Saturday, 31 May 2014

May's Interesting Genealogical Blog Finds...

No Story Too Small - The Twist In The Tree: Martha Harris Orr Starkey

An interesting tale of how you can be related to both the husbands of your 3x great grandmother!!!

Wait But Why - Your Life in Weeks

Have you ever looked at what your life may look like in weeks? It is quite a fascinating read to discover that each week in our lives is a diamond and how precious life is...

I love musing over maps (old and new), but this blog post explains really clearly how using old maps can really benefit your family research.

The British GENES Blog - Why not keep a diary? In pen and ink...

A challenge to keep a diary for future perhaps the old fashioned way.
Some great tips for how you might utilise the Evernote app to the best of your ability and aid your organisation!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Lives of the First World War - Who Are You Remembering?

With the centenary of World War I beginning this year, a new website called Lives of the First World War has been set up by D.C. Thomson Family History Ltd in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum to remember those who served in World War I.

The website is designed so that people can personally add their own stories, facts and images to the service men who are already listed on the site, so that they can be remembered.

Alongside this new website and my £1 month subscription to as well as my regular subscription to it has encouraged me to research my ancestors who fought in the First World War and discover their stories.

My great grandfathers who I am remembering are:

  • Private Harold Vernon Poole - West Yorkshire Regiment #24181
  • Private George Henry Presswood - South Staffordshire Regiment #45098
  • Private Wilfred Sutcliffe - West Yorkshire Regiment #23963

I am going to write a blog post about each of them over the next few months...

The website seems a great way for people to share and remember their ancestors but I have been slightly frustrated with the website for if you do not have an up to date web browser you cannot upload images to the site!!! I eventually had to downloaded the new Google Chrome just to upload the images I wanted to.

BUT, who are you remembering?

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 38 - When I grow up I want to be...

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 38 - When I grow up I want to be...

When I was growing up I don't think there was one thing which I was set on being when I grew up, I probably went through phases, some of these were:
  • to be a German teacher like my mum
  • to be a clarinet/music teacher, as I loved my clarinet lessons and making music
  • to be a primary school teacher
  • to play in the Halle Orchestra and be a professional clarinettist
  • to be a A&E nurse or doctor as I was inspired by Casualty (the TV series) for a while
  • to be a police officer, as I was inspired by Heartbeat

I became an Optometrist which is very, very different to any of the above. I think as I grew up I was seeing things around which looked interesting, so having parents who were teachers was quite a pull in, although they and my own teachers were the ones who put me off this fad and I am sooooo glad that they de-suaded me from this career as it seems to be a very intense job these days. It was what I saw and watched on TV which also inspired me to do certain other jobs, which I'm sure the TV does not really show the reality of those professions.

I guess as I was nearing the end of school and thinking much more about what I wanted to do as a teenager, I was drawn to a healthcare profession due to my love of Biology as a subject at school, alongside a few inspirational teachers. Optometry in the prospectuses sounded really interesting and covered the science and maths subjects which I excelled at and then I became an Optometrist.

I am still inspired by music and when I see an orchestra perform it makes me want to join in and be more musical but for now, that will remain a hobby.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

George's Accident, the Newspaper Reports

I have been targeting the newspaper collections on FindMyPast as well since subscribing to a month subscription for just £1.

There was a specific newspaper report which I wanted to find and that was one in relation to my great great grandfather, George Presswood (or Prestwood or Preswood). George Presswood was born in 1858 in Retford, Nottinghamshire to George Presswood and Mary nee Wright. In 1861 he was living at Lea, Lincolnshire with his parents. His siblings who were born after 1861 upto 1866 were all born in Lea. In 1871 the family is residing at Kexby, a small village about 2-3 miles east of Lea. But the newspaper report in question is dated 7th October 1870, when a young 11 year old farm boy is taking a horse to the blacksmiths in Lea and it takes fright and young George is found in a poor state.

