Saturday, June 8, 2013

Today's Photos - Life on the Canals - Lancashire

Family Tree Free Day - Skipton Gala Day

Today was a family tree free-day!! Time to spend a day just as a tourist.  So we caught the bus into Skipton, to pick up our hire car, only to find that Skipton was holding their Annual Skipton Gala Day.

The History of the Gala Day dates back to 13 July 1901, when the locals decided to hold a charity gala day to raise money for the Skipton and district Cottage Hospital.  Traditionally the Gala Day begins with a "Grand Procession" which includes the Mayor, trade societies, bands, and princess of the Gala day.  The procession leads to the Brick Buildings Fields off Bailey Road, with the crowd following to join in all the fun at the various stalls set up in the field.

We joined the crowd, and watched as the parade made it's way through the town and up to the field.  The market place, pubs and local parks were overflowing with people celebrating the festival and the beautiful sunny day.  

Skipton Castle
Once the parade had finished, and we had a quick wander around the markets we made our way up to the beautiful grounds of the Skipton Castle. 

After paying the entry fee, we found ourselves climbing down old worn stairs, around the turrets, visiting the grand banquet hall, old kitchens, armory rooms and dungeons. The Castle is over 900 years old and is one of the best preserved and most complete medieval castles in the UK. Well worth the visit.

Banquet Hall - Skipton Castle

Friday, June 7, 2013

Today's Photo - Whinberry Boathouse, High Lane Salterford

Whinberry Boathouse, High Lane Salterford

Today's Photo - Discovering Family Connections at St James, Briercliff.

Discovery of a family gravestone at St James Briercliff

Follow Friday - Family Tree Overload

The Inghamite Church, Wheatley Lane

In my last post (four days ago) I was travelling from York to Lancashire with my fellow family tree researcher, who armed with files, maps and family tree records had planned a intensive genealogy excursion.  

It is now time to catch my breath, and collate all the material we managed to collect.  In three and a half days, we visited 7 family homes/farms, 4 churches and tramped through 5 graveyards, and took over 250 photos.

Gravestone of William Rushworth 1773-1859
I am promised myself a family tree free day tomorrow, and then I will sit down and write about some of the amazing discoveries we made, and the serendipitous meetings, that has left us with so many new leads and connections to follow up. 

If I was to pick a highlight from the past few days it would have to be the discovery of William Rushworth's (Elizabeth Rushworth's grandfather) gravestone at St James, Briercliff. 

William was born in1773 and died on the 9 January 1859 at Pheasant Ford, near Burnley, Lancashire. At the time of his death he was living with his daughter Alice and her husband Joseph Wallbank.
The gravestone was in extremely good condition considering its age, and also confirmed that William's youngest daughter Alice and her husband were buried in the same grave.   It was interesting to note the change in the spelling of the name Wallbank.  At the time of his father John's death in 1856 to his death in 1898 the spelling of the name changed from Woabank to Wallbank.

Monday, June 3, 2013

York to Lanchshire

Shops in York - dating back to 1300's
I am slowly managing to solve the intricacies of the British Rail System, and yesterday, with two train changes made my way from Cambridge to York.  I am staying here with a fellow family tree researcher in her delightful Victorian home which is a short walk from the centre of the city. Her home, built in 1823, is 3 stories with a beautiful overgrown cottage garden in the front and back.

The afternoon was spent in the back garden with her family members celebrating her birthday.  Then in the evening she escorted me on a twilight walking tour of the city, through the narrow winding streets, along turreted walls and past old roman ruins.  The city centre was a buzz with groups of tourists being led on ghost tours, by a number of dramatic and enthusiastic guides. A fitting end to the tour was a bowl of hot salty chips and a glass of wine at one of the old pubs.

This morning I am again sitting in the back garden.  Perfect day!!! There is a soft buzz of bees and every now and then, the scent of roses wafts past my nose.  Who said England was cold and wet!
Back garden in York

At this present moment, my friend is putting together her research notes, maps and folders of family information and soon we will head off on the big part of our adventure. Lancashire.  A large itinerary of events has been planned which include visiting family farms, parish churches  and other relevant family haunts!

