Monday, 29 October 2007

Geoffs Genealogy Update 29 October 2007

Yes, I know I'm late with this post. I'm sorry to have disappointed my avid readers over the past few weeks, but I simply have not found time to post until now. How hectic life is for a treer!

What have I been doing since I last posted to this blog?

Well, I've attended two family history fairs- at Shrewsbury and Telford - and I've been editing the next edition of the Shropshire FHS Journal - due out in December. On top of that I've been obeying the edict of Voltaire and concentrating on my garden. There is so much to do in the garden in the autumn, and I've been assiduously tidying things up for the year. In fact the weather in the UK is quite warm for the time of year, so my plants have gone on flowering through the autumn. A lovely show. All ripped out now, though.

On top of all that I have been working hard on my family history records. I have had great fun these past few weeks on a number of activities. Firstly I updated all my Culshaw information, and then had the delight of receiving some lovely Culshaw photos from Chris. Wonderful! I've mentioned previously how much delight I get from seeing photos of people whose names appear on my family tree and this was joy unabated! I'm sorry to say that photographs are an area where my records are severely lacking - my family simply don't seem to have kept any. Most disappointing, but I truly treasure the pics that I have.

I've spent much time working on the Archer records. It had been my hope that by the time Brenda returns from Canada I would have completed this work and sent her my tree, but I'm afraid I have failed to meet this deadline. However, I'm not too far away from completing the task, so I hope it won't be many more days before I can commit a package to the post. Sorry Brenda, if you are reading this.

I think I mentioned , a few weeks ago, that we were planning to visit London and enjoy a tour of the new Haberdashers' Hall. Well, Helen and I did, indeed, go to London a week ago but, alas, were not able to go to the Hall. This was because the Haberdashers' Company received a late booking for the hall, and it was being used for a function on the day. This was a big disappointment for us, but we hope to be able to go to the metropolis next Spring, and maybe then we shall be able to visit Haberdashers' Hall.

Having got over that disappointment we put our time in London to very good use. We went to Guildhall Library and consulted some parish registers and probate records, gathering a clutch of Archer entries which in part confirmed Brenda's work, and in part added new information. Having enjoyed success at Guildhall Library, we hurried off on the tube to Islington and visited London Metropolitan Archives, where we enjoyed further success. I was able to see a couple of entries in the Middlesex Deeds Registers that related to the property transactions of John Bankes. Neither of these gave me any more genealogical information, but were further grist to the mill. We also found a number of parish register entries relating to our research on the Collyer, Smedley, Heppell and Hunt lines and the apprenticeship indenture of Samuel William Archer (1790 - 1870). This last record held a bit of a surprise insofar as Samuel, who was a Watch Maker, was a Freeman of the Baker's Company. I realise that Freemen did not necessarily have to be free of the Company strictly related to their trade - after all, John Bankes - a Carpenter and property dealer - was a Freeman of the Haberdashers' Company - but it certainly seems a trifle odd to me that a man who served his time as an apprentice watchmaker became a Freeman of the Bakers' Company. This situation seems to have arisen because Thomas Ward, Samuel's Master, was himself Free of the Bakers' Company, so presumably the same applied to all his apprentices.

It all goes to show that we never know what the next treeing discovery will bring. Life truly is full of surprises!

After a burger on Euston station we made the journey back to the midlands, arriving at home a bit tired, but thoroughly satisfied with our efforts for the day.

I think that is an appropriate point at which to close for tonight. Happy hunting to you all!

Monday, 8 October 2007

Geoffs Genealogy Update 8 October 2007

Time for another post.

I'm glad to say that my treeing activities are as busy as ever - busier maybe! The problem is how to keep up with it all!

In the past couple of weeks I've done some more work on the Culshaw material that I mentioned in my last entry. You will be able to see the additional content when I next update my website I'm hoping that I shall be able to do this just after the new year, but am struggling to get all the material ready in time.

I've had some more information from Brenda on the Archer line, and am working my way through that at present. I find this line very interesting - many of the Archers were watchmakers, and I am having great fun trying to trace them on censuses. I think I've added one or two extra names to the tree, and I've certainly learned a lot about the family.

Brenda has also sent me some lovely photos, which I am delighted to receive. It is always wonderful to see a photo of somebody whose name appears in our records. It brings history to life!

I have had a look at the online index to Abney Park Cemetery, and am pretty confident that I've identified the burials of some of the Archers there. Another lead to investigate.

I think it may be possible to add to our knowledge of the Archers by looking in the Clockmaker Company records at Guildhall Library, London, or London Metropolitan Archives, and I hope that I may be able to have ago at this in the next few weeks. Livery company records have proved very useful to me in the past. Apprenticeship records can tell us the identity of the father of an individual, and his (or her) age at a given date. Additionally, if the person we are researching played a part in the activities of a livery company he or she may well feature quite often in the company records. For instance, this was true of John Bankes, who served on the Court of Assistants of the Haberdashers' Company.

My cousin Pat in Wales has done some research into the Devon Guyatts, and may well have found the answer to an outstanding conundrum, so I'm very grateful to her. She has also responded to my question in my last blog entry, and sent me some information relating to the Simpsons of Carmarthenshire, which is great. Thanks very much Pat, if you are reading this.

In a couple of weeks time I am hoping to make my first ever visit to the new Haberdashers' Hall in London, along with Jan and Helen. We are really looking forward to this trip, so hope that there are no last minute snags to prevent us going. I'll let you know how we get on.

Finally, I would just like to express my disgust at the impending closure of the Family Records Centre in London. This is going to make life much harder for most people travelling to London to carry out their research. The extra journey out of London to Kew will reduce the amount of time people have in which to do their research, and also add to their costs. Not only that, but we shall lose the ONS facility for ordering certificates in person. Unfortunately family historians are not a powerful lobby group, so have no influence on this particular Government cutback, but we do have our votes, to use when the opportunity arises!