Newspaper Report from the Lincolnshire Chronicle 7th October 1870

George must have made a full recovery by the 2nd April 1871 when the census was taken as he was living back with his parents at Kexby, working as a farmer's day boy. George lived a full life and died nearly 60 years later at the age of 70 years old, having worked as a farm and agricultural labourer for all of his life.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 37 - Feeding the Ducks or Animals

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 37 - Feeding the Ducks or Animals

I remember really fondly visiting the local park to feed the ducks in the duck pond (which is now looking a bit worse for wear and I've not seen any ducks on for years!). We would take the leftover crusts or stale slices of bread.

A visit to the park in itself was an exciting event. The primary school I went to was in the grounds of our local park so after being picked up from school a visit to the playground or the ducks was occasionally on the agenda, especially if it was a day in which my grandparents picked us up from school. Grandad would ride our bikes across to the park for us.

I also fondly remember a family holiday in Scotland in which there was a horse in the field at the bottom of the garden of the rented cottage we were staying in. We fed it sugar cubes daily.

I also remember as a student walking along the canal from Hebden Bridge to Todmorden with some friends and being chased by the swans which was a bit more scary.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Merchant Navy Ancestors

As I blogged a few days ago, FindMyPast (FMP) had an offer of a month subscription for £1 so I had to take advantage of such a great offer, but what have I found with my subscription?

The main target of my FMP research was the Merchant Navy collection which has been on their site for a little while now. When it was first put on I was really interested in researching the collection as I was aware that my Redwood ancestors were in the Merchant Navy. What was the Merchant Navy?

The merchant navy was a register of all the ships and seamen employed in shipping goods. In times of conflict the merchant navy would be called upon to assist as necessary, the most famous event in which this occurred was in the evacuation of Dunkirk in May & June 1940.

My ancestors who were merchant seamen were the Redwood's, who lived on the Kent coast in Herne. My 3x great grandmother, Jane Redwood moved to London and married John Davidson (see The Davidson Family for more information about their story). The Merchant Seamen whom I have discovered records for are Jane's 5 brothers: Stephen, William, George, Alfred & Jesse.

Some of the records are a bit sparse of information but a few of them give descriptions of her brother's appearances...

George Redwood

Stephen Redwood

William Redwood

...I find descriptions help you imagine what your ancestors may have looked like, fair and auburn with blue/grey eyes. I am blonde with blue eyes so I wonder if it was this side of the family I got these genes from? They were also all quite short, but perhaps that is a generational thing, I wonder what the average height of a man in 1850 was?

What records or collections have you discovered recently?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

1 month subscription for £1

FindMyPast are trying to coax their subscribers back with a month subscription for £1 with the code GENES1POUND
You must subscribe before midnight tonight though.

I must admit I have fallen for this offer and we'll see what interesting things I discover through the subscription for this month.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 36 - My Year

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 36 - My Year

So, which year in my life (so far) was MY YEAR, the year in which I look back and see as the happiest, most special and treasured?

There are many periods in my life which I would say were "MY Special moments" but picking one year which was the happiest and most treasured is quite difficult. 

I am going to say summer/autumn 2004 to summer/autumn 2005 was the happiest and most treasured, although it has to be said 2014 is becoming "A very INTERESTING YEAR" but much more about that at a later date!

So, what was it that happened in 2004-2005 that makes that the MY YEAR?

Summer 2004, I left 6th form college, which I loved my time there but it was quite stressful with all the coursework and exams...but I was beginning to discover who I really was and able to start discovering much more about myself as I left college and stepped out into the big wide world of life...

My Action Team to Brazil
I was really privileged to be able to take a gap year which started in Sept 2004, I went on a program called Action Teams by a Christian charity, BMS World Mission. As part of the program I spent 6 months with a team of 4 young people living overseas in Brazil. It was a really eye-opening year to learn so much about the world, other cultures and more than anything learning huge amounts about who I was. I still keep in contact with the family I lived with in Brazil and also my British team-mates, Alison, Scott and Jennie. I still regularly talk about my time spent in Brazil and look back on my time their with great fondness. The whole experience has planted seeds into the rest of my life, which are still growing. (You can see a few of my photos of Brazil HERE)

In the period leading up to leaving the UK, I spent the summer working and fundraising, but it was the first time in my life that I realised how much I meant to the other people in my life at the time, people in my church fellowship, my school friends and even more to my family. I began to realise people loved me and were sad to see me leave on my adventure of a lifetime.

