Saturday, July 30, 2016

Important changes to the GENUKI pages

The GENUKI web site is currently being updated and this is affecting the links to parish records included on this web site. The current situation is as follows:

If you enter the GENUKI web site via the "Key Web Sites" option on my home page menu you can still reach the old GENUKI pages for a given parish.but the GENUKI home page includes the message:
We are in the process of upgrading the site to implement a content management system.
However if you try to enter the parish web page from the links on my pariah the link no longer works.

If you google the name of the parish and GENUKI you get a reformatted parish page which includes a map of the parish and some new standard links.

Obviously amyone who has been using direct GENUKI links on their web site, or as starred links on their browser, will need to change their links.

I am waiting to see when the situation stabilizes and may then use the change to carry out a review of all the common direct links and update all affected parish pages over the next month or so.

Restrictions on the "Ask Chris" facility

Due to a variety of reasons the time I can spend on the site has become more limited and I have decided to impose the following restrictions on the Ask Chris service:
Temporary Restriction on Service

There is a considerable backlog of maintenance and updates to be done and as a result I can no longer offer such a detailed service until the backlog is cleared. (See introductory page for details).

I still welcome messages and queries sent to on the following subjects:
Corrections and significant new information relating to existing pages (which should be clearly identified as the site contains many thousand pages).
News items (with full details) of events and publications relating to Hertfordshire history for use on the Newsletter
Queries relating to re-use of material on this site
Offers of new digital images of post cards and CDV, etc. (but NOT from copyright books and similar sources) which add to those already displayed on this site.
I am afraid that for the time being I can no longer answer simple birth, marriage and death type family history questions or routine questions about the history of private houses

Friday, July 29, 2016

Can you help identify Sydbie, a Hertfordshire Water Colour Artist circa 1905?

Click to see all his known pictures
"Sydbie" was a water colour artist who pictures of Hertfordshire appear in three post card series. 

The first series of six was published in about 1905 by the somewhat mysterious "Water Colour Post Card Co." which may have been what we would now call vanity publishers. However the number of cards showing views near Barnet that appear on ebay suggests quite a number were sold.

The second series have a distinctive logo on the back and show views of St Albans (2 known) and my also have been privately published in about 1906, 

Finally in about about 1908 at least three of his watercolours of St Albans were published by Boots in the Pelham series.

A couple of says ago Terry contacted me to say that he owned the original water colour painting for one of the cards (see picture) and this reopens the key question:

Who was Sydbie?

It seems likely that he was an amateur artist who lived in the Barnet and/or St Albans area in about 1905 and may have had a name like "Sidney B, ????" or "Sidney B?????."  Can you help? And do you know of any other of his paintings or post cards?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

St Albans Directory from 1798

Click here for full directory entry

At one time a site called Genhound carried some of the Universal British Directories (1790-8) entries for Hertfordshire, and also some other early directory entries. The site has now closed. Does anyone know if there are online copies elsewhere?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Update of South Mimms Page

I have update the page containing information and higher resolution pictures of South Mimms & Potters Bar

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dating Hertfordshire Photographs & Postcards

I am currently sorting out my large collection of Hertfordshire post cards and earlier CDV & Cabinet photographs and plan to expand this area of the web site to help you to date old photographs and post cards. Over the last three month I have updated the following pages - in some cases adding significant new material while in others simply add an earlier postal date for a post card. 

For more information

Expect many further updates over the coming months
If you can let me know of other relevant material to include do not hesitate to contact me.

Earliest Hertfordshire Photographers - 1851-65
Avery - photographer - Hitchin (1864-70) & Kent
Barnard - portraits - Bedford & St Albans 1878-94
Bedwell - Bedford post card publisher 1903-4
Blum & Degan - National post card publisher - to 1908
Boots Chemists - National post card publishers
Brown -  Rickmansworth - pre WW1 post cards
Clarendon Series - Watford - early post cards
Coles - photographer - Watford - portraits & post cards - from 1890
Craddock - photographer - Hertford (1857) and India
Crown Publishing (Karaktus)- comic postcards - St Albans 1908-9
Cull - photographer - Watford - particularly First World War
Darrah - photographer - Rickmansworth - post WW1 post cards
Downer - photographer - Watford - from 1862 - early post cards
Dyke - ventriloquist & photographer - Watford - c1890
Elsden - photographer - Hertford - from 1859 - early post cards
Garrood - photographer - Hertford - 1860s
Hartmann - National post card publisher - to 1909
Hill - Berkhamsted - early post cards
Knight Brothers - National post card publisher 1904-08
Loosley - Berkhamsted - post cards
Loosley - Watford - early post cards
London View Company - National post card publisher - 1905-8
Payne - photographer - Aylesbury, Thame & Tring - 1864-1912
Photochrom - National post card publisher
Rawlings- Watford - early post cards
Richardson (Richardo Studios) - St Albans - early post cards
Shaw - photographer - Watford & Hemel Hempstead 1869-82
Shurrey - National magazine publisher - early post cards
Smith - National post card publisher
Southwood - photographer - Watford - portraits & post cards 1900-30s
Stengel - National post card publisher - undivided backs
Thridgould - National post card printer
Valentine - National post card publisher - from 1886
Vipond - travelling photographer - visited Hertford 1859
Wrench - National post card publisher 1902-1904

