WEBSTER, St Albans, 19th century

January, 2006

Angela Pendegrass (angelamarypen @t writes: I'm looking into family links, especially on my mother's side of the family. My Great Grandmother, Emma Parsons, nee Webster (born c1845), was reputed to have married at St Albans Abbey to John from Usk. Her reputation is noted in the census as a straw hat maker and how she met someone from Usk is a mystery I'm trying to investigate. The couple ended up in Cardiff with my Grandmother as their seventh child. Her father (noted on the census as a labourer) sadly died when she was eleven and she was put into service. 

Emma can be found in every census between 1851 and 1901 (Ancestry) and your great grandmother was the 1 year old Emma Webster who was living in Half Moon Yard, St Albans in the 1851 census with her parents George (36, Ostler, born St Albans) and Elizabeth (30, Needlewoman, born Little Munden) and three older brothers. In 1861 her parents were living in Carters yard, St Albans, and this time were differently described - George (47, groom, born, Stepney, London) and Elizabeth (37, charwoman, born Danes End, Herts) - and there was one older brother and a younger brother and sister at home. [There are several Dane End in Hertfordshire - but in particular there is one at Little Munden.] 

She turns up as Emma Parsons in Cardiff in the 1871 census and, as you say, in the 1881 census she is described as a straw hat maker. This is interesting as many children in the St Albans area in the 1850s would have learnt to plait straw - and possibly other home-working skills associated with the straw hat industry. It may well be that this occupation was comparatively unusual in Cardiff - when it would have been common in the St Albans and Luton areas at the time.

It would be interesting to find out what brought John Parsons from Wales to St Albans maybe he was involved as a navvy on building railways - or some other major building project.

There is a web page for Straw Plait

If you can add to the information given above tell me.


Page created January 2006