Last week I hosted the monarch awards based around the statistics of the monarch of England/Great Britain. This week the focus turns to their royal consorts.
Consorts whose children didn’t become monarch:
Well it might surprise you that in total 17 (or 18) consorts did not have children who became monarch of these fair lands. The first could have been Queen Matilda of Scotland the wife of Henry I. Her daughter of the Empress Maude or Lady of the English. So if you believe she was queen then it was Matilda of Scotland. If you don’t believe this then the first monarch to not have a child become monarch was Queen Matilda of Boulogne the wife of King Stephen. They did have a son William, but to keep the peace in England Stephen made Maude’s son Henry his heir. The last consort not to have children become monarch was Queen Adelaide the consort of William IV. They had 4 children all of which died when they were young.
Consorts who had more than on monarch/consort as children:
In this category the winner is Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine the wife of King Henry II. The couple had 8 children together and of these 3 were monarchs and 2 were consorts. There was Henry the Young King who reigned alongside his father, Richard I and John. Her daughter Eleanor was consort of King Alfonso VIII of Castile and Joan was consort of King William II of Sicily.
Consorts who had no children:
In this category there were 7 consorts. Admittedly 3 were the wives of Henry VIII, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr. The others were Berengaria of Navarre the wife of Richard I, Anne of Bohemia the wife of Richard II, Lord Guildford Dudley the wife of Queen Jane and Catherine of Braganza the wife of Charles II.
Consorts to have the most children:
Well the winner here is Prince George of Denmark the consort of Queen Anne who had 17 children no of which survived childhood. The female consort who had the most children was Eleanor of Castile with 16 by her husband Edward I. Coming in a close second was Charlotte of Mecklenberg, the consort of George III who had 15 children.
Queen Charlotte the consort of King George III holds the record for the longest tenure of consort, she held the post for 57 years and 65 days.
The shortest reign was Lord Guildford Dudley at just 9 days or if you doubt the credibility of Queen Jane then it was Anne of Cleves, 4th wife of Henry VIII at 186 days.
Age at accession:
The oldest consort to take up the post was Princess Alexandria, the wife of King Edward VII at 56 years and 53 days.
The youngest woman to hold the position was the wife of Richard II, Isabella of Valois. She was just 6 years, 11 months and 24 days. So I suppose she was the youngest girl to hold the post. Her new husband was 29 and it is believed the marriage was never consummated.
Number of Marriages:
Many consorts were either married before or after the monarch. The record does go to Katherine Parr who was married 4 times with King Henry VIII being her third husband. Her first 3 husband died and she finally married Thomas Seymour the uncle of her step son King Edward VI. She died in childbirth aged 36.
Some other facts:
Margaret of France the consort of Henry the Young King was a consort in 2 countries. After the death of Henry she went on to marry Bela III of Hungary.
The consort of King Richard II and Henry V were sisters. They were Isabella of Valois and Catherine of Valois. They were the daughters of King Charles VI of France. After their monarch husbands died Isabella married Charles Duke of Orleans and died in childbirth aged 19. Catherine went on to marry Owen Tudor and have around 6 children including Edmund Tudor the father of King Henry VII.
England/Great Britain has had 6 male consorts. The first was Geoffrey of Anjou in 1141 if you believe Maude was Queen, if not if was Lord Guildford Dudley the husband of Queen Jane in 1553 or if not it was Phillip of Spain who was known as Phillip of England and was monarch by right of his wife from 1554 to 1558. The other are Prince George of Denmark the consort of Queen Anne, Prince Albert the consort of Queen Victoria and our current consort Prince Philip the husband of Queen Elizabeth II.
15 of the consorts of England/Great Britain were the children of European monarchs.
Now as in the previous blog on the monarchy awards (http://www.familyhistoryresearchengland.co.uk/blog/monarchy-awards ) I will answer the questions which were asked on pointless:
The names of the British monarchs consorts since 1707 are:
George, Caroline, Charlotte, Adelaide, Albert, Alexandria, Mary, Elizabeth and Philip.
