Saturday, 31 August 2013

Week 1 - The Book of Me - Who Are You?

I am taking part in a sort of crowd blog thing - each week there will be a prompt and we have to write on that topic.  The idea is to build up an autobiographical record.  I think as a historian I spend a lot of time looking at other people's history and not a lot of time examining my own so I welcomed the chance to do this - however I will only be posting "edited highlights" to my blog as I'm sure you don't want to read all the details!

Information on the project can be found here.

Today's prompt - the first one - was to write twenty different answers to the question "Who am I?".  Bear in mind that my answers are a bit stream of consciousness as I thought that was the most honest way - and apparently the answers will change if you do the same exercise at a different point in your life.
I am a black clad middle-aged wannabe goth
I am an aspiring historian
I am a mum
I am a daughter
I am a wife
I am a techie geek
I am a heavy rock fan
I am a real ale drinker - but I like wine too
I am a science fiction fan
I am an avid reader
I am a friend
I am a trouble-maker
I am a perfectionist
I am/was a radiographer - but I've still got the certificate!
I am over 50
I am NOT vegetarian - but the OH is.
I am disabled - but I look OK about 75% of the time.
I am a gardener
I am paranoid about not upsetting the neighbours
I am skint - but not destitute

I think that has exhausted the topic for today.  Facebook is currently very busy and proving very apropos on the 'friends' front while I am playing with my new Flip Pal scanner (tech) scanning pictures of family and history which also feature in the list.  Oh and I've got a glass of wine, but I am at my mum's so I didn't buy it.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

My Flip Pal Mobile Scanner has arrived and has been tested

And the OH's tea was a bit late ...

When I got home from the Archives this afternoon I found one of those red cards from the postman through the door to say he'd tried to deliver three parcels but that I hadn't been in.  Luckily in Cudworth the parcels are initially returned to the local post office so I dashed up there with my proof of identity and the red card hoping and praying the parcel(s) were still there.

They were, and after a little discussion as to whether they could actually let me have them because one had a bar code on it to prove it had been delivered and they didn't have the necessary technology to scan it, they finally did let me take them away. *sigh of relief*

One was my parcel of Amazon goodies, part of my Great British Beer Festival leaving present, one was my Samsung tablet charger being returned by the hotel in London where I had foolishly left it plugged in next to the kettle a week ago (I had sent them a postage paid padded bag) and the one that had to be signed for was my Flip Pal Mobile Scanner, the biggest and most long awaited part of my present.  Given that this had been bought whilst in London two weeks ago on behalf of my GBBF friends by my daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law from My History in Rotherham the poor thing has so far been to Gloucester (wrongly delivered to son-in-law's home address), and then Leicester (daughter's house), and all the way back to Barnsley so I had, of course, to get it out of the box immediately and make sure it was working ... I really had to, I hadn't got any choice had I?
A shiny thing - silver three quarters lid with Flip Pal logo, a black panel on the right with a small screen and a set of buttons, one central and four arranged around for navigation
The Flip Pal Mobile Scanner

The scanner comes with batteries (4x AA) already installed, you just have to pull out a plastic tab to connect them up.  The lid was held down with some green tape which easily peeled away and the SD card was also already in the machine.  The blurb - the Quick Start Guide - said the card was 2Gb, but when I looked it was a 4Gb one instead, bonus!
Shiney thing from the side, as it says in the caption you can see the blue card in the slot, the large green scan button and the smaller grey slide button for the power.
Flip Pal side view showing card slot, green scan button and power button

I can see why they've made the power button a bit harder to use, you have to slide it forward hold a split second and then let go, it makes it impossible for you to press it by mistake when you are going for the big green scanner button.
Shiney new toy with its lid open showing the scanner platen and the fact that you can see straight through it.  Glass both sides.
Flip Pal open next to one of my new books

The Flip Pal is 10" by 6.5" (about 24x16cm) and about an inch thick (2.5cm).  It is very light and yet doesn't feel fragile.  You can scan things in the 'normal' way by putting them on the platen, closing the lid and pressing the green button.  An image of the item you are scanning comes up on the little screen on the right so you know it has worked.  
Two images of the little colour screen - one with Flip Pal logo and menu, the other with menu and a sidways partial image of a pub.
The little screen on the Flip Pal just after turning on (left) and after a scan (right)

The menu on the screen can be navigated using the buttons, you get the choice of 300dpi or 600dpi scans and a 1, 2 or 10 minute delay before the machine powers down automatically to save battery power.  There are also some simple instructions, but a full User Guide can be found on the SD card included when you put it in your computer.

Needless to say I had a go before reading anything but the Quick Start Guide - I wanted to try out the supplied software that stitches images together if the thing you are scanning is larger than the device.
My Flip Pal with its lid removed and laid just above.
Readying the Flip Pal for scanning in situ or large objects
First you have to remove the lid - this is a bit scary the first time, but actually it's fairly simple, there are a couple of little tabs to the right and left of what they call the photo guide, that's the plastic strip to the top of the glass screen in the picture of the Flip Pal with its lid up two pictures back.  The three slots you can see in the picture above are where three tabs click into place to hold the lid on.

Now this is where it Flips ...
Flip Pal scanning part of a book cover
You have to turn the scanner over and position it over the item to be scanned.  It took four scans to cover this book cover image - you have to overlap the scans by about a inch so the software can do its business.  It doesn't matter if you don't get the scanner dead straight each time - the software can sort that out too.

It looks a bit funny watching the scanner work, not a thing we are used to seeing.

Being able to see straight through the scanner means you can also easily scan pictures in books or photos in albums without struggling to get the book or album onto the platen of a flatbed scanner and lining up the picture, and of course you can scan things that are larger than A4! 

Oooh! Maps!

