It’s the year 1066 and England is in turmoil. In January the King Edward the Confessor died without leaving an heir. So what would happen to the country? Enter 3 men who felt they had a claim to the throne. By December 1066 England would have a new king and the other 2 men would be dead.
So who were the contenders?
Harald Hardrada was the King of Norway and claimed the English throne as he claimed Harthacnut who was a previous King of England and Edward the Confessors half-brother had left the throne to him if there was no heir to the throne. Edward had no heir.
Harold Godwinson was the brother in law of Edward the Confessor and he claimed the Edward had claimed him his heir.
William of Normandy was the illegitimate son of Edward the Confessors cousin Robert of Normandy and William claimed Edward had promised the throne to him as his heir.
Let battle commence.
Before the battles commenced Harold attempted to consolidate his position as King amongst the nobles of the land. He was in the best position as he was in England when Edward died. Harold was crowned the day after Edward died and spent the next month’s building on his claim, but this wasn’t to last as he faced challenges to his throne.
The first battle was between Harald Hardrada and Harold Godwinson. This battle took place at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire on the 25th September 1066 with King Harold’s army beating the army of Harald Hardrada and killing Harald and King Harold’s brother who had sided against his brother.
After this battle news came that William had landed in England and so King Harold and his troops marched south.
William spent the months between the death of Edward and his arrival in England building up his army to launch an invasion. When William landed at Pevensey on the south coast on the 28th September 1066 he had a force of around 10000. Harold had an army of approximately 7000.
The 2 sides eventually met at the battle site near Battle on the 14th October 1066. Just as a side note it’s not really known where the battle took place exactly but the town of Battle is the most likely perhaps where the Abbey stands now or a mini roundabout in the town.
Harold and the English army were on the hill above William and his forces were in the valley below. The battle began around 9am and lasted until dusk, probably with a lunch break. Harold and William both fought in the battle alongside their men. Eventually for whatever reason Harold’s forces came down the hill and levelled out the playing field. During the fighting Harold’s brothers who were also commanders were killed and eventually Harold was killed sometime in the late afternoon thus leaving the English without a leader. There is much speculation as to how Harold died. The Bayeux Tapestry which tells the story of the battle would have us believe Harold was killed by an arrow in the eye, but whether this is true or not is unknown as the first recorded mention of this was in the 1080’s.
After the battle William and his troops marched on London to claim the throne. What he didn’t know was that a new King had been chosen. At this time there was a body of nobles called the Witenagemot who could choose the monarch if there was no obvious heir. They chose Edgar Ætheling who was Edward the Confessors great nephew. Needless to say Edgar was never crowned, but in the future he did try to get it back but eventually sided with William the Conqueror (William of Normandy) eldest son.
William of Normandy faced several more battles on his way to London all of which he won and eventually all the Nobles in England declared fealty to William. William was crowned King of England on Christmas day 1066 and he reigned the country until his death in 1087 in Rouen, France. William was succeeded by his third son William II.
So by Edward the Confessor taking a vow of chastity and not having any children England was thrown into chaos for a year. This left many dead on the battlefield and England coming under the rule of the Normans, instead of the Danes!
This week’s blog is a sort of personal journey for me as I want to talk about my double great Grandad Frederick Staton and his life.
I’d love to start with a picture of Frederick but I don’t have one and he probably never had his picture taken. Frederick was born in Eckington, Derbyshire in 1840 to William Staton and Sarah Hunt. He was their 5 child of the 7 they would have. William was a sickle grinder as many were in the village. Frederick lived in Eckington until 1861 when he moved to Worksop, Nottinghamshire.
Frederick’s musical career was first mentioned in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent in 1860 when it was reported that he and his elder brother William played a piano duet to raise money for the Eckington Mechanical Institute. They played Hummel’s in E flat and if you’re interested this link will take you to a video of it being played: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98vEOJ0IHwE
On the 1861 census when Frederick was still living at home in Eckington he listed his occupation as professor of music. In 1867 Frederick also took part in a concert to raise money for Ridgeway School and this was also mentioned in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent and the article mentioned he played with “taste and marvellous execution”. He was described as the organist at Worksop Priory.
