Old Newspapers

I was supposed to be writing Christmas cards last night, but the British Library launched a a huge collection of online Newspapers and frankly it seemed more fun trawling through them!  You can search for free or pay £6.95 to actually access and read the papers for two days.  I’ve done that, because  if I did a whole month Christmas would be cancelled in our house and I’d just be on my laptop.

I was mostly searching for family tree information, but the search is a bit clunky you can’t just search for a name you have to put AND in all the time and then it’ll bring up 30 pages with the two words you’ve searched for.  So it took be a while but I came up with an absolute gem, the previously unknown to us story of how Paul’s x3 great grandfather died!

It’s a really beautiful little window into the past and how they lived. The story is titled ‘A Melancholy and Fatal Accident’ – which is such a great description! In 1868 George was 39, and married with five children. He’d gone to Bury St Edmunds on the train from Newmarket to do a cattle sale, he’d come back to Newmarket. Gone out with a few friends for a drink in the pub in Newmarket (we’ve drunk in there!) and then onto another village to look at some lambs for sale.

About 9pm he left to make the six mile journey home in his horse and gig – which as we have both said was a bit mad as it’s dark in the lanes there now, let alone pre-street lights – sadly at some point he either fell asleep or lost control of the gig and was thrown onto the road where he died. He wasn’t found until the next morning and there was an inquest done in the morning at the local pub and then he was buried later that day.

It was so bizarre reading it, I knew he’d died young and his wife lived into her 90’s but we didn’t know anything of the circumstances of his death. It was at the same time totally fascinating to hear so much detail about his day and really, really sad, that Paul’s great grandmother was widowed so young.

I’m off now to search out some more relatives, really hoping I don’t find any murderers!  If you’re into family history check out the archive, http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

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Remembrance Day

Photo Credit: Flanders Battlefiield - National Library of Scotland's photostream on Flickr

As always I’m remembering my Grandmother’s Uncles who died in WWI and all that have come after them

Private John Criddle

died 30th September 1915

aged 35

Battle of Loos


Alfred Alexander Criddle

died 22nd September 1918

aged 35



and this year I’m proud to add a lost Uncle:

Private George Easter

died 30 April 1918

aged 26


You were not forgotten

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Google Streetmap & History

**Update –  hello new readers if you’re looking for HistoryPin click here**

Just about everyone by now has been using Google Streetmap to see their house, house they grew up in etc.  Well last night it occurred to me I could see my ancestors homes from the comfort of my sofa!  I have the census records for a fair few and unfortunately the first few I looked up were in London and must have been cleared after the war so were long gone.  But then I struck gold.

Here’s a picture of my Great Grandmother and her adopted daughter standing outside her home in Kensington London in I guess the 1920’s (love the plants in the front yard!) and then the same address now on Google StreetMap. You can just see the door under the stairs where she was standing. Nice to see plants in the neighbours front yards like she had.

Picture 73

Picture 74

So if you have any census information check out the addresses, it’s really nice to see where your ancestor lived.

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Objective Meaning

Tim over at Bringing up Charlie created a new meme ‘My Object’ in the week after watching the BBC programme A History of the World. Running in partnership with the British Museum, this epic series takes 100 (well, 99) of the British Museum’s most important objects and tells the story of human history through each one. A sort of every-picture-tells-a-story but with artefacts.  The idea of the Meme is to share an item which tells the story of your family. I’m putting an open tag on this one, so please join in it’ll be lovely to see what you come up with.

I thought it would be dead easy….turns out I’ve spent the whole week trying to think of something!  We don’t have massive amount of heirlooms and I decided I couldn’t put the iPhone in as our item!  So it has to be my stash of family photos that my Nan left me when she died. I wrote about it recently, it’s an old camera box which still smells like my Nan 30 years after she died.  I love it and get it out to show Miss L regularly who her ancestors were.

In there are our family treasures. As well as photos there is a hand written list of all the items she lost in the Blitz,

A birth card for their son Ernest they lost at 15 days to diphtheria.  Ernest had no headstone, it was during the Depression of the 1930’s and his wooden cross was stolen for firewood, so it was all she had left of him.

