Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Recent Correspondence Report

Help Desk
Since the middle of the month I had problems with updating the main web site and where appropriate changes relating to the following items will appear there as soon as the problem is resolved.
While there have been less posts directly to the Newsletter recently this is because I have been heavily involved in "quickie" correspondence on the following subjects:

Find My Past: Several transcription corrections to census returns submitted and accepted. (Catchside -> Catcheside; Lateiner -> Latimer; King -> Tring; Barlow -> Barber) Do you report errors when you come across them?

William BURCHMORE and his wife Hannah DOLLING of Flamstead are my great great great grandparents and are part of the complex web of cousin marriages described in Who is related to Who? Joy (who must be a distant cousin of mine) writes that she has an In Memorium brooch with the centre containing the plaited hair of Hannah Burchmore. I have written to her asking for a picture of the brooch and will be digging out some information on her Bates ancestors from my 1980s research on the Burchmore family and their farming relatives. At the same time I discovered that a set of photographs of the extensive plot of Burchmore graves at Flamstead have not yet been documented and have put this on my "To Do" list.

ELBORN, Hertfordshire area, 19th Century: In 2008 Kym had asked about the distribution of the surname Elborn and its variants and it turns out that the name normally seems to be confined to Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire plus smaller numbers in adjacent counties. Now Mara is seeking a James Elborn, who turned up in Maryland but was born in 1769. Checking the online indexes show only one James Elborn baptism within years of 1769 - at St Albans. So it looks simple - but a little additional research shows it is another case for Right Name, Wrong Body? For instance there appear to have been four other James Elborns living within 30 miles of St Albans of about the right age, one of which married in St Albans and another turns out to have been born in 1769 (from age at death).More work needs to be done before I do a full report but so far no birth/baptism records have been found for these four other James!

GILBERT, Bishops Stortford, 1902-14: Bruce provides an update: Seems my grandparents (perhaps NOT/NEVER married!?) used the surname GILBEY on arrival in Sydney, and technically my father's birth surname, and death, has been recorded as GILBEY. And ... he came from Bishops Stortford !!!. Now, ain't that a tonic?

A. E. Nichols, Photographer of Luton: Arising out of my posting linking W. H. Cox of Luton and St Albans with Ricardo Studios, St Albans Anthony commented: Another Luton photographer with WWI photos was A. E. Nicholls. Tales of Gustard Wood has pics of the FMS Hospital at Blackmore End, Gustard Wood, and convalescent soldiers. (See postcard}  The 1911 census brings up an Albert Ernest Nicholls photographer then at Potton Beds as a visitor. I can find no other records that match but perhaps your trade directories might help? There is a Luton postcard on Flickr. He later added: He may have had friends in Herts as in 1901 he was with his parents at Albert Villa, Albion Road, St Albans. Profession greengrocer on own account at home. He seems to have been a jack of all trades. By the way there are some quite detailed accounts of the FMS Hospital at the National Library Singapore site.

R. N. Salaman
SALAMAN, Barley, Early 20th Century: Susan has provided a useful online account of Redcliffe Nathan Salaman (1874-1955) in Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society.

Napsbury Hospital: I responded to a query on rootsweb with links to pages on the Long Stay Hospitals of the St Albans Area and to Napsbury Hospital as a Military Hospital.

Paper Making at Nash Mills, circa 1770: Ed Papenfuse, Archivist for the State of Maryland, wrote: Are there any records relating to the Blackwell papermill?  We have many examples in our archives that closely resemble the crown/posthorn/GR watermark that Tom Gravell identifies as being a water mark of the Blackwells.  The examples we have are on correspondence from London and trade records and believe that the paper may be from the Blackwells and was purchased by a London Firm, of Wallace Johnson and Muir in partnership with a Mathew Ridley and imported into Maryland between 1783 and 1787/8.  Any information about the Blackwells and papermaking by them would be very much appreciated as would any suggestions as to where I might find examples of their watermarks. I passed on a couple of references to Blackwell papermakers from the 18th century Militia lists, and suggested that Ed contacted The Paper Trail and the Kings Langley Local History Society.

Preston: Philip is writing yet another article and I was able to help him on the subject of poor relief. I will post details of his article here when it is published.

Electrical Engineering Works, St Albans, 1940s: Correspondence on Rootsweb including pointing out that most "electrical engineers" listed in trade directories would now be called electricians, and would not have a works big enough to employ a millwright.

The Hospital Committee
Waltham Cross Hospital Committee:  Carolyn writes: I found the exact same photograph in an old trunk.  The man seated on the front row second from the right with a dark moustache is Edward Sewell of Waltham Cross.  He was my great grandfather.

