Friday, 2 September 2011

Important Date: 28th August

The name entered on this date in the Golden Text Book is James Lockwood. I have three in my family tree,

  • James Lockwood 1, born 1837 in Mirfield, son of John Lockwood and Harrett,
  • James Lockwood 2, born 1878 in Mirfield, son of Amos Lockwood and Mary
  • James Lee Lockwood, born 1879 in Halifax, son of John Edward Lockwood and Catherine Lee.
I don't have the exact birth date for any of these but I think the James in the GTB is probably James Lee Lockwood because I know that this James lived in Lepton and Headingly cum Burley as many of my mother's family did.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Memories or Facts and Figures?

The more I visit the blogs and websites of other genealogists, the more it seems that we are split into family history sites that look into the flesh and bones of whom their ancestors were, collecting stories and memories, and those who simply wish to create a list of names, events and dates. On occasion, one side will criticise the other.

As for me, I feel that the two sides of genealogy can exist easily together, fleshing out the dates with realisation of what our ancestors lived through.

Today I wrote a piece on my writing blog about memories of Sunday morning from my father's point of view. You can read it here.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Important Date: 26th August and Other News

The Golden Text Book has been quiet for a couple of weeks but today we have two names entered, Amy Bracen and Marie Mixon. Neither of these surnames crop up in our family tree.

When I search on, I can find no Amy Bracen. There are several Mary Mixons in Yorkshire around the 1891 census entry. As boring as it sounds, I can only assume that these are friends of the family.

Other News

One of the benefits of building a family tree on a genealogy site such as Ancestry or Find My Past is the chance to meet other family history researchers. Comparing family trees and findings can be incredibly helpful in cross-checking information. A fellow researcher recently contacted me about the Boyds in my family tree and pointed out that I had wrongly identified the mother of one Boyd. I checked through my research and found that although I had the correct Jane May Boyd (1889 - 1948), I had wrongly identified her mother.

Who Do You Think You Are

I've been watching the new series of WDYTYA. I loved the first episode with June Brown. Having only known her as a character actor in Eastenders, it was fascinating to discover the real person and her family story. The J K Rowling episode was interesting but I couldn't really relate. Similarly, Seb Coe's story was fascinating but a world away from my own experience. Next week is another actor who has appeared in Eastenders, Larry Lamb.

Watching this and past series of WDYTYA has made me look at my family history research in a different light. It isn't just a list of dates and names. It isn't just a record to pass on to my children. My research is also a way to find out why I am who I am. My father's side were explorers, either by choice or need, moving around Scotland, to the US and taking my father from a small Scottish town to London. By contrast, my mother's side of the family seem to have always lived in the same area of Yorkshire as far back as I can trace. I'd like to know what gave one side of my tree it's travelling drive and the other such stability in one location.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Important Dates: 30th July - 7th August

July 30th

The name written in beautiful handwriting for this day is Minnie Ainley. What a wonderful, characterful name that is. We have many Ainleys in our family tree but I haven't found a Minnie so far. When I search on, I find an 1891 census for a Minnie Ainley, daughter of George and Mary Ainley, 4 years old, living in Headingley with Burley, Leeds. This is the same area that my Ainleys all lived in so I assume that Minnie was one of these.What substantiates this is that on the census, she has a sister called Florence. Florrie Ainley has previously cropped up in the Golden Text Book.

7th August

Written twice in different handwriting for this date is the name Richard Avison. Richard does not appear on my existing family tree. When I search on Ancestry, I can see several Richard Avisons for the 19th century in Yorkshire - Gomersal, York and Leeds. I assume he was a family friend.

TV Gems

I find that over the summer holiday, when my children oust me from my computer in the office, I settle with my laptop in the lounge. The temptation then of course is turn on the TV. One programme I've found myself watching on a morning is 'Heir Hunters'. This show follows probate detectives who try to track down the relatives (sometimes distant, sometimes immediate family) of people who have died without leaving a will. These detectives use many of the tasks we genealogists use to create a family tree and often build up a rich picture of the deceased individuals' lives. From eastern European royal families to bigamists and unknown half-sisters, Heir Hunters can provide some wonderfully interesting stories. Well worth a watch. You might even find you're an heir to a fortune.

