Knowing where the archives for these counties were found can be really useful as when researching family history we sometimes need to visit an archive to find out some information that cannot be found online. So I thought I’d put together a list of the counties of the UK with the location of their main archives for the county. So I’ve looked at the counties of Wales and I’ve done part 1 of England so on to more of England.
Off to East Anglia. Norfolk has a population of around 900,000 and the county town is Norwich. The archives for the county are held in Norwich and the website can be found at: https://www.archives.norfolk.gov.uk/ If you have family from Norfolk I can highly recommend Norfolk Family History Society as they have fantastic records online.
Also in East Anglia, Suffolk has a population of around 758,000 and the county town is Ipswich. The county archives are in held in 3 places, namely Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds. The web address for the archives is: https://www.suffolkarchives.co.uk/
Rutland is a small landlocked county with a population of around 40,000. The county town is Oakham and this is where you will find the archives: https://www.rutland.gov.uk/my-services/leisure-and-culture/arts-and-heritage/records-and-archives/ . As Rutland as a county disappeared for a time some of the records are held elsewhere so you may need to go to the archives for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland: http://www.recordoffice.org.uk/
Located in central England the population of the Cambridgeshire is approximately 850,000 and the county town is Cambridge. The archives for the county are in Cambridge and the website can be found at: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/libraries-leisure-&-culture/archives/ . You may need to use the archives for Northamptonshire in conjunction with Cambridgeshire as they have swapped places between each other.
With a population of around 742, 000 Northamptonshire is found in the central area of England. The county town is Northampton and the archives are in the town. The web address is: https://www3.northamptonshire.gov.uk/councilservices/archives-and-heritage/northamptonshire-archives/Pages/default.aspx . Don’t forget you may need to use Cambridgeshire records for this county as well.
Another of the central counties is Warwickshire which has a population of around 565,000. The county town is Warwick and this is where the archives are located. The web address is: http://heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/warwickshire-county-record-office/ . Also you may need Birmingham archives as Birmingham used to be separate and the archives can be found at: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/archives
Off to west England now with Herefordshire. The county boarders Wales and has a population of 200,000. The county town is Hereford and the archives are in the town. The web site can be found at: https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/archives
Worcestershire is a landlocked county famous for the sauce. The population is approximately 590,000 and the county town is Worcester. The archives are in Worcester and the web address is: http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/info/20019/archives_and_research
Another of the boarder counties with Wales Shropshire has a population of around 500,000. The county town is Shrewsbury and the archives live in the town. Their address is: https://www.shropshirearchives.org.uk/ . Ebenezer Scrooge’s grave is in the county, really!
In central England Staffordshire has a population of around 1,100,000 and the county town which houses the archives is Stafford. If you want to visit the archives then the website can be found at: https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Heritage-and-archives/homepage.aspx .
Back into central England and the burial county of King Richard III. Leicestershire has an approximate population of 1,050,000 and the county town is Leicester. The archives are housed in Wigston at the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and the web address is: http://www.recordoffice.org.uk/
Off to east England now with Lincolnshire. The county town is Lincoln and the county has an approximate population of 1,080,000. A trip to the archives will take you to Lincoln and the archives website can be found at: https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-archives/lincolnshire-archives/ . Part of Lincolnshire used to be covered by Humberside so you may need East Yorkshire archives: https://www.eastriding.gov.uk/leisure/archives-family-and-local-history/
Robin Hood’s county. Again in central England Nottinghamshire has a population of around 1,150,000. The county town is Nottingham (or Snottingham as it used to be called). The archives reside in Nottingham and can be found at: https://www.inspireculture.org.uk/heritage/archives/visiting-archives/
The final county in this section of Cheshire another of the western counties. Cheshire has a population of around 1,055,000 and the county town is Chester and the archives live there. You can view them at: http://www.cheshirearchives.org.uk/home.aspx . Some of Cheshire has fallen under Manchester at times so you may need to look at: https://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/448/archives_and_local_history .
In all of these counties don’t forget the local family history societies as well as the local libraries. These are also excellent sources of information.
So hopefully this will help you in locating where the information you need may be stored.
Part 1 can be found at: http://www.familyhistoryresearchengland.co.uk/blog/counties-of-england-part-1
Wales can be found at: http://www.familyhistoryresearchengland.co.uk/blog/counties-of-wales
In a previous blog I looked at the counties of Wales and where the archives for these counties were found. I did this as when researching family history we sometimes need to visit an archive to find out some information that cannot be found online. So I thought I’d put together a list of the counties of the UK with the location of their main archives for the county. This blogs is the first of 5 parts based on the counties of England. I’m starting at the top and working my way down.
