Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Family History Writing Challenge 2011

Lynn Palermo over at The Armchair Genealogist blog has issued the Family History Writing Challenge and I've decided to accept. Here's the details:


The Family History Writing Challenge
Feb 1st-28th
A 28-Day Commitment to Writing Your Family History

The What, When, Where and How of it All

Why should I sign up?
To actively participate in an opportunity to write your family history, without having to worry about quality. The key to writing is to write. Stop procrastinating; finally commit pen to paper or fingers to key board. Those family facts, finally assemble them into a format someone will read.

Whom Do I Write About?
A single ancestor, a surname, a branch of your tree, you pick.
You select the ancestor or ancestors, the timeframe, just keep in mind who you feel most prepared to write about in terms of research and interest.

How Much Do I Need to Write?
You pick the amount 250, 500, 1000 words a day whatever you can work into your schedule.
Do the math.
250 words x 28 days = 7000 words, you would be well on your way!
500 words x 28 days = 14,000 words, this would be an incredible start!
1000 words x 28 days = 28,000 words, you would be a hero!

Where Do I Write?
Write on your computer, ipad, typewriter, longhand (tough to do word count). Write in your office, at the kitchen table, the local coffee shop, the lawn chair (if your someplace sunny- lucky you), or beside a roaring fire (that would be me).

What If It’s Not Good Enough?
This exercise is not about quality. Very few of us can sit down and shoot out a masterpiece on the first draft. Newsbreak..... most of us take a half dozen passes at it before it is worthy of anyone else’s eyes. This is about making a start. There will be plenty of time to edit your masterpiece later, committing to the word count is a huge step to making it happen.

When Does it Begin?
The Family History Writing Challenge begins Feb 1st to February 28th. I am asking you to commit 28 days of writing your family history, in the hopes that you will get a running start and you will never look back.

Where Do I Sign Up?
Right here, leave your pledge in comments or link to your own blog post, no goal is official until you have written it down and shared it. Once you verbalize, you become more committed. If you prefer to keep it to yourself that's ok too. However, keep checking back or sign up through email, throughout the month, I will offer numerous posts to help keep you focused, offer you some tips for your writing and help you stay on track and reach your goals. At the end of the month, you can share how you did again here, or on your own blog.

What is stopping you from starting your writing? Let me know, and I will try to help you overcome those obstacles. Meanwhile, you have the next 2 days to get yourself organized to start writing.

Write your family history in 28 days, are you ready to take the challenge?

I'm going to commit to the 250 word level, because even though many of my posts run longer than that, 250 words is easy enough to do and doesn't put too much pressure on me, given that I have a whole pile of bits on the go in addition to a new job. My only problem is I haven't come up with a definitive plan of what I want to write about yet, so I need to think on it, although I do have a few ideas.....

How about you? Take the challenge! It might be the impetus you need to get some of that family history written that you've wanted to start!