Today's Photo - York

The Shambles - York - 3 June

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Today's Photo - St Michael's Church, Longstanton, Cambridgeshire

1 June - St Michael's Church, Longstanton

Visiting Roots in Longstanton and Oakington, Cambridgeshire

All Saints Church, Longstanton
After a couple of days of enjoying sightseeing around the city of Cambridge, it was time to venture out to a couple of the nearby villages of Oakington and Longstanton.  In 1852, my great great great Grandparents, Edward and Maria (nee Gee) Golding, along 27 other members of their family made the brave decision to leave Cambridgeshire and boarded the ship Epaminondas bound for South Australia.

It seams that poverty and hardship in agrarian communities was common and after in the after-math 19th Century Enclosure Act combined with an agricultural depression and an intensifying Industrial Revolution many families were literally forced to leave Oakington to seek a better life in the United States of America and Australia.  The Golding and Gee family members chose to emigrate to the free Colony of South Australia.

St Michaels Church, Longstanton
Armed with maps, camera I caught the bus to Longstanton, wondering if I would be able to find any links to these families.  After a bit of a walk, and checking directions I was came across All Saints Church, and then St Michael's Church, Longstanton. Members of the Gee family worshiped at both of these churches.

 I was particularly interested in St Michael's Church, as this is where Edward Golding and Maria Gee were married. I was surprised to find that the quaint little church was no longer used for worship and unfortunately it was locked up.  A note on the door advised that a key could be obtained from the old rectory next door.  I had hoped I would be able to borrow the key,
St Michael's Well
but to my disappointment there wasn't anyone home when I knocked. I did however, wander amongst the old gravestones, peeked in through the windows and took photos of St Michael's Well.

The well is now covered with a Victorian wellhead.  The local historians advise that for hundreds of years the local children were not baptised in the church font but in the well at the front of the church.  It is believed that this custom could have dated back to Medieval times.  The practice was stopped in the late Victorian Era. I wondered how many of the children from the Gee and Golding families were baptised in this well.

As I walked along the country road (about 2 kms) through to the next village of Oakington, gazing at the lush green fields, I could help thinking of how hard it must have been for my ancestors to leave such a beautiful area.  Hunger pangs were setting in as I finally made it to the outskirts of Oakington, (no wonder it was nearly 3pm in the afternoon), so I stopped at the only pub in Oakington, The White Horse, for a quick snack, the locals kindly gave me directions to my last destination for the day, St Andrews Church Oakington. 

St Andrews, Oakington
After a short walk through the village, guided by glimpses of the square bell tower I found the Church, surrounded by old and wearied gravestones, some with inscriptions that you could read, but many that were too worn or covered with moss. The Church was open, so I was able to spend some time inside, and did find a reference to a possible descendant of the Golding Family.  On the memorial dedicated tho those who had lost their lives in WWI, there was the name Hubert Golding.

I spent some time looking at all the old gravestones at the back of the church and a kind couple walking their dog, stopped and chatted to me.  They gave me a brief  run down on the history of the church and reinforced it's non conformist history.

It was getting late, so it was time to catch the local bus back to Cambridge.

Old gravestones at the back of St Andrew's Church, Oakington

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Today's Photo - It is Cold and Wet in Cambridge

Cambridge - 30 May

Those Places Thursday - Exploring Cambridge, Longstanton and Oakington

After a couple of long days traveling I have arrived in Cambridge.  Armed with camera and raincoat, as the drizzle had set in, the day was spend exploring the narrow streets, peering into the grounds of all the Colleges, admiring their lush green gardens and manicured lawns and sampling some of the local culinary delights. (lucky there is a lot of walking involved).

It is exam time, so most of the colleges are closed to the public, but you can still peep in through the ancient wooden doors and stone arches and catch glimpses of amazing architecture that has evolved over the last 500 years. 

Before I start delving into my family tree research, there are all the practicalities of Internet access, new phone number, international roaming etc to be set up.  As my family will confirm, I am not much of a techno whizz!! and usually call on their help, however, when travelling by yourself there isn't much choice.  So, this morning was spent purchasing an Internet "dongle", and new phone card with international roaming. With this sorted I can now settle into some serious digging around the family tree. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tuesday Travel - "My Genjourney Begins"

28 May has finally arrived!

Small back pack loaded with ipad, laptop, camera, voice recorder, external hard drive and note book, and a middling size suitcase  stowed in the car ready for my husband to drop me to the airport tomorrow morning!!.  Oh I do hope I have organised everything.  

