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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Windows on Life: Sepia Saturday

 A gray day picture of a small child looking out of a window is this week's Sepia Saturday prompt photograph.

I am snap-happy when it comes to photographing windows on holiday, so here I am adding  a  splash of colour that takes me back to many happy times. 

A magnificent frontage to a town centre building  in Traustein in Bavaria, Germany.

 An example of the "malerei" - the artisitc painted walls
 to be seen in Bavaria and Austria. 

 In Warsaw, a town house  with decorated walls - open windows here, 
but no one looking out.

 An unusual corner window in the spa town of Bad Reichenhall in Bavaria. 

A more rustic  look,  yet still so homely and attractive .

It is not just abroad you will find colourful window boxes
Just three miles from my home in the Scottish Borders is this hotel in Melrose.
First impressions do count!  


As for someone peeping out through a  window, I had to turn to pictures of my little granddaughter. 
Not a window, but  looking through the glass door.

First trip on a tram - and looking out of the window.at Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham -  one of our favourite day trip destinations.

And finally  - a photograph I have shown before, but it immediately came to mind when I saw this prompt, so  I had to show it again.  

Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers 
                                to share their family history through photographs

 Click HERE to read what other bloggers have seen through the window.


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Hats off to Boys and Girls! SepIs Saturday

This week's prompt shows two small children playing happily on a makeshift bike.   I have hardly any photographs showing toys, so instead I have opted to shout: 

"Hats off to Boys and Girls"


Wearing a very fancy decorated hat, here with her father  is Florence Adelaide Mason (1898-1965),   my grandfather's cousin.  I have to thank my American third cousin, Bonny (Florence's granddaughter) who discovered my blog and made contact with this and many other  family photographs.  I was delighted to discover this American connection, as up until then,  my family seemed ot be very firmly based iln Lancashire, England.

Florence was the youngest of 11 children of John Mason and Alice Rawcliffe - sister of my my great grandmother Maria Danson, nee Rawcliffe.   John emigrated to the USA in 1887, followed a year later by Alice, travelling with six children under 13 years old and "two pieces of baggage".  Five more children were born in Brooklyn, New York, with three not surviving  infancy.  The family moved later  across the river to New Jersey.  


 My mother, Kathleen Danson, not too happy in this big brimmed hat, c.1911 

Kathleen, standing playing at dressing up, perhaps,  with her sister Edith. c.1913

Someone has been busy knitting this chunky outfit for little Annette King, my husband's second cousin.  She is all wrapped up in this outfit, set off by a bonnet,   reminiscent of a cloche hat style with the pom-pom on the side.  c.1920's . 

 Two photographs of a similar  period, c.early 1920's.  From the collection of my great aunt Jennie, and I guess they are probably children of her friends.  

My aunt  Peggy Danson , a bridesmaid at a wedding in a Dutcvh style hat, which seemed in fashion in the late 1920. 
Like mother, like daughter - myself  in  my sun hat here, c.1950, looking very like my mother in a similar hat in the photograph above. 


And not forgetting boys in hats:

Joseph Prince Oldham, (1855-1917) my cousin's great grandfather

My uncle Fred Weston, c.1908.  He is all dressed up - but for what occasion?  I would love to have known.  In the 1911 census, the Weston family were living at Lunt Gardens, Bilston, Wolverhampton in the industrial English Midlands.  The road name  of Gardens seems to have been a misnomer, because the local sewerage works were also there.

A serious looking George Danson, my great uncle, wearing a flat cap, c. 1904.  Ten years later George, the youngest of eight brothers,  was killed at the Battle of  the Somme. 

My husband's brother  in the cap that was very popular for boys 1930-1950's. I remember my brother wearing this style,featuring the school badge,  as part of his school uniform,


And finally - my daughter, wrapped up in her fur coat and matching bonnet for a ride on her first birthday present, forever known just as "Donkey" - January   1974.


Sepia Saturday gives bloggers an opportunity to share 
their family history and memories through photographs.

Click  HERE to see tales from other Sepia Saturday  bloggers.  

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Women on Wheels - Sepia Saturday

This week's prompt photograph of a vintage cycling advertisement,   c.1900   made me take a look at  the topic of women on wheels  - or as,  one journalist in the 1890's called them,  "wheelwomen". 
Kids, Boy, Girl, Brother, Sister
 "Velocipedes"   were an early form of bicycle, followed by the penny farthing and the boneshaker.   

