Occupations


When you start recording your ancestors occupations from census and BMD certificates it can be interesting to analyse them. Sometimes there may have been a tradition of staying in same job as a parent. In others you can see how your ancestors were effected by changes such as the Industrial Revolution and they may have moved around as they sought work. It may also be that their job contributed to their death through industrial related illnesses or accidents. One of my great, great grandfathers William NASH served as a steward for P&O cruises and died of cholera in Bombay in 1877.

In one branch of my father’s family all the men for several generations (ROBERTS/JONES) were  working in the north Welsh slate mines. My great grandfather Owen Evan JONES broke this tradition when he became a teacher having been the first in the family to learn English at school. For this crime he was disowned by his family and spent the rest of his life in Lancashire.

I have traced my paternal grandmother’s BAND ancestors as they moved into Mottram in Longdendale in Cheshire as cotton weavers and then to Glossop to work in the mills there. Most of the families I am descended from in the Glossop and Hayfield areas (TURNER/REDFERN) were heavily involved in the cotton mills. There were also some stone masons (DOWNS) and my great, great grandfather Charles Downs BAND helped to build Johannesburg post office and died out in South Africa.

My mother’s maternal line (BRADING/VANNER) were mostly from the Isle of Wight. A large proportion of these before the mid 19th century were agricultural labourers or stone masons. Once Queen Victoria popularised tourism to the island there was a move to owning pubs, hotels and even a coach service. There were also some fishermen and a few butchers.

Her paternal line were quite an entrepreneurial bunch. The LINFORD family seem to have been involved in clock making and butchers in Vauxhall, London. John Thomas LINFORD moved to Canterbury and joined his father-in-law (William WEEKS) as a chemist and druggist. One son took over the business and other Henry Albert LINFORD ran the South Western Railway hotel in Southampton – later this was the hotel in which the first class passengers on the Titanic spent their last night in England!

There isn’t a great history of military service in my family except for during the 2 World Wars. I have a few cousins listed as killed in action in those conflicts. Luckily my direct male ancestors were never sent to the front line due to age or medical impairments. My great, great uncle Alex BRADING served as a trooper in the Sudan in 1898 at the relief of Khartoum. He survived this campaign and later re-enlisted in Australia during the first world war.

Go and have a look at what your ancestors did for a living. You may find out some fascinating things!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Week #23 Books


This week’s geneabloggers prompt is books, these prompts are a great way to make family history personal and record information for your descendants. The full prompt is:

What was your favorite book, or who was your favorite author from your childhood? What do you like to read now? Books or other formats?

I am a real book addict and have been for as long as I can remember! I was a voracious reader as a child and was often told off for reading long after lights out at home. A child of the 1970s the authors and books I loved the most as a child definitely date me to this period:

  • Enid Blyton: Famous Five and Secret Seven books
  • Arthur Ransome: Swallows and Amazons
  • JRR Tolkein: The Hobbit (and later Lord of the Rings)
  • CS Lewis: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe et al

As an adult I still enjoy some of these (though maybe not Enid Blyton!) but I’ve got a real love of historical fiction with my favourite authors including:

  • Bernard Cornwell (Sharpe and others)
  • Dorothy Dunnett (Game of Kings series and House of Niccolo)
  • Wilbur Smith
  • CJ Sansome
  • Simon Scarrow
  • Conn Iggulden
  • Phillipa Gregory
  • Elizabeth Chadwick
I also enjoy crime, mystery and fantasy novels such as:

  • Colin Dexter’s Morse
  • Christopher Paolini (Eragon etc.)
  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld etc.
  • Kate Mosse
So it’s quite a varied list of authors and books but definitely within the main genres of history, fantasy and crime or maybe a mix of 2 or more! So what books are you fondest of now or in your childhood?
I have set myself a challenge of reading 100 books this year to get back to one of my first loves. You can see the progress here.

Social history


It’s not just people and places that make history interesting. Look around you and see the street furniture or features that existed when your ancestors lived:

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You can then compare with modern equivalents:

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Family wedding photos


The official wedding photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is a great example of the treasure trove these photographs can be. The various relatives and their relationships to each other (or not) can help fill in gaps on family trees.

Not all family trees are as well documented as the Royal Family’s but it’s great to have such a happy family moment recorded for posterity however famous the family is.

Just remember to write names alongside your photographs and include them in your family tree to bring them all to life.

Sources: Gravestones


Take a wander around your local church yard or cemetery and you may be amazed at what a genealogical treasure trove the gravestones and plaques can be. I snapped this one whilst walking back from Staveley Recreation Ground today:

Staveley Gravestone

It is up against the side of St Margaret’s Tower which is all that is left of the original church. The information given on it is well above that on most gravestones:

Name of deceased: Edmund Thompson
Residence: Brow, Over Staveley
Date of death: February 8th 1847
Age: 83 Years

His widow: Esther Thompson
Her death date: November 30th 1851
Age: 87 Years

Their 2nd son: Edmund Thompson
His place of death: Brow
Date of death September 9th 1854
Age: 64 Years

Their grandson and 8th son of Edmund: Nathan Thompson
Residence: Troutbeck Park
Place of Death: Sunny Brow
Date of Death: April 16th 1864
Interred (Buried) at: Ings on 21st April 1864
Age: 30

I am actually feeling inspired to find out more about this family and where they lived from the information given. Watch this space to see what I can find.

“Surname Saturday” – Brading


I have written an Article for Geneabloggers’ Surname Saturday over on my personal blog http://beckywilloughby.blogspot.com/2011/03/surname-saturday-brading.html.

The Brading family is from the Isle of Wight and by joining in with this prompt I hope that more Brading researchers will find me and my blogs so we can share information.

As long as you don’t post information on living people without their permission then joining in schemes like this is a great way to connect across the web.