I want to consider my favourite of King Henry VII wives today. Everyone’s heard of Anne of Cleves, King Henry VIII 4th wife, but probably you don’t know much about her.
Anne was born in Dusseldorf in the Duchy of Cleves in September 1515. She was the 2nd of 4 children born to Duke John III of Cleves, Julich and Berg and his wife Maria Duchess of Julich-Berg. When she was just 11 she was betrothed to 10 year old Francis of Lorraine the son of the Duke of Lorraine. This betrothal was later declared void due to Francis being so young.
After the death of Queen Jane in 1537 the king’s adviser Oliver Cromwell began to look for a new queen and looked to Cleves as the new Duke (Anne’s brother) was a protestant, although Anne was a Catholic like her devote mother. Hans Holbein the younger was despatched to paint portraits of Anne and her sister. It was from these pictures Henry decided on Anne. In October 1539 a treaty was drawn up between King Henry and Duke William for Henry to marry Anne.
Anne was described by contemporary sources as being tall, slim, fair haired and having a lovely face and being of a gentle and docile. She was not well educated although she could read and write in German. She was very skilled at needlework.
Anne arrived in England in December 1539 and she first met the King on 1st January 1540. Henry entered her chambers in disguise and embraced her. Anne was alarmed and thanked the man and then turned away. It is alleged that it was Katherine Howard who pointed out to Anne that it was the King. Henry was enraged and immediately demanded that a way be found to stop the wedding. Oliver Cromwell was all for the wedding taking place and persuaded the king to go through with the wedding as the alliance with another protestant nation was vital to the defence of the country against Spain, France and the Holy Roman Empire. In the end this decision cost Cromwell his life.
Anne and Henry were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cramner at the Palace of Placentia on the 6th January 1540. After the marriage Henry made many complaints about Anne from her being ugly and smelly to her being so undesirable that he could not consummate the marriage. Anne is believed to have believed the marriage was consummated as Henry slept beside her every night. The King decided he wanted out of the marriage and used the fact that she had been betrothed to Francis of Lorraine and the non consummation of the marriage as the main reasons. We all know he was besotted with Anne’s lady in waiting Katherine Howard and she was the main reason.
Anne was ordered to leave court in June 1540 and on the 6th July she was told the King wished to annul the marriage. Anne sensibly agreed to the annulment and thus probably saved her life. She inherited many houses as part of the annulment including Richmond Palace and Hever Castle. She was also given the title of Beloved Sister and she thus ranked higher than all ladies of the court except the Queen and the Kings daughters. She was a regular at court and had a strong friendship with Princess Mary and Elizabeth.
After the execution of Katherine Howard it is believed Anne’s brother Duke William of Cleves was pushing for Henry to remarry Anne. Whether Anne was for this or not is not really known as no evidence survives.
After Henry’s death Anne lived mainly away from court and was not seen much but she was by Queen Mary’s side along with Princess Elizabeth when Mary entered London to take the crown. Anne was also at Mary’s coronation in 1553. Anne converted back to Catholicism when Mary took the throne.
Anne came under scrutiny during the Wyatt rebellion against Queen Mary as Anne was very close to Princess Elizabeth who was protestant and was removed form court in 1554.
Anne lived at her estate for the rest of her life where she was a described as a good and kind mistress. Many say she suffered from periods of homesickness but she never left England after her arrival in 1539.
In June 1557 Anne became so unwell she wrote her will in which she asked Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth to look after her servants who she also left some money to. On the 16th July 1557 Anne of Cleves died at her home in Chelsea from cancer and was buried by the high alter in Westminster Abbey. She was the last of King Henry VIII wives to die.
Music has an impact on all our lives whether we like it or not but how did it affect the lives of our ancestors?
Well music has always been around in one form or another for thousands of years. In Germany a flute was found which using carbon dating was aged at between 42,000 and 43,000 years old. So music has really always been around even if just through the tweet of a bird or the roar of a dinosaur. Maybe the T-Rex’s had a roar band! Wonder if they sang we love to boogie, sorry.
Church organs would probably be the music most of our ancestors were most exposed to. Every Sunday since the first organs appeared since the 900’s they would have heard them played.
