Saturday, October 20, 2018

HFHS Meeting - Finding George

Finding George
Tracing a 1st World War Soldier
2.30pm on 27th October
Herts Family History Society Meeting 
Woolmer Green Village Hall, SG3 6SZ
Hall opens 1.30pm

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Balderson's Wharf
Roy has kindly supplied an update on Balderson's Wharf, Hemel Hempstead.  It appear that the person after whom the wharf was named was actually born with the surname Osbaldeston!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Tring Earth Closet - Update

I have been very busy recently but when I have time I sit and think about my genealogy web site, and sometimes I am moved to deposit some new material in it.

Recently Allen pointed out there was a leak in the page on the Tring Earth Closet and I have removed the broken link and added a new link for any environmentally friendly reader who want to make compost.

P.S. If you know where there is a surviving Victorian Tring-designed earth closet it might make a very practical addition to the local history museum.

The War on the Western Front in 1914

Wednesday 17th October 2018 - Dr Jonathan Boff
Subject: 'The War on the Western Front in 1918'

Jonathan Boff is a Senior Lecturer in History and War Studies at the University of Birmingham, where he teaches courses on conflict from Homer to Helmand.

He specialises in the First World War and his previous book, Winning and Losing on the Western Front: The British Third Army and the Defeat of Germany in 1918 (CUP, 2012) was short-listed for the Templer Medal and for the British Army Book of the Year award.

He was educated at Merton College, Oxford and the Department of War Studies, King's College London and spent twenty years working in finance before returning to academia. He serves on the councils of the National Army Museum and Army Records Society, has worked as a historical consultant with the British Army and the BBC, and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

The talk takes place in the Weston Auditorium, University of Hertfordshire, De Havilland Campus, Herts, AL10 9EU and starts at at 7.30pm with doors open from 7pm. To book your FREE ticket, car park pass and for further information, please visit the link below:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/war-on-the-western-front-in-1918-dr-jonathan-boff-tickets-50642505096

For directions and site map visit: www.hertsatwar.co.uk/talks-2017-2018 

* Note the car park pass will be email separately, shortly before the talk

Friday, September 21, 2018

What is happening to the "Genealogy in Hertfordshire" web site

If we install a lift this is where it would have to go!
I am still here but apart from a few minor behind the scenes updates to the main web site, and a few private emails, there has been no real action to report. The current situation is as follows.

  • On the computer side the old system which runs the ancient software to support the web site is showing further signs of old age and it only really being kept alive so that I can update the web site.
  • On the domestic side, we may have to make some changes to our house for health-related reasons. If we install a lift the only possible location would require me to significantly downsize my Hertfordshire Library.
  • As the main function of the library was to support the web site I may well decide to sell .off a significant number of Hertfordshire books on ebay over the winter, and will give details here when I do.
  • Where there is unique material I will consider transferring it to a suitable archive.
Blog: An Evolutionary Model of Human Intelligence
However 50 years ago I was put in charge of a project to design a human-friendly computer - only to be made redundant a couple of years later as the result of the government inspired merger to form the computer company ICL - which decided it was not interested. The subsequent story is long and complicated, but it now seems that my 1968 ideas were modelling how human short term memory works - and my ideas are now relevant to the way the brain works. As a result my top online priority in future will centre around an new blog 
Feel free to drop in to see a very different side of my interests.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A sick computer and lost emails

For various reasons I have not been able to spend much time on genealogy recently and the ancient computer I have been using to support the "Genealogy in Hertfordshire" web site has been having some serious problems including a faulty memory card.

While its can still be used to update the online web site it is not certain how long it will be working well enough to do so. Over the next few month I hope to be able to clear some back-log updates. As arrangements have been made for the site to be archived by the British Library everything online should be "safe".

When the old system finally collapses this blog will still continue.

Another fault has just lead to the "Outbox" folder (and possibly some other folders) of my email package being corrupted - before I had completed the move of all my email to a newer computer. My back up arrangement does not appear to have worked so if I has sent you an email from my hertfordshire-genealogy address in the last few years I may no longer have a copy!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Restrictions on the "Ask Chris" facility

I have just reworded the "Ask Chris" page on the main Genealogy in Hertfordshire web site to read:

Ask Chris
Your Questions answered by the Resident Genealogist
Sorry but Ask Chris is now
 CLOSED
to new queries as this web site is currently being put into archive mode.
Messages are still welcomed if they help to correct errors or otherwise extend clearly identified web pages or relate to the source or reuse of material (including pictures) already on this web site.

The Newsletter Blog is continuing and news items for possible inclusion on it are very welcome.


The instructions make it clear that all emails will be treated as spam unless either they clearly specify which page on the web site is relevant or include news items appropriate for Hertfordshire Genealogy News.

The reason is quite simple - the time I can spend on the web site is extremely limited (due to other matters which need attention) and priority has to be given to the fact that the site will, in the not too distant future, only be available as an archive. There is a backlog of material waiting to be added to the final archive and I would like to concentrate on transferring this online, and of course correcting any errors, before the old computer finally gives up the ghost.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Weights and Measures offences at Watford in 1857


 Watford
Petty Sessions
December 29, 1857

Unjust Weights Measures and Scales


People Mentioned

Magistrates
W. Stuart, Esq., Chairman
Sergeant Woolrych
Rev. A. H. Barker
A. Currie, Esq.

Before the Bench
Mrs. Shrimp
Mr. Mallard
Mr. Preston
Mr. Boddy
Mr. Bates
Mrs. Bye
Mr. Gotley of  Frowley Bottom (Abbots Langley)
Mrs. Neale
Mr. Fensom
James Weston
Thomas Hawes
Mrs. Ryder

Solicitors, etc.
Mr Adcock
Mr Sedgwick

Bucks Herald 2nd January, 1858 (From British Newspaper Archive)

If you can identify any of the offenders please comment below.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The origin of the Placename Betlow

I was recently asked about the origin of the surname Betlow and whether it was associated with Betlow Farm, near Tring, in Hertfordshire. I replied:
Surnames only started in medieval times and spellings only started to be standardised after the invention of printing and in some cases current spellings (both surnames and place names) may be only a hundred years old.  As a result any analysis of the origins of a surname must involve a large degree of uncertainty.
Some surnames came into existance because someone was named after the place where they came from. It is therefore possible possible that your surname "Betlow" refers back to someone who lived at a place called "Betlow."
The earliest known reference to the Hertfordshire village/manor of "Betelawe"was in 1203 with other 13th century references being to "Betelowe," " Betelaue" and "Bettelawe." The village was abandoned in the Middle Ages (possibly due to the Black Death) and for many centuries all that remained of the manor was a single farm.
The Moat at Moat Farm, Marsworth, undoubtedly dug to drain the central area for the Farm
 "The Placenames of Hertfordshire" suggests that the placename probably was a descriptive term meaning Beta's mound or hill.  The area around Betlow Farm is vey flat - so it clearly doesn't refer to a hill. I haven't visited the Farm but I know much of the area would have been very wet in the past - perhaps even marshy - although moden drainage has lowered the water table. So it is possible that there was a slightly raised area which was drained well enough to build a house.  Not many miles away there are moated sites (often with no surviving buildings, where the effect of the moat was almost certainly to leave a dry area on which a wooden farm house could be built. In the nearby Village of Long Marston the old church is on a mound perhaps 3 feet higher that the surrounding fields - with the remains of a waterfiled moat close by - possible for that reason.


Friday, June 1, 2018

Fasting at Champneys, nr Tring, in 1926

I have updated the Champneys page to included press cuttings and all the post card images now enlarge if you click on them