My family history pages start here.

My paternal grandfather was James Alfred Jackson. He was a decorator, in particular a house painter: when I knew him he was blind, and a story in the family was that he went blind because he used to lick his paint brushes in the days when there was a high lead content in white paint. It is certianly documented that exposure to lead-based white paints can cause blindness, so the may be some truth in his blindness coming from his work, even if the bit about licking is a family invention!

He was born on 28 October 1873 at 1 West Street in London: I think that street is now called Newburgh Street (post code W1F). He died in January 1956 in Hornsey. He married May Bettles on 10 September 1905 in St Mark’s Church, Islington, giving his address as 72 Palmerston Road. May's story has some little knots in it, and if anyone can shed light on the family I would like to hear from you.

James Alfred's parents were Thomas James Jackson, a paper hanger (so the family is definitely in the house decoration business!), who was born 1 February 1838 in Willesden: it puzzles me what he was doing out there, was there a bit of decorating needing to be done. (in the census records Thomas James is usually recorded as just James, but the marriage certificate has his full name as Thomas James). He married on 20 August 1867 in the parish church of St. Marylebone to Louisa Aves, who was born 4 April 1846, at 4 Queen Street Belgravia: although now very much central London, at the time that was counted as Middlesex, as, prior to the formation of the London County Council in 1889, London meant just what we now call the city.

I have not had a great deal of success trying to locate Thomas' ancestry: the family moved around quite a bit, as house decorators I wonder whether they tended to live near where they were working, and whilst Jackson is not the commonest surname (I think it ranks at no 20 in the frequency tables), it does crop up quote regularly so you need to be a bit careful that you have got the right man.

Louisa Aves' roots are in Cambridgeshire and her family has been a lot easier to trace. She was the daughter of Jeremiah James Aves, a tailor. We are back into parish registers here, so you get baptismal, not birth dates, and she was baptised in Burrough Green on 1st May 1817. (There is also Borough Green in N.W. Kent, but Burrough Green is the village in Cambridgeshire.) He got married to Susan Rule on 11 August 1838 in Balsham parish church. Susan was baptised there on 1 March 1818, Balsham; she was the daughter of Daniel Rule and Maria, whose maiden name was Clarke. Susan died (as Susan Aves, aged 40) on 15 July 1858 when living at 62 Upper Ebury St in London. The image, right, is an excerpt from her death certificate showing the cause of death. It reads "Fever after inhaling the stench of the River Thames from Pimlico to London Bridge & back". This was in the time of the "Great Stink of London" which is documented on Wikipedia. Be interesting to know why she had to make that long walk in such conditions.

I have not found the death of Jeremiah James Aves, but one possibility is the death reorded in July-September quarter of 1873 of James Aves, aged 55, in Chelsea, occupation tailor, who died in the cancer hospital Chelsea on 23 Aug 1873: the year of birth calculated from age at death, is just year out, and the profession fits my J.J. Aves, have we just lost the Jeremiah name? The cancer hospital is now the Royal Marsden, and when I contacted them to find out if they had any records from that period they said no-one had kept any, so if anything further was ever known about this man, the records are lost.

The family further back is on a separate page my site.