Ancestors who were Blind

Some members of your family tree may be fairly anonymous to you because you haven't really researched their lives, even though you know something significant about them. For example, in my family tree I have two female relatives, Hannah and Maria, who had disabilities. Hannah was blind and Maria was deaf, probably both from early…

The Pair of Boots

You never know when a secret, long buried in the past, will come to light. As a result of the indexing of record sources, you can stumble across information about an ancestor that you would never have looked for ordinarily. This happened to me one day when a new, tantalising, green leaf on Ancestry appeared…

A Noble Legacy

On the broad plateau of the chalk downs of North Wiltshire, you will find the handsome church of All Saints, Yatesbury. Yatesbury, a tiny village of around 150 souls today, lies just north of the current A4 road that runs between Calne and Marlborough. If you decide to pay a visit, and wonder through the…

Special Relationships

When you consider the most important relationships in your life, no doubt some of your closest friends come to mind, perhaps even a certain best friend. It's ironic then that as family historians, we may know all about an ancestor's cousins, (some of whom they perhaps never met, or didn't get on with at all),…

Who was Thomas?

After getting over the shock of discovering that his family had emigrated to America in 1849, leaving him behind, [see Left Behind], my quest to discover the identity of George Thomas Powell continued. I had solved the mystery concerning the apparent disappearance of his parents, (William) Benjamin and Mary Powell, but that still didn't change…

Left Behind

The early childhood of George Thomas Powell, my two times great grandfather, is a mystery. I first encounter him in the 1851 census, when he is 12 years old and living with his uncle and aunt, Henry and Sarah Glaysher at the cement mill in West Medina, Northwood. He spent the next forty two years…

The Missing Child

Whatever your skills or experience as a family historian, there will always be at least one ancestral line that gives you trouble. For me, it is my Powell line and specifically, my two times great grandfather, George Thomas Powell and the mystery surrounding his birth and early years. It is easy to view a problematic…

Schooldays

Introduction It is rather sobering to think that my grandparents, (all four being born between 1888 and 1897), were part of the first generation to receive free and universal education. Prior to the passing of the 1870 Education Act, schooling had mainly been provided by church schools, the Church of England's National Society and the…

A World in Miniature

After my father passed away in 2014, I inherited a miniature chest of drawers that had belonged to my mother. It had stood on her dressing table for as long as I could remember, filled with useful things such as hair grips and safety pins. I always thought it was rather attractive, and from the…

Chameleon Ancestors – Part 2

Introduction A person's name is very much bound up with their identity and as a result, they can challenging to trace if it changes. In Part 1 of Chameleon Ancestors, I looked at some of the reasons why an ancestor might appear in the records under a different name. Many people, then as now, hated…