Family stories are as much as part of our ancestry as our ancestors names. They allow us to put flesh on the bones of individuals and help us to better understand those who came before us.
I want to tell you a story that has gone down in my family’s annals.
I wish I could start this blog with a photo of the individuals involved, but alas I don’t have one of the main character.
The story revolves around Archibald Dow the brother of Elizabeth Dow (my Great Grandma). Uncle Archie was my great, great Uncle. He was born in Sunderland in 1869. He was the eldest of 4 children born to George Dow and Eleanor Easton. The family moved to London sometime between 1878 and 1880. Archibald was a decorator by trade and he would paint just about anything, including banks. Archibald married in 1908 to Alice Rayner and they had one son Eric. He died in 1851 in Essex.
This story was told to me by my Grandpa who was with Uncle Archie at the time.
Grandpa and Uncle Archie had gone in to town to buy some glassware for a party they were having. Uncle Archie took a suitcase with him to carry the glasses home. They went to Woolworths as they sold relatively cheap crockery and glasses. They placed the order and the sales assistant wrapped their purchases up in brown paper and stacked them in the suitcase. Uncle Archie took the suitcase and before they left the shop the handle fell of and the case hit the floor breaking all the glasses. Uncle Archie turned around and went back to the counter and uttered the phrase that still has the family laughing to this day “same again love”.
Its stories like this that brings Uncle Archie alive to me. It shows he had a great sense of humour and this belief is backed up by the fact that Grandpa always said he was a jolly old fella.
Another family story in my family relates to my Grandfathers.
My parents met through a mutual friend when they were teenagers working at the local University. My Mum and Dad lived at opposite ends of the city and so except through work they would not have known each other. When they finally introduced their parents to each other it turned out my grandfather’s knew each other as they had worked in the same office for a short period of time. What a small world. What are the odds on this happening?
These stories don’t have to be ones you know, they could develop from researching your ancestors. It may be you discover stories. For example I discovered that my Great, Great Grandfather was the organist at Worksop Priory in the 1870’s. I found articles in the press relating to concerts he performed. This helped bring him to life for me as the articles even stated what he played, so I can listen to the pieces he played (played by others) and hear the talent he had.
Most families have stories like these in them which really need to be written down so that they are not forgotten. It’s great that they are passed down verbally, but they can be changed over time. It’s probably best to just write them down and store them with either your photos or family mementos. If you have a photo of those involved add the story to the photo so future generations can put faces to the names. Another idea could be to get a scrap book and write the story down around a photograph of the person the story is about. I could write about the time when I was about 12 my cousin picked me up and dropped my fully dressed into the paddling pool in Bakewell while on a day out with our mums. Luckily I usually fell in water so clean clothes were in the car.
Most of all just enjoy the stories. If they have been passed down through the family then they meant a lot to your ancestors so keep them going down through the generation to come.
It the 670th anniversary of the Black Death this year. Cheery thought I know but it got me thinking, again! We’ve all heard of the Black Death of 1348 and 1665, but plague was a quite common occurrence. So what is plague?
Well plague is a bacteria that is spread by flea bites mainly. The rats get the blame but all they did was carry the fleas, sort of. A bite from an infected rat could kill, but the rat usually died from the bacteria and so the flea jumped ship to a new host. The rats in some way were as much a victim as the humans were. Poor things. People suffering from plague have symptoms similar to flu but they also suffer from swellings in the lymph nodes especially in the armpits and groin. These often rupture producing puss. It was rare that a person could catch the plague from another unless they received infected blood.
The plague or Black Death as it became known decimated Europe, but it is believed it came from China. The infected rats and fleas crossed the channel in 1348 and arrived in Dorset and spread from there. In 1349 a second wave arrived on a ship which docked in the Humber. At this time period no one really knows what the population of England was but it is believed it was around 6 million. The country had already lost a lot of people due to famine and the 100 Years War we were fighting against France (1337 to 1453) and continuing battles with Scotland. As a result it would be impossible to accurately state how many people died in the outbreak. One of the best ways to discover how many died was to look to the clergy. These men were on the front line of the disease. They would have helped care for the sick and also would have given the last rites to those at the end. This means they were the most exposed group. It is believed between 30 and 40% of the clergy died between 1348 and 1349. Now not all of these deaths would have been attributed to plague so if we take the lower figure of 30% as the death toll and put this into the general population then 1.8 million people in England would have died.