Northumbria or Northumberland (Light Blue)
Situated in the extreme north east of England Northumbria. It partly encompasses Tyne and Wear so you need to remember this when document locating. The population of Northumbria is around 330,000. The county town is Alnwick. The archive for the county is located in Ashington and also there is a record office in Berwick upon Tweed. The website for the county can be found at: https://www.northumberlandarchives.com
You may also need the Tyne and Wear archives in Newcastle upon Tyne which can be found at: https://twarchives.org.uk/
Cumbria boarders Scotland to the north and is in the extreme north west of England. The population of the county is approximately 500,000 with the county town being Carlise. The main county archives are housed in Carlise and there are also branches in Whitehave, Kendal and Barrow. The website can be found at: https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/archives/
County Durham (Dark Green)
County Durham is in the north east of England and has a population of approximately 863,000. The county town is Durham and the archives for the county are held here as well. The website address is: http://www.durhamrecordoffice.org.uk/article/8338/Home
Again this is a county that has several regions. It is located in the north west of England. Lancashire encompasses Greater Manchester and Merseyside. Lancashire it’s self has a population of around 1.5 million. The county town is Lancaster and the archives are in Preston. The website can be found at: https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries-and-archives/archives-and-record-office/ You may also need the Manchester archive at: https://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/448/archives_and_local_history and the Liverpool archives at: https://liverpool.gov.uk/libraries/archives-family-history/
The largest of the counties of England. It is split into 4 counties these days, but it used to be 3 ridings. York is the major town of Yorkshire as a whole. The entire population of the county is around 5.4 million.
North Yorkshire (Purple)
The most northerly of the counties of the best county in the country, Yorkshire. North Yorkshire has a population of around 1.2 million. The county town is Northallerton. The archives for the county can be found in Northallerton and the website is: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/county-record-office You will also need to consider the archives in York who’s website is: https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/archives/ and don’t forget the Bothwick Institue a part of York University at: https://www.york.ac.uk/borthwick/
West Yorkshire (Dark Blue)
As the name suggests the westerly region of Yorkshire, which in the past included South Yorkshire. The population of West Yorkshire is around 2.3 million and the county town is Wakefield. The archives for the county are spread over 5 locations in Wakefield, Leeds, Calderdale, Bradford and Kirklees. The website for the archives is: https://www.wyjs.org.uk/archive-service/ Also don’t forget you may need the archives in York as well (see North Yorkshire).
East Yorkshire (Light Green)
The easterly county of Yorkshire and at one point part of the county fell under Humberside. East Yorkshire has a population of around 600,000 and the county town is in Beverley. The archives for the county can be found in Beverley and the website is: https://www.eastridingarchives.co.uk/ again you may need the archives in York (see North Yorkshire).
South Yorkshire (Red)
The south region of Yorkshire which used to fall under West Yorkshire. The population of the region is around 1.4 million. The county town is Barnsley (I thought it was Doncaster and I lived in the county for 27 years). There is no central archive for the county rather you have to go to the major towns and cities archives. Sheffield archives: https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/libraries-archives/access-archives-local-studies-library , Doncaster: https://library.doncaster.gov.uk/web/arena/archives ,Rotherham: https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/info/200062/libraries/718/archives_and_local_history , Barnsley: http://www.experience-barnsley.com/archives-and-discovery-centre . Also you may need the archives in York (see North Yorkshire) and Derbyshire as part of Sheffield used to be in Derbyshire.
The most southerly county in the section. Derbyshire boarders South Yorkshire. The population is around 1, 050,000 and the county town in Derby. The main archive for the county is in Matlock and the website is: https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/record-office/derbyshire-record-office.aspx
In all of these counties don’t forget the local family history societies as well as the local libraries. These are also excellent sources of information.
So hopefully this will help you in locating where the information you need may be stored.
When researching family history we sometimes need to visit an archive to find out some information that cannot be found online. So I thought I’d put together a list of the counties of the UK with the location of their main archives for the county. I’m starting with Wales as it’s a country of the UK which I haven’t done a blog about before.
