family history

The Tale of Captain Samuel

I won’t be mad if you quietly sing the Captain Scarlet theme under your breath (but only if you robotically say “and the Mysterons” out loud). Or even Captain Planet, if you’re gonna take pollution down to zero. But I digress. Sometimes you come across people who appear fully-formed in a set of records, whisked into existence as if by magic, because somehow they are where they are, but seem to have been nowhere before this. I suppose you could call this a brick-wall. However, today’s shining example of this isn’t an ancestor of mine – nor I suspect related to me at all – but his story was too extraordinary not to share – in fact, it made the annals of Australian maritime history!

(more…)

When Is A Holborow Not A Holborow (Part 2)?

A year ago this week I wrote about a family who appear in records as Holborows but were, in fact, Neals. Long story short – their familial middle name of Holborow had replaced their documented surname of Neal. But whilst researching the origins of a different line of Holborows from the Wiltshire market town of Chippenham I came across a similar conundrum where the Holborow (or rather, Holbrow in this instance) line disappears, only to potentially be replaced. Unless I’m going mad. Which is a distinct possibility around these parts …!

(more…)

Unexpected Find: “Visitations of Providence”

I have recently been on a bit of a mission (prompted by a friend) to complete my collection of certificates for all my ancestors. As half of my ancestry is, as I have mentioned before, American, my immediate focus is on the UK half. (That’s not to say that certificates for my American ancestors are impossible to come by, it’s just that it will take a bit more thought – and perhaps the judicious use of my American relations and international money transfers!)

The death certificate for my 4 x great-grandmother Maria Holborow (nee Haynes) was a bit of a puzzler and the search for it was the root of this post: an unexpected find.

(more…)

Grampy Otto at 100 Part 2: The Galician Connection

This is a continuation of my previous post about researching a little deeper into the family of my grandfather (step-grandfather if you want to be precise), all kicked off as he would’ve been 100 a few months ago. I’d half-heartedly poked and prodded the Frysol name, but had put off doing the one thing that would’ve been actually useful: contacting any archives in Germany for more information (not strictly true, I did email one once but didn’t get a response!). So I knuckled down and found out the best route to get what I wanted …

And apologies – this is a bit of a Long read!

(more…)

Holborow in America 4: O, Canada!

Yes, I’m stretching the definition of ‘America’ again to include continental North America and not simply the USA. There aren’t a lot of Holborows who ventured into the Great White North, although there is an intriguing William “Holbrough” enumerated in the 1870 US census living in Dakota Territory who alleges to have been born in Canada c. 1847. He was later coroner of Charles Mix County, as well as superintendent of schools and then the county collector before being “lynched” by some of his associates, and is buried beside Snake Creek, Charles Mix County, South Dakota. Or at least so his (unsourced) entry on Findagrave says … which is born out by a quick search of Newspapers.com:

(more…)

Martha’s Will

I’ve not been great with my blogging this year. I think I’ve only done one or two 52 Ancestors this year, and my Holborows in … series have kind of ground to a halt. Although slow and sporadic, my research continues onwards. Lately I’ve been focussing on one branch of the Holborows from the Wiltshire parish of Luckington (which – of course – is not one branch at all). This was all prompted by reviewing my transcriptions of Holborows in the 1841 census to see if I have them all – can I identify them and their family groups? Are they in my tree? And I came across a Daniel – it is always a damn Daniel – whose parental line I couldn’t place. He is worthy of a post all his own, so maybe we’ll have a little … double dip.

From there I moved onto a resource that I have overlooked – past tense – the most in my research: Wills. A good will is an amazing thing to find, especially in those years before General Registration and you’re reliant on Parish Registers to hypothesise relationships. Of course, that’s assuming you get a “good” will – and by that I mean one that names people and relationships. Of course, sometimes you just get a list of names, sometimes you get a cat’s home. But sometimes you get one that enables you – with a little bit of digging – to make some fantastic connections, even if you have to compare and connect other wills from the same area.

(more…)

Curious George

To be totally honest, this post is less about the curiosity of someone called George and more my curiosity about someone called George and the sheer madness and frustration researching him has brought me! It is absolutely typical that he is to be found hanging on my father’s English side of the family tree – and is an elder brother of my grandmother, Norah. This group of children – the family of Emily Alice Palmer – always somehow infuriate me!

(more…)

Grampy Otto at 100

My mum and I realised that Monday of this week would’ve been my grampy’s 100th birthday. (We’re all up to speed on the fact he was my mum’s stepfather and had been a German POW in WWII, correct?). I was then reading a post that Valerie had posted recently about her German ancestry and realised that it had been a long time since I had tried to chase down any further records on Otto’s family.

(more…)

Corporal Osiel Davis

I am leaving the Holborows alone for a bit (at least in terms of blogging – the research continues ever onward – yesterday I had a battle with a series of Israels which I think were beaten into submission, even if I did overlook a very obvious baptism when looking to ‘hook’ a branch onto existing research which had me cursing and facepalming at the same time) and looking at some of my dad’s American side. It has bothered me for a while that I hadn’t looked into any potential military ancestors as I’m sure there must be some.

So I turned, not to the Stanfield/Paynes but to the Davis’ – that is, the family of my great-grandmother, Nellie Davis. Nellie was one of 7 children born to Willis Henry Davis and his wife Martha Mattie Butterfield. Then I noticed something that had escaped me entirely – Willis had lost his father when he was just 10 years old. What happened?

(more…)

52 Ancestors: Bearded

Sadly this post is not about the marvel that is Justin Trudeau’s beard, but the latest in this year’s 52 Ancestors series. That’s not to say I couldn’t do a whole post dedicated to that beard. Because I could.

But looking at my family photos, one thing strikes me. Beards didn’t feature large in my family, with a few exceptions here and there …

(more…)