On Wednesday, the new series of Who Do You Think You Are begins. I've always enjoyed watching this programme, sometimes out of interest in the celebrities featured but mainly because it can be very useful in showing how we can use the tools and resources featured to assist our own investigation. The first episode will be about June Brown, octogenarian actress of Eastender fame. Later episodes will include J K Rowling, Sebastian Coe and Larry Lamb.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Important Dates: 1st - 20th July

1st July

Written in pretty handwriting is the equally pretty name, Florrie Ainly. In our family tree there are several Florences but probably more pertinently, there is a Flora Ainley. Flora is the grand niece of the wife of the uncle of the wife of my great grand uncle. How's that for a convoluted relationship link?

Flora was born in 1889 in Crosland Moor, Yorkshire, England. Her parents were Charles Hall Ainley and Emma Jane Wrigley. I have Flora living in Lockwood, Yorkshire in 1901 but can trace no other records for her at this time. Both Crosland Moor and Lockwood are in the Huddersfield area.

8th July

"William Lockwood 75 died 1916"

This one is a puzzle. There are numerous William Lockwoods in my family tree but none of them seem to match these details.

  • William Lockwood 1, born about 1893 in Wellingborough, Northants, date of death unknown.
  • William Lockwood 2, born 8th June 1805 in Lepton, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, died 7th December 1872 in the same location.
  • William Lockwood 3, born about 1858 in Batley, Yorkshire, date of death unknown.
  • William Lockwood 4, born 9 July 1842 in Almondbury, Yorkshire, died 13 November 1888.
The only one is that anywhere near the possible date of birth (1841) is WL4. Could I have got his date of death wrong? This requires further investigation.

12th July

"Sir Oliver Lodge 80 June 12th 1931"

Sir Oliver Lodge was a British physicist and writer. I can't find any links between him and the Lodge branch of my family so I wonder if he was simply included in the GTB as matter of pride that a Lodge should have made such important accomplishments. You can read more about him here.

16th July

The entry for this date is Nora Kilner. Nora was born in 1911 in West Yorkshire. Her mother was my grandfather Alfred's sister. I have no further information on her.

17th July

The name recorded on this date is Gladis Hargraves. We have only one Hargraves in our family tree - Elizabeth Hargraves, born on 17th December 1749 in Dewsbury, Yorkshire. It's possible that Gladis is a descendant of Elizabeth.

18th July

"Fred Thompson"

We have Thompsons and Thomsons in our tree. The sole Thompson is Isabella Thompson, who married Henry Garside (born 1851). I have no further details on her. Perhaps Fred is a descendant of her or one of the Thomsons but the spelling of his name has been changed.

19th July

There's no name entered on this date but there is an address, "35 Regent Road". I have no idea what this relates to. Regent Road is a street name that occurs several times in Yorkshire.

20th July

There are a couple of names mentioned here - Kate Annie Thackray, Jack Sow or Tarr or Farr or Fow, and again, 35 Regent Road. 

I can't trace a Kate Annie Thackray in our family tree but we have many Thackrays. I can't trace Jack either, and again I don't know what the address relates to.

Many many important dates: June

The run up to and preparations for the summer holidays have stolen much of my writing time. The Golden Text Book has sat abandoned on my bookshelf since the beginning of June. This is the first day for a while when I actually have a moment to myself. I've got rather behind with telling you about the GTB entries and there's lots to catch up on.

Two dates that are very important to me personally occur in June, within two days of each other. My son Max was born on 15th June and my husband Paul on 17th June. Occuring shortly before Father's Day, this is always a week of celebration for our family. I've added their names to the GTB, my own handwriting and loved ones next to the generations that have gone before.

On June 18th, there is the name Louise written with no surname. I have a distant cousin called Louise but the entry is quite an old one so I don't think it's her. The only other Louise I can find in our family tree is Harriet 'Louise' Lockwood. I suppose she could have been known by her middle name like my Uncle Ken was (real name John). She was born in 1875 in Halifax but I can't confirm her exact birth date. She is my second cousin two times removed.

On 20th June, we have three entries for what I assume are friends of the family - Dr Braithwaite, Mrs Far and Mrs Roberts.

On 21st June, the entry reads Arthur Roberts. We have no Roberts in our family tree. Perhaps Arthur was related to the Mrs Roberts recorded on the date before.

On 22nd June, there is the name William Arthur Quarton. We have no Quartons in our family tree. On Ancestry, I can find the following entries for this name:

Death entry for WAQ born about 1828, died 1869 in Wakefield, Yorkshire.
Death entry for WAQ born about1885, died October 1908 in Bramley, Yorkshire.
Birth entry for WAQ registered April 1885 in Leeds, Yorkshire.

