23 November 2015

So, it worked......

........ possibly.  Last week I received a discount voucher for one page of the 1939 Register.  Maybe because I complained to them so vehemently about the cost (it was certainly one of the most blunt emails I've ever written).  Or maybe not.

But I decided to use it anyway.  And, after a fair amount of thought to decide who would give me the best return, I settled on my paternal grandfather and his (new) family.  Despite a number of searches for the lady by her name, I was only finally able to find her by narrowing the search to her year of birth.

Only to find her listed with her full name.  With their daughters.  But not my grandfather!  

And, when I looked at the original entry, there was a note "See Page 12".  Not knowing what page I was on nor, indeed,  how to find another page I surmised that a lot more money was involved and I decided not to pursue it further.

NB.  Trying to apply my discount was a nightmare and took about 15 minutes "online chat" to get it all sorted out.

Overall I think I can safely say that I am considerably underwhelmed by the publication of the 1939 Register.  Perhaps when the owners decide to stop putting barriers in our way.....

More soon.

16 November 2015

1939 and all that.....

A couple of weeks ago the 1939 Register was published and the genealogy world let go of its collectively-held breath. 

And, in my case, let out a heartfelt howl of protest.   I have a subscription to the site which has it, which I renewed just for this moment.  The index is free for anyone to search. But I discovered that to look at ONE original page the cost would be £6.95...... Oh, or you can buy four pages for about £20.

So I decided that, unless I win the lottery, I would make do with the index. I discovered that I could use the reference number for each entry to find out who else was on the page. And I was able to find the street name sometimes. Not always, because searching for villages is a nightmare. 

And then the site admins must have found out about the reference number "loophole". And now they've removed it. 

Is the site run by the Government?  It certainly seems to be putting things out of the reach of those of us without a massive bank balance. 

Rant over. 

More soon. 

10 October 2015

Progress perhaps.....?

Finally I have realised that life is too short to mess around with things which don't want to load so I've created a new domain where I will host my website.

In the meantime the original site at www.praeteritus.co.uk is up and running again while I wait for the new site to set up.

More soon.

6 October 2015

Great War Centenary: Walter Murfitt

Walter Murfitt, my second cousin twice removed, was the son of Joseph and Amelia (nee Benison) and the seventh of their eight children.  Born in Stretham, Cambs, in 1888, he was undoubtedly a contemporary of my great-uncle Ben Langford who was killed in 1914.

Walter remained in Stretham until 26 January 1910 when he enlisted for seven years in the Notts & Derby (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment; I found him in Crownhill Fort, Devon, in the 1911 census with the 2nd Battalion.  Promoted to Lance-Sergeant on 10 December 1913, the battalion presumably went to France in 1914.

Walter was killed on 5 October 1915 and buried in the Potijze Cemetery at Ypres.  His death was marked in the Cambridge Independent Press on 14 October:-

Stretham Man Killed
News has been received at Stretham of the death of Lance-Sergt. Walter Murfitt, 11272, 1st Notts and Derby Regt. (First Sherwoods).  The deceased, who was killed in action in France on October 5th, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Murfitt, of Stretham, and was included in Sir John French's list of those recommended for gallant and distinguished service in the field.  Previous to going to the front, Lance-Sergt. Murfitt had seen three years' service in India.  He came home from France in the first week of August, when all the family gathered to greet the gallant soldier, who was highly esteemed in Stretham.  Great regret has been expressed at his death.

We will remember them.

25 September 2015

Great War Centenary: Frank Thomas Hobbs

Frank Thomas Hobbs was my second cousin twice removed, the son of Alfred, a farm bailiff, and Fanny (nee Floyd), who was the daughter of Frances Eliza Kington Culpin.

Frank was born in Withyham, Sussex, in 1893, the oldest of seven children.  The family moved to Rotherfield by 1901 and remained there until at least 1911.  In the census of that year Frank was listed as a fishmonger's assistant in Crowborough; by the following year he had became a farm labourer and emigrated to Canada on board the "Ausonia".

Returning in 1914 on the "Calgarian", he enlisted in Eastbourne into the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Sussex Regiment.  He was killed on 25 September 1915 during the battle of Loos and, having no known grave, he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.  

He was briefly mentioned in the Kent & Sussex Courier on 26 November 1915.  Under the headline of "Jarvis Brook Footballer's Thrilling Story", written by a friend in the same battalion:-

"..... In this engagement my Regiment suffered heavy losses once again.  It was here that Frank Hobbs died doing "his bit".  He was in the Machine Gun Section, and his Section was one of the four who went forward to keep the Germans down while we advanced.  This they helped to do but I think only three of them got back unwounded.........."

We will remember them.

