Tag Archives: linford

Obituaries as data sources

My great, great grandfather's newspaper obituary shows how valuable obitutaries can be to the family historian:


Southampton newspaper obituary 1882

SUDDEN DEATH OF Mr. H. A. LINFORD -the town experienced another painful example of the uncertainty of human life on Monday evening. Following almost immediately upon the melancholy decease of Mr. C. Horseman, the sudden death of Mr. H. A. Linford, of the South-Western Hotel, caused the profoundest consternation.

About 8 o'clock Mr. Linford entered his private office, and transacted certain business matters, then feeling rather unwell, but there appeared to be no cause for apprehending any danger. However, half an hour later, J. A. Tibbs, one of the porters at the hotel, entering the office, discovered his employer upon the floor, quite dead. He had fallen forward out of the chair, and there being a newspaper under him, it is supposed that having completed the writing, he was reading the paper when a fit seized him, and he fell forward an expired almost immediately.

Mr. Linford had for some time been suffering from heart disease, and during the last six months has paid occasional visits to a London physician, whom the same morning he had expressed an intention of seeing again on Wednesday. The deceased has also been treated by Dr. Wiblin and Dr. Beneraft, and the latter gentleman had seen him twice on the day of his death; in fact, he was with him an hour before the melancholy event occurred. The coroner (Mr. W. Coxwell) was immediately communicated with, and a jury was summoned to hold an inquest yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, but later on an inquiry was deemed to be un-necessary, as Dr. Bencraft was perfectly prepared to certify as to the cause of death.

Mr. Linford was born in 1826. His father was a chemist and druggist at Canterbury, was a member of the Town Council there, and a Sheriff of the city. Daring his early life Mr. Linford was engaged in banking business in London, and more latterly as secretary to some of the large hotel companies. In 1870 he furnished and opened the South Western Hotel, with Mr. Catherwood, but the partnership lasted but a few years, and Mr. Linford became the sole proprietor. During his residence in Southampton he took a great interest in local matters.

In the year 1874 he was an active opponent to the purchase of the Gas Works by the town, and acted in the capacity of hon. secretary to the committee formed for opposing the project. In the following year he was elected a representative of St. Mary's Ward in the Town Council, and upon his offering himself for re-election three years later, was ,returned unopposed, in conjunction with Alderman a Dunlop, J.P., and Mr. J. P. Weston. On his term of office expiring in November last he did not offer himself for re-election, and consequently ceased to be a member of the Council. Mr. Linford leaves a wife and family of one son and seven daughters to mourn their loss, and great sympathy is felt for them in their sudden bereavement. The cause of death is certified to be “Angina pectoris.”

In the article not only do we have facts about his death but also his life and family.



When you start recording your ancestors occupations from census and BMD certificates it can be interesting to analyse them. Sometimes there may have been a tradition of staying in same job as a parent. In others you can see how your ancestors were effected by changes such as the Industrial Revolution and they may have moved around as they sought work. It may also be that their job contributed to their death through industrial related illnesses or accidents. One of my great, great grandfathers William NASH served as a steward for P&O cruises and died of cholera in Bombay in 1877.

In one branch of my father’s family all the men for several generations (ROBERTS/JONES) were  working in the north Welsh slate mines. My great grandfather Owen Evan JONES broke this tradition when he became a teacher having been the first in the family to learn English at school. For this crime he was disowned by his family and spent the rest of his life in Lancashire.

I have traced my paternal grandmother’s BAND ancestors as they moved into Mottram in Longdendale in Cheshire as cotton weavers and then to Glossop to work in the mills there. Most of the families I am descended from in the Glossop and Hayfield areas (TURNER/REDFERN) were heavily involved in the cotton mills. There were also some stone masons (DOWNS) and my great, great grandfather Charles Downs BAND helped to build Johannesburg post office and died out in South Africa.

My mother’s maternal line (BRADING/VANNER) were mostly from the Isle of Wight. A large proportion of these before the mid 19th century were agricultural labourers or stone masons. Once Queen Victoria popularised tourism to the island there was a move to owning pubs, hotels and even a coach service. There were also some fishermen and a few butchers.

Her paternal line were quite an entrepreneurial bunch. The LINFORD family seem to have been involved in clock making and butchers in Vauxhall, London. John Thomas LINFORD moved to Canterbury and joined his father-in-law (William WEEKS) as a chemist and druggist. One son took over the business and other Henry Albert LINFORD ran the South Western Railway hotel in Southampton – later this was the hotel in which the first class passengers on the Titanic spent their last night in England!

There isn’t a great history of military service in my family except for during the 2 World Wars. I have a few cousins listed as killed in action in those conflicts. Luckily my direct male ancestors were never sent to the front line due to age or medical impairments. My great, great uncle Alex BRADING served as a trooper in the Sudan in 1898 at the relief of Khartoum. He survived this campaign and later re-enlisted in Australia during the first world war.

Go and have a look at what your ancestors did for a living. You may find out some fascinating things!