My Family - Grandfather - Harry Sheeky


Birth Certificate


1911 Census



Marriage Certificates (2)

Researching my family had one major gap that took many years to resolve. What happened to my maternal grandfather, Henry or Harry Sheeky?

Now known to be registered as Harry at his birth on 7 Sep 1893 in Bradford. Also now known that Henry, his elder brother, had died soon after birth (July 1889) and that this Henry's twin sister Mary had died in 1890 aged 1. Hence the confusion about Henry / Harry and his birth year before Harry’s birth certificate was traced.

We also now know that his father died in 1906 and that Harry was living with his widowed mother at 50 Bengal Street, Bradford at the time of the 1911 Census.

Also known that he married Edith Parker on 29 Nov 1913 in Bradford (still living at 50 Bengal Street). However the name situation was not helped by the church marriage record giving his name as Henry. Getting a copy of official certificate much later also showed that Harry had indeed been registered - and signed (?) as Henry.

The family was still at 50 Bengal Street when my mother, Margaret, was born  in 1914 [And Harry’s mother died there in 1932]

However the Army records state that Harry was living at 11 Montgomery Street, Edinburgh by June 1917 but his wife Edith (and three year old Margaret?) was living across the city at 36 Gilmore Place, Edinburgh. Harry was apparently working as a switchboard attendant at the Leith Corporation electricity works by then. However by February 1918 Harry’s Army allowance was changed to go to 39 Undercliff Street, Bradford - an address that has come up often during this search.

Clues Collected

These are some notes about Harry as remembered by relatives or found when searching. They are listed, more or less, in the order that they were discovered. Quite a few turned out to be inaccurate ...

  • Harry sent a postcard from a liner travelling to Australia - date unknown
  • Thought to have lived in Victoria - possibly Melbourne - and perhaps was once employed by the city council.
  • In 1937 he sent a newspaper cutting to Jane Sheeky showing him with a floral clock. [He may, therefore, have been a gardener - for the city council (?) - and the clock may have been to celebrate the coronation of George VI]
  • Leonard Wray, son of Jane Sheeky, thought he saw his Uncle Harry during WWII, and tried to search for him afterwards, but with no luck [in London ?]
  • Harry was alive in Australia after the Second World War, and was being cared for by the British Legion, still in the same street
  • The newspaper cutting he sent in 1937 did not include him in the photograph - it was quite large, say 8"x6"
  • Leonard Wray asked the Salvation Army to find Harry (don't know whether in UK or Australia), and it was they who told him he was being looked after by the British Legion
  • Harry had a relationship with an Eva Cave
  • Harry and Eva Cave went to Aberdeen, Scotland in search of some Sheekys. [This could be his Uncle Frank, who may be the person that Jane Wray called Uncle Onie] They found a Sheeky who was a priest but did not make contact [Frank's son?]
  • Eva Cave could also be called Eva Caton
  • Harry and Eva possibly had a son, his name might have been Sidney, and he took his mother's surname. They lived in or near Barkerend Road, Bradford
  • Harry went to Australia and was meant to send for Eva but didn't for some reason
  • Eva and son went to Australia after WWII (probably under the assisted passage scheme). Her son had a job as a painter on boats. He had an accident and fell off a platform / gantry / ladder and received some compensation
  • Eva and son decided to come back home. Whilst on the boat home to England, the son met a girl and decided to go back to Australia with her
  • Eva stayed in England, saying that she had not found Henry/Harry, and that he probably had another family by then anyway
  • No entry for Harry was found in a Melbourne telephone directory for the 1940's
  • No records for Harry were found by the RSL of Victoria
  • Harry would have been 65 in September 1958 - did he retire from somewhere then?

Now the story unfolds by date of discovery ...



Death entry for Harry Sheeky aged 78 found in NSW BMD records for 1970 at Deniliquin (Thanks to Donald Dunn)

Death certificate (click image to enlarge) gives occupation as gardener and place of birth UK

The Australian Voters Register to 1936 came online and had a Harry Sheeky entry in the Riverina district.

