5 December 2013

Well, who'd'a thunk it......?

Next week I'm going to Bedford to meet Cynthia who got in touch after discovering that we share a 3xgreat grandfather, Benjamin Langford who married Martha Hatch in 1806.  So I'm going a bit more research.....

And I've got as far as Charlotte Haylock, my 2nd cousin twice removed, who was born in Grimsby in 1867, and married Ernest Frederick Kempton in Leicester in 1894.  So far, so very ordinary.

Except for one thing: Ernest Frederick Kempton is distantly related to my oldest friend Sally.  About the same relationship as mine to Charlotte.

That makes us practically sisters........

More soon.

2 December 2013

I remember when......

Today I had lunch with my uncle and, as ever, the conversation ranged far and wide, including a catch-up on our last collaboration, his old school annual newsletter.  From there we moved on to a former colleague of his, and to the expansion of the Trumpington part of Cambridge.

The unc, being a few years older than me, recalled that, as boys, he and his brothers used to cycle to the "separate village of Trumpington" with their mother to visit relatives.  The family, by name of Gentle, consisted of two brothers and a sister who were all deaf and dumb.  He couldn't recall, though, whether they were "real" uncles & aunt or just "family-friend-uncles & aunt".....

Being a bit of a nerd I had my iPad with me;  it has the family tree stored thereupon (of course, I'm a genealogist!) and I was able to find a Mr Gentle in the index, married into the correct branch.  I impressed even myself!!

Once home, and after a cuppa, I got stuck into finding this family; success was not too difficult to achieve as the above-mentioned Mr Gentle (Arthur to his friends) and his wife Susan did indeed live in Trumpington, complete with two sons and a daughter.  The "youngsters" were all marked in the 1911 census as "deaf & dumb" and each was attending the "Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb Children of the Poor" in Margate in 1901.  Herbert, the eldest, trained as a tailor and Stanley, brother number two, as a cycle repair mechanic. 

Most pleasing to be able to back up the story with facts; the family is not related to me but there is a distant link between them and my grandmother.  Now to tell the unc!

More soon.

1 December 2013

Bad news travelled fast......

Forming an inadvertent link to Andrew Martin's excellent blog at http://historyrepeating.org.uk/, I too will be talking about a family of Harrisons.....  Andrew's are in Cambridgeshire and I suppose mine are too...now, although at the time, St Ives was part of Huntingdonshire.  

My attention was drawn, by my friend Sue Anderson, to an article in The Times on 5th July 1927, entitled "Three People shot at St Ives".  Now, I should make it clear that this particular family of Harrisons are not related to me but are the in-laws of my 2xgt aunt May Culpin; but, honestly now, would you not want to follow it up?

So a quick delve into the British Newspaper Archive (no hardship, I promise) and I was able to fill in some more details:  Frederick Harrison, age 46, shot his wife Florence and his elder son Geoffrey and then himself.  His younger son Robert was out on an errand and found the results of this tragedy when he returned.  The subsequent inquest brought forth the information that Frederick had contracted malaria during War service and was unable to return to civilian life for for a year after the war ...."and it preyed on his mind."  

What I found fascinating was the number of newspapers which reported this, and their diverse geographical spread - the Aberdeen Journal, the Nottingham Evening Post and the Exmouth & Plymouth Gazette, to name but a few.  I guess that this, being linked with the Great War, was what caught the editors' eyes.

I now need to complete the story by finding the local Hunts Post reports - a trip to the Cambridgeshire Collection awaits!

As do more pressing domestic tasks, so ....

More soon.

4 November 2013

Where there's a Will......?

....... there will, inevitably, be an entry in the Probate Index (but not always).  And also where there's an Administration.......

Thus it was that I came upon a puzzle.  When George Bentley died in 1907 he didn't leave a Will so his wife applied for an Administration and probate was duly approved, leave a decent sum.  Then I found another probate entry in August 1930, same person.  Applied for, this time, by George junior; this time also a decent sum but a few pounds less that the 1907 version.

