26 November 2009

Rotten Writing

Had to share this one . . . . . .

Earlier in the day I was searching for Freemans in the 1911 census, as you do. And I opened up one image, glanced over it and then saved it.

And then zoomed in . . . and in . . . until I could clearly see the entry "Freak Freeman". Honest! And it was written by his father. Charming, I thought!

Even knowing that the boy's name was Frederick, it took me ages to work out, with the aid of the built-in magnifier, that it actually said "Fredk".

Once I'd stopped giggling, I submitted the correction!

More soon.

25 November 2009

Young Tom

A brief entry today . . . . who said "hooray"?

Tom Culpin, my great-great-uncle was born in 1879 in St Ives, the fifth son (& eighth child) of Millice Campbell & Naomi (nee Fordham) and lived with the family in The Quadrant in the town until his premature, and so far unexplained (to me) death at the age of 17 years.

He's buried, together with his brother Arthur, in Broadleas Cemetery, with the following headstone: "In loving memory of Tom, the son of Millice & Naomi Culpin, who entered into rest December 13 1896 aged 17 years. Also Arthur Culpin who entered into rest January 20 1903 aged 39 years".

So, what have we learned from this? Well, not much, obviously, except that I really ought to get hold of Tom's death certificate to work out why he died so young. I think I've looked in the Hunts Post to see if there was anything in there but I'm not sure; so may be worth my while having a look there first, in case I can save some money!

More soon.

23 November 2009

Fiery Furnace Alert

Today's notable anniversary is the marriage of my gt-gt-gt-gt-gt-uncle William Bullard to Sarah Boden, at St Mary, Hitchin in 1769. The only other info I had about the pair was a note referenced to my Canadian cousin Jan which said "basketmaker who lived in Hitchin and had eleven children".

So, never one to be daunted by a challenge, I started to investigate the Bullards of Hitchin and, sure enough, William and Sarah had eleven children, born between 1770 and 1793. So far I have also found twelve grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

However the greatest of my finds is, as you might guess, related to today's title.

William & Sarah's oldest son, William, married Elizabeth Leonard, also at St Mary, Hitchin, on 1st July 1792 and they had ten children (must be something in the water). It was their daughter Maria who made my day . . . . . when she married Abednego Day. Cracking name, I thought, and carried on regardless, searching the IGI for Days (searching, that is, for children with the surname Day, not . . . . !).

And then it occurred to me that I'd seen another pair of cracking names . . . . and I investigated further. William Day and his wife Judith had ten children between 1782 and 1805 including, in 1792, Shadrach, in 1794 - Meshach and, in 1801, Abednego.

Lucky they had another boy really or they could have ended up with Shadrach, Meshach and Ann. Doesn't trip off the tongue quite so well, does it.

Made me smile on a soggy day!

More soon.

19 November 2009

What is it about London???

Just the one anniversary today, the marriage of George Pates and Mary Ann Huckle in Biggleswade in 1875. George, my first cousin three times removed, was the son of Samuel & Eliza (nee Bland) and was brought up in the small market town.

George & Mary Ann produced nine children between 1876 and 1897 and were living in Potton Road in 1911. This census has more information that its predecessors, giving the number of rooms in the residence - the instruction being to "Count the kitchen as a room but do not count scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom . . . .". We also get the number of years the head of the household and his wife have been married and the number of children: born to the marriage, still living and died.

In this case, G&A lived in a dwelling of five rooms, had been married for 35 years and the children count was 9:7:2. This rather suggests that I haven't yet discovered that two of their children died before 1911 . . . . . work to do there, methinks.

The reason for the title of today's entry? Well, three of the children went to the great metropolis. Frederick (born 1880) was a tram conductor in Islington in 1901; in the same year Minnie was in service in Tottenham and Albert moved to Holloway to become a newspaper vendor (aged 16) in 1911. He was living with his brother Frederick, who had progressed to the lofty heights of Ticket Inspector by this time. Oh, and EIGHT rooms. Not bad, eh?

More soon.

