29 December 2011

In and Out of the News

My obsession with the British Newspaper Archive continues, particularly as I've found one bloke, my 3xgreat uncle, who was mentioned a number of times.

Frederick Staden, for t'was he, was born in Sundridge, in Kent, in 1815, the eighth and youngest child of Thomas and Sarah (nee Dodd), and was christened on Christmas Eve that year.  He joined the Army and in the 1841 census he's at the Infantry Barracks in Walmer, an acting serjeant.  

Note:  the spelling of "serjeant" shall, from hereon in, be interchangeable with "sergeant" ....

To continue: Between 1841 and 1851 he married Margaret and the pair of them are to be found in barracks in Winchester in the next census.  Then he's posted to Gibraltar and it's a moot point whether wife Margaret went with him; I suspect not, because he marries again whilst on the rock, this time to Martha Milner, the daughter of another sergeant, and then his life gets ever so slightly complicated.....

Back home in Berkshire, Frederick joined the Royal Berks Militia and, in 1860, is awarded "an emblem of honour" for his service.  The 1861 census shows him and Martha living in Reading.  

Later that year, an inkling of disharmony appears and he takes out an advert in the Reading Mercury to tell the locals that he will not be held responsible for his wife's debts.  A few more mentions of him in the Militia, by now a Drill Instructor, and then trouble.

Charged in 1865 with assaulting a young lady, the paper now goes into salacious detail about how he "behaved in an indecent manner" towards her.  Except that he didn't.  It was very quickly proved that Frederick wasn't even in town on the date given!  Verdict: Not Guilty.  Cue loud applause from the assembled throng.

Honour restored, he doesn't appear in the newspaper again for five years.  This time, a series of reports from different newspapers, all giving the same detail about the divorce between Frederick and Martha.  She comes out as quite a "character", being described as having "dirty, drunken habits" and eventually running away to Southsea (as you do) to be with her co-respondent.  Case proved.  Decree Nisi.

As far as I can tell, Frederick goes on to live a quiet life from then on.  By 1881 he was a publican/beer seller in South Stoke, Oxfordshire.  When he died there, at the "Eight Bells", in 1884, the newspaper reported that he had been in the Royal Berks Militia for 21 years.

Somehow, I feel there's more to be found about Martha, but I'll leave that for another day.

Happy New Year.

More soon.

11 December 2011

More Sinned Against ......

There are some newspaper entries which make you go "aaaah":

"On the 6th inst., at the Free Church, St Ives, Hunts, by the Rev. T R Jones, Charles Culpin, of Reading, to Maria Broadway, of St Ives"

And those which make you go "oh":
"4th inst., at Southgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, Stanley Frederick, third son of JC Staden jun., aged 1 year and 7 months."

And then there are those which make you go "what the ......?":
"William Fuller, a truculent looking fellow as ever held a hand up at a bar of justice, was indicted for destroying on the 18th of July, in a most barbarous manner, an ass, the property of Charles Culpin.

Charles Culpin is a blacksmith, living at St Ives.  On the 18th of July he saw the ass, which he kept in a hovel in a close: she was then quite well; the next morning his son fetched her up in a dying state – went to the hovel where he found a fork, the handle of which, for about a foot and a half, was smeared with blood.  The ass died in consequence of a wound, given in the most revolting manner.  Mr Culpin, on being asked on what terms he had been with the prisoner, said, that some time ago, while he was swearing among Mr Culpin’s children, he had sent for a constable, who took him into custody; since which he frequently insulted witness.  Mr Swallow was present on the 19th of July, when the prisoner was apprehended – on being charged with an atrocious act on Mr Culpin’s donkey, he said I never did it, but Joesph Harrop did.  On Harrop being sent for, his father came with him, who swore that his son was in bed at half-past seven.  Mr Swallow then asked him what further he had to say, when he fell a-crying, and said, if Mr Culpin will forgive me, I will never do it again.  On being asked what he had done, he said, I ran the shaft of the fork a foot, or half a foot, up the donkey.  Verdict Guilty. Sentence, 14 years transportation."

Copyright (in order): Reading Mercury, 15th July 1871; Bury & Norwich Post, 15th May 1877; Cambridge Chronicle & Journal, 20th October 1826.  All via the British Newspaper Archive.

Ah, happy times (chronicle/journal/post &c)

More soon.

8 December 2011

Newspapers, newspapers everywhere .....

Yep, I have been immersing myself in the glorious www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk.  Just online in the last couple of weeks I am gentling paddling around in the shallow end, searching for Stadens and Culpins.  Thank 'eavens for some unusual names!

And what did I find? A couple of divorce cases, both on the grounds of adultery; both adulterers being the spouses of my relatives. See, pure as the driven snow, my lot!

Well, not quite......  There's Thomas Culpin, found guilty in 1800, of sheep-stealing (sentenced to death, but reprieved), and William Flavell sentenced to 6 months in 1823 for stealing ten pigeons, not to mention William Culpin who went on the run in 1835 after stealing from, and attempting to kill, his aunt.  Arthur Ernest Culpin distinguished himself by stealing in Kings Cliffe and earned himself nine strokes of the birch.