Sorting Saturday - Twitter January 2011

I posted a few weeks ago, as part of Tuesday's Tip that I often read my tweets via my iphone and mark as a favourite any that I want to look at on a bigger screen (see there is another reason why I should buy an iPad!). I noticed yesterday that my favourites in Twitter had increased to 33. Is this a record? I therefore set about today, I know it is not Saturday, but it is the weekend! sorting through the tweets, which reflect most of the month of January. Thankfully February is a shorter month and I will no long have the main distraction which has been the cause of the chaos that has affected me.
  1. Disability Living Allowance was a web page that I wanted to read. I had already read it as I wrote a post linking to it about three weeks ago!
  2. Allin of Australian Genealogy Journeys wrote about Zotero earlier in the month as a potential candidate for a research log. I have looked at the Zotero website a few times during the course of the month and had reservations. I downloaded the file today and still have reservations. At the point of typing this post the software looks about as clear as mud. I'll keep you posted.
  3. This was a link to the online obituary for my Aunt which is documented elsewhere in this blog.
  4. A weekly tip on organising genealogy research. Apart from being the best thing any genealogist could do. Researching when chaos reigns is non productive and I should know! there are some really useful links to other similar posts. Including one entitled "In a File or a Pile", alas I am a bit of a piler but determined to get better!
  5. A web link for the Twitter page in relation to the day job - Chemist & Druggist which is a reminder to reply to an email sent about a week ago that requires more thinking about! - Email done!
  6. Posted by OnePlaceStudies - this was a very useful set of links about a suitable web space to host a one place study. Especially of interest to me as the OPS that I host for Puttenham has not had much luck with web space. Initially hosted at my ISP there were problems with uploads. As a temporary home I moved the data to a Yahoo group, which looked really promising as it had the facility for attachments to be posted to the list and a documents and files section, however, I began experiencing some issues with viewing files that I had created. So the Google Sites suggestion might be worth a go. I don't want to be continually moving the material around. Thankfully I have a domain name for my OPS so I simply move where it points to.
  7. A link to the petition regarding the issue with Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - Closing date for the petition is February 7, 2011. -Petition completed
  8. An informative post - U is for Under active Thyroid - saved as a memory prompt for something I am working on in the next couple of months.
  9. A very emotive posting about the issue with DLA
  10. An informative posting about the new Family Search site. A must read
  11. From the Dick Eastman newsletter - Digitally Preserving your Family History by Barry Ewell. Contact Barry after 13 Feb for an electronic copy of the slides & handouts.
  12. Free Webinar on Virtual Presentations for genealogy
  13. Interesting article which acts as a prompt for photographing headstones, heirlooms, books and much more.
  14. An interesting view point about a blogger who was approached by a publishing company to use a photograph of her grandmother. I have to say I agree with the approach taken by the person concerned. I was approached before Christmas by a company who saw a photograph that I had taken and placed on Flickr. Nothing particularly special about the photo. I said they could use the photo on two conditions. The first was, as the copyright belongs to me, that they cite me as the intellectual owner and the second, that the company made a donation of £100 to a named Charity of my choosing. The company didn't decline, they simply did not respond as they clearly expected something for nothing!
  15. A journal prompt via the Geneabloggers website for Open Thread Thursday for 20th January What's in your research toolbox?
  16. This article was shared from Shauna Hicks and is very thought provoking and actually I think kind of sad. I've kept the link to the article as a journal prompt.
  17. Old Money is a mobile application. Details from The National Archives and the company who developed the application, where you can also purchase it.
  18. Write for a new website?
  19. Underground Literary Society
  20. Waitangi Day New Zealand challenge (#waitangiblog) - Post written
  21. 5 solid ways to get traffic to your blog - interesting article.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Sunday Salon - Book Collections


This is my first posting to the Sunday Salon. I have always been a book lover and I guess a collector of books and other bits and there comes a time when we need to sit back and take stock of just what it is we have in our homes.

Children's Books
I have my original set of Noddy Books by Enid Blyton, lovingly read and many still have the Woolworth price ticket of 12p stuck to the front. I have always kept them for my children, but as I don't have any they sit in my study on a shelf next to a set of Beatrice Potter books.

Italian Collection
I am half Italian and am interested in my Italian Heritage. There are not that many books published about Italian communities here in the United Kingdom so when I come across one I tend to buy it!

Thyroid Collection
I have a Thyroid condition and obviously have an interest in the condition. Over the last 20 years I have purchased any books on the subject and added them to my collection.

Both the Italian Collection and the Thyroid collection of books sit on the same bookcase in our spare room.

Family History Collection
I have a passion for researching my family history and over the course of a decade or two have read, purchased just about every book going on the subject. This collection though, is about the books that I have found along with the way that relate to particular ancestors and their families.

This collection is mainly made up of books relating to the family names of Bowring, Bellasis and Eastwick. There is also a copy of a diary called the Diary of Thomas Asline Ward. Which cost me a little over £60 but simply had to be purchased. This set of books sits on the bottom shelf of a pine bookcase in the hall.

Elm Creek Quilts Collection
I was introduced to this set of books by a fellow avid reader and they are lovely books. They are a set of fictional books set with the obvious theme of Quilting. Each dust jacket has a picture of a quilt on it. There is something about these books that makes you want to hold the book and admire the quilt picture. These sit on the top shelf of the bookcase in the hall.

Cookery Books
There is nothing particularly special about this collection, other than it sits on the middle shelf of the bookcase in the hall and is, and one would expect, of a practical nature. Two books which do stand out are those that I have kept from my school days and I have fond memories of my O level cookery classes.

Angling Collection
These are not mine, but Stuart's and sit in a bookcase in the lounge with a few angling type ornaments and collectibles.

The Rest
The remainder of my books sits on three bookcases on the third floor of the house. Two in my study and the third one on the top landing. These books span the last 25 years and cover fiction and non fiction. The fiction books are ones that I will read again and particularly want to keep. Others are sent to the charity shop. The fiction books are mainly the lovely cozy mysteries set around bookshops and craft shops which are to me pure escapism!

Having spent a great deal of time ploughing through boxes and piles of books I am now to the point of wanting to catalogue them. I don't want to spend ages doing it though as that will break into my valuable reading time.

I have a Library Thing account and in a perfect world would like to be able to scan books using my iphone where they can added to my Library Thing account online with access via my iphone.

I have come across two iphone applications - MyBookLibrary and Home Library and shall experiment more with them. I was reasonably impressed with Home Library when I tried the lite version, but having just downloaded the lite version of MyBookLibrary I can see that might be better as it has the facility to import and export the data.

