Sunday, 30 December 2012

Trouble with "Don't track my pageviews"

For my own reference this is a note to check the "Don't track my pageviews" button frequently.  I discovered tonight that it was unchecked, don't know how, but it has happened in the last week.  My blog was NOT counting my views at the beginning of the week whilst I was at my mum's for Christmas.  And tonight it did, noticably, as I opened a few pages to create links on my Family History Stories page.

I had told it to allow cookies from and back in October and that had worked fine until now.  By process of elimination and the use of ccCleaner (which monitors your cookies, saving the ones you nominate whenever it cleans) to look at what cookies were being added as I amended the settings I discovered that the Blogger cookie to prevent your own page views from being tracked is now coming from   

COM!!!! Grrrrr!  I have added that to the list of permitted sites and crossed my fingers.

This has reminded me far too much of the ticky box on Forces War Records ... and that cost me money.  At least this is just annoying.

Happy Flipping New Year. 
If stuff isn't broken can they please not fix it.

Second time unlucky - Shipwrecks and Records

My Hutton ancestors in Sunderland sent many of their sons to sea at a very early age.  Thirteen or fourteen years old seems usual.  A short while ago Ancestry released the Masters and Mates certificates online.  These run from 1850 to 1927 and work in tandem with the Merchant Navy records, 1835 to 1941, on Find My Past.  A recent discovery on Find My Past was the Maritime Deaths, 1794 to 1964, which I still haven't worked out how to navigate to from the home page without searching for my pet dead sailor. 

A useful book if you take on all the above is Christopher and Michael Watts "My Ancestor was a Merchant Seaman".  It explains how to read the records and suggests many other resources to fill in the details of your ancestor's Merchant Navy Service.

Back to my current favourite 'lost at sea' sailor - Thomas Mordey Hutton, b.1834 in Sunderland to Amelia (nee Mordey) and Frederick Elstob Hutton.  I wrote about Amelia and Fred back in October, Fred married bigamously in Liverpool leaving her in Sunderland to bring up their children by running a lodging house.  Amelia had five sons and last but not least a daughter, Amelia the younger (you can read her story here).  All of the boys appear to have gone to sea (well I'm not sure about one, but he may have had a seafaring related occupation).  Generally they started their apprenticeships at 13 or 14, but Thomas, the second oldest son appears in the 1851 census aged 17 and a Timber Merchant's Clerk.  That's in the March of course, but by September he has also gone to sea.  Did the wages of a clerk not pay enough to help support the family?  Did he envy his brothers?  His brother William had just started his apprenticeship in June 1851 aged only 12 (his 13th birthday wasn't until August so he was just jumping the gun a little). 

BT113/267 Register of Seamen's Tickets entry for Thomas Mordey Hutton (from Find My Past)
Although this is not the fullest BT113 I have, some have the personal details complete, height, hair etc, it does clearly gives Thomas' birthdate, 29th January 1834, something which I have not been able to obtain elsewhere.

There were several different Seamen's Registers - by 1853 the authorities had decided to collect less data and the format of the registers simplified.

BT116/47 Register of Seamen (Series III) two entries for Thomas M Hutton (from Find My Past)
I confess to a little editing in this image - the first of the entries was at the top of the page, the second was separated from it by five other entries.  It seems the habit of the Register Office of Merchant Seamen to issue a new ticket number to a seaman when the first was lost, I have seen this happen where a ship was wrecked.  This does not seem to be the reason that Thomas has two records on this page in the Register, as only one has a Ticket Number.  I am sure that they are both him, the ships listed tally with those listed in other records. 

Enlargement from BT116/47 showing the entry for 1854
For example we can see that in 1854 Thomas sailed on the Gratitude as an Apprentice, leaving Sunderland on 28th February.  I'm not completely clear on the interpretation of the Home column, maybe comparing it to his other records will clear up the significance of the two dates.  It might mean that he returns from his voyage on 27th January the following year?  But if that is the case why wasn't it recorded in the 1855 box?

Application for Only Mate Mariner's Certificate for Thomas Mordey Hutton 1856 (from Ancestry)
On his application for a Mate's certificate in 1856 Thomas lists the ships in which he has served.  The Gratitude is noted twice in the list above, with his apprenticeship ending in 1854 and then service as a Second Mate after that.  The dates and figures for the Gratitude and the Buchan Maid, where he also serves as a Seaman and a Mate, seem a bit mixed up, and actually I'm not that much clearer in my understanding of the the BT116 entry. 

A bit of Googling found a hit for the Buchan Maid in a Dutch newspaper, she seemed to travel regularly between Sunderland and Northern Europe.  Her last voyage was reported in the Daily News on 2nd October 1855.

The Daily News Tuesday 2nd October 1855 - mention of the Buchan Maid (19th C Newspapers)
Ronne is in Denmark, and Danzig in Poland (Gdańsk today).  The final date for Thomas's service on the Buchan Maid noted in his application - September 1855 - appears to tally with the reported date of the wreck in the newspaper cutting above.  Unfortunate as they look to be fairly near their destination compared to the distance travelled from the east coast of Scotland.  But at least the crew was saved. 

A=Fraserburgh, B=Ronne, Gdańsk is to the right on the Polish coast (Google Maps)
Google Maps isn't very good at sea voyages, but you get the idea!  I wonder how the crew got home.  It can't have taken too long to hitch a lift as Thomas submits his application for his mate's certificate on 26th December 1855 in Sunderland.  Maybe being wrecked inspired him to move on with his career?

Thomas passes his examination for his mate's certificate on 1st Jan 1856 (no holidays for Boxing Day or New Year in those days!)  His application also confirmed his home address as 16 Olive Street, Sunderland, agreeing with that in the 1851 census return.  It must have been nice for Amelia to have one of her sons home for Christmas that year, and she was probably very proud of him when he passed his exam, he was just a few weeks short of 22 years old.

The first fact that I ever knew for Thomas was the date of his death.  It is listed on the family gravestone in Sunderland Cemetery, which is headed by Amelia's inscription; "Also Thomas Mordey, son of the above/ who was drowned nr Grisnez/ 30th January 1858, aged 23 years".  I think that when Amelia died the surviving family recorded her lost sons on the same stone at that time for remembrance despite them not being buried there.  This inscription gave me sufficient information to find a newspaper cutting on the 19th Century Newspapers site (the one I get free with my Newcastle Libraries card).

