Saturday, 26 March 2011

Fearless Females: Emma Elizabeth Dunstone AVERY - an educated woman

Emma Elizabeth Dunstone AVERY(1837-1915) was my paternal great-great-grandmother.  On the 1891 census, her husband is described as a widower - but Emma Elizabeth had not died.  She had been committed to the Bodmin (Cornwall) Lunatic Asylum on 25th July 1889 as a 'pauper patient' being of 'unsound mind'.  The Medical Gentleman (the form actually calls him that!) had to record various notes and medical reasons for her being there, and give a description of her - in this case, not a physical description as such, more of a mental one.

Emma Elizabeth is described as being 'fairly well educated for her station in life', that is, as the wife of a dockyard labourer.  I wonder what constituted 'fairly well educated'?

She was given tonics, and appeared cured, so was discharged on 3 June 1896.  Seven years in a Lunatic Asylum - and the cure was taking tonics!  Was that because medical knowledge hadn't advanced far enough, or because her 'illness' wasn't actually that severe?  She lived for nearly twenty years after that, but I'm sure her stay in the Asylum had left its mark.

This post is part of the Fearless Females theme to honour National Women's History month.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Fearless Females: The Brickwall Belles

A brickwall in genealogy usually means that you have looked everywhere, but still can't get any further on in your research into a certain individual.  My Brickwall Belles are females in my family tree that have made me stop short in my research - because I don't know where to look in the first place.

It''s not that I have 'looked everywhere' and got stuck.  I haven't looked, because I don't know where to go.  Each lady seems to have her own distinct difficulties, but the main one is that she has the sort of name which was immensely popular (and therefore which one is she?) such as my great-great-great-grandmother, Mary WEBBER.  I have her marriage certificate to James LETHBRIDGE (14 July 1839 in East Stonehouse), and on it is her father's name - John (really unusual).  Oh, and she is 'of full age'...

Mary's daughter, Mary Ann, married John BLAGDON, whose mother was another Brickwall Belle. Another great-great-great-grandmother: Elizabeth Thomas HALL, born in 1800 in Plymouth (Devon), married John BLAGDON on 9 July 1817 in Stoke Damerel, and died in 1876, also in Plymouth.  But I have no idea of her parents or siblings.  At the moment, she is still just a name.

And, unfortunately, there are quite a few more.  One thing that this month's blog posts have taught me: I know little or nothing about many of my female ancestors.  Time to remedy that, methinks...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Fearless Females: Thomasine Dunstone AVERY in six words

I am participating in the Fearless Females theme to honour National Women's History Month.

March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

Nearly eighty and still working hard.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

1700 census Ottery St Mary

Well, I finally received the photocopies from the Devon Record Office of the 1700 census for Ottery St Mary, Devon.  They had already told me that there would be 4 pages, so I thought to myself, "Huh! I can do that easily - it'll take no time at all!"  That was until I got the photocopies.

The pages are written in a beautiful antique hand that I am not allowed to post online until I get permission from the local incumbent.  Some of the names are easily readable, such as 'John Mills' or 'William Taylor', but others will take a lot of studying - and, oh, I am going to have to work through the National Archives tutorials on palaeography.  Oh-dear-how-sad.  Can't you just see me rubbing my hands in glee? *huge grin*

From a vague guess, it looks as though the only people who are listed are heads of households and widows.  No children.  Not even 'John Bloggs, 1 wife, 6 children, 4 pigs, 2 cows...'.  Just 'John Bloggs'.  But I have already found my great great great great great great great grandfather, Walter Bastyn.

This looks exciting!  And as soon as I get church permission, I will post a snatch of the handwriting on this blog.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

My First Award

I was so excited to get this award!  The 'One Lovely Blog Award' is the first one I have ever received, and as I said to the genealogist who nominated me: thank you! it means I know I'm doing something right!  So thank you again, Christine of So That's Where I Get It From .   And now for the rules:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link. 
2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

The blogs that I have chosen are the ones that pique my interest, and keep it long enough for me to want to keep on coming back to them - and they've made me want to write more on my own blog:

Anglo-Celtic Connections
Genealogy's Star
Old Stones Undeciphered
Shades of the Departed
The Armchair Genealogist
UK/Australia Genealogy
Winging It
The Family Curator
The Faces of my Family
The Accidental Genealogist
Growing Family Trees and Vegetables
The Wandering Genealogist
The Professional Descendant


Fearless Females: Audrey Ball HAYWOOD outside the home

I am participating in the Fearless Females theme to honour National Women's History month.