Genjourney here I come. Over the last week, I have been scanning and filing all documents that I think I might need to refer to as I do my research.  I had planned to put together a power point with all the old photos I have, but alas that hasn't happened.  

However, I have made up a time line in excel, on the events in Elizabeth Taylor (nee Rushworth)'s life with a corresponding time of  historical events in UK and Lancashire.  I think this will be a valuable tool, enabling me to get a better feel of the times and the events that she would have experienced in her life time.

As I put together all the bits and pieces, scanned all the photos and documents that I want to take to me I came across a couple of lovely old post cards from Lancashire that were sent to Australian when  Tilly Holeman (nee Taylor) was visiting the Taylor/Rushworth Family in Lancashire in the mid 1900’s.

 The note on the back reads  "A very pleasant road heading out of Colne, past Foulridge Reservoir on the way to Skipton.” 

 I will have to see if I can recognise where this picture is taken while I am there and post a present day version. Stay posted for more!!  Next Post will be from the United Kingdom.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Follow Friday - Weekly Research

It is one week until I head off on my genjourney to the UK, so this week I have been concentrating on information and websites that will give me some background to my research in Lancashire.  It is amazing what you can find when you focus on one particular area.

I was searching for books on Amazon about Lancashire and came across Nicholas Hartley’s book Bittersweet: The Story of Hartley’s Jam*. In my readings about Colne and the district I had come across a number of mentions of William Hartley and his connection with Colne, the Hartley’s Grocery Story and the Hartley Jam factory, so thought I would check it out. With the wonders of instant purchasing on my kindle account I had a copy of the book in a couple of minutes and started reading.  I found the book fascinating, engaging and very informative, especially in relation to the living conditions that existed in Lancashire and England through from 1840’s. 

William Pickles Hartley was born in 1846 in Colne, Lancashire and married Martha Horsfield in 1866.  Martha was the daughter of Henry and Ann Horsfield, Grocers of Colne.  The business grew, William and his family moved into the wholesale trade and a chance event in 1871 started the Hartley business rolling.  A supplier failed to deliver an order of jam and William decided to make his own jam. The business flourished and Hartley's jams, in their distinctive eathernware pots flourished.

The story of William's life and generosity to the community is fascinating, however, for me the real value of the book is the descriptions of the life and social conditions of the common people, for example, "Sanitation was poor and mortality rates high.  Industrialisation had brought prosperity to the mill owners, but life for the workers was a constant struggle.  In the mills, children toiled alongside their parents to make ends meet........ people lived in cellars, families were large.  There were too many mouths to feed".

Colne and the surrounding towns were heavily industrialised and this industrialisation was touted by some as progress, and however the effects on the population was devastating.  Another section of Hartley's book describes the social conditions, "The heavily industrialised landscape produced a marked decline in health.  ...... "It is saddening to see the pallid, stunted,ill-set up lads and girls, many of them married, streaming out from the factory gates at closing time and still more saddening to see the puny infants, of perhaps a few months old, with emaciated faces and the weary careworn look of old age, who are brought by their ill-developed mothers to the out patients rooms of our hospitals."

Hartley Homes, Alms House in Colne
The positive side to this story, was that William was not simply a man who sought to make a profit.  Eventhough he had a clear vision of commercial progress, he was also endowed with a strong belief in the essential goodness of human nature.  He build a model village for the workers of his factory and introduced innovative schemes that considered their welfare. Amongst his generous donations was money to establish an almshouses and hospital in Colne.

 I can thoroughly recommend this book, not only as a story of an interesting, resourceful and generous man but also as a wonderful commentary on the social conditions and events in England from the mid 1880's through to the 1930's.
* Hartley, Nicholas, 2011 Bittersweet: The Story of Hartley’s Jam, Amberley Publishing, UK.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Not so "Thrifty Thursday" - William and Elizabeth Taylor's Wedding Certificate

An Nice Big White Envelope arrived in the mail yesterday!!! A couple of weeks ago, I lashed out and ordered a copy of William and Elizabeth Taylor's Wedding Certificate through Vital Records.  Hopefully the certificate would provide a further clues in unravelling their story. Opening the envelope and sliding out the crisp green document, I crossed my fingers, hoping that my investment would be worth it.