The Daily News, 2nd February 1858  - note the entry for the Heron (19th C Newspapers)
The date and the place (despite the slight spelling difference) were enough to make me feel sure that this cutting was referring to Thomas' death.  It was my guess that he was the Mate on the Heron.  A couple of days ago, with the help of some free Christmas credits I purchased a Maritime Death entry for Thomas that I'd spotted a while back but couldn't justify buying some credits to view.

BT153 - Registers of Wages and Effects of Deceased Seamen (from Find My Past - Maritime Deaths)
We can see in BT153 the three men who died together on the Heron, the mate Thomas Mordey Hutton (as I had suspected), and crewmen Henry Nuth and Michael Collins.  Note that Thomas as a Mate was paid more than twice as much as the crewmen.

Lloyd's Register of Ships Archive is available on line for much of the 19th century.  The year before the incident the entry for the Heron can be found easily.

1857 entry in Lloyd's Register of Ships for the Heron
Interestingly the Heron was owned by the Potts Brothers company (column 7).  A Hutton married a Potts in 1817, it could very well be that the ship Thomas was sailing on belonged to his half-great-uncles.  It was a fairly new ship, built in 1854 (column 6).  You can see above that the Heron's destined voyage in 1857 was Sunderland to Bordeaux (column 8), the newspaper cutting says it was returning from Bordeaux in ballast when it was wrecked.  Cap Gris Nez is in the north of France, opposite Dover, just a few miles south of Calais.

Thanks to finding the early Seamen's Ticket Register entry for Thomas with his birthdate we now know that he drowned the day after his 24th birthday.  So the gravestone inscription is a year out.  Poor Thomas, he survived one shipwreck, progressed in his chosen career and yet two years later when everything seemed to be going well for him he lost his life in a second shipwreck. 

I have found that laying Thomas's records out in an article like this has made me look at them more logically.  Thomas's brothers also have collections of Merchant Navy records to collate and interpret so I'll be busy with this project for a while yet.  That'll keep me busy over the New Year!


Thursday, 27 December 2012

Beer Yesterday - Home Today

Last day in Everton for Christmas and time to find space for the Christmas presents in the bags.  Mine are mostly books and DVDs so they fit in small places fairly easily.  The OH appears to have collected the usual three or four bottles of beer, but I'm sure they'll stand up somewhere.

Compared to some visits in the summer I've lasted quite well, only a cold sore on my lip, a couple of sores on my hands and fingers (the water is very hard and has always had this effect on my skin) and the usual painful ankle/knee/shoulder combo that seem to have made it harder than usual to get to sleep on the harder than accustomed bed. 

We did some gardening for my mum yesterday, nothing too complicated, just clearing dead flower stalks and creepers from her front plot.  My shoulder did ache more than normal last night, so that was probably why.  As a treat after gardening the OH and I walked around to the pub, the Blacksmith's Arms.  There was morris dancing, mulled wine and a hog roast.  The place was heaving - well done pub! 

Rattle Jag Morris at the Blacksmith's Arms, Everton, Notts Boxing Day 2012
I had a half of beer, Bateman's Rosey Nosey, a nice dark beer which helped keep me warm for the hour we stood and watched the dancing.  I was particularly impressed by two young (11ish) boys who clog danced - you often see young girls doing this sort of thing, but clog dancing was a male thing years ago and it seems right that boys are learning to do it.

Batemans Rosey Nosey Beer 4.9%abv
We have been given two recoloured films for Christmas, Holiday Inn and It's a Wonderful Life, so last night we watched the former and I got into the spirit even more with some more beer.  These were actually the first beers I've had all Christmas - I didn't go to the pub on Saturday with the OH and son/son in law/daughter in law, I stayed in and watched Strictly Come Dancing with my daughter and mum instead.

This time I had Hook Norton's Twelve Days - the bottle we bought in B&M last week.  Yummy.  Dark and malty - just the way I like them. 

Hook Norton Twelve Days 5.5% abv
A nice Christmassy end to the week here in Everton - just the packing to finish and we'll be off back to Barnsley.  I think there are some more bottles to take home too!  Yay!!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Dyson Oldroyd connections

This is a gravestone photo the OH and I took many years ago on an afternoon out to Thornhill in West Yorkshire.  I remember the day especially because the OH had taken the day off work for his driving test, which, hooray! he passed with no problems at all.  We had planned the afternoon excursion on the bus to Thornhill as we didn't have a car in those days.  It was a great day out, top deck of the bus, lovely views from Thornhill Edge and a couple of good pubs along the way.

The OH's 2x great grandfather Herbert Benson came from Thornhill to Barnsley at some point after the 1881 census and before 1890 which is when he married Annie Jones at Darton church.  I had done a fair bit of research on the family before we set off to Thornhill that day so when we were indulging in a bit of Taphophilia (that's today's new word - it means enjoying pootling around in cemeteries and rubbing/photographing/recording gravestones) I spotted the stone below and knew it was Herbert's sister Sarah Ann.

Dyson and Sarah Ann Oldroyd's gravestone in St Michael's churchyard, Thornhill, Yks
I like the stone because of the additional information about Dyson - "voluntary choir master of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Thornhill Edge".  Not often you get such detail on a gravestone. 

Recently I was browsing my friend GB's tree on Ancestry and saw an Oldroyd in her husband's tree.  On checking it transpired that his great grandmother was Dyson Oldroyd's sister.  Thus making my husband and my friend related, again! OK, through marriage twice this time, but the world keeps getting smaller!

If you are wondering why I'm posting gravestones on Christmas Day you'll find my reasons for having already had an early Christmas here.

Monday, 24 December 2012

What did my Ancestors do at Christmas?

The children (grown up admittedly) and their partners have gone on to their next Christmas and myself, the OH and my mum are left to recuperate from our busy weekend.  My daughter and I cooked for seven, turkey and all the trimmings and everything seemed to go OK.  It was nice to see all my family around one table - we rarely get everyone together. 