Audrey Ball HAYWOOD (1932-1995), my mother, worked outside the home as a teacher's assistant in St John's Infant School, Glastonbury, Somerset.  She worked with the four-year-olds who were coming to school for the first time, and often had amusing stories to tell about what they said and did.

The most recent thing, which impressed me the most, was after she had died.  I was staying with my father in Glastonbury, to look after him and arrange the funeral.  I popped down to the local supermarket to buy basics like bread and milk, and the checkout girl commented on the passing of my mother (by then it had been in the local paper).  I'll never forget what she said:  

"She taught me to read."

I wonder how many other children around the area could say that - and I wonder how many women have that distinction?  My mother taught me to read as well, and in fact we still have a tape of me reading Peter Rabbit (very fast indeed, with prompts from my mother).  She it was who encouraged me to read anything and everything, which meant that I owned some 400 books by the time I was 14, and had read even more. She opened a whole new world to me, and I am forever grateful.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Fearless Females: Generations of religious women in Devon, UK

I am participating in the Fearless Females theme to honour National Women's History Month.  Today we were asked what role religion played in our families; as far back as I have researched on the MURCH line, women either married into a Nonconformist religious atmosphere, or were searching for the truth themselves.  Here they are in Ottery St Mary, Bovey Tracey, and Chudleigh (all in Devon), beginning with my 6th great-grandmother::

Elizabeth Bastin: bap 1720, married Gideon Murch 21 July 1744
Margaret Marshall,: b abt 1749, mar Samuel Murch, previously married Richard Littley (very religious family who appear regularly in the Nonconformist records) on 26 December 1774
Eleanor Bending: bur 1834, married to Samuel Murch 14 March 1791 (2nd wife after Margaret died)
Mary Bending: baptised on Boxing Day 1785, married Samuel Murch16 September 1799
Johanna Yeates married Samuel Murch 5 August 1828
Johanna Murch and John Haywood, married 30 September 1869 in Independent Meeting House, Ottery St Mary

Monday, 7 March 2011

Fearless Females: Audrey Ball HAYWOOD's Boiled Cake

I find traditional Christmas fruit cake far too stodgy.  Here is Audrey Ball HAYWOOD (my mother)'s recipe for boiled cake (where you boil the ingredients before making the cake), which is much lighter.

1/2 pint milk
6 oz marge
6 oz sugar
10 oz mixed fruit
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon bicarb
10 oz self-raising flour
2 eggs

Place all ingredients, except bicarb, flour and eggs, into a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Add bicarb while still hot, mix well, and leave to cool.  Add flour and beaten eggs.  Cook for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees or Reg 4.

8" tin

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Fearless Females: Elsie Beatrice BLAGDON

I am participating in the Fearless Females theme for 
National Women's History Month

Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

When I was 14, my paternal grandmother (Elsie Beatrice Blagdon HAYWOOD) called me to her and gave me her eternity ring.  She knew she was going to die fairly soon, and she also knew that "the vultures would descend" (her words) and I would be highly unlikely to get any of her property.  But she wanted me to have her ring, which she kept in its little velvet box because her fingers had grown too fat for her to be able to wear it.

It was a band of gold, studded with tiny chips of diamonds and rubies (well, I thought so at the time, anyway).  About 10 years later, some of the "real diamonds" fell out, so I took it to a jeweller to have him quote me how much it would cost to replace them.  He told me that it would cost more to replace them than the entire ring was worth, as they were not diamonds and rubies, but zirconia and garnets, and the ring itself was fairly inexpensive.

But to me? even the holes they sat in were precious.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

1841 census: I've started!

Today I made a start on transcribing the 1841 census for Ottery St Mary.  It took me about 20 minutes of reading the instructions - seemed like an eternity before I could put finger to keyboard, but eventually I did it.