The decade in which a monarch died from 1000 to 2000 are:
1050’s, 1060’s, 1070’s, 1080’s, 1110’s, 1150’s, 1190’s, 1200’s, 1230’s, 1240’s, 1290’s, 1310’s, 1350’s, 1360’s, 1390’s, 1410’s, 1430’s, 1480’s, 1490’s, 1500’s, 1530’s (3 this decade all Henry VIII wives), 1540’s, 1550’s, 1590’s, 1610’s, 1660’s, 1700’s, 1720’s, 1730’s, 1810’s, 1820’s, 1840’s, 1860’s, 1920’s, 1950’s, 2000’s.
The consorts whose children (if they had any some of these listed didn’t) were never Monarch since 1154 are:
Berengaria of Navarre wife of Richard I. Margaret of France wife of Edward I. Philippa of Hainualt wife of Edward III. Richard II 2 wives Anne of Bohemia and Isabella of Valois. Joan of Navarre wife of Henry IV. Margaret of Anjou wife of Henry VI. Anne Neville wife of Richard III. Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr the wives of Henry VIII. Guildford Dudley the husband of Queen Jane. Phillip of Spain the husband of Mary I. Catherine of Braganza the wife of Charles II. Mary of Modena the wife of James VII (II). Prince George of Denmark the husband of Queen Anne. Caroline of Brunswick the wife of George II. Caroline of Brandenburg the wife of George IV and finally Adelaide Saxe-Meiningen the wife of William IV.
Scottish Monarchs and Consorts coming soon.
I was watching a repeat of Pointless Celebrities the other week and in the final the actor’s Neil Dudgeon and Annette Badland had questions in the final relating to the monarchy. The 3 questions were the names of the British monarchs since 1707, the decade in which a monarch died from 1000 to 2000 and the monarchs who were never succeeded by their offspring since 1154. Well I happy to say I got 3 pointless answers and the celebrities won the jackpot. It also got me thinking again about the statistics of the English/British monarch. So let me share them with you.
Monarch who were not succeeded by their children:
There have been 17 monarchs since 1066 that were not succeeded by their children. The first was the son of King William the Conqueror, King William II. He died under mysterious circumstances when he was shot by an arrow while hunting in the New Forest in 1100. He was unmarried and thus succeeded by his brother King Henry I. The most recent monarch to be succeeded by someone other than a child was King Edward VIII in 1936 when he abdicated and was succeeded by his brother King George VI.
Monarchs succeeded by more than one child:
It surprised me when I got looking that 7 monarchs have had more than one child become monarch. The first was King William the Conqueror. He was succeeded by 2 of his sons, William II and Henry I. Not surprisingly Henry VIII wins with 3 of his children becoming monarchs, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The most recent monarch to have more than one child become king was King George V with Edward VIII and George VI.
Monarchs with no children:
Again this came as something of a surprise. 11 monarchs since 1066 have not had any issues. Of these 5 were married but just had no children for various reasons. Charles II was married but had no children with his wife. She suffered several miscarriages. He did have 12 acknowledged illegitimate children though. When you think about it 3 of the 11 of the monarch who didn’t have children were the children of Henry VIII.
Monarchs with most children:
The record is held by James VII (II) who had 20 children by his 2 wives. Coming a close second was Edward I who had 19 children by his 2 wives. Edward’s first wife was Eleanor of Castile and she gave birth to 16 children. George III and his wife Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz came in second place with her giving birth to 15 children.
Our current Queen Elizabeth II holds the record for the longest reigning monarch. Before her it was Queen Victoria at 63 years and 216 days and King George III at 59 years and 97 days.
The shortest reign was Queen Jane at just 9 days. For those who don’t believe Jane was Queen (I do) then it was King Edward V at 78 days. Neither monarch was ever crowned. The shortest reign of a crowned monarch was King Edward VII at 326 days.
Age at Accession:
The oldest person to become monarch was William VI. When he became King in 1830 he was 64 years old. The youngest to become monarch was King Henry VI who was just 8 years old.
Number of marriages:
Well of the winner in this category has to be Henry VIII at 6 marriages. That man either loved wedding cake or just wanted to collect lots of Mother’s in laws. He needed to take up knitting or something. Several other monarchs were married more than once but 2 is the most number of marriages besides Henry. It’s no wonder his 3 kids never got married. Nor did 3 other monarch.