These would fit with William being a neighbour or local friend.

Entered on 23rd June but with 24th June written below the entry are the words 'Prince of Wales'. 

Pictured is Edward VIII, son to George V. He was born on 23rd June 1894. On his birthday in 1910 he became the Prince of Wales. You can find out more about him here.

The 24th June is packed full of names:
  • Mildred Cox
  • Dr Braithwaite (again)
  • Mrs Roberts (again)
  • Charlie
  • Mr Tranner (possibly - handwriting is questionable)
  • Lord Kitchener.

We have no Coxs in our family tree but the Cox family lived near to my mother's childhood home. Kitty Cox was the same age as my grandparents and I know she had a son. The impression I got of their home was a ramshackle house of clutter and collections.

One of the confusing elements of the GTB is that it not only keeps a record of births but also of deaths. A name may therefore be entered twice but it is sometimes difficult to trace which was the birth and which the death. I think that is probably why we have Dr Braithwaite and Mrs Roberts again.

My father was called Charlie but I can't find any connection between him and this date in June. There is a Charles Lockwood (born 1878) several generations back but I can't trace his exact birth date so I can't confirm this entry is him.

Mr (or possibly Mrs) Tranner means nothing to me, either as part of our family tree or as a friend of the family. I can't even confirm that it actually is Tranner due to the ornate handwriting.

The Lord Kitchener mentioned here is Herbert Kitchener, first Earl Kitchener. He was born on 24th June 1850. He was a war hero, turned Secretary of State for War at the beginning of the first world war. You can read more about him here.

On 25th June, we see the name Mrs Tarr. This name doesn't feature in our family tree so it was perhaps another family friend.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Important Dates: 4th to 12th June

4th June

The first name  recorded under this date is 'King George'. I assumed that this must relate to George V or George VI. I can find no link between George VI and this date. George V was born on 3rd June 1865 so I suppose the birth date could have been recorded a day late in the GTB. Looking back further George III was born on 4th June 1738. Seeing as this book seems to have started around 1880 (the date in the front leaf of the GTB), I think it's unlikely that the King George recorded is George III. 

This is George V (pictured). He ruled as British king from 1910, through the first world war, until his death in 1936. He was a grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and first cousin to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. 

The second name under this date is Annie Clark. The Clarks in our family extend up from our Lodge branch. They are all based in Huntingdonshire and I've only traced them down to the mid 1700s. Maybe I can trace them further at some point and see if they were living in the Yorkshire area in the nineteenth century.

The final name for this date is Reginald Beatty or Beattry. We have no-one in our family tree with this surname. When I search for this name and Yorkshire on, I find an entry for a Reginald Beatty who died in the first world war in 1918. 

5th June

Under this date is the name, Winnifred Hale. We have no Hales in our family tree. When I search on Ancestry, I find a Winnifred Mary Hale who was born in 1893 in Bradford, West Yorkshire. I can also trace a Winnifred Hale in the 1841 census, born in 1781 and resident in the Yorkshire area. This could have been a friend of the family.

6th June

The name recorded for the date is Lord Halifax with the words '92 1931'. This is Charles Wood, 2nd Viscount Halifax. I don't know why he would matter to my ascendants, other than that he lived in Hickleton Hall in Doncaster. His birth date is actually 7th June.

12th June

The name recorded under this date is Mr Lowden or Sowden accompanied by the words "58 June 12/12". We have no Sowdens or Lowdens in our family tree and I know of no family friends of either of those names either.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Important Date: 28th May

Written in the Golden Text Book on this date is the name 'Bertram Thackray Lockwood' and the address '29 Albert Terrace, Burley Fields'.

Bertram or Bertie was my granduncle, the younger brother of my grandmother, Maud. The photograph left shows the two of them, probably outside their home.

Bertie was born in 1887. He died in 1891, aged 4 years old. I haven't been able to trace what caused his death but I do know that he was buried at Woodhouse Church and the ceremony was carried out by a Reverend Longbottom on 29th December. It must have been a very sad Christmas for the family that year.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Important Date: 27th May

The entry in the GTB for today reads, 'Ann Thackray died May 27th 1904'. On checking the list of Thackrays, I couldn't find an Ann with a maiden name of Thackray but I did find an Ann Mitchell who married John Thackeray. The dates of death match so this must be the right person.

