I have a few way to go here in this post for 52 Ancestors. The full phrase, of course, is “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” meaning that if you’re determined enough in the face of adversity then a way forward can be found. Alternatively, it could be used to refer to wills in the sense of probate and legacies. A third option is the name, William.
Determination … Probate … Williams …
I’m slightly surprised that I haven’t written a post dedicated to my mother’s maternal grandparents here yet. Why am I surprised? Partly because my great-grandmother, Edith, was the oldest person I ever knew as a child. Or at least that I remember knowing.
She also had the most amazing puff of white hair that I’d ever seen.
But who was she, and what about her husband, Joe, who died two years before I was born?
This week’s prompt by Amy Johnson Crow for 52 Ancestors got me thinking. Like the vast majority of people, I don’t have to go very far to find a cast of “ag labs” in my tree. Nor do I have to go into deep history: both my ‘English’ grandfathers (Frysol and Taplin) worked on farms, and and at least one of my American grandfathers were in the farming game at some point in their lives. But I don’t want to talk about that.
So here we are at the third and final Ethelbert post (part 1 here, part 2 here). I mentioned previously that a lot of my Ethelberts were related to the Neal family who were, for a long time, resident in and around the Wiltshire village of Sherston. Thankfully, Sherston is one of those parishes that hasn’t suffered a great loss of it’s parish registers, and that Wiltshire is one of the top counties (obviously I have to say that!) for scanning and transcribing records: the registers are available at FindMyPast, Ancestry and FamilySearch. Top notch. Especially as these often include both the original parish registers AND the Bishops Transcripts, which sometimes include additional information and/or spellings of names. All to the good!
Another bonus is the availability online of a lot of Wiltshire Wills. In fact, back in the day, there used to be a site called the Wiltshire Wills Project (a longer blog post of theirs makes for a very interesting read – many thanks to Jane Silcocks and team for all of their hard work!). This has now all been incorporated into the work done at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre in Chippenham, which has also meant that the images are available at Ancestry – and have been pretty key in unpicking some of the Neal(e) lines and their love of repeating the same set of names (Roger, Daniel, Francis amongst them).
But onward to the Ethelberts …!
I like strong unusual names, so when I came across an Ethelbert Holborow in my tree it was too good of a rabbit hole to ignore. Although I don’t have a direct Ethelbert Holborow as an ancestor, I do have a number of other Ethelberts in my tree – mostly all connected with the Neal family in some way.
We’ve already seen one Ethelbert – Harry Ethelbert Stevens/Teagle/Holborow – but there are a few more stories attached to other Ethelberts in my tree, as we shall see …
Recently I’ve been delving into the Ethelberts in my tree – a master post about them will be coming in the next couple of weeks (so that’s something to look forward to) – and I found something rather unexpected, hence this post first rather than the main post!
One thing I do love about genealogy is the never-ending possibility for surprises. And sometimes those surprises are a lot closer than you think …
I was initially slightly nonplussed by this week’s 52 Ancestors prompt: I have no firefighters in my tree, nor anybody who has lost their life or livelihood to fire (to my knowledge).
I do know that my Grampy Eddie was involved in a fire that cost him and 2 other families their cottages in Collingbourne Kingston in February 1934 (caused, allegedly, by a petrol engine backfiring and setting an oily rag alight). That plus a 300-year old barn full of sacks of wheat and cottages roofed with thatch spelled disaster.
But I thought that instead I would share something else; something more relevant to the devastating bushfires that ripped through Australia recently.