If you put it into the context of your ancestors with a new generation coming along every 30 years your approximately 22 time great grandparents would have survived the outbreak!
This wasn’t the only visit of the plague. It came back several times.
In 1361/62 it is thought the death rate was around 20%.
In 1369 it is thought the death rate was around 10 – 15%.
In 1471 it is thought the death rate was around 10 - 15%.
In 1479/80 it is thought the death rate was around 20%.
The next biggest epidemic came in 1665 predominately in London. If you look at the Bill of Mortality (the document which shows what the people of London died from) at the end of 1665 it shows that 68,596 people died from the plague. In 1664 only 6 died of plague and in 1666 1998 died of the plague presumably these people mainly died before the Great Fire in September. In 1667 only 35 people died of the plague. What most people don’t know about this outbreak is that there was another place that was affected.
Eyam, a small village in Derbyshire also fell victim to the bacteria. The local tailor bought a bolt of cloth from London and he got free fleas with it. People started dying within a week. The local Rector, Reverend William Mompesson, recognised what was happening and decided to quarantine the village. The villages put money in vinegar at the boundary to the village and people from other villages left food. As a result the plague did not spread. It continued in the village for 14 months and in this time the burial records show 273 died. It also seemed that some people had immunity to the plague. Entire families were decimated but one or two members survived, even the village grave digger who handled the bodies survived, but then unless he got infected blood in him he should have been OK as the fleas would have hopped off once the person died. Perhaps it was like now where some people don’t get bitten by bugs and others do, they just don’t taste nice.
Should we worry about plague now, well no. It’s totally curable with antibiotics.
So we’ve had all these outbreaks in England over the years killing millions of people, but we are here now, which means our ancestors survived. They lived through frightening times and survived and so as a result we are here today!
So the New Year has begun and perhaps you have decided this is the year you want to find out more about your ancestry. You could hire someone to do the research for you or you could do it yourself. Either way you need to take certain factors into account. So I’ve decided to list my top genealogy tips.
1. Decide what you want to know before you begin. Do you want to focus on one branch of your family or are you just going to set to and do all your family?
2. Ask you family questions before you begin, they may know what you want to find out or have some access to family records you don’t.
3. Go through your old photos as they could yield some answers to your questions as previous generations may have written on the back of them.
4. Be realistic in what you want to achieve. You can’t just decide you want to set aside a day to do your entire tree.
5. Start from yourself and work backwards. You need to make sure every fact is correct. Just because you think your 3 times great grandparents were call Burt and Connie doesn’t mean they really were, so you need to check the facts.
6. Don’t ignore any sources. You really need to use them all to make sure you get a complete picture of your ancestors. Also don’t ignore sources just because they don’t agree with what you think you know or other sources. You don’t know which is true, so consider everything. Remember to check, check and recheck your findings.
7. You will need to accept that you will hit brick walls in your research. You don’t have to get all the answers now. You can always come back later when you have new ideas and perhaps access to more records. You also need to remember that some people cannot be found in the records no matter how hard you search.
8. Don’t get side tracked. Stick to what you intended to research. Make a note of what you’ve found and come back to it later. I really should stick to this point!
9. Keep meticulous records so if you need to come back to a fact or source later you can find it. Also it will make keeping track of your ancestors easier. Consider using forms to keep track of your research. There are loads of them available free online, or make your own custom one.
10. Check your spellings. Many names can be spelt in different ways. It is not uncommon for those writing down the records to spell the person’s name as they heard it so accents can make a name sound completely different.
11. Explain your findings. Just because you know what something means doesn’t mean others will. It also helps you to future proof your research so your descendants can understand your work.
12. You may uncover things you didn’t expect. You need to accept what you found and try to understand, but remember it has no impact on you and does not need to be kept hidden. No matter what it is it is part of your family history.
13. Don’t forget your family history. What was happening in the world whilst your ancestors were alive would have impacted on their lives and would have been just as important to how they lived as what’s happening in the world today is to us.
14. You may not find you have really exciting ancestors. Unfortunately your family may not be as exciting as it appears on the TV programmes, but don’t be downhearted. You ancestors are just as important. But remember some celebrities families are deemed too dull for the TV.
