Friday, 20 December 2019

The 12 days of Genealogy


So I thought for Christmas I’d see what 12 gifts a genealogist would want.
On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me a birth certificate for my tree.


On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me 3 trips to graveyards, 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me 4 probate returns, 3 trips to graveyards, 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me 5 marriage banns, 4 probate returns, 3 trips to graveyards, 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me 6 wills of ancestors, 5 marriage banns, 4 probate returns, 3 trips to graveyards, 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me 7 books on family history, 6 wills of ancestors, 5 marriage banns, 4 probate returns, 3 trips to graveyards, 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me 8 baptism records, 7 books on family history, 6 wills of ancestors, 5 marriage banns, 4 probate returns, 3 trips to graveyards, 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me 9 passenger lists, 8 baptism records, 7 books on family history, 6 wills of ancestors, 5 marriage banns, 4 probate returns, 3 trips to graveyards, 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me 10 ancestral newspaper articles, 9 passenger lists, 8 baptism records, 7 books on family history, 6 wills of ancestors, 5 marriage banns, 4 probate returns, 3 trips to graveyards, 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me 11 census returns, 10 ancestral newspaper articles, 9 passenger lists, 8 baptism records, 7 books on family history, 6 wills of ancestors, 5 marriage banns, 4 probate returns, 3 trips to graveyards, 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me 12 subscriptions to family history societies, 11 census returns, 10 ancestral newspaper articles, 9 passenger lists, 8 baptism records, 7 books on family history, 6 wills of ancestors, 5 marriage banns, 4 probate returns, 3 trips to graveyards, 2 prison register records and a birth certificate for my tree.

Christmas gifts for genealogist are great idea especially if they are personalised. What about photos of ancestors put in matching frames? Or even photos put into baubles to hang on the tree. You could make a photo book of their ancestors or get them the things needed to make their own scrapbook around their ancestors. How about a subscription to a family history society from places their ancestors came from. You could look through old photos to find pictures of past Christmas’s and recreate things like the decorations of the genealogists past or even how the cake was decorated. Ah I can see it now, paper streamers, balloons, cards hung from paper chains and tinsel everywhere.
If you want a comedy version of the 12 days of Christmas have a look at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQkF7fpw-wI and listen to Frank Kelly’s take on the song.

Merry Christmas to all from Family History Research England.

