Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 4 - My Favourite Season

Each week there are prompts which require answering. 

Week 4 - My Favourite Season

I thought for quite some time about this prompt, which is my favourite season? I eventually decided that I love every season probably equally for very different reasons. I will explain each season and why I love them all, for I believe each season is God given and I can see God in each season of the year, which is partly why I do not have one favourite season.


I will start with AUTUMN as we're about to enter into this season shortly. 

Autumn leaves
I love all the autumnal warm colours, the red, golden and browning tree leaves next to the deep green evergreen trees. A lot of bright colours in nature brighten the world when the nights start to close in upon us. 

I love walking through autumn woodland when the odd speckles of summer light through the leaves become brighter due to the lack of leaves on the trees. There is also the golden path which guides you lined with crispy, crunchy leaves which give a sense of satisfaction to wade through and kick around.

I can smell the autumn bonfires in the air smell as we get closer to November and as the weather becomes colder there is something comforting in wrapping up lovely and warm at home in a blanket or a nice big coat and boots. In the dark nights we can sit around bonfires, watching the gentle flicker of the flames and enjoy the glowing warmth in which it emits.


Winter - crispy ice
In winter I love the bright, crisp, fresh frosty mornings and the beautiful white snowfall which I believe is sent by God to brighten our darkest days of the year. I love going out in the fresh snow and seeing it glisten and shine and it smooths everything over.

I also love the sound of the crunchy frozen fallen autumnal leaves and the crunching footsteps in the frozen puddles.

Christmas is also a very significant part of this season - a time for family, holiday, to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Listening to Christmas carols and songs, each of which reminds me of a significant Christmas past. 

Winter - frozen leaves

I love decorating our homes with lights, cards and decorations and the joy of giving and receiving gifts. I remember sitting around the open fire place at my grandparents with the extended family playing games and enjoying one another's company.

Winter brings the new Year with new hopes and prospects, a time to consider where your life is going and what you'd like to change. A period of reflection and to look forward to the future.


Spring - cowslips
Is a season of new life, where fresh green delicate plants and flowers start breaking through the ground. The cowslips, daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops. A new season with again new and fresh colours to refresh our souls. 

The joy as the days grow longer and the days are warmer. The beauty of new life with little bright white lambs bleeting and scrambling in the fields, new chicks and ducklings. The sounds of morning birdsong begin to reappear as the birds return for the summer.

Spring and Easter daffodils

Easter is another fantastic time of the year to be able to spend holiday time celebrating the new life and reflect over the salvation and freedom we have through the fact that Jesus died on the cross for each and every one of us. The sense of cleansing we can receive through what happened at Easter and celebrating the new life we have received whilst seeing all the new life appearing around us.


Summer - sun, sea and sand
I never realised how much I love summer until this year. In Summer 2012 my husband and I travelled around New Zealand in their winter so we missed most summer season, at the time I did not miss it but this year I have loved the beautiful warming heat and the freedom of not having to take a coat with me and to be able to wear sandals. 

I enjoy the long days and the extra energy that fills you with. A season to enjoy the great outdoors and travel to visit the sea, mountains, moorland and lakes. 

A trip to the seaside calms the soul with the sound of the crashing of the waves and the feeling of sand between one's toes. To play on the beach building sandcastles and soak up the summer sun which lifts the mood.

The beautiful bright colourful flowers and the smells they bring followed by the late summer season of foraging for fresh sweet berries and eating them with ice cream.

The bright, warm days also reminds me of the time I spent Brasil and the memories that adventure holds in my heart and my mind.

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Interesting Family History Blog Discoveries for September...

My home in Bradford, West Yorkshire

English Heritage - Who Lived In Your Home?

I was really inspired reading this blog post to research the families who previously resided in my current home and the homes of my family members.

British Newspaper Archive - Etiquette in Trains

Interesting to discover that our issues with other passengers on the trains is not a recent problem but that it has been around for many years!

Anglers Rest - Announcing the Society for One-Place Studies

Looking for the apprentices in your family, well this link may well be of interest...

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Book Of Me, Written By You - Week 3 - My Physical Self

Each week there are prompts which require answering. 

Week 3 - My Physical Self

I am going to describe myself from the top down, starting with my hair...

I have blonde, golden hair scattered with a few greys now. My hair is quite wirey and when I was younger my friends told me I have a blonde Afro. It is naturally very straight but has been permed a number of times in the past. Currently it nearly shoulder length and it is the shortest it has really ever been in the last year, previously I always had quite long hair and it is so thick. I wear it up and down, in plaits or a pony tail or pigtails, it is very versatile. I have a very blonde streak of hair at the nape of my neck, which I believe is from a birth mark.