15. You need to remember genealogy is addictive and you must remember life exists outside your research. Also it’s going to take time to research all your ancestors, so don’t expect to complete you research in months, it will probably be years.
16. If you are having difficulties or you don’t have the time to do the research yourself consider asking a professional genealogist for help, they may know where to find things you don’t. If you do ask them to carry out research for you remember they cannot do it overnight any more than you can, so give them plenty of time.
Do remember that whatever method you use to trace your ancestry remember the most important thing it to have fun and enjoy the process.
I’ll hold my hand up from the start, I love a fail. They just make me laugh and cause my YouTube viewing to increase all the time, but is it just physical fails that make me laugh?
Well the answer is no. You get name fails too. Now admittedly many of the fails were probably not funny at the time and it is only as life has progressed that the funny side can be seen, I can attest to this. Pre Harry Potter, most people just thought I had a strange surname, but now…. Most just laugh or make a comment about my clothes. For those who don’t know my surname is Dobby, and Dobby is the house elf in the Harry Potter series. But I think some parents knew what they were doing when they chose their child’s name.
So onto the funny side of names in genealogy. I decided to spend an amusing day typing what I thought were funny names into Ancestry to see what I came up with. I’ll admit many I found amusing I have decided not to include as they could be considered rude. Really funny though. So here is my top 40 funny names in no particular order.
Rose Bush – There have been loads of these unfortunate ladies
Holly Tree - There have been loads of these unfortunate ladies
Hazel Nutt, born 1915 in Chesterfield
Timothy Burr, baptised 1726 in Essex (Tim Burr)
Daisy Weeds, born 1889 in Norfolk (my first cousin 3 times removed)
Cristafer Weeds married in Norfolk in 1561. (C.Weeds)
Grass Green who departed the UK in 1947
Teresa Green, born 1852 in Ware
Lilian Ruth Christmas Tree, baptised 1903
In 1886 in London Mary Magdalen married Abraham Bateau
Florence Angel Gabriel was buried in London in 1884
Merry Christmas was born in Sussex in 1874
Thomas Snow White was born in 1882
Cinderella Lord was born in Burnley in 1901
Donald Duck was found on the 1881 census
Michael Mouse was on the 1841 census (Mickey Mouse)
Minnie Mouse was born in Pendleton, USA in 1880
Robert Builder married Susanna Sproll in 1778 (Bob Builder)
Sam Fireman was living in London on the 1911 census (Fireman Sam)
Kitty Williem Catt was born in 1880
James Little Lyons was born in the USA in 1822
Jack Daws was born in Nottingham in 1902
Stanley Still has been the unfortunate name of many men (Stan Still)
Jo King was baptised in Watford in 1589
Annette Curtain (whose dates I’ve not given to spare blushes)
William Board has been the unfortunate name of many men (Bill Board)
Isla White was found on the 1851 census
Peter Perfect was born in Dartford in 1889
Bad Cook was born in Alabama, USA, around 1882
Good Cook was baptised in London in 1723
Olive Cart was born in Warwickshire in 1919
Sunny Day (whose dates I’ve not given to spare blushes)
Sidney Bridge was born in Essex in 1872 (not quiet there but close although my Uncle had a friend call Sidney Arborbridge but I can’t find his records)
River Jordan was born in Birmingham in 1854
Beau Bunting (whose dates I’ve not given to spare blushes)
Richard Taylor Coal Miner was buried in Kirkheaton in 1874
Norman Knight was a soldier during WW1, as was
Harold Norman Knight (who died during the conflict)
Austin Healey who was an England Rugby Player
Morris Van de Car was on the 1881 census (he couldn’t decide if he was a car or a van)
So when you find out your expecting the pitter patter of tiny feet, think through the name you choose carefully so you little one doesn’t have to endure a name fail! And future genealogist won’t sit typing into their genealogy websites to find the funny names like I do.
Happy New Year from Family History Research England
“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse”.
I could go on but the copyright won’t allow it, but thank you Clement C Moore for writing this book. I still read my Mum’s childhood copy of this book every Christmas Eve, although my brother’s drunken version one year was hilarious.
