The faces of history – George Sternberg

George Sternberg 1798 - 1878
George Sternberg 1798 - 1878

I am not certain that this is photo of George Sternberg, my great great great grandfather, but I am certain that George was born in Northampton in 1798. The photo is from a family album which contains several serious looking people not yet positively identified. The balance of probability though, is that this one is of  George.

He was the sixth child of Francis George and Frances (née Furnivall) Sternberg. Unusually for the family, George was not given a middle name. He was a carver and gilder, which were trades followed by a number of the Sternberg family members who were not directly involved in music.

He was also the father of another Francis George Sternberg, my great great grandfather, a child of George’s marriage to Mary Mumford. There was only one other child born to Mary and George, namely Elizabeth Sternberg, who lived until 1905.

Mary died in 1848 and in 1851, at the age of 53, George married Lydia May Bird, a spinster and housekeeper, in Northampton.

I do not know what became of Lydia, since ten years later in 1861, the census return shows George as a widower living alone and in the 1871 census, George Sternberg, 73, Gilder, living with sister Rosina (75) and her husband William Amerson  (64) in All Saints Northampton. There is a Lydia Sternberg recorded a few years later in New York, but I haven’t yet followed up on that report.
George was described as  ‘Sexton of All Saints’ on his first wife’s death certificate in 1848.

George Sternberg died of ‘fever’ at the age of eighty in 1878


One thought on “The faces of history – George Sternberg

  1. I have been fascinated and very grateful – indeed privileged, to be able to see all of your photos and to take in some of the abundant information you give.
    This portrait reminded me of one of the letters received from my cousin, who said that as a child of about 10 years old she recalled vividly seeing a portrait painting of one of our grandfather’s – having a mop of red hair and large red beard. Which she had found rather fearful (at that age)… so I hope to contact her soon and discuss again with her that image which struck her so vividly.Perhaps it may be the very one?
    regards, wendyt

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