I have a very small hole in the top of my right ear, which the doctor tells me is a sinus, probably genetic as my brother also has one. It occasionally becomes inflamed, red and sore.

I have two holes in my ear lobes but these often adorn earrings, studs in the second hole and often dangly earrings in the bottom holes. I used to like wearing odd earrings but now stick with matching pairs.

My eyebrows are much darker than my hair so I often get asked whether my hair colour is natural but I assure you it is.

I have blue eyes and often wear glasses. I have a few small moles on my right cheek and a very chicken pox small scar on my right eyelid, which has nearly totally faded with time. There are a few lines starting to appear, although I always try to remember to moisturise my face, but the smile lines are starting to remain.

My teeth are all my own although some were removed to make space for my other teeth. I have 3 wisdom teeth and the fourth is threatening it's appearance soon, as it occasionally feels a bit sore. I am lucky because I have no fillings at present. My upper jaw is slightly crooked meaning the teeth on the right side of my mouth do not meet but the teeth on the left side of my mouth are a bit more worn down from chomping my food, so one day I expect the right side to meet again. It also means I have a slightly crooked smile.

I wear size 10 clothes but depending on where I buy clothes sometimes I end up buying between size 8 and 12 clothes.

I have a number of moles down my arms (and my legs as well) with knobbly elbows and at the end of my arms are my big hands. I have very long pianist fingers and my fingers are quite chunky especially around the knuckles. I always wear my gold wedding ring on the 4th finger of my left hand. My hands are where most of my scars are:

  • my left index finger - a bread knife cut scar
  • my right index finger - a tin of peas cut scar
  • my right palm  - a barbed wire fence scar
My fingertips are constantly wrinkly as if I have just had a shower, but its because I have eczema. My eczema affects only my hands but my right hand more than my left hand and at present I have some lovely red slightly infected eczema spots on the palm of my right hand. I rarely wear nail polish unless I am going somewhere special, which is the same with my engagement ring.

My feet and legs are fairly normal, they're rarely on show but as with my arms I have a few moles. I wear size 7 shoes generally.

I am about 5 foot 5 inches tall and weigh anywhere between 9.5 and 10.5 stone, of average build.

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

WDYTYA Review - Series 10 - John Simpson

An interesting but not the best episode in the latest series of Who Do You Think You Are?

Interesting to hear about the daring adventures of his great grandmother when she ran away with the famous flyer, Cody...although technically John Simpson is not directly related to Samuel Cody.

Such a sad tale of Edward King but lovely his eldest daughter cared for him despite the rest of the family running away with the cowboys.

Can you imagine living the rest of your life with the death of your own father on your hands as Edward King had? His guilt and regrets must have made him difficult to live with and the rest of the family too, possibly what caused the break down of his own family and the cause of his wife running away for the adventure of her life.

Another documentary about Samuel Cody and his family but not a true family history researching program, shame for WDYTYA? as the series started really well.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

WDYTYA Review - Series 10 - Marianne Faithfull

Wow, what a story of a family who lived under the Nazi regime as Jews in Austria and survived against all the odds whilst fighting against it.

Nazi Reichsadler
(Image link:, Author: unknown)
A story of bravery and courage, but also a fantastic way to help Marianne understand why she has lived the life that she has and also why her mother was so damaged through the affects of the Nazi anti-sematic regime.

Such a terrible time in history but thankfully was destroyed before it controlled Europe. Most families will still be living out the dreadful effects of the lives of our parents, grandparents and even great grandparents during the war years - I know that I would certainly not be the person I am now or even here if it were not for the ancestors who went before and stood up for the things they believed in.

Thanks to Marianne for sharing some such intimate stories about your immediate family, but WDYTYA not really a celebrity researching her family history more like another documentary about a half Jewish family in the 1930-40s Austria.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Lincs To The Past
Do you have any Lincolnshire ancestors? Well, if you do the LincsToThePast website is the place to go for parish and local records and what is great is that it's FREE to use.

I have used this website a lot as my Presswood family have lived within the same area of Lincolnshire for 200 years.

Unfortunately not all the parish records are available to view online and they are not transcribed but most of the parishes of Lincolnshire are small and rural so if you know which parish your ancestors resided in and the approximate year of their birth, death or marriage, then you can quite easily browse the images to find them.

