sally_maria: (Fountain pen - classic)
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted via Ancestry by someone from the local history society of the village in the Stroud valleys where my mother grew up. She'd heard from one of the girls (now nearly 90) who'd been evacuated from Birmingham to stay with my grandparents in the early part of WWII, before my mother was born.

Lily had fond memories of her time in Woodchester, and wanted to visit again, so I passed her details on to my mother. Today was the day and Mum and my aunt gave her a tour of the current village, changed in many ways but still the same basic layout.

I must admit one of the responses I had was regret that I never knew those grandparents, both of them died before I started school. :-( I can't help feeling a certain fellow feeling with my grandfather, who clearly wasn't particularly ambitious or driven, but who was a key part of community life, doing what needed to be done, from churchwarden to regular local committee member.

Lily remembered him encouraging her artwork, and we still have a couple of the pieces of furniture he made - I suppose there are worse legacies.

Frank William Garland )
sally_maria: (BotP Princess)
This is an old friend, we've had my whole life, known to us as Iggle (Igel). Today there was a street fair here, and on one of the stalls was another one, with some other hedgehogs, obviously related. :-) Apparently his real name is Macki and he is actually a well known character in Germany, son of Mecki and Micki.

There's quite a lot of information about him and his family here.

(Some of you will have already seen this on Facebook, but I wanted a more permanent record.)

sally_maria: (Anime me)
For anyone who might be interested, Find My Past, the genealogy website, is offering free access to its online records and indexing this weekend, until noon on Monday (GMT).

In particular they have free access to the UK online newspaper database - which can be a very interesting source of tidbits, from the political speech given by my 4 year old grandfather, to ggg-grandfather Abraham, who kept the Cricketer's Arms and was twice fined for not letting the police in promptly. :-)
sally_maria: (Anime me)
Having been inspired by [personal profile] sir_guinglain's example, I've using my FindMyPast credits to look up family in their newspaper archive collection. One of the easiest to find was one of my ggg-grandfathers on my father's side, one of several generations who served in the Royal Navy.

Hampshire Telegraph, 21st December 1889.

In fact, as an example of one of those presents, a rather earlier article.

Aberdeen Journal, 4th October 1848

I had no idea about him when I first started looking into my family history, just a vague memory of a naval connection. Over the last few years, I've gradually found out more - this Leonard was a man at arms, first on the Royal George, the previous Royal Yacht, and then the Victoria and Albert. He seems to have been educated, as I managed to get copies of a number of documents with his handwriting.

They are connected with getting his son, also Leonard and my gg-grandfather, a place at the Greenwich Hospital School. (The one housed in the rather spectacular Christopher Wren building, as seen in the climax of Thor 2. :-D) The younger Leonard appeared in the census at Greenwich, and the National Archives still hold a lot of the original papers relating the admission of boys of that era. I have a photocopy of a letter written by my ggg-grandfather, explaining that there was currently only one churchwarden in the parish, and that's why he doesn't have two signatures on the admission documents. :-)

It served to help move the family up in the world, as Leonard the younger entered the Navy as an officer. He then went on to have another son Leonard who went into the Navy, as well as Harry, my great-grandfather.

Doing the national newspaper search, I found several other references to him in the transcripts that I didn't pay to access the originals - to do with him showing parties of local bigwigs around the royal apartments on the yacht, presumably like the housekeeper at Pemberley.

A day out

Aug. 28th, 2014 07:14 pm
sally_maria: (Silver on the Tree)
It was my day off today, and my aunt invited me and my mother to meet her at Highfield Garden World near Slimbridge. We hadn't been there before, but it's actually only 35 mins or so away down the motorway - a shorter journey than to my aunt's house in Avening, even though it's considerably further in distance.

It's taken the classic modern pattern of expanding into other kinds of retail (I bought a new shoulder bag for work) and has an interesting food section, including ice-cream from our favourite local firm, Winstones. :-) I was a bit surprised to see a Post Office there though - first garden centre I've seen with one of those. We enjoyed jacket potatoes from the very well presented restaurant, and looking out at the countryside, at least until it started raining.

As I may have said before, that part of Gloucestershire is where my maternal grandfather's family came from and we decided to go into Berkeley, to see if we could find any sign of them. My mother's cousin had found a family house in the past, but failed to give us the address. So we went into the church, and found memorials to a number of Pearces, including my gggg-grandfather's brother and sister. The others are not immediately connected, but I'll look out for them in future research.

We also drove through Little Cambridge, in search of the farm where the photo I posted several weeks ago was taken. No sign of it, though looking at Google Maps of the area it looks as if the area may have been built on, and it's difficult to tell if the original farm house is still there. Now we know we were looking in the right place, we'll probably go back one day and walk around - there's only so much you can see, even on Street View. (Oh, the problems of the modern internet... ;-D)


Aug. 19th, 2014 08:17 pm
sally_maria: (Anime me)
I haven't forgotten the promised Worldcon report, but more immediately, I was fascinated by the Docklands area, with so much new building, but the occasional older one peeking through. My grandfather worked as a clerk for the Port of London authority, and I couldn't help wondering whether he might have known them, while everything around them was changed beyond recognition.

I was reminded of a letter of commendation we found, when clearing out before we moved. During the War, as a married man with a child he wasn't called up immediately, but spent a couple of years with the Home Guard, firewatching etc in the docks. On this particular occasion a sailor had been returning to his ship, and fallen off the gangplank into the water (his state of sobriety wasn't commented on ;-), but it was in the blackout). My grandfather jumped into the water and kept him afloat until help could come to pull them both out. I have no idea what happened to him after that, but I hope that his good luck continued.
sally_maria: (Anime me)

I've been doing a bit more family history research, with the help of the very kind posters on the RootsChat forum. This is probably the oldest family photo I have, my Pearce gg-grandparents and five of their six children, including my great-grandmother, the right-hand one of the three girls. I don't know exactly when it was taken, but from the ages I'm guessing somewhere in the first half of the 1890s. (She was born in 1876.)

My mother's second cousin, who also descends from the Pearces, has spent a lot of time looking at their history and has found quite a lot of interesting information, including a connection with Edward Jenner of smallpox fame. On the other hand, I was intrigued by Mary Ann Pearce, the mother in the photo above.

Looking for William Williams )
sally_maria: Avatar from discontinued online game (Green Eyes)
I've been looking further into my family history over the last month or so, talking to distant cousins and digging out old family photos. (Including many photos of my Dad as a baby, some things never change. ;-D)

Some things I was particularly impressed by are the scrap-books/albums that my grandfather made - an account of the cycle-tours with my father in Northern France and Belgium that they made in 1949 and 1950. If he'd been born a hundred years later, I'm sure they would have been detailed blog posts with many photos. As it is they contain a type-written account of roads travelled, meals eaten and historic and cultural sights visited, with photos and post-cards, his own drawings, tickets and even tobacco packets. (Apparently there was only one acceptable brand of Belgian pipe tobacco.)

Pictures and more under here... )


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