When I had made the four scans I turned off the scanner and removed the SD card - it just pops out when you press it.  The Flip Pal comes with a little card reader device so you just put it in that and plug that in any available USB port on your computer.
As it says in the caption, the 4Gb SD card half out of the Flip Pal and then inserted into the white stick drive which is in turn inserted in a USB port in the side of my laptop
Removing the SD card from Flip Pal, and using the supplied card reader with my laptop

The SD card and reader are automatically detected.  I copied the software to my PC for peace of mind, but you can run the FlipPal Easy Stitch software from the card.
On the left, the start up screen of the software, on the right the folder on the card containing the scans
Running Flip Pal Easy Stitch the software automatically detects the scans available

You just select the scans you want to combine into one image, either by drawing a box around them or by CTRL and clicking each one, then click Open.  A progress pop up appears and a few seconds later (I found two images were processed faster than four, but that does make sense) the finished image opens on your screen in your default picture viewer, in my case Windows Photo Viewer.  

The cover of Kate Tiller's book about War Memorials
Finished processed image

The image of the book cover is flawless, I certainly can't see the join between the four images from which it is made.

The black bits around the edges are a small cause for concern, it should be 'wood grain' (the top of my chest of drawers in my window).  I can only assume that sometimes too much light comes in around the edge when the scanner is raised off the background surface and this causes the black effect.  But as I am actually only after the book cover image I can soon crop the image down in Photoshop.

If you were taking a scan of a photo in an album you would want to crop the background anyway so I can't see this is a problem, plus a photo is a lot flatter than a book!

Incidentally the book shown was another part of my GBBF leaving present.  It is Kate Tiller's recent book about War Memorials and it is available from the British Association for Local History.

I was so busy playing with my new shiny toy that the OH came in from work and I hadn't even started his tea.  Sorry love.  After tea I just had to show him how it worked and successfully scanned a picture of a pub in two parts from the most recent issue of CAMRA's Beer magazine.  I've cropped the picture and tweeked the contrast - well it was from a matt paper magazine, but again you just can't see the join between the images - at all.

The Black Bull pub in Coniston, home to the Award winning Coniston beers (from BEER Autumn 2013)

Today's Discoveries in Barnsley Archives - chapels, chipshops and churchyards

It's as if I'd never been away - back to Barnsley Archives this morning for our regular session transcribing and chatting.  GB and I are still working on Cudworth Non-Conformist baptisms but as we progress towards understanding how the Archive's contents are catalogued we are beginning to find other treasures.  My title for this blog post is a bit of a pun as the new name for Barnsley Archives is the Archives and Discovery Centre in Experience Barnsley in the Town Hall.

GB has been working her way through the green binders that first introduced me to the Publicans' wills and inventories.  Today she found a mention of a farm that had been in her family being ordered to plough up land for food towards the end of the First World War, a photo that's not on YOCOCO (the Barnsley Council Image Archive) of her grandfather's fish and chip shop on Racecommon Road and a prize for me, a picture which is possibly of Worsborough Common Chapel.  I wrote a blog post about Worsborough Common Chapel way back last autumn and at the end of that I said I lived in hope of a photo turning up one day.  I do hope we can prove that this is it!  In addition Michael, one of the archive staff, mentioned that a box had turned up during the move that might just be the missing baptism registers ...

The treasures at the Archives kept on coming today.  I had taken in my July copy of the Family and Community Historical Research Society newsletter as they had printed an article I had written about Caroline Frudd, a Barnsley school mistress. The article was a re-written version of the blog post I did on this topic in February.  Gill, another of the archive staff, took a copy of my article and then plonked two large blue volumes on the desk by my elbow.  These were the transcriptions of the gravestones in St Mary's churchyard by Tasker, the same chap who wrote the original Barnsley Streets books, and also for the churchyard extension across the road.  I had mentioned, towards the end of my article, that I didn't know of the existence of any transcriptions for this church, but I was very glad to be proved wrong!  I was able to find the transcription for the Frudd gravestone fairly quickly, but aligning the map provided with the actual graveyard was a bit of a challenge.  There didn't seem to be a key to which area was which, and my only clue was that the Frudd grave seemed to be in a corner of the churchyard. 

As we left the Archives GB and I walked around the University Campus Barnsley building and into St Mary's churchyard.  We only had to check two corners before I found the Frudd gravestone, a bit mossy but fairly readable - and anyway I had the transcription from the volume in the Archives so I didn't need to actually read all the words, just enough to confirm that they did indeed match what I had copied from the book.

A laid down flat, moss covered gravestone, transcription in the text adjacent.
Frudd Family Gravestone
to the Memory of
William Theakston Frudd
Son of William and Hannah
Frudd Draper of this town
who died Sepr 22nd 1847
Aged 9 months
Also Elizabeth
their beloved daughter
who died October 29th 1874
Aged 24 years
Also the above named
William Frudd
who died May 27th 1890
Aged 71 years
Also Hannah
Widow of the above named
William Frudd
who died Novr 27th 1890
Aged 65 Years

I hadn't known about the first child mentioned on the stone - little William Theakston Frudd.  Living for only nine months in 1847, he hadn't featured on any census returns of course.  It just goes to show that finding deaths and burials is useful to fill out family trees between the snapshots provided by the census.  Interesting too that they gave him the middle name Theakston - that was Hannah, his mother's, maiden name; imagine the massive clue that would have been if this had been my own family I was researching and I hadn't been able to find the marriage yet!

I look forward to next week's visit - finding out more about Worsborough Common with any luck and yet more delving into the treasures of the Archives.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Census Sunday - Occupations in the Cotton Industry in the Census returns

Hopefully you didn't notice, but I've been away for a couple of weeks.  Cleverly (well in my opinion anyway) I wrote some blog posts before I went and released them at paced intervals whilst I was otherwise occupied at the Great British Beer Festival in Olympia, London.  It was my last year there due to continuing ill health, but it was nice (and a bit sad) to see all my beery friends for one last time.  They had a whip round and got me some lovely presents, gift vouchers and flowers and it was wonderful.  I only cried a bit.  
Group shot of nine people at Olympia raising a glass (or tankard) to my leaving.
That's me in blue, being held up by my beer festival children,
the people I've seen grow up over the past 21 years!

