Wednesday, 31 August 2011

It's preaching to the converted, but....

I have written an article about family history blogs and ways to get more traffic to them.  You are all, of course, masters and mistresses of the genealogy blog, and don't need my advice, but  I really need some comments from you kind people - is my writing OK?  Am I just whistling in the wind?  Anyway, here's the link:  Get more traffic to your family history blog.
Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The "Found" Cousins

I have briefly revisited earth after we found our new cousins. Here are some details (some personal details have been left out to protect the innocent!)

Cousin Number One is from Australia and is my third cousin, ie we share a set of great-great-grandparents. My great grandmother Ellen was his great grandfather Joseph's brother. Joseph emigrated to Australia and it was to Joseph's house that two of my great-uncles moved shortly before WW1. Joseph and his family were very attached to the boys, as evidenced by the notices they placed in the Sydney newspapers after they were killed in action in WW1.

The best piece of information so far is that our new cousin has a diary which Joseph kept on his journey over to Australia. In it he mentions my great grandfather - we now know that he was known as "Harry" rather than "Henry". The diary also contains a newspaper clipping from a Bristol newspaper carrying the notice of my g-g-grandfather's death in 1915 - so we now know his date of death, in 1915 at the age of 83.

It's not all been one way traffic - I have sent him reams of stuff that I have - hopefully he will make sense of it all! We will definitely be keeping in touch, and of course he is now in touch with some of the other "found" cousins in Australia, so who knows, they may get to meet up.

Cousin Number Two is living in England and is another third cousin, again we share a set of great-great-grandparents, but different ones - so she is not related to Cousin Number One. Her great-grandfather was the brother of my great-grandfather, Harry, mentioned above. Not a lot of information from her as yet, but she has joined our Facebook group, so hopefully in the fullness of time we shall get to know each other better.

Still looking for more cousins - the hunt goes on!
Tuesday, 23 August 2011

It's me, just different!

Just to let you know that I have changed my profile name and profile photo - but it's still me! I have started publishing quite a bit on various websites and wanted to pull it all into line. You get to see me dog too - isn't she cute!
Thursday, 18 August 2011

Two New Cousins in Less that a Week!

Just wanted to quickly share a couple of successes - not all my doing, by any means, but a joint effort with another splendid "found" cousin.

So, two new third cousins join the fold - they are both related to me, but not each other.  The connection is already bearing fruit for both sides - all very positive.  Will write more soon, I am in danger of babbling right now.

Sleep well!

Thrifty Thursday: Can you grow a family tree for free?

I used to spend most of my disposable income on clothes and cosmetics. Clearly I have hit middle-age - nowadays I plough my spare hard-earned cash into family history or my other passion (or obsession, depending on your point of view!), war memorials/WW1 history.  I would however, still like to look presentable, so I need to find a way of saving money on the family history stuff and diverting it back to the look-good fund.

I have thought about it and put my thoughts on a Hub - here is the link:  Can you grow a family tree for free?  Hope you enjoy it and maybe get some tips.
Monday, 15 August 2011

Hubba Hubba!

This weekend I have embarked upon a new venure - Hub Pages.  Hub Pages are a way of writing articles about your area of expertise (I may run out of material quite quickly!) and (allegedly) earn money.  In anticipation of all the fabulous loot that will shortly start rolling in, I have removed those pesky adverts from this blog - it looks far nicer without and frankly they are a waste of time anyway.

This new arena for my writing also means that my blog can now be solely about my family.  Any other general family history stuff can be written about on Hub Pages - I will of course mention it here, just in case you can't bear to miss it.

Here's are my two debut pieces:  How to Grow your Own Family Tree and Can you Grow a Family Tree For Free?  You have the added bonus of getting to see a very bad photo of me on my profile - I look rather insipid!  If you would like to try Hub Pages, click my new button at the bottom of the page and sign up - it's as easy as blogging!
Thursday, 11 August 2011

Those Places Thursday: Temple Meads Station, Bristol

I had assumed that the summer break would allow me to blog more; actually, I am doing less blogging, more of something else (I haven't identified what yet - the house is still untidy, my daughter is constantly bored and the dog is, well, shaggy).  I suppose I am on the trail of distant cousins and yesterday one of my other cousins struck gold - a third cousin we had been trying to trace made contact with her via a message she left on GenForum.  Also been running riot amongst the new Ancestry Rail Worker archives - lots of good stuff there, both for me and a friend whose family history I am researching.

