Wednesday, 30 October 2013

On This Day: 30 October

This snippet from Exeter & Plymouth Gazette, 30 October 1841.

Column devoted to the Agricultural and Industrial Association Dinner at Subscription Room, Canniford's London Tavern:

"To the Journeyman who has worked longest in the employ of the same master, £1. - Samuel Murch, Sen., 38 years employed in the Ottery Factory, 18 years during the time of the present respected proprietor, Mr. Newbery."

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Thankful Thursday: William Tyndale and his Bible

Today's "Thankful Thursday" is not about one of my own ancestors.  It is about a man who helped my ancestors - and me.

Willliam Tyndale (1494-1536) translated the Bible into English.  That may not seem very earth-shattering - until you consider the times he lived in.  To possess the scriptures in English was to invite the death sentence, unless you had a licensed copy (presumably the only people who were allowed licences were clergymen!).

William Tyndale
The printing press had recently been invented, and Tyndale took advantage of this "new technology" to get his Bible-in-English into the hands of the people.  (Of course, there were other translations, but only Tyndale's came directly from the Greek and Hebrew.)  It was taken as a challenge to the rulings of the Church.  Tyndale was a very brave man!

I owe a debt of gratitude to William Tyndale.  Without him (and therefore his Bible), the ancestors of mine who were searching for spiritual truth would have been lost.  We see Bibles on shelves and in hotel rooms and don't give them another thought.  My own quest for spiritual truth would have been made much more difficult.

Thank you, William Tyndale.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Way Back Wednesday: Samuel AVERY and Jane BIRCHALL 1806

Today's "Way Back Wednesday" post is about my gggg grandparents.  All I know about them are their names and the date they married.  Oh, and of course I know one of their children: George AVERY 1814-1878, because he was my ggg grandfather.

The couple in question: Samuel AVERY and Jane BIRCHALL.  They were married 18 November 1806 in Stoke Dameral, Devon, England.  Samuel was a carpenter.  Since the Napoleonic Wars happened between 1803-1815, he probably had something to do with building ships for the Navy.  Jane is a complete mystery.

La bataille d'Austerlitz by Gerard

Does anybody have any information on either of them, please?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Note the Neighbours

Following on from last week's "Motivation Monday" post about NOT using the scattergun approach, today's "Tuesday's Tip" may seem like I have my wires crossed somewhere.  For today's "Tip" is to always look at the neighbours when you are reading something like a census return. 

Years ago, I was searching for my gg grandfather, John HAYWOOD, and noticed that in the house where he lived, was a Walter HAYWOOD.  Now, I had no Walter HAYWOOD in my notes - but I wrote him down anyway.  Some time later, I learned that I *did* have a Walter - but it was just that I didn't know it at the time. 

Now I look back at those same censuses, and with 20-20 hindsight I can pick out his sister, his niece, and other relatives.  So, if you want 20-20 hindsight vision before the future has happened - always note the neighbours.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Motivation Monday: Grandparents

Julie Boucher of the Angler's Rest blog, has started a 15-month set of weekly prompts to create The Book of Me, Written by You.  She describes it as "...not just about genealogy or family history. It is about a personal journey; a journey of rediscovery of yourself and perhaps your loved ones through your eyes."

This week's Prompt is for you to write about your grandparents.
  • What were their names? Edmund George HAYWOOD, Elsie Beatrice BLAGDON (my paternal grandparents), William Hubert BALL, and Minda Mary EDGCOMBE (my maternal grandparents).  Yes, they were married, but as a genealogist I have grown so accustomed to noting ladies down with their maiden names...
  • Where were they from?  Edmund George and Elsie Beatrice were from Millbrook, Cornwall, UK; William Hubert was from Kingsbridge, Devon and Minda Mary was from Ringmore, also Devon.
I wrote about them in my post on 3 February here.  I was in the middle of another year's "Family History Writing Challenge" (which happens every February), writing "Faith and Silk" and stumbling AGAIN.  So writing about my grandparents was a fresh start.

"The Family History Writing Challenge is an opportunity for all genealogists, to set some valuable time aside for the next 2[8] days and commit to writing their family history stories. No more excuses. There are so many benefits to writing your family history."

I like challenges.  Perhaps I should like motivations first...

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday's Obituary: Albion and Elizabeth Charlotte HAYWOOD 1913

The Western Times, 16 April 1913: Sad Occurrence: Bovey Funeral Followed by Widow's Death

The funeral took place on Monday of Mr Albion Haywood, of Pottery [my ggg uncle].  Deceased was carried into the Baptist Chapel and interred at the cemetery.  The chief mourners were Mr Norman Haywood, Mr Edgar Haywood (sons), Mrs French (sister), Mr John Haywood, Mr H Haywood (brothers), Mrs J Haywood, Mrs H Haywood (sisters-in-law), Mr and Mrs Clampitt, Miss Vera Haywood, Miss Pearse and Mr Boyne.  A good number of club members attended to show their last token of respect.  Rev. J R Way conducted the service.  There were several beautiful wreaths.