Let me state for the record I think Ebenezer Scrooge was right. I hate Christmas, always have, and always will. It’s just another excuse for shops to persuade you to spend money, it stresses everyone out and depresses people as TV portrays that everyone is wearing fabulous clothes and going to parties giving out expensive presents and eating and drinking luxury products. Also you hear Noddy Holder yelling “it’s Christmas” every time you go in a shop from the beginning of November and by Christmas you’re ready to stop listening to the radio (or is that just me?). Christmas day is usually warm, but you have to wear your Christmas jumper or the jumper you’re Gran’s knitted for you, whoevers cooking is stressed, all the kids are so hyper you may as well have given them Sunny Delight and you just eat and drink too much as there’s nothing else to do as the TV schedules rubbish. It was funny the Christmas my grandfather’s had a little too much to drink and started making speeches. They soon sobered up when Mum told them they were washing up.
Now I don’t want to sound ungrateful for any present’s I’ve received over the years as I loved them, but I would rather people spent their money on themselves. I’ve had some great presents over the years notably any cuddly toys, my train set and anything Care Bear based (my grandparents got me my Tenderheart bear from Dubrovnik in Croatia one year as they were so much cheaper) and my all time favourite was in 1989 when I was given money to buy a guinea pig and he was my best friend and confidant for 5 years and I still miss him to this day.
Right rant over. So how does our Christmas differ from those which came before Christmas?
Well in general terms our modern day Christmas traditions began in the Victorian era. It’s believed the bringing into the house of a Christmas tree was brought to Great Britain by Price Albert, although for hundreds of years before this greenery was brought into the homes during the winter months. Before this though what was Christmas like? Well I’m going to consider the Tudor royal Christmas as this is a period of time which fascinates me.
Christmas was much different. It ran from Christmas Day to Epiphany (the 6th January) and was known as the 12 days of Christmas. There was no merriment in the run up to the season. Advent (the 4 weeks before Christmas) was a period of fasting until Christmas Day, and on Christmas Eve they virtually had a vegan diet. During the 12 days most people had to stop working especially the farming and spinning industry, not the servants though. The revelry took place in this period and families came together. Plays were a plenty by the ladies of the palace, carols were sung to honour the nativity, the Yule log burnt throughout the entire 12 days and the food flowed. They also attended a lot of church services, but then before the reformation they did anyway, and after to an extent, they were just a bit different.
As for the food mince pies were around in the Tudor court and tables were groaning. Henry VIII was the first monarch to eat turkey in the 1520’s, but he also ate most of the rest of the farm yard and the woods and the trees. Food was everywhere from morning till night and everything from meat and nuts to exotic foods and sweets were available.
Today we exchange gifts on Christmas day, but in the Tudor palace the gifts were exchanged on the Roman New Year’s Day (1st January), although in this period new year was actually 25 March (this is why in old parish records you may find a date such as this 1600/1 as the year turned over later in the year). Henry VIII used the exchanging of gifts as a way of showing favour. If the king sent you a gift, you were in favour, but if he didn’t watch out. It was the same with receiving gifts. If he accepted it all’s great, if not, help! He famously in 1532 refused a gift from his wife Catherine of Aragon but accepted one from his mistress Anne Boleyn, the following year Catherine was banned from court and Anne was pregnant and married to the king (in that order).
So really without all the hype and fancy lights (I do like those) Christmas wasn’t so different. Eat too much, drink too much and enjoy yourselves.
“But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight”
Merry Christmas to you all from Family History Research England
Many families have traditions in their families that they do year on year. They can range from things they do to presents they give.
A lot of family’s probably have similar traditions. I always got a little orange and a bag of chocolate money (except Father Christmas forgot my chocolate money last year!) and a pillow case with my presents in. My parents always got a new pair of slippers. Some may always have visited the same people on the same day. For us my grandparents always came for Christmas day and then we spent Boxing Day with my cousins, then New Year’s Eve was at our house and New Year’s Day was back to my cousin’s house. Other traditions for us include a real Christmas tree every year.
But how many of these traditions stem from necessity. Yes it was great that your ancestor’s got a new pair of slippers every Christmas, but if you think about it they probably needed them, so they got what they needed as a present. I can remember getting a new winter coat which makes a great present and is something I needed.
The further back you go through your ancestor’s the more this probably happened. Children probably just got the new clothes they needed and little else, or if they did they were most likely homemade and it would have been rare that the adults got a present, unless they were from a wealthy family that could afford to buy them.