If anyone has any suggestions please leave a comment.


52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Wk 5 - Favourite Food

Week #5 – Favourite Food
What was your favourite food from childhood? If it was home made, who made it? What was in the dish and why was it your favourite? What is your favourite dish now?
Week 5: This challenge runs from Saturday, January 29, 2011 through Friday, February 4, 2011.

My Grandmother, Lilian Edith Butcher nee Matthews was a good cook. Not fancy food, simply, nutritious meals that involved, not too much fuss. My grandfather had always been, because of work an early riser and like many of my Grandparents generation they ate their main meal at about noon and called this dinner. When my Grandfather worked at Unigate Diaries he would take a lunch box for his morning break and then cycle home for his main meal at lunchtime. At tea time there was bread and butter or sandwiches and cake. After my Grandfather retired and then later passed away this remained the same and it was only when I started working that lunch was simply a sandwich or alike and dinner was in the evening. Having said that, perhaps this is a geographical issue? Stuart from the North of England calls lunch dinner and his evening meal tea, and even now we sometimes have to have some clarity on what meal is being referred to!

Here are a few recipes that I can with my Mum's help remember my Grandmother cooking.

Rasher Pudding

  • Mix plain flour and suet together, using water or milk to bind it together.
  • Roll out on a floured board.
  • Lay the rashers of bacon across and add some chopped fresh parsley.
  • Roll it up and put in a pudding cloth and place in a pan of boiling water and cook.

Mum has said the cloth would be horrid when taken out of the pan, and remembers being given the job of washing the cloth! and suggests using a more modern steamer would better and safer!

Lambs Hearts

  • Buy Lambs Hearts and stuff them with sage and onion stuffing.
  • wrap in tin foil and place in a baking dish
Serve with potatoes and vegetables

Cheese and Tomato
A very simple dish and one that I often make during the summer and serve with new potatoes and salad. I sometimes make some amendments and add bacon and mushrooms!
  • Quite simply cut cheese into slices and layer with layers of tomato into a dish
  • Place in the oven and cook for about 15 mins until the cheese has melted slightly













I remember the smell of baking potatoes in the oven for a tea on Saturday night. I would sit and watch my Grandmother grate piles of mature cheddar to be added to the potato. The smell of the potato was lovely and even now there is nothing like a jacket potato cooked in the oven. That was probably my favourite food as a child and remains so into adulthood.

On Saturday's if we had my Great Aunts visiting we would have sandwiches and cakes. Some dainty little bread rolls from a bakery in Guildford. Cake would be usually from Marks and Spencers. By coincidence I was in the food hall of M & S today and had a look a the cake counter. None of the sponges that I recall from childhood were there, which is a great shame. Shopping for food in M & S was considered a treat and reserved for the weekends and holidays. I wonder what my Grandmother would have made of my buying some basic groceries from there today, which I do say is not the usual for me!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Burns Night - 25th January

I had never celebrated Burns Night as I am from England and as I grew up it was not really promoted. Having met my husband, who although was not born in Scotland did grow up there, so we have always made a bit of an effort to have a Burns Supper for the occasion.

There are two recipes that I choose from Haggis Pie or Wee Beastie! Always served for dinner on the 25 January, which is the anniversary of Robert Burns birthday. If you don't like Haggis, as my Mum does not, I usually cook a chicken breast instead!

Ancestor Approved Award

Thank you to Allin at Australian Genealogy Journal (ausgenjourneys) for nominating the Anglers Rest blog for the Ancestor Approved Award. I do feel really honoured to have received the nomination.