It was while in Worksop Frederick met his future wife Annie Taylor who was the daughter of the landlady of the Cross Keyes Inn in the town. Frederick and Annie married in August 1871 and had 4 children together. Sadly the marriage wasn’t long as Frederick died in April 1879 from hepatitis aged 39. His youngest son, my great grandad was just shy of his first birthday. It was from Frederick’s burial record that I discovered just how long Frederick had been the organist at Worksop Priory. The notes to the burial stated he was 18 years organist at the Abbey Worksop where he is also buried.
To be the organist at the Abbey would have been a great honour for Frederick and would have indicated his high level of skill on the instrument. From a list of the previous organists of the Abbey it would appear Frederick was one of the longest serving organists they had. I wonder how long he would have held the position if he hadn’t died so young.
So what of the Abbey itself. Well in 1103 Worksop Abbey was begun to be built and it remained a monastery of the Augustinian monks until 1539 when it surrendered to the crown during the dissolution of the monasteries. After this the church building of the Abbey was used as the parish church of Worksop.
The above picture shows the organ at the priory, but alas this is not the organ Frederick would have used. This organ was installed in 1879 so it is possible Frederick new about the new organ, whether he used it is not known.
What I would like to know is what took place to get Frederick and his brother William to become professors of music. Who influenced them to take up music and rise to such heights? Frederick’s brother William was described in 1866 as being from Norwich Cathedral so they had both achieved great things in their chosen field. Did one of their parents or grandparents play and taught them or did the local church organist teach them to play. I suppose I’ll never know but however it came about I am proud of them for breaking into such a field as a time when they probably thought the only occupation open to them was to enter the grinding works in the area or going down the coal mines. Whoever inspired them gave them a huge chance in life and from that chance gave Frederick’s children a chance as his 2 sons both became dentists.
Maybe that’s why Frederick’s granddaughter encouraged her children to learn the piano and I learnt as well. Who knows, but I’m glad the brother’s had a chance to do something so different for everyone else.
Elizabeth Hardwick (Bess) was an important figure in history and in reality outside of Derbyshire she’s probably not as well know as she should be so let me give you an insight into the strong woman.
Bess was born to John Hardwick and his wife Elizabeth Leeke in around 1527 in Hardwick, Derbyshire. She was first married when she was 13 in the early 1540’s to Robert Barlow. They were married for one year before he died aged 14. If Robert had not died Bess may have had a very different life from the one that was to come.
On the 20th August 1547 Bess married the twice widowed Sir William Cavendish who was high up at the court of King Edward VI. Bess and William had 8 children:
Frances Cavendish born 1548, Temperence Cavendish born 1549, Henry Cavendish born 1550 who was god son of the then Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth), William Cavendish born 1552 ,Charles Cavendish born 1553 who was god son of Queen Mary, Elizabeth Cavendish born 1555, Mary Cavendish born 1556 and Lucrece Cavendish born 1556.
After William Cavendish died Bess married Sir William St Loe in 1559. Sir William was a very wealthy man and Bess was in financial difficulties so the marriage proved very beneficial especially since Sir William died after only 6 years of marriage. Upon his death he left everything to Bess and she thus became one of the riches women in the country.
Bess’s 4th marriage was most probably a political one to George Talbot the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. The couple fought regularly and quiet often lived apart. It was during her marriage to the Earl that Bess became the keeper of Mary Queen of Scots. For 15 years the couple kept her at their Derbyshire properties and Bess and Mary spent much time together particularly at the properties of Chatsworth House, Tutbury Castle and Sheffield Manor. While at Chatsworth Bess and Mary spent much time creating tapestries together.
Bess was quite often in trouble with the crown and spent time on 2 occasions as a guest in the Tower of London.
The first stay was in 1561. Bess was a close friend of Frances Grey, nee Brandon who was the mother of Lady Jane Grey the 9 day Queen. Frances second daughter was Lady Catherine Grey. In 1561 and in desperate need of help Catherine informed her mother’s friend that she had secretly married the Earl of Hertford, Edward Seymour (the nephew of Jane Seymour the 3rd wife of King Henry VIII) and that she was pregnant. For a lady such as Catherine who had a claim to the throne through her grandmother Mary Tudor, the sister of King Henry VIII, it was against protocol to marry without the Queen’s consent. When Queen Elizabeth found out she was not best pleased and when she found out one of her ladies of the bedchamber Bess knew she had her imprisoned for 7 months.