In returning to the UK and finishing my gap year, I then prepared for the next big phase of life and the beginnings of university, which in itself was a very, very exciting period of new change, building new friendships and the beginnings of my career. Of those first friends I met at university, I am still in close contact with many of them and am also married to one of them.

Now, we've focussed on MY YEAR, what about the YEAR which was NOT MY YEAR?

Again a difficult decision, as there have been many phases of life which were tough and even though 2014 looks to be a really happy year, this beginning of this year has also been one of the hardest years of my life as well.

But, looking back I think one of the hardest years of my life was possibly my final year of university and early days of my first full time permanent job in 2008

The last family photos I have of my grandparents with us all
It was a year in which I had a lot of hard things thrown at me, alongside working my butt off to get a decent grade in my degree and massive changes of life, from being a student to a full time employee.

In early 2008, my grandmother passed away in the middle of some of my university finals and then just over a year later my grandfather passed away as well. My grandfather was very partially sighted for a time I was the closest relative (geographically) to my grandfather and spent a lot of time with him in that last year of his life after my grandmother passed away. I did love visiting him and spending those hours with him, but I found it very hard to live a busy life alongside this. I was studying really hard for my finals and writing my dissertation. After I finished university in the summer, I started my pre-registration year of my career which involved working 6 days a week with a 30 mile commute and more study out of work. During those first few months my grandfather fell very ill and was hospitalised about 100 miles from home, so my mother and I would make the trip weekly to visit him during those last months. There were also other emotional problems going on in my life, so it was majorly hectic and a year of massive change and busy-ness!!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Historic discoveries on my doorstep... Tong Village & Fulneck's Moravian Settlement

I love local, social & family history...

As I was looking for walks in my local area to try and improve my fitness levels, I discovered a walk on the AA walks website called Tong & Fulneck's Moravian Settlement.

Tong is a village about 5 miles south west of Bradford. It is a beautiful little village with a church, pub sweet cottages, farms, Tong Hall (the manor house), hotel, ice cream parlour, farm shop, a cricket ground and large garden centre on the outskirts. It has always been a small place that inspires me with interest for 2 reasons:

  1. My 5x great grandmother, Agnes Mitchell, was born in Tong and baptised at St James church in 1784.
  2. It is a beautiful quaint little village in the countryside between two large cities (Bradford & Leeds), yet it has managed to keep it's historic feel and green fields.

In doing some recent reading about Tong Village, here are a few things I have discovered:
  • "Tong" is derived from the Old English tang meaning fork, probably deriving from the fact that Tong is situated between two valleys (Pudsey Beck and Cockersdale) and the fork in the becks.
  • St James chapel, is a 12th century building on the remains of an earlier chapel indicating that Tong was probably a pre-Conquest settlement.
  • Tong Hall is a 17th century manor house which is also probably on the site of an earlier building.
  • The Lord of the Manor discouraged new developments to prevent over population which is probably one of the vital reasons why the village is still a village with surrounding farms.

But going back to the walk, what was "Fulneck's Moravian Settlement"? I had never heard of it...

Fulneck's Moravian Church
The AA website informed me that the Moravians were "...Pre-reformation dissenters from the Roman Catholic Church..." who came to establish a community in West Yorkshire, which was initially named Lamb's Hill and later became Fulneck.

WOW...that was a something on my doorstep which I never knew about!! 

The Moravians were the first Protestant church in Europe which began at the end of the 14th century in Bohemia and Moravia - the people wanted to worship God in their native tongue & not Latin and adopted a doctrine of "justification by grace through faith alone". They started sending out missionaries in the early 18th century, one of these early Moravian mission settlements was in Fulneck. 