Friday, 13 December 2019

December birthdays


So in December there are many birthdays of people who influenced our lives and those of our ancestors.
Let’s start on the 17th December 1778. Grace Davy nee Millet the wife of Robert Davy a wood turner from Cornwall goes into labour. She eventually gives birth to her first child, a boy she names Humphrey. Humphrey Davy became an apprentice to an apothecary and developed a keen interest in chemistry. By 1801 Davy was working at the Royal Society in London. Via his experiments and research he discovered many chemical elements including sodium, barium, magnesium, potassium and strontium. Davy also discovered that diamonds are just carbon and not something more mystical. One of Davy’s most famous discoveries was the miner’s lamp around 1815. This stopped the methane from the flame from setting fire to the gases in the pits and leading to explosions. Just think how many lives this saved. As the descendent of miner’s then there is a chance I wouldn’t be here without Sir Humphrey Davy.
Sir Humphrey Davy 1778-1829
Sir Humphrey Davy 1778-1829
In Preston, Lancashire on the 23rd December 1732 Richard Arkwright was born. He started out as a barber and wig maker. Arkwright was an inventor though and began working on a machine to spin cotton. This would greatly speed up the process and mean more cotton could be produced. Arkwright initially powered his machine using horse power at his works in Nottingham but soon went into partnership with wealthy Derbyshire mill owners and build Cromford mill which was powered by water from the river Derwent. The mill was so successful Arkwright was able to build his workers homes in the village of Cromford. He also built a second mill in nearby Matlock Bath (which is now a shopping centre and heritage centre as is Cromford Mill). Arkwright also had mills in Wirkworth, Chorley and New Lanark. Arkwright was hit by riots as the mills didn’t need as many workers to run them as he developed his water power and steam power and the mill in Scotland was destroyed by the rioters. He did employee hundreds of people and developed fabric manufacture which meant our ancestors could potentially get cheaper clothes for them and their families all thanks to Sir Richard Arkwright.
Sir Richard Arkwright 1732-1792
Sir Richard Arkwright 1732-1792 
It’s Christmas day 1642 and in Lincolnshire Isaac Newton was born. Now he is most famous for discovering gravity, but he was also worked in the fields of maths, mechanics and optics. He realised that light was made up of different colours and that if you put light through a glass prism it splits into the colours of the spectrum. He is most famous for sitting under an apple tree and seeing an apple falling and this lead him to formulate that there was an invisible force acting upon us, i.e., gravity. So thanks to Sir Isaac Newton we know why we don’t fly into space.
Sir Isaac Newton 1642-1726
Sir Isaac Newton 1642-1726
On Boxing Day 1792 Charles Babbage entered the world in London. Now Charles Babbage was a genius of his time. He was a mechanical engineer and mathematician who became professor of mathematics at Cambridge University. He also helped found the Royal Astronomical Society. He is probably best known for his work on the Difference Engine. This was a calculating machine he began working on in 1822. He never completed it but it has since been built by the science museum and it would have worked. Through his work Charles Babbage is known as the father of computing and his work in the early Victorian era lead to you being able to use anything computing based.
Charles Babbage 1792-1871
Charles Babbage 1792-1871
Now onto one of my favourite inventors who was born on the 27th December 1773 near Scarborough in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was the son of a baronet and developed an interest in aviation and engineering. He developed the self-righting boat, seat belts and the glider. He was Sir George Cayley. In 1804 he flew his first model glider that looked like the layout of a plane. He developed his design and by 1853 his glider was flown by a member of his staff in front of Waydale Hall his country seat. Some accounts say the employee, possibly his coachman resigned afterwards. It was the early 1900’s before true flights began, but every time you get on a plane to go on holiday think of Sir George Cayley and his terrified coachman.
Sir George Cayley 1773-1857
Sir George Cayley 1773-1857
So it could be said all these inventors changed the lives of our ancestors as well as ours.

Friday, 8 November 2019

5 Births, 2 Deaths, 1 Marriage and a Coronation


November is a busy month for anniversaries of the Royal Family of England/Great Britain. So what happened this month?

The year is 1035 and Canute is King after leading a Viking force in 1015 against the English and defeating King Edmund Ironsides forces. Edmund had died soon after and so Canute was King. He reigned until the 12th November 1035 when he died and the crown passed to Harold Harefoot, Canute’s second son. He acted as regent for his younger half-brother Harthacnut but decided to keep the throne for himself.
King Canute
King Canute
1321 saw the birth of a little baby boy named Edward occurred at Windsor Castle on the 13th November. He was born to King Edward III and Isabella of France. His grandparents were King Edward I of England, King Philip IV of France and Queen Joan I of Navarre.  Young Edward would become King Edward III of England in 1327. He married Philippa of Hainault in 1328 and had 14 children by her, including Edward the Black Prince and John of Gaunt (who attempted to populate the world single handily with 14 children by 4 women). 2 of his grandsons would become King, Richard II and Henry IV.


In 1429 King Henry VI was crowned King of England on 6th November aged 8 months and 27 days. Henry was the son of King Henry V of England and Catherine of Valois and the grandson of King Henry VI of England and King Charles VI of France. Henry inherited the throne of France on the 21st October 1422 when he was 11 months and 16 days old through his mother. He was just 8 years old when he was crowned in England and 10 years old when he was crowned in France. Henry was King of England for around 39 years over 2 periods during the Wars of the Roses until his murder in 1471 and around 31 years in France although many did not acknowledge his rule in France and favoured his maternal uncle Charles VII. Henry was half-brother to Edmund and Jasper Tudor and their siblings and the uncle of Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII.