Anglesey or Ynys Môn in Welsh is the only island county in Wales. It is located in the north west of the country and has a population of around 70,000 inhabitants. The main towns include Holyhead, Beaumaris and of course Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. The county town is Llangefni, not Holyhead as many believe. The archive for the county is also in Llangefni and the following is a link to the website: https://www.anglesey.gov.uk/en/Residents/Archives/Visiting-Anglesey-Archives/Plan-your-visit-to-the-Archives.aspx
Brecknockshire or Sir Frycheiniog in Welsh is located in the mid east of the country. Its current population is approximately 43,000. The main towns in the county include Buith Wells, Brecon and the smallest town Britain Llanwrtyd Wells. Today although still a county the governance falls under the larger ancient and preserved county of Powys. The county town is Llandrindod Wells (which is in Radnorshire). The archives for Powys and Brecknockshire are held in Llandrindod Wells and the website is at: https://en.powys.gov.uk/archives
Caernarfonshire or Sir Gaernarfon in Welsh is on the west coast of the country. It has a population of approximately 122,000. The main places in the county are Betws-y-Coed, Caernarfon, and Conwy. The county town of the county is Caernarfon. The county falls under Gwynedd. The archives for the county are in Caernarfon and can be found at: https://www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/en/Residents/Libraries-and-archives/Archives-and-family-history/Archives-and-family-history.aspx
Carmarthenshire or Sir Gaerfyrddin in Welsh is in the south west central region of Wales. It has an approximate population of 185,000. The main places in the county are Carmarthen, Pendine, St Clears and Llandeilo. The county town is Camarthen and the archive website can be found at: https://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/home/council-services/libraries-archives/archives-family-history/#.XWfFUd5KiM9
Cardiganshire or Ceredigion in Welsh is on the west coast of Wales and has an approximate population of 76,000. The main places are Cardigan, Aberystwyth and Lampeter. The county town is not Cardigan as you may think but it is Aberystwyth. The archives website can be found at: https://archifdy-ceredigion.org.uk/
Denbighshire or Sir Ddinbych in Welsh is found on the north coast of Wales and has a population of approximately 175,000. The main places in Denbighshire include Rhyl, Wrexham and Denbigh. The county town is Ruthin and the archive website is: http://archives.denbighshire.gov.uk/
Flintshire or Sir y Fflint in Welsh is on the north coast of Wales and boarders England in some places. It has an approximate population of 155,000. The main places of the county are Connah’s Quay, Flint and Mold. The county town is Mold and the archives website can be found at: https://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/LeisureAndTourism/Records-and-Archives/Home.aspx
Glamorgan or Sir Forgannwg in Welsh is on the south coast of Wales and has a populations of approximately 130, 500. The main places in the county are Cardiff, Swansea, Port Talbot and the Gower peninsular. The county town is Cardiff and the archive website can be found at: https://glamarchives.gov.uk/
Merionethshire or Merioneth or Sir Feirionnydd in Welsh is in northern Wales and goes inland from the coast. It has an approximate population of 46,000. The main places in the county include Dolgellau, Bala and Harlech. The county town is Dolgellau. The county falls under Gwynedd. The archives for the county are in Caernarfon and can be found at: https://www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/en/Residents/Libraries-and-archives/Archives-and-family-history/Archives-and-family-history.aspx
Monmouthshire or Sir Fynwy in Welsh is found in the south east of the country and boarders England. The population of the county is approximately 503,000. The main towns are Monmouth, Abergavenny and Chepstow. The county town is Newport. The archives fall under Gwent and the web address can be found at: http://www.gwentarchives.gov.uk/
Montgomeryshire or Sir Drefaldwyn in Welsh is in central Wales and has an approximate population of 64,000. The main places in the county include Welshpool, Newtown and Machynlleth. The county town is Welshpool. The archives fall under Powys and can be found in Llandrindod Wells and the website is at: https://en.powys.gov.uk/archives
Pembrokshire or Sir Benfro (the best of the Welsh counties in my opinion) is in on the south west Wales coast. The population of the county is approximately 122,500. The main places of the county are Haverfordwest, Pembroke, Milford Haven, Fishguard and Britain’s smallest city St David’s. The county town is Haverfordwest and the archives for the county are in Haverfordwest and the web address is: http://www.culture4pembrokeshire.co.uk/content.asp?nav=3
Radnorshire or Sir Faesyfed in Welsh is in central east Wales and has an approximate population of 26,000. The main places of the county include, Presteigne, Knighton and Rhayader. The county town is Presteigne, although the county now comes under Powys. The archives can be found in Llandrindod Wells and the website is at: https://en.powys.gov.uk/archives
So I hope this helps people in their Welsh research in identifying which part of the county any records they wish to view may be located, but don’t forget there will be repositories of information in other more local places.
So in August 1990 Tim Berners-Lee started to develop the world wide web. What’s that got to do with genealogy or history I hear you say but it does.
Pre tinternet (Yorkshire for Internet) can you imagine how much more difficult genealogy was. No quick look ups. It’s a road trip to a records office.