When using the site to look for great, great, great, great grandfather, William Presswood's burial record in the parish of Stow-in-Lindsey I found out something really interesting... I am going to run through how I found his record on the site.

Firstly, I had established an approximate date of death of c1841-3 for William from researching the family on the censuses and birth, marriage and death indexes. In 1841 the family was living in a hamlet called Bransby, Lincolnshire in the parish of Sturton by Stow or Stow in Lindsey.

On the website I searched "Stow in Lindsey burials"...

Lincs To The Past search (Link)

...which turns up the results below...

Search results (Link)

The results show all the records relating to the parish of Stow in Lindsey and burials, as you can see the records are split into books for certain years but not all record books are always available online, if there is an image next to the record description it means the images for that record set are available to be viewed online.

Click the book you want to look at and then browse...

Browsing the document (Link)

You can look through page by page, or jump a few pages on to find the date range you're looking for and use the toolbar to zoom the image.

1841 is found on page 29 where my ancestors burial is recorded...

My ancestors death record in the parish burial records for Stow in Lindsey Parish, Lincolnshire (Link)

Thanks to the curate who recorded his burial for he has added extra notes which inform me that William Prestwood (notice difference in name spelling) of Bransby "hanged himself, verdict of the Coroner's inquest, Being of unsound mind", which opens up more avenues of research...but more to come about William and his family in The Presswood Story.

At the bottom of the page you will notice that if you register with the website that you can tag or transcribe the documents, which means that you can find people easier next time by just searching a name to see which records are flagged up.

I find it is not always the best or easiest website to use for viewing images but I have spent many a happy hour browsing possible parish records for my ancestors and even transcribed a few. The website contains many different records related to Lincolnshire so depending on what you are looking for, you might find other records of interest to you and your research.

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

Saturday, 14 September 2013

How can maps help you with your family history research?

I love maps and can spend hours just looking at a good map, but how have I used maps to aid researching my family tree...?

1610 Map of Lancashire (Image link:, Author: Hondius; John Speed, 1610)

  • With Google Maps I look up the addresses my ancestors are recorded residing at (addresses are on census returns and birth, marriage & death certificates). Your address search may not find anything if the street no longer exists, but if you are lucky you can find the street and then using the Streetview orange man you can virtually walk down the streets your ancestors may have walked down, you might even be able to find the house in which your ancestor lived. NB House numbers may have changed along the street at some point in history so may not line up with the direct address on the census returns.
  • Alan Godfrey Maps & Cassini Maps have reprinted old Ordnance Survey maps of many towns and cities throughout the UK which are sold on their own websites and also in local bookshops, Information Centres and on Amazon (Godfrey maps & Cassini Maps). I love these little maps as I can lay them out on a table and highlight where my ancestors lived, worked, went to church or were educated. These maps will tell you a lot about the community your family lived in, from knowing where their local church, schools, industries were to the types of housing, terraced, detached, farms, town houses, back to back housing, tenements or stately mansions your ancestors may have resided in. By looking at old maps from different years of print you can establish how towns and cities became built up over periods of time.

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

WDYTYA Review - Series 10 - Sarah Millican

Old Fashioned Diver's Helmet
(Image link:,
Author: Szilas, 23 Sept 2013
Another fantastic episode of WDYTYA.

Two amazing stories of Sarah Milican's inspirational ancestors.

Firstly, James Hoult, her great x3 grandfather who was one of the first divers in the world!!! I never realised that Whitstable was famous for diving, I have many a mariner ancestors from the north Kent coastal towns, such as Whitstable and Herne Bay. I thought Sarah looked great in the early diving kit.

Absolutely fascinating records about John Malcolm's time working for the Hudson's Bay Company...with great prospects of adventure and prosperity for young men, but so so scary to get lost in desolate north Canada in the middle of winter. Even more horrendous to go on and lose both your feet to frost bite with no anaesthetic...OUCH!

It was beautiful to hear that he lived a long life and was able to marry, have children and settle down to a life, despite being an amputee in the early 19th century.

Until next week's episode....(although I will be on holiday so it might be longer before you see my review!)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Book Of Me, Written By You - Week 2 - Your Birth

The Book Of Me, Written By You is a 15 month project set up by Julie Goucher at Anglers Rest.
Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 2 - Your Birth

Me in the hospital
I was amazed at how challenging writing about my birth was, because I was there but don't remember any of it (which is probably a good thing!).

I had to search out my baby album for more information and also found a calendar of my first year in which my mum had recorded all my firsts in it.