Much confusion at Rambling Genes Towers.

A bit more poking about and I discovered that Mrs George, the aforementioned wife, died in 1930 and junior applied, in April, for an Administration of her estate, the total being a few pounds less than her husband left in 1907.  The plot thickened when this probate was resworn and the effects were reduced to a paltry £10.

After much thought, and consulting my accountant friends, I think this was probably to do with his property/estate being left to her, for her lifetime, and then to junior.  But how would this be conveyed without a Will being left - Administrations all round, remember?

I still don't quite understand......

More soon.

25 September 2013

Mind the Gap (again).....

I've just realised how long it is since I last wrote something on here......  Sorry for the lapse but a lot of the stuff I've been working on has involved real, live people and, obviously, I'm not going to blog about that!

One collection of live people, however, did all meet up a couple of weeks ago.  My cousins in Oz are in the UK at present and suggested that we all get together...... so I helped to arrange a gathering in Ely.  And how much fun was that!!

About twenty-five of us had an afternoon together and I met people who had previously only been names in the tree!  Plenty of photos and a lot of laughing.  I had no recollection of meeting Jean, one of the Oz branch, but suggested to her that maybe I was a child when we last set eyes on each other.  It transpires that we met when I was 18...... I've nearly got over the embarrassment!

I've also made significant progress on a brickwall involving living people - and I actually finally managed to make contact and speak to the (previously) missing family.  Much chuffed with that and arranging to meet later in the year.  Definite "result"!

More soon.

25 July 2013

ITIKWIA (I think I know who I am.......)

Last night BBC1 showed the first episode of the new series of WDYTYA (Who Do You Think You Are) and featured Una Stubbs whose grandfather, it turned out, was Ebenezer Howard, the founder of the Garden City movement.  I can now add to that information, and they didn’t mention this in the programme, that I am distantly related to a member of the movement.

Ewart Gladstone Culpin, my second cousin three times removed, was born on 3 December 1877 in Stevenage, Herts, the son of Benjamin, a currier, and Eliza (nee Matthews).  In 1881 the family was in Stevenage and moved to Hitchin by 1891.  Having been schooled at Alleyns School & Hitchin Grammar, Ewart next appears on the 1901 census in Newport, Monmouthshire, aged 23, a journalist/author.  In 1903 he married Nora Driver in Royston, Herts.  Living in Letchworth Garden City in 1909, they had moved to Ilford by 1911 – where they gave their house the name “Letchworth".  After the Great War he founded The Culpin Partnership, an architectural company.  He died on 1 December 1946 in London. 

“Who’s Who” filled in a few more details:  JP, FRIBA; Officier de l'Ordre de la Couronne de la Belgique; Grand Officer of the Crown of Roumania; Commander of Order of the Black Star of Benin; Trustee, Official Czech Refugee Trust Fund.  Work: Sec. Garden City Association 1905; Founded International Garden Cities and Town Planning Association 1907; President Societe Belge pour la reconstruction de la Belgique; Chairman, Standing Conference on London Regional Planning, 1926 -1946.  Labour candidate North Islington, 1924; Alderman, LCC,; Vice-Chm, LCC, 1934-1937; Chairman, 1938-1939; Pres. Incorporated Assoc of Architects and Surveyors, 1930; Pres. TPI, 1937-1938.  Publications: A number of booklets on Housing and Town Planning. 

And, finally, Ewart wrote the following letter which appeared in The Times on 7 August 1908: 

The Town Planning Bill

I should be obliged if you would give publicity to the fact that the Garden City Association is prepared to arrange for speakers at meetings and conferences on the subject of town planning during the autumn and winter months.

The entire services of Mr Ebenezer Howard, well known throughout the country as the founder of the premier example of town planning, Letchworth Garden City, have been secured for this purpose and I shall be glad to receive applications from any societies, institutions or individuals interested in the matter.

It is felt that it is urgently necessary to educate the public of the country as to the importance of town planning, and so prepare the way for useful work being undertaken when the present Bill becomes law.