So I want to consider how the internet has helped my genealogy journey.
Now I’ve always known my family came from around the country but just consider how difficult my research would have been pre 1990. As a by thought just doing my degree in the late 1990’s/early 2000 I didn’t really use the internet, jeez I feel old. So off track there. So my research would have started at the records office in Sheffield, but that would have only got me so far. On my maternal side I would have found no records.
On my paternal side I would have got back quite a way. Then I would have had to travel further afield to both Rotherham and Barnsley as well as Chesterfield. Next stop would have been up to West Yorkshire and then North Yorkshire. So it works out at about one record office per generations and probably 2 as couples are not necessary from the same place. If you consider my twice great grandparents James was from Leeds and Mary was from Barnsley. So this couple would be a trip to Barnsley which is a 40 minute journey and Leeds is an hour.
Now comes the secret side of my paternal line. OK, I have ancestors from Lancashire (help Yorkshire lass). Well they started off in Cheshire before they came to Sheffield so next stop would have been the registry office in Chester which is a good couple of hours away, and then it would be up to Preston in Lancashire.
So onto my maternal side. First stops would be Peterborough and Norwich. From here we would be off to Ipswich, Lincoln London and Nottingham. I’d also need to travel north to both Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne. Also calling in at Glasgow, Carlisle and who knows where the records for the Isles of Scotland are. I sound like a train announcer.
Now consider what all this really means. It’s not just the travelling to the locations. You have to factor in that you would have to spend probably days in the records office. You would have to go through each parish register one by one. Just because your ancestors lived in one place doesn’t mean they were baptised or married there. Also if you think about it if the census says your ancestor was from Leeds, how many parish records would you have to troll through. Then their sibling’s records may not be in the same place so that’s more searching and there may be siblings you don’t know about. So you’re going to need to stay probably a few more days than you thought.
Then there are visits to where our ancestors lived. You may want to visit the church your ancestors were married or where they were buried.
So I decided to add you all the miles between home and the archives I would have to travel to for my research and it comes to approximately 1500 miles.
The cost soon adds up as does the amount of time. So the internet takes all this away. You sit at home and clickety click away and up pop your ancestors for you (not really easy but you know what I mean).
So you could say the internet along with the magnificent people who scan in the records and upload them, that Time Berners-Lee and the others have radically improved the process of tracing our families back through time. It also means I can watch youtube while I’m doing it, Count Duckula today I think!
I often wonder how best to sum up genealogy and why we do it. So this week is a collection of quotes on the subject.
“It is indeed a desirable thing to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestor” Plutarch
“Money doesn’t grow on trees but ancestors do”.
“A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots”.
“If we know where we came from, we may better know where to go. If we know who we came from, we may better understand who we are.” Anonymous
“We don’t own our family history. We simply preserve it for the next generation.” Rosemary Alva
Days gone by – “The special book upon the shelf, was made with many hands. Our ancestors who posed back then, all came from different lands. Their pictures were all tucked away, and rarely did we see, the importance of these treasures, the start of you and me. The history of our families, now here in black and white, preserved with special care and time, each page is done just right. When time permits we take it down and think of days long past. Our hopes, our dreams, our heritage all safe and made to last” Unknown.
“To forget one’s ancestors is to be a book without a source, a tree without a root”. Chinese proverb.
“I am bond to them, though I cannot look into their eyes or hear their voices. I honour their history. I cherish their lives. I will tell their story. I will remember them.” Unknown
“If you could see your ancestors all standing in a row, would you be proud of them or not? Or don’t you really know? But here’s another question which requires a different view. If you could meet your ancestors would they be proud of you?” Nellie Winslow Simmons Randall
“The more you know of your history the more liberated you are.” Maya Angelou.
“The challenge I give you as a genealogist is to reach beyond the vital statistics to a new world of understanding, both of your ancestors and of yourself. Preserve those details of your family in written form that will bring understanding to many others and truly enable their hearts – along with your own – to turn to their fathers. Someone has said that there is little point in digging up an ancestor if your aren’t going to make him live. If that is true – and I believe it is – your job is not finished until you feel a bit of what he felt, have shared vicariously in his joys and heartaches – perhaps shed a tear with him in his sorrow, laughed at the humor in his life, and felt pride in his accomplishments.” Val D Greenwood
Dear Ancestor. “Your tombstone stands among the rest neglected and alone. The name and date are chiseled our on polished marble stone. It reaches out to all who care it is too late to mourn. You did not know that I exist you died and I was born. Yet each of us are cells of you in flesh and blood and bone. Our blood contracts and beats a pulse entirely not our own. Dear ancestor, the place you filled one hundred years ago. Spreads our among the ones you left who would have loved you so. I wonder how you lived and loved I wonder if you knew. That someday I would find this spot and come to visit you.” Walter Butler Palmer
“If you don’t know your history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” Michael Crichton
“You’re never alone, even during what you think are your weakest moments. You have thousands of years of powerful ancestors within you, the blood of the divine great ones in you, supreme intellect and royalty in you. Infinite strength is always on tap for you. Know that.” Author Unknown
And know for my favourites the humour based quotes.