Another form the traditions may take could relate to Christmas food. Tradition today for Christmas dinner is a full roast with turkey. In the Victorian era and before it would more likely have been goose. I’ve had a variety of strange foods for Christmas dinner. I’ve had a BBQ, a fry up and even pizza. Just because it’s Christmas day doesn’t mean it has to be turkey and Christmas pudding. Going back through your ancestor’s it may be that the family scrimped and saved just to have a small piece of meat for Christmas Day (think of the Cratchit’s in a Christmas Carol). If they were farmers like many of my ancestors were they may have had a better dinner as they had the land to grow their own veg and raise animals just for themselves.
Traditions could be things the family did. Pre WW1 it’s most likely that your ancestors would have attended church on Christmas morning before going home for the day. Many a time the man of the house may have gone to the pub after church before going home for lunch. Other traditions could be that on Boxing Day the family went for a long walk or went carolling in the days coming up to Christmas Day.
We need to remember though that the further you go back through your ancestors the less likely it would be that that had any kind of Christmas. Tradition for them could have been that Christmas was a non-event as any kind of celebration would have been beyond their means. Those in the workhouse could have had a better day as even they got a little more food on Christmas day.
Each new generation probably has a new a new set of traditions. Some may combine the traditions of their parents along with new traditions. Each generation will have access to new ideas, beliefs and material things which will mean they can have new traditions that your ancestor’s could never have imagined. Can you imagine your Georgian ancestor’s ever thinking that you can put electric lights on a tree in your house or even covering their houses in them?
So why not start a new Christmas tradition this year so that in the future your descendants can wonder where the Christmas traditions they do come from.
Sheffield, the place I called home for 27 years is a large city with a village feel. Sheffield is somewhat of a forgotten city despite being the 5th largest in the UK. The most people know about Sheffield is that it has 2 universities, Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University and is the home of the World Championship snooker every year at the Crucible Theatre. But what else do people know, well I bet it’s not about the cities unique landscape and history.
Sheffield developed at the point where 5 rivers merged, the Porter, the Don, the Sheaf (which gives the city its name), the Loxley and the Riverlin and is built on 7 hills. The city has in excess of 2 million tress (although the council seems to like removing them!) which makes it one of the most wooded cities in Europe and was once part of the ancient woodland than covered most of the ancient kingdom of Mercia.
There has been a settlement in the area for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until after the Norman Conquest in 1066 that a more permanent settlement developed. Sheffield got its first castle in the early 12th century. It was built by William de Lovetot, but was destroyed in 1266 along with the rest of the town during the Barons War. A new castle was begun in 1270 by Thomas de Furnival (there is a street called Furnival Gate still in the city). Whilst it was in the ownership of the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife Bess of Hardwick (a local woman who is a former incumbent of Chatsworth House (her descendent became the Dukes of Devonshire) and a friend of Queen Elizabeth) Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in the castle as well as at the nearby Sheffield Manor for 14 years. The Furnival castle was damaged by an earthquake in 1574 (in my life Sheffield has experience 2 little ones) and was eventually destroyed in 1648 on the orders of Parliament during the Civil War as the castle was held for the King. Today the ruins of the castle are under the former Castle Market, but will be examined over the coming years as the site is developed. The oldest building in the city is the Queens Head Pub possibly built around the 1470’s. It is still a pub today.
Sheffield has suffered many times over the years.
1000’s – Settlement destroyed during the Harrying of the North.
1266 – Town destroyed during the Barons War.
1537 – Beauchief Abbey was closed during the dissolution of the monasteries. The Cannons who lived here did much for the local community, including acting as the local clergy.
1640’s – 1660’s – Impact of the Civil War
1832 – Cholera epidemic hits Sheffield as a result of poor living conditions due to the industrial revolution. 400+ died as a result and are remembered today at the Cholera Monument in Norfolk Park.
1864 – The great Sheffield Flood hit the city when the Dale Dike dam wall fails. 270 people died in the floods which hit the Loxley end of the city, but got as far as the city centre and where the current M1 motorway runs past Meadowhall (which was a highly industrialised area).