I have been home for a few days now and have just about caught up with the backlog of gardening, washing and emails so I thought I'd try to get back in the blogging mood by using a prompt from Geneabloggers, Census Sunday. 

I have worked in the office at GBBF for the past seven years, since I became ill and unable to participate on the busy floor of the hall serving and doing cellar work.  Each summer for the past four years I've been 'doing' a bit of family history with one of the ladies I work with in our quiet moments - we don't get many of them, but towards the end of the fortnight as the festival draws to a close we do manage a few hours of searching on the census for her ancestors.  I have been under strict instructions not to 'do' anything on her tree outside the time I spend with her at the festival but now I'm not going back I need to prepare all the items we've downloaded over the past few years and send them on to her to follow up in her own time.  I will be entering the data  from the various census returns into Family Historian and sending her a gedcom file in the next couple of weeks.  I believe her partner has now caught the bug and wants to investigate his family history so hopefully they will find the information I send a good free starter.
Radcliffe in the 1850s (from Old Maps)
A small map snip showing the parish church of St Mary's Radcliffe and some surrounding streets.
A close up of Radcliffe, Lancashire around 1910 (from Old Maps)
This summer we traced her maternal grandmother's line - the Baines family from Radcliffe near Bury.  Most of their occupations on the census returns were related to the cotton industry and looking at maps of the town it is easy to see why - from the earliest maps in the 1850s up to relatively recently the whole area was dominated by reservoirs and waterways serving cotton mills, bleachworks and printing works.  From the census returns we know they lived in Ryder Street, at the bottom left of the 1910 map and later Norman Street, upper centre of the map.  The parish church was right on their doorstep and we were lucky enough to find transcriptions of many Baines family events on the Lancashire Online Parish Clerk site at St Mary's church, which is to the right of my map snip.

My friend's ancestors featured on census pages dotted with cryptic job titles such as bowker (a person who dips cotton in a solution of lye to bleach it), stitcher (the person who joins together pieces of cloth so the process of putting them through the bleach is continuous) and quilter (not making quilts but rather to do with cotton winding spindles which were apparently called quills).  And of course there were cotton spinners, cotton winders, loom tenders, cloth pleaters, cloth stampers, crofters in the bleachworks, carters in the cotton mill and so on and so forth. 

I am grateful to Andy Alston's Repository and the Weaste Cemetery Heritage Trail for information which helped makes sense of these occupations. 

The Baines name was very uncommon in the parish records suggesting recent incoming and sure enough we soon found evidence that Thomas Baines had actually been born Thomas Brains or Braines in Orton Longueville near Peterborough in about 1845.  His father Robert Branes or Brains was an Agricultural Labourer and Thomas had been following in his footsteps until he moved to Lancashire sometime before 1875.  We couldn't find him in the 1871 census, but in 1875 he married the Radcliffe born Margaret Yates, at St Mary's church.  They were sadly only married for a few years, as Margaret died in 1883 suspiciously close to the death of an infant named Herbert Baines.  We can only assume she died of complications following childbirth.  Thomas did not remarry, but instead relied upon his sisters to housekeep for him and care for his surviving four children.  In each census from 1891 onwards he has a different sister living in - all readily identifiable by their shared birthplace in Orton Longueville.  Thomas eventually died in 1923 aged 78 and was buried in St Mary's churchyard. 
Hairy Bikers Si and Dave at Masson Mills (from the Masson Mills website)
Part of my post GBBF viewing this weekend has been the last couple of episodes of the Channel 4 drama 'The Mill' which features the Quarry Bank Mill at Styal.  You can really get the feel for working in a cotton mill in this programme although the time period is much earlier, around 1842.  Plus the Hairy Bikers visited a cotton mill to help restore a spinning mule, which was the first time I'd actually got an idea of how those huge complicated machines really worked.

I don't have any cotton workers in my own family tree, though the OH has linen workers, so it was very interesting to research this particular occupation for a change. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Step Migration - how one Jones family came to Carlton, Barnsley

Recently the Dialect Society held a talk in the new Experience Barnsley museum concerning the variations of dialect in Barnsley.  In the 19th century, as more and more coal mines  were sunk in the area, experienced miners moved to the Barnsley district from other parts of the country.  Their dialects of origin have had an effect on the development of local accents in villages like Royston, Carlton and Hemsworth.  My father in law could, apparently, tell which part of Barnsley a person was from just from the differences in their speech!
Carlton, Royston and Hemsworth in relation to Barnsley
(from National Library of Scotland)

The OH's 2x great grandmother, Annie Jones and her parents were some of these incomers, but they had followed a complicated migration route before settling in Carlton.  Given the complexity of their origins I wonder what accent they fetched to the mix?
Annie was born in Salford, Lancashire in 1871, after her parents Edward Jones and Martha Bailey had married in Pendlebury, Lancashire the previous year. Martha was a local girl, born in Pendlebury in 1843 but Edward, already an experienced coal miner, had arrived in the area sometime after 1861.  The census returns are invaluable sources for examining migration; they place people in firmly precise locations once every ten years, and by looking at the birthplaces of any children born to a couple between the censuses movements from place to place can be identified.
A snip of census return, described in the text.
1871 census return for Engine Brow, Newtown, Worsley, Lancashire (from Ancestry)
The census snip above from 1871 gives just a snapshot of how people from many different places found themselves thrown together in Victorian England.  Engine Brow was a cluster of cottages built about 1850 near the cotton mill at the junction of Station Road and Bolton Road in Pendlebury.  By 1894, as the map snip below shows the cotton mill had gone but the cottages remained for a while longer vanishing along with the adjacent bleachworks in the 1930s.
1894 map snip of Newtown, Pendlebury (from Old Maps)

The head of this household in 1871 was Mary Bailey, aged 63, a widow, from Salford.  Mary and her by now deceased husband John had been recorded at Engine Brow in the two previous census returns, 1861 and 1851.  John had been a cotton dyer and his daughters had been employed as weavers and spinners in the mill.  By 1871 Edward Jones and his new wife Martha are living with her mother - at the bottom of the snip is little Annie aged just two months, yet Martha is still working in the mill as a weaver.  Her illegitimate daughter, Mary Ann Bailey, aged 7 is present too although the census listing is sufficiently vague that you might think Mary Ann was the Mary's daughter.  Intentional obtuseness when the enumerator asked his questions or just a confusion, who knows? Neither Edward nor Martha signed their names on their marriage certificate suggesting they were illiterate so they would not have filled out their own return.