And, needless to say, within minutes I had a question to ask about what code to enter if a person was born out of the county...fortunately, it was answered the same day.  And on the first page I attempted were my great great great uncle and aunt! it made me feel as though I were among friends already - I was certainly among family.

I just love the thought that, in the future, my humble tappings may help another genealogist, who may shriek something like, "There they are!" and do the Genealogy Happy Dance.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Fearless Females: Scanning for Girls

I am participating in the Fearless Females theme for 
National Women's History Month 
Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when.

Yes, I have a marriage certificate scanned for one set of grandparents.  Yes, I have marriage certificates for great-grandparents - but they are sitting neatly in folders and not scanned. promotes a once-a-month event called Scanfest, where (as Thomas MacEntee says) "geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at [the ancestories] blog to chat while they scan their precious family documents and photos."
And guess what?  When I came to write my post for today's entry in the Fearless Females theme, I found that almost-unheard of thing: everything was put away nicely.  Oh, and by the way - not scanned for immediate use.  I missed Scanfest in February (I find this often happens when translating timezones from the US to the UK).  It's usually the last Sunday in the month, but in March we in the UK will change our clocks, so I hope I can work out when I am supposed to be there! If not, I will at least make a date with myself to do some scanning...

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Fearless Females: Rosamund and Loveday

I am participating in the Fearless Females theme for 
National Women's History Month

3 March - Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.
Rosamund Gwendoline HAYWOOD (20 June 1927-16 March 1943) was my aunt.  My father’s eldest sister.  Everyone called her ‘Gwennie’, and apparently she was some sort of saint.  She died of diphtheria in 1943, aged only 15.  Family legend has it that her boyfriend was so distraught, he threw himself off a cliff and is buried beside her.  Unfortunately, the cemetery which housed their graves has been covered over and is now a car park.

My parents always maintained that I was not named after her. But where else did my name come from?  I can only think of a couple of other Rosamunds that were around at that time: Rosamund John (the actress) and Rosamunde Pilcher (the authoress, born in Cornwall).  So I will have to claim the distinction of being unique.  I think.

The most unusual name I have come across in my family history research – one that I loved instantly and have used as both username and password from time to time over the years – is 'Loveday'.  Loveday Anna French (born 1870 in Bovey Tracey, Devon) was my first cousin three times removed; her father died when she was only three years old, and her mother, an earthenware painter, lived with Loveday's grandparents, John and Eliza HAYWOOD. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Fearless Females: Minda Mary Edgcombe BALL

I am participating in the Fearless Females theme for National Women's History Month.

Minda Mary Edgcombe Ball (1894-1985)
  Isn't she beautiful?  this is my maternal grandmother.  The photo was taken in (I think) the 1930s, when she was a young married woman with seven children.  She taught me (by example) the meaning of femininity and grace, and I have many fond memories of hearing her rich Devon accent as she remembered things of long ago.  Yet she had a great sense of humour; she wasn't in the least bit prim.  She was loved by all her children, grandchildren and the rest of her family.  I can remember the surprise party we had for her 85th birthday, and how the whole hall buzzed with the enjoyment we felt.

Minda 1979

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Fearless Females: Johanna Yates MURCH

I am participating in the Fearless Females theme for National Women's History Month.

The female ancestor who got me the most interested in my family tree was my great great grandmother, Johanna Yates MURCH (4 February 1844-17 December 1875).  Before I knew much about her, I imagined her as having lived to a 'ripe old age' (as they say).  Imagine my shock when I found out that she actually died when she was only 31.  She had just given birth to her third baby, and died when he was nine days old.  The cause of death on her death certificate was: "Confined 8 days, gastritis 3 days, diarrhoea, exhaustion."  Now, I am single and have never had a child, but even I winced when I heard of her last few days of life.

She has given me more reason to participate in 'Scanfest' at the end of the month; I have her death certificate and need to scan it to put it here!

She was also the last MURCH in my family (unless you count my father's middle name).  All the MURCHes were Protestant Dissenters of some sort, and Johanna got married in the local Congregationalist meeting house.  This also makes me love her specially, as her family was obviously looking for something, and although the HAYWOODs she married into do not seem a particularly religious lot, I feel as though she and I have something in common: a searching for the truth.  And I maintain that I have found it.


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