I wonder how our ancestors spent Christmas in days gone by?  They wouldn't have had the long break that we have now, just one day probably (remember poor Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol - he wanted "The whole day off I suppose") unless Christmas happened to be adjacent to a Sunday in which case some people may have been lucky enough to have two days holiday. 

I ran a query on my own and the OH's family trees (you can design your own queries in Family Historian) to see what kind of things our ancestors were up to on the 25th December.
Birth 4
Baptism 38
Marriage 22
Burial 1
Death 1

I need to say that where I only know a rough date, for example within a quarter, from the GRO indices on Ancestry or FreeBMD the events wouldn't have shown up in the query as I specified events on '25 Dec' only.  I know quite a few more actual dates in my OH's tree as since the release of the West Yorkshire Records on Ancestry I have been able to find many actual marriage and baptism records.  Of course earlier events, pre 1837, are quite well covered by Family Search, so I appear to have a good selection of baptisms and marriages over Christmas for both families.

For comparison on Christmas Eve, the 24th December

Birth 9
Baptism 6
Marriage 15
Burial 1
Death 6

And on Boxing Day, the 26th December

Birth 2
Baptism 8
Marriage 16
Burial 3
Death 1

It looks like marriages in particular were quite popular over the Christmas period, with more on the actual day (22) than on Christmas Eve (15) or Boxing Day (16).  I have read that people waited for these special occasions until a holiday like Christmas or Easter so that more of their relatives could attend.  Of course you wouldn't have had as much choice for a baptism (they usually seem to have taken place within a month of a child's birth) but even so it is apparent that our ancestors preferred Christmas Day (38) for these celebrations well over and above the surrounding days (just 6 on 24th and 8 on 26th). 

I would like to look in more detail at these events, are events at Christmas more frequent in poorer families?  In the North or the South?  For later marriages or first marriages?  Are there many multiple baptisms (where the families seem to 'save' up children and have a batch done at once)?

The above isn't anything like a proper sample but it has given me some food for thought. 

Imagine arranging a marriage today at Christmas time - both events have become such huge undertakings and so commercialised that I doubt few people attempt it. 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Family foolishness

The reunion with 2c'h (second cousin's husband) went great, my mum and I are now friends on Facebook with my 2/3c (second and third cousin).  They have a lovely house and a bouncy young dog, they are still interested in family history and my mum commented that my 2/3c had a look of my grandmother about her - which would be because my grandmother and her grandmother were cousins, whilst my grandfather and her grandfather were brothers, hence the 2/3c.  There is also a family resemblance between her and my cousin (my father's sister's eldest daughter) which we checked out on Facebook by putting their two photos side by side.
James Henry Hall and Edward Lawrence Hall were brothers who married cousins, Janet Dimmick and Janet Bunn
(tree section created using Family Historian click image to enlarge)

We have promised to stay in touch better in future!

My daughter and her partner arrived a little late, but they had called in at Barnsley on the way from Leicester which was handy as I'd left part of the OH's Christmas present in my sock drawer.  My daughter wanted to raid my bookshelves for her latest essay on Women's Education from 1870.  Apparently I had just the book, one that she had on her list to request from her uni library.  Handy having a book worm, charity shop scrounging mother!

My Mum and I had made a pan of mulled wine - to warm and welcome them - but I think we drank the majority of it ourselves ... oh dear, never mind!

So we just raced in alternate directions to get the password for the wi-fi for my daughter (we being my not-quite-son-in-law and myself).  The house here handily allows circular access to the hall - a feature my children used to enjoy as small children!  I think their influence may be causing me to regress. My mum's cat is looking quite concerned at the number of people who are invading her house.  Last night I had to tempt her out from under the npt-quite-son-in-law's car with cat treats to get her into the house out of the rain so we could go to bed.

A trip to Retford this afternoon to spend the £35 credit note for the local bookshop, Bookworm, that they insisted Mum take when she tried to donate a huge pile of Dad's old military books to them for their collectors' and second hand section.  She had borrowed a shopping trolley from Wilko's to take them from the car to the shop rather than make 4 or 5 trips with them.  I understand the trolley then provided support for my mum whilst she browsed the 3 charity shops on the same street. 

Chinese for tea to save on washing up, but the take-away was engaged when we rang so an expedition has been mounted to the village 3 miles away to fetch it.  I am waiting with rice on the boil, spring rolls in the oven and plates warming ...

Tomorrow the OH goes to fetch my son and his partner, and we will be seven for an early Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas reunions

It's Christmas, which is for families, so they say ,and I've been thinking this morning about the family reunions that are going to be happening in the next week.  This year we are Christmassing at my mum's house - last year had everyone at our new house in Cudworth, but due to various complications (including arrangments for cats) we've reverted back to Everton this year.

Reunion No 1
Whilst writing my Christmas cards last week I had to hunt for the address of the husband of my second and third cousin (yes, my second and third cousin is one and the same person - but wouldn't you just expect that I'd know a thing like that!).  They moved last year and the card sent then had the new address in - but of course with one thing and another I hadn't copied it into my address book, so come this year I had to sort through the box of last year's cards to find it.  When it eventually came to light I remembered that it had seemed another of those small world moments when I saw it last year ... they have moved to a small village just outside Retford, Ntt, not far from my mum.

Being a sad stalker I looked the address up on Google maps, but the village was really small and the houses don't have numbers, just names.  It took a bit more research and some zooming in on the gate posts to find the right address.  I decided not to post the card but to ask my mum if she wanted to detour via their house to hand deliver the card.  I really enjoyed the company of the 2c'h (second cousin's husband) when we used to share our research into my dad's family.  He even took me up to Durham a few times, which in my pre-employment, pre-car owing days, was a real treat.  On one memorable occasion we collected my Dad along the way and got his first hand views of life in the mining village of Langley Park, near Durham City.  We wandered down some odd country lanes looking for the ancestral farms of the Hall family and the 2c'h was cheeky enough to knock on doors and ask questions. When I started work full time in 2001 all expeditions had to stop though, and once I moved to Barnsley in 2004 I even stopped running into him at local history shows and in the library. 

Last night my mum phoned him ... we are popping around to see him in a few hours.  I wonder if he's still doing family history?

