Day One: Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

Today has been the first day of Who Do You Think You Are Live? 2014 at London’s Olympia.

Day One of Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

Day One of Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

This is my fourth year here, and for the first time, I’ve booked a hotel, and I’m going to be here for all three days of the show.

Hopefully I can find enough to keep me entertained, and looking at the workshop schedule, this is going to be fairly easy.

The first year that I visited (back in 2011), I hadn’t booked myself onto any talks/workshops, and so found the whole event initially interesting, but not able to sustain my interest for a whole day – and I considered skipping it the following year.

Thankfully I didn’t, and I’ve been coming back ever since.

Angels, Cushions, Books, and Sin

I arrived at about 10am, complete with case (which, together with my coat, I swiftly consigned to the cloakroom).

I soon spotted Jackie Depelle, and her now infamous WDYTYALive themed hat, and after a quick hello, found my way to my first lecture session ‘Write Your Life Story’ with Michael Oke of Bound Biographies.

He explained how he fell into publishing through helping an elderly man write his life story. He went on to explain how best to get your own life story down – highlighting the need to record all the tiniest pieces of information you can, in order to help the reader remember you, or to picture or connect with the person or people you’re writing about.

Whilst leaving his session, I thought I’d died, when I bumped into these two angelic nurses…

Angel nurses from spiritofremembrance.com

Angel nurses from spiritofremembrance.com

With (a pricey) lunch out of the way, it was time for my second lecture – this time from Dr Colin R Chapman on Sin, Sex & Probate.

Dr Colin R Chapman on Sin, Sex & Probate, at day one of Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

Dr Colin R Chapman on Sin, Sex & Probate, at day one of Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

Dr Chapman talked through the hierarchical structure of the church, and explained that the records held by each level could be detailed and fascinating – but particularly a Bishop’s records (for the juicy gossip). He pulled some examples out from Norfolk, Essex, Cheshire, and Oxfordshire, to illustrate the range of ‘sins’ that we’re legitimate crimes – including defamation, not returning to church after giving birth to say ‘Thanks’ to God, punching a man whilst in a graveyard, and eating meat in Lent.

He pointed out that the church courts dealt with sins, and the civic courts dealt with crimes.

All in all, a fascinating topic, and I’m considering buying a copy of his book (of the same name), if only to read further examples, and help steer me to somewhere where I might find my own ancestor’s scandal.

I hasten to add, it’s the first time I’ve ever had to ask for a ticket for Sin, Sex & Probate!

I managed to pop along to the FindMyPast stand twice, catching the tail end of David Annal‘s fascinating talk on census returns and how you can use search wild cards to get better results, and examples of poor handwriting and missing relatives.

Also, appearing later, was the turn of Myko Clelland of FindMyPast, who once again under-dressed for the show (see pic below), whilst searching for Cushions in Shoreditch (of the surname kind), to help illustrate the collections, new image viewer, and new tree builder (I’ll be giving this a spin when I get home).

Myko Clelland (FindMyPast.com) talks cushions at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

Myko Clelland (FindMyPast.com) talks cushions at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

All in all a good first day. Tomorrow has a tweet-up to attend, more lectures, shopping, and no doubt catching up with more genealogy friends.

G’night!
Andrew

Posted in FindMyPast.co.uk, WDYTYA | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Sarah Millican voted most popular Who Do You Think You Are? (UK) Series 10 episode

A few months back, I ran a poll on this blog, where you could vote for your favourite episode from the 10th Series of the UK version of Who Do You Think You Are?, with voting split between the first and second half of the series.

Having collated all of the votes together, for all 10 celebrity episodes, there is a clear winner.

Comedian, Sarah Millican, won the poll with 67% of the votes.

Her voting surged after she retweeted the link to the poll.

In her episode, she aimed to find out about her family’s history in the South Shields area of the UK, and also to see if she could find something her family could be proud of. Well, Sarah, (if you’re reading), you can be proud of your poll glory too.

Here’s a clip from her episode:

Sarah Millican Who Do You Think You Are? clip

Her nearest rival to this glory came from actor Nitin Ganatra who scored 11%, and in third came actor and singer Minnie Driver with 7%.

