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.