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