16 August 2015

Great War Centenary: Albert Blaydon

Albert Edward S Blaydon, my 4th cousin three times removed, was born in Mildenhall, Suffolk, in 1897, the youngest of the five children of Sydney, a carpenter, and Mary Lily (nee Vale).  In 1901 the family was living in Fordham and I found them in the 1911 census in Leagrave, Luton.

Where, in 1914, he enlisted in the Bedfordshire regiment and was posted to the 1st/5th battalion as a private, serial number 5073.  The battalion was sent to the Balkans in 1915, where they disembarked at Gallipoli on 10 August.

Albert died on 16 August 1915 and is buried in the Amzak Cemetery, Suvla.

We will remember them.

12 August 2015

A wondering blogger am I.....

So, while I'm waiting for the window man, I thought I'd update on my updating....... my website is still down whilst I and my IT advisor friend get frustrated at not being able to load new software onto the server.  Stay tuned for more info.

In the meantime I'm looking at my Webbs and wondering "...why did I do that?" on a number of occasions.  For instance, why would I note that William Rowlinson, and his widowed mother, lived in Cambridge in 1911 but not put in William's wife?   

Or the puzzle of John Henry Lowton....... born in Dry Drayton in 1862 to John & Fanny Elizabeth....and attached to John and a hypothetical (ie not yet found) wife.  I have now found a wife for John - Frances, which is close enough to Fanny, but they married in 1864.  Now, I'm not that naive but their marriage took place in St Pancras.  And they lived in St Pancras.  And she was born in Suffolk.  There is not one shred of evidence that would suggest a pre-marital trip to John's childhood home.  In the end, loath as I am to do it, I may have to delete young John Henry - if only to stop my brain going round and round in circles.

And finally, why did I spend hours (literally) looking for Flora Loughton without realising that she was actually Florence??

Scary, ain't it.

More soon.

28 July 2015

From Gill to Kempton...?

Still tidying up my friend's Kempton family file and, as ever, I keep getting sidetracked into following another line down....

This time I was confirming information that I'd found on the Yelland family tree on Ancestry, and going down the Kempton/Bayes line in Norfolk.  Most people were being co-operative and allowing themselves to be found relatively easily and I moved down to the Gill family in Norwich.

Thanks to the wonderful FreeReg people I have found lots of Gills and noted them accordingly.  But now I'm a bit confused.  Henry Gill, son of William and Elizabeth (nee Bayes) was born in Norwich in 1842 and learned to be a tailor.

In November 1881 he married Alice Boreham in Thorpe-next-Norwich and they begat four little Gills in Norwich during the next seven years.

And then the family went to Canada in 1891: to Montreal, to be precise.  But.  Henry sailed in the name of George Kempton, and the rest of the family also had their surname changed to Kempton.

They moved on to Winnipeg, in Manitoba, and Henry/George & Alice begat a further three children - all named Kempton.  And the family remained Kempton, with all trace of Gill obliterated.

Now I know that anyone can change their name, but I have to admit that I'm intrigued......

More soon.

5 July 2015

How many Legges......?

Meanwhile, in the tidying-up department, I thought I'd check through my Kempton file for extraneous personnel.  And discovered quite a few Legges who could come under the category of 'Not wanted on Voyage'.....

I am, by nature, a bit of a hoarder and quite happily collect people with the right name and place of birth - to be filed and possibly welcomed into the fold at a later date. What I really ought to do is either a) desist in this habit or b) put a different reference field in for ease of later access. 

I have, of course, done neither of these things with my extra Legges so I'm treating them as unwanted interlopers and deleting them. 

I may be some time.....

More soon. 

21 June 2015

Confusing my Thomases.....

So there I was, just checking through my Kemptons and I found a Thomas identified, in his marriage report in the paper, as 'son of John, of Ely'. Regular readers of this nonsense will realise that I'm about to say 'but I already have a Thomas son of John'.....

Had I got them the wrong way round? 
Well, further clues seemed to support this possibility: when he died his will was probated by Frederick Helmore Kempton,  who really was a son of John. 

So I've just spent a 'few' minutes swapping Thomas, son of George, for Thomas, son of John!  Complicated but, whilst I'm cross that I got them wrong, I'm pleased that they're now in the right place. 


More soon. 

17 June 2015

Great War Centenary: Joseph Glew

Joseph Glew was my fifth cousin three times removed.  He was born in Peterborough in 1892, the son of Richard, a coachman, and Matilda (nee Culpin) and the family must have moved quite soon afterwards as he was christened in Farnborough, Hants, in April of the same year.  He remained in Farnborough at least until 1911 when he was listed in the census as a servant at Minley Manor in the town.

By 1915 he was a lance-corporal in the 1st Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers having enlisted, inexplicably, in Ayr.  He died on 16 June 1915 and, having no known grave, is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.

We will remember them.