If you’re the kind of person who likes pies and charts, you’re in luck:

Best episode of UK Who Do You Think You Are? series 10

Gary Linekar and Nigel Havers languished in joint last place, both with just one vote each. Nick Hewer managed to muster two votes – a score that would surely get him fired.

Who Do You Think You Are? UK Series 11 for 2014?

Whilst I’ve yet to see confirmation that the 11th series of Who Do You Think You Are? is coming this year, it was reported by the Irish Independent in November, that comedian and writer Brendan O’Carroll – who is most famous for playing Agnes Brown in ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ - has filmed his episode.

Photograph: Alan Peebles/BBC

Brendan O’Carrol as Agnes Brown in ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’. Photograph: Alan Peebles/BBC

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Surname Saturday – Barker

Today’s Surname Saturday themed post crosses the border into Hertfordshire, and visits a small village where my Barker ancestors lived.

My progress in researching the family history of my Barker family is somewhat incomplete. Of course, a family tree is never really complete, but what I mean to say is that it is not very well documented.

This will no doubt be down to the fact that researching Hertfordshire is not as convenient for me as Cambridgeshire, and also because I have stumbled across name duplication from different family groups.

It’s been more of a ‘i’ll come back to this puzzle later‘ approach. That’s probably why blogging about it here today is actually a good thing – as I do get messages from distant relatives who have read the blog and find myself getting back on the trail.

Meet the Hay-binders!

From what I do know, the most recent Barker in my ancestry was my Great Great Grandmother, Mary Ann Barker, who was born in 1854, in Barkway, Hertfordshire. She was the third of at least nine children of William Barker and Mary Head, who had married in October 1847. In all, it appears that she had 3 brothers, and 5 sisters.

  • Joseph Barker (b.c 1849)
  • Louisa Barker (b.c 1850)
  • Mary Ann (as mentioned, b. 1854)
  • Harriet Eliza Barker (b.c 1856)
  • Henry Barker (b.c 1859)
  • Elizabeth Barker (b.c 1861)
  • Esther Barker (b.c 1864)
  • Thomas Barker (b.c 1866 – d.1913)
  • Frances Barker (b.c 1869)

William Barker (born around 1823 in Barkway), is noted as a ‘Hay Binder’ at the time of the 1861 census, and his wife Mary is noted similarly as ‘Hay Binder’s Wife’. The rolling countryside around Barkway would no doubt have been great for hay, but by 1880 he had turned his hand to being a carpenter.

William is deceased by the time that Mary (his daughter) marries for the second time in 1896. Mary (née Head), his wife, appears to survive until at least 1911, when it looks like she is living alone as a widow at the Clock House in Barkway.

Barkway parish church, Hertfordshire

Barkway Parish Church would have been very familiar to the Barker family.

Thomas Barker

Note that the only death date I have of Mary’s siblings is for Thomas, her younger brother who died in 1913. He was my Great Great Great Uncle.

I only have this information due to a recent connection with distant relative (2nd cousin, twice removed, apparently!) Peter Barker, who is Thomas’ grandson. He kindly sent me the following photo of Thomas – it being the only photograph I have of a Barker relative.

Mary's little brother, Thomas Barker (1866-1913). Image: Peter Barker.

Mary’s little brother, Thomas Barker (1866-1913). Image: Peter Barker.

Sadly, Thomas died in July 1913 at London’s Royal Free Hospital when he was in his late 40s, from blood poisoning, which was as a result of his injuries of being run-over by a cart. He was a carman.

Finding Esther…

William was baptised at the parish church in Barkway on 16th March 1823. He was the second of at least seven children of Joseph Barker and his wife Esther. It’s worth noting now, that I am uncertain of the identity of Esther, as I have two possible candidates, but the dates are out.

Esther #1 may have been ‘Hester Hawks‘ who married Joseph Barker in 1809 – but then there was either a very long pause before marriage and first child (12 years), or there’s 12 year’s worth of children hiding somewhere.

Esther #2 may have been ‘Esther Elizabeth Nottage‘ (‘spinster’) who married Joseph Barker (noted as a ‘bachelor’) after the baptism of William (himself, the second child) in November 1823 at nearby Braughing. Were there two illegitimate sons, and a marriage in a different parish to hide the shame?

I’m stuck.

