Archive for the ‘Archive’ Category

Discoveries at the Society of Genealogists

April 23, 2014

I had a spare couple of hours the other weekend, so thought I’d put them to good use by visiting the Society of Genealogists for the first time.

Having searched the library catalogue in advance, I knew they had microfiche copies of parish records from Campton, Bedfordshire. I’d learnt that my great-great-great-grandmother Sophia Stevens came from Campton a couple of years ago.

Since that discovery, I’ve ordered Sophia’s birth certificate and found out that her unmarried mother’s name was Mary Stevens. I’ve also found Sophia living with her mother and widowed grandmother in the 1851 census on findmypast.

Sophia Stevens in the 1851 census

As you can see, Sophia’s grandmother was also called Mary and was recorded as being a pauper. Her mother, Mary Stevens, was a plaiter and had been born in Campton.

Stevens family in the 1851 census

Sophia Stevens and family in the 1851 census – please click to enlarge

 

What I found in the parish records

The Society of Genealogists’ Campton records were extremely useful and provided me with some new facts for my family tree. This is what I found:

  1. Mary Stevens’ baptism record 

    Sophia’s mother, my 4x great-grandmother, was baptised on 18 June 1820. Her parents were Joseph and Mary Stevens.

    Baptism record from Campton, Bedfordshire

    © Bedfordshire and Luton Archive and Record Service – please click to enlarge

  2.  

  3. Joseph and Mary Stevens’ marriage record 

    Sophia’s grandparents, my 5x great-grandparents, married on 20 April 1817. Mary’s maiden name was Grumet.

    Interestingly, one of her sons is listed as having the middle name Grummit in the 1851 census record posted above.

    Marriage record from Campton, Bedfordshire

    © Bedfordshire and Luton Archive and Record Service – please click to enlarge

 

The 1934 World’s Cycling Championship Trial

December 27, 2012

Thanks to a trip to Brooklands Museum in September, I discovered that my great-great-uncle Ernest Johnson had raced there in 1934 as part of the World’s Cycling Championship Trial.

I looked the race up using google and learned that it was held to select four cyclists to represent Great Britain at the World’s Road Race Championship in Leipzig later that year. My search also revealed that the University of Warwick actually have a programme from the race in their collection.

I got in touch with the university and an archivist kindly copied some relevant pages for me. You can see my great-great-uncle’s name listed on page 23:

Cover of the 1934 World’s Cycling Championship Trial programme

Cover of the 1934 World’s Cycling Championship Trial programme

Page 17 of the 1934 World’s Cycling Championship Trial programme

Page 17 of the 1934 World’s Cycling Championship Trial programme

Page 23 of the 1934 World’s Cycling Championship Trial programme

Page 23 of the 1934 World’s Cycling Championship Trial programme

Page 33 of the 1934 World’s Cycling Championship Trial programme

Page 33 of the 1934 World’s Cycling Championship Trial programme

Picking up the Silk trail

November 23, 2012

This month, I’ve had a breakthrough with my paternal Silk line thanks to a visit to a family history fair!

I’d done a bit of research into my Silk line two years ago and had managed to trace the family back to the 1840s.

Back then, I discovered that my great-great-great-great-grandfather’s name was Robert Silk and that he’d died of consumption in 1840 at the age of 46. I also knew that he left behind a widow called Charlotte. Here she is with her children in the 1851 census:

Charlotte Silk in the 1851 census

Charlotte Silk in the 1851 census – please click to enlarge

While attending the West Surrey Family History Fair a few weeks ago, I spoke to the Huntingdonshire Family History Society who pointed me in the direction of what could be Robert and Charlotte Silk’s marriage record.

I got in touch with Huntingdonshire Archives and Local Studies and they sent me a copy of the marriage register. I can’t put the image on my blog because of copyright reasons, but the archives have kindly let me reproduce my own transcription of the record. Here it is:

Offord D'Arcy marriage register transcript

Offord D’Arcy marriage register transcript – please click to enlarge

I feel pretty confident that this does indeed record the marriage of my great-great-great-great-grandparents. The names are right, the date seems logical as Charlotte and Robert would have been in their 20s and Charlotte’s birth place was listed as being Offord D’Arcy in the 1851 census.

I think I need to plan a trip to Huntingdonshire to see what else I can find in the archives’ parish registers!

Charles Silk: Post Office Sorter

March 14, 2011

As part of this project to show newcomers to family history how you can start tracing your family tree, I discovered that my paternal great-great-grandfather Charles Silk worked as a Sorter at the General Post Office (GPO).

A few weeks ago, I decided to visit The British Postal Museum and Archive to see what records they might hold about my ancestor. I thought it was best to be fully prepared about Charles’ life before I went, so I made a list of what I knew about his life and his work as a Sorter.

 

Charles Silk’s profile

1871/2 – Born in Islington.

1881 – Census. Occupation: Scholar, address: 60 Havelock Street, Islington.

1893 – Marriage certificate. Occupation: Sorter, address: 40 Arlington Street, Islington.

1895– Daughter’s birth certificate. Occupation: Sorter for the General Post Office, address:  40 Arlington Street, Islington.

1901 – Census. Occupation: Post Office Sorter, address: 40 Arlington Street, Islington.

1911 – Census. Occupation: Sorter for the General Post Office, address:  29 Wyatt Road, Highbury.

The information on The British Postal Museum Archive’s website told me that people tended to start working for the GPO at the age of 16 and retired at 60. Based on all of this, I was able to estimate that:

Charles joined the GPO between 1887 and 1893

Charles left the GPO or retired between 1911 and 1932.
 
  

I arrived with this information in hand, not really knowing what to expect as this was my first trip to an archive. The staff were lovely and got me signed up for a user card, explained the different sorts of information they held and advised me that I should start by looking for Charles’ pension or gratuity record as this would be the easiest to find and would provide me with the most detail about him.

I was shown how to use a microfiche reader – a completely new experience for me as I’ve done all my research online so far. Although the machines look a bit bizarre, they’re actually really simple to use. They reminded me a bit of a sewing machine as you have to thread a bit of the microfiche tape into the machine before you can start scanning through the pages to find the record you’re after.

I was advised to start searching the index to the pension and gratuities records when Charles would have been 60 years old (in 1931/1932). Sure enough, after a few minutes of scanning through names, I spotted Charles Silk’s and a note that he received a pension in 1931. Using the reference the index provided, the Archive’s staff were able to find me the treasury book containing my great-great-grandfather’s pension record. This is what the record looked like:

© Royal Mail Group Ltd, courtesy of The British Postal Museum & Archive.

© Royal Mail Group Ltd, courtesy of The British Postal Museum & Archive.

 

The record tells me that

– Charles was born on 27 April 1871 and was indeed 60 years old when he retired.

– He was a Sorter for the London Postal Service and had worked there for 41 years and a month.

– He started on 17 March 1890, when he would have been 18 years old.

– His wage was 68/6 a week at the time he retired. According to The National Archives, this equates to £114.46 a week today. While this seems low by today’s standards, the cost of living was much cheaper in 1931.

– During his service, Charles had also received Sunday pay of £18.7.5 (between £500 and £600 today), showing that he sometimes worked extra days.

– In the four years prior to his retirement, Charles was absent from work because of illness for 17 days. Over half of this happened in 1927 when he was off work for 9 days – I wonder why?