Thursday, March 1, 2018

Update of of Information on 20th century Cemeteries

In 2007 I gave some advice on Burials in Stevenage in the 20th Century and included a web address which I now discover has been changed - and I have updated the link on my site accordingly. Jeff Knaggs' web site now contains memorial stone lists for the following cemeteries:
  • Knebworth Cemetery
  • Almonds Lane Cemetery, Stevenage
  • Weston Road Cemetery, Stevenage
  • St Mary's Church and Churchyard, Shephall, Stevenage
  • Welwyn Cemetery
  • Woolmer Green churchyard

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Safeguarding the Family Treasures

Sad family news makes one think of the past and look back at the family treasure that have ended up in your custody. One of my first cousins, Helen Heini nee Clarke (1929-2018) has just died and I had planned to attend the funeral tomorrow, but unfortunately the current snow means I will not be going.

Instead I will be looking at this lovely hand-made album which was presented to my grandparents, Walter and Bertha Locke when they celebrated their Diamond Wedding on 15th July 1955. When it was made all their family got together and it contains a wealth of family photographs, the earliest taken in 1868 showing Walter as a baby with his parents and 11 siblings. This is unfortunately a rather fuzzy copy of the original but the copy of the whole family in Aylesbury in 1883 is far clearer and I have
put a copy of it on the "Ancestor" pages of my web site. While I have recorded the names of everyone in the picture I am not always certain which is which but hope to add that information later.

John and Caroline Locke and their 12 surviving children in 1883 (Click for their names and dates)
Yesterday I produced a digital copy of the album and started to document it, so that multiple copies can go to interested members of the family. In a few cases I may have better images and I definitely have other family pictures which are not in the album which I can add to the digital file.

So I echo my previous message, How Family History gets lost. If you have any unique photographs or documents that represent the history of your family - now is the time to ensure that the information they contain is properly recorded in a way that preserves it for future generations of family historians..

Sunday, February 25, 2018

How Family History gets lost - The example of the Horn Family of Handside, Hatfield

Why am I starting with a post card of Ramsgate Harbour - when Ramsgate is clearly not in Hertfordshire?

In trying to identify Karaktus (the St Albans comic card artist) I have been researching the history of The London View Company which started publishing view cards of seaside resort along the South coast of England. I purchased this card because of the early date and the format of the back - which suggests that the London View Company was using a different printer. At the time I made the purchase I totally ignored the handwriting

That is until the card (and a similar one being sold at the same time) arrived in the post and I realized that both cards were addressed to Mrs S. Horn, of Handside, Hatfield, Herts.  But Mrs Sarah Horn, of Handside Farm is already featured on this web site:
William James & Sarah Horn of Handeside Farm
See HORN, Handside Welwyn/Hatfield, 19th century
Sarah was born Sarah Cox and is a cousin of mine, the common ancestor being Thomas Cox (1794-1874). I have no reference to her being connected to 22 Ridgemont Road, St Albans, but note that Ridgemont road is already  briefly mentioned on this web site in a different context. The message on the card starts "Dear C S" - presumably for "Dear Cousin Sarah" and is signed "J H", the other card addressed to Handside being signed "Jack". But who was cousin Jack?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

1909 failure of a publisher of Hertfordshire postcards

Chester Vaughan was a photographic printer based in Acton, Middlesex, which published many view postcards covering the South East of England, including a number of places in the south of Hertfordshire in 1903-5. Following a recent email  I decided to update a draft page of his views - and find out what happened to the firm.

The above advert, from 1909, suggests Chester Vaughan suffered the same fate as many other companies which were involved in what is often referred to as the "Golden Age"" of post cards. Unfortunately the advert does not quantify the "large quantity of picture postcards" but it is likely to be much larger than the number of view negatives and the problem may well be over-optimistic print runs ending up with unsold stock.

A Chester Vaughan Series view of Lululand, Bushey

Friday, February 23, 2018

Karaktus, the mysterious St Albans comic artist, has finally been identified

"Karaktus" was a St Albans based comic artist whose pseudomym was presumably based on the Caractacus who ruled in Hertfordshire when the Roman arrived nearly 2000 years ago.

The cards were published by the very short-lived Crown Publishing Co of St Albans in 1908/9, together with some other unsigned cards, believed to be by him, which I have identified as being by an artist who signed many of his cards "F. S.," 

These were published by another short-lived company - The London View Co. Ltd, which I already knew because they had published a number of view cards of Watford.

But who was
"F. S." ?  

In the post card literature some people were saying hewas an artist called Fred Stone, who published some cards around 1905 while others argued that he was Fred Spurgin, whose name stared to appear on cards in 1910 and produced many in the First World War and the 1920s.

Trying to sort things out involved looking as thousands of card images and I set up a draft catalogue to record them, and my research notes - and put them online so that others could comment. Several weeks ago, based in part on information from past auction sales, I have come to agree with one of the relevant post card collectors that all the cards were produced by Fred Spurgin who worked using a number of names, starting with Fred Stone.

The research has provided a lot of information of how the post card industry worked in the early days of the 20th century - with many short-lived companies going out of business despite the overall boom in the number of cards being posted. Further postings on this subject are planned.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Peace day at Rickmansworth

The Peace Day Parade, 19th July 1919, somewhere near Rickmansworth
Louise has kindly supplied a digital copy of this interesting postcard, which I have added to the Rickmansworth pages of the main web site. Can you identify any of the children in the foreground?

If you have similar old postcards or original photographs relating to Hertfordshire relating to the First World War or earlier it may be possible to share them on the Genealogy in Hertfordshire web site.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

BATTEN and St Leonards Church, Shoreditch

In 2002 Valerie asked me why her Hertfordshire Batten relatives might have married at St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch - and and I described why many Hertfordshire people chose to be married in London Churches.

Now Beryl has contacted the site to supply a link to pictures of this interesting London Church.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Talk 15th February: The Spiritualism of Ebenezer Howard

Following my post last month about Edward Arthur (Evacustes) Phipson this talk could be interesting as the Evacustes and Ebenezer clearly were closely associated in the 1890s, and both were interested in setting up socialist communities. Did they share an interest in spiritualism?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Drunk in Charge in 1867

Drunken driving was a problem before the invention of the motor car, and the Victorian local papers often contain accounts such as the following, where Thomas Waldock apparently fell asleep while in charge of a donkey cart, leaving it blocking the road, to the annoyance of the Rev. John Johnson Tuck, of Wymondley. The resulting court case was reported in the Hertfordshire Express and General Advertiser of 11th May, 1867.

CORRECTION: Patricia has kindly drawn my attention to an error in my 2012 answer to a question about the Rev. John Johnson Tuck's school in Little Wymondley, where I incorrectly recorded the name of his mother. This has now been corrected.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Query about a trade union banner (dated 1 August 1920)

All good things eventually come to an end, and I am currently working on the Genealogy in Hertfordshire web site to get it into a form where it can safely and usefully be archived. There is a long backlog of Hertfordshire postcards waiting to be loaded onto the site - and there is an embargo on purchasing more (although I am always happy to receive digital images which augment existing pages).

Even if I am not buying I occasionally see interesting cards on ebay - and one has just caught my eye. It shows a procession, photographed by Albert Arthur Durrah (1890-1973) of Rickmansworth. A group of men are carrying the above banner. Can anyone suggest the full name of the trades union (which is unfortunately obscured)?