This Award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou at Ancestors Live Here in 2010, who asks two things of those who receive it:
  1. They should write 10 surprising, humbling, or enlightening aspects of their research.
  2. Pass the award on to 10 other researchers whose family history blogs are making their ancestors proud.
Ten enlightening, humbling or surprising aspects of my family history research:
  1. I was very surprised to research that my own Grandparents, George Butcher and Lilian Edith Matthews were 6th Cousins. Something that they never knew in their lifetimes.
  2. It was surprising to establish that for 30 years we had been paying our respects to my Great Great Grandparents, Charles and Annie Prudience Butcher (nee Harris) at the wrong grave.
  3. It is humbling that all our ancestors lived through such hardships in order for the next generation to survive. We owe so much to our ancestors.
  4. I was surprised to see exactly what material was left behind by our ancestors. An example of this is the picture drawn by Esther Bellasis in Australia circa 1803. Truly wonderful.
  5. I was surprised to see that one of my Grandmother's uncles - Alfred Elstone said to New York as a young man, in 1890. He did return to England where he married Rose Butcher of Merrow, Guildford.
  6. I am always surprised just how little some of my ancestors moved around. Both my Grandparents ancestry is centred around the Home Counties borders of Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex (apart from one line who comes from Warwickshire). Movement of no more than 40 miles over 300 years.
  7. My plan for 2011 is to create a weekly post for this blog called Ancestor of the Week. I am quite surprised by just how much I am enjoying travelling back over the research steps I have already travelled, so that I can produce posts that document a great deal of my family history.The second surprise of this is what data and information had been unnoticed the first time around! Which just shows looking with a fresh pair of eyes is always a good thing.
  8. I was surprised that the elusive Henry Budd may have been born into a very nearby rural parish that I had not expected. How could he have done this to me?!! I really have over the last 20 years or so become quite attached to him.
  9. I was surprised to see that my Great Great Uncle William Arthur West had been married twice. Firstly to Caroline Josephine Kimberley in 1887. She died in Eshowe South Africa in 1894. William West was a soldier in the Zulu War, having joined the Army in 1879. His second wife was Emma Jane Ellis whom he married in 1897. I was even more surprised when I started to research William more, to find that he was Emma Jane's first Cousin.
  10. I am very humbled by two photos that I have in my collection. The first is of the son of William Arthur & Emma Jane West, William James West born 1898 in Hampshire. This is a photo of William James as he went of to Europe to fight in the First World War. Sadly William died aged just 20 years.

The second photo is of his mother who is wearing, with pride and deep sadness the loss of her only son, a pendant bearing the photo on the left. This is a really humbling fact of my family history and we have plans to head to France and pay our respects to William James.



Ten other researchers whose Blogs are making their ancestors proud
  1. Blundering Blindly Backwards
  2. Kentucky Kinfolk
  3. Cruwys News
  4. Our Family Quilt
  5. Leaves for Trees
  6. Twigs of Yore
  7. Little Bytes of Life
  8. Random Notes
  9. Tangled Trees
  10. A Brummie Family Tree
There are so many humbling and surprising things that we find along the way when researching the lives of our ancestors. Likewise there are so many fascinating blogs and websites that document other families. Choosing ten was quite a challenge!

Ancestor of the week - George Bridges Bellasis & Ester King

Inspired by the post on Twigs of Yore in commemoration of Australia Day - 26 January, and doubling up as my Ancestor of the Week post.


Find the earliest piece of documentation you have about an ancestor in Australia. If you don't have an Australian ancestor, then choose the earliest piece of documentation you have for a relative in Australia.
  1. What is the document?
  2. Do you remember the research process that lead you to it? How and where did you find it?
  3. Tell us the story(ies) of the document. You may like to consider the nature of the document, the people mentioned, the place and the time. Be as long or short, broad or narrow in your story telling as you like!"
The document I am going to use for this is the picture on the left of a pink Hibiscus and is titled "The Carrajan by Mrs Bellasis, Sydney and was painted circa 1803.


I first became aware of the Bellasis connection to my ancestry back in the late 1980s. I then did little research into that line beyond the records that existed in the rural Surrey parish of Puttenham and created what is online as the Puttenham One Place Study

Esther was born Ester King in 1770, the daughter of John King and Mary nee Budd. The whole story resembles that of Pride and Prejudice as John and Mary had a family of 10 children, 9 of whom were girls. I can almost here the cries of Mary King as she worries about her daughters finding good husbands. Just how the King daughters became connected to the Bellasis family is intriguing, but all but two of the girls (one married in England and the other died in 1795 aged 17 years) married men connected to the Honourable East India Company (HEIC) and their son also spent time in India before dying in the Gulf of Persia in 1812. The link to how I established this is rather wonderful. The Curate of the parish of Puttenham was a man called Charles Kerry. During his time in the village he kept a series of manuscripts and as part of those there is a reference or two to the Bellasis connection. It was this fact that acted as my springboard.

Ester married George Bridges Bellasis in 1796 in Calcutta India. George was known as the most "Handsome man in India" a fact gleaned from the book written about the Bellasis family called "An Honourable Company" by Margaret Bellasis published in 1952. What has been established is that the girls went out to India in installments, as they became of age and they were dispatched to parts of the "Empire" in the care of the elder sisters. The story is that one of Esther's sisters was proposed to. The proposal was later retracted and a dual between the proposer and George Bridges Bellasis ensued. As a result George Bridges Bellasis was sent to Botany Bay for life for killing the proposer, having been transported on board the ship called "The Fly" in 1802. When he arrived in Sydney, George was immediately given a conditional pardon by Governor King and on 24 June 1803 received a Royal pardon as an "act of commiseration towards a gallant, but unfortunate officer and an afflicted dying wife".