Bess spent a second stay in the tower in 1574 (or may have she may have been under house arrest at her manor in Chelsea). While staying at Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire (one of her many estates) with Lady Margaret Stuart (the daughter of Margaret Tudor, the sister of King Henry VIII), Bess’ daughter Elizabeth and Margaret’s son Charles met and fell in love. The mother’s decided to let their children marry. Bess hadn’t learnt from her previous visit to the tower and the Queens permission was not asked for. This was needed as Margaret Stuart was of Royal blood and her eldest son Lord Darnley was married to Mary Queen of Scots until his death. The Queen went nuts and had the mother’s imprisoned. Elizabeth and Charles had one daughter Arbella Stuart who Queen Elizabeth was convinced was trying to over throw her.
Some feel Bess thought herself to be above the queen and there is some evidence for this. At the hall she built herself at Hardwick her coat of arms and emblems are everywhere. Even the outside of the building has her initials carved into the roof line that can clearly be seen from the M1 motorway today. This could have been seen as she felt herself at a level or even above the Queen.
Bess owned much land and many manors in Derbyshire. She owned Chatsworth House, Hardwick Hall (she built the new hall which still stands today), Wingfield Manor, Bolsover Castle, Heath Manor, Stainsby Manor and Owlcoates Manor in her own right. She had coal mines in Bolsover, Hardstoft and Tibshelf and owned land in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire. She also through her marriages had the use of Rufford Abbey, Tutbury Castle, Sheffield Manor, Chelsea Manor and many others.
During her life she was Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, Lady Elizabeth St Loe and the Countess of Shrewsbury. Her ancestors went on to become the Earls Manvers, the Earls/Dukes of Rutland, the Earls/Dukes of Devonshire and the Dukes of Newcastle. Bess’ most abiding legacy is through her houses of Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth House. Bess was instrumental in the building of these properties and used her substantial wealth to do it.
Bess died in December 1608 and she was buried in the parish church of Derby, All Saints. The church was later rebuilt and became Derby cathedral but Bess’ memorial can still be seen there.
Bess may have been fortunate through marriage and gaining much wealth but she was a feisty woman who went after what she wanted. She may have gotten herself in to trouble on occasion but in the end she was still the second most powerful woman in the country after the Queen and a Derbyshire woman through and through.
If you’ve read this and what to know more about Bess I recommend the novel about her by Georgina Lee – Bess a Novel. It’s a really good read.
I want to discuss how asking other genealogist for help may assist you in breaking down your brick walls.
I am a member of the Norfolk Family History Society (NFHS) and it was through them that I managed to breakdown a wall. The Society produces a magazine 4 times a year and members can place articles asking for help. So I decided to ask my fellow members for help.
The search all began in Thorpe St Andrew, Norfolk. I knew my 4 times great granddad William Weeds was born in the village in November 1786 to John Weeds and Mary Thurgate. On the 1841 census he was living with his wife Sarah in Thorpe St Andrew. So I started looking for William and Sarah’s marriage. The oldest child of William I had found was born in 1811 so I started looking in 1810 in the village. I couldn’t find anything so I extended my search to the whole of Norfolk as I knew from the census they were both born in the county. Still I found nothing. I could find no marriage around this time.
So I decided to put an article in the NFHS magazine The Norfolk Ancestor. I asked out to my fellow member for help in finding William and Sarah’s marriage. I soon got several replies and the consensus was that William Weeds marriage Sarah Tinker in Norwich in 1815.
At first I was sceptical until one of the replies mentioned William was a widower. This was the aha! moment and tied in with what I already knew. This explained why there was a gap in the children’s birth years as this could be due to the death of a first wife and the gap between remarrying.
So backwards searching again I went and found the marriage of William Weeds and Mary Burton in 1810 in Thorpe St Andrew. Bingo. The marriage date was consistent with the birth of the first of William’s children in 1811. So would this marriage link in with William’s life. I searched for the death of a Mary Weeds between 1810 and 1815 and found the burial of Mary Weeds aged 37 in Thorpe St Andrew in October 1814. This would mean William remarried 7 months after Mary’s death, which wasn’t uncommon then.
So back I went again and looked for the children born to William and Mary and found 3 born between 1811 and 1814. The youngest Frederick was buried just 6 days after his mum aged 6 months.
