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Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List.

As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets longer and longer and duplicated and eventually becomes a complete mess, or mine was, and I have no doubt it is the same for everyone else. Organised folk will put them into folders which in turn become more and more confused. The result is that you forget what is there and wander round adding to lists which become even longer and thus even less useful especially as you inadvertently add a link in the wrong folder! For example, I seem to have a Wikipedia page about the 15th King’s Hussars alongside Peter Crouch’s Podcast and a free Crochet pattern for a poppy.

(This was the point where I stopped to sort out my own bookmarks – the Chrome extension Bookmarks clean-up helped to speed things up here, finding and deleting duplicates and identifying broken links.)

Various people in the early online genealogical community quickly realised that they needed centralising and so sites like Cyndi’s List were born – now probably the longest list of genealogical links in existence. There are many other valuable collections of lists, and magazines and bloggers often publish their top personal top ten sites and periodically collect them up to a helpfully categorised round 100. However, I am not going to reinvent the wheel by listing my own favourite sites. Generally, I tend to collect links which are specific to my own research rather than the general collections of records, so they make for an eclectic mix gleaned from google searches over many years.

Happy Birthday to the Family Tree Forum Reference Library.

While writing this article, I took a different direction as I realised that exactly 10 years ago , we were busy remodelling the Family Tree Forum Reference Library.

In September 2006, Family Tree Forum “opened its doors” and the boards quickly became crowded with recommendations for websites on a wide variety of topics as well as a rapidly growing accumulation of advice and wisdom from the old hands at genealogical research.

A group of likely victims was approached to help with the organisation of these threads and in March 2007, the first faltering steps were taken in programming the pages in Mediawiki. None of the people who began creating the pages had ever used this method of coding before, but it soon became second nature for them, others joined them and eventually the reference threads were all transferred to their new home.

The Wiki system worked well until the software no longer maintained a link to the forum software. As vBulletin had just brought out a CMS system it was decided that FTF would make use of it and so, almost exactly 10 years ago, every link on every page of the Wiki was being checked and gradually transferred to the new set up which was then launched on 18th February 2010.

We do our best to keep the links current and occasionally will check the pages for broken links, but with 4500 pages we tend to wait for somebody to let us know about broken links and add new ones as we or the members come across them. The Reference Library is open to everyone on the internet, not just members, and we hope that even if they do not join us, people find what they are looking for. If you have come across this post then please, have a look at the library and maybe you will want to stay and join the forum too.

My first genealogical conference

My first genealogical conference

Generally the hobby of genealogy can be rather solitary and you spend much of your time hunting down dead people and the live people you meet up with are cyber acquaintances with strange usernames. Apart from a small local family history fair and a U3A talk in the...

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Surprise match

Surprise match

Since ThruLines appeared, a small group of descendants of James Budden and Mary Littlefield, my great x5 grandparents, has been building up. The Buddens are a West Sussex family and if I have the right marriage, Mary is from Hambledon just over the border into...

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Genetic memories …. or just coincidence?

Genetic memories …. or just coincidence?

The picture above is taken looking west from fields in Yapton. The spire in the distance is Chichester Cathedral and if you stand in exactly the right place the spire can be seen on a clear day. It is about 12 miles as the crow flies. At least one of my ancestors must...

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DNA and other musings

DNA and other musings

Ever since I first started my website in 2006, I had intended to include a sort of blog. Setting up the site while researching my family history, getting involved with FamilyTreeForum, relocating from Belgium to West Sussex and the incredibly fast moving world of...

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Am I a name collector?

Am I a name collector?

It's my tree and that is how I like it. ​The other day I saw somebody commenting that they would never bother to even look at a tree with fewer than 2000 people. This was in a Facebook group where the central theme was DNA. Others won't look at a tree with high...

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AncestryDNA changes

​In March (2019), things began to go awry on the Ancestry site to the accompaniment of much wailing and gnashing of teeth on social media as new features appeared and disappeared, worked and then stopped working on some browsers. A good sign that we are about to gain...