So to fully answer the pointless questions:
The names of the British monarchs since 1707 are: Anne, George, William, Victoria, Edward and Elizabeth.
The decade in which a monarch died from 1000 to 2000 are: 1010’s, 1030’s, 1040’s, 1060’s, 1080’s, 1100’s, 1130’s, 1150’s, 1160’s, 1180’s, 1190’s, 1210’s, 1270’s, 1300’s, 1320’s, 1370’s, 1400’s, 1410’s, 1420’s, 1470’s, 1480’s (3 this decade), 1510’s, 1540’s, 1550’s (3 this decade), 1600’s, 1620’s, 1640’s, 1680’s, 1690’s, 1700’s, 1710’s, 1720’s, 1760’s, 1820’s, 1830’s, 1900’s, 1910’s, 1930’s, 1950’s, 1970’s.
The monarchs who were never succeeded by their offspring since 1154 are:
Edward III (grandson), Richard II (cousin), Henry VI (usurped), Edward V (uncle), Richard III (usurped), Edward VI (cousin and half-sister), Mary I (half-sister), Elizabeth I (cousin), Charles II (brother), Anne (cousin), George II (grandson), George VI (brother), William IV (niece), Edward VIII (brother).
On the 1st May 1707 Great Britain was born. Up until this point England (and Wales) and Scotland were separate entities sort of. England (and Wales) had a parliament in London and Scotland’s was in Edinburgh. We each had a separate monarch, sort of. It was the same person from 1603 they just had 2 crowns.
From the act of union onwards that all changed. No more separate coronations for monarchs, although Charles II was the last to really have separate coronations. Queen Anne became the first monarch of Great Britain. Also no more separate parliament. Everything was now done from London as that was where the monarch lived.
The most changes were probably seen in the border areas of England and Scotland. A lot of grey areas arose. For example the town of Berwick Upon Tweed has changed between England and Scotland loads of time. This meant that before the union they could swap sides to choose which parliament was best for them. After the union that would have changed.
The union was not popular as the Scottish wanted to remain independent but many felt the extra money that Scotland could get from England would be hugely beneficial to the country.
There had been attempts made before this. The Monarchies of England (and Wales) and Scotland had been marrying off their children to one another in order to try and exert some influence over their fellow monarchs as their grandchildren may have become monarch. In 1221 King John of England had married his daughter Joan to King Alexander II of Scotland. In this case no children were born so it didn’t work. John’s son King Henry III of England married his daughter Margaret to King Alexander III of Scotland but none of the couple’s son’s became King. Several other royal marriages between Scotland and England occurred but since 1066 the first union between the 2 royal families to produce a monarch who had an English monarch and a Scottish monarch as grandfathers was King James V of Scotland. He was the son of King James IV of Scotland and Princess Margaret Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VII of England. This was the connection that allowed James VI to take the English throne in 1603.
So what did this mean for our ancestors? Well in reality nothing. Nothing changed other than they became British rather than English, Scottish or Welsh. Although most probably still used them and we still do today.
Our Scottish ancestors did cling firmly to their Scottishness. They continued to hold on to their clan heritage and their pride in their tartans and customs. They even revolted during the Glorious Revelation in an attempt to keep King James VII (or II) on the throne of both England and Scotland. He was a Catholic and Protestants wanted him gone and replaced with his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange. After James was ousted and William III and Mary II took the throne jointly James VII grandson Charles Edward Stuart took up arms along with the Scottish Jacobite’s to put his father James Stuart,or himself on the throne. It failed.
The English hung on to their traditions as well.
So was there any impact on the Act of Union for us genealogists. Well not really when it happened. Birth, marriages and deaths were still only registered in the Church of either Scotland or England (and Wales). It wasn’t until 1837 in England and Wales and 1855 in Scotland that events had to be registered with the state.
So the Act of Union had no impact on our genealogy research or probably our ancestors but it was an important date in the history of our great country.