I wondered about Ester. Just what had her life been like? Married to a well to do member of the HEIC, was she shamed because of the dual and subsequent outcome of that?, then transported like a common criminal? I wish I knew just what she thought and felt. I wondered just what research material had been left behind of the Bellasis time in Australia. George it is well documented as a military man in Australia and India, there is evidence that he was involved in the Freemason movement in the early days of the colony.
I did a search online for "Mrs Bellasis"+Australia and for variations of - Botany Bay, Ester Bellasis and was very surprised to find the painting above online. I sent off to the archive, The Mitchell Library, State Library for NSW, for a electronic copy and it is one of my genealogical treasures. What is especially wonderful is that the painting by Ester Bellasis is the earliest known piece of artwork by a woman in Australia, so it looks like Ester made her mark afterall.

George and Ester returned to England in the early 1800s and Ester is commemorated at Puttenham Church having died in 1805 in Berkshire, at the Bellasis home. George returned to India and later remarried, to his deceased wife's sister, Elizabeth Kent nee King, herself a widow. George died in India in 1825 and the sister Elizabeth in Kent in 1837.

Associated posts - Genealogical Wonder published November 2010 has more details on one of the King daughters.

All the posts submitted for this challenge are here

Are you celebrating Burns Night?

Submitted as a guest post to Geneabloggers.

Across the world, thousands of people with Scottish Heritage celebrate the birth of the Scottish Poet Robbie Burns on 25 January. Traditionally there is a Burns Supper of Haggis, Neep and Tatties to celebrate the event.

The formal supper starts with a welcome and announcements then the Selkirk Grace.

Selkirk is one of the oldest towns in the Borders of Scotland. The Grace itself is a prayer and said before a meal. Here is the prayer in both Scottish and English translation:


Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Some have food and cannot eat,
And some would eat that lack it,
But we have food and we can eat,
So let God be thanked.

After the Grace everyone stands as the Haggis is carried into the room to the sound of bagpipes. The Haggis is laid at the hosts table and then there is the cutting of the Haggis and the famous poem "Address to a Haggis" is read.

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An' cut you up wi' ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmaist! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit" hums.

Is there that o're his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect scunner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his wallie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whistle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thristle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinkin ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

At the end of the poem there is a whisky toast to the Haggis. Then the meal is consumed.

The meal itself is Haggis served with mashed potato known as tatties and mashed neep which are turnip if you are in Scotland or Suede if you are south of the border!

When the meal reaches the coffee stage there is a toast to the Monarch . After the meal an "Immortal Memory" takes place. This is usually a speech on the life and poetry works of Robert Burns and the evening concludes with the singing of Auld Lang Syne.


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne* ?
CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
CHORUS
We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.
CHORUS
We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.
CHORUS
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie's a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.
CHORUS
Haggis is available in most supermarkets in the UK as either fresh or in some cases in tinned form In the US it is available, certainly a few examples of companies that have a US outlets or ship to the US are http://www.scottishhaggis.com/index.aspx or http://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/ or http://www.britishdelights.com/
I have no financial gain from the companies mentioned.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Wk 4 - Home

Week #4 – Home
Week 4: Describe the house in which you grew up. Was it big or small? What made it unique? Is it still there today?. This challenge runs from Saturday, January 22, 2011 through Friday, January 28, 2011.

My Grandparents rented a house in fairly central Guildford in 1940. The road was called Walnut Tree Close as at one time it had really been a close. My Grandmother was well acquainted with the road, as she was born in the same road just further down at 114, and the house my Grandparents were renting was number 17. My Grandparents rented from a private landlord who I am afraid to say was very keen to receive their rent, but was not willing to protect their investment. As I said their tenancy started in 1940 and when my Grandfather passed away in 1974 it transferred to my Grandmother. When she became unwell and went into nursing care it transferred to my Mother, who finally left the property in 1996. That is an association of some 56 years. During that time the property saw three generations of our family live there, and I have a real fondness for the house. At some point my Grandfather had been given the chance to but the property for the sum of £3,000. He declined as he didn't, like many of his generation believe in loans and mortgages. Ironically we were in Guildford a year or so ago and saw the same property for sale. I could not resist looking in the agents window and seeing the property on the market for £325,000. I wonder what my Grandfather would make of that now?

The house is Victorian, built along the banks of the River Wey, which flows eventually to meet The Thames in London. The house was built on the site that had originally housed barns for the horses that carried goods up and down the river. On the opposite side of the road was another row of houses and beyond them the railway line. I am guessing that it was the railway coming to Guildford that made the horses redundant and the barns were knocked down to make way for housing.

The houses themselves were fairly small and simple. Literally, two up and two down, with each room being 12 foot square. To the left of the front door was the Kitchen / Dining Room and to the right of the front door the Lounge. Upstairs was two bedrooms. Originally there was no bathroom and a tin bath hung in the shed. Just off from the shed was the toilet. Sounds primitive doesn't it and yet it was home.