Ann was my great great grandmother. She was born in either 1818 or 1822 in Leeds, Yorkshire. I have no details of her parentage or whether she had any siblings. Tracing her through the 1851 to 1901 census, she lived in the Leeds area all her life, mainly Headingley (with or cum Burley). She would have been in her eighties when she died.

In the 1891 census, Ann is listed as the head of the household 'living on own means'. She was by that time a widow, having lost her husband in 1872. Living with her were her son in law, Alfred Lockwood and her daughter Eliza. Her grandchildren, Maud (my grandma) and Bertram were also listed. She is still head of the household and living with Alfred, Eliza and Maud (Bertram died in 1891) in 1901 but she was then listed as 'paralized 15 years'.

It would seem that at least two of her children (older than Eliza) were still living in the area so I wonder if they helped Eliza to care for their mother.

It is noticeable that the surname Thackray is spelt differently on documents and census and even family records. Sometimes it becomes Thackeray and other times Thackrah. I wonder if this was down to the Yorkshire accent.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Important Dates: 19th - 26th May

19th May

There are two entries for this date - Mary Alice Lockwood and Mary Laverack.

According to, Mary Alice Lockwood is my first cousin two times removed on my mother's side of the family. She was born in 1873 in Fenay Bridge, Almondbury, Yorkshire. Her parents were Joe Sykes Lockwood and Alice Jessop. She was to marry John Sutcliffe in 1901 when she was 28 years old (see photograph left). They would have four children - Nora, Stanley, Elsie and Nellie.

I don't know a lot about Mary but she and John look very grand in their wedding photograph. I assume it 'is' their wedding photograph. The alternative would be a professional portrait. John certainly looks very happy.

I can find no Laveracks in our family tree so I assume that this Mary Laverack was a friend of the family.

20th May

The burial of King Edward is recorded here. See my previous entry for more information.

22nd May

The entry for this date is John Kenneth Lodge. This is my uncle, my mother's brother. I always knew him as Uncle Ken. I don't know why he dropped his first name or when it happened. Ken was the middle child. My mother was younger than him and their sister Betty was the eldest. Ken was born in 1924 in Leeds. The census records are obviously of no help to gathering information on him but I do know that during the second world war he was a pilot and after he married his first wife, Janice, he settled in a small town in Scotland called Cromarty where he ran a carpentry artisan business producing spinning wheels, beautiful carved artwork and many other wooden gift items.

Ken always seemed a very glamorous figure to me. My mother adored him and he was a good friend to my father too. My favourite memories of him are when my parents and I used to visit Ken and his family in Cromarty. There was a beach across the road from his house and I can distinctly remember live crabs roaming around the floor of the kitchen before they were boiled. That all changed when he divorced, re-married and moved down to England, but looking back to those early days still makes me smile.

25th May

Mrs Sale and Mrs Smith are the names recorded on this date. We have no Sales in our family tree so I assume this is a family friend. There are Smiths smattered all over our family tree but few that have links to Yorkshire. This entry amuses me in that it creates a picture in my head of two elderly, respectable widows, Mrs Sale and Mrs Smith whom nobody dared refer to by their first names.

26th May

There are two entries for this date. The first reads, 'Queen Mary, 1931, 64 years'.
This is Queen Mary, Mary of Teck, grandmother to Queen Elizabeth II. She was the wife of King-Emperor George V. Her birthday matches up. She was born in 1867. She didn't died until 1953 but she would have been 64 years old in 1931.

The second entry reads, 'Mary Laverack, died 1910'. On, I can find a Mary Laverack whose death was registered in October 1910 in North Bierley which is near Bradford, Yorkshire. I wonder if this was our Mary Laverack.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Broken Memory

For every two or three pieces of information that I find in my family history research, I come across a question or mystery. One of these mysteries is a broken up photograph among my parents' things.

The photograph was on card rather than photographic paper. There is no labelling to suggest a date, location or the names of the people in the photograph.

This is my maternal grandmother, Maud. She looks quite young so I assume this photograph was taken in the early 1900s (she was born in 1885).

I don't know the identity of these ladies. They may be friends or family members. Perhaps if I check through the old photographs I have, I can match them up with a name.

I've no idea why this photograph was broken up but the pieces had obviously been stored with care. The more I dip in to my ancestors' lives, the more I come up against brick walls and questions that seem unanswerable.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Eliza's Will

One of the recent finds was a copy of the will of Eliza Lockwood, nee Thackeray. This has proved very useful because I now have a date of death for her but it also raises a question.