With the kind help of Val Hardman at the Deniliquin Genealogy Society it was possible to find Harry’s grave and make a personal visit in November 2008.

Other notes about Harry’s time in Deniliquin -

In the electoral rolls for years 1950-56 occupation / address given as Gardener at Court House then in 1962 the address is given as Sportsman’s Arms Hotel.

Quite a few people remember Harry and it seems he was a pleasant person who was, at some time, definately boots or groom at the Federal Hotel. And some suggestions that he might have held a similar position at the Court House Hotel but he did live there for some years.

In Perrins Diary (Undertaker) the entry reads - 16th Nov Harry (Tish) Sheeky aged 78 years iron peg 498D (note - now plot B36).

Many thanks to everyone who has helped so far - and the story will get unravelled one day!





Another Breakthrough

At the National Archives of Australia the following entry was found for 1946 - “CATTON Sydney Sheeky born 3 September 1919; departing UK under the Ex-servicemens Free Passage Scheme”

Checking the England & Wales birth index (FreeBMD) gave an entry for Sydney that was registered in Bradford and showed the mother’s maiden name as Edmondson.

Checking the corresponding marriage index for any Catton / Edmondson entries came up with just one - Catton Arthur to Edmondson Eva in Bradford during the September quarter of 1915 (Ref 9b/357).

These new facts clearly tie in the names Eva and Sydney Catton with the right places (Bradford and Australia) in the right time frame and provide with link to Sheeky. The obvious conclusion being that this Eva and Sydney Catton are the same people as those remembered some years ago by family members in connection with my grandfather.

18-May-2009 - the birth certificate did confirm it was the same Sydney and that his mother’s name was indeed Eva. But it did not provide a name for the father - so next it’s the marriage certificate that might provide a little more new info.

Checking again I did manage to squeeze a little more info out of the birth certificate. First the address was 39 Undercliffe Street, Bradford which is about 600 metres from Barkerend Road (according to Google Earth). And therefore close enough to tie-in with the address mentioned earlier.

Searching the net found one other historic reference to 39 Undercliffe Street. It was the address of "EDMONDSON, D. (Miss), Special War Worker” in an extract from the National Roll of the Great War. This could, therefore, have been the sister of Eva. Checking in the 1911 Census there was one family of Edmondsons in Bradford (at 114 Saint Leonards Road) that had a Doris and an Eva as sisters. And looking at the online BMD indexes there is a death of a Doris Edmondson - aged 21 - in 1919 in Bradford. This would tie-in with the birth in 1898 of this particular Doris and possibly explain the entry in the National Roll.

Finally the National Archives of Australia also have an entry in their Immigration and Naturalisation records - “Title Catton, Eva [Box 15] Series number: SP104/1 Control symbol: 1948/214” - which indicates Sydney’s mother could possibly have gone to Australia in 1948.

CattonSid1s20-May-2009 - Searching the net for any further info I stumbled upon the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program (http://ndpbeta.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/home) - and the following entry in the Canberra Times for Tuesday 15 April 1947. “Remarkable Escape of Painter in 60ft. Fall” - the story of an accident to a Sidney Catton aged 27 (click image to enlarge). Surely this is too much of a coincidence to be anyone other than Sydney Sheeky Catton born 1919?
Update 27-May-2011 - the Australian newspapers are now online at
Trove and contain these further references to the same event -
SYDNEY, Mon: Sidney Catton, 27, an English painter, who recently arrived in Australia, had an amazing escape today when he fell 70 feet down a light well. Catton was in a bosun's chair on a city building at the corner of Pitt and Bathurst Sts, when a rope snapped. As he neared the ground Norman Isaac, a fellow worker, aged 29, of Guildford, broke his fall. Catton was taken to hospital and treated for fractured ribs, abrasions, and shock. Isaacs suffered nothing but a skinned nose. Catton lives at Dulwich Hill.” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic) 15-Apr-1947
Painter Falls Into Mate's Arms
A painter in a bosun's chair fell 60 feet down a light well yesterday into the arms of a workmate, then bounced on to a rubbish tin and slid to the ground. He escaped with fractured ribs, lacerations, and abrasions. The man who "caught" him also escaped serious injury. The painter was Sydney Catton, 27 of Fairfowl Street, Dulwich Hill. He says he owes his escape lo the presence of mind of Norman Isaacs, of Cardigan Street, Guildford. Catton was working in the light-well at the Commercial Bank Building, at the corner of Pitt and Bathurst Streets, and his bosun's chair, 60 feet from the ground, was held by a stout rope.
Spirits of salts, which had been used to clean the wall of the building, are believed to have affected the strands of the rope, which broke without warning. Isaacs, who was working on the ground, saw Catton hurtling down, and raised his arms to catch him. The bosun's chair and Cation struck Isaacs with such force, however, that he was knocked down. Catton bounced from Isaacs's arms on to a rubbish tin, from which he slid to the ground. Occupants of the building who heard the crash were amazed to find Catton alive. He was slightly dazed, and said that the only pain he felt came from his ribs. Isaacs had his nose skinned and his arms bruised. Both men were taken to Sydney Hospital by Central District Ambulance and two hours later were well enough to be driven home.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) 15-Apr-1947