The widow, Mrs Albion Haywood, died yesterday morning.  Much sympathy is expressed for the two sons in their double bereavement in less than a week.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Thomas Francis BUCKINGHAM, born 1880

Today I have been thinking especially about my great great uncle, Thomas Francis BUCKINGHAM.  Thomas was born in 1880; later censuses have him as being born blind, while the 1911 census has him as being blind from age 1.  I have followed him through the censuses; he had a fairly dull life (some might even say miserable): I can't find him in the 1881, but in the 1891 he was in the workhouse, a pauper; in the 1901 he was still in Plymouth workhouse as a basket weaver, and in the 1911 he was at least boarded out somewhere, and worked as a news vendor.

The reason I have been thinking of him is because today (Friday 11th October) I took part in the RNIB's
'Read for RNIB Day' (RNIB is the UK's Royal National Institute of Blind People).  I wanted to do something for charity, but realised that I am not exactly built for running up mountains LOL, but here was something I could do.  Last year, I did a readathon of Star Trek novels.  This year, my work colleagues challenged me to learn basic Braille in 6 weeks and read something in Braille on The Day.  RNIB kindly sent me two copies of "We're Going On a Bear Hunt" (children's book), one in print and one in Braille, and I read the entire book out loud today at work.  Braille was developed in 1824.  I wonder how much access Thomas Francis had to it?  I am so blessed to have the gift of sight.

Thomas was born in Plymouth and died there in 1930, aged 49.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Thankful Thursday: I'm Glad I'm Modern

“Count Your Many Blessings” is the title of a hymn I am fond of.  “Name them one by one” it continues.  I know, there are some days when you’re really not sure you have any blessings.  But apply this hymn to genealogy and family history, and immediately you can “count them one by one.”

Imagine trying to do all this research in the 1800s, or 1700s, or 1600s – or earlier!  No computers (well, that’s obvious); but have you thought of the other things there wouldn’t have been?  Would you have had the disposable income to allow you to purchase entrance fees for places which held records? Some of those places (such as great houses) would have been thriving anyway – so I somehow doubt that you would have been allowed access to any records, because they were current.  If you are a woman: would you have been allowed to travel by yourself?   If you were married: would you even have had the time? Would you have been able to read and write?

I am so grateful that I have been born in these times.  Women are more independent, there is more disposable income around (well, I won’t get into that one LOL), technology abounds – and I know how to use it, even if my budget means I can’t afford most of it.  I can read and write!  I’m not sure I could have coped with daily life in some of my ancestors’ eras – let alone been involved in genealogical research.

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Way Back Wednesday: Ralph LEY and Martha MILLS

Ralph LEY (my 5th great-grandfather) was born in Mevagissey, Cornwall, UK in about 1761.  He married Martha MILLS on 16 February 1786 – again, in Mevagissey.   Ralph and Martha had six children: Nicholas, another Ralph (my 4th great-grandfather), William, another William, Mary, and An. 

Leaving Mevagissey (by Helen Rice)
 Since son Ralph, grandson Nicholas, and great-grandson Ralph grew up to become coastguards – and Mevagissey is a coastal town - it is likely that Ralph senior was a coastguard, too.  The family also included mariners, fishermen, and naval pensioners.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Always Cite Your Sources

I wish someone had drilled this into my brain when I started researching my ancestors:  Always Cite Your Sources.  The thing is, I wouldn’t have understood the importance of this at the time, and later I didn’t see it as important because nobody else in my family seemed interested in genealogy.

Has this situation changed?  Not much, really.  But I have found a new audience – myself.  I have managed to find so many ancestors – and so many potential ancestors – that I need to have sources for each one. When I come back to Ancestor A, after working through Ancestors B thru Z, often I find myself thinking: “That’s a useful ancestor.  She actually links in with Ancestor M.  Where did I find out about her?” And I   Innocent until proven guilty? Nah.  ‘Nothing to do with me’ until proven otherwise.
have been sent so much suspect information through the years, that, instead of jumping for joy at the new connection I have made, I regard Ancestor A with the narrowed eyes of misgiving.

So, if you’re just starting out – please, please, cite your sources.  Even if you think I’m ever so slightly insane right now, do it anyway.  Your ancestors will thank you later.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Motivation Monday: Setting Genealogy Goals

This prompt on Geneabloggers says: Do you have a set of genealogy-related goals you want to tackle? Do you have tips on getting motivated?  I haven’t actually got any genealogy goals.  I need motivation in order to set them! 

When I started out (back in 1977) my goal was just to discover as many names, dates and places of as many ancestors as I could find.  So, in a way, I am well on track with this goal!  I teach short courses in genealogy, and one of the things I always say is to focus yourself on a goal (or goals); the scattergun approach just doesn’t work.  I am only too aware of this (and maybe you are too).  I spend an entire Sunday afternoon going aimlessly from ancestor to ancestor. In the end it’s like trying to find your way through a maze without the key: you end up hitting more brickwalls than you care to meet, and getting so frustrated you start muttering about how you’re not doing THIS again...

 So, which line of your ancestry should you choose? Or, indeed, should you choose a single person?  I am in the middle of writing a book on my paternal great-great-grandmother’s line – the MURCHes – called ‘Faith and Silk’ (because they were the one line who seemed to be looking for a different religion, plus they were all woolcombers/weavers/silk workers).

I’m still writing it.  I’ve been writing it for several years.  And at the same time, I am continuing to look for names, dates, and places of everybody else on my tree.  I can’t seem to stop looking everywhere, and focus myself somewhere.

Does anybody have any advice?  My ancestors and I need help!


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