By sheer coincidence, I found two rellies (one Staden, one Freeman) in the same edition of the Bury & Norwich Post in 1861. And, for a change, neither had done anything wrong!

Did I mention the young Culpin who was found guilty by a coroner's court of 'Murder of a bastard child' but acquitted by the magistrate? Or another horribly young Culpin who attempted to take her own life? 

Fortunately, I have also found some marriage and deaths dates, none of which will cause a scandal.  Even better, one of the marriages showed that the spouse was a widow, and I was able to dig around on FreeBMD and find her maiden name.

Anyway, I'm going back to the archive now and will attempt to publish more little snippets, both here and on the website.

More soon.

16 November 2011

Still in Australia .....

Last time out, I wrote about Maria Flavell (nee Phillips) and now I'm going to continue with the same family.  Yep, I'm mildly obsessed with Australian records at the moment - their BMDs, on ancestry.com, are subject to the same bizarre transcriptions as some of ours, but their indexes generally give more detail.

So, having told you of "43 grandchildren, 68 great grandchildren and 36 great great grandchildren", my mission now is to find them.  Not all at once, obviously, but I am slowly working my way through them.  I'd like to give the impression that I'm being very organised in this task but ...... I do tend to jump about a bit.  Part of this I can blame on ancestry, who now try to be helpful and put "these records may be relevant" to the right of the page, thereby enticing the easily distracted (me).

Still'n'all, I've found a few Flavells and Frees, some of them with wonderful names: there's Mary Madeline Emelia, Gertrude Henrietta Isabella and, my favourite, Thomas Merlin Olave Elnathan.  That's one set of siblings with something to thank their parents for!

Inevitably, though, I have also found a couple of lads who volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force in the Great War; brothers Samuel John and Albert Ernest Free, born 1893 & 1894 respectively, joined up on the same day in 1916.  Both were drafted to the 3rd Machine Gun Corps.  Albert died on 12th October 1917 and has no known grave, being commemorated on the Menin Gate.  Samuel died of wounds to the abdomen on 26th May 1918 and is buried in Crouy.  The National Archives of Australia has digitised their soldiers' records and I was able to read a lot of detail about these two.

More soon.

26 October 2011

Nearly made the century ....

I fully intended to do so serious searching for people called Bellingham and Tong today but, unsurprisingly, I allowed myself to be sidetracked again.

What I actually did was knock over the pile of paper on the corner of my desk and there, in the midst of the scatterings, was a complete gem.

Distant rellies William and Maria Flavell (he's my first cousin five times removed) were Landbeach people who emigrated to Australia in 1855 and I have been in touch, a number of times, with one of their descendants in Oz.  Today, when I found the "gem", I did a bit more googling and found a website (homepage.mac.com) with even more gems!  A heartfelt "thank you" to the Cheeseman family researchers, the owners of that website.

So let's ignore William (1805-1863) and skip straight to Maria (nee Phillips) who merited half a dozen newspaper reports upon her death in 1907.  The following, from "The Donald Times" on 29 November 1907, is a fairly good representation of all of them.  Prepare to be awed at Maria's stamina.....

Another old colonist in the person of Mrs Flavell passed away at Watchem on Wednesday evening of last week, at the ripe age of 99 years and six months.  She enjoyed remarkable health throughout her long life until the 11th of the present month when she had to take to her bed through an attack of influenza which turned to pneumonia.  Dr Calhoun was called in but from the first could not hold out any hope of her recovery.  She gradually sank and passed peacefully away at about 7 o'clock on Wednesday evening.  The funeral took place at Watchem on Thursday afternoon when her remains were followed to their last resting place by a large number of old friends and relations, the Rev. G. Brodie (Presbyterian) of Birchip officiating at the home and the graveside.

Deceased was born at Cambridge (England) on 28 May 1808, her maiden name being Maria Phillips.  At the age of 28 she was married to Mr Wm Flavell. In 1855 they emigrated to Australia in the vessel known as the "Thames".  Her husband and she landed at Geelong where Mr Flavell engaged in pastural pursuits on Mr Swanston's station at Inverleigh.  In 1861 her husband died, leaving her with seven children.  She remained in Inverleigh until 1879 and then went to Wickliffe, where she lived with one of her sons until 1897.  The remaining ten years of her life were spent with her daughter, Mrs (Eliza) Bruce, at Watchem.  Her family consisted of 14 children, seven of whom survive her, and her descendants are: 43 grandchildren, 68 great grandchildren and 36 great great grandchildren.


More soon.

22 October 2011

Village pride...

So there I was, searching for information about a chap called Laban Thoday.  I know that he was serving with the South African Infantry Brigade when he died so I was hoping to find out when he emigrated.  I haven't, yet.

But I did find a photograph of him (which is on my website).

And some wonderful village pride, courtesy of www.oldwillingham.com:

Willingham:  The late Lce-Cpl L. Thoday - A Willingham correspondent writes:  I noticed in your last issue the photo of Lce-Cpl Laban Thoday, South African Infantry, who was killed in action on July 15th 1916.  He is described as of Harston.  We know he had acquired property there, a house and fruit garden, but Lce-Cpl Laban Thoday is a Willingham boy, being the youngest son of the late Mr Ephraim Thoday.  His widowed mother, to whom he had been a great stay, still lives in Willingham.  We know how unselfishly patriotic he was in leaving a lucrative position in South Africa to fight for his country.  Many brave men perished in Delville Wood, but none more brave or true that Lce-Cpl Laban Thoday, of whom Willingham is justly proud.