18 November 2009

Double trouble?

Today's offering starts with a double wedding. OK, so it's probably not terribly rare but there aren't many in my database.

Two of my g-g-g-g-aunts got married today in Elton, Hunts, in 1822. Not to each other, obviously; Mary Culpin, the elder sister, tied the knot with Thomas Mears, and Elizabeth, the younger by one year, married Robert Webb. Interestingly, Thomas was one of Elizabeth & Robert's witnesses (well, I thought it was interesting as there was no reciprocal witnessing).

If any reader wishes to mentally "place" the Culpin girls, they were the daughters of Richard & Mary (nee Hayes) and sisters to Charles who married Catherine Watts. You can probably tell by my waffling that I don't know a lot else about these two couples . . . . so I'll put them on THE list.

Come a few miles south with me now to the village of Old Warden in Bedfordshire and the wedding of my 2nd cousin 4 times removed to Jesse Vintner in 1866. Ann Street, for t'was she, was the daughter of Thomas & Rebecca (nee Pates) and she and Jesse (whose surname also appeared as Vintiner in later records) went on to have four children.

Ann & Jesse remained in Old Warden and so far I have tracked their children only as far as the nearby village of Northill. Mind you, having said that, I did find their oldest daughter Flora in the infirmary in Bedford in the 1891 census but I'd guess that wasn't her choice!

More soon.

15 November 2009

Once upon a time . . . .

Today's entry will be short and, hopefully, sweet. The only anniversary I could find is the marriage of Marie Culpin and Robert Fletcher.

They were joined in matrimony in King's Cliffe, Northants, today in 1640. That's two years before the start of the civil war which left Ollie C in charge. But I digress, as usual . . . . . . Marie and Robert had three children (that I know of) and lost two of them in childhood.

And that's all I know about them, but I simply had to write about Marie because, according to my computer, she's my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great aunt.

Phew! That was a long time ago.

More soon.

11 November 2009

Two places at one time

Today is a special today, as we all know. The 91st anniversary of the Armistice which finally brought the Great War to a close. I paid my respects at the War Memorial.

But I should have been at a funeral. And I feel bad about missing it, but public transport conspired against me. So let me briefly tell you about my Auntie Betty, who passed away at the end of October. She was a dynamo - always seeming to be on the move. Wicked sense of humour. Always remembered my birthday (and how many candles I was due to blow out). She didn't stop when she retired, just went to classes - including computer classes. A classic silver surfer, my auntie Betty, and we will miss her.

Sooooo, that was the most important thing to me today but I will also delve into my database for someone from the past. This one, from the "spares" pile, is the marriage of John Everett and Ruth Constable. They tied the knot at St James's Church, Stretham, in 1851. No relation to me, but the great-great-great-grandparents of my 2nd cousin Bob, they had one son and one daughter and lived in the village for the rest of their lives.

Their daughter Rebecca went on to marry Thompson Sindall; six children here, one of whom married my great-uncle John Langford. See, there was a link but as you can tell it's very indirect.

I have a whole file, about 700 people, devoted to the village of Stretham. This is not because I'm some sort of genealogical kleptomaniac but because my Langfords come from there and, my word, there's been some inter-marrying between families. The Langfords marry the Murfitts, Constables, Gotobeds (lovely fen surname), Sindalls and Dimocks. And then they all marry back again! Confusing just doesn't cover it.

More soon.

8 November 2009


This time last year I mentioned a few of my ancestors who served and today I thought I'd tell you what I've found out about them since.

Grandad FWP was listed as William in the 1911 census and worked as a general labourer. John Langford and his wife Harriett had a child that neither my 2nd cousin Bob nor I can identify; it's great having the 1911 census but it's causing as many problems as it's solving!

Freeman Langford, like his brother William before him, was a regular soldier and was serving in Lucknow in 1911 - that'll be where he caught malaria. His youngest brother Ben was a brickie's labourer and living with his aunt in Nutholt Lane, Ely, in 1911.

