Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 21 - Hobbies

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 21 - Hobbies

Over the years I have had numerous hobbies, some of which I think are cringe worthy now I'm older:
  • Stamp collecting
  • Coin collecting
  • Researching my family tree
  • Cooking and baking
  • Playing the piano and clarinet
  • Cross-stitch
  • Travelling
  • Collecting thimbles
  • Blogging

Stamp Collecting

I got quite into stamp collecting (partly inspired by Blue Peter and my grandfather) when I was about 9-13 years old. Looking back now I think it was quite a cringe worthy hobby to have, but my grandfather also collected stamps and it was something he encouraged me to do as well. When my grandfather passed away he left me his collections. 

Recently I have been clearing out my things at my parents house and have boxes of my stamp albums, which I am not quite sure what to do with. It is not a hobby I will ever pick up again now but yet those albums have memories especially my grandfathers and am not ready to throw them away yet but they do take up quite a lot of room in my little house.

Coin Collecting

As with stamp collecting, I was inspired both by Blue Peter and my grandparents to start a coin collection. My grandparents would buy us the special edition coins that were brought out to commemorate special occasions. I loved collecting coins from our holidays as well, so my coin album is also full of memories of the places I have visited. I do not actively collect coins although when I go on holiday I like to bring some coinage home with me for my album.

Researching my family history

I love researching my family history and have been researching since about 2002 or 2003. The hobby has been interrupted at various hectic points in my life, such as my degree or lack of money, but it is something I am still really interested in and actively research and blog about my research. It is hard to find the time to do research, but I still find it really inspiring and interesting. I am just finishing off writing my first family history book about my Davidson ancestors, which has taken a huge amounts of time and energy to do. 

I was inspired to start researching my family history when the 2001 census came out online and that was it I was hooked. My grandmother also inspired me as she would often talk about Cousin June or Auntie May, etc and being an inquisitive person I wanted to know more about these people, so began researching and am still addicted!!!

Cooking and baking

I love cooking and baking, which has been a hobby in which has been sparked since leaving home and having to learn how to cook for myself, but I discovered I loved cooking and being creative with cooking to see what interesting ingredients go together (and sometimes what ingredients do not go together well!). 

My mum was my inspiration for cooking as she always made every meal from scratch and fed up really well as we were growing up. She was a great cook and not afraid to try new tastes and flavours. She was always at the end of the phone when I left home to ask how I cooked certain foods or for recipes.

I had the pleasure of marrying a man who equally loves food and being cooked for, so we make a great pair, I cook and he eats. 

I also write a weekly blog post recipe called FOODY FRIDAY each week on my other blog, These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things.

Playing my clarinet and piano

I love making music, but have little time to play regularly these days, but when I can I do still occasionally find the time to make music either on my piano or clarinet. I play clarinet in the worship band at church some weeks, which helps me play semi-regularly and keeps my skills up to scratch but I do sometimes wish I had more time to play. I started playing clarinet at the age of 9 years old and had lessons until I was about 18 years old, when I left home and went on my gap year to Brasil. The piano was something I never really had lessons for but my mum played and would help teach me occasionally, but most of my piano skills I have acquired by teaching myself, picking up some music and just having a go. 


I love cross-stitching when I am sat at home watching a film or the TV. I am not good at just sitting and watching, I like to have something to do with my hands and cross-stitching is the perfect thing. I have made loads of big pictures, cards, bookmarks etc over the years. You can see some of my more recent creations on my other blog These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things.

My grandmother was the one who inspired me to have a go at cross-stitching, as she also did it and enjoyed it, so would buy me kits as Christmas presents and they were always so proud if we gave them presents in which we had made, so I would often do them a birthday or Christmas cross-stitch creation.


I love travelling the world and the only thing which restricts me from doing more travelling is the lack of finance! I spent long periods of time in New Zealand, Brasil and Malawi and also visited many other countries for shorter periods. I love being immersed in other cultures and seeing the beauty of other countries. I have written blog posts about my travels in New Zealand and also shared a little of some of my other Old Adventures travelling.

