Thursday, 27 January 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Home

The home I lived in for the first six years of my life was a small brick house in London overlooking a HUGE sawyer's yard (my father ran security).

I remember when we moved to Somerset, that we looked at several houses to rent, but I rejected them all (at age 7) if the water in the toilet was too deep (so a shark might come up there and bite you).  The one we eventually rented for most of my teenage years did have deep-ish toilet water, which made me uneasy, but that was overshadowed by the solid diamond doorhandle to the living room.  Solid diamond, riiiiiiiight.  Well, when you are 7 and have a vivid imagination, anything is possible, isn't it?

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Surname Saturday: Yardley

Eliza YARDLEY came from Dublin, Ireland in about 1803.  For over 20 years she was housekeeper to my ggg grandfather, Adam BUCKINGHAM, and appears in the censuses as such.  Yet, there was never a mention of a Mr YARDLEY, and small children kept appearing.  Adam and Eliza got married in 1869 (why have the children first, and *then* get married?) when the youngest child was in her early 20s, and Eliza died in 1876, with Adam following a year later.

This has provided me with somewhat of a mystery.  Were the small children a result of Eliza doing more than housekeeping for Adam?  Did Eliza really come from Ireland? (another census says she came from Foleshill in Warwickshire, where she was living, and there are YARDLEYs who come from Foleshill, so perhaps she was a part of them?).  Hmmm.  I feel more certificates coming on...

Monday, 3 January 2011

Maritime Monday: Responsibilities of a Rigger

My gg grandfather, John Dunstone AVERY (1835-1903) is listed on several censuses as a Rigger.  This was a specialised job (nowadays you need to go through an apprenticeship!) working with the ropes that hoisted the sails on a ship. says that ship riggers need to have excellent physical strength, control and endurance, and that they have to be able to work quickly at times.

From Wikipedia: "Sailors could put their rope skills to work in lifting and hauling, in an era before mechanical haulage and cranes, ropes, pulleys and muscle power was all that was available to move anything."

In our day, riggers work for construction agencies, manufacturing plants, logging yards and the entertainment industry. They work with heavy equipment and machinery.  John Dunstone AVERY, whose grandfather was a carpenter/mariner and father was a shipwright, was pensioned off some time between the 1871 and 1881 censuses, and died in a lunatic asylum in 1903 of acute nephritis.  I wonder if he had an accident at work? or if he had served long enough to be released from his job?  I have looked in Documents Online for his service record, but unfortunately there seem to be rather a lot of John Averys...

Running Rigging of a Merchant Sailing Ship

1.Flying jib-guys.
2 Standing jib-guys.
3 Spritsail lifts.
4 Spritsail braces.
5 Fore-yard tackles.
6 Main-yard tackles.
7 Fore-lifts.
8 Fore-braces.
9 Main-lifts.
10. Main-braces.
11. Cross-jack lifts.
12 Cross-jack braces.
13 Slings of fore-yard.
14 Slings of main-yard.
15 Slings of cross jack-yard. 
16  Fore-top-sail-lifts.
17 braces.
1 8 reef-tackles.
19 Main-top-sail-lifts.
20 braces.
21 reef-tackles. 
22 Mizen-top-sail-lifts.
23 Mizen-top-sail braces. -
24- Fore-top-gallant-lifts.
25  Fore-top-gallant-braces.
26 Fore-top-gallant-halliards.
27 Main-top-gallant-lifts.
28 Main-top-gallant braces.
29 Main-top-gallant halliards.
30 Top-gallant-lifts.
31 Top-gallant .braces.
32 Top-gallant halliards
33 Fore Royal Lifts.
34 Fore Royal braces
35 Fore-royal halliards.
36 Main-royal-lifts.
37 Main-royal braces.
38 Main-royal halliards.
39 Signal halliards.
40 Mizen-royal-lifts.
41 Mizen-royal- braces.
42 Mizen-royal-halliards.
43 Fore-top-sail tie and halliards.
44- Main-top-sail tie and halliards.
45 Mizen-top-sail tie and halliards.
46 Mizen-gaff peak halliards.
47 Mizen-gaff throat halliards.
48 Mizen-gaff -vang-pendants and falls. 
49 Mizen-gaff signal halliards.
50 Spanker-boom topping-lift.
51 Spanker-boom quarter guys.
52 Spanker-boom sheet.
53 Spritsail-yard.
54- Fore-yard.
55 Main-yard.
56 Cross-jack-yard.
57 Fore-top-sail-yard.
58 Main-top-sail-yard.
59 Mizen-top-sail-yard.
60 Fore-top-gallant-yard.
61 Main-top-gallant-yard.
62 Mizen-top-gallant-yard.
63 Fore-royal-yard.
64- Main-royal-yard.
65 Mizen-royal-yard.
66 Spanker boom.
67 Spanker gaff.

taken from The Art of Rigging, 1848

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Surname Saturday: Wood and Taylor

My 5th great grandfather was called Nicholas WOOD.  I don't know any biographical details about him, but Nicholas has one 'claim to fame'.  He was married to Elizabeth TAYLOR.

Yes, fact fans, I have Elizabeth Taylor in my family tree.  No, not the actress, but someone far more precious to me.  My great great great great great grandmother.  I have calculated that she was born in the early 1730s (ish) and was probably married in about 1748.

Both Nicholas and Elizabeth need much more research.  Where to look for such early ancestors?  All their children were born in Charleton, Devon, so it's a distinct possibility that they were married there - even born there themselves.  Don't you just love a challenge? *rubs hands with gleeful anticipation*


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