Fulneck Moravian Settlement
I wanted to know about this group of people and their settlement, as well as to do this walk and visit Fulneck...

In doing some more reading about Fulneck, this is what I discovered:

  • The land was given by Benjamin Ingham (an evangelical Anglican clergyman) to Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendork (a Moravian Bishop) to establish a Moravian settlement in 1744.
  • John and Charles Wesley (who began the Methodist church in the UK) were initially associated with the Moravian Society in London.
  • The school which was built as part of the community is now a well known public school.

My husband and I decided to do the walk this weekend, which we thoroughly enjoyed despite the occasional heavy rain showers and I think the landscape and views from the Moravian settlement have not changed at all in the nearly 300 years since the Moravians first settled there.

Information from:
Wikipedia - Tong Vilage
The AA - Tong & Fulneck's Moravian Settlement
Wikipedia - Moravian Church
Wikipedia - Fulneck Moravian Church

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 35 - Aunts & Uncles

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 35 - Aunts & Uncles

Let's start with my blood relatives, I have 3 blood related uncles:
  • Uncle Grahame, he is my dad's elder brother and has been married to my Auntie Hilary since long before I was born.
  • Uncle Andrew D, he is my dad's younger brother.
  • Uncle Andrew S, he is my mum's younger brother who married later in life, so I have never really called her Auntie Sue, but she is an aunt as she is married to my uncle.

Growing up my aunts and uncles lived quite far away, so we perhaps only saw them once a year, if we were lucky. I do remember spending time with my dad's family (aunts, uncles, cousins etc) often at New Year, all crowded around my grandparents roaring open fire, playing cards or dominoes with my grandfather, uncles, parents and cousins.

I had a huge number of great aunts and uncles, but did not know them all well. The ones I remember spending time with on a regular basis were:
  • Auntie Kathleen and Uncle Arthur - Auntie Kath would never forget anyones birthday and loves writing letters to us all even now. She loves to know what we're all doing with our lives.
  • Auntie Aileen - was a spinster, who died when I was only 7 years old. My dad spent a lot of time with her growing up and so has many fond memories of her, which he has shared. I remember visiting Auntie Aileen in hospital on Sunday afternoons when I was young, she gave me a small holdall bag keyring, which I have always treasured.
  • Auntie Dulcie - who was also a spinster, lived not far from my grandparents so would come and see us if we were visiting. I remember as a young child visiting her house and she gave me an owl soft toy, which I still also treasure.
  • Auntie Brenda and Uncle Brian also lived not far from my grandparents so we saw them semi-regularly at family gatherings. I was also a bridesmaid for their daughter when she married. More recently she has been a great help in providing information to help with my family history research.
  • Auntie Kath and Uncle Jim - we did not see often but received regular birthday and Christmas wishes from them, again more recently Auntie Kath has been able to help in providing me with some family history stories and information.

As we did not live locally to our extended family, we saw more of good friends of my parents. As far as I can remember there is only one couple who I called Auntie and Uncle - Auntie Penny and Uncle Brian - they are great friends to my parents and as a child we also spent a lot of time with them when my parents were working. Even though I now live further away I can always pop into their house and feel at home when I am passing by.

I have really fond memories of all my aunts and uncles, whether close or distant blood related or not and I will always cherish those memories I have of them in my heart.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

April Interesting Genealogical Blog Finds...

The Independant - Britain's Endangered Names

What names are beginning to become extinct in the UK?

Worldwide Genealogy - A Genealogical Collaboration - The Little Things Matter

"Take a step back and focus on those living family members..."

Heritage Happens - So... what did I get in the mail?

A lovely gift from a distant cousin, sent from an ancestral home.

One Rhode Island Family - 10 Genealogical Things I Do With My Smart Phone

How to use your smart phone in genealogy.

A great blog post about names and their multiple variant spellings.