Friday, October 31, 2014

British Newspaper Archives - Latest updates

Recent "Hertfordshire" update at the British Newspaper Archives include 11 new years of the Hertford Mercury, the Buck Herald between 1910-1953 and the Bedfordshire Times between 1887 and 1950.

Bedfordshire Times - 1887-88, X, 91-97, X, 99-1906, X, 08-26, X, 28-40, X, 44, X, 50
Bucks Herald 1833-51, X, 53-1900, X, 02-09, 10-32, X,  34-53
Cambridge Chronicle - 1813-31, X, 36, X, 48, X, 59, X, 61-2, X, 67, X, 71,X75X77, X, 89
Cambridge Independent - 1839-73, X, 75-92, X, 94-5, X, 98-9, X1910, X, 13-20
Chelmsford Chronicle - 1783-91, X, 98, X1819, X, 32-7, X, 39-66, X, 68-9, 70, 71-83, 84, 85-98, X1900-50, 
Essex Newsman - 1870-96, X, 99-1910, X, 12-50
Essex Standard - 1831-44, X, 46-72, X, 75-95, X, 99-1900
Hertford Mercury - 1834-7, X, 40-68, 69-79
Herts Guardian - 1852-6, X, 59-60, 61, 62-65, 6667
Luton Times - 1856-62, X, 66-73, X, 75-80, X, 85, X, 94-1914
Watford Observer - 1863-7, 68, 69-70

Herts at War Exhibition at Letchworth

Exhibition in The Arcade, Letchworth
A week ago I visited Letchworth Garden City and was very interested to see the Herts at War Exhibition.
CLICK HERE for detailed report and many more pictures.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Remember the Childwickbury Fallen

Childwickbury, St Michaels, St Albans

I was delighted to see that there is a project to remember the fallen who worked on the Childwickbury Estate. 

A permanent memorial is proposed with 16 names from the First World War, and 6 from the Second World War. 

Christine Aitken is also planning a book Childwickbury in Wartime and she would love to here from you if you have a relative who worked on the estate, or with the Childwickbury Stud.

I have also added a post card picture of "The Rosary" to my online collection of pictures of Childwickbury

Friday, October 24, 2014

Which John is which - and the original records can cause problems

Help Desk
James had hit a brick wall because it was not immediately apparent which John Beale was Henry Beale's father - and it looked like a typical case of Right Name, Wrong Body.  Sorting out which of three Johns was the most likely one revealed a number of other actual errors or areas where there could easily be some confusion.. Our ancestors did not make it easy for us to track them down!
  • A James Beale was recorded as Thomas Beale in the 1851 census possibly due to a transcription error between the household form and the enumerator summary sheet.. (Think an unreadable fancy capital letter and compare "Xames" with "Xomas")
  • While there may be many reasons why Henry Beale's baptism could not be found it is clear that the vicar failed to keep the register properly, but had a note book and made errors copying it into the register at the end of the year. 
  • George Beale's birth was registered and he was christened with his father's surname before his parents married, although the banns were called for the first time 2 days before the baptism.
  • The Bridegroom was described as James Beale in the marriage register but signed himself John Beale which turns out to be his real name. The computer index only showed James Beale
  • The Bride is described as Elizabeth Graves - but modern Ancestry family trees give her name as Elizabeth Cocksett with parents (?step parents?) James and Mary Graves. [Still needs checking out]

Coal Posts in Hertfordshire

Coal Post at Wormley

Following the Coal Duties Act of 1851 coal posts were erected around London to indicate where tax became due, the tax helping to raise money for many of the bridges across the Thames. At least 44 were in Hertfordshire (but there may have been more). If you want to know more a good place to start is the excellent article "Hertfordshire's Coal Posts" on the Brookmans Park site. It addition to listing all known Hertfordshire posts it has articles, with photographs, on those at Potters BarColney Heath, Hawkshead, Wormley, Northaw and Newgate Street.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A "Tring Wheel" - and other Hertfordshire coins

I have just noted that a "Tring Wheel" (a rare Iron age gold coin first recorded from Tring) is up for sale. 

Not only have I posted details of the coin here but I have also set up a page to contain details of some other Hertfordshire coins and tokens.

Corran School, Langley Road, Watford

Corran, Watford, circa 1910
There were many private schools in and around Watford and I recently came across this post card of Corran, which was a girls boarding school in Langley Road Watford between 1890 and about 1935. Interestingly one of the first principals, Eleanor Frances Jourdain, went on to become the principal of of St Hugh's College, Oxford, as did one of the pupils, Evelyn Emma Stefanos Procter. In addition one of the teachers, May Leitch, was a leading woman golfer, although not as well known as her sister Cecil Leitch.
Any further information on staff or pupils will be welcome

Monday, October 20, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wharncliffe, Chorleywood & its literary connections

Help Desk

Toni is looking for an early picture of this house, facing the Common at Chorleywood, so the exterior can be restored to what it was like 100 years or so ago (before the garish shop front!).  Can you help? It is possible that a partial view might be on a picture of the nearby chapel (now closed) which is a few yards down Colleyland.

In checking the history of the house it would seem it was built between 1891 and 1899 and in 1901 was occupied by a baker called Frederick Baldwin. The property was still in use as a baker's shop into the 1960s and possibly later. Interestingly Frederick appears to have taken lodgers and between 1899 and 1901 the writer William Sharp (who also wrote under the name of Fiona McLeod) took rooms in the house, in part to get away from the winter smogs in London..