Edward's place of birth is given as Staffordshire, although no town is specified.  The little cottage would have been very full, as living with the extended Bailey family are two boarders, the elderly Alice Rothwell, occupation 'Sick', who came from Bolton and Mary Hin from Ireland, a spinner, presumably at the cotton mill nearby.  Imagine the cacophony of accents in that household!

The 1881 census ten years later does identify Edward Jone's home town as Bilston in Staffordshire, so back tracking I was able to find his family in the 1861 and 1851 census returns.
A census snip, complete with heading for Bilston in Staffordshire, details in text below.
1851 census for Fleet Street, Bilston, Staffordshire (from Ancestry)

Luckily Edward just appears on this 1851 census return at 8 months of age, for by the 1861 census his parents appear to have died and he and his brothers are living with his uncle.  However cross comparing the names of his siblings, and the maiden name of his mother gives me confidence that this is the correct family. 

The head of the household in 1851 is Charles Jones, aged 32 from Flint in North Wales, who married Elizabeth Maddox in Dudley, Staffordshire in 1842.  The three sons named in 1851, Thomas, Robert and Edward, plus additional siblings yet to be born Charles and Ann are living with Thomas Maddox, brother to Elizabeth in 1861.  As Ann is six years of age in 1861 their Welsh father Charles Jones must have lived long enough for the older boys to have absorbed some of his accent.  Moving to live with their uncle, a native of Bilston like their mother after their parents presumed deaths they might have lost this influence, but as Thomas's wife Rachel comes from Newport in Shropshire, yet another dialect thrown into the mix.

Edward and Martha visit Barnsley for long enough to have a son, Edward in Hoyle Mill in 1879, according to the 1881 census return - however on that return they are living in Stonebroom near Chesterfield in Derbyshire.  The family must return to Barnsley again in the next few years as Annie Jones marries Herbert Benson, himself an incomer from Thornhill in West Yorkshire, in Darton near Barnsley in 1890, however I can't find Edward and Martha in the 1891 census - are they in Barnsley or still in Derbyshire or somewhere else entirely? 

Annie's accent will have been a mixture of her mother's Mancunian, and her father's Welsh and Black Country - but she may well have felt right at home in Carlton, Barnsley as there was a large contingent of migrants from Wales, so much so that there was even a Welsh Chapel for many years.  Did this influence the settling of the family in Carlton?  We may never know, but that is where, after many years of travel Edward and Martha settled, having one last short lived son in 1901 and being buried together in nearby Royston cemetery.

A colour photo of a low gravestone, only three names. In Loving Memory of Edward the beloved husband of Martha Joneswho died July 1st 1924, aged 75 years
Edward Jones's Gravestone in Royston Cemetery
Martha is sadly not remembered on Edward's stone, but their little son Albert is and a mysterious Thomas Cook James ... but that's a puzzle for another day!

Friday, 16 August 2013

The Mystery of the Missing Marriage - Matthew Bulmer and Harriett Glover

You would think that in these days of millions of genealogy records online, multiple transcriptions of the birth, marriage and death indexes and sprawling interconnecting global family trees that it would be fairly easy to find one marriage in Barnsley, especially when the time period in which it occurred is fairly narrow.  Well I can't, so the Bulmer/Glover marriage is another of my impenetrable brick walls.

Sometimes working these things out in a blog post has thrown up suggestions for further research, or pointed out irregularities in my previous logic, so Iet's give this brick wall a bashing and see what we get.

Matthew Bulmer (b.1822) was the OH's 3x great grandfather.  Like many of the OH's ancestors Matthew was an incomer to Barnsley in the early mid 19th century.  He was drawn to the town by the growing linen industry - an industry that many people underestimate for its influence on Barnsley's development.  It was huge ... Barnsley attracted thousands of workers leading to a massive explosion of housing in areas like Wilson's Piece on the southern edge of the town centre.  
1871 census snip, Matthew Bulmer (widower) and 10 children
1871 census for 30 Union Street, Barnsley (from Ancestry)

Matthew's birthplace, stated clearly on the census returns of 1851 to 1871, was Osmotherley in North Yorkshire, a place I had never heard of before seeing it on Matthew's census listings.  By 1871 Matthew was widowed and living at 30 Union Street, on the edge of the Wilson's Piece area, and he was still working as a Linen Hand Loom Weaver.  All his children were born in the Barnsley area, although as we can see from the census listing shown above the family did move around a little, two children were born in Gawber and one in Monk Bretton.  Three of his daughters are also working as Linen weavers and his son John is a Linen Warehouseman.  Of the working age children only Luke, aged 16 is working in another industry, he is a Colliery Labourer. 

Unfortunately for the family by 1871 hand loom weaving was not longer the prestigious trade it had been forty or fifty years previously.  Competition from mechanised looms in factories had driven down the value of the material produced by the weavers working in their own cellars and families found themselves reduced to hard times.  The best source I have found for detailed information on linen weaving in Barnsley is a thesis written by Kaijage (1975), see footnote.

