Friday, 31 December 2010

2010 and 2011

I never made genealogy goals before.  I've always just "done genealogy" or "done family history", so the idea of writing down measurable ideas so they aren't just dreams is...strange to me.  Yet the more I think about it, the more sensible the whole thing feels.  But when I try and come up with some goals: hmmm, I'm not sure.

I've always hated making measured, statistical goals.  You know, like "I will do x number of things in a month" and so on.  So much can interfere with this sort of goal, so much that is totally out of my control.  Even the weather can alter things hugely.  Example: I was all primed to get my electricity key meter charged up before Christmas, have my Christmas decorations at work down before I left for the holidays - and what happened?  Sudden snowfall.  I couldn't get to the key meter shop; I couldn't get to work to take the decorations down.  So what would have happened to my goals?  I would have ended 2010 with the feeling of failure.  So I'm not going to make the sort of goals that say I'm going to do something by such-and-such a date.  My goals will be "throughout the year" or "at some point during 2011".

#  Volunteer to index for FamilySearch
#  Write this blog more than once a week
#  Now I have a Kindle, investigate genealogy books I can acquire (preferably for free)
#  Add some more to my family history writing project
#  Write another College of Genealogy course
#  Get back on the Flylady wagon and create a genealogy routine
#  I am sure there will be others...

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Way Back Wednesday: James STANTON and Philip SIBLY 1659

These two (my 9th ggrandparents) are the last two in this line that I can be certain of.  The line does go back further, but I got the data from Ancestry before my subscription expired and now needs further research:

James STANTON b 8 Mar 1599 Redgate Chapel, Cornwall
m 1629 Redgate Chapel, Cornwall to Margaret HEARD (1600-1670)
d 1655

with parents of James STANTAN and Joan (and would make them my 11th ggrandparents).

Going back to my confirmed 9th great-grandparents, James and Philip - well, I presume that does not mean that a man married a man back in 1659! more that the name Philip was a contraction of the name Philippa...

Monday, 27 December 2010

Maritime Monday: Keeping it in the family

Throughout the previous generations, the BALL family were agricultural labourers.  Then they made the shift from the land to the sea - and by the time the generations reach my uncle, to the air as well.
circa 1807

John BALL, christened 2 May 1819 died 21 December 1890, started off working the land like his father before him and his father before that.  Then, in his late thirties, he transferred to the sea and was listed as a Mariner in all the censuses from 1851 onwards.  But it didn't end there - he was not the only one.

His stepson, Thomas Damerell ELLIOTT, became a sailor in his early twenties, then became a bargeman in his fifties, and a merchant seaman in his sixties.

circa 1840
Another of John's sons, Benjamin, started at ten years old as a shipwright's errand boy, then is described as a shipwright's apprentice in the 1871 census.  His brother, Charles, was also a shipwright's apprentice, and youngest brother William was a "shipwright's labourer" in the 1881 census, working in the port of Southampton.  There he met my great-grandmother, Bertha DAMERELL, herself the daughter of a merchant seaman who later became a steamship stoker.

The two World Wars managed to interrupt this 'family business', until John's grandson married a woman descended from coastguards, and his great-great-granddaughter married a man descended from shipwrights.

And I have always loved the sea...

Sunday, 26 December 2010

On This Day: Boxing Day

Richard CLEAVE and Elizabeth BIBBINS (paternal 6th great grandparents) married 1735 in Morchard Bishop, Devon.

Their daughter, Anne CLEAVE (paternal 5th great grandmother) married Richard NOTT 1760 in Coldridge, Devon.

Samuel MURCH and Margaret LITTLEY (paternal 5th great grandparents) married 1774 in Ottery St Mary, Devon.  On their first wedding anniversary they buried their six-month-old son, Samuel, on 26 Dec 1775.

James DAMERELL and Elizabeth WOOD (maternal 4th great grandparents) married 1777 in Charleton, Devon.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Advent Calendar: Christmas Eve Wedding

I looked through my genealogy software to find out what my ancestors were doing on 24 December. 
Robert MURCH and Elizabeth BASTONE (my great great great great great great great grandparents) were getting married in 1712 in Ottery St Mary, Devon!

courtesy of The Medieval Combat Society
Imagine walking down this aisle...

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Those Places Thursday: Arras Memorial

I've never been here.  I expect my great-uncle, Walter Harold BALL, wished he wasn't here either.  Well, I'm sure he was proud to be here as a soldier, alive in a battle, but not where he ended up - as a name on a memorial.