22-May-2009 - The requested marriage certificate arrived to confirm the ages and fathers of Arthur and Eva. The groom aged 25 son of Albert Edward Catton, printer. The bride aged 21 daughter of James Albert Edmondson, engineer. Their addresses were 34 Malvern Street, Leeds Road and 235 Manchester Road respectively - both in Bradford. This provides confirmation that this was the Eva who was the sister of Doris above - but does not as yet take us any further forward with the story of Eva and son Sydney.

Perhaps someone in the Catton or Edmondson families has some new info to add...

Contact me via emailme


Further News - thanks to Steve Weir
Searches of shipping lists have provided some new information that ties-in with earlier memories.



23 November 1926
Steamship Line: Australian Commonwealth Line
Port of departure: London
Destination port: Melbourne

Age: 33
Occupation: Electrician
39 Undercliffe Street, Bradford

1 December 1946
Steamship Line: Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line
Port of departure: London
Destination port: Sydney

Name: Mr Sidney S CATTON
Age: 27
Occupation: Painter
39 Undercliffe Street, Bradford

SS Ormonde Orient Line at Sydney27 January 1948
Steamship Line: Orient
Port of departure: London
Destination port: Sydney

Name: Mrs E CATTON
Age: 51
Occupation: Tailoress
39 Undercliffe Street, Bradford

SS Orontes Orient Line26 July 1950
Steamship Line: Orient
Port of departure: London
Destination port: Sydney

Age: 30
Occupation: Painter
Name: Mrs K J CATTON
Age: 18
Occupation: Wife
59 Leafield Crescent,
Eccleshill, Bradford

Update 8-Oct-2010
Checking through the Australian Electoral Rolls I found an entry for Sydney Sheeky Catton dated 1954 in the Farrer Electoral Division of New South Wales. Not having a subscription to the database I then tried a trial-and-error approach for any K J Catton entries. And eventually found a Kathleen June Catton for the same date and division ..... bingo!
But the big surprise came when I then checked which towns were covered by the Farrer Division - since it includes not only Broken Hill, Balranald, Hay and Jerilderie but also Deniliquin. So did Sydney catch up with his father Harry? Or did fate deal them a “near miss”? The jigsaw gets a few more pieces .. but is never quite finished ....

More Changes 9-Oct-2010
Back in 1954 the electoral divisions seem to have been different since Harry Sheeky’s entry for 1954 is shown as being in Riverina - so close in geography but not the same town.
But then later - searching through the scanned marriage indexes at FreeBMD - I did have a “hit” by finding the marriage of Sydney to Kathleen J Edwards in Bradford during the first quarter of 1950....
And finally a search at the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages found no corresponding deaths between 1950 and 1979 - the current limit of the online queries.