So everything was now making sense. William was married twice. The birth locations of all the children and the occupation of William on all the baptism records of carpenter all matched up. So I concluded that the marriage to Sarah Tinker was the correct one.
So let me tell you everything I know about William Weeds.
William was born on the 27th November 1786 in Thorpe St Andrew, Norfolk to John Weeds and Mary Thurgate. He was baptised on the 4th December 1786 at St Andrew’s church, Thorpe St Andrew. He married Mary Burton at St Andrew’s church, Thorpe St Andrew on the 26th December 1810 when he was 24 years old. The couple had 3 children, Mary Elizabeth, William Henry and Frederick. Mary died in October 1814 in Thorpe St Andrew. William remarried aged 29 on the 18th May 1815 at St Michael at Plea, Norwich. His bride was 24 year old Sarah Tinker. The couple had 7 children, Frederick, Amelia, Emma, Edward, Louisa Morgan, Julia, Jesse. In 1841 William and Sarah were living on Turnpike Road in Thorpe St Andrew. William died on the 19th February 1848 in Thorpe St Andrew. William was 61 years old and a carpenter. He died from inflammation of the lung. He was buried at St Andrew’s church, Thorpe St Andrew on the 23rd February 1848.
So without the help of my fellow NFHS member I may never have found the marriage of William and Sarah. If I hadn’t found the marriage it would not have stopped my research back through my Weeds line but I may never have found the Tinker line to research.
So don’t be afraid to ask for help from fellow genealogists through magazines and websites. You might find they have the answers your looking for.
You may remember a few weeks ago I considered that even if you don’t have an interest in the monarch the history of the Kings and Queens will give you an insight into the lives of your ancestors. I looked at the Monarchs of England and Scotland from 1066 until 1603 and now I’m going to look from 1603 to the present day with the monarchs of Great Britain which began after the death of Elizabeth I.
James I of England VI of Scotland. Reigned 24th March 1603 – 27th March 1625. Successor: Charles I, son of James I.
Charles I. Reigned 27th March 1625 – 30 January 1649 (executed for treason). Successor: Oliver Cromwell and the commonwealth.
Charles II. Reigned 29th May 1660 – 6th February 1685. Successor: James II, son of Charles I.
James II. Reigned 6th February 1685 – 23rd December 1688. Successor: William III, grandson of Charles II and Mary II, daughter of James II.
William III and Mary II
William III. Reigned 23rd December 1688 – 8th March 1702. Successor: Anne, daughter of James II.
Mary II. Reigned 23rd December 1688 –28th December 1694. Successor: Anne, daughter of James II.
Anne. Reigned 8th March 1702 – 1st August 1714. Successor: George I, great grandson of James I.
George I. Reigned 1st August 1714 – 11th June 1727. Successor: George II, son of George I.
George II. Reigned 11th June 1727 – 25th October 1760. Successor: George III, grandson of George II.
George III. Reigned 25th October 1760 – 29th January 1820. Successor: George IV, son of George III.
George IV. Reigned 29th January 1820 – 26th June 1830. Successor: William IV, son of George III.
William IV. Reigned 26th June 1830 – 20th June 1837. Successor: Victoria, granddaughter of George III.
Victoria. Reigned 20th June 1837 – 22 January 1901. Successor: Edward VII, son of Victoria.
Edward VII. Reigned 22 January 1901 – 6th May 1910. Successor: George V, son of Edward VII.
George V. Reigned 6th May 1910 – 20th January 1936. Successor: Edward VIII, son of George V.
Edward VIII. Reigned 20th January 1836 – 11th December 1836 (abdicated). Successor: George VI, son of George V.
George VI. Reigned 11th December 1836 – 6th February 1952. Successor: Elizabeth II, daughter of George VI.
Elizabeth II. Reign 6th February 1952 to present.
So now you have a comprehensive list of the monarchs from 1066 until the present. You can now use this information to gather more information about your ancestors.