There was an amount of industrial usage for Walnut Tree Close, which at some point had been opened up as a link road to the A3 the main road to London. There is still a fair amount of industrial usage and some of the houses were demolished in the early 1990s and a couple of tasteful sets of apartments and flats were built and some new houses.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Graveyard Rabbits

I am very proud to have been approached to be the seventy fourth in a series, which features members of the Graveyard Rabbit Association.

As a child I had routinely visited my Great Aunts, the sisters of my Grandfather. I would sit and play all the while listening to the conversations as they talked and reminisced about times past. It was those early conversations that sparked my love of genealogy and history.

I was in my early twenties and still visited my Aunts on a regular basis. By this time they were elderly and presumably looked forward to visits from younger members of the family. I started asking questions of my Aunts and jotting down the answers and suddenly realized that I wanted to plug the gaps in their knowledge and learn more about the family that I was part of.

My maternal family is from Surrey England. Indeed it is the County where I was born. As I started to research it was evident that for about 300 years my maternal family had moved no more than a 40 mile radius across the Counties of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. It was only after both my Grandparents had deceased that I established that they themselves were 6th cousins. I wonder what they would have made of that?

The day I spotted my Great Grandmother on the England Census for 1881 was truly amazing. This was the Great Grandmother that I had visited and sat with aged about 3 years old. Quite remarkable and I knew then, I simply had to know and read all I could about the ancestors and family members that I had helped me to be come the person that I am today.

I like cemeteries and memorials, they are the link from the present to the past and deserve to be treasured in whatever form that takes. I am always saddened when I see a grave, neglected because time has passed and now there is no one to care for the grave and as time passes it will become unreadable and perhaps unloved.

This is the case for one set of my Maternal Great Grandparents.They are buried in a Cemetery in Guildford Surrey. My Great Grandfather buried in 1931 and my Great Grandmother in 1937. About ten years ago I was emailed by a fellow genealogist, we share several surnames the same, but can not find any connection. Anyway, had I seen the notice about The Mount Cemetery? I replied that I had not and in due course a photo of the sign was emailed across to me. On my next visit to Surrey a few weeks later I went to the Cemetery, located the plot and photographed the grave. The plot had been purchased by my Great Grandmother on a lease for 75 years. That had been what the notice was about. I pondered and upon my return home I contacted the cemetery office and laid claim to the grave and asked that the grave now be placed in my ownership. In doing so, the plot can not be disturbed without my consent and I am responsible for any repairs necessary.

On the same visit, I attend the grave of my other set of Maternal Great Grandparents. The grave was purchased in 1943 when my Great Grandfather was interned and then in 1971 by Great Grandmother passed away. At the time, one of my Great Aunts visited the grave weekly and created a little garden on the plot. There was no headstone. Since then my Great Aunt has passed away and although there are family members who care, and remember my Great Grandparents they are removed from thinking about the grave. I wandered around the cemetery looking for the plot, tricky with no headstone, just by vague remembering. Eventually I phoned my Mum who likewise could not really recall the plot anymore than I could, but asked had the little block of wood with a number on, made by my cousin been removed. I remembered the little block with the number on it. But could I see it, yes, but the grave didn't look the same. I enlisted the help of the Cemeteries department who confirmed with me the grave number and directed me to the plot. The plot was not where the block of wood was. It was the row in front. I had a horrid sinking feeling had we been visiting the wrong grave all these years? When I got home I had a chat with my Mum and we established that while my Great Grandmother and Aunt had been alive we had been visiting the correct plot. However, once my Aunt had been too infirm to visit it was the task of the next generation to visit and tender the grave. Mum recalls being directed to the plot by another of her cousins a lovely man, who had the family tendency to be slightly vague and I suspect that this was the root of the problem. So with some amusement and sadness the wrong grave has been tended for more the 30 years. Ironic that the very grave in front should not have a headstone either. The question for me is what is worse to be loved and remembered with no headstone so that errors like that one happen or to have a headstone that no one visits?

Over the last 20 years I have taken lots of photos of churches, memorials and graves, simply because it was a lovely church, or a family grave or maybe just because the surname was one of my family surnames and perhaps might fit into the genealogical puzzle. By taking the photos it is recorded in time, as it deserves to be. I spotted a link to Graveyard Rabbits on someone's blog and was intrigued. Over the festive period I had chance to have a further read of the website and thought it was a fantastic way of utilizing the digital photos that I had currently on Flickr. So I decided to enlist the help of my husband. I showed him the website and asked him to help me think of a nice suitable name. He did and Grave Encounters was created. The plan is now to go through the piles of developed photos and upload them to the blog site, a rather large task for 2011.