Update 17-Nov-2010
Access to the 1954 Australian Electoral Rolls revealed the details that were missing before -
Kathleen June Catton, Lot 26 Fernleigh Road, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Sydney Sheeky Catton, 58 Flinders Street, Wagga Wagga, NSW
So Sydney & Kathleen were living near to Deniliquin in 1954 - near in Australian terms that is - being around 150 miles (240 kms) away. So still nothing to say that they ever met up with his father, Harry. However why the two addresses? Did they own / rent two properties? Had they split-up? Does anyone at 58 Flinders Street today know anything about the Cattons of over 50 years ago? But at least the property does seem to have survived; as in this current image from Google Earth -


Back in England Sydney’s mother, Eva, appears as an arrival back in London traveling from Sydney on 15-Jan-1949. And today’s research shows that there is a matching death registration in Bradford for the 1st quarter 1972 - even though it gives her date of birth as 25-Dec-1894. This seems to me to be one year out given the 1st quarter 1894 date for her birth registration. [No entries found in the year range online, 1984-2005, for Sydney or Kathleen].


Update 14-Apr-2011
Made an enquiry to the
Wagga Wagga & District Family History Society about where best to look for later electoral roles - the Society’s Library, Wagga City Library or the State Records in Sydney. But through the kind efforts of the Society’s Research Officer it was confirmed that the Cattons did not appear in the 1959, 1964 or 1966 electoral rolls. And that’s not just in Wagga but in the whole of the Riverina and Farrar Divisions. Many thanks - especially since this news ensures that I do not go off down a dead-end trail.

I do still have a copy of the 1997 Australian telephone directories on CD. It contains 84 entries for Catton but none with the initials SS or KJ. So this could turn out to be a search-too-hard even with computers and the world wide web.

Update 3-Jan-2012
An e-mail from Queensland, Australia today confirmed that Sydney had surviving family - so that brings this long search up to the present day and fills in a long-standing gap in the family tree.

Update 3-Oct-2012
A random check on one of the Ancestry web sites - looking for anything about the Sheeky families - found that another family researcher had sent in a family tree that included more about this particular Edwards family. It stated that Harry Frederick Edwards (1902 Leicester-1987 Wentworth Falls, NSW) had married Margaret Fitzgerald (1905 Manchester-1989 Katoomba, NSW) in 1926 at Lakemba, New South Wales. And that one of their two children had married Sydney Sheeky Catton. So that adds a bit more to the story - and the phrase it’s a small world comes up again; since we had unknowingly decided to stopover in Katoomba during our Australia trip only last year

Update 29-Jul-2015
Harry’s Army records from the First World War were found around Oct 2014 at FindMyPast - but simply filed for future reference. Now they have been passed on to the
Deniliquin Genealogy Society and the local branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) as part of efforts to document those that served.

Links to Harry’s Army records;  Ref 904 | Ref 906 | Ref 908 | Ref 909 | Ref 910 | Ref 911 | Ref 912 | Ref 913 | Ref 914 | Ref 915 | Ref 916 | Ref 918 | Ref 919 | Ref 920 | Ref 922 | Ref 923 | Ref 924 | Ref 926 | Ref 928 | Ref 929 | Ref 930 | Note: the missing page refs were checked but seemed to be blank and there is a difference of 4 between the JPG image ref and the microfilm ref.

So thanks to everyone who provided the information that helped in this search - and happy to receive anything else that they could share about Harry Sheeky, Sydney Sheeky Catton or Kathleen June Catton (nee Edwards)

