23 October 2012

A missed opportunity.....

Staying, loosely, with the theme of my last entry, I went to the Cambridgeshire Collection today to look at their newspaper collection on microfilm.  The focus of this search was a possible funeral report (I know how to have fun) which, sadly, appeared to be conspicuous by its absence.

I did, though, find a short article which would be a headline-maker's dream in the 21st century but was treated with much more respect in 1951, the year I was furkling through.....

"DOCTOR FOUND PATIENT DEAD" was the heading.

The patient's name?  LIVING.

Just think of the possibilities.......!!

More soon.

22 October 2012

Don't diss the Fens.......!

I may have mentioned before that I just *love* the British Newspaper Archive (although I am less than enamoured at the cost, given that their Australian counterparts don't charge at all); so you will understand that I enjoy a good search through the BNA's pages.

The following came up as a result of a search for Langfords in Stretham and I only really read all the way to the end because I was attempting to edit it.  Then, after a mild chuckle at the "..... followed to the grave...." I got a bit sniffy with the journalist who wrote it, for his somewhat back-handed compliment to my favourite part of the land....

The late Mr John Read of Stretham, whose death at the advanced age of 83 was noticed in our last paper, was on Thursday followed to the grave by, amongst other relations and friends, the four after-named persons—his widow, in her 84th year—Mr John Dimmock, in his 81st— Mr John Langford, in his 86th—and Mr Wingfield Hitch, in his 87th —Mr and Mrs Read had been married upwards of sixty two years, and had eight children, two of whom died in their infancy—the other six attended the funeral of their father.
—The above account may perhaps tend to shew that a residence in the fens is not altogether so prejudicial to health as many persons are inclined to suppose.
—Mr. Read for many years of his life had the management of the Drainage within Waterbeach Level, and this duty he performed with great zeal and activity; indeed it is well known that at this period he might be said during the winter seasons to have passed almost the whole of his time amongst the waters. Mr Read was also for a great length of time steward to the late and the present Sir Charles Morgan, Bart.

More soon.

8 October 2012

Getting about a bit.......

First today a "big up", as the yoof say, to GRO Scotland.  I applied for a death certificate online and the small print said it could take up to three weeks, not including Royal Mail time.  So, expectation duly set low, I was more than pleasantly surprised to receive it in three days!

Actually, I have to say that the Scottish death certificates are a joy to behold for a genealogist as they give so much more information that their English counterparts.  Parents, spouse (all deceased too, on this occasion) and more maiden names that you can shake a stick at.  And the index includes maiden names too.  What's not to like?

Went back to the National Archives last week and found some more stuff.  Such an easy journey - down to Kings X, then underground, including the easiest train change ever - get off one, walk ten yards to the other platform and step on the next train.  And then, from Kew Gardens station to the Archives ..... signposts for the hard of thinking, and it's only about a six minute walk.  I discovered a hitherto-hidden side of my friend Mo as she stopped every few paces to ogle the planes coming into land at Heathrow..... :-)

Having pre-ordered some documents, I was a bit disappointed that the War Diary of the Suffolk Regiment was unavailable because it is being digitised.  I know that means I'll be able to see it online but nothing can really replace touching a document written nearly one hundred years ago.

Two officer files *were* available though and fascinating reading they were.  Both Culpins, both were sent to Officer Cadet Battalions - one in Oxford, one in Cambridge.  The Cambridge lad was coming up from the ranks and it was quite bizarre to read that one of the questions in his application form was: "Born in wedlock?"  He was, fortunately, so wasn't turned down!  The Oxford chap was a school teacher who had previously been turned down for poor eyesight but was plainly determined to join and got a more accommodating ophthalmic surgeon to approve him.  His application was accompanied by a letter from his school housemaster, clearing up a mild confusion: his "real" name was Karl but he changed it to "Charles" - the housemaster explained that his mother was German but his father was pure English!!

Sadly, but inevitably, Karl/Charles was killed in 1917 and I saw a list of his personal effects sent back to his mother.  Poignant to notice that it included "Pair of eye-glasses (broken)".

More soon.