I admit, I have been a bit distracted lately. Life has taken over and it has been very hectic, which has interrupted any hopes of completing crafting projects. In the midst of all the chaos, I made a huge break through when it comes to my British ancestry. Through various Google searches, I discovered a website called The Weald. The Weald is named after an area in England, South of London that encompasses the counties of Sussex, Hampshire, Kent and Surrey. The website focuses on this heavily forested, historic area and includes genealogical information on British families from the region. I reached out to the webmaster via e-mail and he was gracious enough to provide information on relatives going back several generations for the surnames Plummer and Long. Both of my families surnames originated in the Sussex area. Today, I focus on the Plummer surname and family line. The Plummer’s originated in ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It was a surname originally bestowed upon someone who worked with Plumes, or feathers. It is my Great-Grandmother’s maiden name on my Mother’s Father’s side of the family.
There are very few items around our house that I would call “priceless” As a family historian there is nothing more precious than old family pictures, and documents. One of the most precious documents is my great-grandfather and great grandmother’s wedding certificate and photo album. My great-grandparents married in The Christ Church in Tunbridge Wells in November of 1905. This document was passed down in my family and offered many clues that helped me get started with my family research. It listed the names of my Great, Great Grandfather’s and their occupations. Henry Long a Coachman and William Plummer a butler.
William Plummer was born in about 1835 in Shottisham, Norfolk England to parents William Plummer Sr, and Mary Plummer (Maiden name currently unknown) Not much is known regarding William’s childhood. On November 1, 1859 he married Martha Flood in Norfolk, England. They went on to have 12 children: William, Laura, Maria, James, John, Ruth, George, Benjamin, Ellen, Ethel, Alice, and Daisy. William supported a rather large family as a butler. In England wealthy and even some middle class families had servants. The butler was the most prestigious occupation among servants and was often considered a position of “respect”. Although the traditional role of butler was to tend to the wine cellar, they had many other responsibilities around the household and oversaw the Servant staff. Traditionally the butler and master had a solid relationship and friendship, and would often share a drink at the end of the evening. The butler was the most trusted of all household servants and carried the most responsibility. In many cases, entering a life of servitude was a decent opportunity for the working man in England due to the class system. Servants if placed in the correct household, had decent living accommodations not otherwise afforded to the common man. As with many instances in England at the time, a hierarchy even existed among servants with the roles of butler and coachman among the most prestigious.
According to the 1881 English Census, William Plummer and his family lived at The Priory on Parsonage lane in Lamberhurst The property was owned by Arthur M. Brookfield, a war hero, diplomat, and author. He was also a conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1903. My great-grandmother Daisy was born soon after the 1881 English Census was taken, in December 1882.
Pictured above the 1881 English Census featuring the Plummer family residing at The Priory in Lamberhurst, England.
Pictured above: My great-grandmother Daisy (and dog) with sister’s Alice, Ethel and Ruth posing in Tunbridge Wells, England
Pictured Below: Daisy with brother John Plummer
My Great Grandmother was close to her brother John and her sister’s. Even after immigrating with her husband Harry Long, an electrical engineer and family in 1925, she still visited England regularly. My Great Grandmother lived to be over 100 years-old and resided in Vermont during her later years and is said to be buried there. I remember her son Vincent (my grandfather) showing me a form letter from then president Ronald Reagan, congratulating his mother Daisy for living past the age of one hundred. Harry Long her husband passed away in 1946 from a heart attack while on their way to their vacation home in Putney, Vermont and is buried with his daughter Eva Long in Englewood, New Jersey.
Pictured above: Harry Long and Daisy Long during happier times, pictured prior Harry’s death in 1946
Pictured Below: The only picture that exists of my great-grandmother Daisy (Plummer) Long and me.
Taken when I was 3 years-old in 1978 Vermont. I actually have some memory of this day.
What was your biggest family research break through? Have you had success researching your British ancestors? What was your greatest family discovery?