Family Tree – Recolections by Relatives

When we family history researcher’s begin on the family tree research we are usually told to start by gathering what we know about our relatives. Once we have done this we then need to go and talk to the older members of our family to see what they remember and to gather any stories that may be relevant to our task.

This week I’ve been visiting my parents, cousins of various degrees and also my sister and family. It was on the occasion of a big family celebration which involved a party in a hotel. On such gatherings as these I am always on the look out for more memories of the past, that my older relatives can provide me with.

What was different this time was that some of my younger cousins were asking me for my memories of our relations who have passed on! Nonetheless, I was also keeping an ear open for any juicy snippets of information from the older folk that I could pick up and investigate further.

One such story was a recollection by my dad of visiting his grandfather at Paignton Harbour some time in the 1930s. It has to be before 1935 as great-grandfather Sidney Thorne died in March of that year aged 70 but I have no precise date.

The story is that Sidney, a carpenter/joiner, was working on the building of a boat in Paignton harbour and my dad was told it was a lifeboat.

My research shows that the nearest RNLI lifeboat station was at Brixham, a nearby fishing port that served all of the Torbay area. This station had a lifeboat from 1922 – 1930 that was replaced by one called the George Shee, a Barnett Class boat built in Cowes in the Isle of Wight in 1930 and it remained there until 1958

So at first sight this story looks as if it may be wrong.

But what if the boat was being repaired or it was not a RNLI lifeboat? There certainly were some boat-builders operating in this Devon harbour and so I have an interesting new line to investigate.

What this story does do is bring a bit more colour to the life of my great-grandfather’s life which until I was told the story I was unaware of. Family history is all about telling the story of our ancestors moving past the dry old statistics of their birth, marriage and death dates.

 

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online


Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by Findmypast.co.uk or The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for their subscriptions.

 

Send to Kindle

Revist Your Family Tree Brick Walls!

Devon County Record Office
Devon County Record Office

This week I have been musing upon one of my to-do-lists! I am keen to get back a generation of Thorn’s from Devon, but as yet I do not have enough information to make the break through as to who were my 5x great-grandparents and when and where were my 3x great-grandparents, John and Sara, born?

As more and more datasets are released on the various online subscription sites, however, I periodically revisit this brick wall of mine.

 

John Thorn married Sarah Branton on the 12th January 1794 at Charles Church in Plymouth. The bride was of that parish and the groom was a “mariner” with no mention of which parish he was from. I have wondered if this meant that both bride and groom were of the same parish, or did the vicar simply omit to record where John Thorn sailed in from in a busy maritime city such as Plymouth. I have no evidence either way, all I know is that they married after banns had been called and in the Parish Register for Charles Plymouth in the year 1794 and their marriage entry is No: 60.

On the 28 September 1794, however, their first born son John Branton Thorn was baptised at St.Saviours Dartmouth (IGI C050791) which suggests that they moved to this Devon coastal town just after they got married. Was this a case of returning to the groom’s town to live? Or was it where his job took him?

Working back a generation I would now like to identify John’s baptism and then his parents marriage and baptisms. First I need to know John’s age as this information is not given in the marriage register. That is a typical state of affairs for an English Parish Register where very sparse amounts of detail are given. The exception is for the entries to be found in a Dade or Barrington style Church Records, which are named after the clergymen who tried to introduce more fulsome registers, having some success in Yorkshire for a period.

 

Back to the subject of  John and Sarah Thorn in Devon. By searching in the microfiche records of church registers for Dartmouth, at the Devon County Record Office at Moor Hall in Exeter, I have now discovered the burial of one Sarah Thorn of Townstal (the name given to the Parish of St Clement in Dartmouth and the mother church of St Saviours) on June the 21st in 1818 at the age of 50 in the St Saviours register for 1818, entry No:190.

I went back through the registers and the Bishop’s Transcripts for 1811 for Townstal and I then found one John Thorne buried on May the 19th 1811.

I also found a John Thorn buried in St Saviours in 1810 (page 19) who was born in 1769. Could any of these be my ancestors?

Looking at baptisms for any John Thorn around the time of 1768/9 or so I see that Find My Past has some Devon Church Records that can be usefully accessed on line. There is none for the date in question at Dartmouth, but one in Dorset may be a possibility.

My next thought is to check to see if I can find the banns book for Charles in Plymouth and also the one for Dartmouth to see if this provides me with any more clues about where John and Sarah came from and to also check now for baptisms using the microfiche at the County Record office in Exeter.

 

It is a good idea that you periodically revisit any brick walls that you have as new data may have become available and your skills in family history may have improved since the last time you dusted off the problem. In the next few weeks I am planning a visit the County Record Office to see if I am able to push my tree back another generation.

Watch this space!

 

The family history websites that I find really useful are Find My Past and The Genealogist.co.uk. To take your family history further I recommend that you to consider a subscription to these websites. Take a look now and see what great data sets they have to offer

 

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

 


Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by Findmypast.co.uk or The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for their subscriptions.

 

Send to Kindle

Some New British Family History Data Online

Directories1869 at TheGenealogist.co.ukThis week I’ve been looking at some of the new data that has found its way online at some of the websites that I regularly use.

At Find My Past anyone with ancestors who were captured and became prisoners of war in the first and second world wars may want to take a look at some 170,000 records that have been added to this website recently.

Starting with the First World War, the data is for 7,700 British Army officers who between 1914 and 1918 were PoWs and comes from the records of a bank! It would seem that a missing cheque could very often be the first indication that an officer had been captured and so Messrs Cox & Co recorded the information at that time about their clients.

Data that you may be able to obtain from this list includes name, rank, service, section, date that the officer went missing and the date that they were repatriated or date of death in captivity.

For the Second World War the collection is of 107,000 records of Army personnel held by the Germans. These records will usually give you the name, rank, regiment, army number, camp number, PoW number, together with the type and location of the camp.

Over at TheGenealogist nearly half a million more parish records have been added to the site for subscribers of their Diamond package. Included are more than 130,000 records for Worcestershire, 100,000 for Cornwall, 81,000 for Northumberland plus many more for other counties.

The same website has boosted their trade directories, a data set I always enjoy using to find tradesmen listed or the address of their gentry clients. To be noted are the East India Company Register and Directory for 1820 and 1834.

If you are reading this before the end of September 2012 then TheGenealogist are still offering £50 off their Diamond subscription package as a celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. To obtain this sizeable discount all you need to do is use the code SUMMERSAVER when signing up to the site!

The websites that I often use myself are Find My Past and The Genealogist.co.uk. To take your family history further I certainly recommend that you to consider a subscription to these websites. Take a look now and see what great data sets they have to offer including those I have highlighted above:

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online


Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by Findmypast.co.uk or The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for their subscriptions.

 

Send to Kindle