Heath Farm, Watford, early 20th century: In 2010 Justin asked about a family photograph album he gad found that contained interesting pictures of this farm and the unknown family who lived there. Mary-Anne now writes: Our family the Phillips owned the house.(my father's grandfather Alfred Phillips bought the house although we are not sure of the exact year).  Justin mentions pictures of Mabel and Violet and holidays in Jersey.  Alfred had five children Mabel, Violet, Reg, Cyril and Alfred.  I spoke to my father (who is now 85) and he confirmed that these two ladies were his aunts and that they lived in the house for most of their lives.  The house was eventually sold to developers in 1970s.  Mabel Brunton was widowed in the first world war and never remarried.  The cottages attached to the main house were also lived in and my stepgrandmother Kath Spur lived in one of these. ...

Other Queries: I have had a couple of very general queries from complete beginners - who appear not discovered any of the major genealogy web sites or any "How To" books. They get a friendly letter directing them to suitable sources - and where relevant suggest one birth or marriage certificate they might find it useful to buy, in order to get them started.

Please help the Mentally Ill
The Genealogy of Ebeneezer SCROOGE: In the last five weeks there has only been one donation to the mental health charity this site supports, which suggests that many people asking me to help them with their family history are related to Scrooge. Running this site is hard work and I have many other calls on my time. If I stopped running the site and donated what I spend to keep it going to a charity the charity would be better off at this rate. If I help you, failing to donate is rating my time as worth nothing and I could be doing other things to help the charity.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hertfordshire Information on the Heritage Gateway

Yesterday Dr Isobel Thompson, of the Historic Environmental Unit at Hertfordshire County Council, gave a very interesting talk on the Hertfordshire Historic Environment Record which holds details of archaeological finds and investigations, and other sites and monuments up to the time of the Second World War. In addition there is a comprehensive collection of air photographs of the county covering the last 40 years. While much of the detailed information is not available online, some is available on the Heritage Gateway web site where a map will show locations of the sites records (and for monuments and some buildings brief information) However you can also see a list of the Hertfordshire records and get a summary of the site record.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tracking Down a WW1 Photographer in St Albans

Advert from Herts Advertiser, April 1907
Post Cards
In my search for information about how the First World War affected Hertfordshire I have come across several post cards showing wounded soldiers - apparently all taken at Napsbury Military Hospital - and embossed with the words "Ricardo Studios, London Road, St Albans." At last I have found some clues as to who the photographer might have been - as the result of finding a 1907 advert for the studios. It would seem that in about 1907 William Harold Cox moved from Luton and set up the Ricardo Studio in St Albans. However he returned to Luton and a Richard Catcheside seems to have been operating as a photographer from the same address, and apparently continuing to use the name "The Ricardo Studios."  Click on the pictures for full details of what has been discovered.
Wounded Soldiers at Napsbury Hospital - Picture from City of Vancouver Archives
We Will Remember Them
Next year we will all be remembering those who fought, and in some cases died, during the First World War. If you have any post cards with a definite link to the war in Hertfordshire why not let me know - so the people in the pictures can be remembered when we come to the anniversary of the outbreak of the war in August 1914.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Does your DNA reveal a surprising past?

Trapped by the Box
Because of the way reproduction works we inherit mitochondrial DNA from our mothers, and males inherit their Y chromosome from their fathers. As errors occur in each generation comparing mitochondrial DNA will tell you how closely related to someone else on the maternal line and we all appear to be related to one "Eve" line about 200,000 years ago - which is about when the modern human species first appeared in the fossil record. On the paternal side it was recently believed that us males shared a common ancestor about 60,000 to 140,000 years ago.

But that was before someone sent a sample from Albert Perry to a genealogical testing lab. If you are interested in DNA testing - or in human evolution - see "Why is Albert Perry's DNA si interesting?" on my other blog.
One of the reasons this Newsletter has not been so busy recently is that I have been spending more time "Trapped by the Box"!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spam Messages being sent to Family Historians

Peter Calver's latest "Lost Cousins" Newsletter contains a long article on scam emails he has been receiving which is well worth reading. Have you been infected with a virus, and are all your friends being sent emails which invite them to open a link to a web site which undoubtedly will infect their computer .... In the last couple of weeks I have received a number of messages which ask me to look at a web site - and of course I haven't done so. So read Peter's article and if you have opened one of these emails and clicked on the link gte your computer checked out and change any relevant passwords.

Homewood, Knebworth, an interesting house designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens

Help Desk
Homewood, Knebworth
Chris has a post card of Homewood - and wanted to know something of the house's history - so I have provided a page of information, with many external links on what was built as a dower house for Dowager Lady Lytton, of Knebworth House.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Major New Publication about the Grand Junction Canal

The Grand Junction Canal
The book "The Grand Junction Canal" by Ian Pettigrew and Wendy Austin has just appeared - and is a very significant document recording the history of the canal (now normally referred to as the Grand Union Canal). In addition to a detailed history of the canal it contains many old photographs, maps, and extracts from original documents and newspaper articles - together with references and footnotes. I have created my normal reference page, to help people to discover the book - but will not be writing a detailed review at the present time - because the book (340 packed pages of A4 text) is available online - and you can see what a valuable reference work it is by looking at it yourself.