According to the will, everything belonging to Eliza was left to her daughter, Maud (my grandmother). Included in Eliza's belongings was the following,

"Piece or parcel of land with the dwellinghouse thereon Number 22 Spring Grove Walk, Burley or Headingley-cum-Burley, Leeds".

Up to and including 1911, Eliza was living at 29 Albert Terrace, Kirkstall. At the time of her death, she was resident at 5 Vickers Avenue, Kirkstall which was her daughter and son-in-law's home. Can I assume that somewhere in between those dates, Eliza and her family moved to 22 Spring Grove Walk?

The frustrating thing is that I've heard the address somewhere before in my family history research. I must look through the documents I have for my mother's side of the family again. 

Saturday, 7 May 2011

An Educated Woman

I always knew that my grandmother, Lydia was an English teacher. My mum was very proud of her mother and the fact that she not only held the family together but also was an educated woman in her own right.

In the box of my parents' belongings that we found recently, was a whole range of certificates that outlined my grandmother's teacher training. Looking through her certificates, it quickly becomes clear that she also trained in art, music and physical education. I assumed she taught secondary school age children but it seems from her certificates that she was qualified to teach at a primary school.

She learnt music through the Tonic Sol-Fa College. I've included one of her certificates above. Her other training was carried out through the Victoria University, Leeds and correspondence courses.

She registered as a teacher in 1919, at the age of 34 years old. She had been married to Alfred for four years by that time and her first child, Betty would be born the following year.

I have a certificate that states she worked as Assistant Mistress at St Stephen's School in Leeds until 1927. I'm unsure whether she stopped working as a teacher at that stage.

I'll have more information about Maud and some interesting photographs too very soon.

Friday, 6 May 2011

A little gem of history

My husband recently came across an unpacked box in our garage. I assume that it's moved with us the last couple of times because it contained my parents' things - personal items, documents but no photographs this time (well, almost). I'll tell you about the contents over the next few days but today I'll start with an item that brought back memories of my father sitting by the window attempting to darn his socks.

This is a darning loom, a small device to repair holes in clothes. It is addressed to my father's mother, Lydia at the house she lived in until my grandfather died. The stamp on it reads,

"Daily Mail
Ideal Home

The date is missing but what is remaining reads "H 4 - 29". I assume the 'h' is the end of the month of March. The date stamped on the postage stamps cannot be read. Having done some research though, it would seem that this device dates from the 1940s. The  Ideal Home Exhibition didn't take place in the early 40s due to the second world war, starting up again in 1947 so I wonder if this was purchased in that era. My father lived in London between about 1947 and 1950. I imagine that he purchased it from an Ideal Home exhibition for her.

If you'd like to read another blog post about the Speedweve Darner, have a look at 'Darn It All' by Cargo Cult Craft. For historical information on the Ideal Home Exhibition, you can find a great post on the Ideal Home Show website here

Important Date: 6th May

The entry for today's date in the Golden Text Book reads,

"King Edward 7th
Died May 6th

Edward was born on 9th November 1841 in Buckingham Palace. His parents were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

You'd never guess from this photograph that he was seen as a frivolous playboy, a reputation which caused a rift between Edward and his parents. At the age of 21, he married Princess Alexandra of Denmark. She was 18 years old. Edward ruled from 1901 until he died.

The entry in the Golden Text Book for 20th May states, "King Edward, buried 20th May 1910".

If you would like to read more about Edward, you can visit the relevant Wikipedia page here.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Important Dates: 24th - 25th April

I have two more entries for you today, one from yesterday (sorry, real life got in the way again) and one from today's date.

24th - Mildred Moxon

The entry for Mildred bears the date '1912'. Is this a birth year or a year of death? We have no Moxons in our family tree but on Ancestry, I can find a Mildred Moxon who was born in Bramley, West Yorkshire in 1912. I can also find a marriage record for a Mildred Moxon marrying a man called 'Barker' in West Yorkshire in 1919. I can also find a 1901 census for a Mildred Moxon in the Yorkshire area who was born in 1898. There is also a Mildred Moxon's marriage record in 1953 in West Yorkshire to a Mr Walker.

From this I assume the Mildred in the GTB is the one born in 1912 and married in 1953 (when she was 41). I can remember my mother talking about family friends in the Bramley area.