Vintage, Postcard, Collage, Design

 Penny Farthing, Bike, Bicycle, Old

Vintage, Steampunk, Bicycle, Patent

 The introduction of the "safety bicycle" brought in the first hey days for leisure cycling in the 1890's, with women not going to be left behind.  For women, cycling  came to represent a freedom they had not experienced before and the activity quickly became associated with the wider movement of  women's emancipation.   

But there  were public outcries at the prospect of these  changes in the social norm with much of the criticism focusing on women's dress - notably the new style of bloomers and knickerbockers. these  offered more freedom for movemen than women's  usual restrictive dresses.     These fashions became the subject of ridicule in cartoon of the time.
 Couple, Bicycle, Vintage, Advertisement

Newspapers of the day  ** abound  with letters,  articles  and reports  on  the vision of women riding around the countryside .   

In 1894 the Society of Cyclists calling for  "Rational Dress for  Wheelwomen" 

An angry  letter condemned "a young woman who spends most of her time in riding  on a man's bicycle, has a good deal to learn in respect of simplicity and neatness of attire". 

A clergyman refused to give communion to women who turned up for church in bloomers or knickerbockers.  

However some  doctors said firmly that, " as those best qualified to judge, they were almost unanimous in declaring that the average standard of health among women, who cycle had shown an appreciable elevation."

So this was the image portrayed in advertisements and posters that conveyed a sense of fun and freedom. with illustrations of happy cyclist  enjoying the fresh air and exercise.  

As one protagonist said 
A  most exciting and delightful mode of travel.  

Bike, Bicycle, Hessian, Sacking


But what of my ancestors - next to no  photographs exist of them on bikes.  My grandfather cycled or walked everywhere until he died.   For years, my aunt cycled  in all weathers more than five  miles to her work as a teacher  on a bike with a basket on the front handle bars. When I came to get my first bike, the basket like hers was a "must have" item. 

Here is my husband's great Aunt Pat who doing the Second World War rode on her bicycle to work with the Fire Service in Kent  on the south coast. 

Fast forward  more than 110 years from the first image, and here is my granddaughter in the casual dress of the day, plus the  obligatory helmet as "health and safety"  considerations reign supreme.   What a contrast!


Sepia Saturday gives bloggers an opportunity to share 
their family history and memories through photographs.


Click  HERE to see tales form other Sepia Saturday  bloggers.  


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

My 7th Blogiversary

Image result for birthday
Image courtesy of Pixabay 

My blog anniversary almost passed me by without me noticing it, for  August 21st marked my seven years of bloggng.  I don't know how I am still here, as I never expected to last this long,  when I  tentatively wrote my first post in August 2010. 

My main concern then was "Is anyone finding this and more importantly actually reading it?" A few arms were twisted with  friends and relations to sign up as my first followers. But let's face it, although we enjoy writing,  recognition from others is a great motivator.

Seven years ago, I thought I would soon run out of material, but the prompts from Geneabloggers (now Geneabloggers Tribe and inspiration from other bloggers has been so stimulatingDiscovering two third cousins, one from my birth town, and one in the USA,  gave  me a shot in the arm, in providing me with  with fresh stories.

My thoughts on the past year: 
  • In many ways it has been a quiet year of activity, with other aspects of life occupying my time. 
  • My main blogging activity has focused on writing for the prompt Sepia Saturday, but  it is becoming increasingly difficult for me not to repeat photographs I have  shown before.  Unfortunately the attempt last year  to change slightly  the format of the site  meant that  many  regular bloggers pulled out of contributing.  A pity as I valued their input on  a site which actively encouraged bloggers to comment and provided  a friendly, supportive network.
  • A second meeting with my third cousin (who first made contact via my blog) resulted in me being given several CD Roms with many vintage photographs of his extended family - and  a willingness for me to feature his family stories on my blog.
  • Developing the blog I set up in 2015 for my local heritage group  - Auld Earlston - is a a challenge,  esepcially when it comes to managing two blogs - but very enjoyable all the same.  Plus it has provided me with additional material for my personal blog,  which is great!
  • I continue to read regularly the Facebook page set up last year - We Are Genealogy Bloggers   - set up by Lorinne  of Olive Tree Genealogy   to provide a forum for discussion, sharing knowledge and ideas on  all matters relating to the act of blogging - a great addition that I have found very  helpful in answering my queries. Do take a look if this page is new to you.

