Posts Tagged ‘ anniversary ’
Did you know that six traditional sailor superstitions were ignored on the Titanic’s maiden voyage to New York? Take a look at the evidence we’ve uncovered in our collection of Titanic records. Prepare yourself, some of the superstitions may seem a bit silly…
Sailor superstition #1: Women on board a ship make the sea angry
The header pages from the ship’s passenger list reveal that there were 353 female passengers travelling on the Titanic. The passenger list records the people who boarded at Southampton and Queenstown, but the list of those who boarded at Cherbourg does not survive.
Sailor superstition #2: It’s unlucky to have a priest on board
A list of the passengers and crew who were supposed drowned can be found in our maritime death records. These record the occupation of each victim, revealing that four of the Titanic’s passengers were Ministers of Religion.
Sailor superstition #3: Cutting your hair at sea is bad luck
The list of those who perished in the disaster also shows that there were three Barbers travelling on the Titanic. Two of these were crew members who would have practised their trade on the ship.
Sailor superstition #4: A dog seen near fishing tackle is bad luck
We’ve uncovered this article in The British Newspaper Archive which states that there were dogs (and a pig!) on board the Titanic:
Sailor superstition #5: People with red hair bring bad luck to a ship
You can find many of the Titanic’s surviving crew members listed in our Merchant Navy seamen records. You’ll often find a physical description or a photograph included, as is the case with John Alexander Podesta. Podesta worked as a Fireman on the Titanic and his Merchant Navy index card describes his hair colour as being ‘auburn’.
Sailor superstition #6: Flowers are unlucky on board a ship
Another of the Titanic’s Firemen, Charles Rice, also survived and appears in the Merchant Navy records. He was recorded as having a tattoo on his right forearm depicting a basket of flowers.
Do you think there’s any truth behind superstitions like these? Is there anything you do or avoid doing to bring you luck?
We’ve been looking into the records of the legendary Florence Nightingale to mark the centenary of her death today.
Nightingale was a visionary health reformer who led the nurses during the Crimean War (1853-1856), which is mainly remembered for three things: the Charge of the Light Brigade, mismanagement in the British Army and Florence Nightingale.
As well as finding out about Florence, we’ve also unearthed fascinating documents on Edwin Hughes, who in 1923 became the last survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade until his death on 18 May 1927. Hughes was buried with full military honours in Layton Cemetery in Blackpool.
In the census for England and Wales, taken every 10 years, Florence Nightingale can be found listed from 1871 to 1901 living at 10 South Street, St. George Hanover Square, London. In the 1861 census she is found living at 30, Old Burlington Street, St. James, London as a lodger, aged 40:
Her occupation is listed as a former hospital nurse and she lived with just one other person, her housekeeper, Mary Beatley (48). In the 1841 census Florence, then aged 20, can be found living with her parents in Embley, Wellow, Hampshire. This was the family home from 1825, before she started to pursue her nursing career.
After her death in London on 13 August 1910 her body was brought by train back to Romsey, and her coffin carried from the station to the church at East Wellow where she is buried.
In the later 1881 and 1891 censuses, Nightingale lists her occupation in greater detail as Directress of Nightingale Fund for Training Hospital Nurses – in the 1891 census she was 70 years old and still working:
The fund was set up as a direct result of her work in the Crimean War. In all the census entries she is listed either as single or unmarried, further documenting the fact she never married.
In the final census that was to be taken in her lifetime, the 1901 census, she is listed as living on her own means; she was 80 years old, and still living at 10 South Street, Hanover Square with five servants – a cook, a ‘maid domestic’, two ‘housemaid domestics’ and a ‘kitchen maid domestic’. Her housemaid Alice Moody and domestic maid, Ellen Kate Tugby were both from Wellow, Hampshire, where Florence was brought up.
Edwin Hughes – the last survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade
We have also found Troop Sergeant Major Edwin Hughes, known as ‘Balaclava Ned’, the last survivor of the famous Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War in the Chelsea Pensioner British Army Service Records, which we have published online for the first time, in association with The National Archives.
The collection currently comprises over 4 million full colour images of the service records of soldiers in the British Army in receipt of a pension administered by The Royal Hospital Chelsea, and who were discharged between the dates 1760 and 1900.
Each individual soldier’s record consists of a minimum of four pages, and can be up to 20, full of fascinating personal details. Edwin Hughes has eight pages of records charting his time with the military in great detail. Each page has been painstakingly filmed by hand by FamilySearch, our partner in this two-year project.
Hughes was born in Wrexham, Wales on 12 December 1830, and died in Blackpool on 14 May 1927, aged 96. In the service records he was listed as a shoemaker before and after he joined the 13th Light Dragoons (later known as 13th Hussars), part of the Light Brigade, at Liverpool on 1 November 1852, as 1506 Private Hughes. In 1854 he went to fight in the Crimean War for two years in Russia and he was also based in Turkey for two years 11 months.
He was awarded the British Crimea Medal, the Turkish Crimea Medal, as well as The Silver Medal for long service and good conduct. The Chelsea Pensioner Service Records also list his progression through the army. In 1858 Hughes was promoted to Corporal, in 1863 to Sergeant, and in 1871 to Troop Sergeant Major.
On 24 November 1873 he was discharged from the Army at Colchester Garrison at his own request having completed 21 years and 24 days’ service. His discharge papers describe him as being 5 feet nine inches tall, of fresh complexion with sandy hair and hazel eyes:
The day after leaving the Army, Hughes enlisted in the Worcestershire Yeomanry (a mounted volunteer unit), staying as Sergeant-Instructor until 5 January 1886. He was discharged on account of ‘old age’.
Debra Chatfield, our marketing manager (pictured below), said:
‘Finding both Florence and Edwin within the records is fascinating, as we get to imagine them on a more personal level, adding to the legends that already surround them. Collections like the censuses and the British Army service records can enable everyone researching their family tree to add the same level of personal details to their own ancestors – truly bringing to life their family history.
‘Using family history websites, such as findmypast.co.uk, is more popular than ever in the UK. With the amount of historical records that are now available to search and view online people are not only able to find out about their own family trees, but historical events and figures through history.’