25th - Princess Mary

This is another example of a historical figure. The recording of her birthday in a personal birthday and important dates record shows the affection that the royal family were held in by British people in the past. This is Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood. She was born on 25th April 1897. She was the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, receiving her Harewood title through marriage.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Important Date: 20th April

There are two entries in the GTB for 20th April.

Wilhelmina Ainsley

We have no Ainsleys in our family tree but when I search on Ancestry, there is a Wilhelmina Ainsley in the Yorkshire area in 1891 and 1901 census. I can also find a death certificate for this name in 1966. One of my mother's godmothers was always referred to as Willa. I wonder if this is the same person.

Princess Elisabeth

I assume this is Queen Elizabeth who was actually born on 21st April 1926. She was born in the same year as my mother (who also has an April birthday).

I'm a couple of days late in reporting this but I'll do my best to be on time with the next entry, on 24th April.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Important Dates: 16 - 18 April

What with the preparations for the children's Easter break from school, a family birthday and other projects, I missed an entry in the GTB.

16 April

The name that appears in the GTB on this date is Gladis Hargraves, married 18. I'm unsure whether this entry is her birthday or the date she got married.

In my family tree, the only Hargraves I have is an Elizabeth Hargraves (born in 1749 in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England) who married a William Bould. The Boulds fed into the Lockwood branch of my family. Gladis could therefore be a distant relative.

18 April

The entry is 'Mrs Milton 1920 54'. I assume this is a record of Mrs Milton's death. We have no Milton's in our family tree (that I can trace) so this may be a family friend).

Monday, 11 April 2011

Important Date: 11th April

Today's entry in the Golden Text Book is for Isaiah Chapman. I think that's a great name. Unfortunately, I don't think he is a relative. I haven't come across any Chapmans in my family research so far. I do remember my mum talking about a Miss Chapman who was a friend of her parents. I got the impression that she thought my mum and her siblings were very naughty children.

I can find an 1891 census entry for an Isaiah Chapman living in the Headingley cum Burley (Kirkstall) area of Leeds where my mother's family lived. Married to a Sarah Chapman, he was born in Cambridgeshire and had a son called Fred. They lived at 7 Albert Terrace (again an address connected with my family). Isaiah is recorded as a forgeman, I presume working at Kirkstall Forge and his son is a boot riveter. These details would seem to confirm that this is the Isaiah in the GTB.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Important Dates

Last year I told you about a little book of birthdays and important dates that I'd found called the Golden Text Book. My great grandfather, Alfred Lockwood gave it to my great grandmother, Eliza Thackeray. It appears to have been used by Alfred for recording birthdays before he gave it to his future wife so it's a very valuable record of past family members. It contains many many names, some of which I can match to my family tree, others which I can't, either because they're family friends, historical figures or ancestors I haven't traced yet.

I thought it would be interesting to discuss the entries for each day here on this blog. Some dates are blank but the majority bear a name (or two). With hindsight, I should have started this on 1st January but starting on 10th April will have to suffice. I'll still run this feature for an entire year, taking in all the dates.

Today's name is Mary Ainley. There are quite a lot of Mary Ainley's in my family tree, seven in all, born between 1800 and 1872. These are all on my mother's side of the family. I have complete dates of birth for three of these and of the four for whom I only have years of birth, I can't track down the actual date in the year they were born so at the moment I have no match for the Mary in the GTB.

One thing that is clear from the recording of her name is how large a family Alfred came from. He was a Lockwood. His cousins were the Lodges who were ultimately connected to the Ainleys.

I'll share more important dates with you as they appear.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Remembering Mum

Another Mothering Sunday has come around. My husband and children are spoiling me with breakfast in bed and chocolates (not at the same time - that could get messy). All in all, it's been a relaxing day but the disadvantage of having this downtime is that it gives me the chance to think and the more I think, the more I remember that my Mum isn't here. So today, I'll not only enjoy the day in my role as mum but I'll also remember the times I had with my mother too.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll also share some new information I've found on two more mothers in my family, my two grandmothers.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mums, those still with us and those we have lost. You all have a place in our hearts.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

One Lovely Blog

Apparently that's what Lisa Wallen Logsdon of Old Stones Undeciphered thinks of my blog because she has awarded me the 'One Lovely Blog Award'.

Thank you to Lisa. It's always good to hear that other genea-bloggers are reading my efforts. Please do have a look at her blog which is well worth reading.

