As well as finding out about Percy Honeybill’s war the other thing I wanted to know about was his family. How were we related? A chance on-line conversation with writer Donna Gagnon led to my reading a sea faring entry on her family history blog and discovering I was in the hands of another expert. Not only is Donna a first rate writer who runs the popular on-line Writers Forum The Write Idea but she also knows her way round the archives and was more than willing to start researching mine. I had already found out a little about Percy.
He was the son of William Arthur Honeybill and Harriet Honeybill, (nee Spencer) and their sixth child. His older siblings were Evelyn and Albert b1880, Alfred b1882 William Arthur Honeybill b 1884 and Frederick Honeybill b1885. He also had younger siblings.
At the time of the 1911 census Percy aged 23 was still living at home with his parents at 1 Lancaster Road, Fallowfield, Manchester and earning his living as a book-keeper in the calico industry. By then his parents had been married for 31 years and the record notes that eight out of their ten children were still alive. Living with Percy and his parents were his brother John Honeybill aged 22 Plumber, George Honeybill born 1892 aged 19 Joiner (apprentice), Edith May born 1895 aged 16 (at home), Edward Honeybill born at 1897 aged 14 (office boy grey cloth agent). Later in the year in September 1911 Percy was a witness at his brother John’s wedding to Bertha Parker at St John Chrystom, Rusholme. In early 1914 Percy got married to Dorothy Mabel Lummis who was born in about 1890 in Fallowfield but had been living with her mother and sisters in Stoke-on-Trent at the time of the 1911 census.
Percy and Dorothy had a daughter, Elsie May Honeybill born later in 1914 and two more daughters Joan born in March 1916 and Dorothy born on 4th April 1917. They lived at 15 Wilton Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy. Did he ever see his third daughter or had he been sent out to France by the time she was born? His other daughters will have been little girls when he was killed and as far as I can tell his widow Dorothy Mabel never re-married. At least she is still described as a widow when she died on 1st December 1955.
And how are Percy and I related? Well… his grandfather, Joseph Honeybill, b 13 Oct 1827 in Stradbroke, Suffolk, had a brother, James Lot Honeybill b1830. James Lot Honeybill is my great, great grandfather. His son John Honeybill b 5 December 1864 and daughter, were orphaned at a young age when their father died in 1872. According to my cousin they kept running away from the various places in Sandbach and so were sent off to relatives in Holyhead.