1940 – On the nights of the 12th to the 15th of December Sheffield is heavily bombed by the Germans during the Sheffield Blitz. My own family was affected as my Grandparents were bombed out of their lodgings. They were in the Abbeydale cinema across the road at the time. They were unhurt, as was their landlady. They moved in with their landlady’s family and remained there until after the war. The friendship continued and my Mum and her Brother regarded them as surrogate grandparents.
Sheffield is the proud home of steel and is known as the Steel City. It was in the 1740’s that Benjamin Huntsman developed a new process in the production of steel which lead to much more strength than any steel previously made using the crucible method (the containers it was made in). In the 1860’s Sir Henry Bessemer was instrumental in turning Sheffield into the powerhouse of steel manufacture. He built factories using his Bessemer converter method which put oxygen in to the iron to get rid of the impurities, thus the steel was of much better quality. In 1913 Harry Brearley developed the process of stainless steel in the city which revolutionised the way steel could be used.
Stainless steel also revolutionised another important industry that has been prevalent in the city for hundreds of years. Cutlery, razor and blade making. Since the 1600’s Sheffield had been the centre of cutlery manufacture in England. Most of my ancestors from the city and the surrounding environs were involved in the industry. They were sickle and scythe makers for farming and pocket and pen blade forgers and razor grinders for everyday use. By being able to make cutlery out of stainless steel it didn’t tarnish with use and was cheaper than having silver. Today the city still has a Master Cutler and a Cutlers Hall which was built in 1832 and is a grade 2* listed building.
There are many famous people from the city including those already mentioned. Helen Sharman was the first Briton in space and she went to the same secondary school I did (although she left 10 years before I went and the school’s name had changed, but it was the same buildings).
The city has had 2 recipients of the Victory Cross medal, William Barnsley Allen VC, DSO, MC and Arnold Loosemore VC DCM, both for gallantry during WW1.
In the sporting world we have Joe Root the current England Test Cricket Captain was born and raised in the city. Good luck in the Ashes! Also Michael Vaughan the former England Test Cricket Captain (I know he wasn’t born here, but he did live here).
People from the world of music born in the city include, Joe Cocker, Jarvis Cocker and Pulp, Paul Carrick, Def Leppard and the Human League amongst others.
So next time you think of Sheffield, remember the city does exist and I’m proud of the city as its where many of my ancestors were born and bred, as was I.
So Prince Harry is to marry. What a great time for the couple and their families. As all the planning begins, the decisions over who will do what and who will be invited, it got me thinking about past royal marriages and how they differ from now.
The last time the fifth in line to the throne married was in 1935 when Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. He was the fourth child and third son of King George V and Mary of Teck. (He was proceeded in the line of succession by his brothers Edward, later King Edward VIII, Albert, later King George VI and Albert’s daughters Princess Elizabeth, our current Queen and Princess Margaret). He was married on the 6th November in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace to Lady Alice Montagu – Douglas – Scott the daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch and Lady Margaret Bridgeman.
But how have royal marriages changed over the centuries especially in the venues they used. Let’s consider the different locations that have been used going back approximately 100 years at a time.
On the 28th February 1922 Princess Mary (Victoria), the daughter of King George V and Mary of Teck married in Westminster Abbey. She married Viscount Henry Lascelles, the son of the Earl of Harewood and Lady Florence Bridgeman. He would later become the 6th Earl of Harewood. Being married in Westminster Abbey indicates a grand wedding along the lines of today’s royal weddings.
On the 2nd May 1816 Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales, the daughter of the Prince of Wales, later King George IV and Caroline of Brunswick, married at Carlton House in London Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, later King Leopold I of Belgium. He was the son of Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and Countess Augusta Reuss-Ebersdorf. This wedding although definately grand, was held in the home of her father, not one of the great churches as would have been expected as the second in line to the throne.
In August or September 1705 in Hanover Germany George the son of George Louis, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg (later King George I of Great Britain), and his wife, Sophia Dorothea of Celle, married Caroline of Ansback, the daughter of John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, and his second wife, Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach. The marriage took place in a chapel at the Palace of Herrenhausen, Hanover, Germany.
On the 14 February 1613 at the Chapel Royal at Whitehall Palace, London Princess Elizabeth the daughter of King James I/VI and Anne of Denmark married Frederick V Elector Palatine of the Rhine, later King of Bohemia. He was the son of Frederick IV Electoral Palatinate and Louise Juliana of Nassau. The chapel royal is the for the reigning monarchs use.