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Test the siblings if you can.

The world of DNA testing for genealogy has been moving rapidly and I have been trying to keep up! Strong marketing by Ancestry with regular reductions in the cost of tests means that they now have over 14 million kits so I am gradually adding to my list of matches. It...

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First thoughts and experience ( or lack of ….) with DNA

First thoughts and experience ( or lack of ….) with DNA

In October 2015 I finally decided to see what an Ancestry DNA test might show. I had vaguely started a one name study of my maiden name as we have been trying to join all the isolated pockets of the name together. I had a little luck and identified a match who from...

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Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

St Mary’s Church, Clymping

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but decided that transport links weren’t going to be too good. I knew Chichester already and in the and plumped for a smallish village between Littlehampton and Bognor Regis, It had a regular bus route (I’m a wimpy driver and who on earth invented roundabouts?) along the coast, a couple of shops, a hairdresser and village hall as well as post office and surgery (and good broadband). I found a house and I settled down to continue my family history research.

More and more was coming on line in 2008 and I started to revisit people I had tentatively found but been unable to go further with. One was the first husband of Elizabeth Adams, my paternal great great grandmother.

I had found Charles Reed my ancestor already and had only recently managed to work out their marriage. I knew their places of birth from census returns but it had taken some serious cross matching with census returns, FreeBMD and GRO references to get the correct certificate for Charles Reed and an Elizabeth! I still remember that sense of satisfaction when I found it.

William Cheesman. St Mary’s Church, Clymping

She gave her birthplace as a different but close parish around the West Sussex/East Hampshire borders every time, he was from Chichester, but they married in London in 1857. It was my first second marriage certificate and there it was – Elizabeth Cheeseman formerly Adams – and it was the same surname of a visitor to the family.

Finding the marriage helped me find her location in the 1851 census. It was less than two miles from where I was sitting! She was with her mother-in-law, Martha; both widowed and they were listed as laundresses, hmm.

Now I knew that she had been married before, I found her first marriage in August 1850 very quickly but was unable to find her first husband’s death for a couple of years even with a short timeline of August 1850 to April 1851. There were several possible candidates but I left it alone for a while. Then the British Newspapers went online and I eventually found his death notice in a Hampshire paper. He had died in Portsea in the January and his body was to be buried in Climping. Climping churchyard is not far from me. The SFHG burial search confirmed that he was indeed buried there. I decided to visit the churchyard and found that not only was he buried there but his headstone is still there alongside that of his mother – Martha Cheesman nee Till, whose mother was born in .. .. the village where I live.

When looking up the references today for this article I found a reference to an Elizabeth Cheesman who was arrested for stealing four pairs of stockings in August 1851. She was sent for trial and was sentenced to 3 weeks hard labour for larceny, presumably in Portsmouth Borough Gaol which was the one in operation at that time. There were other Cheesman families in Portsmouth at the time so not necessarily “my” Elizabeth at all but this will give me something else to research.,

My investigations into the Cheesman family have also led me to some very enjoyable art workshops in Littlehampton, but that is another story: 1 and 2 Pier Road. Littlehampton

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Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

…….. a light hearted look at genetic heritage.

Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham!

The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being instructed to “Sssssssssssshhhhhhh” as it was time for listening to the match reports and filling in the Pools coupons. I learned a lot about football but wasn’t especially interested. I was not encouraged to speak during the programme, never mind ask questions and we didn’t go to watch matches, we lived too far way from any top clubs.

I was sixteen when the Football World Cup was played, and won, in England, I was home for the holidays and I have a memory of missing all the England goals because I took a trip to the toilet and England scored, so after that it became a running joke as it was suggested that I need to “leave the room” in order for England to score. I don’t actually remember  much about the games in truth, but I do remember Booby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters and that was the start of my interest in football and more specifically West Ham.

