have not stinted on the gravestone, which has been put in place in the graveyard a stone’s throw from the church which had formed such a part of her life. The stonemason has selected his best piece of stone and has carefully chiselled it. When the mourners spill out of the church after the funeral service they admire its artistry.
Returning to the present day, in 2006 the chiselling on the upper part of the gravestone is still sharp. Unfortunately the lower part has been eaten away by the damp kept there by decades of weeds, but this does not detract from the significance of the gravestone to us.
I am sure that when Sue photographed the gravestone she had a feeling of awe that Jerry’s great great great great grandmother lay beneath her feet. Goodbye great great great great grandma Mary! May you continue to rest in peace.
|Don, Editor of the JJ||
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|Laurel and Laurie Gray||
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Charles Albert Druery and Doris and family moved to Dunstafnage Street Hurlstone Park. I know my father Charles was born in Greenwich. My father Charles was married from Hurlstone Park whence he and his wife Jessie Hetherington moved to Brighton-le-Sands in 1932. where Laurel and Dorothy grew up and lived till they married. Charles and Jessie lived their till they died in 1984 (Jessie) and 1987 (Charles). When I (Laurel) was small Charles Albert Druery and Doris and their daughters moved to Dalmar Street Croydon a suburb of Sydney whee they lived till Elsie married and Doris died and Doris Jnr moved to Drummoyne.
Laurie and I have just been to the U.S.A.! Yes, we had a wonderful three weeks holiday in Hawaii mostly spent on the big island with friends who live there. Dorothy has had surgery for breast cancer (in June) and is undergoing chemotherapy for the next three months. Laurie and I are attending the christenings of two new great grandsons on Sunday and another is due at the end of September. Our son Paul's family is very fruitful!
Ray's Note: Laurel is my second cousin; we share a common great grandfather Charles, one of the family that migrated from Gainsborough to Australia in the 1850s.
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