On the 11th June 1509 King Henry VIII ( the son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York)married for the first time. He was married in a low key ceremony (Henry’s father had died only months earlier) at the church of the Observant Friars in Greenwich. He married the widow of his elder brother Katherine of Aragon the daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile.
As a side just to show the nature of the rest of Henry’s marriages, they were as follows
Marriage 2. 25 January 1533 at York Place, London (York Place was the Kings main residence in London) to Anne Boleyn the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, later Earl of Wiltshire and Earl of Ormond, and Lady Elizabeth Howard.
Marriage 3. 30 May 1536 at Whitehall Palace, London to Jane Seymour the daughter of Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth.
Marriage 4. 6 January 1540 at Greenwich Palace, London to Anne of Cleves, the daughter of John III of the House of La Marck, Duke of Jülich, Cleves, Berg, Count of Mark and Maria, Duchess of Julich-Berg.
Marriage 5. 28 July 1540 at Oatlands Palace, Surrey (a former site of a monastery) to Katherine Howard the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard and Joyce Culpeper.
Marriage 6. 12 July 1543 at Hampton Court Palace, to Katherine Parr the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green.
In 1423 John of Lancaster the son of King Henry IV and Mary de Bohun and brother of King Henry V married at the Cathedral of Troyes in France. He married Anne of Burgundy the daughter of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy and Margaret of Bavaria.
In 1308 King Edward II, the son of King Edward I and Eleanor of Castile married in Bolougne Cathedral, France, to Isabella of France. She was the daughter of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre.
On the 24th August 1200 King John married for the second time. He was the son of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He married at Bordeaux Cathedral in France to Isabella of Angouleme the daughter of Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angoulême and Alice of Courtenay.
In January 1114 at Worms in Germany Princess Matilda, later Empress Matilda (or Maude) the daughter of King Henry I and Matilda of Scotland married Henry V, Emperor of Germany, the son of Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and Bertha of Savoy.
So as can be seen some weddings have been grand lavish affairs in the cathedrals of the lands and some have been in private with few witnesses. It seems no matter what a person’s station in life, be it a member of the royal family or your own ancestors they are all family events which are meant to be celebrated.
These days we are all protected at work by health and safety. As much as you all now grown, it is about protecting you. If you’ve been told how to do something safely then you should be safe. But what happened in the past. Well health and safety didn’t exist. You just crawled into the small spaces under machinery or poured molten metal with no protection. If you were hurt or worse so be it. The worse happened to 2 of my ancestors.
It was an industrial engine that took the life of Archibald Dow Jn my 3 times great grandfather. Archibald was born in Govan, just outside Glasgow, Scotland about 1811. He was one of 16 children born to Archibald Dow and Diana Harker. He married Mary Cameron and had 3 sons. He was employed as an engineman at the Newlandsfield bleach works in Pollockshaw (an area of Glasgow). On the 10th May 1848 Archibald was found in the filter of one of the engines at the works. He was 37 years old. It was initially feared that he had jumped into the machinery deliberately, but the findings of the sheriff were that he had fallen while carrying out maintenance. Archibald had been employed by the works for 24 years (since he was 13 years old). The fallout of the accident had a huge impact on his family. In 1851 his 2 surviving children were living with his parents who were in there late 60’s/early 70’s and who knows where his wife had gone. My 4 times great grandparents seemed to have loads of their grandchildren living with them.
My second ancestor who died at work was my 3 times great uncle Henry Dobby. He was employed to operate the hoist at the Tetley Brewery in Leeds. Henry was born in 1819 in Pateley Bridge, West Riding of Yorkshire to my 4 times great grandparents Henry and Mary Dobby. He was married with 7 children.
Henry died in 1878 when he was 58 years old. Henry was operating the hoist when the chain broke and the item being lifted fell 3 floors. The mechanism that was supposed to prevent falling failed. Henry was underneath at the time and was hit by the item. He died in hospital several days later. The inquest into his death recorded his death was accidental. At the time of his death Henry’s youngest son was only 9 years old. Again the impact on his family must have been huge.