I was reading an article the other day about Joanna of Castile the sister of our Queen consort Catherine of Aragon. In the article was a picture of her husband Philip the Handsome who reigned as King Philip I of Castile and was also the Duke of Burgandy. Now the photo in my opinion didn’t do the poor man justice.
This portrait was produced around 1500 when Philip was Duke of Burgundy and around 22 years old.
This picture got me thinking how accurate were these portrait of their sitters?
Well in truth we will never know. But is there a reason for the way the pictures look.
Now I know nothing about art, I was useless at it at school and I only exceled at stickmen. But is a picture’s quality just down to the artist or does the tools they used have an influence on how good the picture was.
Let me explain. In 1500 the quality of the canvas the artist used would not be the same as more modern artists would use. In fact the picture of Philip was painted on an oak board. Now surely this influenced how the paint flowed on the wood. There are natural cracks and marks on the wood. Would this mean the paint went to an extent where it wanted and so the picture was less accurate?
The same is true of the quality of the paint. Oil based paints these days will be much better than the oil paints of 1500. With the development of manufacturing processes paints will be more consistent. Back in 1500 the paints would have been of a much lesser quality so did this mean that they didn’t flow as well and thus made a lesser quality painting.
So did the development of the materials account for the increased quality of artwork or did the talent of the artist increase?
This picture of King Henry VIII was painted by Hans Holbein the Younger around 1540, just 40 years after the picture of Philip the Handsome. The quality of the picture thought is so much better and it is well documented that this was a true likeness of the King. This is an oil painting but was done on a canvas rather than wood.
So comparing the 2 picture you could say that the artist of Philips picture was just not as good as Hans Holbein, but the since they are not on the same canvas then that could make a difference. The only true way to compare whether wood or canvas was best would have been for an artist to paint the same portrait on both wood and canvas.
Also the cost of the painting would probably have an impact on the quality. Henry VIII wasn’t known for scrimping on his spending so the Holbein painting probably cost a great deal. Maybe Philip used a lesser known artist would didn’t charge as much and so you could speculate that he used lesser quality paints and this resulted in the above portrait.
If you think about it the same is true for with the photographs of our ancestors. Early photos are of very stern looking people with absolutely no character to them. This was due to the quality of the camera and the long exposure needed. My camera can take a photo in 1/4000 of a second so I can catch the image instantly and so smiles and movement can be captured.
So was Philip the Handsome portrait a true likeness of him or not, we may never know but we can say that the quality of the artists material may have had an impact on the final picture. Whether it was a true likeness or not his wife Queen Joanna of Castile loved him dearly.
This week I bring you some Easter genealogy fun.
I officially have brain freeze and cannot thing what to blog about so I have made for your pleasure a genealogy based word search. So grab a cuppa and a biscuit and settle down and play away.
One thing I both love and hate about genealogy is the amount of information you can find out about your ancestor. With time, patience and skills you can find out where they lived, what they did and so much more. But you can’t find out everything as even within the family many things were never noted.
I got thinking about this when on Pinterest I saw a video of a little girl taking her first steps. Can you image being able to capture this momentous event for posterity. But for our ancestors we will never be able to find out this information as to when they took their first steps unless it’s recorded in an old family book or become folk law in the family.
So for the record I learnt to walk when I was 7 months old and used the Christmas tree to practice pull myself up and then I eventually toddled out of the sitting room. Needless to say in the practices the tree may have fallen down on me, but a piece of string to tie it to the radiator stopped that. First test flights usually have hiccups. I was tiny and am told I looked like a baby walking. The shoe shop had to specially order shoes for me as my feet were so small and I wanted to use my new skill as much as possible.
We may never know when our ancestors first walk, what their first words were, what they liked and disliked and even what they may have looked like. Now no amount of searching online will ever tell us when our ancestors took their first steps or said their first words. But is there information we think we may never know which may be available.