I was born in Edith Watson Maternity Unit at Burnley General Hospital, Lancashire and as far as I am aware both my mum (obviously) and my dad were present. I was their first baby, my younger brother followed a few years later.

I was born at around 6pm on a Saturday in December, which was not the most convenient time as it meant my dad missed the football results and my mum missed her evening meal, but of course they were delighted I had arrived on schedule. I weighed 7lbs 7oz and was 57cm long. I had a lot of fair hair, which is still the case now and beautiful blue eyes. Apparently I looked most like my mum but my personality was more like my dad's, for I was inquisitive and could not keep still for a minute.

Learning to play the piano at a young age
I was a very smiley baby and was inspired by music from a young age, as I loved my parents singing to me, as well as tinkering on their piano (see photo). I loved being around people and did not like being left alone. My mum and dad were quite glad when at 5 weeks old I first slept through the night.

I met my extended family in stages through the first few months of my life, the first being my paternal grandparents and youngest uncle at a week old and then my maternal grandparents came to stay for a few days when I was 10 days old, which also coincided with my first outing to the park.

My parents were attending at Baptist church at the time of my birth and my first visit to church was on Christmas day. I was dedicated into the church family at 3 months old. When I was 5 months old my maternal uncle married his first wife and my mother was a bridesmaid, which I remember being told was not easy when still breast feeding me.

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Book Of Me, Written By You - Week 1 - Who am I?

The Book Of Me, Written By You is a 15 month project set up by Julie Goucher at Anglers Rest.
Each week there are prompts which require answering. 

Many people are blogging their responses but I was unsure at first whether to share or not, but as the weeks progress I am going to share as much as I feel I can. 

So, here goes...

Week 1 - Who am I? 

(I have not shared all of my responses)

  • an Optometrist
  • vision of beauty (the meaning of my name!)
  • musician
  • clarinettist
  • genealogist or family historian
  • cook
  • wife
  • lover of God
  • clean & tidy
  • a daughter
  • a sister
  • an aunt
  • pianist
  • home owner
  • healer
  • organiser
  • dreamer
  • worshipper
  • tea lover
  • writer of my own personal family history (see The Davidson Family)
  • niece
  • a Hogan
  • a Davidson
  • traveller
  • Godmother

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

Saturday, 7 September 2013

My ancestor was . . . a cooper

(Image link:, 
28 Dec 2008)
A cooper is a maker of a wooden barrels or vessels for carrying liquid or casks for storing dry foods. Cooper is a common surname because it was previously a common trade. It is a skilled occupation that has been around since the Roman times. Unfortunately in the UK it is now a dying trade. There is only one master cooper left in the UK as metal casks and plastic container are now more commonly used.

I have at least two ancestors who were coopers and they were both in the Hair family. My great, great grandmother's sister, Hannah Hair (1861) married a cooper by the name of Herbert Williams (1862), who worked in the Paint Works, he probably made vessels to store the manufactured paint in (according to the 1911 census).

The other ancestor who was a cooper was Hannah Hair's paternal aunt Mary Hair, which I was quite surprised about as I would have expected coopers to be male. I would like to find out more about what exactly she would have done or who she worked for.

You can read more about them and their families in Chapters 9 and 10 of The Davidson Family.

Some information from:
Wikipedia - Cooper (Profession)
Telegraph - the last master cooper

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

Thursday, 5 September 2013

WDYTYA Review - Series 10 - Nitin Ganatra

Kenya flag
(Image link:,
Author: User:Pumbaa80, 10 Jan 2007
Have just watched this episode of WDYTYA on iPlayer this evening as I was out at an Elton John concert in Leeds last night when it was live on TV...but more about Elton John on my other blog These are a few of my favourite things when I get some time to write about it!

A great episode of WDYTYA, very different but really interesting. Allowing Nitin to speak with his ancestors to gleam information as well as going out and researching. It also shows how difficult it can be to research your overseas ancestors, and shows how lucky we are in the UK to have a whole host of records to research at our fingertips.

India flag
(Image link:, Author: User:SKopp)

A fascinating story of survival and sacrifices made in the face of true poverty and dire need. Fancy moving your family all the way to India to work on the British Empire railways. Also, such a sad story of his mother's siblings and her family, I cannot imagine the sadness of losing that many children, nor marrying at the young age of 6 years old.

Lovely to see a different culture researched in light of the British empire and what was happening in the rest of the world whilst Britain was a great nation.

Another fab episode...can't wait until next week now.

The episode reminded me of my time spent in Malawi in 2007, there were many Indians living there and they were often the business minded people there also.