Top Ten Tips to Finding your Ancestors pre-1837

(c) Paintings Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation Introduction Even if you have only limited expertise or experience, it is often possible to trace your family history back to the early years of the Victorian period without too much difficulty. Speeding through the records of General Registration and census you can make rapid progress.…

Ancestors who were Deaf

Previously, in Ancestors who were Blind, I looked at how our blind ancestors might have lived with their disability, specifically looking at the life of my husband's ancestor, Hannah Lilian Woodcock. In this article, I will be looking at ancestors who were deaf, illustrated by the life of my deaf relative, Maria Batchelor (1827-1903). At…

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…

Chameleon Ancestors – Part 1

Introduction Leopards may not change their spots but chameleons can change their colour and markings to suit the situation they find themselves in. I reckon that some of our ancestors are a bit like chameleons, changing their name, both officially and unofficially if it suited them, or as a result of their personal circumstances. It…

An Edwardian World of Work

by Ernest William Bullock 1893-1978 Introduction Nowadays, childhood lasts a long time with children remaining dependant on their parents, sometimes into adulthood, as they take advantage of educational opportunities. But during the Edwardian era, most children left school much earlier and went into the world of work to earn their keep. This was certainly the…

A Berkshire Boyhood

Ernest William Bullock (1893-1978) Introduction Previously, in A Wiltshire Childhood, I shared my Granddad's reminiscences of growing up as a small child in the 1890s in Marlborough, Wiltshire. The story moves on, as some time between May 1898 and April 1901, when the census was taken, my Granddad, Ernest William Bullock, and his family, left…

A Wiltshire Childhood

Ernest William Bullock (1893-1978) Introduction In his retirement, my maternal grandfather, Ernest William Bullock, decided to write down his memoirs, producing over 50,000 words on his typewriter. Many of his stories are about his adventures in the Royal Navy, which he joined as a stoker in 1911. He saw plenty of action in World War…

The One-Armed Railwayman

When I was a child, I pestered my beloved Grandma, "Tell me some stories about your family!" She didn't have a lot to pass on but mentioned one extraordinary snippet of information: a relative had lost his arm. Unsurprisingly, this fact has been lodged in my head ever since. All my life I have wanted…

Family Stories – An Amusing Legacy

I've been thinking recently about how a person is remembered, not just by their nearest and dearest but also by their descendants, generations later. Family stories in which they feature are one way in which memories of them are preserved. Though the majority of stories about our ancestors lives and experiences will be forgotten about…

Basing versus Basing

In my previous blog, The Footman, I discovered that Fanny Basing, the wife of William Basing, was living with her children in Poplar, in the East End of London, in 1881. Fanny was recorded as the head of the household and married, but where was her husband? William Basing, now a butler and valet, may…

The Footman

In my previous blog, "Margaret", I told the story of Margaret England, the mother of twin boys, Lewis and William Basing England, who were born illegitimately in Clerkenwell on March 14th 1866. Margaret informed the registrar that the father of her children was a man named William Basing, a footman. This is the story of…

Margaret

Prologue It was already dark and Harriet lit another candle at 39a Southampton Street, Clerkenwell. Margaret was in full labour and the time to deliver was close. She had come to her when her labour pains had started earlier in the day and Harriet was praying that all would go well. It was a risky…

The Unknown Sister

This is the story of Hannah Redman, the half sister of my great grandfather, Josiah Simeon Thomas Bullock. Until recently, her identity was unknown. She is recorded only once with her siblings, enumerated with them in the 1871 census as a 9 year old visitor. She was unknown because her illegitimate birth concealed her existence…

Food, Glorious Food!

As time marches on, it becomes increasingly important for family historians to collect personal memories of the Second World War, as older people who remember those challenging days become fewer in number. A great source of information for me is my Aunt Nan. She was evacuated during the War and recently, we were talking about…

Romance and New Beginnings

The Malet Arms, Newton Tony (author's own photo) Previously, I have told the story of the extraordinary marriage record of my 3 times grandparents, Thomas Dicks, a cordwainer and the parish clerk of Newton Tony, Wiltshire, and his bride, Caroline Bower, a household servant.  Read the full story here: https://genealogyjude.com/2020/02/01/a-most-extraordinary-marriage-part-1/ Caroline had been born illegitimately…

The Good Samaritan

The Parable of the Good Samaritan by Balthasar van Cortbemde (1612-1633), (Image courtesy of Wikipedia) Whilst searching through the British Newspaper Archive recently, I came across a story that affected me deeply. Essentially, it was the story of a child in need and how different characters responded to his plight. This reminded me of the…

Rocketman – Tell Your Story

Elton John - Rocket Man by Chris Roberts (biography released October 2019) Last year I went to the cinema with a friend to see Rocketman, a biopic film about the life of Elton John. It was an inspirational story about how a shy boy named Reginald Dwight was transformed into the international superstar, Elton John.…