The Search for the parents of Lucy E Bissell

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Lucy Elizabeth Bissell (b.1859), wife of Robert Melville (b.1854) by Allan Lannon

For some years the parentage of Lucy Elizabeth Bissell, listed in one record as Elizabeth Lucy Bissell, puzzled me and searching the Scottish indexes threw up no clue as to the background of her parents listed on her marriage certificate to Robert Melville at Fascally, Brora. 

Lucy’s parents were listed as Jonathan Bissell, Iron Moulder, and Jane Marr or possibly Warr .  The first inclination was to look in the records for Aberdeenshire as the Marr surname was known to exist there.  This proving fruitless a search was made in the Iron Smelting areas of central Scotland due to the stated occupation of Lucy’s father of Iron Moulder. This too drew a blank and with the trail decidedly cold the search was dropped.

In 1996 a letter was sent to Melvilles residing in Golspie by Richard Melville from Downley, High Wycombe relating to his search for Melville ancestors .  Cousin Cecil Melville passed this letter onto me and I responded.  To my surprise the writer was a descendent of the very Robert Melville and Lucy Elizabeth Bissell I had been interested in.  The details sent were entered on the Melville computer database and again the search resumed but still in Scotland as there was no indication that there had been an English connection before the couple moved south to the Midlands of England.

In late summer of 2006, with the unusual occurrence of having time on my hands, I decided to spend some time and money searching the English archives through and  Success was rapid after the discovery that Jane Warr, Bissell by marriage, had actually married a second time relatively shortly after the birth of Lucy and she had become Mrs Daniel Goodfellow as indicated in the 1861 census for Cradley, Warwickshire.  This discovery explained the appearance on the marriage certificate of Robert and Lucy of a D. Goodfellow as a witness to the marriage.  The occupation of Daniel Goodfellow, of Brick Maker, at the time of this census suggested a link to Brora and the Coalmine and Brickworks.  On following the family through the census returns up to 1901 the references to the Brick making industry proved consistent and showed that Daniel Goodfellow and his family had moved around the country as he obtained employment in this industry.  One such employment opportunity was at the Brora Brick Works and while in Brora his step-daughter, listed in early records as daughter in law, married to Robert Melville.  The marriage was in 1877 and they were still in Brora at the time of the 1881 census.  However, the family moved south to Leicestershire between 1881 and 1883. By the time of the move at least three children had been born in Brora and maybe four, possibly including a pair of twins.

Searching of the English records successfully followed the family up to the 1901 census and complimented the later information sent by Richard Melville.   This information is adequately covered in the Family Group Sheets and descent outline and does not require repeating here. Unfortunately, however, there is a blank in the early records due to the fact that Jane Warr could not be found in the census records for 1841 and 1851 for England , Wales or Scotland . Some better luck was had with Jonathan Bissell and Daniel Goodfellow with a further generation back being obtained in subsequent searches.  At a future date extra work beyond the 1901 census may be carried out to find the conclusion of the lives of Jane, Daniel, Robert and Lucy and to fill in the blanks in the information on their descendants – but that is certainly for another time!

The non-appearance of Jane Warr in the in the 1841 and 1851 census records is a disappointment.  Whether she was simply not recorded due to the family moving around or the possibility that she too was a child in a second marriage is unclear.  The latter is certainly a possibility and she may be somewhere recorded under the name of a stepfather or possibly as an illegitimate under the father’s name rather than the possibly unmarried Warr mother.  This search will also be undertaken again at a later stage after a copy of the marriage certificate for Jane and Daniel Goodfellow has been obtained. Hopefully this will indicate Jane’s parents.

The Bissell, Warr, Melville Line


1.  Jonathan Bissell, b. ABT 1835 in Rowley Regis, Warwickshire, England (son of Benjamin Bissell [1809 - 1853] and Sarah Bissell [1812 - 1854]), census 1841 in Dudley, Worcestershire, England, occupation Iron Moulder, d. JUN 1859 in Place unreadable in records, census 1851 in Kingswinford, Staffordshire, England.

      Iron Moulder.  Deceased before 1860.


     He married Jane Warr, JUN 1858 in West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England, b. ABT 1836 in Cradley Heath, Staffordshire, England (daughter of Benjamin Warr [1801 -     ] and Lucy Warr [1799 -     ]), census 1841 in Hales Owen, Worcestershire, England, census 1851 in Rowley Regis, Staffordshire, England, census 1861 in Parade, Cradley, Warwickshire, England, census 1871 in Rowley Regis, Staffordshire, England, census 1881 in Aston, Warwickshire, England, census 1891 in Withycombe Raleigh, Devon, England, census 1901 in St Oswald, Aston, Warwickshire, England.