Well let’s start with the newspaper archive. They are a wonderful source of information. From the old averts for things which you would never get away with selling these days to the articles about sheep sales they are a wealth of information. So how can these help. Well in more local newspapers you may find a mention of one of your ancestors. If you read my blog on musical ancestors you’ll know I found a mention of a piano duet played by my twice great Grandad and his brother. This meant I could google the piece of music and here it being played. So I know the level of musical skill the brothers had. Another way is if they is a description of you ancestor. Maybe they were involved in something shady and a description was circulated so people could be on the lookout for them. Another way I have used the newspaper archive to learn more about my ancestors was when I found a description of a wedding day. The article described what the bride and bridesmaids wore and even what the mother of the both the bride and groom wore. The descriptions were fantastic and gave me a true insight into their special day.
Another great source for learning about our ancestors is military records. In all records will be a description of the soldier. It usually states their hair and eye colour, how tall they were and their chest measurements. Also if they have any scars or marks on their body this may be noted. So suddenly we can have an image of their build and colourings. Military records can also give you an indication of their character. Where they often on a charge, or did they have an exemplary service. Did they spend long periods in the hospital or even have more mental conditions. I once read a military record of a very distant ancestor in which the medical assessor described him as insane.
So although there are things about our ancestors we definitely will never be able to find out, there are things we can discover with time, skill and a whole lot of patience and sometimes a lot of look.
The SS Great Western was at the time the fastest way to cross the Atlantic Ocean. This meant that passengers could get from England to New York much faster. Thus emigrating to America would have been quicker for our ancestors.
So first a little about the ship. She was built by the Great Western Steamship Company owned by amongst others Isambard Kingdom Brunel. She was built at the Patterson and Mercer ship yard in Bristol. She was 76.8 metres long and 17.5 metres wide. She was an iron cladded wooden ship with 2 steam engines giving out 750 horse power which was used to power 2 side mounted paddle steamers. She also had 4 masts for sails just in case. In total she had 60 crew members to run the ship which could house 128 1st class passengers (with their 20 servants). On her maiden voyage leaving from Bristol on the 8th April 1838 she arrived in New York on the 23rd April. The Great Western was in service from 1838 until 1846 when she was sold after a number of incidents including a grounding to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. She ended her life after the Crimean War where she had been used for troop transport.
Now I know the ship only transported 1st class passengers but she did open the doors to faster transatlantic travel. With a sail powered ship in the early Victorian period it could take up to 6 weeks to cross to America. SS Great Western did it in 15 days on average.
So what did this mean for our ancestors? Well for many 6 weeks to cross the Atlantic was far too long a prospect. It perhaps stopped them from making the journey to a new life. I know I wouldn’t want to be on a ship for that long, I’d have gone stir crazy. 4 and half hours to Jersey was enough for me thank you very much. Now with the advent of these new faster ships that meant that you could get to New York faster and faster. Admittedly it probably cost a lot more than going by sailing ship and initially probably only attracted the wealthier but things were heading in the right direction.
Now a lot of us will probably have ancestors who left our shores for America and Canada. I know I have. I have ancestors who left in the mid 1840’s on board the sailing ship Hottinguer. They were druggists (chemists) in England and moved to New York State to set up a successful business Hudson County. Now John and Hugh Wardle were just19 and 20 and from Leek, Staffordshire when they left so I would assume a first class ticket on board a steam ship was beyond their reach. But did they ever use a steam ship if they ever came back to England? (I don’t think they did as their mum was dead and their father died in New York State so he must have joined them).
But the advent of the steam ship didn’t just reduce sailing times across the Atlantic. You may have had ancestor who decided that Australia was they place they wanted to emigrate to. Warm sun, gorgeous beaches, wombats why not! But by sailing ship this was a voyage of around 4 months. 4 months of seasickness, cramped conditions and poor food, that probably wasn’t mentioned in the brochure. Enter the steamships. In 1888 the SS Australasian could get you from London to Sydney in just 50 days with 640 passengers on board.
So SS Great Western was the first of the steam ships built with the purpose of crossing the Atlantic and by doing so she paved the way for faster travel for our ancestors and thus made the prospect of emigrating to a new country and my quicker one.
Well it’s Mothering Sunday in the UK this weekend. This means I have, as is tradition in our family, made a card for my Mum. I’ve actually made 2 as I didn’t like the first one. But what is Mothering Sunday. Well for years I always believed it was the day we pampered our Mum’s, and it is, but not completely.