On 4th January 1975, my friends who were Southampton supporters managed to get tickets to The Dell for a fourth round FA Cup match and I was invited along for my first taste of standing on the terraces. We stood right behind the goal and I had strict instructions to not cheer when West Ham scored! I do remember that Bobby Gould was injured (broke his leg?) but carried on playing until half time and we won – 1:2 (Southampton football club: record v West Ham United).

On the staff where I was teaching was another West Ham supporter and on the Monday? after we won the FA Cup that season, Derek got a group of us together and we travelled up to Upton Park after work. It was a testimonial for a groundsman I think. The victorious team from the previous Saturday paraded the cup and then played a team of legends – including Bobby Moore who had just played for the losing finalist, Fulham, on the Saturday. I remember at half time the West Ham players changed round so that Mervyn Day instead of being in goal played centre  forward. My other memory of my one trip to Upton Park was that everything was concrete, tatty and painted claret and blue, including the Ladies’ toilets. (1975 FA Cup heroes.) By the time they were playing in Europe the following season, I was actually working in Belgium but was unable to make the most of it and only got to see them play on the TV.

I later married a Spurs supporter, and we had some competitive fun over the years and now when we beat them I still have a quiet cheer and know that Kevin would have been distinctly unimpressed. Supporting West Ham was always good for a laugh as a teacher as none of the boys could quite understand why I didn’t support Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool depending on who was the current league leader, but I did find at least one fellow female, Joanne, supporting them, who kindly brought me a rosette back when she went to watch them one holiday.

When I returned to live in the UK, we ended up living half way between Southampton and Brighton, just a little too far to easily get to see them at Home, so I was very pleased when not only did West Ham get promoted back to the Premier League in 2012 but so did Southampton and we were able to go and watch them play at St Mary’s – but again, only cheering inside. We went to watch the athletics once so that I could see the London Stadium and of course I posed in front of Booby Moore’s statue when I went to Wembley to watch England beat Croatia. (I will never forget the roar when the winning goal went in!)

Until I started my research I had no idea of any Essex connections and was quietly amused when it turned out that my paternal grandmother was born in Walthamstow – in the West Ham registration district. Her roots weren’t there, her father was from Kidderminster and her mother from Glasgow. My other grandmother did not have her roots in Essex either but she was born in Stanford-le-Hope. Her parents were born in Buckinghamshire and Gloucestershire but had ended up in Essex when their father/guardian became the tenant at Aveley Hall following a strategic move after his marriage to his first wife’s sister.

I have found it quite funny that three times now, I have made contact with DNA matches , found them on social media and spotted that they are also West Ham fans, so maybe becoming a supporter is nothing to do with a teenage crush on Bobby Moore but it is somewhere in my genes.







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Week 6: Same Name

Week 6: Same Name

Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her husband Seth had already had a son named Seth with his first wife who had also died.

I have been interested in Jessie ever since I first came across her in my research. Maybe because I am supposed to be “musical” and she was a “professor” of music but mainly because I wanted to know how she somehow ended up in a Yorkshire pub far from her roots in Surrey. With the help of newspaper searches, it is possible to get some idea of her life apart from the bare bones of census returns.

Eldest daughter

Jessie was the fifth child of James and Jessamine Lewcock. They had had four sons, Kenric Mansell, Lewis James, George Albert (my great x3 grandfather) and Henry, then three daughters, Jessie, Agnes Mary and Alice.

James and Jessamine were bakers and confectioners with premises in Borough, Farnham in Surrey. Jessamine’s family, the Harts, owned property in Farnham as did James and his sister Ann who had married John Nash, auctioneer.

Borough, Farnham 1822. Painting by John Hassell.

The family were probably a typical mid-Victorian middle-class family. James was listed as Hon Sec. Farnham Mechanics Institute in Mirror Monthly Magazine Jul-Dec 1848. He was an ornithologist and also a taxidermist, while his sons George and Henry seemed to have been more interested in bugs and beetles and were competitive chess and draughts players, as was George’s son, Ernest. We know from a descendant of Agnes that the girls played at least piano and harp as did their daughters.