Lovely, but what's that got to do with Temple Meads Station?  Read on, it will all knit together quite nicely in a minute.

Temple Meads Station has loomed large, quite literally, in my life for a long time, but I had not realised that it, and its surroundings, were of family significance.  It is an imposing building, high Gothic Victoriana, set at the end of a long sloping approach road, swarming with black cabs and busy people.  I saw a lot of the building because my grandmother lived a stone's throw from it - her view was blocked by other buildings, but every evening we would watch dark clouds of starlings swooping past to roost on its towers.  The buses we took into town or out to my house all stopped outside Temple Meads, my parents' bank was opposite it and Gran would often walk me to the sweet shop nearby to buy a Five Boys' chocolate bar. And of course, many journeys began and ended at Temple Meads.  Lots and lots of memories of that area for me, never realising that this was home to two sides of my family.

You may have read my post about my great-grandmother Ellen Warren a couple of weeks ago.  Ellen's father John Warren moved to Bristol from the Devon town of South Molton.  He got a job as a store keeper at Temple Meads, a fact we had found from the Census returns.  The new Rail Worker archives give us not only  the date he started with Great Western Railways, his wages and his date of retirement, but also his date of birth.  John and his family lived near the station, though the street is no longer there.  John's son Joseph emigrated to Australia around 1882.  He had worked at Temple Meads too and found work in the railway station at Sydney.  It is his great-grandson who we have just made contact with. One of John Warren's grandsons, my great-uncle Harold, also worked for the railway.  His records show that he was awarded an extra allowance during the war for organising fire watching rotas - take a look at the two photos of Temple Meads and you can see that the station was a minor casualty of the Blitz - the second photo, taken in 1926 shows a spire on the tower, destroyed by the Luftwaffe and not replaced.

It wasn't only the Warrens and Browns who had the Temple Meads connection; my grandmother's mother's family, the Hawkins, also had one.  From around the 1880s they lived in Chatterton Square, which as far as I can make out, occupied the area just opposite Temple Meads, between my parents' bank and my grandmother's block of flats.  The little cobbled back lane Gran and I walked along to get to Temple Meads was probably all that was left of their square.

Hope you enjoyed this brief visit to Temple Meads Station!
Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Remembering Ernest and those who remembered him

It's 95 years to the day since the loss of Great-Uncle Ernest Brown, Signaller 394 with the 17th Battalion AIF.  Like his brother Reginald, who died around two weeks earlier, Ernest is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux memorial.  I have written about Ernest before here and about the letters written after his death by his fiancee here.

Ernest and Reginald emigrated to Australia a few years before the outbreak of war and seem to have been close to the family of their maternal uncle, Joseph Warren.  Joseph had emigrated around the 1880s and would not have met his nephews before they arrived in Sydney.  However, they appear to have integrated into his family; he was the executor for their wills and he and his children placed notices in the papers for the boys' deaths and in memoriam for a few years after.

I have been trying to trace Joseph's descendants for a few months now.  I have his children's names, and those of his grandchildren, and a couple of great-grandchildren (my third cousins).  On Sunday I had a breakthrough of sorts.  I found that one of Joseph's granddaughters received an MBE in 1966 and swiftly discovered a funeral notice - a mere two years ago, she had lived to the age of 91.  The notice confirmed the names of her two sons, and her late husband.  I then "found" one of her sons - imagine my dismay, it was another funeral notice, same church, same funeral directors, but the funeral had only been held two days earlier, on Friday.  The details on the notice were scant - no names of relatives - so I don't know if that particular branch of the tree has come to an end.  So far, no luck in finding my late cousin's brother, but I will, of course, keep trying.

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