However in the 1840s, when Matthew arrived in Barnsley, there was still a demand for the superior work of the handloom weavers, although it was beginning to decline.  It was normal for weavers to have other forms of support, such as a small plot of land for a farm.  This could be the reason that Matthew had tried living in Gawber and Monk Bretton.
1841 census snip Mary Bulmer and her sons plus grandson in Back Lane, Osmotherly
1841 census for Back Lane, Osmotherley (from Ancestry)
We know Matthew had arrived in Barnsley before 1847 as his first daughter Elizabeth was born in Barnsley that year.  He is listed in the 1841 census still living in Back Lane, Osmotherley with his mother Mary, brother Luke and nephew Harry.  Matthew is listed as fifteen years old, however remember that in the 1841 census ages were rounded down to the nearest five years - Matthew was actually nineteen.  Both Matthew and his brother Luke are Linen Weavers.
A colour photo of a narrow winding lane lined with stone houses, they are small with creepers running up the wall, quite pretty
Back Lane, Osmotherley - photo taken in 2005
We have visited Osmotherley several times, it is a pretty village, with a lot of original housing.  Walking through the village it is very easy to imagine it as it would have been 170 years ago.  The village website notes that a Linen Mill was built there at the end of the 18th century which led to its growth from a small farming community.  The buildings of Cote Ghyll mill are still standing and are now holiday accommodation.
Holiday Accommodation in an old linen mill (from the Cote Ghyll website)

It is seventy miles from Osmotherley to Barnsley, what made Matthew move, especially as he had employment locally?  His brother Luke is still working as a Hand Loom Linen Weaver in Osmotherley in the 1851 census.  Could it simply have been the prospect of becoming independent that drove Matthew to leave home, or was there a local downturn in trade?  Only further research will tell.  
Very badly scratched image of 1851 census return for Nook, Barnsley. Matthew Bulmer, wife Harriet and three children.
1851 census for Nook, Barnsley (from Ancestry)

As I noted above Matthew's eldest daughter (that I know of) Elizabeth, was born in Barnsley in 1847.  Looking at the 1851 census return we see Matthew's wife is called Harriet and she was born in Barnsley too.  They have three children by 1851, Elizabeth, Mary and John.  I have been unable to find a marriage between a Matthew Bulmer and a Harriett in Barnsley. I have checked FreeBMD, Ancestry (in both the BMD indices and the West Yorkshire Parish records), Find My Past and Family Search
1853 birth certificate for Sarah Bulmer

Failing that I did send for Sarah Bulmer's birth certificate - Sarah is the OH's 2x great grandmother.  The certificate shows that Harriet's maiden name was Glover - but unfortunately this hasn't helped.  The same searches were carried out using Harriet's surname, just in case Bulmer had been transcribed incorrectly, but I still had no hits.

FreeBMD listing for the June Quarter of 1853 showing Jane and Sarah Bulmer indexed on the same page of the register.
The FreeBMD entry showing two Bulmer births
(From FreeBMD)
The address of Sarah's birth is Nook, the same as the 1851 census - this was a small street in the town centre of Barnsley, later known as Gas Nook after a gasworks was built nearby. 
The usual reason for showing a time on a birth certificate is to differentiate between twins and sure enough checking the Free BMD entry Jane Bulmer was listed on the same page as Sarah.

For some reason Matthew and Harriet did not have any of their children baptised until 1854, when they had five, Bessie (Elizabeth), Mary, John, Jane and Sarah done at the same time in St Mary's, Barnsley.

Because I can't find Matthew and Harriet's marriage, which would have given her father's name, I am also having trouble working out who Harriet's parents were.  The names of their children suggest her mother might have been an Elizabeth - but even this doesn't help as there are numerous Harriet's baptised in the Barnsley area between 1811 and 1831 ten years either side of her probable birth 1822 to 1824 (based on her ages in the 1851 and 1861 census returns) and several have a mother called Elizabeth.

Out of twelve children born to Matthew and Harriet, that I know of, only two die young - the others marry, although with most being girls the Bulmer name is not continued in Barnsley.

Harriet died in 1868 while the family were living in Union Street, where they still were in 1871 (see the first census return I have included above), Matthew died in 1879 and his address at burial was given as 34 Union Street.  They are interred in the same grave in Barnsley cemetery.  The family scatter after their parent's deaths.  John Bulmer goes to Bradford with his daughters and works in the worsted trade there.  Luke Bulmer has a short marriage in Barnsley but then moves away ending up in Hartlepool, Durham.

There is the possibility that Matthew and Harriet did not marry ... either of them may have married previously but unhappily, and thus could or would not marry each other bigamously.  Is the late batch baptism of their children a clue ... did they marry later due to some reason I have yet to discover and not baptise their children until afterwards? They may have married in a Non-Conformist chapel  (which seems unlikely given the baptism of the children in the Anglican church), but even then their marriage should have been entered into the Register Office records and made its way to the index.  There is a chance their marriage may turn up in the Barnsley Register Office, but without an entry in any of the indices I can't request it.  If the Barnsley Indexing Project resumes in the near future I could ask if anyone has seen it ...

Thank you for reading - I've spotted a bit of work I need to do with the baptisms and marriages of the Bulmer children, but I'm no nearer a solution to the missing marriage. 

Further Reading on the Linen Industry in Barnsley:

Kaijage, Fred J. (1975) Labouring Barnsley, 1816-1856 : a social and economic history. PhD thesis, University of Warwick. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Aug 2013]

Monday, 12 August 2013

Day's Croft, Monk Bretton, Barnsley - it's not there now, the ground's all flat ...

When I was little one of my favourite songs was the Hole in the Ground by Bernard Cribbins. Towards the very end of the song he sings, "Hole in the ground, so big and sort of round it was, it's not there now, the ground's all flat, and beneath it is the man in the bowler hat," which obviously as a bloodthirsty child I thought was justice for bothering a man in his gainful employment leaning on his shovel!

Day's Croft wasn't a big round hole, but it wasn't far away from one ... Monk Bretton Colliery, and neither it nor Day's Croft are there now!  There is a grassy expanse sloping down from Monk Bretton to Lundwood, with a few trees and scrubby bushes where dozens of miners and their families used to live.
Map snip showing a railway line running almost north south across the image - a small row of houses jutting off to the right near a bridge over the canal.  At the top of the image is the colliery and to the bottom right a new "Garden City" style council estate is just coming into view
1930s map of Day's Croft and Monk Bretton Colliery (from Old Maps)

From this map snip I don't think that you would guess there were nearly forty little houses in Day's Croft, yet in the 1911 census summary book I can find a listing for thirty-two properties and there are some gaps in the numbering.  Numbers 1-3 and 6-7 are not occupied or not identified by number anyway.  Interestingly number 30 was Mr Laycock's shop which suggests the street was probably quite self-sufficient.  The summary books are an easy way to see the numbers of people living in an area.  Hard to believe but one of these little houses contained thirteen people on census night and two others each held ten people, including the house of one of the OH's relatives.