There are maternity hospital cards from some of my aunts and uncle births – amazing what you had to have ready for labour in those days, Mackintosh?!?! Not to mention having to pay a deposit for Midwife services!

And last of all the photos which she must have inherited.  Pictures of Grandparents, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins all from over 100 years ago.  These people long gone who struggled so have given so much to me, their aspirations, humour and love made my family and for that I thank them.


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Family History Day

My degree was in History and English and one of my dissertation projects was my family tree.  This was *cough* 16 years ago now, but I was utterly hooked on finding out where my family had come from and who they were.  Back then I’d have to hunt in dusty libraries and records offices for any information  Now of course you pop something into Google, Ancestry or FamilySearch and you have the information in seconds.  But by the time I’d met Paul I’d pretty much done my tree back to the 15th Century, so imagine my delight when we married and had Miss L – I had a whole new tree to find!

Recently though Miss L’s been watching ‘Who do you think you are’ and has now taken an interest in her own family.  So on Saturday as we are very fortunate to live near the area Paul’s family come from (mine’s Scotland, Somerset and London) we headed to the village his great grandfather lived, in the 1880’s.    I’d driven through it but never stopped off and looked round the churchyard for family graves.  So we thought it might be fun to see if we could find any – we are bit of a weird family!


This is Woodditton Church which was mentioned as property of King Canute (995AD) and is in the Domesday Book in 1086. As from the records I’d found that Paul’s family had lived in the village for about 200 years I was pretty confident that there should be some gravestones for us to look at.  Gravestones are also an excellent source of information as things tend to be written on the stones that are missing from any other record about the person, so always good to find.

We were a bit disappointed when we got to the graveyard and there seemed to be a lot of missing stones as the graveyard seemed very empty for what has been a thriving village for centuries.  But we started our hunt…..which went on and on for about an hour and there was not one gravestone of Paul’s family.

Just as we were about to give up Paul pulled some moss from an old stone which was lying on the floor, and there she was Miss L’s great, great, great, great, great Grandmother Eliza Jane Wiseman and her daughter also an Eliza Jane.  So we cleared the grave of moss and tidied up around it.

This side is of her daughter as the older Eliza’s side was virtually unreadable, but we very happy to have found them and made their grave more presentable.  We have no idea where the rest of their family is though, it’s possible the stones have been uprooted over the years so I’ll have to contact the church to find out.

But Miss L was amazed to find it and very excited, she now wants to go to some of the other churches in the area and learn more about where she comes from, which is what I wanted to achieve.

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I’m a huge family history buff, I love looking into the past and learning more about my family.  Thanks to the internet it’s so much easier now than it was 10-15 years ago!  However this little gem came from a book I bought about Fulham in London last week.  My family lived in the Fulham and Chelsea area from about 1900 till we left in the late 1970’s and I wanted to know more about the history of the area.  Did you know the area had it’s own ‘London Eye’ in the 1880’s?

However I was flicking through the book, looking for some information when this photo just stood out to me. I don’t know why it caught my eye.  It’s a picture from the celebrations of the Coronation of King George VI in 1937. I thought the bunting and flags were cute and then I looked at the faces and at first I was shocked and then stunned.

There at the top of the stairs under the bunting are my grandparents who bought me up.

I’ve never seen a picture of them young as this, they were poor and money was spent on food not photographs.  I think she would have been pregnant with my much missed Uncle Ron in this picture as well, which makes it all the more poignant for me.  I’m now going to write to the History Department at the Fulham Council to see if I can get an copy or if there are any other photos of this event.  It’s one of those weird ‘hello’ from the past moments, but it’s made me so happy.

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1911 Census


My GG Grandmother – Emma Lucy Stutely b1857

I’m a huge family history buff and somehow I’d missed that the British 1911 Census had been released.

It’s 2 years early which is what has thrown me.  But this is an important one for my family history as my Grandparents are on it, which is going to make my 20th century records more complete.

Check it out here

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