When I find time to complete the canal pages on this web site, and to post even more modern photographs of the Canal and its branches in within 10 miles or so of Tring, I am sure I will be including many references to this work.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Things aren't always what the census appears to be telling you

Help Desk
Michael Meredith was one of the railway works employed in at Tring railway station at the time of the 1851 census, and a few years ago Carlene asked for more information about him and revealed that he had emigrated to New Zealand and had been murdered in 1863 - their murder being a tipping point in one of the Maori Wars. I provided more information, from the 1841 census and noticed that Michael's eldest daughter had not been at home in 1851 and I could not find her anywhere in the 1851 census.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A former Horse Guard was a Watford publican circa 1899-1912

Help Desk
Vivian's query about Alexander Lorimer shows that a private in the Royal Horse Guards barracks, near Buckingham Palace, in 1881 later took on the licence of the Red Lion in Watford before moving to The Dog in Cassio Hamlet, Watford.

A good example of unscrambling census returns and other records. For full details see LORIMER, A Watford publican, 1899-1912

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego at Tring 200 years ago

Help Desk
Family Events
Two hundred years ago Tring was a hot-bed of non-conformity, which has the unfortunate effect that there are no birth or baptism records for many children. However most people still got married at the parish church before 1837 and were buried in the churchyard - as most chapels did not have their own burial grounds. I was looking for a suitable test problem to try out the Hertfordshire registers that are now available on FindMyPast and a comment by Melvyn Barber gave me just what I was looking for.

There is no doubt that his great great great grandfather, Thomas Barber, was born in Tring around 1828, but  he was born before civil registration (1837) and there is no surviving evidence of his parents. Looking at the marriage records for Tring - and the early census returns revealed an interesting family. It is not clear who the couple were but they named their sons Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, after the three people that God is said to have saved from the fiery furnace. The matter is complicated by the fact that Thomas's father, Meshach died before the 1841 census and his wife remarried, but information from post-1837 marriages name the father, and a single "emergency" baptism of a new-born child who died within days, provided further evidence.  For the full story see BARBER, Tring, early 19th century.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Who was Karaktus, of Crown Publishing Co, of St Albans?

Karaktus, Card No 27, Crown Publishing Co, St Albans, 1909

Post Cards
St Albans
My great grandfather, Jacob Reynolds, was a major milk producer in the St Albans area and employed a number of delivery milkmen who went round the city supplying milk at the door. I was amused to see the following post card - especially when I discovered that it had been published in St Albans. So I decided to investigate and found a whole series of comic post cards by Karaktus from 1908-1909. I also came across a mystery - the company that published it appears to have only existed for a couple of years - and no-one knows who Karaktus was. See KARAKTUS, Crown Publishing Ltd, St Albans, 1908/9 for many more examples of his work - and some other comic post cards published by Crown Publishing. And please tell me if you have any information that could help to identify him.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rural Relaxation; Snipe at College Lake

The lack of any "Rural Relaxation" reports is simply that, while I have been continuing my walks - and taking photographs - I have not got round to posting any pictures. I am still visiting the College Lake Nature Reserve at least once a week, often when I have been spending too long at the keyboard and need fresh air, some exercise - and a cup of coffee! Today's picture of a snipe was taken from the octagon hide this afternoon.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shooting Match on Sandridge Rifle Range in 1907

from Herts Advertiser, Sept 1907
Old News
I have just posted a lengthy news item reporting on a shooting match between some South African (Boer) War veterans and the St Albans Rifle and Revolver Club. It was held on the comparatively newly built Sandridge Rifle Range - which has earlier been discussed at length under the title Chalk Hill Rifle Range,  Sandridge, First World War. The news article names the teams - and the individual scores at 200, 500 and 600 yards.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The "Watford Loco" Football Club, 1904-5

Watford Loco

I keep on finding early post cards of "unknown" football teams - in the hope that some of you might be able to add names to the faces. This one appeared on ebay, team unknown, but posted at Abbot Langley. In fact I have identified the team as the Watford Loco Football Club - for full details of what I found see Watford Loco Football Club 1904-05

If you can add information on the club - and the footballers in the picture, let me know.

February activity and plans for March

Due to other activities I spent less time on this site than I did in January - with social activities such as taking our Granddaughter to the Barnes Wetland Centre, and giving two talks to different groups of the Tring U3A. I have also been active on my other blog - Trapped by the Box - where I have posted a copy of the slides of my talk "How evolution made us the way we are." More activities are planned - some in connection with my 75th birthday, and I am planning for my appearance at the Herts Family History Society Open Day on 23rd March -  I may see some of you there! All this means that postings will probably be at a similar level to February, and there may be delays in replying to messages (there is already a backlog waiting for action).

Having said that I did make 22 posts (compared with 53 in January). It is not surprising that the number of page views was down, but when you allow for the fact that February only had 28 days the site was as active as in November and December.