What better way than to spend a lovely sunny day, not too much sun or it will affect the photos! and wander around your local cemetery. Take photographs and upload them to an online blog and become a Graveyard Rabbit. I recommend it! I have not had any formal photographic training, I have a camera that is nice - the point and shoot variety, but I have been known to use my iphone for taking photos if I have seen something that I want to record. Work at your own pace and record for future genealogists what maybe lost over time. Why not stop by Grave Encounters and see how we are progressing.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Twitter

I love Twitter. When I first joined back in March 2010 I could not really see the point of it and I didn't use the account until just before Christmas when the first of the bad weather here in the UK set in. Since then I have explored Twitter further and now follow other users and indeed some even follow me!

I have an iPhone, another great invention and like many others I read Twitter using an application on my phone. Some of the tweets I read, I want to explore further using my computer and this is my Tuesday Tip, I mark them as favourites on Twitter, so I can easily find them again and explore to my hearts content! As soon as I have finished exploring or perhaps written a blog post I remove the favourite mark. It is not especially a genealogical or technological breakthrough but a useful tip that works for me and perhaps it might work for you?

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Sunday Obituary - Greyfriars Bobby

Not quite an obituary for the Geneabloggers Sunday's Obituary theme, but I thought I would share something that I spotted while catching up on my newspaper reading.


This is a newspaper article from the Western Morning News which is the regional newspaper for Devon & Cornwall England for Saturday 15 January 2011.

The caption which hasn't really come out that well in the photo reads:

"To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the One O' Clock Gun which fires daily from Edinburgh Castle. Here Brian McKenzie and dog Blue lay a wreath in Edinburgh at the grave of Greyfriars Bobby, the dog which walked the streets of Edinburgh in the 1850s."

Saturday, 15 January 2011

One Month before Heartbreak - a personal note


A Broken of Britain
Blogswarm
14th – 16th January 2011

I am not personally affected by the proposed and likely to take place changes that the current Government are looking to adopt. The point of this post and like many others is to express absolute disbelief that we live in a Society where we are prepared to give thousands to other Countries in the world despite being in a recession and yet not provide safety and financial security for those entitled to claim it and those who need it. It truly begs belief. Please understand, I am not against helping other nations, it is quite right that we as a nation help others in a worse situation than ours, but not at the cost of ourselves.

My interest in this is that in 1952 my mother contracted Polio. From the age of 5 until she was 17 she attended hospital for various tests and check ups to establish how her muscles were affected by this disease. When my mother left school she established her working life and eventually had me and raised me.

When she was about in her early 50s Mum was plagued by periods of exhaustion and pain to name a few. Her GP signed her off work and after much form filling Mum eventually saw a Doctor who confirmed that Mum was entitled to claim incapacity benefit. After a period of time this was reviewed and Mum was advised that she was fit to work, although clearly she was not. I launched an appeal to the panel, which consisted of a lay person, a representative from the Benefit Agency and a Doctor. The Doctor at the panel agreed with my argument and stated that Post Polio Syndrome which my Mum has will get worse and not better and the Incapacity Benefit was reinstated.

Mum turned 60 and was advised that she should now claim Disability Living Allowance due to her increasing mobility issues. The Post Polio Syndrome is of course, as predicted getting worse. The form which no doubt many of you have seen is nearly 50 pages long and comprises of a set of questions, many repeated so that you might make yourself illegible for the benefit. Having completed the form two or three times and each time being refused. I consulted a local "volunteer expert" who assisted Mum and I with the form. The deadline was before Christmas and the form has been acknowledged and finally a report from the "medical expert" has been requested. By medical expert they have asked the physiotherapist for their views. No request has been made to the GP or to an expert in the field of Post Polio Syndrome. I did include some details about Post Polio along with the form.

My concern is this. The decision to allow or disallow is made on the basis that an expert has been asked. It of course does need to be the right expert in order for the decision made to be a robust and the right one. At the end of the day everyone seeking to claim or retain their allowance is an individual, each with an individual set of issues and concerns. Is it right that someone at 63, who was looking forward to retirement has a poor quality of life? Is any of the conditions that are being experienced right? Of course they are not, and as a society we have the power to give a little bit of help in order that it makes the life of that individual easier. We should not be making lives harder, so that exhaustion of living day to day is placed on top of the exhaustion felt by the conditions itself.

I have read somewhere that the Government believes that the amounts paid out in DLA is unsustainable. This benefit is in fact one of the hardest to claim. Given that it is so hard to actually be awarded the benefit, does the Government really believe that by removing the benefit will miraculously cure all those who currently claim and those who should be claiming but are not strong enough to plough through the red tape? If they do then the Government is not only deluded but seriously mistaken.