“Genealogists: I disturb the dead and irritate the living”
“My family coat of arms ties at the back is that normal?”
“Genealogy. It’s not the size of the tree that matters it’s the quality of the nuts you find”
“Genealogist – proving once and for all that insanity is hereditary.”
“Eventually all genealogists come to their census”.
“If you think your family is normal then you’re probably not a genealogist”. Unknown.
“Genealogy is not fatal, but it is a grave disease”.
“I regretfully decline your offer to interact socially, I’m doing genealogy”
“Genealogy is like a jigsaw puzzle. You’re always looking for the missing pi”
I got to thinking the other day about what major national and world events happened in our ancestors lives? What did they experience? So I thought I’d have a look at the events that happened in the birth decades of my ancestors.
Well with my maternal grandparents the biggest even was WW1. Grandpa was only 4 months old when his dad went off to war and 4 of his family never came home again.
In the 1920’s John Logie Baird first demonstrated the TV. Can you imagine what a revolution that was? Admittedly most people didn’t get TV’s in their homes until the 1950’s or 1960’s but even so the technological revolution had begun.
Great Grandparents 1870’s/1880’s/1890’s/1900’s
So the 1870’s brought the prototype of the telephone curtsey of Alexander Graham Bell (and others). It wasn’t until the 20th century that they entered people’s homes but the fact that one day you would be able to phone family and friends and not have to rely on letter must have been longed for by our ancestors.
In the 1883 the world saw the major destruction when the volcano Krakatoa erupted. Now in the UK this meant little unless you had family living in the area but for those with Australian ancestors the explosion was heard in Perth, Western Australian. Thousands died as a result of the explosion and the ash clouds and the world’s weather did change for several years due to the ash clouds.
In the late 1890’s the novel War of the Worlds by HG Wells was first published. It gave a view of what would happen if aliens invaded earth. What a different novel for our ancestors to read.
Then in the 1900’s saw the death of Queen Victoria. She had reigned over the country for 63 years. How did our ancestors feel and did they worry how the country would change in the reign of her son King Edward VII the notorious playboy.
Great great Grandparents 1840’s/1850’s/1860’s
In 1842 an act was passed that very likely impacted on the lives of your ancestors, especially in coal mining areas. The Mines Act stated that no females could work underground at the coal face and also no children under 10 years old could work under ground. This act was passed after 26 boys and girls died in Silkstone, West Riding of Yorkshire after the mines ventilation shaft flooded. It did mean some families lost valuable income. It didn’t help the 3 10 year old boys and one 4 year old along with 36 men who died when the Garden Pit in Landshipping, Pembokeshire died when the mine flooded. The mine was owned by the local conservative MP whose party passed the act!
The big event of the 1850’s was the Crimean War. The Russians tried to move into the Ottoman Empires lands and war began. Britain sided with the Ottoman’s along with French amongst others. Much of the war took place in modern day Ukraine. The most famous battle for the British was the Battle of Balaclava and the Charge of the Light Brigade when 278 men from a regiment of 700 were killed.
By the 1860’s our sea fairing ancestors got the Suez Canal in Egypt. This meant no longer would ships have to sail all the way round Africa to get to the Indies and Australia. They could sail through the Mediterranean and in to the Indian Ocean. This meant faster sailing times and tea getting to our tables much quicker.
Great great great Grandparents 1800’s/1810’s/1820’s/1830’s
So in 1801 the road locomotive took to the street of London for the first time. It was a steam engine one wheels that could carry 6 passengers and was called the Puffing Devil. It was developed by Richard Trevithick the Cornish inventor and engineer. Think a steam powered mini bus sort of.
Mines got safer in 1815 thanks to Sir Humphrey Davy. Just as a side I met him once. He gave a talk alongside Jonny Ball and Marie Curie at Hallam University (they may have been actors except Jonny Ball). Davy developed the miner’s lamp which stopped methane from the burning flame entering the atmosphere and thus stopped mine explosions. So safety increased, if they had the lamps and not just the candles which were causing the explosions.