Yours faithfully
Ewart G Culpin
Secretary, Garden City Planning Assocation
602 Birkbeck Bank Chambers, Holborn, WC”

Looking forward to next week’s episode…….

More soon.

30 June 2013

Double trouble

So it's Sunday and the washing's on - yes, I'm hoping for that rare thing in this British summer....a day without rain!

And in the meantime I've been going back over some old research which I did for friends a few years ago.  Many more records have come online since I last looked at this family and there should be some rich pickings ahead....hopefully.

As is my wont I went off down a random branch - much liking the idea of "flying a Kite".  Because that was their name (a small joke, sorry) and I also liked the name Gabriel.  And because the action here takes place in Dorset I was imagining a "French Lieutenant's Woman" type scenario.

And I found father and son named Gabriel; Gabriel senior served in the Dorsetshire Regiment in the Great War and died in 1915 at the age of 43.  His son died 30 years later, serving with the Royal Artillery during the Second World War.  

I know it probably happened to a lot of families but it's a first for me so I'm feeling a bit more sober now.

More soon.

19 June 2013

It's time to re-unite......

So, exciting news - if you happen to be a descendant of Isaac Langford & Emma Quince.  We're having a Reunion (with a capital R, no less) in September.

I won't bore you with the details lest the paparazzi find us, but please get in touch if you're related to:

  • Lilian Brittle, nee Langford, born 1883 in Stretham, married William in Nottingham in 1905 
  • Ellen Webster, nee Langford, born 1878 in Stretham, married Ernest in Nottingham in 1900
  • Freeman Langford, born 1887 in Chatteris, married Dora in Tameside in 1920

Looking forward to hearing from y'all!

More soon.

27 May 2013

Names in a newspaper......

I *should* be editing a book about the boys of the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys who died in the two world wars but I found this note, made a couple of years ago, and felt it was time to publish the names here.

It's extracted from an article in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal of 4th June 1859, and I've listed the Ely names.....

In our last number we stated that we should probably punish the names of those members of the various choirs of the diocese who took part in the musical services at the Choral Festival at Ely last week.  We now redeem our conditional promise by printing the following list:-

Treble: Henry Macrow, Francis Woods, Charles Ling, Thomas Wilson, George Great, Thomas Kempton, Henry Bowles, Charles Levett, Arthur Jackman, William Macrow, William Barnard, Charles Cropley, William Goldsworthy, John Raby, Richard Chappell, James Goodbody, William Henry Hope, George Morgan, Joseph Ling, Charles King, William Levitt.
Alto: Messrs Charles Ling, Jesse Skelding, George Bickley, Albert Markwell.
Tenor: Messrs John Meacham, Richard Cross, G F Jackman, Benjamin Powell, Henry Hazell.
Bass: Messrs Thomas Kempton Snr, Jabez Jackman, Frederick Helmore (master of the choristers), Thomas Kempton Jnr, Owen Yarrow, Lister Jackman.

Treble: T Atkin, R Atkin, J Bull, F Bull, R Chapman, E Cross, T Fenn, W Layton, T Negus, x Gotobed, x Jervis, R Bonnett, E Cuttriss, H Toombs, x Cooper, x Woodroffe, Emma Askew, Betsy Fisher, Mary Ann Cuttriss, Harriet March, Sarah Ann Dalliday, Mary Cooper, Mary Ann Murray.
Alto: George Legge, Luke Cornwell, Robert Macrow, x Barber.
Tenor: Messrs Richard Toombs, William Toombs, Fyson Toombs, George Porteous, Charles Barratt, Thomas Cropley, Charles Morgan, Albert Lion, John Bull, James Greaves.
Bass: Messrs John Kempton, F Kempton, W Wilkinson, George Houghton, Albert Jackman, John Marsh, John Moore, John Toombs.

Hope it helps someone somewhere.....

More soon. 

18 May 2013

The thrill of the chase?