Most churches wouldn’t have had an organ on such a grand scale but most of the larger churches would have had one of some form. So our ancestors would have been mainly exposed to religious music. In later years the organists may have started playing no religious music as well. I have an article from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent in 1867 which mentions a concert my Great Great Grandfather Frederick Staton and his brother William played a piano recital in. Frederick was 17 years old and went on to become the organist at Worksop Priory.
Over the years those of the higher classes or those who were servants would have been exposed to music from the lute and flute to drums and harp.
By the Victorian era most people would have had access to a music hall as most large towns had them. They would be vast halls where travelling groups would play. These music hall developed in the 19th century and soon the songs became more risky and there would have been more of a celebration/fun feel to them than in the previous years when you would have worn your Sunday best and sat quietly and listened.
Everything changed in 1877 when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph which meant people could have purchased music in their own home. They could buy a record and play what they wanted. It was still probably classical music, but at least you could stay at home. From here music when through a revolution. Musicians could be in one country but sell their music worldwide. Not only that but singers could record their songs and they could gain worldwide popularity. It was in 1895 when the Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba had her first recorded album.
Music stay either classical or easy listening until the 1950’s with the likes of Elvis Presley releasing his first hit Heartbreak hotel and by 1957 he had released Jailhouse Rock which was so different from anything that had be around before. Can you imagine what it was like for the different generations of our ancestors? The older family members would have been appalled at the music whereas the younger one would have been so relieved that a musical revolution was starting.
So from here the music changed drastically. There was the Beatles, the Who and the Rolling Stones in the 1960’s. The 1970’s gave use Black Sabbath, Bob Seager and Alice Cooper. The 1980’s gave use the best music ever with everything from Bryan Adams, Jonny Hates Jazz, Duran Duran and so many others and music has just kept on developing to where it is today.
It’s not all pop and rock though. Classical is still around but in different ways. Most films have fantastic music scores from the likes of the great John Williams with the Indian Jones film and Jurassic Park to John Barry with the theme to James Bond. Also pop groups use orchestras in their hits. One of my favourites is Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. The use of the orchestra just lifts the song to another level.
So I’ll leave you with this comment from a member of my family to the younger members when they asked for Olly Murs to be played and the reply was “What is an Olly Murs?” So nothing changes, each generation feels their music is better than the one before, but all are relevant as they have had an impact on our ancestors and help you get a feel for what the heard and we can listen to the same music as they did.
The development of the internal combustion engine would have had a great impact on our ancestors. It would have changed every aspect of their lives but how. It’s had an impact on my life. I used to love working on old cars with my family. We had a Morris Traveller with both wet and dry rot, an Austin A40 that a hedgehog lived in and we rebuilt a mini from a virtual right of.
Well let’s start with the history of vehicles. The first form of transport was the horse and they have been domesticated for over 6000 years. They were teamed up with carts in prehistoric times and so the horse and cart was invented. But when was what we would call a motor vehicle developed.
Well Leonard Da Vinic was known to have drawn what we would recognise as a car in the late 15th/ early 16th century. So that’s in the reign of King Henry VII. The first motorised carriage as they were called was developed in France in 1769 by Nicolas – Joseph Cugnot. This was powered by steam and he developed it to move heavy military equipment.
This eventually developed into the steam car which usually only carried 2 people.
Next came the petrol powered car developed in the 1880’s in Germany by Karl Benz. These were the preserve of the wealth as they were very expansive so if your ancestors had one then they were doing really well for themselves. The first mass produced car was the Model T Ford developed by Henry Ford in the USA. He opened his first mass production line in 1913.
So how much did a car cost to buy?
Well in 1913 in the USA a Model T cost about $850 so about £16,093 today.
In 1931 a Morris Minor would have cost £100.
In the 1950’s a Ford Anglia cost £310.
In 1959 a new Mini cost £497
In the 1960’s a Lotus Cortina was £1,100 and a Hilman Imp was £508.
In the 1970’s an E-Type Jaguar was £3,139 and a Ford Capri was £4035.
In the 1980’s the Ford Escort RS was £6,700 and the Rover 800 was £19,944.