Although a death at work could be devastating to a family it could actually be worse in some ways if they survived. Families could be devastated by the loss of an income with no prospect of a new source of income if the injury was bad enough. Also they could be left with a severely injured family member to care for and medical bills to pay (before 1948 when the NHS was established). But if you think beyond the family injuries could devastate a community. Coming from South Yorkshire injuries at work were common. You had the coal fields, the cutlery industry and the steel works. All were dangerous places to work. You’ve got flying sparks which could set you on file. Red hot molten metal being poured which could severely burn you or you could have the most horrible fate of all in the coal mines. You could be buried alive, die from poisonous gas or die in an explosion
The worse colliery disaster in England happened in Barnsley in 1866. 388 men and boys died in several explosions caused by exploding gas over 2 days at the Oaks Colliery. Just think of the impact on the town. Potentially 388 families lost a loved one who could potentially have been the main income provider of the family. It could have been worse and a family could have lost multiple members. This would have led to high levels of poverty in the community and could have led to businesses closing down and at the worst end of the scale could have meant families entering the workhouse.
So next time anyone complains about health and safety just remember they are keeping you alive. How many of our ancestors would have had a full and long life if health and safety existed in the past.
I’ve said before how important archives are. They are a gold mine of information and give us a fantastic view into our ancestor’s lives, and the newspaper archive is one of the best ways to connect to our past. The best thing about the newspaper archive now is that it can be viewed online and you don’t have to go the bowels of the newspaper building to see them.
OK let’s start with a little bit of history of the printed word and newspapers. Written words have been around for thousands of years and handwritten books were only for the wealthy. In the mid 15th century Johannes Guttenberg developed the printing press, possibly by adapting a wine press. In this press the type was set in the frame, inked and then a sheet of paper was placed over the top. A board was placed over this and the handle pulled. This printed the page and meant that multiples of the same pages could be printed. It also meant that the cost of books reduced and were now more accessible, well relatively speaking as most still couldn’t afford them or even read.
This printing method also lead to the rise of leaflets, pamphlets and newspapers, thus allowing the spread of information throughout the land much faster.
Newspapers were available from the 1600’s onwards and the rise of them was in the 1700’s in the UK. The first recognised newspaper was the Oxford Gazette in 1665 and still exists today as the London Gazette. Most newspapers were regional and included the important information from the area, as well as the major stories of the day. The rise of the national paper began in the 1700’s with The Times first being published in 1788. In 1842 the Illustrated London News was the world’s first illustrated newspaper and included drawings depicting the news of the day, some in colour from the 1850’s. In 1880 the first photo was reproduced in the US paper the Daily Graphic and the first colour photos began to appear in the 1970’s.
So why are the archives so important? Well it’s all well and good having these paper full of the news, but if they’re not preserved then what was the point. You effectively lose all the content that was published. Newspapers are more than just news, they are historical documents no different to old books. We have copies of historical books and documents, such as the Magna Carter signed in 1215 by King John so why not copies of our old newspapers.
They used to be stored in piles by month and year or in large books and you had to search through them being extra careful not to damage the pages. They were then scanned and put on to microfiche and you had to sit in a dark room looking through the pages. Now thanks to the t’inernet (Yorkshire for Internet) you can sit in the comfort of your own home and look at the papers. You can carry out keyword searches and find events and announcements. This is where it becomes valuable to genealogists. You can now search for your ancestors by name and it can help answer questions you have. This was great in the case of my great, great grandfather Peter Wardle. I had found Peter on the 1891 census in Knutsford jail and I had no idea how he got there. What had he done? So I went onto the newspaper archive and put his name in and tadah! Up popped Peter. He had gone to jail for contempt of court when he failed to produce papers needed for a trail. He was in for 9 months and I found an article from the Birmingham Post stating that the judge had ordered his release after he delivered the papers. Without the archive I may never have found out what he did as the records for Kuntsford jail no longer exist.
Your ancestors don’t necessarily have needed to do something newsworthy to be in the news. Families placed announcements for events. This means you may find the announcement of a birth, a marriage which may help you find a new generation of ancestors through the couples parent’s names and you can also find a death announcement which may list family members names and where they were buried.
Don’t discard the newspaper archive, they are fantastic and can help break down brick walls in your research and are also great as a historical primary source and can give you information about not only your ancestors but also what was going on in the world around them. Happy searching!