     Jane:  Initially not found in England, Wales or Scotland in 1841 or   1851census due to misinterpretation of name.  Once name noted as   Warrrather than Marr search progressed. William Warr listed in 1861   censusat Craddley, Halesowen, Worcestershire along with Jane and   DanielGoodfellow is probably  brother of Jane.  1871 living at 15   GarrattLane, Cradley. In 1881living separately from husband who is   working inMarkfield, Leicestershire, England.  Jane has Albert,  Alice   and Clarawith her with her at 113 Hubert Road, Aston, Birmingham.  In   1891 at 5Park Terrace Withycombe Raleigh, Devon.



            2.       i.     Lucy Elizabeth Bissell b. 1859.


Generation Two


2.  Lucy Elizabeth Bissell, b. 1859 in Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, England, census 1861 in Cradley, Worcestershire, England, occupation 1877 Domestic Servant, census 1871 in Rowley Regis, Staffordshire, England, census 1881 in Clyne, Sutherland, Scotland, census 1891 in Leicestershire, England, census 1901 in Aston, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.

      Father appears to have died when she was very young and his details  yet  to be found. Brought up by step-father, Daniel Goodfellow.  He  was a  brick manufacturer from Staffordshire who came to work as a  foreman at  the Brora Coalmine and Brickworks.  He was probably the  witness given  as D. Goodfellow at the marriage of Lucy to Robert  Melville.

     Special Note: The birthplace of Lucy is given as Middlesbury  or  Middlesboro, Yorkshire in records.  This can be explained by  the  following and also connects her father and his occupation to  that  town. Middlesbrough is an industrial town and town in  northeastern  England. Middlesbrough is historically part of the North  Riding  ofYorkshire, but in 1974 became part of the new administrative  county  of Cleveland. In 1996 Cleveland was abolished, and Middlesbrough   became aunitary authority, though it is still part of North Yorkshire   for ceremonial purposes. Middlesbrough is situated on the south bank   o fthe river Tees, it became a town in 1830 as a result of  industrial  expansion connected with iron production and the growth of  railways,  including the development of the Stockton and Darlington  Railway.

     In the 1861 census given as Lucy E Bissell, 22 month old daughter   inlaw, and in 1871 census she was given as Elizabeth Goodfellow -   name of her step-father.


     She married Robert Melville, 23 Feb 1877 in Fascally, Brora, Sutherland, Scotland, b. 25 May 1854 in Brora, Sutherland, Scotland (son of Robert Melville [1815 - 1880] and Henrietta Gordon [1824 - 1911]), census 1871 in Commerce Street, Brora, Sutherland, Scotland, occupation Shoemaker  Location: Letter Carrier, census 1881 in Reay, Sutherland, Scotland, census 1891 in Leicestershire, England, census 1901 in Aston, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, occupation 1871 Labourer, occupation 1901 Brickmaker.

     Robert:  M. Wt. Joseph Grant & D. Goodfellow.  Moved to Leicestershire  between  August 1881 and 1883.



            3.       i.     Henrietta Jane Melville b. 10 Sep 1877.

                      ii.   James Melville, b. 1877 in Brora, Sutherland, Scotland.

                              Not certain when James was born.  Possibly a twin to Henrietta and   maynot have survived.  Or maybe there was not a James - to be   checkedagain.

                      iii.  Helen Ann Melville, b. 26 Aug 1879 in Brora, Sutherland, Scotland, census 1881 in Clyne, Sutherland, Scotland.

                              Lived at Market Harborough, Leicester, England. Husband's name   notknown - had a daughter named Doris.  Helen known as Nel.

            4.       iv.   Robert Melville b. 20 Aug 1881.

                      v.    Edith Mary Melville, b. ABT 1883 in Leicester, England, census 1901 in Aston, Birmingham, England.

                              Worked at Cadbury's Factory.  Spinster and lived with mother.

                      vi.   Margaret Melville, b. ABT 1885 in Birmingham, England, census 1901 in Aston, Birmingham, England.

                              Probably married and died in childbirth.  AKA Maggie.