Collecting Thimbles

I have collected for many, many years since I was quite a young child thimbles from all the different places I visit, if I can get my hands on one. I buy them if I go for day trips out to different places in the UK as well as places I have visited on holidays as well. These are a great memory of all my travels and I love looking back over them and remembering past holidays and adventures.


Last but not least I love blogging (if you hadn't realised!!!), this hobby was inspired mainly by sister-in-law who put my blogs together for me and helped me learn the skills required. There were two reasons I wanted to start blogging, one was to share all my family research with extended family and others who also loved genealogy. The second reason I started blogging was when we were planning to go to New Zealand for 10 weeks I wanted to share my photos and journeys with my friends and family back home. It was a great thing to do as we have a diary of what we did each day through the blogging which I always look back over and am reminded what a great trip it was.

Since then I have been inspired to blog about my favourite things and my hobbies, to share some of my creativity and passions. I would say blogging now takes up most of my spare time, although I want to get back down to doing some more family history research these days.

Friday, 24 January 2014

FREE access to ALL Australian Records on Ancestry.com.au

(Image link: www.wikipedia.org,
Author: Norman Einstein, 29 Jan 2009
To celebrate Australia Day the Australian version of Ancestry is offering FREE access to ALL the Australian records until Monday...click here to see more.

...do you have any ancestors who emigrated to Australia?

I have a few lines which take me to Australia, my great, great, great grandfather, James Poole, moved to Melbourne, Australia in the 1870s leaving his wife and children in Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK. I would love to discover why James took this journey alone and whether he intended to send for his wife and children later? He died out there in 1882 according to his wife and son's grave headstone in Nab Wood Cemetery, nr Shipley, West Yorkshire.

My great, great Uncle Jack Thompson also emigrated to Australia in the 1920s, so would love to trace his line further, so better get on whilst the records are free.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 20 - The Feeling of Home

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 20 - The Feeling of Home

The feeling of HOME can be explained in a number of ways in my life.

Home is:
  • a place in which I can feel totally relaxed
  • where there is real love with good friends or family - HOME IS WHERE YOUR HEART IS
  • a place where I have history
  • where I physically live

I remember that phase of life when I was a student and lived away from home for most of the year but yet home was definitely where I came to at Christmas and during the holidays, yet when I bought my own place after university that shifted and I struggled to distinguish where HOME was. It was still going home when I went to visit my parents and there was a sense of homecoming yet I was at home in my own house which I had created into being my own space.

I also get a sense of homecoming when I am visiting a place where my ancestors lived, walked and called HOME, whether that's visiting their graves or walking streets on which they walked or lived or worked. It is a real sense of connection with your ancestors and being able to soak up the atmosphere of those places, imagining what they looked like when your ancestors were alive.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 19 - Who Do I Miss?

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 19 - Who Do I Miss?

My paternal grandparents
At Christmas every year I always miss my grandparents who have departed this world. I had the amazing opportunity to grow up with both sets of my grandparents only an hours drive away from where we were living, this meant we spent a lot of great quality time with my grandparents growing up. They all spoilt us rotten and they were really involved with us, wanting to see us grow up and nurturing us along the way, so I miss them incredibly.

My parents, myself, brother and maternal grandparents

My dad's mum was the first grandparent to pass away in October 2006, she was the person who inspired me to start researching my family history and she could tell me tales of many ancestors from the past. I would always ring her and tell her what I had discovered or when I got stuck ask her questions as she would most definitely be able to point me back in the right direction. The Christmas after she passed away we received as a Christmas present or heirloom a few pieces of her jewellery each, which I will always treasure.

Amelie - my niece
My dad's dad has dementia and unfortunately he no longer remembers who I am, so it difficult to visit him often and spend much time with him, as he often tells us to go before we've arrived. I have great memories playing dominoes with him at their house with the roaring open fire burning in the winter. I remember going for walks to the bus stop or the fish shop with him as well.