Contact me via emailme


For info - this is my best guess at the related Edmondson family tree -

  • 1 James Edmondson b: abt 1806 Dent, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1861
  • .. +Mary Ann Scholefield b: abt 1811 Gomersal, Yorkshire m: abt Feb 1839 Leeds, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1861
  • ... 2 John Scofield Edmondson b: abt May 1840 Leeds, Yorkshire d: abt May 1905 Bradford, Yorkshire
  • ....... +Louisa Hobson b: abt May 1839 Eccleshill, Bradford, Yorkshire m: abt May 1865 Bradford, Yorkshire d: abt Nov 1908 North Bierley, Bradford
  • ........ 3 George Henry Edmondson b: abt May 1866 Bradford, Yorkshire d: abt May 1909 Bradford, Yorkshire
  • ........ 3 James Albert Edmondson b: abt Feb 1868 Bradford, Yorkshire d: abt May 1936 Bradford, Yorkshire
  • ............ +Martha Smith b: abt 1869 Bradford, Yorkshire m: abt Aug 1893 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1911
  • ............. 4 Eva Edmondson b: abt Feb 1894 Bradford, Yorkshire d: abt Feb 1972, Bradford, Yorkshire
  • ................. +Arthur Catton b: abt Nov 1889 Bradford, Yorkshire m: 16 Aug 1915 St James, Bradford, Yorkshire Father: Albert Edward Catton Mother: Emily Brooke
  • ............. *Partner of Eva Edmondson:
  • ................. +Harry Sheeky b: 07 Sep 1893 18 Northbrook Street, Bradford, Yorkshire m: abt 1918 d: 13 Nov 1970 Hospital, Deniliquin, NSW, Australia Father: John Henry Sheeky Mother: Mary Ann Foreman Burial: 16 Nov 1970 Roman Catholic Cemetery, Deniliquin
  • .................. 5 Sydney Sheeky Catton b: 03 Sep 1919 39 Undercliffe Street, Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1954
  • ...................... +Kathleen June Edwards b: abt 1931 Australia m: abt Feb 1950 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1954 Father: Harry Frederick Edwards Mother: Margaret Fitzgerald
  • ............. 4 Louisa Edmondson b: abt Nov 1895 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1915
  • ............. 4 Doris Edmondson b: abt Nov 1898 Bradford, Yorkshire d: abt Nov 1919 Bradford, Yorkshire
  • ............. 4 Harry Edmondson b: abt Aug 1901 Clayton, Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1911
  • ........ 3 Grace Ann Edmondson b: abt Feb 1870 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1901
  • ............ +Aquilla Smith b: abt 1855 Bradford, Yorkshire m: abt May 1896 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1901
  • ........ 3 Frederick Edmondson b: abt 1872 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1891
  • ........ 3 Arthur Edmondson b: abt 1874 Windhill, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1891
  • ........ 3 Lavinia Edmondson b: abt May 1875 Shipley, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1911
  • ............ +James Armitage b: abt 1875 Bradford, Yorkshire m: abt Feb 1896 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1911
  • ............. 4 Bertha Armitage b: abt 1902 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1911
  • ........ 3 Herbert Edmondson b: abt 1878 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1891
  • ........ 3 Joseph Edmondson b: abt 1880 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1911
  • ........ 3 x Edmondson b: abt 1883 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1891
  • ... 2 Samuel Edmondson b: abt 1844 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1881
  • ....... +Mary Elizabeth Akeroyd b: abt 1845 Heckmondwike, Yorkshire m: abt May 1865 Dewsbury, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1881
  • ........ 3 Arthur Akeroyd Edmondson b: abt Aug 1868 Bradford / Cleckheaton, Yorkshire d: abt Nov 1916 Lancaster, Lancashire
  • ............ +Adelaide Asquith b: abt Feb 1868 Hunsworth, Cleckheaton, Yorkshire m: abt May 1890 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1917 Father: William Asquith Mother: Mary x
  • ............. 4 Willie Edmondson b: abt Feb 1891 Shipley, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1911
  • ............. 4 Laura Edmondson b: abt 1894 Hunslet / Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1911
  • ........ 3 James Edward Edmondson b: abt May 1870 Bradford / Cleckheaton, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1881
  • ........ 3 Lucy Edmondson b: abt Nov 1872 Bradford / Cleckheaton, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1881
  • ........ 3 Clara Edmondson b: abt May 1874 Bradford / Cleckheaton, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1881
  • ... 2 Mary A Edmondson b: abt 1846 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1861
  • ... 2 Selina Edmondson b: abt May 1850 Bradford, Yorkshire d: abt Nov 1851 Bradford, Yorkshire
  • ... 2 James Edmondson b: abt 1854 Bradford, Yorkshire d: Aft. 1861

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