On the 17th November 1558 aged 42 of probably cancer Queen Mary died. She was childless and so the crown passed to her half-sister Elizabeth. Mary was the daughter of King Henry VIII of England and Katherine of Aragon, this made her the granddaughter of King Henry VII, King Ferdinand III of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII of England and Anne Boleyn and the granddaughter of King Henry VII.
Queen Mary I & Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Mary I & Queen Elizabeth I

It’s the 19th November 1600 and in Dunfermline Palace in Fife, Scotland a little boy named Charles took his first breaths. He was born to King James VI of Scotland and his wife Anne of Denmark and was the grandson of Mary Queen of Scots and King Frederick II of Denmark. In 1625 Charles became King Charles I of England and Scotland and would rule until his execution for treason in 1649.

In the Hague on the 4th November William Prince of Orange was born to William II, Prince of Orange and Mary, Princess Royal of England and Scotland. This made young William the grandson of King Charles I. William married his maternal cousin Mary, the daughter of his mother’s brother’s King James VII. William ruled jointly with his wife as King William III and Queen Mary II of England and Scotland.

Now November was fairly quiet until 1841 when another boy was born, this time to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Albert Edward was born on the 9th November in Buckingham Palace. He was go on to become King Edward VII of Great Britain from 1901 until his death in 1910.

On the 20th November 1947 King Edward VII great granddaughter Princess Elizabeth married her distant cousin Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. They were second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. They were married at Westminster Abbey. The following November on the 14th Elizabeth and Philip’s first child was born, a son named Charles who would later become Charles, Prince of Wales after his mother’s accession to the throne in 1952.

So as you can see November has been an extremely busy month for the Royal Family with lots of events to remember.


Thursday, 31 October 2019

Halloween Hauntings


So this week I thought I tell you all about my home city of Sheffield, and the past residents who are still living there.

Growing up I always heard the stories of ghosts related to the city as 2 haunted places were within a few miles of where I lived. The first was around Beauchief Abbey a former monastery and the hall just up the road. There is a white lady who is associated with the grounds of both locations has been seen on the road and also on the golf course which is now on the land the monastery once stood on. There are also sightings of the monks still going about their daily lives.

So let’s move up to Norton and the second location I knew about as a child, Bunting Nook. This is a small road by the church which has at least 3 ghosts. Firstly is another grey lady who has been seen but she may be part of the second haunting which is supposedly a couple who were eloping to the church to marry and fell from their horse and died (Norton Church was well known for not asking any question and marrying people even if she was pregnant). Then there is the demonic dog that has been seen as just eyes or even a black mist.

Fancy wandering around the area surrounding the Cathedral? Voices are heard and faces seen. Is it the dead whose graves were moved in the 1990’s protesting?
Sheffield Cathedral
The former graveyard in front of Sheffield Cathedral
Off to Mosborough now and the old hall which is a hotel these days. The grey lady governess can be seen here and the argument between her and her employer can be heard as she threatens to tell his wife of their dalliance. It’s alleged he murdered her to keep her quite.


Now fancy a visit to a haunted pub, Sheffield has you covered. There are several pubs in the Darnall area where apparitions are seen. In the area of Sheffield I’m from the Woodseats hotel is haunted by a man who has attacked staff. Or how about the former Old Harrow where apparitions were seen and things went missing and then reappeared sometime late. You could always try the Queens Head Inn, possibly the oldest building in Sheffield. You may come across the dog who likes sit by people, the white lady who sits and watches people, the civil war era solider who sits by the fire or even hear the voice of a little girl. Fancy a coffee from a chain then I dare you to try Carbrook Hall near Meadowhall. It’s though Oliver Cromwell’s close ally Colonel Bright can be seen on the stairs as well as another roundhead soldier. Also a spirit likes to throw things around. It may be worse now as it’s well documented that spirits don’t like change and renovations of their space.

Now do you fancy visiting the National Emergency Services Museum in the city? I’ve been years ago, I got a plastic fireman’s helmet. Many groups have been to the venue and seen and heard many unexplained phenomena. Things are thrown when there is no one else around, voices are heard and many believe there is a negative entity who has taken up residence, is it Charlie Peace who was hung for murder?