Reunion No 2
Tomorrow my daughter turns up here with her partner.  We are planning an early Christmas with turkey and all the trimmings on Saturday before she and he have to drive south to spend the actual day with his parents.  Not such a long time since I saw her of course, I saw her every day at the Great British Beer Festival in August at Olympia and briefly at a wedding do in September.  And we do talk nearly every week on the phone. 

Reunion No 3
The OH will pick up my son and his partner on Saturday morning from the other grandma's in Sheffield.  I haven't seen him since they moved south to Bedfordshire in late August, but as we usually only communicate via Facebook it does seem like longer.  He recently got a job in Charles Wells Brewery's office so things seem to be turning out well for them in the south.  They are planning Christmas in Bedfordshire, so I'll only be seeing them for one day.

Will all the reunions go equally well?  Hopefully ...

Saturday, 15 December 2012

What price adventures?

You may have read my blog about our trip to London on Wednesday to lobby our MP about the Beer Escalator.  I had a great day out and was happy to write about it the next day.

... but we are now three days later and I'm still paying for that day out.  I didn't get up at all on Thursday, the blog was typed from my bed.  Yesterday we managed a trip to the supermarket, but if I hadn't had a trolley to lean on I seriously wouldn't have made it from fresh fruit to margarine in Asda.  Currently I'm sitting on our sofa with two blankets and a hot water bottle waiting to be taken out to see the new Hobbit film at our local cinema.  The OH took me into town this morning to buy the tickets and some more Christmas cards and I'm not kidding but I had to go up and down the stairs at the car park one step at a time because my right knee and my left ankle just don't want to know!

On Wednesday, on the way back from the Houses of Parliament I discovered that leaning on the OH's arm wasn't working as my left shoulder had for some reason decided to seize up; swapping my bag to the left and holding the OH with the right didn't work either as the pain of a bag strap on that shoulder was shocking.  As soon as I could get sat down and one of our sandwiches to eat I was popping the co-codamol and carried on doing so at regular intervals for the rest of the day.  My feet swelled up so much on the coach on the way home that the OH had to undo my laces and wiggle my boots on my feet for me until the feeling came back.  Walking from coach to toilet at Peterborough services was like a marathon ... I was so, so pleased to see our house that night.  Unfortunately as I went to bed - with a nice hot water bottle - I started getting cramps.  Both feet, especially my toes, wouldn't stop screwing themselves up into horrible knots.  Sleep fortunately came quickly and deeply (except for the usual cat related disturbances in the early hours).

The tiredness and the aches and pains are what the doctors diagnosed as Fibromyalgia 6 or 7 years ago.  A few day's rest after a day out and lots of co-codamol and I usually pick up again.  But unfortunately these just add to various other underlying problems I've had for years.

I think the thing that worried the OH the most on Thursday (he's used to me not getting up the day after an adventure) was when I dislocated my left ankle trying to pick up a pencil (or was it a book mark - I forget), the twisting out of the bed whilst my ankle was held in place by the bedding caused my ankle to pop out of joint very painfully and I'm sorry, but I did shriek rather.  This happened again last night in similar circumstances, except I was getting into bed and the OH was already asleep so I just huffed and grrrrr'd and wriggled my foot until it popped back in.

You have to imagine the ankle joint as a kind of mortise and tenon joint, the bone at the top of the foot, the talus, fits into a notch made on the top and inner side by the large long bone, the tibia, and on the outside by the thin long bone the fibula.  When it dislocates the talus tips (twists) over sideways and tries to escape out of the joint - a lot of pressure is put on the distal (bottom end) of the fibula by the pull of the tendons as they over extend.  When people break their ankle it is usually the distal end of the fibula that has been pulled off. 

Radiograph (X-ray) of a right ankle (from
When I was a child don't think I managed a term at school without spraining an ankle, and on some occasions one after the other, ending up with the interesting task of limping on both sides for a week or so until the swelling went down.  I also used to pop the cartilages on my knees on a regular basis, usually when attempting to play netball!  My mum must have got very fed up with collecting me from school, carefully conveying me to Stafford Hospital only for the X-ray to show nothing at all - for as I now know the cartilage in your joints doesn't show up on X-rays. 

About 18 years ago, while living in Sheffield, I fell on my ankle, in the usual way but the swelling didn't go down in the usual couple of weeks so I called in at my GP's in the hopes of something to help.  The doctor was bemused by the feel of my left ankle - things that shouldn't move did and things stuck out that shouldn't.  He referred me to the hospital for some tests.  I studied radiography 1990-1993 and qualified as a radiographer, but hadn't worked as one due to the break up of my first marriage and the need to care for my two children who were very small at the time.  So when the specialist said he wanted to do a stress view of my ankle I wasn't very happy as I knew exactly what that was going to entail.  He got all suited up in lead lined apron and gloves and got ready to pull on my ankle just as the radiographer (a girl I knew well!) took the picture.  Arrghhh! 

The outcome was that due to the very large range of movement in my joint I needed an operation to stabilise it or I would continue to fall over at the slightest provocation.  It was all arranged and I remember asking not to have a general anaesthetic so that I could follow what was going on whilst they opened up my ankle.  They gave me a spinal block (like the epidurals they give women for pain relief whilst giving birth) and I couldn't feel anything below the chest.  The operation was very surreal - the specialist bobbed backwards and forwards from his surgeon at my foot end to my head end to tell me what was going on.  When they opened up my ankle he described the lower end of my fibula (that's the thinner bone that makes up the joint) as looking like a Vienetta ice cream - layers of bone chips and cartilage that had formed each time I had broken the ankle over the years.  It seems that many of those sprained ankles as a child had actually been breaks! 

Is it ice-cream or is it my ankle?
Because of the lengthened distal end of my fibula and the general flexibility of it they couldn't stabilise the joint in the way they had intended, by putting in a plate and a screw, but they did shorten some tendons to tighten it up.  The specialist warned me that the next time I fell I would probably ruin the work they had done and recommended that I didn't wear high heels and to avoid cobble stones.  That's why I wear boots - all the time.  Because about a year later I fell over a stone in a grass verge, in the dark, on the way back from the pub, whilst carrying take-away chicken.  I did ruin my ankle again - but I didn't drop the chicken! 