More soon.

19 October 2011

References, References, References

Thought I'd use the Calendar feature on my website to select today's subject and I settled on Alice Burrows, my gt-gt-aunt, who married John Hopkins today in 1819.  The daughter of Robert & Elizabeth, nee Jallen, Alice was born in Manea in 1798 and she & John were married in the parish church there.

Over the next twenty three years they produced eleven children (seven daughters, four sons) and, according to my records, begat 86 descendants.  That is, 86 descendants that I know of so far.  The majority of them appear to have stayed in the county but one or two broke out and went as far as Lancashire!

What I noticed most of all though was the difference between my early research and the info that I logged more recently.  References.

The early stuff is seriously lacking in the things.  And one reference, memorably, simply says "Christening Records".  Hey, nothing much got past me in those days.

So, I shall leave you contemplating 86 descendants and I'm going to start finding some of those references. Let's just hope that I agree with the information.....

More soon.

26 September 2011

Catching up....

So, a larger than usual gap between posts, sorry.  I'm house-sitting in the wilds of the county at the moment and, although that means I'm away from my databases, I have spent some of the time checking the info on my website.

Quite an interesting exercise ..... you notice all the references that are missing and the events which simply could not have happened but that you never noticed before!  I would recommend it to fellow genealogists but most of you probably checked all the info before putting it on the interweb!

Anyway, must go as the house-sitting includes looking after two cats who have, during my sojourn here, brought me a decent variety of wildlife.  Mostly small, I grant you, but some of it was still alive.  House has been cleansed of the feathers.....

More soon.

10 September 2011

A whole lot of Bull ....

Exciting time this week - I managed to throw away another two sheets of paper from the corner of the desk and one from off the floor!

I also went over to St Ives to finally meet Sue and her husband Rob.  He's my second cousin once removed, and Sue & I have been emailing for a number of years.  An excellent guided tour of the Hemingfords first, which included Common Lane .... a road where the only "common" thing is the grassy field at the end!  

And then Sue let me loose on the photos ..... I love old photos, any old photos, but I particularly enjoy old photos of people to whom I am distantly related.  Sheer joy, then, to finally see a decent photo of Albert (Dick) Culpin & his wife Florence (nee Measures) and their three daughters.  And Henry (Bob) and his wife Grace.

And Sue & Rob were kind enough to give me the letter my grandfather wrote to Florence when her husband, his uncle, died.  That's the first time I've ever seen his handwriting and it will be much treasured.

Oh, and, I had a (reasonably) close encounter with a bull.  The family has a farm and the bull needed moving from one field to another.  I volunteered to help and was equipped with a bit of blue plastic tubing and the instruction to make myself big.  I understood entirely what was meant but wasn't really prepared for the size of the beast.  Or the fact that he was a little bit frisky.  And he spotted me.

Fear not, loyal reader, my hosts intervened before my safety was threatened but I would like to point out that this bull is, to use an agricultural term, a bit of a big b****r.  Rob gently told me that, actually, the bull is only two-thirds of its adult size!

So, exhilarating.  Certainly made my heart beat faster.  But no experience is wasted and I shall know next time: keep out of the way!  I had a lovely day and was made most welcome.  I was drinking coffee yesterday when I got an email from Sue, with an attachment .... a picture of the bull!  Coffee went everywhere as I laughed out loud.

More soon.

4 September 2011

Much confused ...

I've spent the last three hours adding Culpins various to the databases.  Some of the notes have been around for a while so it was good to find the writing was still legible and the ink hadn't faded too much! I'd found some obits online a few months ago and was able to claim a couple of them for the family file so that was good. But one note which has led to much scratching of the head. 

On the "iannounce.co.uk" website, I found Reginald Culpin enlisted in Loughborough and was in the Leicestershire Regiment. At the time of his death he was with the Durham Light Infantry. He was killed in Flanders on 14 July 1918 aged 19 years. He is buried in an unknown grave and commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 129, and Kegworth Church. And his service details are on Ancestry: Reginald Henry Culpin. Son of Arthur Biddle Culpin and Frances Ellen, nee Heighton. And on the CWGC website: son of Arthur Riddle and Frances Ellen. What's a B or an R between friends? 

But .... and far be it from me to question the authorities here ..... I think he's actually Richard Henry. Born 1899 and the right age. Just to confuse me, he has a brother Reginald Arthur, born 1905. I did wonder if the real Reginald joined up under age but records show him getting married in 1932 and dying, at the right age for his birth, in 1968. So, I think it really was Richard Henry (I'll say his name again) who joined up and gave his life. Wonder why he was registered in the army as Reginald? And how does this error carry on? Surely someone would have corrected it by now? 

Maybe the clouds of confusion will lift if I stop thinking about it .... 

More soon.

