Archive for April, 2012
We’ve just received the following message from a writer who’s interested in speaking to anyone with an interesting family history story:
‘I’m a freelance writer keen to find family historians willing to share the discoveries that have made a real lasting impact on their lives. Have you unearthed a family secret, been reunited with long lost family, laid claim to a fortune, converted to your ancestor’s religion, or put your own hardships in historical perspective….
Whatever your story please email Rachel Oliver at email@example.com.’
Please do get in touch if you’d like to share any of your experiences with Rachel!
Search for your ancestors in new Manchester Naturalisation Society records on findmypast.co.uk
This set of records contains information about 542 people who were included in a cash book for the Manchester Naturalisation Society for the period 1896-1909.
The Manchester Naturalisation Society was formed in January 1896. It received 123 members in the first year, of whom 16 received naturalisation certificates.
The society raised funds for the certificates by asking its members to pay fees of 1s per week. Once the funds had been gathered, a ballot was held and the winners received their naturalisation papers.
The records tell you your ancestor’s name, the amount they paid to the fund and the date of their payment.
This niche set of records illustrates how we should bear in mind variations in Jewish names when carrying out our research.
We have published these records in association with Manchester Archives and they make up part of our Manchester Collection
We have just published the 1901 Scottish census on findmypast.co.uk
This is brilliant news for anyone tracing their Scottish roots as you can now search the 1841-1901 Scottish censuses on findmypast.co.uk. You won’t find a more complete England, Wales and Scotland census collection anywhere else.
We have newly transcribed these census records to an extremely high standard to make it as easy as possible to track down your Scottish ancestors.
It’s not possible to view the original census images on findmypast.co.uk, due to the General Register Office for Scotland’s licensing regulations.
How many Scottish ancestors will you add to your family tree today?
Welcome to the second in a new series of blogs which explores the family trees of the famous. Experienced family historian, Roy Stockdill, takes us on a journey through time as he investigates the family history of the famous, both living and dead. Roy’s second blog focuses on actress Anne Reid.
Had veteran actress Anne Reid, MBE, followed the inclinations of her family history, her thespian talents would have been lost to the world of theatre and television.
She might, however, have been a famous newspaper columnist instead. For Anne, who stars in the latest BBC TV series of Upstairs Downstairs as cook Mrs Thackeray, comes from a family closely connected with journalism and newspapers.
Anne’s grandfather, father, uncle and three brothers were all scribes and her grandmother sold advertising space. Anne, however, never seriously thought of following the family tradition, ‘Though I’ve always enjoyed writing and have lots of stories at home’, she says.
Anne is also well known for her appearances with Victoria Wood, especially in the sitcom Dinnerladies, and with Maureen Lipman in the delightful Ladies of Letters. Veteran Coronation Street fans may remember her as Ken Barlow’s first wife, Valerie Tatlock.
Anne’s father, Colin Norman Reid, born in 1896 at Aston, Birmingham was a special correspondent in the Middle East for the Daily Telegraph. An uncle worked on the Manchester Evening News and her three older brothers, born in the 1920s, all worked in newspapers. The best-known was Colin Reid, a brilliantly witty writer for the Daily Mail whom I remember from my own Fleet Street days.
Anne was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1935, some nine years after the youngest of her brothers. ‘I was a mistake’ she jokes, ‘but I think my parents were glad to have a girl after three boys.’ Her parents, Colin Norman Reid and Annie Eliza Weetman, were married at Redcar on the rugged, windswept coast of North-East Yorkshire in 1920.
Anne’s mother, Annie Eliza, also born in 1896, was from Darlington in County Durham. When WWII broke out they moved from Newcastle back to Redcar. The family moved around quite a bit – Anne’s father was born at Aston, Birmingham but the Reids came from Liverpool and before that from Fife, Scotland.
In the 1911 census, Anne’s father Colin, then aged 14, was living with relatives of his mother called Latham at Smethwick, near Birmingham – see their census return below:
Anne’s grandmother, Helena Latham, was born at West Derby, Liverpool in 1875 and married Thomas David Husband Reid, Anne’s grandfather, at Bolton, Lancashire, in 1894. Thomas, born in Liverpool in 1870, got his unusual middle name of Husband from his Scottish ancestors – more on them later.