My only slight glimmer, is that on the same day that William went to church to be baptised in March 1823, he was joined on the day by John and Anne Nottage for their son’s baptism (also a William, albeit Nottage).

My Downton Abbey Moment

By the time of the 1871 census, Mary Ann becomes a kitchen maid for a wealthy land owner John H Phillips – a Justice of the Peace (JP) for Hertfordshire, and Deputy Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire. He is also noted as farming 400 acres, and employing 19 men and 7 boys.

Here, she is one of several staff members, including a Lady’s Maid, a Page, Butler, Nurse and a housemaid.

Research by the kind volunteers at Royston and District Museum, brought up several references to John Phillips and his family’s brewery, but none of Mary herself.  As a kitchen maid, it was unlikely that she’d be well documented, but it was worth a look in case a photograph might have been lurking.

However, what is likely, is that this is where Mary Ann learnt her skills in servitude, and hopefully earned herself a good reputation. The heads of the household may have written her a suitable reference that helped to take her down to London by 1880, where she appears as working in the now famous Abbey Road in St John’s Wood.

It was there in London, that she met my Great x 2 Grandfather George Burnell of Somerset, and their lives (and mine) grew into a new branch of the Burnell tree.

Check out some great ‘then-and-now’ photos of Barkway from Tom Doig over on the Barkway village website.

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INFOGRAPHIC: The life expectancy of a Martin descendant

I’ve been crunching data again, and following on from my previous infographics, this time it’s the turn of my own surname – Martin. How do the life statistics stack up?

The Martin surname life expectancy infographic

There’s a few things evident from this infographic:

  • The average life-span of a Martin descendant is lower
  • Winter weddings are popular with Martins
  • Winter children are common with Martins
  • Martin men most commonly die around agricultural calendars (May and September)

Maybe the last three are connected? Is data showing that the agricultural occupations of the male Martin name-bearers was central to their home lives?

As for the age of death for men, fitting in with agricultural calendars – there may be some truth in this, similar to the parallel decline in UK heavy industry and the increase in male life expectancy in the 1980s.

As for me, well, it looks like that statistically i’ve got about 16 years left, will have one child, still have time to marry, and will probably die at one of my birthday parties (May).

I look forward to skewing the figures (the good way!).

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Memories of Wilburton School, Snowstorms, and Edwardian Earthworms

I started school when I was 5 years old [1904].

My mother [Adelaide (née Bishop)] was very good, she used to show us how to write, count and read as she taught the infants at Little Thetford school. Our school [Wilburton Primary] consisted of two rooms – a big one divided by a wooden and glass partition which was pulled across.

Mrs Alma Marchant with children from Wilburton Primary School, Cambridgeshire in about 1904.

Mrs Alma Marchant with children from Wilburton Primary School. Maude is apparently 5ft from left, on the third row. Image: CCAN.

There were over 100 of us with two teachers, Mr Harry Marchant and his wife Alma, who lived in the school house. The school was built on the back of their house.

Alma A. Marchant mistress at Wilburton School

Strict or soft? Alma A. Marchant mistress at Wilburton School. Image: CCAN.

The girls and infants had to go in the front way. We had a small playground and the
laboratories were in a block across there with the fuel shed. We only had a small porch for
hanging our coats and bags in, so they had to hang over one another which wasn’t very well on wet days.

There’s something in the water

We had a basket behind the door with a tin bowl on it where we used to wash in and a roller-towel on the door. We used to have to pump water to wash in but we were not
allowed to drink the water as we used to pump earthworms up sometimes and our teachers had to fetch their drinking water from another house.

We used to take food with us for midday and go out begging for water to drink. There were quite a lot of us dinner children, as the came from far away places.

Mother always cooked us some hot dinner when it was cold.

Lost in the snow

We lived a long way from school. I remembered my next sister, Jessie and I got lost in a
snow storm. We had to walk down a long path. It was dark and snowing hard and the school master had kept us in until 4pm.

The big children ran home without us, so mother ran to the station and told father (the stationmaster) and he had to run up the path looking for us in between train arrivals.

We were lost and it was snowing hard and we did not know which way to go. We were heading the wrong way – back to Wilburton. Jessie was five and I was six.