All the above prices are from https://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/cost-car-year-born/ . So the better off your ancestor was the better the car they could afford.
This is believed to be the first member of my family to be pictured with a car which from the number plate can be dated around the 1930’s.
So how did the car change our ancestor’s lives? Well if you think about it before the development of them the only way to move around was horse and cart and if you didn’t have access to one it was on foot. You could use the train, but it had to pass near where you lived and it may not have gone where you wanted to. The car meant you could go directly from A to B.
Now obviously your ancestor would have had to have been able to afford to buy a car, and from the prices above they would have had to have been well paid to be able to afford them. But if they could buy one just think how much freedom they would have had. You could have gone literally anywhere. Places you couldn’t go before as although they were local they were too far to walk to could now be explored. Also new holiday destinations. No more going on the Train to Scarborough or Blackpool with everyone else as that’s where the train or coach went. No now you could go to the towns and villages further afield where not many people went, so the holiday was more exclusive.
The car also meant that as families moved further apart from each other they could visit more easily. My Grandparents moved north away from their families but could all pile into the car to drive south to visit them.
The vehicle also meant new experiences. Foods from further away could be enjoyed more easily as they could be moved around the country by train and vehicle. So if you wanted a Devon delicacy but lived in North Yorkshire you had more chance of being able to buy it locally.
So many people think the car is bad but just think how much of an impact they had on our ancestors lives. They opened up new avenues for them. But please remember those like my Great, Great Grandad William who was a farrier and saddle maker. It spelled an end to their lively hood as more cars, less horse shoes. Maybe they just branched out into tyres instead. In the case of William he died before cars took over.
I thought I’d look at the world of heraldry this week and probably another week as well. This is something many genealogists and historians will have come across, but what does it actually mean.
Well to consider the subject fully would be a huge undertaking so I thought I’d look at the basics.
First of all what is heraldry? Well in basic terms it is the images on a shield or a coat of arms used to identify an individual.
Anyone can apply to the college of arms to have their heraldry registered and it can in include symbols which are important to you.
Right I’ll start with shield.
These are the main backgrounds or ordinaries that are found on shields (please excuse my bad drawing skills and spelling it should read saltire not saltaire, that’s a place in Bradford).
These can be coloured with the colours of heraldry which are gold/yellow for generosity, silver/white for peace, black for grief, blue for truth and loyalty, green for hope and loyalty of the heart and red indicates a warrior.
Now you can just leave your shield at that, but usually symbols are placed on top of the ordinaries.
But what do the ordinaries mean. Well it seems most of them have a meaning.
The chief denotes that the bearer has authority and domination over others.
The saltire indicates that the holder of the shield has resolve.
The cross derives from the crusades and may be used to show the bearers Christian faith.
The fess shows that the holder is a man of honour.
The pale shows the bearer has military strength.
The chevron denoted the holder’s faithfulness to the crown.
The bend denoted defence and protection and the bend sinister may have denoted the holder held defence and protection in high esteem but was illegitimate. Why was that important?
The pall denoted a link to the clergy.
The others of pile, checky and quarter were more of a decoration thing.
Probably on of the most famous shields belonged to King Richard the Lionheart of England. His shield was believed to be a white background with a red cross i.e. the St Georges cross with the 3 lions (except there not lions there leopards as that’s what they were called when they were first used by Richard 1) denoting Richards rule over England, Normandy and Aquitaine.
Some of the more common symbols are lions/leopards for courage, dragons for valour and protection, horses for readiness to support King and country, the unicorn for courage virtue and strength and bears for strength. Patterns are also used such as the fleur-de-lis which indicates the English Kings claim to throne of France.
If you consider the Queen’s Royal Standard it shows the harp of Ireland, the rampant (standing up growling) lion of Scotland and the 3 lions of England. So basically you can design your own branding so when you were on the battlefield you could be recognised which if you think about it is silly as people know who you are, so they could make a beeline for you on the battlefield if they didn’t like you.
So who could have a shield like this well it was only usually the Monarch, the nobility and the knights. But their servants would wear the design on their clothes so they could be recognised as belonging to their master. It would also be worn as a badge of honour so they could say look at me I work for ……. And you don’t.