Thomas Reid appears to have been the first member of the family to write for newspapers and contributed a cycling column to the Bolton Evening News under the pseudonym of ‘Pathfinder’. He also wrote for a cycling journal, the Northern Wheeler, published by the same company. The British Newspaper Archive contains a report of an accident he suffered in 1892 when his bicycle crashed into an unattended cart left across the road in the dark.
Thomas won a court case against the cart’s owner and was awarded £14 damages with costs. He subsequently died tragically young in 1906 at only 36, as a result of a long-distance cycling trip. According to Anne, her grandfather caught pneumonia and died, leaving his wife Helena a widow at only 30.
This would probably explain why, in the 1911 census, Helena’s 14-year-old son Colin – Anne’s father – was living with his mother’s relatives in Smethwick while Helena herself is found in Middleborough as a boarder and working as a traveller for the North of England Newspaper Co:
I found an interesting entry in the 1901 census in Aston Manor, Birmingham, from which Anne’s grandfather, Thomas David Husband Reid, appears to be absent – perhaps he was away on one of his long-distance rides!
The census sheet is somewhat curious, however, because it gives the impression that it was Thomas himself who completed the schedule. Helena Reid is shown as wife, four-year-old Colin Norman Reid as son, 68-year-old Mary Latham, Helena’s mother, as mother-in-law, and Ada Maud M Latham, 25, sister-in-law, but no head of household appears:
Maybe a tired enumerator made a mistake and forgot to copy into his book Thomas’ name as head of the household – it has been known! I was unable to find him elsewhere in 1901 but he was certainly still alive because he didn’t die until 1906.
Another interesting feature of this 1901 entry is that also in the household were two young male boarders, Frank Lloyd, 21, and Tom Gilson, 19, both of whom were footballers. I wondered whether they were playing for the famous Aston Villa club and, sure enough, I found both names online in an Aston Villa database.
Taking Anne’s ancestry back a further generation, I found her great-grandfather, also called Thomas Reid, in every census from 1871 to 1911, mostly in Liverpool. He worked for much of his life as a solicitor’s clerk.
I was initially stymied because in the censuses from 1871-1901, Thomas’s birthplace was shown merely as Scotland and, although I knew his birth year to be around 1833-5, there were far too many Thomas Reids of similar age born in Scotland to give me a prayer of identifying the right man!
Then came a breakthrough. I discovered Thomas Sr still alive in the 1911 census living at 3 Harrogate Street, Everton, Liverpool, aged 75. I felt sure this was the right man because Thomas was still a law clerk:
What was exciting was that Thomas had filled in the census himself – the 1911 census is the first one in which we can see our ancestors’ actual handwriting – and recorded his birthplace as Logie in Fife in about 1836. The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that Thomas had two widowed ladies of 70 looking after him, a housekeeper and a cleaning woman. When I told Anne this, she exclaimed: ‘Good for him!’.
The GRO death indexes indicate that Thomas Reid Sr died at West Derby, Liverpool in 1915 aged 79, outliving his unfortunate son Thomas Jr by some nine years.
Armed with the knowledge that Thomas Reid Sr had been born at Logie, Fife, I found him in the 1841 census. The census revealed five-year-old Thomas and two siblings living with their maternal grandparents David and Isabella Husband, both 65, on a farm at Easter Forret, Logie:
I found Easter Forret on modern maps – below is a picture of where David and Isabella lived.
It is a fairly remote place in the hills above Logie, about 10 miles from the famous resort of St Andrews.
I then found the birth of Thomas Reid in the old parish registers for Logie at ScotlandsPeople. He was born on 24 July 1835 and baptised on 21 August. The entry said he was the son of John Reid ‘School master here’ (i.e., at Logie) and Margaret Husband.
So John and Margaret Reid were the great-great-grandparents of Anne Reid and I also found their marriage on 28 November 1834 in the Logie old parish registers. John was again described as ‘School master here’ and Margaret as the daughter of David Husband, farmer, Easter Forret.
It now became clear where Anne’s grandfather, Thomas David Husband Reid, got his middle names from: his grandmother Margaret and great-grandfather.