11 May 2015

Great War Centenary: Henry Haylock

Henry Haylock was my second cousin twice removed and was born in Grimsby in 1874, fifth of the ten children of John & Elizabeth (nee Langford).  He married Florence Crane in Nottingham in 1899 and they had a son, Eric, and a daughter, Beatrice. 

Henry joined the Volunteer Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment circa 1894 and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1910.  The Battalion went to France on active service on 2nd March 1915.  He died at Messines Ridge on 11 May 1915, as a result of wounds received during a trench raid.  He is buried at Packhorse Farm Shrine Cemetery in Flanders

The Leicester Chronicle* has a couple of reports from soldiers who were also with the 1st/4th Leicesters at the time:-  ".....the Germans attacked one of our trenches with bombs soon after midnight, killed several, including Captain Haylock, and took the trench for a short while."   "Sergeant E Carr, of C Company, first 4th Leicesters, writing to his father, ...... refers to the death of Captain Haylock, and pays high tribute to his bravery.  He says: "Last night (Monday May 10th) it was very quiet in the firing line until about 11.30pm, when some of the Germans crept up to one of the trenches and dropped some bombs there.  Soon after it was hell on earth, for we thought we were going to be attacked.  I am very sorry to say their bombs killed one of our officers and a sergeant, and wounded several other non-commissioned officers and men.  No doubt you will soon know who this officer was.  He was very popular with the men and we are all grieved to know that he is dead.  He was badly hurt, but he was game to the last, telling the men not to let the Germans take the trenches."

From the same edition comes the official announcement: "Killed in action, in Flanders, on Tuesday, the 11th inst., Henry Haylock, Capt. 1.4th Leicesters, dearly loved husband of Florence (Dolly) Haylock, of Gaywood, Stoneygate-road, Leicester and third son of Mr and Mrs J W Haylock, of Thornleigh, Regent-road, Leicester.  Buried in Belgium, where he fell."

We will remember them.

*Edition dated 22 May 1915, found via the British Newspaper Archive

8 May 2015

Great War Centenary: Harry Nicholls

Henry Thomas Frederick Nicholls, to give him his "Sunday Best" name, was born in Newmarket in 1895, sixth of the eight children of George & Rosa (nee Fordham).  He was my third cousin three times removed and lived with his family in Queen Street, Newmarket.

In the 1911 census he was aged 16, and listed as an errand boy.  By 1915 he was a Lance-Corporal with the 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, having enlisted in his home town.  

He was killed in action on 8th May that year in Flanders.  Like so many others he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

We will remember them.

29 April 2015


Despite my resolution to post more to the blog I've been even worse so far this year. I think this is because I've been trying to go back to the beginning.....

The beginning of my research,that is, the twenty-or-so years  ago when I started looking for great-uncle Ben Langford.  Yes, there is so much more data online now but I've also noticed a serious lack of references in my data and, indeed, a few mistakes so I'm trying to check it out. 

And I'm thinking about changing the software I use: TMG has been great but the company has now retired it and there are no more updates or support. So what shall I use instead?  And how will I keep my website going as it uses a companion product?

TNG, The Next Generation looks good and sorts out the website problem at the same time. But I had problems when I first tried to set it up on my website server and does it only run there or on the computer?  I've confused myself!!

It's good to move forward with this sort of thing but it may be a while until I unscramble my brain cell in this!

More soon. 

25 February 2015

.... And thanks to...

.... The Northamptonshire Baptisms, newly discovered on Ancestry, I  able to revise Charles and Sarah's offspring total to ten - seven girls and three boys. 

Sadly I suspect that the newest-discovered children will also be on the Northants Burials index....so I'm off there next. 

More soon. 

Once they were lost.....

But now I am pleased to welcome Charles Culpin, his wife Sarah Manley and their descendants into the family!

That is to say, they have been sitting patiently in my 'Culpin Strays' file awaiting their chance to make a break for the main database. And, finally, they've convinced me that they belong....

I believe Charles to be the grandson of Charles & Sarah (nee Monk), via Thomas who also married a Sarah. 

Chas and the former Miss Manley begat six children between 1839 & 1859 in Warmington, Northants, then moved closer to Peterborough. 

And now I must continue to add their details....

More soon. 

7 February 2015

Out from under.....

I've just realised that I've been absent from here for far too long. As previously mentioned, I've been tidying up and trying to fill in missing references.....and getting sidetracked, of course!

My genealogy Christmas present to myself was another set of parish registers; well, ok, two sets. Whittlesey, in Cambridgeshire, has two parishes and thus two sets of registers!  A surprising number of people form different parts of my tree seem to have passed through the place so there is plenty of scope for useful finds. 

I've also discovered a line of the Bigley family which went to Canada in the late 19th century and settled in Ontario, whose online records are available on Ancestry. 

So, all this together with my usual end of year tidy-up has kept me away from here. But I hope to be back more regularly now. 

More soon.