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Water End Sandridge/Wheathampstead in 1830

Water End House was originally in the Parish of Sandridge, but is now in Wheathampstead. Sarah Jennings, who later became the Duchess of Marlborough, of Blenheim Palace, was born there. It was also the home of my Great Grandparents Dolphin and Maria Smith. I have just posted the following picture showing the rear of the house in 1830.
Water End House, Sandridge

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rural Relaxation - and a big thanks to Stoke Mandeville Hospital

The Cafe in Wendover Woods
The countryside changes with the seasons and with the weather, and the trees seem very different when seen on a dark and misty day which drains the colour out of the scenery so that even the pale pastel shades of the table parasols jump out at you. I took this yesterday, after a visit to Stoke Mandeville Hospital where I am thankful that with their help I can still enjoy such a view, even if today I enjoyed it from inside The Cafe in the Woods while having my lunch. If it had not been for hospital's help I would now be permanently viewing everything through a thick mist. Now with cataracts removed from both eyes, and the glaucoma in the left eye  now well under control, I still enjoy the countryside, come rain or shine, well into retirement.

And I mustn't forget that I can now hear the singing of the birds in the trees (except that today they were keeping very quiet) thanks to hearing aids provided by the hospital - and there are several other departments who over the years have helped to make my old age more bearable. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Polish up your British History

It is clear that many of the people who use my web site are comparatively new to family history research and have little real understanding of the the relevant historical and social environment that their ancestors would have known first hand. For those of you who did not study history in any detail at school, or were taught about the Kings and Queens and great events but nothing about the everyday lives of everyday people I strongly recommend the BBC History Web Site. I have only recently discovered it, while trying to find out how many people lived in England at various date in the past. Finding it useful I have located a number of articles which I am sure many of you will find helpful. I have added the link to the Key Web Sites Menu on the main site.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Goodbye to First World War Army Hut at Tring

The site of the New Mill Social centre, a former First World War Army hut which came from Gadebridge Army Camp, Hemel Hempstead, circa 1922, for use as a church, has now been cleared so that six new houses can be built.

Rural Relaxation: A Fungus Foray at College Lake

Preparing for the Fungus Foray
This weekend the Bucks Fungus Group and the Herts & Beds Fungus Group got together with BBOWT to run a "Fungus Weekend" at College Lake, near Tring. This included a "Fungus Foray" on  Saturday (and another today, Sunday) and a most interesting collection of fungi on display in the Barn.  
See My Pictures - Bigger Images

Friday, October 10, 2014

1880s Pictures of St Leonards, Sandridge

I have just added three 1880s pictures of St Leonards, Sandridge, including an interior which shows the box pews before the 1887 restoration to the St Leonard's page.
Box Pews in St Leonard's Church circa 1880

Two more First World War Nursery Rhymes

From an old school magazine, The Mortonia.

Old Kaiser Billy he went to the cupboard,
To get little Willie a bun,
But when he got there the cupboard was bare,
And so little Willie had none.

Ride on a tank to Berlin on the Spree,
To see a fine Kaiser ride on a black gee,
With sword in his fingers, and spikes on his toes ­
He shall have troubles where ever he goes!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Brief Notes on Other Activities in September

Fewer posts upfront last month - but over 6,400 page views on the Newsletter and while the number of visitors to the main site is less than in September 2013, the number of pages views was higher. I was involved in a lot of activity in the background (see below), including some computer problems with upgrade to Windows 8.1 and entertaining our Australian visitor - with visits to Bletchley Park and the British Schools Museum.

Karaktus. I have acquired another card in this distinctive series by an unknown St Albans artist but half a dozen of the series still escape me.

Ben Tomlin discovered the page on the photographer Samuel Glendenning Payne, and we discover we share Rolls family ancestors, starting from William Rolls (1726-1798) and Mary Devonshire (1729-1804) of Bicester, Oxfordshire.

I have added an attractive post card of the Old Red Lion public house, High Street, Bushey, from about 1910 by a Watford stationer, Jackson & Co.

I have had several queries recently where people have asked for help who appear to have never read a general guide on family history, have never brought a birth, marriage or death certificate to check details, and have limited their activities to the indexes on one or two web sites. As a result they had made a very elementary mistake of assuming that is a name and date are approximately right it MUST BE MY ANCESTOR!!!! Perhaps I should insist that everyone should look at Right Name, Wrong Body" before asking me a question.

I have added a post card from about 1910 showing two thatched cottages in Widford.

I have added information about Grove School, Watford, in  1932

Gatward Clock
I have added a note about the 250 years booklet about Gatward, Jeweller, of Hitchin.

John has written that he has some post cards written to Mary Burrage of Abbots Langley and asks if anyone is interested.

I have updated the link to FreeBMD (no longer part of Rootsweb) and also the link to the Football Club History Database on the Apsley Football page.

To see what happened I have pinned a picture of the Apsley Football team on Historypin. As the picture has Apsley parish church in the background the location can be identified to be in one corner of the car park attached to Sainsbury's supermarket. As expected Historypin insisted in moving the pin from the correct position onto the London Road - demonstrating that the package is unsuitable for accurately recording historical data on a map.

There have been some additional replies and retweets on @HertsGenealogy

I have had several requests for high resolution images, which have been supplied and I have sent about half a dozen other emails on minor points ...