The Who Do You Think You Are Live family history show at Olympia, London took place last weekend, and I was there on Saturday and Sunday, lending a hand on the Shropshire Family History Society stand. I have no idea how many people visited the show over the weekend, but believe me, the figures are bound to be hugely impressive. Our stand was manned by five people on Saturday, and we were all kept busy for most of the day. We still had time for a look around, however.
A large number of commercial websites were present. All the familiar names like Ancestry, Find My Past and S & N Genealogy had large stands with lots of merchandise on sale, lectures being given, and lots of information available. Family Search also had a big stand, and plenty of people available to help punters. I have always found the people who man the LDS family history centres around the country to be extremely helpful, and that was certainly true of the people who manned the stand.
I was a bit disappointed by the number of family history societies that were present. In particular, it seemed a shame that some of the larger societies - Birmingham and Lancashire, for example, had not attended. Judging from the interest in the Shropshire FHS stand, I'm sure that their attendance would have been well worthwhile, and appreciated by their members in the south east of the country.
It is a commonly held belief in my family that the Guyatt name is of French origin (my gt grandmother was a Londoner named Hannah Guyatt [1857 - 1903]). I have traced the Guyatt line back to 1800, and am awaiting the next moment of inspiration to enable me to make further progress, but have not yet found any evidence of French ancestry. However, I do believe it quite likely that the name originates from France. My main reason for this belief is the reference to the name in A Dictionary of English Surnames (Oxford). I am quite sceptical of surname dictionaries, as I think that many of them are not very well researched, but I do consider the Oxford version to be one of the best around, as it carries lots of citations and appears well researched. Anyway, whilst at WDYTYA I took the opportunity to ask the people from the Huguenot Society to check their database for the Guyatt name.
The outcome of the search was that the Huguenot Society's database contained eighteen references to the Guyot name, but none to Guyatt or Guyat. It seems quite possible that Guyot could be a variable of Guyatt, but to find out more about these references I would have to buy more information. I'm not about to do that at the moment, partly for cost reasons and partly because I have loads of other treeing research on the go at the moment.
All in all the WDYTYA show was a great success for our society. We had loads of visitors to our stand, and hopefully were able to help many of them with their research. It is very likely that we shall be able to return to London for next year's event.
As far as my ongoing research is concerned, the most striking thing about the past few weeks has been the progress we have made with our research into our Lancashire Culshaw forebears. I have mentioned in previous entries that we had been rather flummoxed for a number of years in our efforts to find out more about the family for my great grandparents - John Culshaw (abt 1855 - 1924) and Elizabeth nee Bennett (abt 1853 - 1931). In my last blog entry I thimentioned that we had recently made contact with one of my father's Culshaw cousins. Well, the information she has given us has provided the answers to many of our long standing posers, and enabled us to further develop this line of research by filling in the detail of the siblings of my grandfather, William Henry Culshaw (1877-1925).
We now know that Elizabeth Culshaw (b abt 1885) married Matthew Birtwistle (b abt 1877) in 1910, this couple having one child. We also know that John Culshaw (b 1889) was married in 1915 to Mary Ann Rigby. As far as we know this couple had just one child.
The 1911 census entry for John Culshaw & Elizabeth nee Bennett informed us that their marriage had produced seven children, three of whom had died. This was a considerable surprise to us, as we only knew of four children, including my grandfather. Well, recently I was browsing the catalogue of microfiches currently sold by the Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Society, and decided to buy some of them. These were records relating to chapels and churches in the Leyland / Farington area, which I had not previously searched. I already knew that John & Elizabeth were Catholics, having found some family baptisms at St Mary's RC Church, Brown Edge, so I bought the fiches relating to St Mary RC church in Leyland. We struck gold, because the baptisms fiche contained the records of the baptisms of the three children of John & Elizabeth who had died before the date of the 1911 census:
1876 - Abel Culshaw
1879 - James Culshaw
1883 - Amy Ann Culshaw
I then searched the civil registrations deaths indexes on the Lancashire BMD website, seeking the deaths of these unfortunate children, and came up with:
1876 - CULSHAW Abel 0 Preston Preston PRES/170/42
1879 - CULSHAW James 0 Longton Preston LONG/11/64
1884 - CULSHAW Amy Ann 1 Longton Preston LONG/12/89
Yes, I know that I need to obtain the death certificates to be absolutely sure that I have identified the correct records, but there seems little real doubt about it.
So there we are, another few twigs on the tree. Now on to the next conundrum......
Happy hunting to one and all.