            5.       vii. Clara Melville b. ABT 1888.

                      viii.       Albert John Melville, b. ABT 1890 in Birmingham, England, census 1901 in Aston, Birmingham, England, d. 2 May 1957.

                              Foreman at Cadbury's Factory for 41 years retiring in 1951.    Nochildren.


                             He married Ada Melville (MS Unk.).


                      ix.   William G Melville, b. ABT 1893 in Birmingham, England, census 1901 in Aston, Birmingham, England.

                              Died as result of wounds suffered in 1st WW - gangrene in leg. A   keenathlete who won many cups.

            6.       x.    Ernest James Melville b. ABT 1895.

                      xi.   Alexander G. Melville, b. ABT 1897 in Birmingham, England, census 1901 in Aston, Birmingham, England.

                              AKA as Alex. and Alec.  Worked in Cadbury's Factory for over 50   yearsfrom 1911 to 1952 in Central Accounts.  Served as Stretcher   Bearer inR.A.M.C. in 1st WW.  Keen sportsman playing tennis, snooker   andfootball for Bournville Athletic.



Generation Three


3.  Henrietta Jane Melville, b. 10 Sep 1877 in Brora, Sutherland, Scotland, census 1881 in Clyne, Sutherland, Scotland.

      Possibly a twin to James.  Lived at Cotteridge, Birmingham,   England.Had three children - 2 girls (1 named Winny) and one boy.    Known as Etty.


     She married William Yardley, b. ABT 1875.



                      i.     Boy Yardley.

                      ii.   Girl Yardley.

                      iii.  Winifred Yardley.


4.  Robert Melville, b. 20 Aug 1881 in Brora, Sutherland, Scotland, d. 2 Dec 1985 in Selly Oak, Birmingham, England.

      Worked at Cadbury's factory 1911-45.  Hobbies gardening and  playing  bowls.


     He married Alice Maud Burford, d. 9 Jun 1975 in Selly Oak, Birmingham, England.



            7.       i.     Leslie Robert Melville b. 14 May 1914.

            8.       ii.   John William Melville b. 22 Mar 1923.


5.  Clara Melville, b. ABT 1888 in Birmingham, England, census 1901 in Aston, Birmingham, England.


     She married Wilfred Mortiboys.

     Wilfred:  Builder.



            9.       i.     Joyce Mortiboys.

                      ii.   Ronnie Mortiboys.

                              Died in early 1990s.


6.  Ernest James Melville, b. ABT 1895 in Birmingham, England, census 1901 in Aston, Birmingham, England.

      Officer in 1st WW.


     He married Madge Melville (MS Unk.).



                      i.     Sonia Melville.

                              Lived in Surbiton, Surrey, England.



Generation Four


7.  Leslie Robert Melville, b. 14 May 1914 in Birmingham, England.

      Teacher of Woodwork and Technical Drawing. Retired 1964 as   AssistantHead Teacher Iselworth Grammar School and then living in   Twickenham.Now resident High Wycombe.  Served as Warrant Officer RAF   CoastalCommand 2nd WW in West Africa.


     He married Margaret Ethel Crampton, 19 Oct 1936 in Harborne, Birmingham, England, b. 21 Nov 1914 in Bolton, Lancashire, England (daughter of Joshua Crampton and Ethel Mary Dyas).

     Margaret:  Worked for many years as Secretary in Chancery Lane, Holborn, London.



            10.     i.     Jennifer Katrina Melville b. 3 May 1939.

            11.     ii.   Richard Melville (details excluded).


8.  John William Melville, b. 22 Mar 1923 in Birmingham, England.


     He married Lorna Robins, in Birmingham, England.



                      i.     Alistair Melville (details excluded).


9.  Joyce Mortiboys.

      Died early in 1990s.


     She married Denis Wheton.



                      i.     Caroline Wheton.



Generation Five


10.  Jennifer Katrina Melville, b. 3 May 1939 in Harborne, Birmingham, England.



       She married William Mackenzie, 24 Feb 1968 in East Sheen, London, England.

       William:  Professional Photographer.  Had daughter Catherine   Mackenzie(24/4/1960) by a previous marriage.



                      i.     Mark Mackenzie (details excluded).

                      ii.   James Mackenzie (details excluded).


11.  Richard Melville (details excluded).


       He married Mary Frances Relf, (details excluded).



                      i.     Joanne Mary Melville (details excluded).

                      ii.   Lucy Margaret Melville (details excluded).

                      iii.  Sarah Helen Melville (details excluded).



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