Links to my other sites
Wilson direct lineage Growing up in Gillingham
Full list of names The Sparks Family
RootsWeb Wilson Tree, More about the fifties


These pages are designed to be more on a personal level than the usual list of names. If you see any links to YOUR families, please contact me at and I'll be very pleased to hear from you. Some names are linked to separate pages which provide more detail on the individual.

Sparks Family History

The earliest Sparks we have found so far is John Sparks born in Chard, Somerset, in 1835. In 1871 census John is a 'gunner' with the Royal Artillery, living in barracks with his wife and John Jnr, Robert, and Jane. By the 1881 census he is described as a 'cellarman' and the family is living at 100 Sandy Hill Road, Plumstead. John married Harriet Hagley who was born in 1833 in Templeton, Devon. Many branches of the Sparks families were in and around Devon and Somerset at that time but it appears that John and Harriet moved to London sometime before their children were born. Their offspring were John Thomas, born in 1865,in Dover, Kent, Jane, March 8th 1868, Robert, born November 27th 1869, George William, 1873, Walter James, October 18th 1874, Dora Elizabeth, 1878, and Herbert, April 28th 1881. All children after John are described on the census as having been born in 'Kent' but this probably means Plumstead, now very much part of London, but then in Kent.. Harriet was apparently 48 when Herbert was born! John died between 1881 and 1891.

Their oldest son, John Thomas Sparks, married Frances O'Connor, born in Howden, Yorkshire, to Richard and Bridget O'Connor, both Irish, and John and Frances had at least one child, Florence. Frances, in 1891, had moved to Plumstead, where she was a domestic maid and presumably met John.

Herbert, (Bertie) went on to marry Alice Maud Smith born June 17th 1879, at St. James Church, Plumstead, on April 16th 1906. Herbert and Alice had five children, all of which I knew. First born was my mother, Gladys May, June 16th 1908, in Alresford, Hampshire. I have been told that the family were at that time working in a big home in Alresford, Herbert as a gardener, Alice as a maid. The other children were Minnie Ellen July 24th 1910, Dora Charlotte, March 27th 1913, Herbert Arthur, March 18th 1917 and Walter Edward, December 28th 1919.

Gladys May married her first cousin, Roger William Wilson on September 16th 1934 at Plumstead.

Roger and Gladys' Wedding Sept 16th 1934
L to R: Back: Minnie Sparks (Pascoe) Dora Sparks (Pascoe) Sid Pascoe, Alice Sparks, Herbert Sparks, Eliza Wilson, Dolly Wilson, Ivy Wilson. Seated Roger and Gladys. Child is Dorothy Holland.

Minnie Ellen married William Pascoe, and they lived for many years in East Dulwich, London. William (Bill) was captured by the Japanese during the second world war and suffered at their hands. In later years they moved to 5 Lincoln Road, Gillingham, their house backing on to that of Roger and Gladys at 10 Selbourne Road. Bill died in January 1972 just three weeks after the death of my father, Roger Wilson. Minnie lived alone until her death. They had no children.

Dora Charlotte lived with her husband, Sid Pascoe, Bill's brother, in the lower flat of 55 Muschamp Road, Peckham, London SE15. I remember Aunt Dora's frequent trips to Gillingham when she would often bring me crisp crusty rolls from the local bakers! Dora and Sid also had no children and I regret I do not know their dates of death. Above them, in the top flat of 55 Muschamp Road, lived Alice Maud Sparks, my gran, until her death on June 25th 1962 and her son, Herbert (Bert) and his wife Cissie Gray, who he married on February 10th 1940. They had two sons, Malcolm and Derek.

Returning to Alice Maud Smith, her parents were Edward Smith and Jane Baldry. Apart from Eliza and Alice, the Smiths' other children were Edward James, born 1866, Jane, 1868, Charlotte Ellen, 1877, and Rose May, 1881. I regret I have no knowledge of their movements thereafter.