James died of Scarlatina in July 1848 and Jessamine was left with a business and 6 children aged 11 and under, Alice had died earlier in the year at 6 months old. Jessamine didn’t hang around and married Edmund Mason, 18 years her junior, within the year. Edmund died 4 years later.

Only the three youngest children were still with Jessamine in Farnham in 1861, living in Castle Street. Henry was 18, Jessie 17 and Agnes 15. Lewis had vanished altogether, Kenric went to sea sometime between 1851 and 1854 and then also vanished. In 1855 George was a printer’s apprentice in Chatham – he is my great x2 grandfather.

In 1871, Jessamine, Henry and Agnes were in Clarence Street, Kingston Upon Thames but Jessie was initially nowhere to be found. Henry appeared in Kingston on Thames in Clarence Street in 1867, listed in the Post Office directory as a draper and Henry and Agnes are at the same address with their mother. Jessamine died in 1876 when her residence was given in Thames Street. Henry married later in that year and Agnes married Henry Page in 1882.

Finding Jessie

While I was tracking down Jessamine’s offspring after 1861, using the “less is more” principle, which incidentally worked much better in the early days of searching Ancestry, I came across a Jessie born Farnham in 1844 listed at the Royal Oak, Eccleshill. I then found the same family in 1881, where Jessie was listed as a Professional pianoist [sic]. The husband Seth, was described as a general dealer and they were living at 2 Bank, Eccleshill. Then in 1891, when they were living at 94 Victoria Road, Eccleshill, she was just listed as a Professional and her daughter Grace was described as a Musician. Seth described himself as a jeweller (watch & clock repairs). In 1901, they were living at 44 Dudley Hill Road, Eccleshill. Seth was a jeweller (gold etc.) and Jessie wasn’t given an occupation.

I was pretty sure that this was my Jessie, which was eventually confirmed by their marriage certificate. They had been married at the Register Office in Bradford in February 1870. He was a widower aged 28 and a beer retailer and she was described as a Professor of Music aged 25. Her address was given as The Hive Inn, Croft Street, Bradford, his as the Royal Oak, Eccleshill.

© Crown copyright.

By 1911, it is Seth who is listed as a piano player, and Jessie again wasn’t given an occupation. They were living with their oldest son and his family in Birkshall Lane, Bradford.

I was given a lot of help early in my research into Jessie and her family by Margaret, a descendant of Seth’s brother, and it was she who told me about his first marriage and the babies dying and some detail about the surviving children, several years before I was able to find the same information online, one reason why I hadn’t needed to look at the North family until recently but I was very struck by Seth losing all four babies named after him so decided to return to their story and was able to add more detail, thanks to the online newspapers.

When Seth met Jessie, he was widowed with a small son, Frederick. He had lost his wife Mary in February 1867, and the first baby named Seth had died in the same year. Margaret told me that Mary had a son William, who was born 3 July 1864, the year before Seth married Mary Ayres – his name was given as Frederick William North but no father was mentioned. Seth seemed to have accepted him as his own according to the censuses. Mary’s death was reported in the Bradford Observer on 14th February.

Why Bradford?

Searching the British Newspapers Archive through Findmypast, I came across some clues about her and maybe how she finished up in Bradford. I assume that she was earning a living, or had to start doing so, and used her music to pursue a career.

These days, unless you play an orchestral instrument and are good enough to get regular orchestral work, earning a living as a musician is precarious to say the least, so most professional players have to give lessons, especially pianists. However, in Victorian times when Jessie was earning her living, there were many, many more opportunities for pianists to perform professionally. This was the height of the music hall and most towns and cities would have a tavern, theatre or music hall with live musical entertainment. Central to the programmes were the singing and especially the comic song.