14 August 2011

Sidetracked again ....

Wondering what or who to write about yesterday, I thought I'd use the new Calendar page on my website.  A choice of William Wade, George Debney and George Blaydon; I discarded the two Georges and went for Mr Wade.

He belongs to the "Langford" side of my ancestry, being the son of Edward Wade & Phebe Bigley, born in Chatteris.  And I didn't have much about him.  So I set to, websites on every tab, and discovered him marrying (Mary Hurry), having children (11:7:4, according to the 1911 census) and ultimately dying in Peterborough in 1925.

However, as often happens, I didn't stop to actually tell you all about him.  Having discovered seven children (remember: 11 born of the marriage, 7 still alive, 4 died), I wanted to find out who the "still alive" ones were.  So far, I have proved that Harriet (born 1878 in Warboys, married Charles Baxter) was in Goodyer's Yard, Peterborough, in 1911 with husband and five children; Minnie (born 1883 in Peterborough, married George Ashpool) was in North Street, Stanground; and Hannah (born 1887 in Peterborough, married Charles Carley) was in Henson Street, Peterborough.

Add to those three, their sister Ethel (born 1892 in Peterborough) who was "assisting mother" at home in 1911.  So we're up to four.  But, if Ethel was born in 1892, where was she in the 1901 census?  

And what happened to Caroline (born 1894 in Peterborough)? Seven years old in 1901, she would be old enough to be out as a "GSD" (general servant domestic) by 1911 ..... can I find her?  How many different ways are there to spell "Wade"?  Or Caroline?  Doubtless, I'll have a better idea later today!

And did William, the only brother, marry Louie Apthorpe in 1909?  Probably more than one William Wade in Peterborough at that time ...!  

All this really is to say that I set out with good intentions ..... but, hey, better late than never ...?

More soon.

25 July 2011

Foreign Parts

OK, so I'm not terribly keen on the new layout of FamilySearch most of the time but today I simply love it!  I've found India ....

Well, I knew India exists, obviously, and I also know that some of my rellies soldiered out there.  But today I discovered someone marrying out there, having a child out there and, by inference, dying out there (his young bride marries again, three years after marrying him, and is listed as a widow).

Jaazaniah Culpin, for t'was he, was born in Ketton cum Tixover, Rutland, in 1824, the youngest of the eight children of John and Ann and was christened in the parish church.  And that's all I knew about him, until today.  I'd thought that his unusual name would help me keep track of him ...... yeah, right, I was quite naive back then!  I have to think about how to spell it so I don't imagine it appears the same way twice.

Anyway, I'm very pleased to have found him and his son, named after him poor boy, but then he dies so soon .  Not unusual, I appreciate, but my experience has always been that the wife dies first!  Still, being a soldier was undoubtedly an occupation which was hazardous to health so I shouldn't have been surprised.

Let's hear it for FamilySearch .... and I'll try harder to like the layout.

More soon.

10 July 2011

All over the place

Yep, that's me - all over the place again.  

I've finally entered into the database some newspaper articles which I transcribed over a year ago ..... can't rush a good thing, I think!  These were about Vic Martin, late of the parish of Girton, who was a West Ham legend and played in the White Horse Cup Final, as well as for England.  Seems it had occurred to the villagers of Girton that some manner of remembrance was required and they duly erected a plaque, appropriately enough at the football club.

And I've also been following a friend's distant relative who I discovered, in the words of Mark Knopfler & James Taylor, "sailing to Philadelphia" (great song, by the way).  Once I'd switched my remaining brain cell on and realised that Philadelphia is a town, not a state (I have some fairly dumb moments), I went off to the central library and settled down in front of Ancestry.com for an hour "in the USA".

Only one problem ensued ..... how can someone be christened, in a different country, before they claim to have been born?  The index of West Yorkshire Births & Baptisms, on ancestry, gives a christening which is a good six months before he admits, on the US Federal Census on 1920, that he was born.  Good trick if you can do it!

On the positive side, and almost nullifying the above problem as far as I'm concerned, is that three of the family applied for US passports ..... and therefore there are photographs!!!!  Excellent!

So now I'm going to go and enter all this data before the golf comes on.

If the golf comes on ..... it didn't half rain up in Inverness yesterday.

More soon.

28 June 2011

The fourth estate down under

The roof's on at Wimbledon and the rain is thundering down here too, complete with celestial fireworks.  Just another summer's day in Britain!

Anyway, I'm going to continue my praise of the Australians and their Trove newspaper site.  Go to: http://www.trove.nla.gov.au to see what I mean.  I have had just *so* much fun with it!

The latest discovery was one of quite a few detailing the life and loves of one of the Pioneer families of Western Australia.  Not within my tree, alas, but no less fascinating for being antecedents of one of my friends.  I'm deliberately not mentioning names at this point because the "latest discovery" was three articles questioning whether one of the sons had actually abducted a young girl .....

Quite heart-rending, actually, as the girl herself was an orphan who was being treated badly by the woman who had taken her in. The first article rather suggested that the young man was a peeping tom, as well as a child abductor, but I recognised other names and realised he was just looking to see if his sister was at home!