Now for the rules:
  1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
  2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
  3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
Since I've started writing this blog, I've come across many interesting and varied genea-blogs but the top fifteen that I've recently discovered are:

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

International Women's Day 2011

Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the start of International Women's Day. That's one hundred years of celebrating the achievements of women, past, present and future in all areas of life, be that social, political or economic. I've posted a more in depth discussion about the event on the Fi's Magical Writing Haven blog. There's also an Open University group for this event.

It got me thinking about the women in my own family and specifically the women alive in 1911 when International Women's Day began. Back then, to use a cliched phrase, my parents were not even twinklings in their parents' eyes.

This is Lydia Jane Whittaker, my father's mother. In 1911, she was 25.  She hadn't met Charlie Roberton who was to be her husband and wouldn't for another ten years. She lived at 16 Crescent, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire, Scotland with her parents, Robert and Jane. It seems that her four half-siblings had all moved on by then. Her occupation was a printfield worker. She and her father were very religious and part of the congregation who raised money for their church, St Mungo's to be built. She was heavily involved with her church, not only as a part of the congregation but also decorating the church with flowers and working at the Sunday school.

This is Maud Annie Lockwood, my mother's mother. In 1911, she would have been a similar age to Lydia, at 26 years old. She was also single and wouldn't marry Alfred Lodge until 1915. She was living at 29 Albert Terrace, Headingley cum Burley (later to be Kirkstall), Leeds, England with her parents, Alfred and Eliza. She qualified as a teacher in 1906 and in 1911 was working as an English teacher. I always got the impression that she came from a much more comfortable background than Lydia but that could have just been my mother wanting to make it sound like that.

What is undeniable is that both women were extremely strong and hardworking. Like their mothers before them, they were the backbones of their families. I'm very proud to name them among my ancestors. I wonder what they would think of the world in 2011.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Cottage

This is the second piece of writing by my father.

"Further up the hill, the road took a turning to the left and round the corner the hill flatted out 'til after about a quarter of a mile it came to a staggered junction. On the left, the wood continued as far as the junction, while on the right there was a high hedge, behind which was a field. The field ended to be replaced by a small wood, the sight of which gave me a feeling of anticipation.

I expected to see two old cottages surrounded on three sides by the wood and with neat little gardens between the cottages and the road, and behind the houses the sight of gardens with neat rows of vegetables, clumps of soft fruit bushes and piles of branches of trees ready to be sawn into logs for the fires.

The furthest of these cottages had been my home from the age of four, where I spent a happy childhood. The building that did come into view was not what I had expected. Where there once had been two cottages, there was now a very modern looking residence. The front of the cottages had been given a face lift with modern windows and doors, a new roof and pebble dashed walls. But it was at the back where there had been the biggest change. An extension had been built at right angles to create a T-shaped construction. The separate gardens had been replaced by one area of lawns and flower beds. The enveloping hedges had been removed and now the flower beds and lawns seemed to gradually blend into the surrounding wood. To complete the picture, an Afghan hound reclined arrogantly on the lawn.

I stopped the car on the opposite side of the road and in a somewhat dazed condition crossed over to have a closer look. Although there was very little of the old building I could recognise, at least from the outside, I gradually began to notice a tree here and a bush here in the wood that jogged memories of long past childhood games and tree climbing escapades. Apart from the dog, there did not appear to be any sign of life so I was not able to investigate further, although I would dearly loved to have done so. It was a strange feeling; one part of me felt that I had the right to jump over the wall and go into the wood as I had done so many times in my past; another part of me told me it would be trespassing to do so. Even the Afghan hound did not seem very interested or impressed by my presence so I rejoined my family and continued with our holiday.

Although we covered quite a large part of Scotland that holiday, the view and the cottage kept returning to my thoughts. They triggered off many memories of incidents long forgotten. Names of people I had not thought about for years kept coming back to me. At dinner each night, I must have bored my wife and daughter with my tales."          

The View

I recently found two pieces of writing by my late father. These were to be the first two sections of the book he was going to write about his family history.

"I had stopped the car halfway up the hill beside a gate into one of the fields and was now surveying the scene below. It appeared new and at the same time familiar to me. The contours of the fields, the hedges surrounding them, together with the wood to the right were as I remembered but where was the farm that used to nestle at the foot of the hill? Now all that could be seen were the central farm buildings. The fields immediately surrounding were now occupied by a modern housing estate. Even the stack yard, where they used to bring the newly cut wheat to be placed in neat stacks until the travelling threshing machine came to do its work, was now the site of someone's proud residence. In the distance I could see some of the familiar landmarks of the town I used to know, although here also there seemed to be differences but for the moment I could not take in what they were. Even on the lower slopes of the hills on the other side of the vale, housing estates were now beginning to spread their way up the hills where once only the occasional farm or lonely cottage would have been seen.