Whilst he had me on the operating table and under the epidural he demonstrated that my right ankle was just as bad and my wrists had unusual flexion as well.  One theory was that the steroids I had been given for asthma as a child had caused my joints to grow incorrectly - soft tissues grow faster than bones with steroids - I already knew that my short-sightedness was due to the same reason (my eyeballs grew quicker than my eye sockets, so they got squashed). 

Too much exercise leads to my tendons and muscles being unable to keep my joints as firm as usual and I seem to now have a period of extra wobblyness after a great adventure to add to the various aches, pains and just plain tiredness. 

But on the positive side -  I'm quite good at yoga ... very flexible! 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Mass Lobby against Beer Tax Escalator

Yesterday I went to London to lobby my MP along with over 1000 other CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) members.  We were campaigning against the Beer Tax Escalator, a system whereby tax on beer goes up every year by 2% over inflation.  You would think that in 20 years of being a CAMRA member I'd have done my share of campaigning, but yesterday topped it all. 

It was a long, but satisfying day.  We set off from Cudworth at 6:30am to collect two other local Barnsley members, PG from Great Houghton and EG from Wombwell.  The OH got us to the Dodworth junction of the MI in plenty of time for the coach pick up at 7:25am.  Thanks to Wakefield branch of CAMRA for organising the coach, they also collected some Leeds and Dewsbury members before us, about 20 of us on the bus in all. 

A bus full of CAMRA members on the way to the Mass Lobby (thanks to Wakefield CAMRA for this photo)
We drove through the darkness down the MI with just one comfort stop at Watford Gap.  It was getting close to 12 noon when we hit London's traffic and we were delayed arriving at the Emmanuel Centre, CAMRA's lobby hub for the day.  Two of our group were booked to see Ed Balls MP at 12:30 - they didn't quite make it on time but he did arrange to see them later (good for him!) and they spent the intervening hour and a half watching the debates in the House of Commons from the public gallery. 

The rest of our group had to check in with the CAMRA organisers and receive our briefing notes, identification badge and instructions on where to go next.  Tea and biscuits were available, but no beer yet!

We had booked a meeting with the Barnsley East MP, Michael Dugher at 2pm so we had a little while to wait.  The time flew by, however, with lots of people we knew from the Great British Beer Festival and other CAMRA activities in the hall to greet enthusiastically (and usually hug).  You make a lot of good friends in CAMRA, the sort where it doesn't matter if you only see them once or twice a year, it's as if you had just been speaking to them, and of course these days many of us do keep in touch through Facebook - it's not just for young people!

We were recommended to set out for for Parliament with a good hour to spare before our meeting, because of security and queueing time.  There was a trail of yellow clad CAMRA stewards between the Emmanuel Centre and the Houses of Parliament, so no chance of getting lost, and we passed Ed Balls MP and Greg Mulholland MP walking in the other direction.

CAMRA stewards outside the Houses of Parliament (from Flickr)
The queue was long, but moved steadily.  The security was as we had been told, airport style with bag searches, scanners and arches to walk through.  The OH's lock pick (he uses it for work!) was taken from him, but he was given a receipt to collect it on the way out.

The OH was in close phone communication with Michael Dugher's PA, a young man called Josh, who met us in the Central Lobby.  This is where anyone can come to request a meeting with their MP by filling in a green card.  A fellow CAMRA member from Sheffield, DW, hadn't been able to pre-arrange a meeting with his MP Nick Clegg, but he attended and filled out a green card just to make the point.  He waited in the Central Lobby for hours, and not in vain, because although Mr Clegg wasn't able to see him on the day he has promised DW a meeting in the New Year to discuss the Beer Tax Escalator. 

Michael Dugher collected us from Josh and took us to the Labour Chief Whip's office which he had 'borrowed' to have his meeting with us.  He chatted with us for over half an hour and promised to encourage the government to review the Beer Tax Escalator.  You can see his notes on our meeting at his website (you need to scroll down or search for the item "Michael meets with Barnsley CAMRA members taking part in lobby of Parliament").  He was also keen on the community role of pubs, maintaining jobs in pubs and the brewery industry and the place of pubs in educating people in responsible drinking.  Rosie Winterton, the Chief Whip, arrived just as we were leaving, she'd been meeting with some of her CAMRA constituents from Doncaster, who had left her a copy of their Donny Drinker magazine.

Michael then took us to the famous 'Stranger's Bar' for a real ale.  He has recommended Acorn Brewery's Yorkshire Pride beer to the bar, but apparently there is a long waiting list, so we had some North Riding Bitter. 

The Stranger's Bar in the Houses of Parliament
We then stepped outside onto the terrace for a few photos and a further chat whilst we drank our very pleasant beer.  Poor Michael had to have a soft drink as he was in meetings for the rest of the day.

Michael Dugher MP and 4 Barnsley CAMRA members on the Terrace at the Houses of Parliament
We were escorted back to the Central Lobby by Michael who had been very friendly throughout our meeting.  The member from Sheffield, DW, was still waiting patiently for his MP!

On the way back through the building towards the exit I was tempted by the 'little shop', it had fridge magnets and pencils and all the usual gifty tut, but the OH helped me resist.  He went to collect his lock pick and then we made our way back to the Emmanuel Centre.  In return for our filled in feedback forms we were given a free pint of beer each.  Once everyone had made it back from the Houses of Parliament there were speeches from the Chairman of CAMRA, Colin Valentine, Mike Benner CEO of CAMRA, several MPs including Greg Mulholland and Andrew Griffiths and a representative from brewers and one from publicans. 

Colin Valentine - Chair of CAMRA
The meeting closed at around 5pm, there was enough beer left for all of us who had stayed for the speeches to have another pint and then we were asked to clear the building by 6pm.  I was a bit concerned for my steward friends who had been on duty all day without drinking, I do hope they managed to get a beer afterwards.

We boarded our coach just after 6pm for the trip back to Yorkshire.  It was 11pm by the time we reached the Dodworth Junction and I was very glad to see the car was still where we left it!  The OH had been careful with the beer he had drunk as he had to drive PG and EG home before getting us back to Cudworth at about 11:45pm.