In the end, all charges were dropped against him, although I feel sure he was warned to be more careful in future!  Sadly, I don't recall whether the girl's life improved ....

My strawberries and (free) cream are calling to me.

More soon.

9 June 2011

It was all going so well ....

Good morning from a pleasantly damp Cambridge!  Maybe the weeds will be pull-up-able soon .... ?

Anyway, this morning I have been Culpin hunting again.  Thanks to a discovery via Google (btw look at today's Google page, it's brilliant), I found that Richard Culpin (1831-1912) moved to Cheshire and begat a number of little Culpins there - excellent!!

And then, because of another search, this time on Find My Past, I came back (as it were) to Titchmarsh, near Thrapston, to William Culpin and his wife Lizzie (nee Quince) at the time of the 1911 census.  There they were, in Chapel Street, with their children - seven - plus one grandson and I saw that they'd had fourteen in total, losing one prior to the census.  That's quite impressive, in my book, to have so many children survive and I was really pleased for them.

Until I read down the page on the database ..... and saw that fate, in the shape of the Great War, had decided to redress the balance somewhat.  Eldest son William, already in the Army in 1911 and a Sergeant in the Northamptonshire Regt by 1914, was killed in March 1916; third son Edward, a 14 year old farm labourer in 1911, also joined the Northants and was killed on 5th November 1918. Just six days before the Armistice.

For some reason my brain then brought forward the line from Albert & The Lion: What, waste all our lives raising children, to feed ruddy lions ......

More soon.

31 May 2011

Anyone for tennis?

Yep, it's that time of the year again ..... tennis from Paris.  And, because of the dry weather this year, it also means an early viewing in this house of British strawberries!  And they're gorgeous.

And I deserve them after spending almost an entire day putting together a document containing "all the Culpins I have got".  May not sound very difficult but it meant combining two files - the family Culpins and the "stray" Culpins - and then putting them into alphabetical order within their names.

A mere 75 pages of A4, I just need to print it now.  For ease of use, I may well take it to a local printers' shop and get them to print and spiral bind it; that way it'll also last longer.

If any Culpin researchers out there would like a copy, just email me.

More soon.

15 May 2011

Chameleons and Corrections

Today, having come down to earth after the joy of Manchester City winning the FA Cup yesterday, I'd like to introduce you to George Westley Langford, my first cousin three times removed and a bit of a chameleon.  Born just one month before they married, his parents were Benjamin Langford & Charlotte Westley, and young George was christened in St James' Church, Stretham, on 3rd January 1847.  

141 years ago today, as George Wesley, he married Jane Rowell in the village and they went on to produce eleven children, all of whom were registered with the surname of Wesley.

I found a lot of this info ages ago and, having plucked out George & Jane's wedding as an anniversary to comment on, thought I'd better revisit them to see what else happened to them.  And quite intriguing it is too!

George started out as an ag lab in Stretham and then became a railway platelayer, remaining in Stretham until at least 1901.  I suspect I failed to find him again because, shock horror, he left the county! Mind you, he didn't go far  ...... in 1911 he & Jane, together with daughter Rose & grandson Cyril, are ensconced in the Gate House at Needingworth, near St Ives (Hunts, not Cornwall), where George is the Gate Keeper on the GER line.  And not for long, either, as he has returned to the county, if not necessarily Stretham, by the time of his death in 1923.

Now for the corrections ..... memo to self "Do Not Assume".  I really only looked more closely at them because, in the 1911 census, George & Jane are listed as having had 12 children, with 8 still living.  You can look back at my opening sentence and see that I still haven't found the twelfth, although I assume said child is the fourth death.  Mind you, I have also discovered that there were two Emily Wesley's born in 1881 in Stretham - and I chose the wrong one to follow!!

On the positive side, G&J's daughter Edith married William Parker, Rose married William Asplin and Sarah married Robert Nightingale; son Albert married Annie Chapman. Horace, alas, gets a mention on my website in the Great War deaths page.

Amusing note to end on: Sarah & Robert Nightingale named their daughter ...... yep, you've guessed it ... Florence.  Poor child!

More soon.

8 May 2011

Directories ...

A while ago I was given a copy of the Kelly's Directory of Huntingdonshire for 1930 and I've finally got round to looking at it.  So far, I haven't got past the first few pages; there are some superb adverts.

For example, on page 7 we have: "Chas J Ell & Sons, Victoria Well Works"  - that'll be Mr Ell the Well.  On the same page Griffin Bros (the Wireless People) tell us that they have "Competent Workmen".

Arnold & Sons Ltd, "Artistic Shopfitters" who constructed and fixed the Oak Doors to the Main Entrance of the Guildhall, Northampton.

My favourite, though, is "Miss M Jeffs' Registry Office for Servants".  Not only does it answer my question about how one got a post in service, it also made me smile:
"Patronized by the Nobility, Clergy and Gentry"
"Families supplied with - Housekeepers, Cooks, Ladies' Maids, Parlourmaids, Housemaids, Kitchenmaids, Generals and Useful Helps Etc."
"Also all classes of Menservants"
"Stop-gaps supplied on shortest notice"
And, in the bottom right corner as an afterthought ....."Chauffeurs".