I think poor old dad didn’t get and tea that night. He used to have to get his meals when he could and if he had to put overtime in when trains were late he had to lay off the next day to make it up.

During dinner times we played with skipping ropes, hoops, tops, marbles and balls. We sat in school at long desks attached and tightly pushed together and it was very cold for those at the back as the stoves didn’t send much heat back there.

Father sent a letter to the school master the day after we got lost, and gave him a good
telling off! It was too dark to do lessons, so why didn’t he keep us in? After that, Mr Marchant let all the long-distance children go home sooner when it was dark early.

Schoolmaster Mr Marchant, with children at the Wilburton Primary School. Image: CCAN.

Schoolmaster Mr Harry Marchant, with children at the Wilburton Primary School. Image: CCAN.

Making Do

We were very poor as he only brought home about 15 shillings and 10 pence after he had paid house rent and club money.

Father was a good gardener and he grew us plenty of vegetables. He kept bees so that we
got some honey and mother made a lot of jam. We used to do sewing and knitting at night
when we had washed up.

Mother was good at that and she used to put us right and we used to teach other dinner children. We used to pull old socks undone to do it and children from farms brought fencing nails as needles.

We used to have some happy times, and we used to play in the road.

Passing exams and saying ‘goodbye’

I passed an exam when I was twelve and had to go and work in the fruit gardens to earn a few more shillings but the poor Dr. Banardos children were sent to Canada and Australia to work when they were twelve.

It did seem a shame and we didn’t see them again, poor little things. The people who had them were very upset over that as some of them had had them from babies.

Posted in Wilburton, Yarrow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Top 5 New Year Genealogy Resolutions for 2014

Following on from last year’s list of ‘genealogy resolutions’ here’s my list for 2014. If you missed my post from the other day, you can check to see how I got on with 2013‘s.

1. Find More Photos

I’m going to renew my search for family photographs of the siblings of many of my Great Grandparents, and their nieces and nephews. This will see me contact a number of distant cousins.

Here’s a few photos that I’ve got a tantalisingly poor photocopy of a photocopy of a…. etc, and really want to capture a hi-res scan of the photos included in what was a self-published 90′s family history book. The original author (a very distant cousin), is unwilling to go back through his notes, so I shall try the closer cousins instead.

The main photo i’m after, is a wedding photo of my Great Grandparents Alfred Newman and Clara Gilbert in 1909, which you can see in the photo below:

1909 Newman Gilbert wedding group

My Great Grandparents’ wedding on 2nd June 1909 – the only photo I have or have seen (of at least a 2nd generation photocopy) is on the wish list.

As you can see, it’s in a bad way, and as I also have another (high quality) group Newman-only photograph, I should be able to identify quite a number of the Newmans in this photo if it was also of a higher quality.

Fingers crossed!

2. Killing off my wicked Great x4 Grandmother

Yes, she’s back.. or rather, she’s still out there somewhere. As per 2013′s resolution, Mary Clarke ended up in court and eventually prison for neglecting, abusing, and playing the role of wicked step-mother to her husband’s children (he was also found to have caused neglect) during the 1840s. Whilst my Great x3 Grandmother Caroline Clarke (featured in the wedding photo above) escaped this, by being the much older first-born who went into service, the rest of the family ended up in poverty – including stints at the workhouse, where I think some of the children were also born.

Mary vanishes after 1881, by then a widow… but I will find her.

In a way, I will be relieved to find how she met her end, and feel like I personally, also get to put an end to it, as the court session report in a newspaper, which includes direct quotes from her and the abused children, is quite harrowing.

3. Spending 3 Days at Who Do You Think You Are? Live

I’ve booked my ticket for the entire 3 day show at this year’s Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in London’s Olympia in February (not long to go!).

Stands at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2013

View across Olympia lower court at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2013.

This will be my first time that I’ll have stayed for longer than a day, and so I hope to be able to meet lots of people who i’ve come to know through my research, through the contacts that i’ve made at the wonderful genealogy magazines and companies, as well as taking part in the #TweetUp, and attending lots of the workshops and panel sessions.

Right, i better book my hotel!

4. Sorting out the babies

There are two concentrations of births and deaths of infants in amongst the available certificates, and I want to work out which child belonged to which family. Parish records for Stretham and its neighbouring hamlet of Little Thetford aren’t necessarily revealing which Yarrow child belongs to which couple.