By 1875 there were 375 music halls in Greater London, which meant a lot more performers were required. Throughout the 1860s it became more common for women to perform in the halls. Performing was a means of escape and independence for working-class women. Many women achieved, if not stardom, a decent living on the halls. [V&A]

“The Era” has hundreds of advertisements for Lady pianist and vocalists all over the country at this time. Many of the adverts mention that the performers would be living in or other accommodation would be provided. We will probably never know when or why Jessie started earning a living as a musician but there was one advertisement in “The Era” which might have been typical of the reason she went to Bradford – in 1867 she would have been 23. ( “The Era” 26 May 1867) and co-incidentally it was also the year her brother appeared in the Kingston Directory. Perhaps she left home to follow her musical career when they left Farnham?

 “The Era” 26 May 1867

Or maybe she answered this advertisement which also appeared in The Era?

 “The Era” 24 October 1869

Just after Jessie’s marriage, an advertisement for the Beehive Concert Hall in Croft Street appeared in the Bradford Telegraph on the 10th March 1870.

BEE HIVE CONCERT HALL, CROFT STREET, MANCHESTER ROAD, BRADFORD. Proprietor, T MUSCHAMP. Open every Evening with a first-class company. MISS ADA BLANDFORD, Pianist and vocalist. Wines and Ales of the best quality.

The reviews below give some idea of the type of entertainment on offer.

Leeds Times 27 August 1870
The Bee Hive Concert Hall, Croft Street, Manchester Road, has continued successful since the last notice, and the proprietor spares no expense in keeping everything in the best order. Miss Marian Taylor, as the pianist and excellent vocalist, still continues to give unmixed satisfaction; while Mr. Santon, the comique, and Madame Valeria , the ballad vocalist. Have both evoked no slight degree of admiring applause.

Leeds Times 03 December 1870
The Bee Hive Concert Hall, Croft Street, has also been well patronised, as Miss Blandford’s finished vocalism and accompaniments on the pianoforte continue to be received with as much zest as ever, while the duetts[sic] of the same lady, with the newly engaged Miss Boardman, with accompaniments by Mr. Vassalli have given more than usual pleasure. The rival ventriloquists, Clayton, and now the formidable Mr. Taylor, the comic and sentimental vocalist, have continued their career in the cellar and among the chimney post without leaving the room


Once married, the female performers generally had to stop working but in 1875 and 1876, advertisements appeared in The Era with the contact address being given as Seth at the Royal Oak. If this was Jessie, I wonder if she found work from them?

The Era 04 April 1875
A LADY is open to an Engagement as PIANISTE. Can play First-class Overtures, Read at Sight, Accustomed to Concert Business. Apply, A.B., care of Seth North, Royal Oak, Eccleshill, near Leeds, Yorkshire.

The Era 27 February 1876
WANTED, by a Lady PIANISTE, an Engagement. Accustomed to Concert Business, Overtures, Operatic Selections, and read at sight. Address, A. B., care of Mr Seth North, Royal Oak Inn, Eccleshill, near Leeds, Yorkshire.

I expect it was likely that she gave piano lessons. By this time, pianos were more common and so piano teachers, mainly female, were in demand.

As the appeal of learning an instrument increased, the numbers of teachers rose rapidly. The 1871 census showed 18,600 individuals purporting to be musicians with further rapid increases evident during the remainder of the century. It is likely that at least a third of these were involved in teaching and that over half of all teachers were female.  To satisfy the increasing demand for piano skills there was a complementary expansion in the number of music teachers. It is thought that at the end of the eighteenth century there were about 2,000 professional musicians in Britain who both performed and taught. By the last decade of the nineteenth century, women piano teachers were even to be found in what Percy Scholes refers to as ‘the lower ranks of society’.
[The Social History of Piano teaching]

Bradford Daily Telegraph, 1899

A brief report appeared in the Leeds Mercury in December 1912 which reported  that “A man named Seth North, aged seventy two years of Killinghall Road, Bradford” had been changing his shirt in front of the fire and the garment “became ignited” and he was taken to the Royal Infirmary suffering from burns. Hopefully the burns were not too severe, as he did not die until 1922 in Prestwich, Lancashire.