So although shield design these days is seen as mainly a medieval thing it was in fact the branding of its day. The shield was the nobel or knights logo.
I’ll look at heraldry again soon and focus on the coats of arms of the nobility and also towns and cities.
A couple of weeks ago my blog was about the life and death of Anne Boleyn the 2nd wife of King Henry VIII of England. Well this week brings the anniversary of his marriage to his 3rd wife just 11 days after he had Anne executed.
Jane Seymour was the 7th child of 10 born to Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth. Her father was knighted by King Henry VII for his role in quashing the uprising by the Cornish in 1497. Her mother was the 1st cousin of Elizabeth and Edmund Howard the children of the Duke of Norfolk. Elizabeth Howard was the mother of Anne Boleyn and Edmund was the father of Katherine Howard. Jane was born around 1508 in the West Country, most likely Wiltshire. She was educated to an extent and she could read and write but her most notable skill was needlework.
Jane first went to court in an official capacity in 1532 when she was approximately 24 years old. She was made a maid of honour to Queen Katherine of Aragon. Jane held this position for the rest of Katherine’s tenure as Queen and throughout Anne Boleyn’s reign as well. It is during the last few months of Queen Anne’s reign that it is believed Jane caught the attention of the King.
Jane has been described by many contemporary sources as being everything Anne wasn’t. The Imperial Ambassador to England from the Holy Roman Empire Eustace Chapuys described Jane as being a peacemaker, and others described her as being meek. She was also described as being of plain appearance and she banned all her ladies from dressing in the French style like they did under Anne.
Jane was also different from Anne in one major way. Jane was a Catholic whereas Anne was Protestant. Many hope Jane would sway Henry back to the Roman Catholic faith. Whether this would have happened is debatable but it is noted that when she tried to grant pardons for the participants of the Pilgrimage of Grace (an uprising in the north of England against the break from Rome in 1536) she was reminded by Henry as to what happened to Anne when she meddled in men’s affairs.
Jane became formally betrothed to Henry on the 20th May 1536 the day after the execution of Anne and the couple married on the 30th May 1536 at the Queens closet in the Palace of Whitehall. She was proclaimed Queen of England on the 4th June 1536. Jane was never crowned Queen as during the summer of 1536 plague struck London and so no coronation could take place. Some believed this was an excuse and Henry would not crown her until she produced a male heir.
In January 1537 it was announced Jane was pregnant with the couple’s first child. Jane entered her confinement in September 1537 at Hampton Court Palace. Jane was in labour for three days and finally in the early hours of the morning of the 12th October 1537 she gave birth to a son who was named Edward and he went on to become King Edward VI. This was to become the best and worse time for the Monarch. Henry rejoiced the birth of his much prayed for son but it was soon clear the Queen was unwell. Just 12 days after she gave birth she died from the results of child birth.
Jane was buried at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on the 12th November 1537 with Lady Mary (Henry’s daughter by Katherine of Aragon) as chief mourner. In the space of a few weeks Lady Mary went from being made godmother to her new brother to chief mourner for her step mother. Jane’s tomb marker is in the middle of the Aisle of the chapel in the choir close to the alter. The memorial reads
There is no actual tomb for Jane and as you can see she was joined by her husband Henry after his death. Many believe Henry was buried along with her as she was his beloved wife, but in reality it could have been because she gave him the son he desperately wanted.
During her reign as Queen she managed to reconcile Henry with his daughters, in particularly Mary, and Henry allowed both to return to court. She had wanted Mary and Elizabeth restored to the succession after any children she bore to Henry, but alas this didn’t happen, although her successor Katherine Parr did achieve this with the succession being Edward, then Mary, then Elizabeth followed by the decedents or Mary Tudor, Henry VIII sister (i.e. Lady Jane Grey). She also moved her family up socially. Her eldest brother Edward was made the 1st Duke of Somerset and was the Lord Protector for King Edward VI during his minority. Another brother Thomas was made 1st Baron Seymour of Sudley and would later marry King Henry VIII widow Katherine Parr and he may have had an inappropriate relationship with Henry VIII daughter Elizabeth under the nose of his wife Katherine. In the end though the brothers lost everything, literally. Edward was executed in January 1552 for felony after struggles over who would be the Kings regent. Thomas was executed for treason in 1549 with the final straw being when he attempted to enter the King bedchamber with a loaded weapon and shot the Kings dog when it barked.