My mum's parents passed away just a year apart only a year or so after my dad's mum passed away. I miss my maternal grandparents as they were just always there for me. They inspired me and helped me find my way in life, by enabling me to do things in which I may not have had the opportunity to do otherwise. We spent most Christmas's with my maternal grandparents so Christmas's since have never been quite the same. When I was a student my grandmother would always send me back with lots of food and occasionally alcohol!!! I had a great relationship with them and am sad that they never had the opportunity to meet my now husband, as I think they would have loved him and been so happy to see me settled down. I have so many fond memories though and I will never forget them.

The Hogan's
I miss my younger brother and his new wife a lot too as they currently live in Germany with their new baby, Amelie, who I am yet to meet! We are planning to visit them in the next few weeks so I very much look forward to baby cuddles with my first blood niece (as I have a number on my husbands side already). She looks adorable from the photos, but I so miss them all and the fact I cannot visit whenever I want to see them. But I know they're happy and enjoying their life living near the Black Forest in Germany.

I miss my in-laws (parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews) as well, they all live 3-4 hours drive away and we do not get enough opportunities to meet up and visit one another. We try to at least see everyone once a year but it does not always work out. They're such a loving family I had the privilege of marrying into.

I have lots of friends who live far away as well who I miss seeing regularly, especially those friends I have in Brasil from the time I lived there in 2004-2005.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Weekend Family Finds

I have been helping my mum with moving house over the past few months and came across this beautiful jug which she let me bring home with me...

It has a name and year on the front of it 

Mrs Wilcock was my great, great grandmother and guess what yes she lived in Leeds. 

It is beautifully decorated with these painted flowers.

I am guessing it was a wedding present as my great, great grandparents Charles Wilcock and Sarah Ann Holmes AKA Mrs Wilcock got married in 1899 in Hunslet, Leeds, West Yorkshire.

I would love to know the history behind this jug, the amazing thing about this jug is also that it survived!! I have very, very few heirlooms from this side of my family and a lot of this family still remains a mystery...

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 18 - First Present or Gift

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Another really difficult topic, I have no clue what so ever!!! I guess it would have been my first Christmas and I have a feeling I perhaps got a teddy bear (which I still have!) for either my first birthday or Christmas. It is a brown bear which has a white and red striped t'shirt, leg and arm bands. I seem to think my grandparents gave it to me, but could be totally wrong.

As I have so little memories of first presents I thought I would talk a little about "Special presents".

For my 18th or 21st birthday I received a beautiful black leather bound pocket bible with a zip, which I cherish and there is a beautiful message in the front cover from my grandparents. It was only a few years later in which they passed away so that message and the bible is particularly close to my heart.

For my 18th birthday I received a beautiful china pot with a musical lid which is really sweet and again this was a present from my other set of grandparents who are no longer with us and fill me with fond memories, as grandma always loved to buy us girls pretty gifts, things we could cherish.

I have a pot statue of a lady feeding birds in a tree which is mounted on a wooden base, I seem to remember being told that this was a dedication gift, so it may have been one of my first presents.

My grandma left her grandchildren a share of her jewellery, which were given to us the Christmas after she passed away. In my share I have some beautiful old pieces, including my great grandmother's engagement ring and a beautiful purple broach in an old box.

Monday, 6 January 2014

2014 oh, what will you bring?

2014 has crept up me very quickly and silently this year, I had many plans for time for reflection of 2013 and for the future, but life is so busy it has been cast to one side, although I have a few hours of time for reflection now, so here goes...


It has been really fun to see how the blog has developed properly over the last year. It was my New Year's Resolution in 2013 to do at least one blog post a week on this blog, which I have done and seem to have more people actively following me and reading my blog which is really exciting. I am pleased people enjoy my rambling and random research!!! I started with 2 followers at the beginning of the year (my husband and father-in-law!) and how have 18, which is amazing.