The scene triggered off recollections of days long past and forgotten stories of over sixty years ago. Did I really remember them or were they just my memories of family tales told by the fireside in the days before conversation and story telling were replaced by the 'telly'?

When I was about four years old, my family moved from the town to a cottage further up the hill from where I was standing. In those days, a 'flitting' was a major event, no removal firms expertly to do the work for you. Instead a horse and cart was hired and all the friends and relations 'mucked in' to do their bit. In the pandemonium that ensued there was no place for a four year old boy. It would have been too much of a temptation for his capacity for mischief. So I was put in the care of my Uncle John, a rather strange man to a four year old. He seemed to be continually sucking a pipe which gave off thick clouds of foul smelling smoke and his conversation was in the main limited to grunts interspersed with the odd 'aye' or 'naw'. I remember standing at the same gate with my uncle when there was a loud bang further down the hill from where the horse and cart were bringing the family goods.

"What's that," I asked.

"I suppose it's the piano falling off the cart," replied my uncle.

And I could almost hear a little voice saying, "But we haven't got a piano, Uncle John."

The privacy of my journey into the past was broken by a voice from the car. It was my daughter asking if I was going to stay here all day. A reasonable enough question, I suppose, since I had brought my wife and daughter on a touring holiday and the view held no special significance for them. We continued up the hill."

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Fresh Links

I've been using for a couple of years now and I had started to become a little disheartened that nobody on there seemed to be researching any of my ancestors. Shared information and research is a real gift when looking into your family tree. So I slogged on alone.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I was contacted by an individual through Ancestry who is related to the Lockwood branch of my family. I now have names for certain unknown photographs and I've also managed to fill out the life story of one of the Lockwoods.

I've spoken of William Lockwood before on this blog. From census information, I found out that he and his sons worked as gardeners on the estate of a merchant called James Taylor. In the current day, the Lockwoods garden nurseries are located on the same site. From servant/tenants to land and business owners is a wonderful story of family progress.

Fingers crossed I can make more links through photographs and documents I have.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

1911 Census again

You can now view summary books for the 1911 census in England and Wales on The summary includes the following information:

  • head of each household
  • how many people were recorded in that home, split into male and female
  • address
  • type of residence (e.g. house, shop)

and as with the full census reports, you can view the names of neighbours on the same page.

Apparently several women are missing from the Welsh census records for 1911 because of a suffragette boycott of the census - interesting but rather annoying if you're searching for Welsh relatives from 1911.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Dead end?

These are my paternal grandparents, Lydia and Charles Roberton at the door to the house that my father grew up in, just outside Balloch on Loch Lomond-side.

My father had always talked of his mother's great love for her church and the fact that she and her father, Robert Whittaker, had been instrumental in starting the church, St Mungo's Episcopal Church in Alexandria.

Last year I decided to see if I could find any further information on their involvement with the church. I had my grandmother's obituary and a service sheet from the church at the time of her death which talked of her devotion to the church, how she had travelled there on foot from Balloch, and how much she would be missed.

I wrote to the priest-in-charge, Reverend Sarah Gorton, telling her about my grandmother and her father and asked if there was any mention of them in church records. Reverend Gorton kindly wrote back to me with the bad news that the church records she held unfortunately did not go back that far. She suggested contacting the library in Alexandria which I did. Unfortunately they could find no records linking my grandmother and her father to the church either.

So at the moment, I'm a little stumped as to where else I could search for this information. I'm sure it's there, somewhere. I just don't know where that 'somewhere' could be. I suppose this is the problem when trying to fill in the gaps in the lives of ordinary people. There sometimes just aren't written records to draw from or if there are they take a lot of finding.

The other mystery I have regarding this side of the family is connected with this photograph (below).

I can clearly see my grandmother sat on the front row, left of centre, in the dark clothing. I think the man sat centrally and to her right is her father, Robert and that the woman sat to his right, is his wife, Jane, my great grandmother. I don't even know what this gathering of people signifies. Could it be to do with the church at Alexandria?

Some brain racking is in order while I work out what to do next.