Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Is anyone home ?

It might look like census enumerators of 1861 were expected to record those with no name who lived a nomadic existence - well, this document is certainly confusing with names and location but with ages.

How  can you explain this Census?

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The Making of a Champion

Born in Kingston Upon Hull in 1848, Samuel Ainsworth Perry’s family ‘s origins were in Stockport. He was one of 9 children to John Perry and Mary Ainsworth. Samuel’s family  lived in Hull for some time before returning to Cheshire.
Soon after returning to Cheshire , Samuel and wife Annie had children of their own, including Samuel junior. With Samuel juniors parents being employed as  Cotton Operatives  in  local Cotton Mills , the family stayed in the Stockport area for several generations and at the turn of  the  century, Samuel junior married Hannah Birch.
It was Hannah Birch who bore Britain’s greatest Tennis champion; Fred Perry.
Frederick John Perry (18 May 1909 – 2 February 1995) was a championship-winning English tennis and table tennis player who won 10 Majors including eight Grand Slams and two Pro Slams. Perry won three consecutive Wimbledon Championships between 1934 and 1936 and was World No. 1 four years in a row. Perry also became the last British player to win the men's Wimbledon championship in 1936
One of the UK’s best l known cotton sports shirts,  an idea originating in the  Victorian Cotton Mills was developed by Fred Perry in the 1940’s, it’s emblem , the laurel wreath being based on the emblem of Wimbledon and it’s woven cotton symbolic of Fred’s origins.

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Monday, 20 June 2011

Occupations of the past

Our language is changing almost every day and what means one thing today meant something completely different to our ancestors. Occupations are a great example of that , for example take a look at this list of 10:

Carrier – I always think this conjures up an image of Typhoid Mary when I see it but it is in fact a person who had some sort of transport (normally horse drawn) that enabled them to move goods from one place to another. As transport became heavier and it was hauled from place to place – this eventually became what we know today as ‘Haulier’
Cottager – is an interesting one because it is mostly used to mean an agricultural worker living in property provided by his employer but it also has another application, and was often used to describe a coal merchant who had reached a certain level of success and bought his own property , usually a cottage – hence the phrase.
Currier - sounds like a modern day version of Carrier or someone who works with spices but it is in fact a groomer of animals, one who pays particular attention to the coat – normally of a horse but was also applied to the preparation of animal skins and hides in the manufacturing of goods.
Fell Monger – today we use the phrase monger to express an occupation involved in sales or promotion; Fish , Scare or War Monger for example. Fell is an old Norse word that broadly means ‘of the mountain’ and a Fell Monger was typically a dealer in animal hides and skins (of wild animals).
Hawker – Simply a Peddler or street seller, who carried his wares with him. Often used as a term of abuse.
Husbandman - One of the logical ones I think, and today it is applied to animals mostly; animal Husbandry  for example- animal care. In days gone by this would have been in area of great open space,  a farm  -  husbandman is a word used to describe a farmer and since this was largely the domain of a man – the name ‘Husband’  has the same origins and it is another word deriving from the Norse language. Husbandman the name applied to a farmer, often dealing with animals.
Journeyman – there is a certain irony in this word, especially given that today’s training institutes measure the achievements of trainees in distance travelled. A journeyman was someone experienced in a certain occupation and who had served his time, and his apprenticeship – a Journeyman.
Wagonette Proprietor – at the turn of the 20th century as opportunities were presented to people and ownership of certain things and buildings was acquired– the word proprietor was applied to that ownership. In this case it meant the owner of a Wagonette,   a small horse drawn carriage with seats facing sideways behind the driver – similar to the layout of a Tube Train – though clearly more hygienic !!!. These were mostly used to transport family mourners to a funeral.
Victualler – today we associate this phrase with the licensee of an establishment that sells alcoholic beverages. The term Victualler was used to describe a person who sold food and other items, even a grocer. Later in the Victorian era the name became synonymous with the provision of products to the Royal Navy.
Yeoman – is used to describe a farmer with a small landed estate, a minor land owner, one step down from ‘Gentry’  and one who is entitled to serve on Juries and vote on county issues.

If you need an answer about any occupation of the past, please email me.

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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

There is a story in every document.

