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52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow‘s genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it.

This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December,  I thought I’d give it a go. It is already 1st February, so a little late to the party, but I’ve finally started and hope to catch up gradually. The articles may not appear in chronological order and I might miss some out and come back later in the year.

The original challenge: No Story Too Small! Life is made of stories. I shall have to resist the temptation to look too far ahead, but if I get stuck maybe these will inspire me.

We have launched it as an idea for our members on Family Tree Forum. If you come across this post and want to join in, you will be very welcome.

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more
Week 1: Fresh Start

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more
Week 2: Favourite Photograph

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more
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...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

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...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 9: Disaster

Week 9: Disaster

  William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant relation, my paternal 3rd cousin 3 times removed. His youngest son,...

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 16: Air

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more
Week 23: Wedding

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more
Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more
Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more

Week 1: Fresh Start

Week 1: Fresh Start

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK’s fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I won’t since my small hop across the channel and back to live, work, and retire, does not compare to those twigs on my tree who ventured much further afield.

Most of us groan when we come across the numerous ag labs in our research and I sometimes moan that my maternal line is not very interesting since they mostly worked on the land, either tenant farmers or the occasional yeoman or ag labs in and around the Chilterns and Cotswolds, apart from my direct line making a foray in to Essex, whereas my paternal line consists of various occupations; both creative and industrial and started out all over the UK.

However, it is actually the younger sons of the land who perhaps led the more interesting lives, as they went overseas to the USA, South Africa and Australia to seek their fortune. It is their descendants who are now coming up as DNA matches to us which is exciting.

Some of them stayed in touch with the families back home and through that I have been sent a picture of my great grandfather George Turner de Fraine which nobody else seemed to have. It was his brother’s widowed wife and family who left Aylesbury and went out to Sydney, Australia. George’s nephew George deserves an article all to himself at some point. Another nephew went to the USA and I have been in touch through DNA to his descendant. Other branches of the family appear in Queensland and Victoria.

The Miles family at home in Saskatchewan

My grandmother, Molly Tompkins, had a picture of the Miles family from Navestock, Essex who went to Saskatchewan in 1895. Mary Ann Tompkins, wife of Henry Jacobs Miles, was the youngest sister of Edwin Osborne and Rosa Ellen Tompkins, Granny’s father and later to be mother-in-law.

John Tompkins and Sarah Jane Godfree had 10 children. One son died in infancy but 2 of the sons went out to South Africa as did one of their grandsons, the son of the oldest son. Two of the daughters married farmers and stayed in England, two married farmers and went overseas, one to Canada and one to South Africa. One of the sons became a marine engineer and married his wife in Italy, my great grandfather stayed in England in farming while the youngest son became a butcher in Kent.

The oldest girl in the family, Sarah Jane, married a Scot and went out to South Africa. One of her descendants, who is now in the USA, was the very first DNA match I came across and I was very pleased to be able to send him copies of pictures of our great x2 grandparents.

George and William Godfree, Sarah’s brothers went out to Australia (“Prominent Resident of Yapeen”), George to initially try his luck in the gold mines and later co-founding King and Godfree the grocer in Melbourne, William followed him out to Victoria but stayed in farming. (William Godfree of Kaanlang).

Our biggest group of DNA matches are descended from William Osborn and his wife Mary Mobbs or their son James and his wife Ann (Jones). James is the maternal grandfather of John Tompkins. Their habit of marrying cousins both before and after they left England for the USA has made untangling the relationships very difficult but does perhaps mean that finding matches are more likely!

These are just a few of the people in my tree who have left their families to make a fresh start. Some came back, other stayed to raise their families and thanks to DNA I am now able to find out what became of those siblings or their offspring who “vanished” from the UK records.

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more
Week 1: Fresh Start

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more
Week 2: Favourite Photograph

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more
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...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

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...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 9: Disaster

Week 9: Disaster

  William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant relation, my paternal 3rd cousin 3 times removed. His youngest son,...

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 16: Air

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more
Week 23: Wedding

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more
Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more
Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website.

Perhaps it could be the group one from my paternal great grandparents, William and Kate Bradley, Diamond Wedding Anniversary Party where I am centre stage sitting on my mothers’ lap next to the happy couple?

Or maybe the picture of the double wedding in September 1890 in front of Aveley Hall?

Perhaps the glass one of my great grandmother, Susie Gillett with her nurse, from 1863?

Double Wedding. Aveley Hall. September 1890.

I think it has to be the third one. I vividly remember Granny showing me the picture as a young child and her telling me the story behind it and in part this is why I became interested in researching my family history. Thanks to her, whose parents’ wedding it was, I know who all the people are and have since worked out where they fit into the tree apart from one person, who I am told Granny referred to as “the interloper” – whether she meant anything derogatory or just because he was not family, I have no idea. When she died we came across the newspaper cuttings about the wedding too and writing this up will spur me on to transcribing those one day. 

Girls from left to right:
Florence Tompkins – Osborne’s half-sister. (Emma’s daughter. Never married. Was known as Aunt Floss.)
Can’t place her.
Frances (Fanny) de Fraine – Tom’s sister. (Married Cecil Knight in 1909.)
Katie Tompkins – Osbornes’ half-sister. (Emma’s daughter. Married Herbert Manning in 1907.)