I shall look properly now to see if I can find any familiar names & I will share any more amusing snippets.

More soon.

3 May 2011

It must be the sun...

Well, something's bringing out criminals in my tree .....

I was furkling about, following the life of Thomas Pates .... born 1827 in Biggleswade, married Jane Hawkins in 1851 and begat seven children. They moved to Wellingborough in the early 1870s and John changed from being an ag lab to a shepherd.  So far, so very ordinary.

Then, noting his absence from the 1881 census, I looked for his death prior to that and there it was in 1878.  Idly thinking "he's quite young at 51", I returned to the main Ancestry page, to see that there was an entry in the England and Wales Criminal Registers Index.  In 1878.

Sharp intake of breath.  Surely not a black cap moment in court? Not a murderer?

Well, no, actually ... turns out he was up for larceny.  A bog-standard tea leaf.  Not sure whether I was disappointed or relieved!

But he never made it to trial:

"Evidence given that prisoner died since committal. Costs of prosecution ordered to be paid and recognisances of prosecutor and witnesses discharged."

Are we looking at a death in custody?  Don't think I'll be claiming against the constabulary - they'll probably charge me the prosecution costs!

More soon.

25 April 2011

A third first!

So, the Easter Bunny has been - turned up on a bike, complaining that the Mis-Guided Busway has 'hills' in it - and very kindly deposited chocolate onto my lap. Nice!

And I've found another 'first' - a death at sea. Henry Sydney Culpin, aka Harry, was born in Godmanchester in 1877, the son of Harriet (and a father, obviously, but I'm blowed if I can find his name) and moved with the family to the Manchester area while he was still young. Mother (re)married circa 1900. Harry appeared with his grandparents in the 1881 census and was then conspicuous by his absence until I found him in the Probate Index.

But not in the Deaths Index. Curious, I thought, until I finally read the narrative of the Probate entry and found that he died at sea. That would explain it, I guess, but I need to do some research into where the details will be. Time to dig out my well-thumbed copy of Mark Herber's excellent reference 'Ancestral Trails' ..... he'll know!!

I also need to find him in the 1891 and 1901 censuses. I know he married in 1898 in Cheshire, to Georgina Lea, but I can't find her either. So they're hiding from me or I simply wasn't paying attention when I was sitting in the sun this morning with the computer ....

More soon.

17 April 2011

Balancing ...

Following on from the mildly criminal soldier of my last entry, I thought I'd restore the balance by introducing you to Miss Daisy Ellen Culpin, born in Hackney in 1883.

Her father, Millice, took the family to Queensland in 1891 and Daisy, the youngest of six children, grew up to become a school teacher.  And then the Headmistress of an independent school in Toowoomba, as the Brisbane Courier-Mail of 19 June 1940 tells us:

Farewell to Fairholme College Principal

Toowoomba, Tuesday - Miss D.E. Culpin, who is retiring at the end of the week from the position of principal of Fairholme Presbyterian Girls' College, which she has held for 18 years, was farewelled at the school today, and presented by the Rev. Mervyn Henderson, principal of Emmanuel College and chairman of the Presbyterian Board of Education, with a cheque for £250 from the board.  The senior prefect (Olive McMahon) presented Miss Culpin with a wallet of notes from the staff and pupils.

Indeed the school's website is good enough to confirm Daisy's tenure: 

Miss Daisy Culpin became the third Principal of Fairholme (1922-1940) and also the longest serving Principal.  She guided the College through the formative period of the twenties and the difficult depression years of the thirties.  Consolidation and expansion of enrolments and the establishment of facilities were noteworthy features of her term of office.

See, a bit of respectability in the tree!  Wait till I tell you what I found today in the Aussie papers .....

More soon.

15 April 2011

Australian Records

They're wonderful!

Australian Records, I mean. I've been following a line of Culpins in Victoria/New South Wales which started with John & Charlotte (nee Spurr). They emigrated in 1852 and ended up in the Ballarat area, begatting eleven children; sadly, at least five of them died in infancy (including four Williams) and a couple of them are still eluding me.

However, George (born 1863 in Italian Gully) married Catherine Bond and had eight children; Sarah (1845, Colsterworth, Lincs) married Alfred Hamea and had at least six children; Mary Ann (1849, Colsterworth) married John Crougey and added seven to the grandchildren total.

So far, the most info I have is on George's offspring, thanks to the wonderful newspaper site www.trove.nla.gov.uk and the Mapping our Anzacs site http://mappingouranzacs.naa.gov.au.

So far I have found one son who beat his wife and was fined for Bad Language; incidentally he was also turned down for the AIF in the Great War.

Another son served three years in the Great War; his papers show a fair number of 'Absent without Leave' entries and being 'disrespectful' to his superiors which, given the circumstances, I actually found quite understandable! The newspapers tell us he's coming home in 1919.

Then they tell us that he lost his life in an accident at a railway station. Not sure yet, but looks as though he meant it, which makes it even more tragic.

Loads more to find out and report, so stay tuned!

More soon.

10 April 2011

Wanted in connection ...

... with murder!!

The time: September 1888; The place: Eskbank, Sydney

Dramatis Personnae: George & Elizabeth Culpin, Reuben and Elizabeth Taylor.