Similarly, in Little Downham, there’s a confusing number of Martin infants getting birth and death certificates, but without names and dates that completely tally-up.

Some of the children might never have reached the parish church for baptism, hence a lack of church records.

I already have a few of the certificates, which reveal scarlet fever, tuberculosis and other causes.

The only way to sort this out is to go on a spending spree over at the General Register Office (GRO) website to see what can be found.

5. Write that book (or at least start!)

So I have been collecting more and more stories, and have even drafted a few thousand words for a book, but my ideas and thoughts of this book has since become hazy.

What goes in it? Who does and doesn’t get their stories in it? What level of reader?

I’m currently sitting in the frame of mind that I’d like to write a book that contains a lot of visual content – which might be expensive in both rights, and in print, but I want to do a good job, and inspire people like me – who are motivated by shape, space, imagery (my interest in genealogy was very much sparked by finding a handwritten tree, and a load of glorious Victorian photos of mystery relatives). I want something that’s going to be picked up many times, that has big images running alongside text.

Keeping up with the Joneses - Valerie Lumbers

Reading how others have written up their research, has been fun and thought-provoking.

I don’t imagine that this will be easy, but working for a publisher, and having been a designer, and being friends with a number of people who have been published and have self-published, I hope to find a route through it. I’ve also tried to read family history books, including this one ‘Keeping Up With The Joneses’ by my friend’s aunt, Valerie Lumbers.

Firstly though, I need to focus on what the book is. And re-visit that couple of drafts i’ve written to see what can be pulled out and polished to help the book begin.

I’ve also been reading a number of eBooks on writing up family history, including: How To Write Your Family’s History‘ by Bartha Hill, and ‘Your Life Story: How To Turn Life Into Literature‘ by Kay Rennie.

What are your Genealogy Resolutions?

Last year, after posting my resolutions list, it seemed to spark interest amongst others including Valmay Young (hey Valmay, how did you get on?). Let me know if you’re taking part this year by leaving me a comment below, and perhaps a link to your list.

Have a very happy new year, and I wish you every success in your research this year.

Andrew 

Posted in Genealogy Resolutions, Researching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Those top 5 genealogy resolutions of 2013

Last year, I made a list.

I’m not normally a resolutions type of guy, but I thought that it would be fun to do to try to help me focus on my research. It worked a little, but not as much as I would have liked, as I find it easy to go scrambling off on a tangent and chasing branches through different records. Before long, you find yourself about 7 surnames away from where you started.

However, it was overly productive, so I plan to have another 5 resolutions for 2014.

Before I reveal what I plan to do, I’ll just recap on the 5 resolutions from 2013

1. The Missing Bowers

I planned to crack my mystery Bowers connection. With my Gt Gt Gt Gt Grandfather Henry Bowers seemingly appearing out of nowhere, as a teenage groom at Wicken, I wanted to find his family. His subsequent Bowers family clearly have a Burwell connection, but whilst there are plenty of Bowers in both villages, and they seem to mingle, I’ve yet to find a mention of Henry.

In a bid to get further with this, I’ve looked at the parish records for Wicken and Burwell, alongside the census records, to try to see if there are any cross overs that would suggest that the Wicken Bowers family were living with Burwell Bowers on census nights, or appearing as witnesses etc at church events. This is a long, slow, arduous task, but one that I’m determined to complete. - INCOMPLETE

2. My time-travelling Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother

Elizabeth’s headstone in Stretham churchyard, suggests that she was buried alive when compared to dates in burial registers.

My Great x5 Grandmother, Elizabeth Yarrow (née Wright) seems to defy time by dying and being buried on a range of dates within a couple of years – thanks to a lack of death certificate (it was 1837, the year the certification was compulsory, but she seems to be missing), a headstone, and two differing parish burial registers. Her demise remains a mystery, with the only lead for her London death, turning out to be a small child of the same name. – INCOMPLETE

3. Writing that book

Writing a book when you’ve been researching an entire family tree for so long, can be hard. Sure, there’s plenty of material – heartbreaking stories, funny instances, and wonderful photographs and sources, but where do you stop and focus?

