The pace of research doesn't show any sign of slowing. In the past couple of weeks I've had the good fortune to receive a lot of information to add to our ever-expanding archive. I'll briefly describe it now.
Firstly, from a Bankes descendant in Australia I received some information on the Benzonis, which brings one branch of that line that line down to the present day. It appears that this particular strand of the Benzoni clan changed their surname to George at sometime between 1912 and 1930. Neither I or my correspondent know why this was done. Possibly something to do with wanting/needing to adopt a more British persona. Who knows? Any suggestions would be very welcome.
I've mentioned previously that I have been in frequent contact over the past few months with a descendant of Arthur Ackland Hunt (1841-1914) and his wife, Emma Sarah Blagg (1838-1896). A couple of weeks ago I visited Stafford Records Office to take down the first tranche of Blagg data from the parish registers for Cheadle, Staffs. This covered approximately 1780 to 1840 and whilst it did not bring to light much in the way of new information, it confirmed data we had already ascertained from the IGI. It is always advisable to check events that appear in indexes in the parish registers. We are all prone to error, and indexers are no exception to that rule. Thus a check of the register may bring to light an mistake. Also, sometimes parish registers contain additional facts that add to your knowledge, but cannot be indexed.
It will take a number of visits to the records office for me to complete the collection of Blagg entries in the Cheadle records, and as I don't go to Stafford all that often this work will probably be ongoing for some while.
As I was concentrating my attention on this, an email dropped into my inbox which came from my Hunt correspondent, and contained what to me was great treasure. I received two beautiful photographs - one of Arthur Ackland Hunt and the other of his spouse. They are truly wonderful pictures, and I am absolutely thrilled to receive them. I've said this before, I know, but I'll say again how wonderful it is to see photos of people who previously only appeared as names on a pedigree. The ability to "put a face to a name" certainly personalises our research no end - and brings it to life. Thankyou, Richard.
During the past couple of weeks the ongoing Guyatt work has prospered - thanks almost entirely to the efforts of my cousin, Pat. She has established that the branch of the clan that were enumerated in Devon on the 1881 census served in the army. William Freeman Guyatt (b 1847) was a Gun Maker by trade, and appears to have signed up with the Welsh Fusiliers as an Armourer in the late 1870s. It appears that after his death (sometime between 1881 and 1891) and his wife's death (in 1890) his sons were taken into the Royal Military Asylum at Chelsea, and they subsequently served in the army.
There is much still to learn about these Guyatts, but the information that Pat has already uncovered in the past few weeks has proved extremely interesting.
Last week Jan and I went to Symphony Hall in Birmingham to attend a CBSO concert. The weather was atrocious - heavy rain and wind etc - and the traffic jams on the way made us wonder whether our journey was really worthwhile. We needn't have worried. We were treated to a fantastic concert. Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto was performed with consumate skill and gusto by Christian Tetzlaff, and the orchestra - brilliantly conducted by Edward Gardner - gave superb performances of Beethoven's Coriolan Overture and Mahler's 1st Symphony. What more could we ask for? What a shame the hall was 1/3 empty.
We are so lucky to have an orchestra of the quality of the CBSO available to us, and a fantastic venue like Symphony Hall. Here's to the next time!