According to the local papers (now on the Internet) the above-mentioned four were out for a stroll near the railway line and then had an argument, possibly alcohol-fuelled!

Next morning Mrs Taylor's body was found; cause of death was asphyxiation. Fortunately she hadn't been run over by a train (as the article pointed out). The coroner's jury couldn't make up its mind, despite being locked in a room for eight hours, and the Culpins & Taylor were remanded into custody to await trial.

Stay tuned for the outcome ....

More soon.

3 April 2011

The learner driver ...

Nothing to do with genealogy but deserving of publication:

At a set of traffic lights locally, a queue of cars had built up behind a learner driver who kept stalling the engine. The other drivers were getting impatient and hooting their horns.

However, the car behind the learner contained members of the constabulary and, after the lights had changed a couple of times with no movement, the police driver turned on his loudspeakers and asked the drivers behind him to be patient, pointing out that 'we've all had to learn'.

Then the learner driver got the car in gear and moved off.


Into the police car.

Then the queue heard over the loudspeaker, 'Bloody stupid cow'!

31 March 2011

Another first ...

As the title suggests, I hit another "first" this week, by discovering a Prisoner of War amongst my various & distant ancestors.

Blaydon Edward Pilbrow, for t'was he, was born in July 1899 to William & Laura (nee Blaydon) in the village of Hinderclay in Suffolk. He lived briefly in Ipswich, although he may well have been too young to notice (speculation, m'lud, no evidence!), and then the family returned to his birth place by 1911.

According to the Great War Service Records on Ancestry, Blaydon enlisted on 6 September 1917 at the age of 17yrs 359 days, then joined the British Expeditionary Force in France on 2 April 1918.  Three weeks later he was taken prisoner.

Blaydon died five months later, in the prison hospital in Metz.  I originally thought that Metz was in Germany but, having just looked it up, it seems to be in France - just south of Luxembourg and just north of Nancy.

So, the next thing to do is to look for information about POWs in the Great War .....

More soon

26 March 2011

Military matters ....

Every time I find a new male ancestor born in the 1890s I get mildly depressed.  In the sense that my heart sinks as I wonder: "did he grow up to get chewed up in the military machine of the Great War?"

Alas, I found another two this morning who fulfilled this sad thought.  And they were brothers.  Cecil and Albert Blaydon, of Luton, were my fourth cousins three times removed and the sons of Sydney & Mary (Lily).  Both joined the Bedfordshire Regiment and ended up in the 1st/5th Battalion.

Albert died at Suvla Bay, aged 18, in 1915 and his brother Cecil, older by two years, died in Palestine two years later having, I assume, survived the hell of Gallipoli.

One thing I did learn was that both brothers were killed by Turkish forces.  I had no idea that the Turks were the opposition in Palestine, so that's increased my knowledge.

More soon.

15 March 2011

I think I'd better stop .....

I've had a few enquiries recently from people who have found people on the website and, this evening, I thought I'd better do some research before responding to one of them.

The request was for any link/further info about George Day.  Now, I have three George Days on the site, all related to each other ..... well, all on the same branch of the tree.  And none of them has a great deal of info, hence the desire to beef up the detail before replying.

Perhaps the reason is that I simply can't find much .......?

And when I did find something on two people related to them - had to widen the net for any chance - I have promptly killed them off!

Faith Day, possible mother of one George Day: found her in the 1861 census and then she died two years later.  And Solomon Day, brother of another George Day: found him in Belgravia (as a servant) in 1871 and, blow me, he died two years later too.  Irritatingly, before I could find him with the wife he should have as he is down as married in the census.

What with that and a new pair of specs which are driving me nuts, I'm going to call it a night before I either kill more people off or throw the specs through the screen!

More soon.

1 March 2011

A restless man ...

Happy St David's Day to you!

I don't know that I have any Welsh ancestry, although I'm fairly certain that the Celts made their way to this part of the country, so I thought I'd follow up an entry I made in November 2008.  I've already explained how rubbish I am at filing info, so you won't be surprised at how long it took me to enter this stuff ....

Albert Hahnamann Culpin was born in 1860 in Ardley, Herts, the son of Benjamin & Sarah (nee Chaloner), and grew up in his father's Shillington (Beds) parish (Benjamin was a minister).  I found reference, in the Beds Archives, to some letters Albert wrote about his life in the Army in 1877 and now I can report the follow-up:

This time, the Shillington website (www.shillington-history.org.uk) comes up trumps ..... "letters survive from Albert Culpin, the son of the Congregational minister, in which he refers to Shillington men whom he met nearly everywhere he went.  He was a restless man who enlisted at one stage where he met some he knew.  He then deserted and stowed away to America, travelled the country extensively and later went to Australia."

How impressive is that!!  

Of course, as a stowaway he is unlikely to have left a trail but I have found him on the New South Wales Unassisted Passengers Lists, arriving in Sydney on 19 May 1890 aboard the vessel "Burwah".

There is a reference, again in the Beds Archives, to a letter written by him in 1892 about the Broken Hill strike and maritime disturbances but I need to work on how to read this, along with the correspondence from his (brief) time in the Army.