The colliery was in existence in 1880 according to a list on Rootsweb, but in the earliest map available, from the 1850s, the canal bridge labelled Croft Bridge on the 1930s map above is adjacent to the Bleach Croft, no doubt where it got its name.  There is no colliery and no row of houses on the road between the Croft Bridge and the Bleachworks.
Monk Bretton and the area of the Bleachcroft nearby (from Old Maps)
Searching the burial records for Monk Bretton church I can find no burials from Day's Croft before 1886.  There are 112 burials between 1886 and 1948 (when the list I have ends) with an address in Day's Croft and nearly half of them (51) are children under five years old.  Given this frequency of children dying in the area it does suggest that this is evidence that the houses were built no earlier than 1885 or 1886. 

A sepia toned newspaper cutting relating the case of George Wharam who had been issued with an order to quit his home in Day's Croft.
Sheffield Daily Telegraph Thursday 17 December 1903 (from Find My Past - Newspapers)
This newspaper cutting from 1903 states that George Wharam had worked at the colliery for fifteen years, so that takes us back to 1888, and that he occupied the house "under the colliery company".  So the houses were owned by the colliery ...

The earliest mention I have for the address in the OH's family tree is in 1900 when George Johnson jnr marries from his father George snr's home at 11 Day's Croft.  George marries Elizabeth Ann Jobling, the OH's half 3x great aunt and another Johnson, George's sister Ellen marries Elizabeth Ann's younger brother Richard Loveland Jobling six years later ... introduced through their siblings maybe?  There must have been a shortage of suitable houses in the area because in 1911 Richard Jobling, his wife and two children are living with George snr and six members of his family at 11 Day's Croft.  This is a total of ten people in a house, which according to the census, has five rooms (not counting the kitchen). 
A coloured map snip showing the location of Monk Bretton and Cudworth relative to Barnsley town.
The north east of Barnsley in 1924 showing Monk Bretton and Cudworth
(from the Bartholomew Half Inch Maps at the National Library of Scotland)
In 1891 George Johnson snr, occupation Coal Miner, and his family were living in Monk Bretton itself and eight or ten years prior to that, based on the birth places of the older children, they had lived in Cudworth.  It is less than a mile and a half from Cudworth to the colliery site, but I'm sure that the shorter walk from Day's Croft was welcomed.  On the small scale location map I have included above there isn't even a blip on the map for Day's Croft, however the Colliery is marked very near to Monk Bretton railway station.

What is even more interesting is that both George snr and his wife Ann Kitchen, who married in 1877 in Royston, are from the North West of England, the area which is now Cumbria.  George is from Penrith and Ann from Appleby which are no more than 14 miles distant from each other.  Did many families move from that area to Barnsley to work in the coal mines in the 1870s?  Did they socialise with each other because of their shared Cumberland/Westmoreland heritage?  The Kitchen family were still in Cumberland in 1861 but Ann's eldest sister, Alice, marries in the Barnsley district in 1869, so they have arrived in the area by then.  George Johnson appears to arrive between 1871 and 1877, alone.

As you can see on the 1930s map the new estates at Lundwood were appearing, semi detached houses, built no more than 12 to an acre in the Garden City style, each with its own garden on curving roads and cul-de-sacs.  I expect the families from Day's Croft watched over the fields as these houses were put up and hoped(?) they would be able to get one.  Certainly by the 1960s, judging by the maps again, there were no buildings of any kind left on the site of Day's Croft.

I can find no pictures of Day's Croft on the Barnsley Council's Yococo Image database online, and putting Day's Croft into the images search on Google brings back some of my own blog posts!

There may be more information in the Archives about Day's Croft, possibly in the records of the colliery ... or photographs that haven't made it to Yococo yet.  We can only hope.  It would be nice to see what these houses, which were home to some very large families in 1911, actually looked like.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Amanuensis Monday - The Underground Ballroom at Welbeck Abbey

Today's post is in response to one of the daily blogging prompts suggested by Geneabloggers.  "An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts."

My father's eldest sister, Marion, was in the ATS during the war. In a collection of my grandfather's papers I found a letter from her written from Welbeck College in Nottinghamshire.
Welbeck Abbey - East front (from Nottinghamshire History)
The College was in Welbeck Abbey - after the war it was taken over by the Army Education Corps and used for the education of commissioned men who were being demobbed.  As it was an institution that accepted men only my aunt must have been there as some kind of support staff.  From 1951 the College provided an A level education for students destined for technical careers in the Forces.  It recently relocated to Leicestershire but is still known as Welbeck Defence College.

Marion's letter is written in pencil on four sheets of lined notepad paper.  She gives her service number and address at Welbeck but does not date the letter.  However a comment towards the end of the letter helps, "Tonight is Saturday so I bet you're at the pictures but never mind I have a day off sometime this week so I’ll be there to see State Fair."  The film State Fair was released in late August 1945 - I don't know how long films ran at the cinema in those days but it seems reasonable say this suggests the letter was written in September 1945.

Underground Ballroom 1951 (from Rotherham Web)

Marion writes very briefly, but mentions the ballroom, "I wish you could see the place, there are tunnels underground and it takes half an hour to walk down the drive. There is an underground ballroom." It must have impressed her very much! She tells my grandmother, "We see so many men here that they just aren’t anything to get excited about anymore," which must be a reference to the officers attending the college.  I imagine that during the war men must have been a little scarce - seeing hundreds of them together might have been a new experience for Marion.