Traditionally Mothering Sunday is actually a religious thing which has morphed into what it is today. On Mothering Sunday people were encouraged to attend the service at the church they were baptised in. This could have meant a great deal of travelling to get there. As a side effect of this you may have returned to where your parents still lived and thus visited your mother. In many respects it was like a family reunion as most people were granted the day off work to return home. Even those in service would be given this day off.
I remember as a kid being given daffodils at Mothering Sunday Church Parade (I was a Brownie and then kicked out of the guides – a fact I am proud of!) to give to our Mum’s. This practice can from the fact people would pick the wildflowers on the way home to give to their mum. That why we still give our Mum’s flowers or as I always did made daffodils for my Mum.
So in truth what did this mean for your ancestors? Well it could have been a very long journey. I do wonder if people really undertook the trip home. My 4 times great Grandad was born in 1816 on the Isle of Wight. He lived in Sheffield so it was unlikely he was undertake the journey home. It’s around a 230 mile trip, and a boat journey. I believe a letter would have been the best way for him to contact his mother.
But it wasn’t just George Parkin who would have had to make long journeys especially in the Victorian era. It was a time of great industrialisation in the UK. People were leaving the countryside and moving to the towns where the new industries were developing. They were also moving around the country following their industry. If the coal field was fully excavated where you lived you move to the next one. That’s why when the coal seams in Wales ran out a lot of Welsh people moved to the north of England to follow the black gold. Where they really going to be able to travel back to where they came from for one day, in reality no. It would probably take them more than a day to get their and the same back. If you only had one day off it was impossible. It’s my belief that’s why Mothering Sunday changed to what it is today.
So in my family I think the award for the furthest they would have to travel goes to my twice great Grandfather George Harker Dow. George was born in Govan, Scotland in 1841. By 1881 he was living in Whitechapel in London. Door to door from their house in Whitechapel to Govan old church is 410 miles. I’d like to think George wouldn’t have made the journey. And anyway how would families decide who to visit. George’s wife Eleanor was from Sunderland. So would he have been expected to go to Govan and Eleanor to Sunderland? I suppose they may have gone to Sunderland as 2 of their children were from there, but one was born in London so did they leave him behind! You can see why the practice of visiting the mother church died out and it became more about telling you Mum you loved her instead.
So this Mother’s day pamper your Mum in the way you want. As I’ve said I’ve made the card and it’s F1 for Mum to watch and I may recreate the gourmet dinner I made her several years ago, cheese on toast.
We probably all have objects in our families that have been passed down through the generations that we treasure, but have you ever thought what they can tell you about your ancestors.
Heirlooms can take many forms from a book to a piece of furniture and everything in between.
We have my great Grandma’s perfume bottle that she kept in her handbag. It’s tiny, only a few centimetres tall and lives in a velvet box. It’s probably worth next to nothing but to the family it’s worth everything. After she died the bottle went to her only granddaughter and became a treasured connection to a much loved Grandma. It still smells vaguely of the perfume it carried and thus evokes a memory of the way she smelt. Thus it’s a tangible link to our ancestors.
We also have a bible that was given to my 3 times great Grandfather Peter Arnold Wardle who lived from 1845 to 1892. It was given to him by his grandmother Ellen Wardle nee Taylor who lived from 1797 to 1867. Now as a book again it’s worth very little and has spent all my life just sitting on various bookcases throughout the family never being looked at. In fact it was only in the last 5 or so years that I even realised the inscription was there let alone the significance of the book. But just think it’s the handwriting of my 5 times great Grandma. How cool is that to have the handwriting of someone born in the 18th century. Ellen also came from a rural area and her husband was a farmer so the fact that she could read and write is fantastic and I have to say her handwriting was so much better than mine.
We also have things which we own that we hope will become heirlooms for future generations. One of mine would be my baby rattle. I still have it and it’s even in one of the photo on my website.
So what other heirlooms may you have that can tell you a story?