So do you want to meet Mary Queen of Scots then you need to go to Sheffield Manor Lodge. This is where Mary was held on and off for years. She is seen in a flowing black gown and appears to walk through walls.
Sheffield Manor th
Sheffield Manor the once jail of Mary Queen of Scots
Now no discussion about hauntings in the city would be complete without a mention of the Stocksbridge bypass just outside the city. It’s not the road that’s haunted but the land. Even when the road was being built in the 1980’s things were seen. Children where heard playing at night when the site was closed. They were sometimes seen to disappear right in front of people’s eyes. A figure was seen on the bridge being constructed over the road that again just disappeared. 2 policemen witness the torso of a person against the side of their car which move extremely fast to the other side of the car and then vanished. As they drove away the car shook and things were thrown at it but there was no one around. Others have heard what sounds like someone on the roof of the car as they drive along. Finally how about seeing the torso of a monk crossing the road, no legs just a torso, as they walk along at the height the land was at during their lifetime.

So how about a visit to Sheffield?  I’ve never seen anything in city but I’m not visiting the locations at night. I’ve seen things in Derbyshire though.

So happy Halloween and goodnight out there whatever you are! (If you know where this quote came from then you had an awesome childhood).

Friday, 25 October 2019

Halloween

Before I start this is a reposted blog from last year. There should be a new Halloween post next week. 


As darkness falls across the land…… all the kids come out and bang on your door.
So it’s the end of October and Halloween comes around again. All the shops sell their wares and parties abound. There are loads of costumes in the shops to wear for the day, although some of the Goth dresses I’d wear every day and yes I do wear my dress with bats, pumpkins, ghosts and full moons on it in the summer. You can get foods from jelly eye balls to slime pie.
Flying Witch
Halloween as a kid for me was scary. People would bang on the door demanding treats and if you didn’t answer or given them anything eggs would be thrown. Then there was the fact that all the ghosts and goolies, witches and vampires were roaming about ready to attack. To top it all of I was terrified of the glow in the dark skeleton my brother had. I was even scared of Professor Coldheart from my beloved Care Bears and don’t get me started on Skelator from He-Man, although I find him funny dancing in an old tv advert. How ironic now is it that I mainly read books with vampires and werewolves in them.


Halloween as we know it today mainly came from good marketing and the shops realised it was a great way to make you spend money, but where did the tradition of Halloween come from? Well it appears to be the merger of both pagan and Christian practices.

Let’s consider the pagan practices first. It was a celebration of the end of the harvest and the coming of the winter and in the Celtic countries was known as Samhain, the festival of the dead, but it also had other aspects to it. Many believe that at this time of year that the barrier between the living and the dead was at its thinnest and thus the dead could pass through. This meant the living had to protect themselves. They would do things such as lay out meals by a fire for the dead to welcome them so they would be peaceful and carve out turnips, as we do pumpkins today, to ward of the evil spirits as these were the ones they had to worry about. They also believed they had to protect themselves for the living evil spirits. Many homes would attempt to protect themselves by engraving witches marks into the fabric of the house. This was usually in the walls or the fireplace and was in the form of a pentagram. They can still be found today in old buildings. Another pagan practice which begun was the dressing up and playing tricks on people. This along with the carving of turnips is thought to have come from Ireland as many of the practices we still use today seem to have come from the Gaelic speaking regions of Europe. 
Carved pumpkin
The Christian practices mainly revolved around the honouring of the dead. In the Christian calendar All Hallowes Eve is the day before All Hallows Day which is the celebration of saints, or the dead in general. It is believed this day was set as the 1st November by Pope Gregory III in the 8th century when this honoured the relics of the saints, martyrs and confessors of the church. From the 12th century the ringing of church bells became common to honour the saints and departed souls. There was also the tradition from the mediaeval period of England of baking a soul cake. These were similar in appearance to the modern day hot cross buns. They were given out to children, the poor and the homeless who went from door to door saying prayers for the souls of the household. It’s believed this could also be the origin of trick or treat.

So if you combine both the pagan and Christian practices you get a good indication of where the modern day Halloween comes from. Maybe think upon your dead ancestors and celebrate them as you enjoy your pagan practices.