My great uncle served in the war and Marion asks her mum if there is any news of him being demobbed.  She also enquires about my father, asking if he had any news of his scholarship.  My dad did attend Durham Boy's Grammar School after the war - he used to tell me that he was allowed to attend in his best sports jacket and best trousers rather than the uniform as clothing was still rationed.  This saving helped his family who would have been hard pressed to find the money for his school books as well as travel to Durham and back everyday from Langley Park.
Another insight into the war years appears in Marion's letter, "I wish you could see the meals we have here, there is plenty of everything."  Food was rationed during the war and for quite a few years afterwards - Marion was obviously impressed by more than the architecture at Welbeck!
It sounds like she had a comfortable time at Welbeck, "I have just had a bath and I am writing this in front of a beautiful fire in a cosy armchair (no kidding).  Pat our L Corp has brought up some biscuits and a swiss roll for our supper."  She was only 19 years old - prior to joining the ATS she had worked in a munitions factory in Birtley near Chester le Street.

Marion died the following August aged 20.  Her death certificate gives the cause of death as Microcytic Anaemia, which is a bit vague and general and can have many causes.  Marion is remembered on the war memorial in Langley Park.

I am glad she enjoyed her time at Welbeck and that we have her letter as a tiny insight into her life.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Back Up your Genealogy - carefully - this is really important!

You wouldn't want to lose your precious family tree research would you?  All that work, all that history, all those memories!

But what would happen if your computer failed?  Or heaven forbid - was stolen?  Do you have recent copies of your gedcom files, your photos, your scanned census and certificate images?

When I still worked, which was more than three years ago now, I used to back up my data to a CD and take it to work and keep it in my desk drawer.  When I cleaned out my desk I found around a dozen of these disks which are now, uselessly, in my desk drawer at home.  Of course the problem with this plan ... making a back up and keeping it somewhere 'off site', that is somewhere physically distant to your original copy, is that you have to remember to do it on a regular basis.  Finagle's Law says that, "Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment" - and in this case it would probably be the day before you planned a regular back up when you hadn't done one for a month! 

I keep saying I'll keep copies at my mum's house, or leave them with a friend, but some how I never get around to it ... there seem to be so many other ways of keeping your important documents safe now-a-days.

Another home based option is backing up to an external hard drive - I do this as well but my four year old hard drive is getting a bit full - I really need one of these new terabyte ones, I'll put it on my Christmas list!  A disadvantage of this system is that the hard drive is usually in the same building as your computer - so not proof against major disasters such as fires or floods.

I used to keep a copy of my gedcoms (the universal standard file for transferring genealogical data) on the BT Digital Vault - some space online that BT provided to account holders - however this is about to be closed down - so if you have your backups on this piece of the Cloud - move them!!
A colour picture of a desktop screen, a tablet and a phone all showing the white cloud on purple background of the BT Cloud logo
BT Cloud

The replacement system is simply called BT Cloud and if you are a BT customer and you don't mind signing up for another year's contract you can get up to 50Gb of storage (depending on your account type) straightaway. I wouldn't recommend using this service for your actual working gedcom files - I found my computer froze when I was trying to work on my trees.  Plus it's not so much a back up service as a mirror service - it doesn't keep versions of your files, just a copy of your present file.  This could be catastrophic if you were depending on it for backing up your family tree and your main programme became corrupt ... the online file would be a mirror copy and thus also corrupt!  I've found it best to use this only to copy my backup zipfiles (automatically created by Family Historian everytime I save and close my programme) and my photos and images, which shouldn't change once they have been saved.  It comes in handy for accessing files and pictures on my tablet which is also connected to my BT Cloud account - but used that way it's more like having a bigger (and less safe) Dropbox than a back up.  A fatal error in my media folders on my laptop and the whole lot would be wiped from BT Cloud as well.  ('and lo and behold it was proved' ... just keep reading to see what I did ... disaster!)
The Dropbox logo consisting of an open flapped blue box and the word Dropbox alongside
Dropbox logo

Talking of which I think Dropbox is wonderful, but of course you only get 2Gb on the free account although this can be extended if you use the camera upload functionality cleverly (up to 3Gb extra available if you work at it) and invite lots of your friends to use Dropbox too (if they haven't go it already you get a free 500Mb for each person who signs up following your invite).  I got 48Gb free when I bought my tablet, but that is a time-limited offer from Samsung for just one year.  I'm not going to get dependant on that space and find I have to pay for it next year!  As there are alternate options I use my Dropbox space for sharing family photos and CAMRA related documents instead.
Amazon Cloud Drive logo

I try to back up my gedcoms to the free storage on the Amazon Cloud Drive at least once a month; setting an alarm for the first day of the month is a good way of doing this, but it still relies on the human part of the equation.  You get a free allowance of 5Gb on this site, more can be purchased.  You can only upload files on the basic app, you need to download the Cloud Drive desktop app to save folders.  It seems to work a bit like Dropbox, a folder appears in your Windows Explorer Favourites list - but I think there's just a shortcut on my computer not a whole copy folder, so the items will only be available when I've got an internet connection.  I've just updated to this version today and made the dreadful error of moving rather than copying my family tree media folder, I had to wait impatiently to copy it all back again (duh!) ... be careful out there!

Remember what I said earlier about a catastrophic failure of any of my folders and the BT Cloud - well I've just proved it - accidently moving my media folder to the Amazon Cloud Drive folder effectively deleted the entire contents of that folder on the BT Cloud into the trash - from where I am currently trying to retrieve it 100 items at a time (it is a massive folder with over 1600 images).  Don't be me - be very, very careful!!  And incidentally while poking about in the trash of BT Cloud I notice that files stored in there are kept indefinitely (well as long as anything else) and count against your cloud space - so if you can't work out where all your gigabytes have gone - check the trash! 

There is a helpful and fairly recent (March 2013) article here about the above and various other Cloud storage sites.

"The Easiest Way to Preserve Your Family's History" - headline and then various explanations about the site's functionality - click on the link in the caption to go to the site
Screenshot of the BackupMyTree landing page

In Googling for this post I discovered a dedicated service from the same company that runs the My Heritage online tree site.  Called BackupMyTree it claims to keep up to 25 versions of your gedcom files online and to be able to find all the family tree files on your computer to back up once you have installed the software.  There is a very favourable review of the product on Dick Eastman's site.  He does mention it can slow your computer down - is it saving while you work on your file?  If so I would have the same problems with this as I had with the BT Cloud - Family Historian freezing when I added a lot of census images and photos and started tagging the information.  Currently this service only saves your gedcoms or similar tree files - it does not save your associated images.