A few weeks ago I treated myself to the full Ancestry subscription and have had much fun wandering digitally (i.e. with my fingers) around the world's records.

So many US databases and their census information!  Canada - I salute you for your various records.  And European stuff too.  I love that, when hunting in a Paris births index, Ancestry warned me that I'd have to search in French and that the results would also be in French!  Can't beat Ancestry for helpfulness.....

And not forgetting Australia - another country with some magnificent online records (I particularly enjoy their newspapers at http://trove.nla.gov.au/.  Their national BMD indexes are very thorough - showing parents' names at almost every opportunity.  So, in about 30 minutes, I'd extracted about 10 times as many names as I could in a similar time on UK records.

But therein lies a bit of a problem for me........ it feels a bit like shooting fish in a barrel.  That is, it's too easy, there's no real challenge in it.  Whisper it very quietly but....I was almost bored.  Perhaps next time I will have to limit myself to one small family........

Apart from that minor snag, I'm loving the freedom to follow my rellies across the Pond or around the world.  So far I've discovered only people who went of their own accord but, hey, who can tell what's going to turn up.  That's the joy of this!

More soon.

10 April 2013

Unseen and unknown .....

Thanks to Andrew Martin's blog (http://historyrepeating.org.uk/) I remembered to go to St Ives on Monday to see the "Unseen St Ives" exhibition at the Norris Museum.  And very good it was too; I like the museum and it's always good to have a poke around but the addition of these photos made it even better.

Alas there were no Culpin relatives on show but I was entertained to read the following:

The old police station on Priory Road, c1940
Sandbags are piled up against the front of the police station during wartime.  The police station was built in 1845 and remained in use until 1973 when a new police station was built in Pig Lane.  This was felt to be an "unsuitable address" for the police station so that part of the street was renamed Broad Leas.

I'm still giggling about it.

In the meantime I am also puzzling about a branch of my Webb ancestry: their 1911 census entry indicates four children of the marriage, one alive, three having died.  So very clear.  Except that I have seven-two-five respectively.  Unfortunately there are plenty of people with the same name in that area so my chances of sorting them out online are somewhat slim - I suspect I'll need to see the  parish registers to have any chance of clearing it up!  Hey ho.....

More soon.

12 March 2013

So this is spring......?

It's the middle of March; spring, according to the Met Office, and it's trying to snow again......ridiculous!!  So I'm staying in the warm, physically and mentally, furkling around in the Queensland BMDs online.

My maternal first cousin 4 times removed, John Eastwell, removed himself and his family to Australia in 1854.  He was born in Great Gransden, Hunts, in 1816, married Charlotte Warboys in 1839 and, with their four surviving children, they arrived in Oz on board the vessel "General Hewitt", ending up in Queensland. where they begat two further offspring.

And began a line of much begatting.......I've found thirty four grandchildren so far, from the marriages of just three of their children.  One newspaper report, from Australian Newspapers Online (http://trove.nla.gov.au/) talks about the death of one of John & Charlotte's daughters-in-law: She married Mr Joseph Eastwell, a farmer; and at the time of her death she had 11 children living, 50 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren, a total of 83 descendants. 

I've got a long list of marriages and deaths to input and I still haven't started on John & Charlotte's daughters!

More soon.

21 February 2013

Lost and Found?

Ancestry seem to have misplaced their census references so I'll leave them alone for a few minutes to sort it out....

In the meantime, I'll tell you about two emails I received recently which have caused me to rethink some of my data.  Sylvia asked about James Blaydon, b 1827, and she suggested an alternative husband for him.  I disagree but I can see the potential problem: there were two James Blaydons born in that part of Suffolk within a couple of years of each other.  The younger, I think, married Hannah and "mine" married Anna Maria.  I can see, though, that I've mixed them up myself so, if you are currently looking at Blaydons on my website, please double-check.