I know my blog posts have been patchy lately but please bear with me as I've been ill and ended up in hospital, but I am determined to get back into blogs properly.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Counties of England part 4


Knowing where the archives for these counties were found can be really useful as when researching family history we sometimes need to visit an archive to find out some information that cannot be found online. So I thought I’d put together a list of the counties of the UK with the location of their main archives for the county. So I’ve looked at the counties of Wales and I’ve done parts 1, 2 and 3 of England so on to more of England.
Counties of England
Counties of England
1. Essex

Off to the south of East Anglia on the east coast. This is where you will find Essex. The county has an approximate population of 1.8 million and the county town is Chelmsford. This is also where the archives reside and you can visit the website at: https://www.essexarchivesonline.co.uk/

2. Bedfordshire
In central south England Bedfordshire has a population of around 660,000. The county town is Bedford and the archives are in the town. The archives website can be found at: http://bedsarchives.bedford.gov.uk/ArchivesAndRecordOffice.aspx

3. Buckinghamshire
Also in central southern England Buckinghamshire has an approximate population of 800,000. The county town is Aylesbury and the archives are in the town and can be found at: https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/culture-and-leisure/centre-for-buckinghamshire-studies/

4. Surrey
Located to the south west of London Surrey has an approximate population of 1.2 million. The county town of Surrey is Guildford but the archives for the county are held in the town of Woking. The archives web address is: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/culture-and-leisure/history-centre

5. Kent
In the east of England Kent has coast to 3 sides of the county. It has a population of around 1.8 million. The county town if Kent is Maidstone and this is where the archives are held. The website for the archives is: https://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/history-and-heritage/kent-archives

6. East Sussex
On the south coast of England East Sussex has an approximate population of 840,000. The county town is Lewes. The archives or the Keep as it is known can be found in Brighton. You might find the fictional genealogist Morton Farrier in the reading room reading the latest novel by Nathan Dylan Goodwin. If you want the web address for the Keep it is: https://www.thekeep.info/esro/

7. West Sussex
Next to East Sussex on the south coast West Sussex has an approximate population of 850,000. The county town is Chichester and the archives are in the town. The archive website is: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/leisure-recreation-and-community/history-and-heritage/west-sussex-record-office/

8. Hertfordshire
Back to central southern England Hertfordshire has a population of around 1.18 million. The county town is Hertford and it is here you will find the archive who’s web address is: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/libraries-and-archives/hertfordshire-archives-and-local-studies/hertfordshire-archives-and-local-studies.aspx

9/10. London/Middlesex
A tricky place as part of London is in many counties but most of Middlesex is in London. So I’ve lumped them together. Middlesex has a population of around 2.7 million and London is the county town. The population of London is around 8.7 million which I assume includes the population of Middlesex. As for the archives you have several options. Archives for London’s web address is: https://archivesforlondon.org/ The City of London archives address is: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitan-archives/Pages/search.aspx The London Metropolitan Archives site is: https://search.lma.gov.uk/scripts/mwimain.dll?logon&application=UNION_VIEW&language=144&file=[WWW_LMA]home.html and finally there is the National Archives at: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

11. Isle of Wight
This county is an Island off the south coast by Hampshire. At one time the Isle of Wight came under the jurisdiction of Hampshire. The population of the county is around 141,000 and the county town is Newport which is where the archives are located. The web address for the archives is: https://www.iow.gov.uk/Residents/libraries-cultural-and-heritage/Records-Office/

In all of these counties don’t forget the local family history societies as well as the local libraries. These are also excellent sources of information. Also within the counties each town or city may have their own archive or records office. So make sure you do your complete research into where you may find relevant documents for your genealogy. These places are vast repositories for so many different documents or collections. There more than just baptism, marriage and burial records. There are other parish records, town and village information and so much more. The websites will tell you what repositories each archive holds.

So hopefully this will help you in locating where the information you need may be held.



The 12 days of Genealogy

So I thought for Christmas I’d see what 12 gifts a genealogist would want. On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me a bir...