Whilst having supper we scanned through the day's TV on BBC iplayer and found a segment on the Daily Politics programme with Mike Benner speaking outside Parliament backed by the pub signs we had seen on the stage at the Emmanuel Centre.   

And then to bed ... needless to say we got up late this morning!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Complex relations

It's not that I've got any shortage of things to write about, but I just feel like joining in this week!  Tombstone Tuesday is another of the Daily Blogging Prompts from Geneabloggers. And you must have realised by now how much I like gravestones ...

This is one of the first Barnsley gravestones I 'collected' and I didn't even find it myself.  I was sent the photo by RE, the OH's fourth cousin once removed.  Esther Kay (nee Leech, formerly Duncan) is the OH's 4x great-grandmother.  After her first husband, Thomas Duncan died in 1841 she remarried William Kay in 1846, she had been married to Thomas for 23 years and was with William for 24 years.  The fact that she was accompanying William while he was working suggests that she enjoyed his company, liked an outing and was a lively lady even at the age of 69! Not bad for a woman who had 10 children!

Esther Leech's Gravestone in Barnsley Cemetery
This stone is in Barnsley cemetery, only a few hundred yards from our old house on the outskirts of Barnsley town centre.  My only excuse for not finding it myself is that it is very hard to get the OH to a graveyard without the promise of a real ale pub nearby.  And I won't go to big cemeteries by myself, rampaging youths are unfortunately very much a reality these days.  I have been to visit it since, I dragged the OH along one Sunday afternoon not long after receiving this photo from RE.  My cropping of the original photo (to highlight the text) doesn't do the stone itself justice, it stands surrounded by empty grass at the top end of the cemetery and is very impressive.

RE is descended from Esther's eldest son John Duncan and the OH from her fourth son Peter Duncan.

Tree snip showing Esther Leech's central position in the relationships on this gravestone
Family Historian allows you to add 'flags' to your diagrams to show what information you have collected - the snip above shows little gravestone icons attached to Esther, William and Mary to indicate that I have an image of their memorial.  You might observe that John Duncan and his wife have the same little icon - their gravestone is one of the few others in the same part of Barnsley Cemetery as Esther's.

This gravestone is a brilliant example of the information you can gather from a wander around a cemetery.  Not only Esther's dates but also the manner of her death, all of her surnames (I can't honestly say I've seen that before) and her second husband's second wife to boot!  I doubt if I would have found Mary Coldwell marrying William Kay without the prompt from this photo.

Barnsley Chronicle 23 July 1870 - Esther's end
The newspaper clipping above gives a dramatic account of the accident that occurred while Esther was "trying to help her husband in the endeavours to do his duty".

I have a long list of the plots in Barnsley Cemetery where the OH's relatives lie, unfortunately many could not afford (or did not want?) a stone so saying 'Hi' to a patch of grass is the best I can do for most of them. 

Thanks to RE for the photo, and thanks to William Kay for providing such a fascinating memorial to one of the OH's ancestors.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Black Sheep Sunday - John Elstob Hutton

Today is Black Sheep Sunday.  This is a daily blogging prompt suggested by Geneabloggers to help give people ideas about what to post on their sites.  If I've done it right my blog should appear in a roll call of similarly headed blogs on their site.  Let's give it a try ...

My chosen Black Sheep is John Elstob Hutton.  He is my 1st cousin 4 x removed and he lived in Hartlepool, Durham from 1834 to 1866.  John was the second son of Robert Elstob Hutton (1804-1858) the brother of my bigamist 3x great-grandfather Fred.  Robert, unlike his brother, appears to have made a good life for himself, moving to Hartlepool from Sunderland in around 1840.  He was a master mariner, ship's captain, ship owner and in later life a local councillor.  The family lived on Cliff Terrace, near to the church of St Hilda on the headland.

Cliff Terrace, Hartlepool (from Geograph © Copyright Andrew Curtis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)
I found this entry for Robert in a local trade directory dated 1858.
1858 Post Office Directory for Durham, entry for Hartlepool (from Historical Directories)
Robert appears to have passed the roles described above on to his son, John, on his death.  Prior to Robert's death in 1858, when John was about 24 years old, John had been listed in the 1851 census returns as a shipping clerk.  I have also found evidence ("Narrative of the Royal Scottish volunteer review in Holyrood park" by Ernest Ralph Vernon on Google books) that he was a member of the local volunteer regiment, the 4th Durham (Hartlepool).  So far he sounds like a fine upstanding young middle class man, nice house, nice job, living with his mum ...

However my next encounter with him was on the British Newspaper Archive (BNA) website.

York Herald 1 Dec 1866 (from BNA)
Oh dear ... he's gone and run off with the takings! 

John was not married and I can find no further sign of him in this country.  Was the responsibility of the job(s) too much for him?  What did he do with the money? I wonder where he went? 

Fortunately for his family there were still several other respectable sons who continued to support their mother until her death.  They did seem to move from Hartlepool though, to London, Darlington and South Shields - maybe to get away from the gossip?

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Barnsley Brettoners, spellings and scandals

When I first came across this unusual name in the OH’s tree it was at such a distant stretch that I noted it and carried on – after all marrying a second cousin five times removed hardly makes the top ten of family relationships!  However in my recent meandering around Nelson Street looking for a pub I noticed the Brettoner family had turned up again.  And when I was charging around the British Newspaper Archive last weekend I entered Brettoner as a search term as it is a very ‘good’ name – getting a nice sudden death to add to my tree (father in law to that second cousin 5x removed).   

Yesterday I tried to add all the information I had collected about the Brettoner family to my tree – and, as usual, ended up with far more Brettoners than I had bargained on.  Also Brittoners, Buttoners, Brettinners and almost every combination of vowels you could possibly imagine.  I soon worked out that the best way to search for them was Br*t*r and sometimes leave the rs out as well if I was really desperate to find a missing family member. Double t seemed standard though, well it was about time something was!  Transcribers seem to have particular trouble with Uriah, it often appears as Wriah – never a name surely? 