In 1825 the Stockton and Darlington Railway was opened. It was the world’s first public railway. People travelled in open carriages. It paved the way for rolling the railway network out across country and thus meant our ancestors could travel more easily.
Now for genealogists the Marriage act of 1836 was a big thing. Before the act couples had to marry in either a Church of England church, a Synagogue or a Quaker Church. The act allowed people to marry by civil ceremonies meaning marriages could take place in all other religious chapels, such as Baptist and Methodist as well as Registry Offices which was great for those who the established church wouldn’t marry such as those who put the cart before the horse so to speak, hi ancestors! The Act also meant that from the 1st January 1837 marriage certificates were given and thus made the life of the genealogist so much easier.
So although these events may or may not have impacted directly on our ancestors they did affect the world they lived in and some made the lived of the descendent better.
In the past I’ve carried out a fictions interview with a deceased ancestor. This week I’ve written an obituary for my 3 times great Grandfather.
Peter Arnold Wardle
Peter was born in 1845 in the village of Rainow in Cheshire to William Wardle a farmer/butcher and his wife Sarah Ann Swindells. He was their first child born just a few months after they married. He would later have 7 siblings. Peter was baptised on the 15th October 1845 in the parochial chapel of Macclessfield, Cheshire.
In 1851 he was living on the family farm in Rainow, Cheshire. He was living with his maternal Grandmother Mary Swindells, his parents and his 3 siblings Mary Ellen, William and Thomas. By 1861 he was still living on the family farm with his Grandma, parents and 3 siblings. They family had grown and now included 4 more children in John, Eve, Sarah and Catherine. By 1871 Peter had moved on and moved to Sutton, Cheshire to live with his paternal Grandfather William Wardle Sn. He was working as a farm servant for his grandfather.
The 1870’s saw much change in the life of Peter. He met a woman named Sarah Ann Goodwin. She was a domestic servant who had 2 children of her own. The connection between the 2 was strong and on the 29th December 1875 the couple were married at Stockport parish church. Peter was a 30 year old bachelor living in Gee Cross, Cheshire and working as a veterinary surgeon. Sarah Ann was a 29 year old spinster also living in Gee Cross.
The couple set up home as a new family of 4. Peter raised Sarah Ann’s illegitimate children as his own. Ann Goodwin was born in Bosley, Cheshire in 1863 and Harriet Goodwin was born on the 9th September 1864 in the Macclesfield workhouse.
The couple’s first child was born on the 16th September 1877 in Gee Cross where the couple still lived. He was called William Wardle after his Grandfather and Great Grandfather. Their second child was Sarah Ann Wardle and she was born in Gee Cross on the 14th August 1879 and was named after he mother and Grandmother and Great Grandmother.
In 1881 the family of 6 was living in Gee Cross where Peter was working as a veterinary surgeon in the highly agricultural area of Cheshire, but by 1891 things had started to go wrong. Peter was now working as an auctioneer and was involved in the trial of Wych verses Higginbottom. He was instructed by the judge trying the case to produce certain documents which he failed to do. As a result Peter was found guilty of contempt of court and was sent to prison until such time as the documents were produced. Peter spent the next 11 months in Knutsford jail. During this time his wife and children lived in Stockport, Cheshire. It was in May 1891 that Peter produced the required documents and was released from jail.
This period of his life took a toll on Peter’s health and towards the end of 1891 he developed tuberculosis. Over the next 6 months his health declined and by June 1892 he was seriously ill.
Peter Arnold Wardle died on the 30th June 1892 at his home on High Street in Hyde, Cheshire with his wife at his side. He was just 46 years old. He was buried at Holy Trinity church Gee Cross on the 4th July 1892.
Peter was survived by his parents William and Sarah Ann, his 7 siblings, his wife Sarah Ann, his son William, his daughter Sarah Ann, his step daughters Ann Goodwin and Harriet Goodwin, his first grandchild Herbert Goodwin and 14 nieces and nephews.
His death took its toll on the family and his father died just 17 days after Peter.
Throughout genealogy we find out all about our ancestors, when and where they were born, who they married and when they died, even where they lived. We can find out so much. But what about the people who meant a lot to them that were not family members? What can we ever know about them?
Well we can find some things about them. The first is family stories passed down through the generations. If you know any write them down. If the tale has been repeated throughout the generations then it is important to the family. It could be silly things kids and their friends did or even the exploits of young adults. It could even be heart warming stories of friendships forged on the battle field.
