Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Isolated by the Computer - delays in answering emails, etc.

Self-isolating from the virus is one thing - but within hours of posting my last message here I found myself being isolated from my genealogy activities on the web.  I had two computers on the go - the old one which I use for all Geneological and local history activities, and a newer (but my no means new) laptop. Soon after posting the last message the home network started to fall apart and the problem was the old computer - which still works off-line - but is causing problems if it was connected to the router,  OK I can still update the website offline but I can't (at the moment) update the online copy.

In addition I found I couldn't access the email from the laptop - except that after about a week it started to misbehave and when I typed my password all I got was a blank screen ... leaving me with no working computer. A friendly computer engineer has now downloaded the hard disc and may be able to get it running intermittently - but it is unlikely to be reliable in the long term.

Clearly being self-isolated as an at risk OAP - and at the same time being denied access to a computer would be hellish - except that I could get a bit of time on my wife's computer - except that for many accounts I found I no longer knew the passwords!   However my son, whose family usually has the latest models, has kindly given my wife and iPhone and an iPad - while I have decided get myself an iMac - and am now busy learning a new system, transferring files across, etc.

For the rest of the self-isolation time (however long it proves to be for geriatrics like myself) I will be mainly working on preparing some old project records for Archive at Cambridge University - but I will also tidy up the Genealogy web site in the hope that I will later be able to update it - or at least deposit a copy of the updated version at HALS.  When I regain access to my email at I will reply to any relevant messages,

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Don't be a prisoner in your own house? Why not do some more local and family history research

I may be 82 in a few days time and suffer from asthma (fortunately only mildly) but I have no intention of being bored over the coming months. I want to be sure my mind remains active - and you may find historical research is a good way of avoiding watching the news on TV.

Published by the Crown Publishing Co., St Albans, in 1909
I admit I have rather neglected my "Genealogy in Hertfordshire" web site over the last year and the current crisis gives me time to add updates based on pictures and documents in my office that has not yet made it online and which should be in the final archive. These will definitely include more information of Bernards Heath, St Albans, and information on the early marketing of "Lawes Patent Fertilizer" (developed at Harpenden about 180 years ago). I may add details of books that, until now, had not been reviewed and add more higher resolution pictures of Hertfordshire post cards. To lighten the blog I will also regularly include comic post cards linked to the Crown Publishing Company of St Albans.

In addition you can help by visiting my web site and providing information about existing pages which would add value to the web site to the surviving generations of family and local history researchers. 

Two such updates are already in the pipeline - both relating to different Watford Photographers. Trevor has found the missing 1891 census return for Colville Dyke and as I result I have been able to provide detailed information as to what he was doing in Sittingbourne. Darren has provided some early views by Fred Downer and as a result I will be updating the information on Sopwell Priory, St Albans. If you can make similar contributions they will be gratefully received. In fact when I post further messages on this blog I will suggest where there a holes that need filling which you might like to explore.

All significant updates to the web site will be reported on this blog.

Monday, January 27, 2020

January Updates

Many pages have been updated (heading has a blue background) and new cards, or higher resolution images have been added. The more important changes have been described on Latest Updates - and include the following interesting cards:

Donald McGill was one of the most significant post card artists at the time covered by this study, and I have created a page giving examples of his work for various publishers.

This card, shows a mother with a pram, has no signature or publisher but is in "Series 3097" along with other cards that are very probably by "F S."

This card was published by Vertigen and shows an aeroplane flying over the sea. It was posted in October 1910, a year after Louis Bleriot had flown across the English Channel

This card, by Dauber. replaces an earlier version where the image was partly obscured by a printed Christmas message

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Merry Christmas from "Genealogy in Hertfordshire"

A Merry Xmas from Fred Spurgin
"F S" produced several different sets of Xmas cards. In 1906 they were published by the London View Co. Ltd. and  appeared with a holly border. The series "Kiss me under the Mistletoe" may have been published the same year.

In 1907 (after the London View Co had closed) the publisher (if any) was Vertigen and the message appears in a box surrounded with holly.

In 1908 (when the Crown Publishing Co, St Albans, existed he appears to have produced no Xmas Cards,

In 1909 Spurgin Xmas cards were published by Watkins & Krake and were signed using the name Dauber.

In 1910 similar cards were produced to the previous year, but published by the Avenue Publishing Co in the Paternoster series.


After a rather disruptive year - when the Genealogy in Hertfordshire site, and this blog, got very neglected - I am now hoping, to get the "Catalogue of F S Post Cards" (related to the Crown Publishing Company of St Albans) into a better long term structure (see latest Updates). In addition I hope to include some updates on other projects relating to Hertfordshire.

Have a good relaxing Christmas

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

First World War Book - The London Gunners come to Town

In 2014 many people contacted me trying to get a copy of my popular 1995 book, "The London Gunners come to Town," and I sadly had to say it was out of print. As a result some second hand copies were for sale online at £50 or more. A couple of weeks ago, while clearing some of the junk in my garage, I found an unopened box of new copies.  As a result I have placed a number of signed copies with the brand new bookshop in Tring (Our Bookshop) for sale at the original asking price of £9.99.

 Including  sample pages, etc.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A Merry Christmas from "Genealogy in Hertfordshire"

Hi All
Enjoy your Christmas and keep up your own researches into family and local history.

Yes I am still here even if my web site and blogs have been rather inactive during 2018 Other matters have meant that I have not been as active on line as I would like. My top priority has been to keep fit and over the year I have relaxed by doing more walking in the wonderful countryside around Tring - and have lost over 10 kg. 

To remain mentally active I have been continuing to work on local history. I have been trying to identify the artist who published the "Karaktus" comic cards in St Albans 110 years ago. The story involves a young and highly innovative artist who sometimes signed his cards "F S" and a whole networks of mainly small short-lived companies (such as the Crown Publishing Company of St Albans). 

Recently I came across firm evidence that "F S" also published some comic cards (such as the one above) under the pseudonym "Dauber" and was also responsible for the Infantastic series of cards of round-faced children. Certain details make it virtually certain that "F S" is Fred Spurgin, who was one of the top comic card artists of the 1910s and 20s.

Over the holiday period I will be actively updating (and correcting) the information I have on the "F S" related comic cards in the light of the latest discoveries. Of course you are welcome to enter the world of Edwardian comic post cards by "F S" at any time as long as you don't mind the occasional "work in progress" warnings.

So relax and enjoy the Christmas break.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Meeting HFHS - The (almost) Empty Index Card

The (almost) Empty Index Card
A lost ancestor who went to Van Dieman's Land voluntarily
Janet Pearson
2.30pm on 8th December
Herts Family History Society
Woolmer Green Village Hall, SG3 6SZ
Hall opens 1.30pm