Looking at the families various marriage certificates it was a little hard to see why there were so many variations – the patriarch of the Barnsley branch, Uriah, who married in 1813 in High Hoyland could write his name although his wife signed the register with a cross. 
Marriage certificate of Uriah Brettoner and Ruth Johnson 1813, High Hoyland (from Ancestry)
High Hoyland is about 6 miles north west of Barnsley, the nearest village is Clayton West (which seems to be in the High Hoyland parish) and this Brettoner family appear to originate from these two villages.  I can’t find any Brettoners (or any other spelling prior to 1779, the baptism of John and Elizabeth Brettoner’s eldest son Giles.  There are hits on the web for an earlier Joel Brettoner (which does appear to be a family name) but I can only find the promulgation of one comment and not the original source.  It’s that Wiki feature – if enough people make the same comment then it must be true! Ha! 

Note that Uriah says he's from Darfield parish in the above marriage certificate - maybe he was apprenticed there before he married, but returns to High Hoyland to marry his sweetheart from back home.

Judging by the places he has his children baptised, Uriah, who works as a Tailor, arrives in Barnsley by 1815, with a detour to Darton in 1818, and back to Barnsley by 1822.  He dies in 1836 (the burial was not on Ancestry, but it was in the Barnsley FHS burial transcripts for St Mary’s Barnsley) leaving his wife Ruth and three remaining sons (two die young) to run the family tailoring business.  Ruth recruits a nephew, Uriah’s sister’s son, Richard Hey, and he is living with her in the 1841 and 1851 census returns.
New Street Barnsley in 1841 and 1851: Ruth Brettoner and the lodger, Richard Hey, her nephew (from Ancestry)
By 1841 her eldest son John has married, had five children and died in the space of six years, leaving his wife Ann with a very young family, living near to Ruth on New Street, Barnsley.  Youngest surviving son Uriah jnr, born 1822, is lodging with a family nearby on Park Row and is working as a journeyman linen weaver, and with the unique hindsight available to we family historians have it is easy to see that living nearby is the family of Joseph Chappell, whose daughter Hannah Uriah jnr marries in 1849.  Not before a bit of scandal though …

I don’t know why Uriah and Hannah don’t marry when she becomes pregnant with their daughter in 1845.  There seems no doubt Uriah is the father as on Emma’s baptism record Britton is recorded as her middle name.  (When she marries she uses Brettoner as her full middle name and this is the girl who marries the OH's second cousin 5x removed.)
Baptism of Emma Britton(er) Chapel 22 Nov 1846 at St Mary's, Barnsley (from Ancestry)
Meanwhile down the road on New Street, more scandal, the widow Ann Brettoner has mysteriously managed to have several more children since her husband John died in 1840.  William is baptised in 1844 as the son of Ann as a single woman, but Ann, baptised 2 years later is credited with a father, Richard Brettoner who does not exist, however this does give us a clue as to what is going on.  Meanwhile little William has died aged about 18 months.  On the 1851 census there is also Eliza aged 10 months, but I can’t find a baptism of any kind for her.  Later a Harriet, b.1847 also crops up. (Someone on Ancestry thinks this is the same person as Ann, b. 1846, but I’m not so sure as I can see entries for both on FreeBMD.)

1851 census Ann Brettoner on New Street, Barnsley (from Ancestry)
In 1853 Richard Hey, the lodger from Ruth Brettoner’s tailor’s shop, makes an honest woman of Ann Brettoner, the widow of his landlady’s eldest son.  Now you understand the significance of little Ann's father being the mythical Richard Brettoner!  They have a son, William (again!) in 1855 but unfortunately for Ann, just when life seems to be going well, Richard himself is taken from her the following year.  She is left without a husband again.  There are still two Brettoner sons, Uriah (b.1838) and John (b.1840) to carry on the name,  (Don’t get confused, the family names do tend to repeat – I’ll try to keep it clear which one I am talking about!) plus William their Hey half-brother.

Ruth Brettoner, widow of the first Uriah (b.1791) also dies in 1856, the same year as Richard Hey. 

Joseph Brettoner, the middle son of Uriah snr and Ruth, who was still at home in 1841 and who is a Linen Weaver, marries Elizabeth Bond in 1843 at Royston parish church.  They have at least 5 children including 2 sons who carry on the Brettoner name.

Uriah Brettoner (b.1822), the youngest son, marries Hannah Chappel in 1849, who as you may recall is the mother of his illegitimate child.  They have two more daughters and both Uriah and Hannah live relatively long lives for the period, ending with a quick death for Uriah in 1893 (as described in a previous post) and a nice solid gravestone in Barnsley Cemetery.  Uriah has worked to improve himself, moving up from a Linen Weaver’s journeyman to a Book Keeper then a Clerk and finally a long career as a Colliery Check Weighman. 

The story of Ann Brettoner, widow of Uriah and Ruth’s eldest son hasn't finished though.  She married Richard Hey (the lodger nephew), but he died shortly after their marriage leaving her with yet more children, some born out of wedlock.  In the 1871 census she appears for what I think is the last time, living with her widowed daughter Harriet Midgley (b.1847) and granddaughter Sarah Ann Midgley.  When Harriet, her daughter, married William Midgley in 1867 she gaves no father’s name, so maybe she isn’t Richard Hey’s daughter after all.  William dies in 1870, aged only 26.  He was a coal miner so I expect when I can get to the Barnsley Chronicle again (when the Archives reopen in May 2013) that I will find it was some kind of work related death.
1871 census New Street, Barnsley Ann (nee Wagstaff, formerly Brettoner) Hayes (from Ancestry)
I’m not sure when Ann dies, despite signing her name when she married John Brettoner in 1834 she appears to have lost the skill by 1853 when she marries Richard, signing the register on that occasion with a X and in 1871 she allows herself to be enumerated as Hayes instead of Hey. In which case she may be the Ann Hayes who dies in 1875 - the address in the burial record for Barnsley Cemetery does match the 1871 census return. 

William Hey (Hayes) marries in 1877, he doesn't give a father's name either on his marriage certificate.  Could it be that they just don't mention Richard because he's dead or maybe William really doesn't know - he was only one year old when Richard died?  Unfortunately poor William is killed at Monk Bretton colliery in 1884, leaving his wife Mary Ann with at least 3 little children - life repeating itself again.  Mary Ann remarries within 2 years, but in an odd, but happy sort of way, when she dies in 1909 she is buried with William.

