V is for:
Valour - for our ancestors who served their country with distinction, including my grandfather who in the First World War fought at Passchendaele and won the Military Medal at Givenchy.
|My grandparents William Danson and Alice English|
Vessels and Voyages - Family HIstory take you in strange directions. To me "snow" was the white stuff falling in winter and a "smack" was a slap to a recalcitrant child. But that all changed, as I began researching my husband's maritime ancestors and learnt about the different names for ships in the 19th century - barque or bark or barc, brig, sloop. smack and snow
- The Thetis became a wreck after sinking off the Yorkshire coast in 1869.
- The John was stranded in 1861 and became a wreck during a severe easterly gale.
Twenty-eight other Tyne ships went ashore in the same area during the same gale.
- The Emerald, in December 1855, when on passage from the Tyne to London, foundered in five fathoms on the Dough Sand (Long Sand) Thames estuary. Three survivors were brought ashore by two smacks. Eleven others were unaccounted for, including some of the crew of the rescuing smack who were in a small boat, which disappeared.
- The Hebe was wrecked in Robin Hood’s Bay, along with other vessels on 27 January 1861.
- The Ann & Elizabeth disappeared after leaving the Tyne in November 1863, with her captain leaving a wife and six children.
- The William Mecalfe was Robert Donaldson's largest ship. On her maiden voyage, it transported 240 male convicts from Portsmouth to Hobart, Australia on a passage that took 102 days. In January 1855 eight of her crew were sent to goal for three months each by the North Shields magistrates for refusing duty. In October 1858 her master and one man were washed overboard. Nine days later, the ship was abandoned, with the crew taken off.
Verses - How many people can claim to have a published poet amongst their ancestors? That is the case of my third cousin Stuart whose great great uncle was John Critchley Prince (1808-1866), well known in his time as a writer of poetry in the Lancashire dialect.
But now his little hands relax'd their pow'r—
Yet, urg'd by curses or severer blows,
Without one moment's brief, but sweet, repose,
From frame to frame the exhausted sufferer crept,
Piec'd the frail threads, and, uncomplaining, wept.
They also help us Verify facts and Validate evidence - two important principles of family history research, along with avoiding Vagueness or a Varnishing of the truth.