Men standing behind left to right:
George de Fraine – Tom’s brother. (Became proprietor of the Bucks Herald.)
Herbert (Bert) de Fraine – Tom’s brother. Worked at the Bank of England.
George Parrot – “an interloper”
Joseph Tompkins – Osborne and Nellie’s brother. 

Bridal party left to right:
Ada de Fraine – Nellie’s bridesmaid. (Tom’s sister. Became Mrs Arthur Barton. Their daughter married Guy Dodwell and went to the USA.)
Mary Tompkins – Nellie’s bridesmaid. (Sister to Nellie and Osborne, married Henry Miles, brother of Arthur, and went to Canada.)
George Turner de Fraine – Tom’s father. (Bucks Herald )
Mrs George de Fraine (Henrietta) – Tom’s mother.
Rosa Ellen (Nellie) Tompkins – Bride. (Daughter of John Tompkins and Emma’s sister Sarah.)
Thomas Turner de Fraine – Groom. (Son of George Turner and Henrietta de Fraine.)
Susan Gillett – Bride. (Stepdaughter of Emma Tompkins née Godfree from her first marriage to John Gillett. The Gillett Spoons)
Osborne Tompkins – Groom. (Son of John Tompkins and Emma’s sister Sarah.)
Emma Tompkins – Osborne and Nellie’s stepmother and maternal aunt
John Tompkins – Osborne and Nellie’s father.
Emily Brookes – Susan’s bridesmaid. (Niece of Emma Tompkins née Godfree.)
Clara Hambidge – Susan’s bridesmaid. (Niece of Emma Tompkins née Godfree. Daughter of Robert Hambidge, Ascott Martyrs.)

Standing at the back in front of the porch:
Auntie Dolly – (wife of Godfree Tompkins)
Godfree Tompkins – (Osborne and Nellie’s brother. Gave Susan away at the wedding)
Arthur Miles – husband of Annie.
Annie Miles – (Osborne and Nellie’s sister)
Mrs Robert Tompkins (Louisa)
Robert Tompkins – brother of John Tompkins. (Auctioneer of Reading.)
Albert Tompkins – Osborne’s brother.

“This was compiled by (Molly) Kathleen Mary de Fraine née Tompkins, younger daughter of Osborne and Susan.”

She did not know how some of the younger girls were related but I managed to track them down and as I was adding some of the relationships to Granny’s comments just now, I realised that I have DNA matches with descendants of Ada de Fraine so I must contact them and see if they have this picture!

 

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more
Week 1: Fresh Start

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more
Week 2: Favourite Photograph

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more
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...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

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...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 9: Disaster

Week 9: Disaster

  William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant relation, my paternal 3rd cousin 3 times removed. His youngest son,...

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 16: Air

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more
Week 23: Wedding

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more
Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more
Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more

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.

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more
Week 1: Fresh Start

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more
Week 2: Favourite Photograph

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more
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...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

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...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 9: Disaster

Week 9: Disaster

  William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant relation, my paternal 3rd cousin 3 times removed. His youngest son,...

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 16: Air

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more
Week 23: Wedding

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more
Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more
Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more

I am a figment of your imagination

I am a figment of your imagination .....according to several family trees, I do not exist as they have all killed off my 2x great grandmother!! I had a DNA match this morning and recognised a surname. As we had different circa dates of birth for the person's direct...

read more
Procrastination … again

Procrastination … again

I am procrastinating,  yet again, and experimenting with Scrivener.  I think recent vet's bills (a Cocker Spaniel with Pseudomonas, spaniel owners will understand) will mean I won't be paying for it until just before the trial runs out, but I can already see it will...

read more

RootsTech returning, but postponed until 2021

  We all hoped and yesterday it was confirmed, that RootsTech is coming back to the ExCel next November. It's not clashing with Comic Con this year so hopefully food will be more accessible during the day. I felt that I had missed a great deal last time so I have...

read more
The tickets have arrived

The tickets have arrived

Last year I missed out on Family Tree Live but this year I got myself organised in good time. I like "real" tickets so had to wait a bit,  but they have arrived this week. I'm just going up for the day (and avoiding Saturday having looked to see who is playing at home...

read more
I’m very glad I went … now for the next time!

I’m very glad I went … now for the next time!

As the exhibition hall wasn't going to open until 9.45 I had worked out that either I needed to go at sparrow's crack, get a lift to the station, brave the rush hour and be able to get to a 9 a.m. session or leave later and have to pay for a taxi. Early start won....

read more

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

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more
Week 1: Fresh Start

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more
Week 2: Favourite Photograph

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more
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...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

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...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 9: Disaster

Week 9: Disaster

  William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant relation, my paternal 3rd cousin 3 times removed. His youngest son,...

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 16: Air

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more
Week 23: Wedding

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more
Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more
Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks – 2020

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

read more
Week 1: Fresh Start

Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

read more
Week 2: Favourite Photograph

Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

read more
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...

read more
Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

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...

read more
Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

read more
Week 9: Disaster

Week 9: Disaster

  William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant relation, my paternal 3rd cousin 3 times removed. His youngest son,...

read more
Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more
Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more
Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

read more
Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

read more
Week 16: Air

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more
Week 23: Wedding

Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

read more
Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

read more
Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

read more
Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

read more
Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

read more