And then, courtesy of the wonderful Aussie BMD indexes, I found his death in Ryde, NSW, in 1932.

I'm really quite pleased with myself.  Now all I have to do is sort through the pile at my left elbow - heaven knows what I'll find in there!

More soon.

21 February 2011

Slightly less confused

But only slightly ......

Followed up on Ruth Culpin, who married William Andrew and went off the Antipodes. And I found her death registration in Victoria, in 1862, aged 38 years.

And, bless the Aussies, there are her parents: John Culpin and Elizabeth.

Now to find a John & Elizabeth in the right temporal and geographical area.....

More soon.

20 February 2011

A really rubbish day

Today I tried to find some Pinckneys .... as you do.

Chap called George. Born in November 1881; married in 1909; died 1952.

Of those three events, only the latter two can be found on the registers. He was supposedly born to Isaac and Amy - seven years before they actually married. And I can't find him in any census. His wife appears in 1911 .... as the head of the household, with only her sister for company.

I can't help wondering about the parent's marriage. Isaac was in the Navy, which might account for absences but, given that they married in 1888 by licence, could they not have done that during one of his returns ..... They had another two children between the-problematic-George and their wedding!

More soon.

19 February 2011

Now I'm confused ...

So there I was, furkling around on Rootsweb and I found a Ruth Culpin who was born in the nearby county of Huntingdon.  The daughter of John & Elizabeth, she married William Andrew and emigrated to Australia a couple of years later.

Apparently ......

I can find her in the 1851 census, in the workhouse in Huntingdon, recorded as an unmarried farm labourer born in Steeple Gidding (I'll spare you their spelling!); I can find her marriage in 1852; and I can find two children born to a Ruth Culpin in Huntingdon in 1846 and 1851, both of whom died as infants. 

But I can't find Ruth's christening, so I can't find her parents.

I can find two Culpins christened in Steeple Gidding: Catherine (1828) and Caroline (1831), both the daughters of John and Elizabeth.  I then found these girls in the 1841 census, still in Steeple Gidding, living with the family of William Hospital (that's what it says).

And I'm even more puzzled and confused.  Because there is an Elizabeth Aspital in the tree, who married Charles Culpin in St Ives in 1809.

I think the next move (or one of them) is to go and look on Ancestry.com, the worldwide version, which I can access at the library; then I can search the Australian BMDs.  The Aussies, bless their little cotton socks, very kindly put the parents' names on the death registrations so, if I can find Ruth Andrew, I may get a clue .....

More soon.

6 February 2011

Is it me?

I'm going to whinge today (just for once) .....

Ordinarily I enjoy using Ancestry (the UK version) and I appreciate the details it can give me.  But sometimes it drives me completely nuts.

For two reasons:- firstly, I keep getting directed to the "New Search" page.  Now, just to be clear here, I do not like the new search; I much prefer the old one.  Maybe it's just what I'm used to but I certainly get better results with it.

And, secondly, it's getting very literal with its "exact" searches.  If I want to search for Sarah Ann, I invariably do not put in the Ann as, in my mind, it limits the search parameters too much.  It used to then spit out all the Sarahs, Sarah Anns, Sarah Elizabeths etc.

And, sometimes, it still does that.  Great.  But not always.  And that's why it's driving me nuts.  Please, Ancestry, make your mind up.  Why can you not find Sarah (Ann) in her own right, yet you happily point me to her husband Edwin whose wife, coincidentally, is Sarah (Ann) ???


More soon.

15 January 2011

New Year Resolutions

So, I set myself just the one resolution as 2011 turned the corner and that was to deal with correspondence within a reasonable time.  And ..... it's two weeks later ....... and my resolution has gone the way of so many before.

If you've taken the time and trouble to email me and you haven't had an answer, I can only apologise.  It's not deliberate, it's just that ..... I keep forgetting.

For example, I've just looked in the pile of paper which is a permanent fixture on the corner of the desk and discovered some correspondence from July last year.  It looks as though I have actually replied - to a chap who is related to my Freeman side and found the website - but I've hardly touched the information he sent me.  How ungrateful is that!

Interestingly, the website and this blog are beginning to bring quite a few queries, some of which come from "abroad".  Now, it may seem a bit daft in this age of world-wide-webs and stuff, but I am really thrilled to get emails from people in other countries.  If only they could have an airmail-envelope-type header on them, then my cup would be full.

Back in reality, I've finished the Music Festival paperwork for the moment so I've got a few minutes to give to my favourite occupation.  I guess the first thing is to read through the info from July!

More soon.

4 January 2011

Tricky things, names!

Well, here we are in 2011 ...... Happy New Year, faithful reader, and may it be a good one for all of us.

I have been chasing down a distant ancestor who's been pretty elusive for a very simple reason - his name! It's reasonably 'normal'; he was born and christened into the family Travis. Then they started appearing in the census as Trevis. A bit of a nuisance but nothing that can't be solved with a wildcard search, using a * as the third character.

But now ...... he's gone to London and turned into Mr Trevers. Honestly, the Cambs accent isn't that strong. Is it?

I wonder why??

More soon.