Except for a short sojourn in Purley (sort of south London) I have lived in the countryside all of my life – either in Wiltshire or the four years I spent in rural France. Consequently, my immediate response to this week’s prompt is how much my ancestors would have watched the land around them change.
Not only the land, of course, but their villages changing as shops closed, services withdrawn and then acres of post-war housing and, of course, the rise of the motorcar and the roads they ran on. Now, some of those changes are still being faced by rural communities today.
As I’ve said a few times, I’ve taken the opportunity that this year has given me to go over old research and re-evaluate old assumptions that have perhaps niggled the back of my brain over the years but have been ignored due to being low risk. (And so speaks the Project Management Professional in me.)
All I’m saying to that is … oh boy. I might have made a bit of an error. I’ll set it out below and perhaps anyone could let me know their thoughts. I’d be grateful!
I don’t think that there is one solitary only child in my tree. Not anywhere. Even all the spinster aunts and bachelor uncles seem to be found in close proximity to their niblings in later years, and several of them make clear provision for them in their wills and testaments (yes, you may have several cauldrons of tallow, dear nephew …).
So I had to take a bit of a different tack with this week’s challenge and take a look at a line that’s just been hanging out for a while now. On it’s own. Kind of … solo.
At the end of May I was having a a chat with my friend, fellow researcher, ex-colleague (and self-confessed ‘bad blogger’) Carole from over at Davies of Mold and Ancestry Examiner and we got to discussing the status of certificate ordering from the GRO in the current … environment.
Whilst the website says that certificates shouldn’t be ordered unless for official reasons, I wondered if this was true for PDF versions of birth and death certificates or if ordering them would be a bit of a … dick move. We both decided that as the scans are on a central server, the archivists working from home could access them without too much hassle or – more importantly – risk to themselves or others. And if it was small order then there shouldn’t be a big problem. So I did.
Remember Little Ethelbert? His certs were the ones I ordered, so this post is a little addendum to his story!
Because I don’t know a) what’s good for me, and b) when to quit, I decided to research all of those pesky Ethelbert Neals to see how – or if – they all connected when added into my tree. As it happened, all of them tied back into ‘my’ Neal lines and did so quite nicely … for the most part.
Until, that is, a transatlantic voyage cropped up.
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?
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).
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 …
It’s funny what becomes the root cause of a post of mine. Sometimes it’s a new piece of research that solves an old mystery, maybe a new record set becomes available shedding new light on a family – or sometimes it can be something a bit more unexpected.
For example, this one. A few days into the New Year my mum messaged me saying that my father (who has never really been hugely interested in the family history) had asked about Grampy Eddie’s first wife and did I know anything about her. Of course I did, I swiftly replied, and sent her what I knew. Only, it turned out that what I knew wasn’t exactly the truth …