I will always remember fondly my Uncle Bill who had been my Grandpa’s friend since the 1940’s when they moved in next door to each other. After their wives died within weeks of each other they spent every Thursday gallivanting around Derbyshire and further. I loved going to visit Uncle Bill. He always had marshmallow tea cakes and lemonade for me. He would try and teach me chess (no chance, I’m useless) and let me play with his rubix cube, until his son taught me to peel the stickers of to finish it. I really missed him after he died.
Photos are another way to show friendships. If you have a group photo and you know who they are then you are looking at your ancestors friends. If they continue in photos as the people age then you know it was a lifelong friendship.
Are there work colleges their friends? Many people probably spent more time with those they worked with than their family. Also if they worked in a dangerous industry such as mining you needed those you worked with to be friends as they had your back while underground and if things went wrong a friend is more likely to help you if you’re in trouble.
The best way for genealogists to uncover who our ancestor’s friends is through marriage certificates and photos. Who were the witnesses on the certificate? It they weren’t family members than they were close friends, usually the best man and bridesmaid.
If I look at my grandparent’s marriage certificate then witnesses are their fathers. But I have a photograph and I know the names of the best man and bridesmaid. I know the bridesmaid was my Grandma’s half sister and the best man was my Grandpa’s friend.
So the marriage certificate can give a name as to who the witnesses were, but who were they. Well in truth we may never know but we can as genealogists research them.
On my great grandparents marriage certificate from 1916 the witnesses were my grandma’s sister and a man named Abbott Bentham. I’ve spent hours trying to find anything about this man but I can find nothing. There are people with this name but not of an age which would have made them a friend of my great Grandad. So who he was I have no idea and no one to ask. All I do know is he must have been important to Grandad Walter.
Walter’s Grandad John witness to his marriage was a man named N M Theakston. Now John and his bride Sarah got married in Ripon in the 1840’s. Anyone who knows the name Theakston will think of beer, that was my first thought. Ripon is only 18 miles from Masham where the Theakston’s brewery is. So was my 3 times great Grandad friends with a member of the brewing family. If so do I get free beer! Mind you one and I’m hungover instantly!
Now this all sounds great that you can find out from a marriage certificate about friendships but are they really friends. On my 3 times great Grandad John sister’s marriage certificate she and her husband’s witnesses are William Holmes and Christopher Gibson. Now this is ok there just their friend’s right? Well on the previous marriage certificate they are also the witnesses. Now I know the marriage certificates are from a brother and sister (not marring each other) but wouldn’t there future spouses want their own witnesses. So is it possible the church used their own witnesses, are they the church wardens? I guess we’ll never know.
So friends of our family need to be remembered just as much as our ancestors as they may have had a closer relationship with them than their siblings.
Its 804 years ago since the Magna Carta was signed in England. This was the great charter that was supposed to limit the power of the monarch and it did, sort of.
So what’s the background? Well it’s fair to say King John (27 May 1199 to 19 October 1216) was not the most popular King. Think the tales of Robin Hood and the Prince John character. The nobles of the country really didn’t like him and during his reign they tried to get rid of him. Some wanted to replace him with his nephew Arthur the son of his late older brother Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany. John got passed that by having Arthur imprisoned and possibly murdered when he was 16 years old.
Next the barons tried to replace John with his nephew by marriage Prince Louis of France. He was the husband of Blanche of Castile who was the daughter of King Alfonso VIII of Castile and his consort Eleanor of England (John’s sister). Big problem, Louis was the heir to the French throne (he would later become King Louis VIII of France and really the barons didn’t want England to fall into the hands of the French.
In June 1215 the barons entered London with the support of both Prince Louis and the Scottish King Alexander II. The plan was to force John to recognise their rights and implement the Charters of Liberties. This was signed in 1100 by King Henry I. In basic terms this charter meant the King had to recognise all laws regarding the nobles such as the right of succession of sons, the rights of noble women to marry and that the crown could force nobles to stand trial for crimes they committed. It also protected the church in that the crown could not take property from them.
King John basically thought he was above the laws of the land. He was taking what he wanted and doing what he wanted when he wanted. Something had to be done so the barons drew up the Magna Carter (great charter). On the 15th June 1215 the barons met King John at Runnymede on the banks of the river Thames. It was here that the Magna Carta was signed. In a sense it was a peace treaty between the crown and the nobles. Still neither side trusted the other, and several days after it was signed the King was already going against the act and trying to get out of it.
Now the sticking point was clause 61 which said that an elected council of nobles was to be put in place to keep an eye on the king. The king didn’t like this one bit so a matter of days after he signed the charter he started to go against it. He ran to the Pope (metaphorically) for help. He told the Pope he was forced to sign it and planted the idea that if they could do that to a King what would they do to the church? The Pope agreed and said he would excommunicate the barons. This lead to the barons taking up arms and the Barons War ensued. This went on until October 2016 when King John died and rumbled on until 1225.