So for example if your ancestor was alive in 1703 you now know Queen Anne was on the throne. From here you can find out more about the country they lived in. In 1703 England was struck by a storm which caused 100’s of boat to wash ashore on the south coast and 1000’s of sailors died, 1000’s of homes were damaged and many areas were severely flooded including parts of the West Midlands. From here if you know your ancestor was a sailor on the south coast you may find they were affected by the storm. They may have lost their boat or the boat they sailed on may have been lost. They may also have lost their relatives if they were at sea at the time of the storm. They could have lost fathers, brothers, husbands or sons. Entire male lines of families may have been wiped out as a family boat could have been lost. This could have left the women of the family destitute. It could also help you to understand why you can’t find the grave of a family member. They may have been lost at sea in the storm and their body was never found for burial. It could also mean you may be able to discover the grave for a female family member you couldn’t find. If a woman lost her husband in the storm she may have remarried and thus be buried under the name of her second husband.
Hopefully this will relationship between the knowledge of when the monarchs were on the throne and what was going on in the country while your ancestors were alive.
We’ve all heard of the Jack the Ripper and his reign of terror in London in 1888 but still to this day we have no idea who he was or why he did what he did. It’s though he killed 5 women but many believe he was responsible for many more deaths.
The killings attributed to Jack began in August 1888 when he killed his first victim. She was Mary Ann Nichols, nee Walker. She was found on the 31 August 1888 in Buck’s Row (now Durwand Street) in London. Mary was born in 1845 and was the estranged wife of William Nichols and the mother of 3 children.
Jack’s second victim was Annie Chapman who was born Eliza Ann Smith. She was born in 1841 and was the estranged wife of John Chapman and the mother of 3 children. On the night of the 8 September 1888 she was found dead at 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields.
Victim three was Elizabeth Stride nee Gustafsdoffer. She was born in Sweden in 1843 where her career as a prostitute was thought to have begun. She was the widow of John Stride. She was found on the night of the 30th September 1888 on Berner Street (now Henriques Street), Whitechapel.
The fourth victim was Catherine Eddowes. She was the common law wife of Thomas Conway and the mother of 3 children. She was born in Wolverhampton in 1842. Her body was found on the 30 September 1888, the same night as Elizabeth Stride, in Mitre Square, Whitechapel.
The final confirmed victim of Jack was Mary Jane Kelly who was killed on the 9th November 1888 in Miller’s Court, Spitalfield.
All the murders had much in common. All were gruesome and involved the removal of organs. The attacks must have been brutal and terrifying for the women. They were investigated at the time by the Whitechapel division of the Metropolitan police and Scotland Yard. The lead investigators were:
Detective Inspector Edmund Reid from Whitechapel
Detective Inspector Frederick Abberline from Scotland Yard
Detective Inspector Henry Moore from Scotland Yard
Detective Inspector Walter Andrews from Scotland Yard
Now I personally have an interest in the murders as I believe they may have impacted upon my Ancestors. My great, great Grandfather was George Dow who was born in Pollockshaw, Glasgow in 1842. He moved to Sunderland to work in the ship yards and it was here in 1867 that he married Eleanor Easton (born in 1844) the daughter of a local blacksmith. The couple had four children including my great Grandma Elizabeth Dow. To this day we don’t know why but between 1878 and 1880 the family moved to the Whitechapel area of London and started using the surname Smith. I know this as in 1880 the couple had another child named George Smith and my great Grandma was born in 1878. On the 1881 census the family was living on Sander Street in Whitechapel, which if you look at the map above you will see linked to Henriques Street where Elizabeth Stride was killed. We know that by 1891 the family was living in Walthamstow in Essex. The question is did they move because of the murders or had they already decided to move on? If they were still living in Whitechapel then the murders would have been a good enough incentive to move especially since Eleanor was of a similar age to the victims. It would have been no place to raise the 3 surviving of their 4 children.
When I started researching my family tree I knew nothing about this. I knew Elizabeth was born in Sunderland and raised in Woodford but I had no idea about the Whitechapel link. I have had an interest in the Ripper murders since I saw at TV drama called Jack the Ripper starring Michael Caine and Lewis Collins, also on the Two Ronnies Show they did a sketch called the Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town which was a skit on the ripper case in which a raspberry was blow and the victim died. These both lead to an interest which was only boosted by my family connection.
So who was the Ripper? Several names have been connected to the case but there seems to be no chance of the Ripper being identified. So the mystery many never be revealed, but in my case the interest continues due to my own family’s connection.
Now we’ve all heard of the great fire of London which happened in 1666, but have you ever considered how it would affect your family history research?