Well it could be a piece of jewellery that has been passed down from mother to daughter throughout the generations. It may sit in a draw never being looked at, but it does tell a story. It could give an indication as to the wealth of your ancestors. If your ancestors were wealthy then it was probably a more ornate piece or the stones were of a better quality. It could also indicate the love the giver had for the recipient. If you come from humble stock and your ancestors saved for a long time to buy the piece it’s obvious they loved the person they gave it to deeply. This could be backed up by the fact that the piece has been handed down through the family. It’s not just jewellery though it could be a pocket watch or a wrist watch which was treasured by the men in your family. Also if the piece of jewellery was a bracelet you would get an indication as to the size of your ancestors. If they bracelet is small and will not fit you then you can guess that they were of a small delicate stature.
Your heirloom may be a bit bigger. It could be a piece of furniture that has been handed down through the generations. Maybe it’s a dresser or a chest of drawers. All of these can connect your to your past. When you put your clothes away in the chest of drawers you can imagine all the previous generations that have done the same thing. Also you can think about how different the garments you’re putting in the drawers will be different for before. In my case it would be jeans and hoodies whereas ancestors may have been putting corsets and bloomers in.
So the things we use every day like furniture and the things we have put away in a cabinet or a draw are a direct link to our ancestors and as such should be treasures for the direct link they give to use. Make sure to pass on the stories behind them or better still take a photograph of it and write the information on the back or make a book about all the heirlooms you have. Why not include a family tree in as well and some information about the original owner and in a sense make a new heirloom giving the history of your heirlooms.
I was going through my genealogy files the other day and found my grandparents marriage certificates and it got me thinking about how our ancestors met each other.
So I’ll start with the stories of my grandparents. My maternal grandparents
met in a way through my Grandpa’s work. Grandpa was a travelling excise officer. He was sent to Peterborough to the sugar and sweet factories. He took lodgings as was the norm. The daughter of his hosts was my Grandma. She was also the manageress of one of the sweet factories he was to visit. My paternal grandparents met as my Grandad was lodging with the mother in law of one of my Grandma’s uncles.
How else could our ancestors have met?
Well probably the most common way was that they grew up together, especially in more rural locations. The further back in time you go the less likely your ancestors were to move around. They probably stayed in one place all their lives unless they had to move for work. This meant they probably married one of the village girls or if they were lucky a new family may move in and they may have married a girl from an exotic place such as 5 miles away.
If your ancestors did travel to a new area for work this would have led to them meeting lots of new potential spouses. If they were the new person in town they would have been highly popular. My great, great grandfather moved to Worksop from Eckington. Here he took lodging at the pub just up the road from the Priory where he was the organist. Guess what he married the innkeepers daughter.
In the towns our ancestors may have met by going to a pub. Just imagine the films set in Victorian London such as Jack the Ripper. There is usually a pub scene. The wooden bars and tables, the piano being played in the corner and the dim lighting. The raucous laughter and singing of boardy songs. What better place than to meet the future spouse. In port towns there was the chance that you could meet a sailor from foreign climes in the pub. Maybe the daughter of a ship’s captain for the boys or the son for the girls. Maybe it led to your ancestor moving abroad or to another area of the country.
If you ancestors were from a more affluent background then maybe they met at a ball held at one of the grand homes or at the musical gatherings held at the theatres. They could have married the heir to one of the local grand houses next to theirs.
It wasn’t just the wealthier ancestors who may have met at the theatre though. There was the music hall performances held in the theatres all over the country. Here your ancestors may have met. It was a lively place and they would have had a great time. The ladies may also have been able to catch the eye of a gentleman who had ventured into the town to see the latest acts.
Dances were a prime hunting ground for finding a partner no matter what walk of life you came from. Be it the big balls of the grand houses or the village hall they would have been packed full of your people. They were available to all. Again in the port towns they were have been good places to meet those from far off lands. Over time the dances would develop and during WW2 they were great places to meet members of the armed forces from abroad. How may have a GI bride in their ancestry who went of the USA after the war with their new husband, or have a Caribbean ancestor who settled in the UK.
So no matter where your ancestors came from they will have a story as to how they met their spouse. We may never how some of them met but we need to record the stories we do know so that future generations know the stories and their lives will live on into the future.
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my Family History Ramblings on genealogy and history in general. I hope you find it informative and hopefully funny!