Arras Memorial, France

In July 2010, I was overwhelmed by the kindness of Jo Francis of Milton Keynes, who offered to take photos of the Arras Memorial for me.  We had never met, didn't even know one another, and yet she made this offer on a genealogy mailing list we both belong to.  Now, I knew I would never be able to afford to get to the Pas de Calais in France to visit this Memorial, so I gratefully accepted her offer.

I never met Walter Harold BALL, my maternal grandfather's brother, either.  He died on 3 May 1917 aged only 24.

Serjeant Ball, W. H. MM (centre of photo)

Happy Christmas, Uncle Walter.  And thank you.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Maritime Monday: From Train Driver to Ship's Stoker

When I was little, most small boys dreamed of becoming a train driver.  And in the 1851 census of Charleton, Devon, my great great grandfather, Henry DAMARELL, aged 17, was just that.  For the next twenty years, he was a merchant seaman, and later combined his skills to become a stoker on a steam ship.

In the middle of this, in the 1881 census, he is listed as a Marrene [sic] Store Dealer.  He must have kept his connections with the port of Southampton, for several of his grandchildren were born there, and his daughter Bertha was married there in 1879 (to my direct ancestor William John BALL).

What is a Marine Store Dealer?  The occupation is varied: "A Marine Store Dealer was a licensed broker who bought and sold used cordage, bunting, rags, timber, metal and other general waste materials. He usually sorted the purchased waste by kind, grade etc. He also repaired and mended sacks etc.

Marine Store Dealers were governed by an Act of Parliament 1st. Geo. IV. sec.16 cap.75. Which enacted that every marine-store-dealer shall have his name inserted in legible characters over his shop-door and shall also keep a book in which he shall insert the name and address of any person from whom he shall buy any article.

Apparently Marine Store Dealers were also not allowed to buy full lengths of rope. A search of the "Times" archive brings up many references to them and nearly all were in relation to police courts. In Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" is Joe, a marine store dealer and receiver of stolen goods." [quoted in]

A less-polite website indicates that a marine store dealer was pretty much a scrap merchant or rag-and-bone man, and that the occupation was often held by those named Gypsies; while the excellent Hall Genealogy Website, which deals in old occupations, lists a marine store dealer as: "Proprietor of a store selling equipment to Mariners. There were also those who aspired to that but who were nothing but junk dealers".

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Advent Calendar: Fruitcake - Boiled Cake

The Christmas cake I ate as a small child was dark and rich - too rich - so one year my mum found a recipe for Boiled Cake which we used afterwards - it was still a fruitcake, but much lighter.  Incidentally, you didn't boil the cake, just the ingredients beforehand... Here is the recipe (makes a big cake for about 12):

Boiled Cake
250ml (8 fl oz) water
900g (2 lb) dried mixed fruit
225g (8 oz) caster sugar (or light muscavado sugar)
170g (6 oz) butter
230g (8 oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten

Boil the water, dried fruit, sugar and butter for about 10 minutes.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and mixed spice into a large bowl.
Pour on the boiled mixture and stir well.
Mix in the eggs.
Pour into a lined loaf tin
Bake for 90 minutes at 150 C or Gas Mark 2
Let stand for 10 minutes

It tastes better about 24 hours after you have baked it!  Some cooks like to add elderflower cordial to the water, some use cold tea instead of the water, some add treacle.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Blog Caroling 2010: Rocking

footnoteMaven has challenged geneabloggers to blog carol by December 15th.  

I loved this idea, so I have included the lyrics to a favourite carol of mine that is not often heard:

The Rocking Carol - also known as Rocking, Rocking Song, Lullaby and Little Jesus

1.  Little Jesus, sweetly sleep, do not stir,
We will lend a coat of fur,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you:
See the fur to keep you warm,
Snugly round your tiny form.

2. Mary's little baby, sleep, sweetly sleep,
Sleep in comfort, slumber deep;
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you:
We will serve you all we can,
Darling, darling little man.

I found some further information about this carol, which you may be interested in: it is originally a Czech carol called 'Hajej, nynjej', and first appeared in its translated-to-English version in 1928.  Julie Andrews sang it in the 1960s, which is probably where I heard it first, as a small girl.  According to website The Hymns and Carols of Christmas, the tune of this carol '...has a close resemblance to that of another traditional lullaby, 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star', and it is possible that this carol originally accompanied cradle rocking, a custom which began in German churches in medieval times and spread from there across Europe.'


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