Jane was Queen of England for 512 days. She succeeded where her predecessors failed in producing a living male heir and had the honour of having the King buried alongside her. But if she hadn’t died would Henry have tired of her and either divorce her or had her executed or would he have lived a peaceful life surrounded by his wife and the many children they may have had. If Jane hadn’t died then history many have been completely different and the Tudors descended from Henry could still be around today.
Anyone who reads my blog (A BIG THANK YOU) will know my passion in history is the Tudors. I’ll read anything about them. Well on the 19th of May it is the anniversary of the death of Anne Boleyn.
It is believed Anne was born in 1501 in either Norfolk or Kent, although no one truly knows for sure. She was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn and Lady Elizabeth Howard (the daughter of the Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk. She was the sister of Mary and George. She was an educated woman and learnt many skills that a girl of this time period would not be expected to know. She was known to be strong with her languages.
Anne became a lady in waiting to Margaret of Austria who was ruler of the Netherlands in the stead of her nephew the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. She stayed there for just over a year until her father gain a place as lady in waiting for her in the household of Mary Tudor, King Henry VIII sister, when she went to France to marry Louis XII. When Louis died and Mary remarried and returned to England Anne stayed in France as Lady to the new Queen Claude. Anne returned to England in around 1522 when a marriage was arranged for her but the marriage never took place.
Anne soon had a place in the household of Queen Katherine of Aragon. She was described as being quick witted with excellent dancing, singing and musical skills, but even then her short temper was noted. In 1526 King Henry VIII first really noticed Anne and began to pursue her. This in turn led to Henry beginning to turn away from the Catholic church as he wanted a divorce for Katherine and they wouldn’t allow it. He needed the divorce as many believed Anne would not become his mistress and would accept nothing less than marriage.
Henry began to defer to Anne over Katherine and she was by his side at many great events such as the Field of the Cloth of Gold when Henry met King Francis of France at Calais in one of the most grand and decadent meetings seen. The fountains actually had red wine in them!
In September 1532 Anne became the Marquessate of Pembroke in her own right. This made her a higher rank than almost all the peers of the land. And in November 1532 Anne and Henry married in secret in Dover, small problem though was that Henry was still married to Katherine and would be until May 1533 when his divorce to declared.
Anne was crowned queen on the 1st June 1533 at Westminster Abbey after a procession through London from the Tower of London where traditionally the monarch and consort stayed the night before the coronation. By this time all could tell Anne was pregnant. She was crowned with St Edward’s crown which was usually only used for the monarch.
During her time as Queen Anne was a great advocate of the protestant faith, possibly more so than the King himself.
Anne gave birth to her first child in September 1533, a girl named Elizabeth. She suffered a stillbirth in 1534 and a miscarriage in 1536 and many believe this miscarriage was the final straw for the King.
As was said before Anne was known to have a temper on her and was also accustomed to getting her own way and this also played a part in her downfall. It is said she was overheard to have told Sir Henry Norris, one of the King men, that after the Kings death he would wish to marry her. This statement alone was ground for treason as imagining the Kings death was against the law. This accompanied by the, probably very false, confession of one of the Queens musician Mark Smeaton to have having an affair with the queen lead to the arrests on the 2nd May 1533 of the Queen along with Sir Henry Norris, Sir Francis Weston, William Brerton, Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sir Richard Page and Viscount Roachford George Boleyn. All were charged with treason for having knowledge of the Queen (in other words having an affair with her). In the case of the Queen and Viscount Roachford this was incest as they were brother and sister.
All were taken to the Tower of London and on the 12th May Weston, Norris and Brereton were tried declaring their innocence. Only Mark Smeaton confessed after torture. All men accused were found guilty of. Sir Thomas Wyatt was never tried as he was declared innocent. On the 15th May Queen Anne and her brother were tried and also found guilty of high treason. The law of the land stated that the men should be hanged, drawn and quarter and Anne should be burned at the stake. In the end all the men were beheaded on the 17th may on Tower Hill by axe.
Anne herself was to also be beheaded, but the King paid to have a swords man brought over from France to carry out the execution. She left her quarters in the Tower of London on the 19th May 1536 and was lead to the execution site. She made her speech to the crowd in which she praised the King. She was then blindfolded and knelt down and her head was removed with one swing of the sword. She was then buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula within the Tower of London in an unmarked grave. Her brother was also buried there.
So was Anne Boleyn the villain that history portrays her to be or was she a porn in the politics of the day? It’s very probable that she said somethings she shouldn’t have and got herself into some uncomfortable situations, but did she deserve to die for it. Or was her true downfall the fact that she didn’t produce the much needed male heir and the Kings eye began to roam. The truth is a source of much debate, but since the King became engaged the day after Anne’s execution and married 10 days after that!
Today we live more in a throwaway society and if something is damaged or broken it goes but this is a luxury many of our ancestors would have loved to have had.
I’m sure we’ve all done it. We get a garment that gets a hole in it and so it goes. Bur what would our ancestors have done. Well this would have depended on the damage. So for clothes they would have mended them if they could. Socks would be darned and holes would be stitched up.
How many of us would have thrown these jeans away? Our ancestors would never have done this. They would have carefully stitched over the area until the mend would nearly have been invisible. If the damage was too great then the garment would probably have be reused in another way. In the case of a pair of trousers that were damaged on the bottom they could be shortened and given to a younger member of the family. If this wasn’t possible then the garment could be turned into something else. So for example if a pair of curtains was ripped on the top and couldn’t be mended then the fabric could be recycled into clothes for someone.
But if the fabric was beyond use for being turned into new clothes then it still had a use. Cleaning in the home was a very time consuming chore for the lady of the house. Everything had to be done by hand. So having rags was essential. Old clothes could be used for washing floors and dusting and even for use as washing cloths and towels for the family. They could even be used to make a rag rug by attaching rags to a hessian sack to keep the cold from their feet.
But what when the rags were beyond use for that. Well they could be used in the garden. They could be strung over the garden to keep the births off the crops. If they weren’t even fit for this they would be sold to a rag and bone man who would then sell the rags to shoddy makers. These were factories that recycled the rags into yarn to make new cloth.
But what else did our ancestors make do and mend. Well obviously scraps of material could be used to make toys for children such as balls and rag dolls. Also old furniture could be reused after its functional life was over. So if a chair had a broken leg then the leg could possibly be mended by a new piece of wood being attached but if all the legs were damaged by rot at the foot then the legs could just be cut down to make a child’s chair. Or if the whole set of chairs and the table had rot then the whole lot could be shortened.
Pieces of wood could be collected and used in a variety of ways. In rural areas wood could be used to mend fencing and mend holes in buildings and even to build new items such as storage boxes to pack vegetables and flowers to send them to market. In the towns wood could also be used for covering windows instead of curtains or even making pallet beds to sleep on.
Today there is a mass market for selling crafting products and we can make so many different things from our own clothes to our own furniture. We make our own Christmas decorations and gift for one another, but in reality our ancestors had been doing this for as long as time can remember with the bits and pieces they had in their homes as nothing was wasted, everything was used until it couldn’t be used anymore or made into something else and then they would perhaps have been able to get a few penny’s for them
It’s a question many ask about genealogy. Will I be able to find all my ancestors and how far back can I go? Some seems to think you can go back to time immemorial, but can you?
Well unfortunately the answer is no you can’t. The records only go back so far. But don’t be downhearted as you can get a long way back.
Up until 1538 it was more than likely that only people born into the aristocracy who would have had their baptism, marriage or burial registered by the family. In 1538 Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII right hand man decreed that in the new Church of England all baptism, marriages and burials would be recorded by the parish priest at the local church with copies being made and sent to the bishop every three months. Thus the parish records came into being. This system continued until 1837 when the present system of receiving birth, marriage and death certificates was introduced when Queen Victoria ascended to the throne. Baptisms, marriages and burial were still recorded by the church when the events took place, but the official registration was still required.
So if you’re really lucky you may be able to get back to 1538. But a note of caution is needed. A lot of the records this far back are really difficult to read and they may be in Latin! This means that not only with you have to translate the date but also the names. For example it’s not too bad with my name Sarah as in Latin it’s Sara but some other names are really different. Walter in Latin is Ualterius and Louisa is Ludovica. Also the condition of the records may be so bad that when they are viewed they can have unreadable areas.
If we consider Dronfield in Derbyshire the records began in 1560 but the church itself was built in the 12th century. So we see there is a large discrepancy between when the church was built and the records began. This means you will miss out on so many ancestors, probably approximately 13 generations at 30 years per generation. Don’t be upset though as if you think about it up to the present day you can probably go back approximately 15 generations and 15 is better than nothing as it’s still over 4.5 centuries.
You also have to take into account what information is given in the parish records. There was no set format for the records, it was what the vicar or his clerk decided to include. This means it will vary, sometimes greatly, between the parishes.
For baptisms in most cases you will get the child’s given name, his parents given names and his father’s surname, so for example the basic information you may get is:
John son of John and Mary Smith baptised 1 January 1600
You may get lucky and find that the mother’s maiden surname is included. In the later records you got information such as where the family lived and the father’s occupation.
Marriage records are the ones that can be most annoying. It is not uncommon to just find that John Smith married Mary in the parish on a certain date. This gives so little information. Again the later the records the better as the woman’s maiden surname was included and perhaps the abodes or even father’s names and occupations for the couples.
Burial records in general were just the person’s name and when they were buried, but in some cases the place of death was recorded and even their age at death. I have even come across some records which stated what the person died from.
So all this means that just because the records are available doesn’t necessarily mean they are of any help and so you may not be able back to the 15 generations. With so little information in the records if your ancestors moved about you would have difficulty finding them.
But don’t give up hope, half the fun is the search. The old adage search and ye shall find is the mantra most genealogists adhere to. You never know what you will find until you look, so look and you may be pleasantly surprised as to what is available.
It’s something I’ve wondered about over the course of my research. How would the development of new technologies have impacted on our ancestors?
Technology comes in all shapes and sizes. We mostly think of developments in electronics but there are so many more.
In the earl 1800’s the Jacquard loom was developed. This used a punched card to control the loom and made making more intricate designs in fabric possible. This would have been revolutionary to our ancestors as they could have patterned clothes rather than the boring plain ones. This would have made life much brighter as they could have had more decorative homes.
In the 1820/30’s a major development happened when Michael Faraday started to develop the electric generator. Just think what this would mean for our ancestors. Eventually they would be able to use electric lights. Just think what a difference this would make. Until electric lights they had to use reed lights, candles or oil lamps. All of these came with their own problems. Reed lights smelt and all produced smoke and caused rooms to get dirty quicker. Once they could have electric lights all these problems would be solved.
What about photograph which was developed in the first part of the 19th century. Just imagine being able to have a photo of your loved ones to have as a keepsake. People could have photos of their children and some even had a photograph taken of their children if they died young, really, they posed the dead child and had it photographed. I love old photos of my ancestors they just look so funny. I know they had to stay perfectly still for up to 30 seconds but the facial expressions are just funny.
If you look at these two photos you can see that you could look normal like my great, great grandad but his wife decided to go for the Queen Victoria look or she was constipated!
In the 1870’s the telephone was invented by alexander Graham Bell. Now admittedly it would have taken a long time to filter through the country, but how cool would it have been for our ancestors to pick up the phone and call a friend or family member who lived away from them. Before you would have had to write a letter and wait for a reply whereas now they would be able to phone them up and get a reply to any questions straight away. It would also mean they could have phone for help. If your ancestor was a farmer they would have been able to phone the vet to come and help them and the vet would have been able to drive out to the farm and help (admittedly the car would be much later but still the vet could come by horse).
Later the same decade Thomas Edison made the phonograph. Now if you were lucky enough to be able to afford one you could play music in your home. No more would you have to go to the concert hall to hear music. You could listen to what your wanted not what was being played. Mind you there were probably still arguments among families over what they wanted to listen to. Dad wants Beethoven and the kids want Brahms.
The 1890’s saw the first screening of moving images. Can you imagine being able to watch a film for the first time. It must have been revolutionary for our ancestors to see.
The 1900’s brought the start of household appliances. The dishwasher had been invented in the 1890’s but the vacuum came about in 1901. No more sweeping, now your could do electric sweeping. Admittedly you’d have to pump the machines bellows while pushing it about but it was still progress. The washing machine came along later the same decade.
Think of the advances in medicine which came along in our ancestor’s life time. Some major developments came about. Small pox vaccinations, pasteurisation, anaesthetics for surgery and penicillin. How many of our ancestors survived because of these. I know my great Grandma would have survived if penicillin had been around in 1918. She died from an appendicitis and peritonitis. If she could have had penicillin she may have survived.
So we think of technological advances being modern but it isn’t. Technology has been developing since man first began to change things and will continue on into the future.
The 6th April 1199 brought to an end the short but eventful reign of Richard the Lionheart when he died from an arrow wound he incurred during the siege of Chalus Castle in France.
I’m sure you’ve all probably heard the legends of King Richard I of England. He’s well known for his crusades in the Holy Land and being the King during the time of Robin Hood, but what about the rest of his reign.
Well ironically Richard spent very little of his reign in England. Most of it was spent either on crusade, in captivity in Austria or fighting to hold on to or regain his lands in France lost by his brother and Regent Price John.
Richard was born in Oxford on the 8th September 1157. He was the 4th child of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was never expected to be king as he had 2 older brothers but they both died before him. When he was just 12 he was created Count of Poitiers. He was crowned King on the 3 September 1189 after the death of his father and was King until his death on the 6 April 1199. During the same period Richard was Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine and Gascony, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes. It’s a good job he didn’t need to live in all these places to hold the post or he’d have to move about all the time.
Richard is usually portrayed as tall and well-built and being very strong. He more than likely had reddish hair like his father and brothers. Was he really tall is unknown. Some sources have him at over 6 foot 5, but his brother John was only around 5 foot 5 so who knows.
Richard was the beloved son of Eleanor and she usually sided with Richard over most things including against her husband. During Richard’s reign his mother had great influence over Prince John who acted as regent. In fact when Richard died from the infected arrow wound it was in his mother’s arms, not his wife’s.
Yes Richard was married in name. On the 12th May 1191 Richard married Berengaria of Navarre the daughter of King Sancho VI of Navarre and Sancha of Castile. Berengaria was the choice of Richard’s mother for a bride. They married in the Chapel of St George, Limassol, Cyprus. His sister Joan was the widow of the King of Cyprus and he settled the issue of her inheritance from the new King while he was passing on the way to the crusades.
The marriage was not an affectionate one. It was most likely a marriage of convenience for Richard, but probably not for Berengaria who is rumoured to have loved Richard. She did stay with him in the Holy Land for some time but left for France and did not see him again until his release from captivity in 1194 after 2 years. After this she was reunited with Richard when he lived in France on and off from 1196 – 1199. She is the only Queen consort never to reside in England during her tenure. She did visit after Richard’s death. She died in Le Mans, France in 1230 where she was nun. The couple didn’t have any children as some believe the marriage wasn’t consummated although there is little evidence for this.
So what happened to Richard after his death? Richard is actually buried in 3 places. His entrails were removed and buried where he died in Chalus, France. His heart was embalmed and buried in Rouen Cathedral in France opposite the tomb of his elder brother Henry the Young King and his body was buried in Fontenvraud Abbey at the feet of his father. His mother was buried alongside her husband King Henry II and Richard’s sister in law Isabella of Angouleme was buried alongside him, thus some people think it is Berengaria. I recommend a visit to the abbey as it’s a really nice place.
But what of the man who shot the arrow that killed him? Well Richard immediately pardoned him and event gave him money. After Richard died his men killed the man in the most horrific way he was flayed alive and then hung.
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!