And then there was Lynn who also threw a spanner in the works.  Another James, this time Mr Ongley, who may have been mixed up; it's a question of who was born in Reigate and who was born in Horley.  And if "my" James didn't marry Sarah, but rather hitched up with Mildred, then I've got the whole family wrong.  Plus, just to add to the confusion, he appears to be married to Amelia in the census; I'm thinking that this could be explained by abbreviating Mildred to Millie and then taking a leap to the census enumerator either mis-hearing or assuming that Amelia is the full-form of Millie.

Whatever the solutions, I love it when people take the trouble to email.  I'm by no means certain that I'm right all the time so I'm pleased to be pointed at corrections in this way!

More soon.

27 January 2013


So here I am, multi-tasking again.  Andy Murray playing in the Australian Open final on the TV and I'm researching something for today's blog entry.  Ordinarily I don't use a death date as a prompt but I see I have today.....

Percy Charles Walter Ongley, who died today in 1942, was my third cousin twice removed.  The son of Thomas & Laura Louisa (nee Bateman), he was born in Camberwell in 1879 and, in 1910, married his cousin Alice Maude Martin.  She was the daughter of Alice Caroline Ongley, Percy's aunt.  They had one child, Philip, and died in 1942 and 1956 respectively.

So far, so very ordinary.  And then I looked at young Philip.  His full moniker was Philip Percy Henry and he was born in West Ham in 1911.  In 1932 he married Hilda Hayter; in 1941 he married Ottilie Javurkova and in 1949 he married Margeritha Hauke.

Then, in 1949, he & Grete sailed on the "Stratheden" from London to Sydney, to live permanently in Australia.  And, just to complete the set, he married again in 1960.

Making it even more fascinating is the entry I've just found on an auction catalogue archive from 2011:  The Lot  includes medals, photograph & certificates; and the following narrative:

Philip Percy Henry Ongley was born in London on 24 November 1011.  Ongley enlisted into the Corps of Military Police (TA) on 16 May 1940 but was transferred to the Intelligence Corps in July 1940 and then to the Royal Army Service Corps in October 1940.  On 26 November 1942 he was posted to the Psychological Warfare Branch, being appointed a Local Staff Sergeant in August 1943, On 15 September 1944 he was discharged to a commission, being appointed to an Emergency Commission into the General List as 2nd Lieutenant permanently attached to the Psychological Warfare Branch.  Promoted to War Substantive Lieutenant in March 1945, Acting Captain in June 1945 and Temporary Captain in September 1945.  On 17 June 1946 he relinquished his commission being granted the honorary rank of Captain.  Ongley served in North Africa, 26 November 1942-15 September 1944 and with the Central Mediterranean Force, 16 November 1944-12 March 1946.  Ongley later settled in Australia, employed as a Company Director and married in Elizabeth Bay, NSW.  Latterly living at 14 Cliff Street, Watson's Bay, NSW, he died on 30 September 1973.

Philip was awarded the 1939-45 Star; Africa Star, clasp, 1st Army; Ital Star; Defence & War Medals; and was Mentioned in Despatches: "..... in recognition of gallant & distinguished services in the Mediterranean Theatre."

More soon.

5 January 2013


Well, here we are in next year and, so far, it's looking ok; it's even stopped raining today!  I'd like to pretend to be a real historian and to summarise 2012 from my viewpoint......but I can barely remember what happened this morning so no hope at all for an entire year!

I do recall that I've had a number of people see my website and contact me - one or two to correct, the others simply to say hello.  One kind soul contacted me via ancestry the other day to tell me that they'd found a couple of Bullards in the USA; this person has no link with the Bullards, or me, but just went out of their way to forward the info to me - how kind is that!

My own research is currently focused on my Staden line, going right back to James Ongley, my gt-gt-gt-gt-grandfather, and much fun am I having.  Some great names & mostly based in the Surrey area so far.

The other focus at the moment is my new obsession with CSI; my current favourite being CSI: New York.  I must, however, discontinue my habit of sitting down to watch, with supper on a tray.......it's not really the sort of programme to watch while you're eating!

Hope 2013 is good for you.

More soon.