That conundrum aside, I’ve continued to collect material for this and hope to use 2014 to flesh out the ideas and the stories. – IN PROGRESS

4. Visiting places familiar to my ancestors.

With the benefit of living amongst the villages that my family have lived and worked in over at least the last 430 years, it means that I’m always visiting places that they would have known, and seeing the landscapes they would have worked.

I managed to make several trips to places they would have known, including one to try to find the location of my Great Grandmother’s (Daisy Burnell) birth in The Stables, Abercorn Lodge, Abercorn Place, London. No obvious sign of the Lodge itself, or the stables (even though they might have been absorbed by something else), so I assume that they have since been redeveloped into something else, but I enjoyed a sunny afternoon visiting the area, and imagining what it might have been like back in the 1880s when she was born. – ACHIEVED

Abercorn Place sign

5. Killing off my wicked Great x4 Grandmother

My step-child-abusing wicked Great x4 Grandmother, Mary Bailey (née Clarke) went to prison for her crimes in 1841. After serving her time and living a short family life, she ended up back in the workhouse twice, which is where I last saw her, as a widow. She continues to roam, and I won’t rest until i’ve bumped her off. – INCOMPLETE

As you’ll see from above, there’s quite a few incomplete ones there… so to help sort that out, I’ve just borrowed a friend’s research tool to help speed things up…

Andrew Martin makes genealogy easier by flying the TARDIS into research brick walls.

I’ve found that genealogy is easier when you fly a TARDIS into research brick walls, although I my Great x11 Grandmother loves my iPad Air.

2014′s resolutions…

Tune in tomorrow for my top 5 genealogy resolutions for 2014.

If you like this idea, then leave me a comment and/or link below to your resolutions blog post.

Have a wonderful end to 2013. And I wish you a prosperous, family filled, 2014!

Andrew

Posted in Genealogy Resolutions, Researching, Seasonal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

EVENT: ‘Next Steps in Family History’ Day School, Dec 7th, Cambridge

Cambridgeshire Libraries and Archives logoA ‘Next Steps in Family History’ day school (10am – 3.30pm) is to take place on Saturday December 7th 2013, at Cambridge Central Library.

The session will be covering a range of subjects – all of which are essential to researching your family tree – and not just in Cambridgeshire.

Topics include*

  • Finding and Using Parish Registers
  • Military Records
  • Occupational Records
  • The British Newspaper Archive
  • Poor Law and other original records

Coffee is served, but lunch is not provided. The library is in the centre of Cambridge, and even contains its own café.

The Day School isn’t free – it’s £25 per place, and going by my years of experience of visiting and communicating with the team at Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies team, and The Cambridgeshire Collection, you’ll be in good hands.

For more information about the event, take a look at The Cambridgeshire Collection website for details on how to contact them. 

*Don’t shoot the messenger if this changes – check beforehand!

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Surname Saturday – the Harrison family

This week’s Surname Saturday themed post looks at the Harrison family who have lived in the Cambridgeshire village of Little Downham since at least the 18th century.

Finding Frances Harrison

The most recent brush with the Harrison family is through my Great x 4 Grandmother, Fanny Harrison – often also named ‘Frances’.  She first appears in the village of Little Downham in Cambridgeshire in 1802, and was the fifth of eight children to Richard and Esther.

Fanny married Robert Tingey on 17th December 1820 at the Little Downham parish church. She was illiterate and signed the marriage register with an ‘x’. Robert was about four years older than her. The couple settled down to grow a family of at least 12 children over 28 years. My Great Great Great Grandmother, Mary, was their oldest child, born in 1820.

All seems well documented for Fanny and Robert, but when it comes to the 1861 census – right in the middle of a documented run – they’re missing. Both appear in the same street that they were in in 1851, and remain there in 1871, but where did they go for 1861? Searches on Ancestry and FindMyPast have proven unsuccessful, and in my attempt to avoid the simple transcription errors, I’ve also view the entire scanned set of folios for that area.

The 1861 census for Ely was destroyed in floods, and unless the couple are hiding under a different surname for a census (which happened for another part of my family), then maybe they were visiting someone and are recorded as so on the now lost Ely census. The mystery continues.