Harriet (nee Brettoner or maybe Hey, formerly Midgley) goes on to live with and bear 4 children to a William Legg, but never marries him (that I can find).  She dies with that name in 1890. Oddly her Legg(e) children never seem to marry ...

Bear in mind that Uncle Uriah (b.1822) doesn’t die until 1893 and appears to be a respected member of the community I wonder what he thought of his sister in law and niece’s carryings on? Or bearing in mind his own tardiness in getting married, was it a case of people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Uncle Joe - who fell on his head in Jarrow

Well, that's the story my grandma always used to tell us.  We always got the impression that Uncle Joe had been a favourite of my grandma and that he had been taken in the prime of his life.  Certainly his death had made a big impression on her.

When I began my family history research nearly 20 years ago the first family (on my side) that I researched were the Moderates (I had already done a lot of digging into my ex-husband's Sheffield ancestors, but that was made easy due to the proximity of the records).  My parents came from Durham and their ancestors from Durham, Northumberland and Cumbria (mostly! - see my Surnames page for more details) so all the research had to be done long distance.

This is what I wrote about Uncle Joe in March 1997:

Since I last wrote [about the Moderate Family - I was writing a newsletter to send to other people with the Moderate surname] I have been busy finding out all about Uncle Joe. 
Uncle Joe Moderate (from Ileen Moderate's album)
This is he, the second son of Joseph Moderate and Ann Taylor, born in 1868 in Walker, Northumberland.  This photograph is a copy made by Neville Moderate of one of the photo's in Ileen Moderate's album. 

He was a joiner, in fact Joseph Moderate snr seems to have made sure that all his sons had a good trade.  John was a grocer, William a plumber and Jeremiah a photographer before he set out for the West Indies via Belfast.  Ernest worked for the railways.

Joe lived at 74 Croft Terrace, Jarrow just across the road from his parents.  This is the address he gave when he married on 31st July 1902 to the 'girl next door' Elizabeth Johnson of 73 Croft Terrace.  He was 34 years old and she was 22.  Maybe he had waited until he was able to afford a house before he married.  My Grandmother recalls Uncle Joe and Aunt Lily, she says they took in a niece, Peggy, as they had no children of their own.  This was probably a daughter of William, but I can't get it to fit with any of the names I know. (and all these years later I still can't!).  When Norman Moderate wrote to me last year he mentioned meeting a Peggy Moderate in Longhorsley village near Morpeth in the war.  She was married to a Mr F Knox, and running the local store.  Maybe this was the same Peggy, she did mention Croft Terrace to him.  If so I can only suggest she married twice as no Moderate I have found in the St Catherine's House indices married a Knox.

My grandfather had always said that Uncle Joe died by falling through a hatchway on the 'Duchess of York' in Jarrow shipyards. So when I found the entry for his death in the indices we sent for the certificate.

1928 Death certificate for Uncle Joe Moderate
Sure enough it gives the cause of death as 'fracture of base of skull accidentally caused by falling through a hatchway ...' The next problem was that the ship number given on the certificate, No. 967. 

Old copies of Lloyd's Lists are not available in my local library, Sheffield is rather a long way from the sea!  I suppose there isn't much demand.  But my (then) partner's sister lives in Bristol and the library there was able to supply copies of the book going back to the 1850s.  However there was no sign of a ship number 967, or any 'Duchess of York' in the right place.

The puzzle had to wait until we visited Bristol ourselves at Christmas.  My partner had the bright idea of looking up Palmer's Yard itself in Lloyd's Lists, and there it was ... Ship no. 967 under construction in 1928, the 'York' a cruiser.  The next step was to look up the entry in Jane's Fighting Ships. 

HMS York under construction in 1928 (from Jane's Fighting Ships)
The picture shows the 'York' under construction in 1928.  A later entry describes the ship as 'the first attempt on the part of one of the Treaty Powers to break away from the 10,000 ton type of cruiser'.  Below is a diagram of the vessel also taken from Jane's.

A diagram of the York taken from Jane's Fighting Ships
The HMS 'York' was involved in the defense of Crete in 1940.  On 12th October HMS 'Ajax' sighted an enemy force, she crippled one destroyer but the rest of the force escaped.  HMS 'York' came up in support.  The next morning the crippled Italian destroyer was spotted in tow to another enemy destroyer.  The damaged ship was the 1,620 ton 'Artigliere'.  The second ship fled in the direction of Sicily at highspeed.  HMS 'York' joined the 'Ajax' and the gave the Italian crew half an hour to abandon ship.  After this the 'Artigliere' was sunk by gunfire.  'York' dropped rafts for the survivors and broadcast their position on the radio.  This was done despite the fact that such a signal compromised the position of the British forces.

During the German assault on Crete in May 1941 the Italians claimed to have destroyed many British ships.  Amongst these was the 'York', hit by an explosive motor boat, she beached in Suda Bay.  Meanwhile a 'brilliant rescue' had been achieved by our Navies and survivors from Crete transported to Egypt. Dive bomber attacks prevented the repair of the 'York', and her wreckage was not salvaged until after the war.

So Uncle Joe helped to build a warship in Palmer's Yard, and she did not disgrace herself in service either.

When he died, at age 60 years, Joe left no will.  His effects amounted to £330, and his wife Elizabeth survived him.  They were still living at 74 Croft Terrace and my grandmother can remember how upset her mother, Joe's sister, was when she heard the news across the river in Wallsend.

Even now, all these years later, I still can't find Peggy, the power of FreeBMD and Ancestry are not enough to solve that puzzle.  Maybe she was a relative on Elizabeth' side, a Johnson, but she used Moderate when she met my relative Norman Moderate just to strike a friendly note. 

The information about the York's war service was taken from an old illustrated book (almost a collection of picture magazines) about the Second World War that belonged to my dad, I'm afraid that 15 years ago I wasn't as concientious about noting down references so I don't know, off hand, what it was called, though it is still on the shelf at Everton.

My grandmother would have been 21 years old when he died and although he was still working, not a lot of pension and no Welfare State in 1928, Joe was hardly a young man in his prime when he died.  It just shows how family stories and memories are not completely reliable, I suppose we change things over time to appear more tragic or more exciting.