I wrote out a list of various places and surnames that had cropped up in his family tree and then I started searching fairly randomly. Tyne and Wear Archives (my Dad's family are from Newcastle and thereabouts, going back) have some wonderful early mugshots of criminals from Newcastle Gaol dating from 1871-1873.
|screen grab of some of the mugshots -- hands had to be in shot as certain characteristics were believed to indicate criminality|
James' clothes seem rather fine in the photograph and his whiskers, though wispy, seem to betoken a person of some standing. In fact, James' family was one of the most powerful in Newcastle. His father, Mark Lambert Jobling (born 1806), who had died three years previously, had been Sheriff of Newcastle upon Tyne, as well as a solicitor, 'coal owner', glass manufacturer and ship owner. James was the fourth of Mark's five children and they grew up in homes on one of Newcastle's main thoroughfares, Percy Street.
Although James had studied theology in London in the early 1870s, he was destined to follow his father into manufacturing. Notwithstanding his criminal record, by 1881 he owned the Tyne Oil and Grease Works, and in 1885 he bought out a local glass manufacturing firm, Greener & Co, which was going under. Jobling was one of its chief creditors as he also supplied the raw materials for the pressed flint glass that the company specialised in. Renaming the company James A. Jobling & Co, James doesn't seem to have made much of a success of it until his nephew (his sister Julia's only son out of six children) Ernest Jobling Purser joined the company in 1902.
|Ernest Jobling Purser|
|The Grange, North Hylton|
|Sonachan House, Argll|
But that may be my only link with James Augustus Jobling, for better or worse. When I went back to the Jobling in my Dad's bit of our family tree, I began to suspect that he was probably there in error. Children were often given their mother's surname as their middle name, so it might suggest that this person's mother had been a Jobling. However, his father, Henry Carr, was married to a Mary Faddy and many of the other children had Faddy as their middle name. I think Richard Jobling Carr crept into the family tree because another Henry Carr married a Margery Jobling at around the same time. On Ancestry.co.uk (which I am addicted to), it's possible to hoover up great tracts of other people's family trees, thus enlarging your own very quickly, but if there's an error in another person's tree then it will transfer to your own and may only be discovered after hours of diligent checking.
So, after all, I don't believe we're related to James Augustus Jobling, a bit of a wrong'un in his twenties (who knows what the story was there?) and the owner of the most important glass factory in the country.
One final note is that one of Ernest Purser's cousins was the Irish artist Sarah Henrietta Purser.
|Sarah Henrietta Purser, self-portrait sketch|