Jessie died from heart problems, aged 72, in the Workhouse Hospital, Horton on the 24th June 1915. The informant was her daughter-in-law Phoebe, wife of Lewis. The workhouse seems to have been the same road as the Bee-Hive Concert Hall had been so she had come full circle.

I often wonder if she or her descendants had stayed in touch with the Lewcocks. Until I started my research I had never heard of her but my great grandfather who would have been her nephew was in Leeds after WW1 until his death in and his son, my grandfather, and his family lived and worked in Headingley for a few years and his sister also had connections with Yorkshire..

Jessie’s children

Lewis the oldest child, born in April 1871, was a cotton mill hand, listed as a wool washer in 1911. He married Phoebe Watson in Pudsey in 1896 and they went on to have 5 children. One of his great grandchildren, descended from his daughter Annie, is a DNA match to me, my brother, our father and his sister. Annie and her younger sister Elizabeth had emigrated to Australia. He appears in the 1939 register and died in 1946.

Grace was also a musician and later married a singer. She sadly lost a son in 1896. “Many years ago my father gave me some information he had noted from a grave book and in the grave containing Seth’s parents there was a child aged 0 who was buried on 26th December 1896. I always wondered who he was so I obtained his birth certificate and he was born to Grace Agnes on 11 March 1896. She was still living at home with Seth and Jessie. He was called Edmund Francis and no father is mentioned. Grace Agnes was a harpist. “(Information from Margaret.)

I don’t know where Grace Agnes was in the 1901 census but she wasn’t at home with Seth and Jessie that night and married Herbert Parker later that year. In the meantime she had given birth to her second child, Percy so I am assuming that she was somewhere in Cheshire where Percy was born. Grace married Herbert Parker on 30th December 1901. She was a spinster and he was a widower.  According to the 1911 census, their son Percy was born in 1900. He had been registered as Percy Parker North. Herbert died in Cheshire in 1930 and Grace in 1958.

© Crown copyright.

Seth North

I have also been able to use the British Newspapers to find more information about Seth himself – he sounds like a real character!


Booth’s Doorstans, in t’Hall Ings

Where Booth lived in t’Hall Ings two of his windows looked onto same. One of which was used by his wife for the sale of thrummetty. The other was his sitting room. The other window was his sitting room where Booth and two local parsons used to meet on Sunday nights and their names were Ruddock and Howe, the latter was a schoolmaster. An amusing thing occurred on

The Royal Oak , Eccleshill

Feast Sundays, where Henry Ibbott, of Bolton, a temperance reformer used to hold public meetings on t’doorstans, while he spoke in front of the window in which were sat the three old cronies with their long churchwardens, their glasses of home-brew and dried oat-cake with butter and cheese, while Martha, Booth’s wife, used to come into the room with the red-hot poker and dip it in the beer, “just to tak’ t’cowd off”. Whilst Ruddock brought out his snuff case had a good snook and handed it to the other two to help him in snooking.

“Shall we gather at the river.”

A most amusing thing at these meetings was that every year for quite a long period a man attended who lived down the Bank at Eccleshill, of the name of Seth North. Seth used to go from pub to pub, along with his daughter who played the harp. At the temperance meeting, he always asked a question or two, and Ibbott who was for the United Kingdom Alliance, after giving an address on the particular value of drinking water, invited questions. North spoke out, “Mr. Chairman, gentlemen, one and all, will you allow me to put this question to the speaker: I want to know, if water rots the boots, what effect has it on the coating of the stomach?” Whilst on another occasion one of the teetotal singers said,” if I had my way, I would empty all the beer barrels into the River Aire at Apperley Bridge. Then old North struck up a very familiar song, “Shall we gather at the river, the beautiful, beautiful river.” And the refrain “Yes, we’ll gather at the river” was sung in high spirits, and taken up by a few cronies whom North had gathered together from the Royal Oak, the White Hart etc. It was always said that the publicans got North to attend same with direct purpose of breaking up the meetings.