I’ll start with some background. The fire started on the 2nd September 1666 in Pudding Lane, London which was only a few streets north of the river Thames. The fire started in a bakery and raged within the old city walls of the city from the Strand to the Tower of London and as far north as the Guildhall until the 6th September. During this time hundreds of people were made homeless and had to flee the city. Surprisingly only 6 people are reported to have died in the fire. Also in the fire the plague rats died!
Now here is where the fire impacts of family history research. 89 parish churches were lost in the fire including St Pauls. 35 of these churches were never rebuilt.
So what does this mean to family historians? Well it means you have to readjust what you know. The fire resulted in people having to move from the area they lived in. So if you have been happily tracing your family back through one church in London and then you can’t find anymore ancestors it may be because they were new to the church just after 1666.
So what do you do? Well the best place to start is probably to find out which parish churches were lost in the fire and find out which ones were closest to where your ancestors lived after 1666. Although this will not give you an accurate indication of where they moved from, it may help. Families may have wanted to stay as close as possible to where they lived and worshiped before as they worked in the area. On the other hand they may have move away as they needed housing and where they worked may have been destroyed in the fire.
So how do you overcome this? Well don’t just focus on the immediate area. If you can’t find what you’re looking for expand your search. Also focus on what you know. If you ancestors were having children baptised at a church from a certain date but you haven’t found the couple’s marriage there then maybe they had to move church because it was lost in the fire. So from here you need to look around the other churches. Also make a note of any occupations listed on the children’s baptisms. This can help you if you find a couple with the same names in another church. If the man has the same occupation then there is a chance it is your ancestors. This may not always follow though as they may have had to change job after the fire. If your ancestors have an unusual surname then it is relatively easy to find where they came from. Sorry to anyone with the name Smith as this will be difficult, but congratulation if you have got back this far, you are a genealogy hero.
It has not been only the great fire of London that has caused problems like this. There have been many disasters over the years that may have resulted in your family having to move. If you have ancestors from Sheffield you may suddenly find them disappearing as you go back. What may people don’t know is that in 1864 Sheffield had a “great flood” when a newly built dam wall cracked and the town was flooded. 240 people died and over 600 homes were lost. If your ancestors seem to suddenly appear in say north Sheffield it could be they came from west Sheffield where the destruction occurred.
The same moving of your ancestors could also have happened if they were miners. Over the years they have been many mining disasters which may have led to the closures of the pit. Your ancestors may have had to move to new coal filed to get new jobs and so all of a sudden the Northumberland family you thought you had is now in Yorkshire.
So although we don’t like to think about disasters such as the great fire they do have an influence on our research as they change the lives of our ancestors. So remember it may not be a brick wall you’ve hit, it may be relocation.
They say that our homes are our castles, but what do we really know about the history of our homes. Just by looking at them we can take a rough guess about when they were built but that’s about it. Can you find out more about the actual building and those who have lived in it?
Well the answer is yes, up to a point. You see it depends on the age of the house and where it is. And for the record it doesn’t matter if your home is a stately home, although that would be so much easier as there are probably records already existing within the building.
The best place to start is by looking at the age of the house. In most cases you can make a good guess by looking at the architecture of the building. If there are art deco features to the property then there is a chance you house was built in the 1920’s.
You should also consider the deeds of the house. Most people don’t actually have the deeds in their house, but the solicitor who assisted in the purchase of the house may have them. These may potentially give you an exact date for the building of the house. If you haven’t got access to the deeds you can always search the land registry for them.
The next place to look is on the census. You can search by address to find your house. From here the amount of information you can find is huge and frustrating. Your house may be on the census under a different number as more houses were built later, no house numbers may be given and streets can also change name as the road I grew up on but luckily the roadside said the old name.
The census can help you find out who used to live in the house. This can give you an insight into how many people may have lived in the house at one time. You may be surprised how many people were crammed into the space. In my parents first home on the 1911 census there were 6 adults living there. There were 2 adults and a baby when my parents were there. If you follow the census back you can find out when the property first showed up and thus this can help you establish at least a decade for when the house was built if previous research through the deeds hasn’t helped.
The census can also give you an insight into how the house’s fortunes may have changed. It may be that when the house was built it was lived in by a working class family but over the years the family may have become middle class or it may have stayed the same.