I found two new soldiers this year: the first courtesy of Ancestors magazine. Harry Culpin (5th cousin 3xremoved) was serving in Bloomfontein and his family was out there too. And Alfred Staden (1st cousin 3xremoved) was another regular, in the RAMC at Aldershot.

Yesterday I was selling poppies in town, carefully positioning myself in the sun moving, like a cat, with the rays. I'd like to think that my presence put off the daily gathering of the Special Brew University.

One of my customers, during the 90 or so minutes I stood there, was an old gent who told me that he'd served during the war; so I asked him where . . . . he was a 19-year-old Lieutenant in charge of one of the landing craft on D-Day.

Anyone who knows me will be aware that I am not often stuck for words. I was yesterday. All I could think to say was "Thank you".

When you go home, tell them of us and say: For your tomorrow, we gave our today.

4 November 2009

The easy way or the hard way?

Let's start with three-times-great-grandpa Charles Culpin, born today in 1811 in St Ives, son of Charles & Catherine (nee Sutton). Regular readers will be unsurprised that he became a blacksmith; he married Sophia Kington, of Great Gransden, at All Saints, St Ives, on 26 March 1834 and they begat four children, in Hemingford Abbots, before Sophia died in May 1844. Then, with the aforementioned four children to look after, Charles sought a new bride and, late the following year, he married Sarah Whatford in St Ives.

Three more children arrived over the next eight years, all easily identified by their mother's maiden name amongst their christian names - don't you just love it when they do that! Charles died on 4 May 1869 and was buried in Broadleas cemetery, with the following headstone: Thy Will be done. Sacred to the memory of Charles Culpin who departed this life May 4th 1869 in the 58th year of his age. The sweet remembrance of the just shall flourish where he sleeps in the dust.

Slightly more distant, in "relative" terms, was James Moore, my g-g-g-g-grandfather, who married Elizabeth Warnes today at St Mary, Wymondham (the Norfolk one). Eleven children became of this union and the family was in Carrow Road, Thorpe, near Norwich, in 1851 (excluding their daughter Ann, my 3xgt grandmother, who had just married and was living in Thorpe Road, Blofield - presumably just up the road).

James was a Maltster's man (I have only a loose idea of what that is) and at least two of his sons took up the same profession. I need to do some more research into this particular branch - I suspect I was put off earlier by the sheer number of Moores in Norfolk, but I shall not be beaten!!

And finally: you might need to sit down for this one. This is the "hard way" of the title - Francis Langford married Mary Murfitt today in Stretham in 1860 and thereby complicated my family tree no end. Mary is related to me in her own right and Francis is related three times: Mary is my first cousin three times removed; Francis is "husband of . . . . " plus my third cousin twice removed and my eighth cousin three times removed. I'll repeat that last one: eighth cousin three times removed!

Francis & Mary lived in Berry Green, Stretham, until his death in 1897 but their children (nine of them) gradually moved away as they grew up; three to Sheffield and four to London (youngest son Isaac died in infancy). Even then there were no local jobs for the children!

More soon.

1 November 2009

Sisters . . . .

So, another new month and some more anniversaries. Today in Biggleswade in 1772 Ann Pates, my g-g-g-g-g-aunt (that's five greats) married William Sexton. And . . . . that's about it. William appears to have died two years later and Ann in 1786. Not much there to get my teeth into.

Moving on, Emily Langford married John Henry Bairstow today in 1876 at St Mary's, Ely. Two children were begat before Emily died at the age of 32. However, as seems to keep happening in my family, there was someone to take her place - the year after her death, her sister Rebecca married John in Hull. It's head-count time again! John & Rebecca went on to have five children before John's death in 1901.

Rebecca then seems to take over the business - she's listed as butcher in both the 1901 and 1911 census, as are her nephews John & William (Emily's sons). Interestingly, the 1911 census form was completed by John, rather than Rebecca . . . . well, I think the head of the household should fill it in . . . . although I suppose it's possible that Rebecca couldn't write but she was a farmer's daughter and I'd have thought he'd make sure she could read and write.

But then, what do I know?

More soon.