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Historic Hertfordshire Trade Directories

I have updated the pages which list the Hertfordshire Trade Directories. The most important change is to update the link to the directories digitized as part of the Historic Directories project (which covers the whole country and not just Hertfordshire). I have also listed the Hertfordshire directories which have been digitized as part of the Ancestry data base. The chief loss is of the 1811 Holden directory which was available through the Genhound web site which closed in 2015.

It is not possible for me to scan every genealogy and history web site for other online copies of Hertfordshire directories - or cases where indexed by name information is available a genealogy web site - so if you know of any that I have missed please add a comment below.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Holes brothers of Ardeley in the First World War

Five years ago I posted a note about a possible bomb being dropped somewhere near Walkern by a Zeppelin (DETAILS)  - and I am still waiting for someone to be able to tell me where it fell.

The evidence that something happened came from a postcard between members of the Holes family of Ardeley, and Nick has just contacted me to say that Albert (mentioned on the card) had been killed in the First World War. As a result I have added the following note to the bottom of the page referring to the Zeppelin raid.
Alfred's father, George Holes (1857-1914) died at Ardeley in April 1914 and Alfred married Ethel Maude Baker (1890-1956) in theSouth Stoneham area of Wiltshire in 1915, their only daughter Ivy M Holes (1916-2004?) being born in Wiltshire the following year.Alfred joined the 9th Battalion, London Regiment (419016), as a rifleman and was killed in action on 25 April, 1918, having only arrived in France on 10th April. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Poziers Memorial. He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal
During the war three of his brothers were also involved. George joined the Machine Gun Corps (39922) in 1916. James was a Private in the Berks Yeomanry (33929) and later in the Labour Corps (360192). Bertie joined the 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment (14144) and died of wounds in France 29 July 1916.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

More Picture of Libury Hall (near Ware)

Libury Hall was set up as an Arbeiter-Kolonie for out of work Germans by 1902 and was used to hold elderly and infirm Germans during the First World War.

Nicholas has provided two post cards of the colony dating from about 1910.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Somme Casualty: Leonard Fisher of Redbourn

Leonard George Fisher (1892-1916) of Redbourn was one of the Hertfordshire men who died in the battle for the Somme in 1916.

Jonathan has kindly provided a biography - including details of the battles he fought in.

The RAMC in the Watford Area in 1914

Heather has kindly supplies a picture, taken by Harry Cull, of Watford, which used to adorn her grandfather's desk. He was Pte Vincent Lamb - and may be the man behind the horse's head.

Sorry for a lack of postings but I have had other things to worry about

Over the recent weeks I have been involved online, via a FutureLearn course, in extensive online debates on the recent referendum.

At a time when we are remembering the horrors of the Battle of the Somme I am saddened that so many people are distrustful of our European neighbours and have decided to up anchor and sail the United Kingdom ship out into the unknown.

Don't get me wrong - there are many things wrong with Europe - but all large organisations have problems and none are perfect. To me the threat of a third world war, fought by terrorists, is far more dangerous in the short term - and climate change will present future generations with far more serious challenges. 

What will happen next? The winning side is crowing that "Britain is strong" at a very time that our "democratic" system is presenting a soft underbelly to the world. An internal squabble in a government voted for by less than 25% of the electorate escalate the row in a way that leaves the country bitterly divided. Any government which calls a referendum which could radically change the country without having a fully prepared "Plan B" is grossly incompetent. At the same time the opposition is falling apart because of the failures of past governments to properly address the London/Rest of England divide. The captain of the ship has caste off from the shore without getting the approval of parliament (which is the body elected to make such decisions) and then falls on his sword. The captain-presumptive has been knifed in the back by his colleagues who say that it will be impossible to keep some of his promises. People who simply look life foreigners are being insulted (or worse) in the streets.

At a time when we are showing the world that we are too incompetent to govern ourselves properly we expect the rest of the world to take us seriously!!!!