The 1970s Harrison Red Herring

Fast forward for a bit to about 1974, and my sister’s baby record book. In this keepsake is a family tree. This was probably the first family tree I ever saw (although not the one that got me into family history), and noted on it, is a mystery Harrison relative as my paternal great grandmother.

A family tree in a baby's keepsake book

A mystery and erroneous Harrison relative appears too recent in this tree from my sister’s baby keepsake book from 1974.

This Harrison appearance was two generations too late, and the role here belongs to Daisy Burnell.

Whilst the appearance of an error here is a red herring, it does at least suggest that the knowledge of a Harrison connection was there, handed down the family.

The 18th Century Harrisons

Let’s head back in time again, to Fanny’s parents – who appear to have been Richard Harrison (b.c.1770) and Esther (b.c.1772, d.c.1826).

Fanny was the fifth of their eight children – all christened at Little Downham, Cambridgeshire:

  • Elizabeth (b.c.1791)
  • Mary (b.c.1793)
  • Hannah (b.c.1796)
  • Richard (b.c.1798)
  • Fanny (1802-1881)
  • Sarah (1804-?)
  • Esther (1806-?)
  • Rebecca (1808-?)

Richard’s parents (Fanny’s grandparents, and my 6x Great Grandparents), appear to have been William Harrison (bc.1746, d.c Nov 1819) and Margaret Granger (d.c. March 1798).

I’ve yet to locate their marriage, but they themselves became parents in about 1764, when the first of their eventual nine children (William) was born.

  • William (b.c.1764, d.c March 1810)
  • Granger (b.c.1766)
  • Elizabeth (b.c.1767)
  • Francis (b.c.1768)
  • Richard (b.c.1770 – and the Richard mentioned above)
  • Mary (b.c.1773, d. July 1774)
  • Mary (b.c.1775)
  • Ellin (b.c.1777)
  • Margaret (b.c.1779)

Granger Harrison

Of this group of children, you’ll notice that the second child (a son) has fortunately been given the maiden name of his mother as his first name. With it being unusual, it makes him fairly easy to spot in records, and even turns up in google search results.

Come 2nd February 1816, Granger Harrison, who now appears to be living in the nearby hamlet of Pymoor, but ‘is about to quit his farm’, is having a live and dead stock auction. Everything from standing crops, to land, to animals through to a ‘large heap of manure’ is listed for sale in this notice published in an edition of the Cambridge Chronicle.

A Sale Notice for Dead and Live Stock belonging to Granger Harrison in 1816.

A Sale Notice for Dead and Live Stock belonging to Granger Harrison in 1816. Click image for original.

It seems that Granger probably remained in Little Downham, where his grandchildren were baptised. One of which, was also named Granger Harrison (b.c.1841, d.1910) – and who is equally blessed with turning up in census returns and search results.

This Granger Harrison is my own 2nd Cousin, 5 times removed… so pretty darn distant.. but with my own connection to the Harrison family being a little distant, and entirely photo-less, I’ll cast the net wide.

Here, Granger junior appears on the online family tree of Pete Bradshaw and Wendy Often. The site seems like it hasn’t been updated for a while, but I’ve sent them an email in a bid to expand my Harrison tree further.

If you have Harrison, Tingey, or Granger ancestors, drop me a line!

Andrew

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GALLERY: The abandoned Aldwych tube station

On a slight tangent away from my usual blog post topic, I wanted to share with you the photos from the excellent tour that I went on this evening with 39 others, at the abandoned Aldwych Station in London.

Aldwych underground sign

Aldwych underground sign

Expertly led by a group of volunteers, 40 of us queued to get inside one of London’s lost destinations – Aldwych Station (although for a while, it was The Strand).

In a 55 minute tour (all sold out now!), a group of volunteers explained the development and demise of the station – how it was almost not built at all, how it very quickly became apparent that it was not feasible to complete, and how the station’s lifts caused it to finally close in 1994.

London Transport Museum‘s tour was fascinating – we walked three platforms, incomplete tunnels, stared at period posters (we were assured that they were copies rather than the real Edwardian posters), learnt about the ghost that is believed to date from the station’s predecessor The Strand Theatre (a topic that TV’s Most Haunted tried to explore).

Here’s the gallery – simply click a photo to go large (and instigate the slideshow).

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