I'm giving it a go ... I'll let you know how it works. 

Worryingly I have since discovered that the terms and conditions (under My Heritage) of BackupMyTree say that My Heritage can copy your stored trees to their website whenever they want - they have to send you an email giving you 30 days notice and another to tell you the transfer has occurred and at either point you can decline the transfer.  This bothers me because my working trees contain information about living people, myself amongst them.  If you miss the emails your trees become part of the My Heritage site and probably? searchable by people looking for matches.  Hmm, bears more investigation.

Projects in Progress - NEW! Cudworth Methodists - Searching for a Purpose in my Life

This week I've started a new transcription project at the Barnsley Archives, the Cudworth Methodist Baptism registers.  If it seems that I have too many irons in the fire that's because I probably have!  However I am the sort of person who needs to keep busy and maybe one day, who knows, I might get asked to do more talks, might produce more journal articles or even write a book.
A sketch of a small chapel, single gable with an arched window, central door below.  On either side a flat roofed extension with square topped windows.  A pair of butresses stand on either side of the door
The New Connexion Methodist Ebenezer Chapel on Barnsley Road, Cudworth

 It isn't terribly easy finding history projects in Barnsley, the area has a very good supply of dedicated local historians, for example Aspects of Barnsley runs to seven volumes compared to the two about Sheffield, but being a member of the Cudworth Local History and Heritage Group I was able to confirm that no-one has transcribed the Methodist records before.   Also that the records held by the Group about the chapels in Cudworth consist mainly of 20th century newsletters and programmes to various anniversaries.  The Methodist registers have not been microfilmed so providing a transcription will make them more accessible, and hopefully provide information on the families in Cudworth who attended the chapels.  Barnsley Archives is bound to have much more information on the Methodists in Cudworth too, and I can collect this to add to the information available locally.

Cudworth has a long history of Non-Conformity, the first chapel was built in about 1799 and before their partial amalgamation in 1964 there were at least four separate denominations of Methodists meeting in Cudworth.

As one of the members, BS, noted on Wednesday morning at the regular meeting in the Cudworth Centre of Excellence (that's the library to ordinary non-council speak people!) the addresses given in these records let you establish when certain streets were built, the occupations of the fathers gives a good idea of the social make up of Cudworth and how it changed over time, and baptism registers may well be the only place, other than their burial, where some of these children were recorded if their short lives fell between census returns.  BS was talking about the Church of England baptisms for St John's church in Cudworth (1887-1910) which have been available on Ancestry (in the West Yorkshire collection) and which can now also be accessed via a transcription at CLHHG meetings, but the same applies to any baptism records, be they Anglican or Non-Conformist. 

Onto my existing projects:

My research into the POWs from the First World War needs to be correlated, cross checking the names from the Barnsley Chronicle piece in March 1918 with the names from the Absent Voters Register of October 1918.  Although I've dug deeper into just a few of the names so far there are several interesting themes appearing, men who returned and married fairly swiftly (had the girls/women been their sweethearts before the war? are there family stories, letters or news from the POW camps?), men who died younger than one might expect, men who just plain vanished ... and with no census from after the war available until the 1921 is released in, I guess, 2022, it might be a while before I can work out what happened next in some cases.
A sepia photograph of dozens of British soldiers, identifyable by their tin hats, trudging unarmed down a dusty road, guarded by German soldiers
British Prisoners of War (photo from the WW1 Resource Centre)

My continuing series of World War One Soldier stories has now reached ten names researched and written up ... I'm being a bit cautious about some of the information I have, from the service records admittedly so publically available, as I don't think people want to read about their ancestor's stay in hospital for the treatment of a venereal disease or their very short stint in the army before they were discharged with flat feet or bad teeth.  One gentleman has contacted me to thank me for his grandfather's story, however as nothing much happened to him my correspondent couldn't quite see why I'd bothered.  Well, the soldier returned ... we have to remember that the majority of them did, despite the horrific casualty figures.

According to figures on one website, The Great War, our total casualties were 35.8% of the forces serving.  This includes wounded and POWs.

Wikipedia quote figures from a Parliamentary Paper from 1921 for solely British Home forces:

The official "final and corrected" casualty figures for British Army, including the Territorial Force (not including allied British Empire forces) were issued on 10 March 1921. The losses were for the period 4 August 1914 until 30 September 1919, included 573,507 "killed in action, died from wounds and died of other causes"; 254,176 missing less 154,308 released prisoners; for a net total of 673,375 dead and missing. There were 1,643,469 wounded also listed in the report.
(The Army Council. General Annual Report of the British Army 1912–1919. Parliamentary Paper 1921, XX, Cmd.1193.,PartIV p. 62-72)

I think it is very, very important to remember that the men who returned home and who were not included in the casualty figures had still endured the horror of the trenches, the loss of their friends and the brutality of the fighting.  Most of them would never speak of their experiences to their families.  All of them are now gone ... we should never forget what they had to endure.

And of course my longest standing project(s) of all, my family history:

My blog has gone well over 10,000 views now and in the last few weeks I have had three different enquiries about various posts.  My contact details can be found on my 'About this blog' page.  All three queries concerned the OH's tree this time, and one linked to a recent WW1 Soldier's Story too.  Putting a link from my family history webpages to this blog is also paying dividends as that is showing as a steady source of entries to the blog.
An indistinct screenshot of a chunk of family tree, purely for illustrative purposes.
A purposely fuzzy long shot of a section of my family history (I use Family Historian)
Sadly my daughter tells me although she follows my blog she doesn't read the family history stories, she prefers my moans and groans about my health!  Never mind, it will be all here (and in my backup versions saved in various places ... and that's an idea for another post) for her and her brother when they are ready to be interested.