Seth and family lived at Bank in 1881 and were in Victoria Road aka Hall Ings by 1891. Grace was 18 in 1891.

William lived in Belle Vue, Victoria Road in 1891, in 1881 he was in Town Lane, and died in 1899.

Burl Ives singing

American poet and gospel music composer Robert Lowry (1826–1899)

Pleasure boat on the River Dee c. 1928

Herbert Parker

From newspaper searches, it is possible to find out quite a bit  about Herbert’s musical career. He often featured in the Bradford newspapers in the early 1900s in reports about his performances in oratorios and concerts around Yorkshire. His death was reported in the Cheshire Observer on 11 January 1930.

Chester Man’s Death

While attending a meeting of the Oak Leaf Lodge of Buffaloes, of which he was Prime, at the Axe Tavern, Watergate-street, Chester, on Monday evening, Mr. Herbert Parker, aged 60, of 25, Queen-street, complained of feeling unwell. He was taken in to an ante-room, but was dead before Dr.Morgan had had time to reach the house. The body was removed to the Chester mortuary. Mr. Parker was apparently in his usual health at the commencement of the meeting, and he was laughing and chatting with a number of the members. This is the second death at a meeting in Chester within a short period.


Mr Parker was a familiar figure as a musician on the River Dee pleasure boats during the summer months, and he was well known to thousands of visitors. During the war, he served with the Chester Volunteers.

The City Coroner (Mr.A.B.Dye) held the inquest at the Town Hall on Tuesday afternoon.Grace Agnes Parker, widow, gave evidence of his good health apart from bouts of bronchitis in previous years as did the Licensee of the Axe Tavern where he mentioned that Parker had tuned up his violin and then asked to leave the room before playing. He was gone for some time and was then found having been taken ill [there is a more graphic description of this in the report]. The Doctor concluded that the death was from angina pecotris and the Coroner recorded a verdict of “Death from natural causes.”


Music of the time


Sources and background reading

Mechanics’ Institutes

Victorian Farnham: The Story of a Surrey Town, 1837-1901 by Ewbank Smith

Mirror Monthly Magazine Jul-Dec 1848

Of Sparrow Hawk and Ladybirds

Printer and entomologist

Chess Player of Hastings – this is long overdue for updating.

List of Joseph Richard Holmes & Sons pubs

Theatres in Bradford, West Yorkshire

Musical Women in England, 1870-1914: Encroaching on All Man’s Privileges

The social history of piano teaching

Pianos, magic, and women pianists of the 19th century

V&A: Music hall and variety theatre

Scholes, P. (1947). The Mirror of Music, 1844 – 1944

The Era (newspaper)

A Dangerous Duet by Karen Odden

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Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Family group.1943. L’s father bottom left.

I can’t write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was.

My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin after she (and her husband?)  left for Australia in 1968.

We think that my grandmother had stayed in touch for a little while, but when she died in 1993 nobody had any contact details for her. Our grandmother had left us each a ring in her will and so an uncle looked after L’s in case maybe one day ….

On 15th August 2003, I had posted the following (heavily edited for today’s’ privacy) message:

We are trying to find L. She was born in XXXX and is the daughter of Y and Z – he was in the RAF and died during WW2. We believe that she went to Australia and may have married there.

It took over a year, but I was able to post an update in November the following year:

UPDATE: Brilliant news – thanks to L’s brother-in-law who had added her to his tree, we have been in touch with L after no news for 30+ years.

Soon after, my other uncle travelled out to meet his niece and to give her the ring from her grandmother.

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