Wedding Certificate William Taylor and Elizabeth Rushworth 17 July 1858

There is something special when you look at a certificate that relates to a family event that occurred over 150 years ago. I can't help wondering if Elizabeth was nervous, were there lots of family members there, or was it just a small celebration?

I already knew that William and Elizabeth were married on the 17 July in 1858, in Barnoldswick, however the certificate has provided me with some new information and leads.  William's occupation is shown as a farmer from Stacksteads, and that Elizabeth was living in Whinberry Harbour, Rawtenstall, Rossendale.  Her Aunt and Uncle Joshua and Mary Rushworth are the witnesses to the marriage, and as they came from Whinberry perhaps Elizabeth was living with them.  William and Elizabeth's first child William was born in the December of 1857 prior to their marriage.  Perhaps Elizabeth (whose mother died when she was only 4 years old) went to live with her Aunt and Uncle for support during her confinement. 

So the investment in William and Elizabeth's certificate was a worthwhile, and I now have another couple of leads to follow up.  I must add Whinberry, Stacksteads and the Parish Church at Barnoldswick onto the list of places to visit while I am in Lancashire.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Planning by UK Genjourney

Time is ticking by soooooooo quickly!  In less than three weeks I will be winging off to the UK.  I am feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things I hope to have organised before I left.  I guess they will still be here when I get back.

Elizabeth Taylor
In my last blog I listed a number of action points that would assist me in making the most of my research time. Now I have to make the hard decision on which branches of our family tree to focus on.  In other words Rationalise!!!

If you follow my other blogs,Family Stories, Photographs and Memories and
The Other Half of My Family Tree- stories of my female ancestors you will know that I am fascinated by the story of Elizabeth Rushworth (1843-1927). 

Elizabeth and her husband William Taylor (1833-1928) came from Burnley, Barnoldswick and finally lived in Colne, Lancashire, and it is for this reason that I have decided to base myself in Lancashire for four weeks. I hope to be able to connect with their descendants and check out all the local resources (Libraries, museums, newspapers) to help to put together a more comprehensive picture of their family and way of life.

There are three other branches of our family tree that I would like to follow up on.  The first being the Goldings/Gee families who immigrated from Oakington and Longstanton, Cambridgeshire to Adelaide, South Australia in the mid 1852 on the "Epaminondas". Edward
Golding and Maria Golding (nee Gee) were my great-great-great grandparents. They immigrated with their brothers, sisters and children seeking a new life in the colony of Adelaide, in South Australia.

Also, I plan to visit Daybrook, Arnold in Nottinghamshire.  My great-great-great grandfather  Lynn David Shepherd and his wife Elizabeth (nee Mariner) were born and married in DaybrookLynn was a soldier in the Battalion of 69th Regiment of Foot and fought in the Napoleonic Wars. When he returned from the war he joined the Royal Veteran Corps bound for New South Wales, Australia. Lynn, Elizabeth and their children came to Australia on the "Orpheus" arriving in Sydney cove on the 19th September 1826.

Hannah Nesbitt's Grave
The final branch that I plan to explore is that of my great-great grandmother on my mother's side, Hannah Nesbitt (1827-1913) who lived in Alnwick, Northumberland.  She married Francis Newman (1820-1852) in 1847 and they travelled  from England to South Australia in 1850 on the "Boyne". Unfortunately Francis died while seeking his fortune in the Victorian gold fields, and Hannah remarried my great great grandfather William Herbert  (1818-1881)and they settled in the copper mining town of Burra in South Australia.

There are a number of family stories that say Hannah and her family lived in or near the castle at Alnwick.  I am assuming that her family were on the staff at the castle.  There are also stories that some members of the next generation returned to Alnwick to visit their family.  It would be nice to see how much truth is in these tales.  Of course there is also the bonus side to visiting Alnwick! That is to be able to tell my grandsons that I visited the Castle where Harry Potter was filmed!!!!

Of course I plan to keep an open mind and if the opportunity arises and there is a chance to delve into other branches of our family tree, that will be a bonus.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Preparation for my Genjourney

I have just over a month to go before I head off to England to do a little digging around our family roots. To utilise the time I have, I think I need to put together a list of contacts, places to visit, dates and people to look up.  I wonder at how other family tree researchers have approached this opportunity. 