If we consider the Victorian house I grew up in built around the 1880’s, in 1901 the owner was the owner of a stay manufacturing company and lived with his wife and 2 grown up daughters. By 1936 (as found from a death notice) the house was in the hands of the 1901 owners Son in Law. On the 1939 census the house was owned by a steelworks engineer who lived there with his wife and 3 children. When my grandparents purchased the house in 1960 it became owned by an Officer of Her Majesty’s Custom and Excise and had 4 occupants. By the end of the 1970’s there were 5 of us spread over 3 generations.
Another way to find out information about your house is the newspaper archive. You can search for the street name and town and see what you can find out. This is how I found out who owned my childhood home in 1936.
If you live in a more modern house don’t despair. You can still research the area your house was built in. Old maps will show you what was there before you house was built. Where I live now and as a child would have been fields, but you may find there used to be mines or some other form of industry.
So it doesn’t matter whether you live in a stately home or a small terrace house, there is a chance you can find out about the families who lived there before you and how the area has changed. But remember it’s not always that easy and some people make researching a property their lives work and others make a living out of doing this.
Last week I looked at the link between how knowing which monarch was on the throne and can help you discover more about the lives of your ancestors by showing you what was happening in the world around them. Even though the lives of your ancestors may have been completely different from the monarchs major events may have impacted upon them.
This week I’m looking at the monarchs of Scotland from 1066 to 1603 (I’m starting at 1066 to be in line with the English). You need to remember that the succession in Scotland for the throne is different from England in that war and murder were often ways to trigger a change of monarch. Also the English sometimes influenced the succession with Edward I (1272-1307) placing pressure on the Scots.
Malcolm III. Reigned 1058 – 13th November 1093. Successor: Donald III his brother.
Donald III. Reigned 13th November 1093 – May 1094. Successor: Duncan II, son of Malcolm III.
Duncan II. Reigned 1094 – 12th November 1094 (murdered). Successor: Donald III, son of Malcolm III.
Donald III. Reigned 12th November 1094 – 1097. Successor: Edgar, son of Malcolm III.
Edgar. Reigned 1097 – 8th January 1107 (Murdered?). Successor: Alexander I, son of Malcolm III.
Alexander I. Reigned 8th January 1107 – 23rd April 1124. Successor: David I, son of Malcolm III.
David I. Reigned 23rd April 1124 – 24th May 1153. Successor: Malcolm IV, grandson of David I.
Malcolm IV. Reigned 24th May 1153 – 9th December 1165. Successor: William I, grandson of David I.
William I. Reigned 9th December 1165 – 4th December 1214. Successor: Alexander II, son of William I.
Alexander II. Reigned 4th December 1214 – 6th July 1249. Successor: Alexander III, son of Alexander II.
Alexander III. Reigned 6th July 1249 – 19th March 1286. Successor: Margaret, granddaughter of Alexander III.
Margaret. Reigned 25th November 1286 – 26th September 1290. Successor: John who was chosen by claim.
John. Reigned 17th November 1292 – 10th July 1296 (abdicated). Successor: Robert I through battle and claim.
Robert I (the Bruce). Reigned 25th March 1306 – 7th June 1329. Successor: David II, son of Robert I.
David II. Reigned 7th June 1329 – 22 February 1371. Successor: Robert II, grandson of Robert I.
Robert II. Reigned 22 February 1371 – 19th April 1390. Successor: Robert III, son of Robert II.
Robert III. Reigned 19th April 1390 – 4th April 1406. Successor: James I, son of Robert III.
James I. Reigned 4th April 1406 – 21st February 1437. Successor: James II, son of James I.
James II. Reigned 21st February 1437 – 3rd August 1460. Successor: James III, son of James II.
James III. Reigned 3rd August 1460 – 11th June 1488. Successor: James IV, son of James III.
James IV. Reigned 11th June 1488 – 9th September 1513 (died in battle). Successor: James V, son of James IV.
James V. Reigned 9th September 1513 – 14th December 1542. Successor: Mary, daughter of James V.
Mary (Queen of Scots). Reigned 14th December 1542 – 24th July 1567 (abdicated. Executed by Queen Elizabeth I of England 8th February 1587). Successor: James VI, son of Queen Mary.
James VI. Reigned 24th July 1567 – 27th March 1625. To Monarchy of Great Britain.
After the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England the throne passed to her 1st cousin twice removed James VI of Scotland and he became James I of Great Britain.