In 1942 the British Government asked Sir William Beveridge to write a report on the best ways to help people on low incomes. In December of the same year the Beveridge report was published and proposed that all people of working age should pay a weekly contribution. In return, benefits would be paid to people who were sick, unemployed, retired or widowed. Beveridge argued that this system would provide a minimum standard of living "below which no one should be allowed to fall". When the Labour Party were elected in 1945 this policy was adopted. Somewhere since 1942 we have gone wrong. The current proposal confirms just that.

I don't know what the answer is. What I do know, is that we need to find away to protect those who for whatever reason are not able to fight this battle alone.

Disclaimer. The post above is written based upon known family history and my personal opinion. It is not written as a political post. I am happy for this post to be freely shared, however, please acknowledged me as the author.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Wk 3 - Cars

Week #3 – Cars
Week 3: What was your first car? What was the make, model, colour, but also any memories you have of the vehicle.This challenge runs from Saturday, January 15, 2011 through Friday, January 21, 2011.

The first car we owned together was a rather aged Maestro. We bought it for the small sum of £250 just after we moved here just to get us from A to B, which it did. There is a hill not far from here called Telegraph Hill and we always used to de-accelerate whilst travelling up the hill.

The next car we had was Stuart's choice, a Cavalier that I hated. We replaced that with a Peugeot Estate and that was followed by a Peugeot 406 which we loved. We then made the move to BMW where we still are, three cars later. They are sturdy cars and the car we had before our current one most certainly saved Stuart's life when he hit a patch of black ice in the January
of 2009. The car had £10,000 worth of damage, and as we looked at it on the ramps at the body shop of BMW we could see that every suspension part had snapped, like twigs. We were missing part of an alloy wheel and a chunck from the door handle. Stuart walked away thankfully with a few bruises. We have remained with a BMW because they are sturdy and we always go for the estate because we have a dog, a rather larger than life Border Terrier called Alfie.

Ancestor of the week - Henry Budd

My Ancestor this week has always been a bit of a challenge. Just when I think I have "got" him something happens that changes any hypothesis that I might have.

I started researching my ancestry the way most of us do, researching from what is known to the unknown. My Great Great Great Grandmother was a lady called Prudience Budd and it was this fact that got me on the trail to Henry and my obsession with the rural village in Surrey the family lived in called Puttenham.

As I trawled through the Parish Records and archives I became aware of one of the Curates of the parish called Charles Kerry. Kerry kept during his time in Puttenham a series of manuscripts written at the time and it was this manuscripts that brought the Budd family to life.


Budd Strudwick Vol 8 (Puttenham)

This pedigree, which appears in Volume 8 of the Kerry Manuscripts confirms all the details that I had already established from the Parish Records and very faintly, just above the name of Henry it reads "First of the Budds". I can still remember, 20 years on, the fascination that I felt when I stumbled across this pedigree, also the "what do you mean?" response that I echoed to the papers in a room full of archives and fellow researchers, much to everyone's amusement!.

I went back to the parish records and retraced my steps. All the children of Henry and his wife Martha were baptised in Puttenham. Another look in the Marriage records did not reveal a marriage for Henry to Martha. I spent more than 10 years looking for their marriage, searching each parish methodically from Puttenham and then each village and parish within a 10 mile radius. Success happened with the Church of the Later Day Saints released the Vital Records on CD.

Bingo! I had located the marriage of Henry Budd to Martha Ottaway in 1723 in the parish of Chertsey. I should say that given the proximity of Puttenham to both the border with Sussex and Hampshire I checked the strays indexes held in those two Counties by the Family History Societies in addition to the one held in Surrey and there was no other marriage for a Henry to a Martha in the right time frame. What I did know was that Henry had certainly been in the neighbourhood as in 1720 he was witness to a marriage in the parish of Elstead, about a mile or so from Puttenham.

Next I set about trying to unravel the details of Henry's birth. I headed to the IGI first of all to see if that could give me a clue. The index revealed a Henry born in 1699 in Binstead Hampshire. Not all that far from Puttenham, certainly walking distance by 18th Century standards. I wasn't convinced I had the right man. I shelved the Henry Budd mystery for a while.

Then I was following a discussion on the Surrey Rootsweb list when someone suggested that perhaps my Henry came from Shackleford, a rural parish some 2 miles from Puttenham as there was a mention of a Henry Budd being a tenant of a house called Cobblers. Alas no parish records for Peperharrow, which would be the most likely parish for any births to be recorded in, have survived. I am now still looking in the neighbouring parishes for the birth of Henry.

What is a coincidence is that I had a Great Aunt and Uncle who lived in Shackleford for many years, the distance by road is about 2 miles and across the fields to Puttenham the distance is shorter and unachievable now or certainly in the 18th Century. My gut feeling tells me that this is the Henry I am seeking, I just need to have some proof and undertake some additional research on this elusive ancestor of mine.

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