The more I am involved in family research, the more I love it. My personal research aside , the stories uncovered never cease to amaze me. I mean the fact is , what lay dormant  in the archives , is someone’s fascination of the future. Here are three brief examples of just some story lines discovered in my research this week:
My recent assignments have taken me to the parish archives of a number villages in   Northern Britain, where original church documents make wonderful reading. Perhaps not at  the time , but today the phrase ‘ supposed to be begotten by  the Reverend Cornelius Abbotsford of this parish’  when written against a child’s baptism in 1707, only invites the feeling of intrigue. It also creates a whole new avenue of research, based on nothing more that blind theory, what if’s and maybe’s.  In truth , whilst this is interesting to research  and in the main out of the ordinary, the paternal line can only be proved by the DNA of living descendents. None the less, researching the ‘accused’ might prove to be an interesting distraction and in any case, as my old mother would say, it is a wise man that knows his own father !
Later last week, I was also spending sometime exploring newspaper archives and in particular the case of George Parker. George Parker was one of many noticeable ‘accidental shootings’ in the 1900’s and just one of a worrying number during the Great War. George had been to a party with his friends George Lee and Alfred Leaning. Both Leaning and Parker had been in the forces at that time Leaning in the RAF and Parker , a sailor. George Lee had been employed as a card cutter. Following the party, the 3 gentlemen decided to swap clothes and stopping off at a coffee bar on the way home, it was Parker who jokingly offered his pistol to a girl. The pistol accidently went off and Parker was killed. When Leaning and Lee went to the Police station as witnesses, it was discovered that they had changed clothes.  Lee was fined 20 shillings and Leaning 40 shillings.
It’s not just Newspaper archives that give you interesting information either as the death Certificate of Catherine Rainey , aged 40 of Grimsby, Lincolnshire shows. On Aug 8th 1915, her ‘cause of death’ is recorded as ‘accidently knocked down by a motor car driven by John William Michael’
What does your past reveal about you and your family  ?
Want to know ?
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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

What information can we find for one family from one page of a Census ?

1881 Scredington Sample

Well how about 3 marriages, 2 agricultural labourers, a widow, a Coal merchant, a cordwainer, 4 siblings living apart, a widower, a nephew, a father in law, a mother in law, cousins, and several scholars ! Not to mention the uninhabited buildings.

A brief family study in a part of Scredington village in 1881 Lincolnshire.

Every census document tells us something of our ancestors; where they married ? what did they do ? where did they live ? who lived with them ? who no longer lives with them? where they were born ? but in the case of a village like Scredington in Lincolnshire, where, in 1881, the entire district Census consisted of only 11 pages  and when the population was a mere 341, just one page can give you a lot of information :

Click on the image 1881 Scredington Sample to see a larger version.

Looking at the names Bailey and Bullock, this is what we discover:

1 James Bailey and wife Elizabeth:
James married Elizabeth Bullock of Wilsford in 1858.Wilsford and Scredington are small villages in Lincolnshire, they are just  ten miles apart. Listed here in 1881, they live with their children; Francis, Sarah, Ann and John. Both James and his eldest son; Francis are Agricultural labourers. 
2 Tom Bullock, Coal Merchant.
Tom is also born in Wilsford and sister of next door neighbour Elizabeth. Tom, at the time unmarried, lives with his mother Ann Bullock and sister Sarah Bullock. Nephew Thomas Bailey is staying with him too. From the census it is uncertain whether Elizabeth is his mother, but a check of the 1891 census confirms this. 
3 Robert Handley,  Cordwainer.
 A Cordwainer is a maker of fine ‘soft’ leather shoes. Robert  was married to Martha Ann Bailey, the  daughter of Thomas Bailey.  Mary Ann and James Bailey (1) are cousins. Mary Ann’s father Thomas is also present at this census. I have been able to confirm these connections by looking at previous census documents.
4. Samuel Bailey.
Living next door but one to the Handley’s is Samuel and his wife Mary Ann. Samuel is    Martha Ann Bailey’s  brother and James’s Bailey’s cousin.  Mary Ann his wife was born a Bullock and is Tom, Elizabeth and Sarah’s sibling. Samuel Bailey is employed as an Agricultural labourer. Children; Effie and Tom are living with them.
So, here we have in just 3 dwellings in what would seem it’s entirety, the Bullock family of Tom, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary Ann and mother Ann.  As we know the marital status of each one of them, that will help us find future spouses and children if any.

To confirm this information is correct, I checked some local business directories. The following year, local business directories confirm the same family and trades to still be in operation in the village.

But what about the actual address?

Scredington Village
In some of the Census records in this part of Lincolnshire, particularly in villages, the enumerators did not record street names, and this makes it difficult for descendents to establish an exact residence. However in this case we have a clue at (3), where the address given for the Handley family is the Old and New Parsonage. Finding this location will enable us to have a good idea where the others lived.
Looking up the address in Scredington, I discovered the Old Parsonage was on Church lane in 1881 and there was another land mark nearby, the Old Post Office. This information would now prove invaluable when visiting Scredington, where I could not only get information from the Monumental Inscriptions in the Church yard but also for the locations of these two former landmarks.
I wish all searches would be that easy !
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