Thursday, July 30, 2015

Seven St Albans Brothers all become soldiers in First World War

Seven brother in the Corley family became soldiers in the First Word War and at the time of the press cutting (July 1917) two had been killed and one injured twice.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Right name - but are you sure he is really your ancestor?

Mike came up with another good example of the situation where a John married an Elizabeth - but were there one or two (or even more) families? This is a common problem, particularly in the 18th century when there is no census to help, and beginners often assume that the first "matching" couple they find must be the right one and end up on a wild goose chase after someone else's ancestors. Click here to see how I was able to show Mike that there were two different families or read Right Name, Wrong Body to see other examples where our ancestors seem to have been trying to confuse us!

Spring clean and upgraded pictures for Abbots Langley

See larger post card images of Abbots Langley
One of my top off-line priorities is to get my paper & digital library of books, post cards, etc., related to Hertfordshire better organised - and I have just started on the post card collection - starting with Abbots Langley. As a result I have added some new images and more than 20 images (those with blue edges) expand to 1024 pixel wide size on clicking. This will allow you to include higher resolution pictures in your family histories - but please remember to include a reference to the "Genealogy on Hertfordshire" site. I have also used the opportunity to spring clean the many pages involved, including correcting some broken links to external sites.

EVERYONE NOTE: Going steady through Hertfordshire village by village starting at "A" will take well over a year so if you would  like me to like me to upgrade the village where your ancestor lived let me know by means of a comment below and I will do it out of alphabetical order. This will mean I give priority to places which people are currently interested in. (Requests for towns may take a little longer ...)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Sandridge Shooting Range - update

Early in the 20th century the rifle range at Beech Bottom was closed and a new shooting range was opened  to the north of Sandridge. At first I thought it may have been used in the First World War but found that the main range in the St Albans area was at Chalk Hill, to the South West of the City. (DETAILS OF BOTH RANGES).

Mike has just written about investigations relating to the Sandridge range, probably more relevant to the Second World War. He say:

More Information about James Humphries (Herts R.F.A.) of Watford

The Military
Four years ago I purchased a faded card of a military camp posted by "J" from Watford in 1909 - and as the result of a lot of detective work was able to identify him and outline his military career with the Territorial Army (DETAILS).

Paul Chapman has now written to say he was a relative and has provided information on his death, and that of his widow. It is always nice to hear when people find their relatives mentioned on my site.

Herts at War Exhibition. Last chance to visit it at Letchworth

Herts at War

Dan Hill reports:  This coming week is the final week [in Letchworth] of what has been a fantastic year and one that the entire team are incredibly proud of. Over this last year we have welcomed over 10,000 visitors to the exhibition, led outreach sessions for thousands of students, researched over 700 Hertfordshire servicemen for family members and attended many events reaching members of the public across the county. With the support of our key project partners at the Heritage Lottery Fund and Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation we feel that the task that we set out to achieve in 2013; raising awareness of the Great War locally and remembering those who fought 100 years ago, had been a real success. 

For anyone wishing to visit the exhibition this week before we prepare for our September 9th launch in Sawbridgeworth; We will be open from 10am - 4pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 12/14 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City, Herts, SG6 3ET.

[I will post details of the arrangements at Sawbridgeworth next month]

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Evacustes Phipson (1854-1931) Watercolour Artist & Anarchist

St Peter's Green, St Albans, 1917
Some years ago I published a page about the Hertfordshire watercolour paintings of E. A. Phipson and recently I have had several emails about him, and the Phipson family.
I decided to investigate further and discovered that he had strong socialist views and was involved in new ways of living - including an unsuccessful colony in Australia, and a proposed new town in Mexico which did not use money. He was also connected with the pioneering new town in Hertfordshire - Letchworth Garden City - although it was not socialist enough for him.
I felt he deserved a more extensive biography and have started work on it. There are a number of leads that need to be followed up so I have posted the first part of the biography, dealing with his family, on the main web site together with outline notes and a time line of his travels around England and the world. The idea is to update the pages as more information comes in. If you can help fill in the gaps I will be very grateful.

A striking circa 1865 photograph from Watford

Can you help identify this lady whose name is difficult to read?

Frederick Downer of Watford started taking carte de visite in 1862 and this is believed one of his earliest - and is delicately tinted.

Click HERE to see the complete CDV.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Helping Beginners in Family History

Normally I only answer questions where someone has come up across a brick wall, or raises an issue which is of wider interest. What I don't have time to do is to carry out extensive research for free when the information is readily available online and the questioner could easily find the answers themselves. However I occasionally get well written requests for help from someone who is just starting out and, if they are to be successful in the long term they need the experience and practice to find the "easy stuff" for themselves.

See Hollingsworth/Baker Marriage in 1922 at Puckeridge for the kind of reply I like to give to a beginner who starts by sending some old family certificates. [But remember I only answer questions relating to Hertfordshire prior to about the end of the First World War.]

Saturday, July 11, 2015

An Aeroplane Lands at Britons Camp, St Albans, in 1915

Maurice Farman MF-11 Shorthorn plane at Britons Camp, St Albans. These French planes were used for training and reconnaissance in the early part of the First World War. The cap badges show that most of the men were from the Lincolnshire and Leicestershire Regiments, who were at Britons Camp in the summer of 1915.
Unfortunately the picture provides no clues as to exactly where Britons Camp was situated. Can you help?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Photographer updates

Post Cards
Updates, in most cases involving new CDV images, have been made to the following Victorian or Edwardian Photographers, to help with dating examples of their work.

Atherstane Basebe of Hertford, Hemel Hempstead and Watford
Misses M & A Austin of St Albans
Thomas Milburn Cooper of St Albans
Fred Downer of Watford
Thomas Benwell Latchmore of Hitchin
William Norman of Royston
Samuel Glendenning Payne of Aylesbury, Thame and Tring

Another Karaktus (St Albans artist) card found

See other post cards by this distinctive artist

Post Cards
St Albans
With the purchase of two more examples I have now identified 27 of the 30 distinctive post cards by Karaktus, published by Crown Publishing Ltd, of St Albans, in 1908/9. The missing numbers are 19, 21 and 22 and any help in locating copies will be appreciated. Details of any of the other cards published by the company at the time are also wanted.

However the big mystery remains - Who was Karaktus?

Friday, July 3, 2015

How the Church Square at Tring was Yarn Bombed

A Yarn Bomb Seat in Church Square
While Tring is much older, this year the town is celebrating the fact that its market is celebrating it 700th anniversary (which is one of the distractions which means this web site has not been so busy recently). Early on the morning of 29th June I was in Church Square to record the activity of the local Yarn Bombers at work.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July at HALS (Herts Archives & Local Studies)

Threads of Time II
Textiles inspired by Delme-Radcliffe Collection
Special Exhibition: Ends 11th July
Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo
Display: Ends 27th July
The Radcliffes of Hitchin
Display: Ends 27th July
Bookbinding for Beginners
Craft Workshop: Monday 6 July (9:30-16:00) £50
Reading the Past
Reading Group: Tuesday 14th July (18:00-19:00) £5
Behind the Scenes at the Archives
Tour: Thursday 16th July (10:00-11:15) £5
Hitchin Priory Park :An 18th century designed landscape
Illustrated Talk: Tuesday 21st July (18:00-19:00) £5

Check the HALS web site for latest  details 
and making bookings where appropriate