James VI was the great, great grandson of King Henry VII of England. Henry’s eldest daughter Margaret Tudor was married to James IV of Scotland thus combining the Stuart house of Scotland with the Tudor house of England and giving us the royal family we have today.
Many of you will know that I am fascinated with the monarch, but many of you may not realise how much of an impact knowledge of the monarchy can have on your research. If you know who was monarch when your ancestors were alive you can read about what was happening in the country and thus how it may have been affecting your ancestors. So in this vein here is my list of the Monarch of England.
Edward the Confessor. Reigned 8th June 1042 to 1st May 1066. Successor: Harold Godwinson, brother in law of Edward who claimed Edward named him heir.
Harold Godwinson. Reigned 6th January 1066 to 14th October 1066 died in battle. Successor: William the Conqueror who claimed to be Edward the Confessors names heir and William defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings.
William I, the Conqueror. Reigned 14th October 1066 – 9th September 1087. Successor: William II his son.
William II. Reigned 9th September 1087 – 2nd August 1100 possibly murdered. Successor: Henry I his brother.
Henry I. Reigned 2nd August 1100 – 1st December 1135. Successor: Stephen the grandson of William I who may have usurped the throne.
Stephen. Reigned 22nd December 1135 – 7th April 1141. Successor: Matilda, daughter of Henry I.
Matilda. Reigned 7th April 1141 – 1st November 1141. Successor: Stephen.
Stephen. Reigned 1st November 1141 – 25th October 1154. Successor: Henry II son of Matilda.
Henry II. Reigned 25th October 1154 – 6th July 1189. Successor: Richard I the Lionheart, son of Henry II.
Richard I. Reigned 6th July 1189 – 6th April 1199. Successor: John, brother of Richard I.
John. Reigned 6th April 1199 – 19th October 1216. Successor: Henry III, John’s son.
Henry III. Reigned 19th October 1216 – 16th November 1272. Successor: Edward I, son of Henry III.
Edward I. Reigned 16th November 1272 – 7th July 1307. Successor: Edward II, son of Edward I.
Edward II. Reigned 7th July 1307 – 24th January 1327. Successor: Edward III, son of Edward II.
Edward III. Reigned 24th January 1327 – 21st June 1377. Successor: Richard II, grandson of Edward III.
Richard II. Reigned 21st June 1377 – 29th September 1399. Successor: Henry IV, grandson of Edward III.
Henry IV. Reigned 30th September 1399 – 20th March 1413. Successor: Henry V, son of Henry IV.
Henry V. Reigned 20th March 1413 – 31st August 1422. Successor: Henry VI, son of Henry V.
Henry VI. Reigned 31st August 1422 – 4th March 1461. Successor: Edward IV, great grandson of Edward III by usurpation.
Edward IV. Reigned 4th March 1461 – 3rd October 1470. Henry VI, son of Henry V.
Henry VI. Reigned 3rd October 1470 – 11th April 1471. Successor: Edward IV, great grandson of Edward III, by usurpation.
Edward IV. Reigned 11th April 1471 – 9th April 1483. Successor: Henry VI, son of Henry V.
Edward V. Reigned 9th April 1483 – 25th June 1483 (disappeared possibly murdered). Successor: Richard III brother of Edward IV.
Richard III. Reigned 25th June 1483 – 22 August 1485 (died at the Battle of Bosworth). Successor: Henry VII, great, great, great grandson of Edward III, by usurpation.
Henry VII. Reigned 22 August 1485 – 21 September 1509. Successor: Henry VIII, son of Henry VII.
Henry VIII. Reigned 21st September 1509 – 28th January 1547. Successor: Edward VI, son of Henry VIII.
Edward VI. Reigned 28th January 1547 – 6th July 1553. Successor: Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry VII.
Jane Grey. Reigned 10th July 1553 - 19th July 1553 (deposed). Successor: Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII.
Mary I. Reigned 19th July 1553 – 17th November 1558. Successor: Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII.
Elizabeth I. Reigned 17th November 1558 – 24th March 1603. Successor: James I and VI, great, great grandson of Henry VII.
This brings to an end the walk through the English monarch from 1066 until 1603. After this period the monarchies of England and Scotland combined to become the monarchs of Great Britain.
Coming soon I’ll do the same for the Monarchs of Great Britain from 1603 to the present.
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings on genealogy and history in general. I hope you find it informative and hopefully funny!