1. Rationalise:  It is important to come to the realisation that you will not be able to follow all the leads, visit all the places and chase up all the branches of your tree, especially if like me the majority of your family tree roots are based in the United Kingdom. It will be important to identify a number of doable projects to research in the time you are there.  
2. Maps:  Obtain a good map and identify the location of the towns you wish to visit while you are travelling.  This will assist in drawing up a logical schedule for the trip. Also, if possible, look up the addresses where your ancestors lived (details from old letters, census etc) and identify these on the maps.
National Archives UK
3. Communication: Contact the historical societies, libraries and other important research institutions in the area's you plan to visit prior to travelling.  The establishment contacts prior to travel can save you a lot of time.  Identify the times when groups meet, the times that libraries and museums are open, who would be able to assist you when you arrive etc.  Communicating with these groups may also help you identify other groups, newspapers and older citizens who would be interested in assisting you with the history of their town and its people.
4.  Family Links: If you know of other researchers living in the areas you are visiting, contact them and try to organise a time when you can meet to compare and share notes/photos.  Two or more heads opens the door to the possibility of even  greater discovery.
5. Contacts:  Set up a detailed list of Contacts, with addresses, phone numbers of all people and institutions you plan to visit, contact while you are travelling.  It would be a good idea to mark these contacts with some form of identification, that links them with the branch of your family tree or person in your tree that they are linked to.
6. I-Equipment:  Personally, I think it will be important to pack, lap top, small external hard drive, and a couple of memory stick, my voice recorder and camera.  (Yes, there will be very limited space for clothing). Also, a small notebook, (divided with tabs for different branches of the family) and couples of pencils for jotting notes at all times will be important.
7. Digital Files:  Copies of all related digital files that will be of assistance with your research should be scanned and filed in Family Branch folders on your lap top will be invaluable. Setting up an organised filing system to store all digital files as you find them is an important aspect of collecting, and saving research.
8. Photos: I plan to make some copies of family photos to take with me.  These will include present family members as well as copies of some of the older photos.  These will be a valuable resource to show family contacts when visiting them and it will be nice to have copies of older photos to share with family links when visiting them.
9. Up-to-date Family Tree:  Ensure that my family tree on "Ancestry" is up to date, as I am sure I will need to refer to this many times during my travels.
10. Familiarisation: Once you have identified the places you plan to visit, spend some time familiarising yourself with the area and its history.  Try and gain an understanding of the local customs and important  historical events from that area.
11. Open Mind: Finally travel with an open mind, be flexible to fit in with unforeseen opportunities that may arise during your trip.  Be open to detours from your schedule, and always show your appreciation to anyone who takes the time to assist you on this journey.

This list is my attempt to rationalise and identify some of the things I need to take with me and organise before I head off.  I am sure there are many points and suggestions that I am not aware of.  If any readers have any suggestions for my upcoming trip, I would greatly appreciate any advice and suggestions from other family tree researchers who have been on a similar genjourney.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
What better way to start off a travel/discovery blog than with one of my favourite poems.  In fact “The Road Not Taken” sums up my philosophy on life in a very succinct way.  To embrace opportunities and new adventures even if it means treading on the “road less travelled by”.
Where is this leading to you might ask!!  For the first time in my many years,  I have accrued 
Elizabeth Taylor (1841-1927)

Long Service Leave and I plan to use some of this time to pursue one of my dreams.  That is to delve deeper into the  story of Elizabeth Taylor (nee Rushworth) and her family. Anyone who follows my blog.The Other Half of my tree - stories of my female ancestors, will know that I am fascinated with her story and would really like to know more about her life, family and the times she lived in.
My husband is heading to England at the end of June as the coach of the Australian Wheelchair Rugby League Team, which will be playing in the World Cup in Medway.  What better opportunity!  So I plan travel over to England at the end of May and spend a month digging around for more information and catching up with a number of fellow researchers who are researching connected branches of the Taylor and Rushworth Family Trees, in Lancashire and Yorkshire.  Stay tuned for my journey of discovery.  Perhaps, if time allows it I will be able to visit a couple of other places with links to other branches of my family. 

I will then join my husband for the World Cup (with a few side trips in southern England to keep me amused).  Following the world cup we plan to visit exchange family in France and Finland.  (Exchange as in, the families of two international students that lived with us when they were on exchange in Australia). They are both now married with young families. 

What better way to enjoy my extended leave, family tree research, family links, travel and of course one of my other indulgences photography.