The new King Henry III was John’s son. He was 9 when he ascended the throne and so the country was ruled by his guardians. Once he was old enough he promised to uphold the Magna Carta.
The Magna Carta still has prominence today. In the UK of the 63 clauses in the original document some are still in place today. These are:
Clause 1: “FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church's elections - a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it - and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity.”
Clause 13: “The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.”
Clause 39: “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.”
Clause 40: “To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.”
All taken from: https://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/magna-carta-what-magna-carta/key-clauses-magna-carta
In the USA the Magna Carta played a large part in the drawing up of the Constitution.
So It may have happened 804 years ago but it is still relevant today, and if you want to see one of the 4 original documents then you can see them at the British Library (2 copies), Salisbury Cathedral or Lincoln Castle. I’ve seen it and whoever wrote it down had the smallest writing I’ve ever seen.
Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings on the Normandy coast during WW2 named Operation Overlord. I’m sure you’ve read and seen loads about this so I thought I’d look at it from a different view point. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Normandy several times and visit the D Day beaches and location important to the operation. So I thought I’d talk about that.
The last time I went to Normandy was 10 years ago just after the 65th Anniversary. We stayed somewhere near Bayeux. The first time I went was in the early 1990’s when I wasn’t even a teenager yet.
One of my favourite places is Arromanches – Sur – Basin or Arromanches as it’s usually called. It’s on the coast where the landing beach code named Gold is. It’s where one of the Mulberry harbours was built by the British forces. Some of the harbour still exists in the sea and the beach. I have fond memories of my visit in the early 90’s eating ice cream sitting on the sea wall with my new cuddly wolf (called Bro) I’d just got looking at the remains of the harbour. Despite everything that had happened there it was just a great day. The last time I went the anniversary flags were still up but it still felt like a happy seaside town.
I also liked the village of Sainte – Mere – Eglise. It was really pretty with pots full of flowers surrounding the church. It was here that an American 505th parachute regiment landed. Except it went a bit wrong for John Steele. He kind of got stuck on the church steeple and was dangling from it. He played dead for hours but the Germans eventually captured him, he escaped and got back to his regiment and survived the war. If you go there you can see a dummy hanging from a parachute from the church.
Another pretty village is that of Ranville. There is a large commonwealth cemetery there. The cemetery is tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, as are all Commonwealth war cemeteries, with each grave having its own plants. This village lead to much hilarity in our family. Now my French is non existent, I was scared of one of the French teacher at school so I did German. My map reading skills are brilliant (well I think so). I saw a sign which I thought said the cemetery and followed it. It was a bit of a surprise when were arrived at the cement works just outside the town. Cimenterie (cement works), cimetière for cemetery, you can see where I went wrong. Mind you it gets worse as not far from Ranvillie is the town of Ouistreham. This is where the ferry between Caen and Portsmouth comes in. We were looking for a car park and I found one, it was the ferry queue!
I also like the town of Bayeux. We went to see the tapestry, which was alright I suppose, or right I found it disappointing and small (I'm bias though as my ancestor Lady Elizabeth Wardle and her ladies made a replica which is in Reading Museum). I did like the Commonwealth cemetery though. It has a great feature of the memorial wall on one side and the graves on the other with a D road going straight through the middle (D roads are like B roads in the UK). There are also German graves here as well. There is a museum next to the cemetery which has 2 tanks outside. 10 years ago there was a bird using the tank’s gun barrel as a nest. I found that so wonderful. Something that caused death being used to raise life.
Now one thing my visits to Normandy showed me is the differences between the cemeteries. Commonwealth ones are peaceful with plants by each grave. The German ones were mostly being looked after the people of the place they were in. The American sites very regimented with no flowers by the graves but just rows and rows of straight lines. In all of them though it was very evident that the fallen were well looked after and honoured. The American cemeteries had active soldiers on duty there to honour there fallen comrades and assist the public. It was at the site of Ponte du Hoc where the Rangers scaled the 100 foot high cliffs under heavy fire that I also had a moment. There was a tour group in with Rangers assisting them. There was one Ranger, he was really tall and looked fantastic in his uniform and knee length brown boots. Me being me asked him if I could have them to which he smiled at me and said “sorry mam”.
So despite what happened on that coast of France it’s still a lovely place which we can visit thanks to the effort and sacrifice of the soldiers who fought there on D Day 75 years ago.
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!