It has been nice to follow other genealogy and personal family history blogs as well to gain ideas and knowledge as well as actively see what what is happening on an everyday basis in the world of genealogy. I have started to use BLOGLOVIN' to follow other's blogs.

I had aimed to finish The Davidson Family as a blog page and as a book to give to family members for Christmas but I have failed to meet that deadline with other work and life commitments, but my aim is to sort it for 2014 Christmas!!!! The written work is finished but I realised if I wanted to make it into a proper book, then I needed to properly reference it, so I'm finishing that at the moment which is taking forever. It has been a challenging project which I will be really happy to finish but I have learnt so much by taking that challenge and writing it.

I have loved getting involved with Julie Goucher's, The Book of Me, Written by You and seeing what that brings up, alongside researching and sharing with you all some of the things within Family History which really make me tick, such as Surname Saturday's, some useful tips for beginnings to researching.

Some of my favourite posts from 2013 are:

Towards the end of 2013, I found I was spending so much time blogging that I was not having enough time to finish writing and researching so this is where I can start to tell you about what my resolutions are for family history research and blogging into 2014...


  • My main challenge is to finish The Davidson Family and to have it in a physical book format for the end of the year.
  • I am not going to pressure myself to do a blog post each week, but am going to share when I discover some interesting research, whether that ends up being 3x a week or only once a month, so be it, but I will continue blogging and sharing what I discover.
  • I would like to visit Kew at some point in 2014 but we shall see what becomes of that.
  • I would like to visit a local Family History Fair.
  • Break down lots of BRICK WALLS!
  • Carry on with the Book of Me, Written by You as this is becoming a great way to explore my own personal history and to share it with others.
  • For Christmas I received a beautiful hard bound book called "The Book of Me" (no link to Julie Goucher's the Book of Me, Written by You) but a similar idea which has space for me to record ME now with hints and prompts about me in a physical format which I intend on working my way through slowly. I would to love to be able to put really personal information into the book and treasuring it for my future generations.

The Book of Me - which I look forward to writing in :)

Lastly I want to thank all my regular readers and follows of Ruth's Ancestor's for continuing to read my posts and follow me. I would to hear my from you so feel free to leave comments with any ideas or anything you would like to see covered on here into the future.

Here's to 2014, may it be a great one!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Surname Saturday - Binns

Surname Saturday is a regular blog post in which I will discuss the origins and geography of the surnames which appear in my own family tree.

This week's surname is BINNS.

Variants: Bins, Binnes, Binn, Binz

The surname is derived from the Olde English binn meaning 'manger' or 'bowl'.

The surname could be:
  • Topographical, to describe a person who lived in a hollow or close to a manger
  • Occupational, to describe a person who made mangers or troughs
  • Locational, to describe a person who lived in a farmstead or a lost village or hamlet called Binns
  • Patronymic, from the Middle English given name BINNE or Old English name BYNNI
  • Or, an Anglicised version of the German surname BINZ

(Photo Link - FlickR, Angela (Blondie5000), 21 Nov 2010)
The surname is predominantly located in West Yorkshire around the towns of Haworth, Bradford & Keighley, where there was a small hamlet called High Binns near the village of Oxenhope, West Yorkshire.

The surname is not a common surname is predominantly from Yorkshire. In 1891, 71% of the Binns' families were residing in Yorkshire and 16% in Lancashire, with a small scattering of the others around the country. 

Based on the high percentage of Binns' families in West Yorkshire it is therefore not a surprise to tell you that the Binns's in my family tree are from Cowling nr Keighley in West Yorkshire. My great, great grandmother was Grace Ellen Binns born in c1869 nr Shipley, West Yorkshire. Her father John Binns was born in nr Cowling, West Yorkshire and was a weaver, as was his own father, David Binns c1816, also from Cowling, West Yorkshire.

Information from: