So in December there are many birthdays of people who influenced our lives and those of our ancestors.
Let’s start on the 17th December 1778. Grace Davy nee Millet the wife of Robert Davy a wood turner from Cornwall goes into labour. She eventually gives birth to her first child, a boy she names Humphrey. Humphrey Davy became an apprentice to an apothecary and developed a keen interest in chemistry. By 1801 Davy was working at the Royal Society in London. Via his experiments and research he discovered many chemical elements including sodium, barium, magnesium, potassium and strontium. Davy also discovered that diamonds are just carbon and not something more mystical. One of Davy’s most famous discoveries was the miner’s lamp around 1815. This stopped the methane from the flame from setting fire to the gases in the pits and leading to explosions. Just think how many lives this saved. As the descendent of miner’s then there is a chance I wouldn’t be here without Sir Humphrey Davy.
In Preston, Lancashire on the 23rd December 1732 Richard Arkwright was born. He started out as a barber and wig maker. Arkwright was an inventor though and began working on a machine to spin cotton. This would greatly speed up the process and mean more cotton could be produced. Arkwright initially powered his machine using horse power at his works in Nottingham but soon went into partnership with wealthy Derbyshire mill owners and build Cromford mill which was powered by water from the river Derwent. The mill was so successful Arkwright was able to build his workers homes in the village of Cromford. He also built a second mill in nearby Matlock Bath (which is now a shopping centre and heritage centre as is Cromford Mill). Arkwright also had mills in Wirkworth, Chorley and New Lanark. Arkwright was hit by riots as the mills didn’t need as many workers to run them as he developed his water power and steam power and the mill in Scotland was destroyed by the rioters. He did employee hundreds of people and developed fabric manufacture which meant our ancestors could potentially get cheaper clothes for them and their families all thanks to Sir Richard Arkwright.
It’s Christmas day 1642 and in Lincolnshire Isaac Newton was born. Now he is most famous for discovering gravity, but he was also worked in the fields of maths, mechanics and optics. He realised that light was made up of different colours and that if you put light through a glass prism it splits into the colours of the spectrum. He is most famous for sitting under an apple tree and seeing an apple falling and this lead him to formulate that there was an invisible force acting upon us, i.e., gravity. So thanks to Sir Isaac Newton we know why we don’t fly into space.
On Boxing Day 1792 Charles Babbage entered the world in London. Now Charles Babbage was a genius of his time. He was a mechanical engineer and mathematician who became professor of mathematics at Cambridge University. He also helped found the Royal Astronomical Society. He is probably best known for his work on the Difference Engine. This was a calculating machine he began working on in 1822. He never completed it but it has since been built by the science museum and it would have worked. Through his work Charles Babbage is known as the father of computing and his work in the early Victorian era lead to you being able to use anything computing based.
Now onto one of my favourite inventors who was born on the 27th December 1773 near Scarborough in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He was the son of a baronet and developed an interest in aviation and engineering. He developed the self-righting boat, seat belts and the glider. He was Sir George Cayley. In 1804 he flew his first model glider that looked like the layout of a plane. He developed his design and by 1853 his glider was flown by a member of his staff in front of Waydale Hall his country seat. Some accounts say the employee, possibly his coachman resigned afterwards. It was the early 1900’s before true flights began, but every time you get on a plane to go on holiday think of Sir George Cayley and his terrified coachman.
So it could be said all these inventors changed the lives of our ancestors as well as ours.
November is a busy month for anniversaries of the Royal Family of England/Great Britain. So what happened this month?
The year is 1035 and Canute is King after leading a Viking force in 1015 against the English and defeating King Edmund Ironsides forces. Edmund had died soon after and so Canute was King. He reigned until the 12th November 1035 when he died and the crown passed to Harold Harefoot, Canute’s second son. He acted as regent for his younger half-brother Harthacnut but decided to keep the throne for himself.
1321 saw the birth of a little baby boy named Edward occurred at Windsor Castle on the 13th November. He was born to King Edward III and Isabella of France. His grandparents were King Edward I of England, King Philip IV of France and Queen Joan I of Navarre. Young Edward would become King Edward III of England in 1327. He married Philippa of Hainault in 1328 and had 14 children by her, including Edward the Black Prince and John of Gaunt (who attempted to populate the world single handily with 14 children by 4 women). 2 of his grandsons would become King, Richard II and Henry IV.
In 1429 King Henry VI was crowned King of England on 6th November aged 8 months and 27 days. Henry was the son of King Henry V of England and Catherine of Valois and the grandson of King Henry VI of England and King Charles VI of France. Henry inherited the throne of France on the 21st October 1422 when he was 11 months and 16 days old through his mother. He was just 8 years old when he was crowned in England and 10 years old when he was crowned in France. Henry was King of England for around 39 years over 2 periods during the Wars of the Roses until his murder in 1471 and around 31 years in France although many did not acknowledge his rule in France and favoured his maternal uncle Charles VII. Henry was half-brother to Edmund and Jasper Tudor and their siblings and the uncle of Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII.
On the 17th November 1558 aged 42 of probably cancer Queen Mary died. She was childless and so the crown passed to her half-sister Elizabeth. Mary was the daughter of King Henry VIII of England and Katherine of Aragon, this made her the granddaughter of King Henry VII, King Ferdinand III of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII of England and Anne Boleyn and the granddaughter of King Henry VII.
It’s the 19th November 1600 and in Dunfermline Palace in Fife, Scotland a little boy named Charles took his first breaths. He was born to King James VI of Scotland and his wife Anne of Denmark and was the grandson of Mary Queen of Scots and King Frederick II of Denmark. In 1625 Charles became King Charles I of England and Scotland and would rule until his execution for treason in 1649.
In the Hague on the 4th November William Prince of Orange was born to William II, Prince of Orange and Mary, Princess Royal of England and Scotland. This made young William the grandson of King Charles I. William married his maternal cousin Mary, the daughter of his mother’s brother’s King James VII. William ruled jointly with his wife as King William III and Queen Mary II of England and Scotland.
Now November was fairly quiet until 1841 when another boy was born, this time to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Albert Edward was born on the 9th November in Buckingham Palace. He was go on to become King Edward VII of Great Britain from 1901 until his death in 1910.
On the 20th November 1947 King Edward VII great granddaughter Princess Elizabeth married her distant cousin Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. They were second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. They were married at Westminster Abbey. The following November on the 14th Elizabeth and Philip’s first child was born, a son named Charles who would later become Charles, Prince of Wales after his mother’s accession to the throne in 1952.
So as you can see November has been an extremely busy month for the Royal Family with lots of events to remember.
So this week I thought I tell you all about my home city of Sheffield, and the past residents who are still living there.
Growing up I always heard the stories of ghosts related to the city as 2 haunted places were within a few miles of where I lived. The first was around Beauchief Abbey a former monastery and the hall just up the road. There is a white lady who is associated with the grounds of both locations has been seen on the road and also on the golf course which is now on the land the monastery once stood on. There are also sightings of the monks still going about their daily lives.
So let’s move up to Norton and the second location I knew about as a child, Bunting Nook. This is a small road by the church which has at least 3 ghosts. Firstly is another grey lady who has been seen but she may be part of the second haunting which is supposedly a couple who were eloping to the church to marry and fell from their horse and died (Norton Church was well known for not asking any question and marrying people even if she was pregnant). Then there is the demonic dog that has been seen as just eyes or even a black mist.
Fancy wandering around the area surrounding the Cathedral? Voices are heard and faces seen. Is it the dead whose graves were moved in the 1990’s protesting?
Off to Mosborough now and the old hall which is a hotel these days. The grey lady governess can be seen here and the argument between her and her employer can be heard as she threatens to tell his wife of their dalliance. It’s alleged he murdered her to keep her quite.
Now fancy a visit to a haunted pub, Sheffield has you covered. There are several pubs in the Darnall area where apparitions are seen. In the area of Sheffield I’m from the Woodseats hotel is haunted by a man who has attacked staff. Or how about the former Old Harrow where apparitions were seen and things went missing and then reappeared sometime late. You could always try the Queens Head Inn, possibly the oldest building in Sheffield. You may come across the dog who likes sit by people, the white lady who sits and watches people, the civil war era solider who sits by the fire or even hear the voice of a little girl. Fancy a coffee from a chain then I dare you to try Carbrook Hall near Meadowhall. It’s though Oliver Cromwell’s close ally Colonel Bright can be seen on the stairs as well as another roundhead soldier. Also a spirit likes to throw things around. It may be worse now as it’s well documented that spirits don’t like change and renovations of their space.
Now do you fancy visiting the National Emergency Services Museum in the city? I’ve been years ago, I got a plastic fireman’s helmet. Many groups have been to the venue and seen and heard many unexplained phenomena. Things are thrown when there is no one else around, voices are heard and many believe there is a negative entity who has taken up residence, is it Charlie Peace who was hung for murder?
So do you want to meet Mary Queen of Scots then you need to go to Sheffield Manor Lodge. This is where Mary was held on and off for years. She is seen in a flowing black gown and appears to walk through walls.
Now no discussion about hauntings in the city would be complete without a mention of the Stocksbridge bypass just outside the city. It’s not the road that’s haunted but the land. Even when the road was being built in the 1980’s things were seen. Children where heard playing at night when the site was closed. They were sometimes seen to disappear right in front of people’s eyes. A figure was seen on the bridge being constructed over the road that again just disappeared. 2 policemen witness the torso of a person against the side of their car which move extremely fast to the other side of the car and then vanished. As they drove away the car shook and things were thrown at it but there was no one around. Others have heard what sounds like someone on the roof of the car as they drive along. Finally how about seeing the torso of a monk crossing the road, no legs just a torso, as they walk along at the height the land was at during their lifetime.
So how about a visit to Sheffield? I’ve never seen anything in city but I’m not visiting the locations at night. I’ve seen things in Derbyshire though.
So happy Halloween and goodnight out there whatever you are! (If you know where this quote came from then you had an awesome childhood).
Before I start this is a reposted blog from last year. There should be a new Halloween post next week.
Halloween as a kid for me was scary. People would bang on the door demanding treats and if you didn’t answer or given them anything eggs would be thrown. Then there was the fact that all the ghosts and goolies, witches and vampires were roaming about ready to attack. To top it all of I was terrified of the glow in the dark skeleton my brother had. I was even scared of Professor Coldheart from my beloved Care Bears and don’t get me started on Skelator from He-Man, although I find him funny dancing in the old tv advert. How ironic now is it that I mainly read books with vampires and werewolves in them.
Halloween as we know it today mainly came from good marketing and the shops realised it was a great way to make you spend money, but where did the tradition of Halloween come from? Well it appears to be the merger of both pagan and Christian practices.
Let’s consider the pagan practices first. It was a celebration of the end of the harvest and the coming of the winter and in the Celtic countries was known as Samhain, the festival of the dead, but it also had other aspects to it. Many believe that at this time of year that the barrier between the living and the dead was at its thinnest and thus the dead could pass through. This meant the living had to protect themselves. They would do things such as lay out meals by a fire for the dead to welcome them so they would be peaceful and carve out turnips, as we do pumpkins today, to ward of the evil spirits as these were the ones they had to worry about. They also believed they had to protect themselves for the living evil spirits. Many homes would attempt to protect themselves by engraving witches marks into the fabric of the house. This was usually in the walls or the fireplace and was in the form of a pentagram. They can still be found today in old buildings. Another pagan practice which begun was the dressing up and playing tricks on people. This along with the carving of turnips is thought to have come from Ireland as many of the practices we still use today seem to have come from the Gaelic speaking regions of Europe.
The Christian practices mainly revolved around the honouring of the dead. In the Christian calendar All Hallowes Eve is the day before All Hallows Day which is the celebration of saints, or the dead in general. It is believed this day was set as the 1st November by Pope Gregory III in the 8th century when this honoured the relics of the saints, martyrs and confessors of the church. From the 12th century the ringing of church bells became common to honour the saints and departed souls. There was also the tradition from the mediaeval period of England of baking a soul cake. These were similar in appearance to the modern day hot cross buns. They were given out to children, the poor and the homeless who went from door to door saying prayers for the souls of the household. It’s believed this could also be the origin of trick or treat.
So if you combine both the pagan and Christian practices you get a good indication of where the modern day Halloween comes from. Maybe think upon your dead ancestors and celebrate them as you enjoy your pagan practices.
I know my blog posts have been patchy lately but please bear with me as I've been ill and ended up in hospital, but I am determined to get back into blogs properly.
In my last blog I asked the question do you want to be a princess. I touched on the castle in this so I thought I would present you with a castles word search this week. It should give you about 10 minutes of escapism, and yes I know there is a spelling mistake in it and extra points if you notice.
If you like the idea of finding out more about castles I can recommend 2 books. The first is by Marc Morris and is Castle: A History of the Buildings that Shaped Medieval Britain. This is a grown up book about castles. The second is Dark Knights and Dingy Castles by Terry Deary. This is a book for kids of all ages and is really funny.
Hopefully my brain should kick in and I should have a proper blog for you next week. Also I’m thinking of doing an ask a question blog at some point in the future so if you have and genealogy questions you want to ask please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You hear this saying quite a lot these days from little kids playing dress up to brides choosing a dress. But would you really have wanted to be a princess?
Well I would think no unless it’s in modern times. Let’s face it the life in castle would have stunk. The whole place would have smelt of wood smoke in the winter, which isn’t bad but factor in the food smells, the smelly of musty fabrics and furnishing it would be a bit bad. No add into the smell of the people and it would be gross. No deodorant, body wash and shampoo! If you stunk you had to change your clothes and send them off to be washed. Except in reality only your under linen shift would be washed. The top dress would probably never be cleaned. Now add in the smell of chamber pots and toilets if you’re lucky. Versailles in France the people of court used to got to the toilet in the corner of the room and just leave their doings on the floor. I don’t want to be a princess.
But it isn’t just the smells that would stop you from wanting to be a princess. Your life would be completely controlled. What you could learn, who your friends were and even what your interests were. So learning to sew, run a household and be a proper lady was high on the list of your day. Some princesses had more freedom than this, but not many.
If you’re Dad’s King (or brother etc), no choosing your own hubby, Daddy would do it for you and you would probably wouldn’t be too impressed. Lets consider the Tudor princess Mary Tudor the daughter of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Her big brother chose her first husband for her. He chose King Louis XII of France a 52 year old double widower for her. Mary was 18 years old. It was even worse for Isabella of Valois the daughter of King Charles VI of France. He married her off to the 29 year old widower King Richard II when she was 6 years old! So her you are packed off to another country (probably) to live with someone you’ve never met. Luckily you probably get to take your ladies with you, but they may also have been chosen for you. Mary Tudor had Anne Boleyn as a lady in waiting in France and she really didn’t like her.
Then there’s the little matter of woman’s duties. As wife of a monarch, heir to a throne or wife of a high ranking noble you had one job. Have children, in particular sons to carry on the line. Also you would probably have to put up with your spouse carrying on with his mistresses. Once you popped out your child if it was a boy – great celebration and if it was a girl your downfall may be plotted, think Anne Boleyn. If you were kept on as a wife then you would be expected to get pregnant again very quickly. Then was the fact you may well not survive childbirth. Also you may have been a child yourself when you gave birth. Queen Mary II was only 16 when she married her husband and possibly still 16 when she suffered a miscarriage. Now I know it was a different time but at 16 I was very much still a kid.
During your life as a princess you would be controlled by your father or other family member until you married and then controlled by your husband. Everything was controlled. Who you spent time with, what you wore (must look fashionable for your husband), what you did and even what happened to you. Think about Infanta Catalina of Aragon, later Queen Catherine of Aragon. She was sent away to marry, put aside by her husband and removed from court to a cold damp castle with no ladies and very little money and not allowed to see her daughter.
So still want to be a Princess? Maybe the expression should be changed to I want to be a Disney Princess.
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!
Well we’ve had the monarch awards of England/Great Britain and Scotland/Great Britain. We’ve also had the consort awards for England/Great Britain. Now it’s the turn of the Scottish consorts.
Consorts whose children didn’t become monarch:
12 consorts of Scotland had no children become monarch. The first was Ethelreda of Northumbria the consort of the 6 month King, Duncan II. The last female consort to not have a child become monarch was Madeleine of Valois the consort of James V who died within 6 months of her marriage. There were no monarch heirs for 2 of the 3 male consorts, Francis II of France and the Earl of Bothwell, both consorts to Mary Queen of Scots.
Consorts who had more than on monarch/consort as children:
Two consorts have this accolade. Suthen the wife of Duncan I gave birth to King Malcolm III and King Donald III. Saint Margaret the second wife of King Malcolm III went one better than her mother in law and had 3 children become monarchs of Scotland in King Edgar, King Alexander I and King David I.
Consorts who had no children:
In the period 1000 to 1603 Scotland had 30 consorts. Of these 8 had no children or no surviving children with the monarch. Gruoch the wife of Macbeth didn’t have any children by him but her son did become King briefly. David II (1329-1371) was married twice to Joan of the Tower and Margaret Drummond. He had children by neither of them. The last consort not to have children by the monarch was King Francis II of France the husband of Mary Queen of Scots. You could say it was Mary’s third husband the Earl of Bothwell but she did have twins by him but she suffered a miscarriage.
Consorts to have the most children:
Well the winner is Elizabeth Mure the first wife of King Robert II. She gave him 10 children but she was never consort as she died before Robert became King. In second place was St Margaret who gave her husband King Malcolm III 8 children. If you include all the children a consort had by all her husbands than Joan Beaufort the consort of King James I wins. She had 8 children with James and 3 with her second husband the Black Knight of Lorne.
The consort who reigned the longest was Joan of the Tower. She was the consort of King David II and reigned for 33 years, 3 months and 1 day. The shortest reign was James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell who was consort to Mary Queen of Scots for 2 months and 20 days before Mary abdicated.
Age at accession:
The oldest lady to become consort was Arabella Drummond the wife of King Robert III. She was approximately 40 years old when her husband ascended the throne. The youngest was Joan of the Tower. She was 7 years and 11 months when she married the 4 year old King David II.
Number of Marriages:
Well not surprisingly the winner was a Tudor. Margaret Tudor was the older sister of King Henry VIII. She married King James IV in 1503 when she was 14 years old. After his death (1513) she married Archibald Douglas the 6th Earl of Angus in 1514 and divorced him in 1527. The following year she married Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven who she remained married to until her death in 1541, although she did want to divorce him but her son wouldn’t let her. So yet again a Tudor with multiple marriages.
Some other facts:
Of all the consorts 3 had siblings who were also consorts of European monarchs. Joan of England’s (Alexander II) sister Isabella was the consort of Emperor Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire. Margaret Tudor’s sister Mary was the consort of King Louis XII of France for 3 months before his death. Finally King Francis II of France consort of Mary Queen of Scots has 2 sisters who became consorts. Elizabeth of Valois married King Phillip II of Spain after the death of his 2nd wife Queen Mary of England and Margaret of Valois married the future King Henry IV of France.
The house of Valois was the family name of one branch of the French royal family. They provided 2 consorts to the Scottish monarchy. Madeleine was the consort of King James V and her nephew King Francis II who was consort to Mary Queen of Scots. They were related to the 2 Valois consorts of England in Isabella wife of King Richard II and Catherine wife of King Henry V and Owen Tudor. There common ancestor was King Charles V of France. Catherine and Isabella where his granddaughters, Madeleine was his 3 times great granddaughter and Francis was his 4 times great grandson.
In the same vein Joan of England was the paternal aunt of Margaret of England and the twice great aunt of Joan of the Tower. Margaret of England was the great Aunt of Joan of the Tower.
There were 3 male consorts to Scottish monarchs and all were the husbands of Mary Queen of Scots.
10 consorts were the children of European monarchs. 6 were the daughters of the English monarch, 2 of the Danish monarch and 2 were the children of the French monarch.
The pointless questions and their answers
The names of the British monarch’s 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 were:
1060’s, 1090’s, 1120’s, 1130’s, 1230’s, 1280’s, 1270’s, 1320’s, 1360’s, 1370’s, 1380’s, 1400’s, 1440’s, 1460’s, 1540’s, 1530’s, 1560’s, 1570’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: Joan of England, Margaret of England, Yolande of Dreux, Joan of the Tower, Margaret Drummond, Euphemia de Ross, Madeleine of Valois, King France II of France and James Hepburn Earl of Bothwell, 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.
If you want to read the other blogs in the monarchy awards you can find them at:
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.
A couple of months ago I held the Monarchy awards for the Monarchs of England/Great Britain as a result of watching an episode of Pointless Celebrities. So I decided to answer the same questions for the monarch of Scotland from the year 1000 up until the merger of the thrones with King James VI (of Scotland I of England) in 1603.
Monarchs not succeeded by their children:
Scotland has had 14 monarchs who were not directly succeeded by their children. The first was King Malcolm II (1005 – 1034). He was succeeded by his grandson Duncan I. Malcolm had only daughters and Duncan was the son of his eldest daughter Bethoc and her husband Crinan the Thane. Duncan I himself was not immediately succeeded by his sons but they had to get rid of Macbeth first. The last of the Scottish monarchs not to be succeeded by a child was David II (1329 – 1371). Despite 2 marriages David never had any children so he was succeeded by his nephew Robert II.
Monarchs succeeded by more than one child:
Only 2 of the Scottish monarchs have this accolade. The first was Duncan I (1034 – 1040). Duncan died in battle against Macbeth who then became king followed briefly by his stepson Lulach. Lulach was killed and Duncan I eldest son became King Malcolm III (1058 – 1093). His brother Donald III later also became king (1093 – 1097) with a brief break when Malcolm III son Duncan was king. The second monarch was King Malcolm III. 4 of his sons became King of the Scots. They were Duncan II (1094), Edgar (1097 – 1107), Alexander I (1107 – 1124) and David I (1124 – 1153).
Monarchs with no children:
Of the 27 monarchs of Scotland from 100 to 1603 7 had no children. 3 were the children on Malcolm III. One was the famous Macbeth, although he did have a stepson who succeeded him. Then there was Malcolm II and finally Queen Margaret but she was only 3 when she came to the throne and 7 when she died.
Monarchs with most children:
The records with the Scottish monarchs goes to King Robert II (1371 – 1390). With his wife Elizabeth Mure they had 10 children. After Elizabeth died he married Euphemia de Ross and had a further 4 children. He is also alleged to have had at least 13 illegitimate children.
The longest Scottish reigning monarch was James VI. He was king of Scotland from 1567 until 1625. In total he was King for 57 years, 8 months and 4 days.
The shortest reign was King Duncan II. He was king for 6 months in 1097 when he temporarily usurped his Uncle who assumed the throne when Duncan II’s father died.
Age at Accession:
In 1093 Donald III to the crown of Scotland when his brother died usurping the rightful heir Duncan II. Donald was approximately 61 years old.
The youngest person to become monarch of Scotland was Mary Queen of Scots. She was just 6 days old when her father King James V died and she became Queen.
Number of Marriages:
Well the winner in this category is Mary Queen of Scots. She was married 3 times and widowed twice. He first husband was the dauphin of France Francis who would become Francis II of France, thus making Mary Queen consort of France as well as Queen of Scotland. After Francis death aged 16 in 1560, 18 year old Mary returned to Scotland. In 1565 she married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. He died in an explosion in February 1567 (probably murdered on Mary’s order or by James Hepburn) leaving her widowed again with a young son. She next married (possibly by force) James Hepburn the Earl of Bothwell in May 1567. It was a combination of the murder of Lord Darnley and her marriage to James Hepburn that lead to her being forced to abdicate. What was it with those of Tudor descent? Mary was the great Granddaughter of Margaret Tudor, the sister of King Henry VIII of England.
The pointless questions and their answers
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 were:
1030’s, 1040’s, 1050’s, 1090’s, 1100’s, 1120’s, 1150’s, 1160’s, 1210’s, 1240’s, 1280’s, 1290’s, 1310’ , 1320’s, 1370’s, 1390’s, 1400’s, 1430’s, 1460’s, 1480’s, 1510’s, 1540’s, 1580’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:
Malcolm IV (brother William I), Alexander III (granddaughter Margaret), Margaret (John Balliol chosen by nobility), Charles II (brother James II), Anne (cousin George I), George II (grandson George III), George VI (brother William IV), William IV (niece Victoria), Edward VIII (brother George VI).
If you want to read the other blogs in the monarchy awards you can find them at:
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!