My researches were still not exhausted, however, for I managed to find the birth and baptism of Margaret Husband at Kilmany, Fife, the adjacent parish to Logie, in November 1800. She was the daughter of David Husband and Isabel [sic] Heggie.
In the 1851 census, David Husband and his wife Isabella, now both 77, had moved to another farm at Kingbarns, Fife, closer to St Andrews:
This census reveals David’s birthplace to be Leuchars, Fife, another parish adjacent to Logie. I found his birth and baptism in December 1773, which showed him as the son of another David Husband and Margaret Dickson.
The final piece of the jigsaw fell into place when I located the marriage of David and Margaret at Monimail, Fife, also fairly close to Logie, on 13 November 1767.
This meant I had managed to get Anne Reid’s Scottish ancestors back to her great-great-great-great-grandparents. I wonder if this couple, who wed almost 250 years ago, could ever have dreamed that one day a descendant of theirs would become a famous actress?
Finally, in researching another of Anne’s lines, I learned she had ancestors who were born on the estate of the Marquess of Cholmondeley at Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire. A great-grandmother called Mary Humphreys was born there in 1831 and went into service in Chester, while a distant kinsman of Anne’s, called Edward Humphreys, born in 1809, was house steward to the Marquess and Marchioness for more than 20 years. He appears with them in the 1851 census at their London home, 12 Carlton Terrace, St Martin in the Fields:
Truly a classic case of Upstairs Downstairs!
Roy Stockdill has been a family historian for almost 40 years. A former national newspaper journalist, he edited the Journal of One-Name Studies (for the Guild of One-Name Studies) for 10 years. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Society of Genealogists and is commissioning editor of the ‘My Ancestors…’ series of books. He writes regularly for Family Tree magazine.
Today marks the launch of two fascinating sets of records, which include information about the Titanic: Maritime births, marriages and deaths and White Star Line Officers’ books. We’re thrilled to offer you the most comprehensive collection of Titanic records anywhere online.
Maritime births, marriages and deaths
Search for your ancestors in vivid full colour scans of the original birth, marriage and death records of those associated with maritime occupations, not just ones which took place at sea. These include all Titanic crew members and all Titanic passengers who died at sea.
Until now there has never been a mandatory single centralised register of births, marriages and deaths at sea. Some records were deposited with the General Register Office, some with The National Archives and others elsewhere. Our online collection is published in association with The National Archives and brings together 30 different record types from 10 different record series held at The National Archives.
White Star Line Officers’ books
View full colour scans of the original service records of White Star Line officers and commanders, including all the officers on board the Titanic.
The records include an original colour scan of Captain Edward Smith‘s employment record listing all the ships he served on and when. You can see the red ink on his record which tells us he was ‘Lost in “Titanic” April 15th, 1912′. View Edward’s record below – click on the image to enlarge it.
The information for each officer includes: date and place of birth, address, details of his apprenticeship, the names and dates of the ships served upon and the date he left the company.
Search other Titanic records on findmypast.co.uk
As well as these two brilliant sets of records, you can also search for your Titanic ancestors in our passenger lists leaving the UK 1890-1960 and our Merchant Navy Seamen records. You won’t find a more comprehensive set of Titanic records anywhere else.
How old were your ancestors when they got married? Chances are they were probably in their twenties. While this was very much the norm, a couple of rather unusual marriages in the parish records from our Cheshire collection prove that people continued to marry much later in life.
Daniel Broadbent married Martha Cheetham in Mottram-in-Longendale on 9 March 1780. You can take a look at the record of this marriage below. Alongside the information you would expect to find written in the parish register, the following note has been added:
‘Behold! N.B. A peculiar marriage! Daniel Broadbent was aged twenty-three – Martha Cheetham aged eighty-three’.
Another ‘peculiar marriage’ can be found in the parish registers of St Oswald, Chester. George Harding and Jane Darlington married on 6 May 1776 and a note on the record below informs us that ‘George Harding is in the 105th year of his age and Jane Darlington in her 75th’.
Have you found any similar marriages in your own family tree? Please do leave a comment and let us know how old your ancestors were when they got married!