  • I also joined the Facebook page Genealogy Addicts UK & Worldwide  which  specialises  in brick wall issues.    Two of my own queries brought an immediate flood of helpful responses, though at the end of the day, the consensus backed up my thinking - and my brick walls still stand!  I enjoy reading the entries from other family historians and sharing my own knowledge, especially when it comes to Scottish research.   Its sister  page features photos and stories, with both offering a great forum for discussion.

    And the Future:
  • I am making a determined effort  to progress some major  tasks (completing three family narratives)  that have been on my "to do" list"  for  far longer than I care to mention. 

    So  in July I set up my own personal prompt of "Focus Friday" - thought up in the middle of the night when inspiration dawned!   Henceforth Fridays are  devoted to
    working  only on one of my  three main targets - so no flitting from one aspect of my family history to another, and no getting distracted by another blog, or Facebook feed, or news of an interesting website, etc. etc. etc.

    And so far in four weeks,  this strategy is  working for me and I am making progress!

  • I have made no such progress on making better use of Pinterest for my Family History activities, though I am aware  many bloggers cite it  is as a significant driver of viewers to a blog.  The boards relating to family history  on my current general site receive very little attention, and my thought  is to set up a specific family history Pinterest page.
  • For various reasons I gave the  A-Z Challenge 2017 a miss,  but  I still have a topic in the back of my mind for 2018. 
So  for me - there is still  life in my blogging activities, beyond seven years.  I look forward to another year of discovering stories connected with my family history, writing posts that appeal to readers,  and reading the posts of my fellow enthusiasts.  



Friday, 25 August 2017

Let's Exercise!

This week's prompt photograph shows,  what to me,  is a fearsome looking gymnasium  and a regimented group of girls exercising and wearing what looks remarkably like black bin liners.  I would have hated it - even in the cause of walking gracefully!


Sporting activities did not feature much in my collection of family photographs,  until my granddaughter appeared on the scene.     It was said my mother was good at the high jump, but no photograph exists of her prowess.   However my father was very proud of playing football.

Dad is on the second row right  as vice captain of his school team at Broseley, Shropshire  

In his own words:
"I was mad keen on soccer, so much so that I had a trial at Birmingham with the English schoolboys.  My teacher took me in his car to that and to a second trial at Shrewsbury.   
One Saturday when I was working as an errand boy, two directors from Birmingham Football Club came to see Dad and Mum to sign me on   - they refused, saying I was too young to be away from home.   I was not told about this until later and sulked for a month!

But a bit of glory followed, when my school team entered a cup competition.  I was vice-captain and we got to the final - and won the cup, the first ever for  Broseley.

One of the supporters took a carrier pigeon along with us and set it loose at the end to let Broseley know the result and to prepare a welcome, as we were bringng home the cup!"
My father often mentioned that a photograph had been taken of the team's success, but  that it had disappeared  or been thrown out - he felt quite bitter about that.  So I set out to try and trace it.

Unfortunately I only had a broad indication of year for the event.  I contacted  Shropshire Archives who gave me a copy of the entry in the School Log Book noting the team's success  and naming the team.  Broseley Historical  Society  put my enquiry on their online newsletter.   I was dellighted to hear  from three members of the society with more personal memories of the pigeon story  - and even better  a photograph of the  football team itself with my father identified as Perce Weston. I always thought Dad hated his middle name of Percy, but he seemed to be known by that as a youngster.

This is the  earliest photograph I have of my father and I was so grateful  to the Society for filing this gap in my family history.   My father retained his love of football all his life and was an avid watcher of matches on television,  right up to his death at the age of 91.  


On a generation to a similar photograph of my brother in the hockey team of Broughton School, Edinburgh.
 My brother is front row - second left. 


What about my own keep-fit activities?  I have plenty of memories - but no photographs.

The egg & spoon race, bean bag race, sack race, three legged race & wheelbarrow race (no doubt some of these  have since been curtailed for  "health and safety" reasons), plus the humiliation of dropping the baton in a relay race - these are my early memories of Primary School keep-fit activities.  Do UK bloggers remember the  "Musical Movement"    BBC Radio Schools programme,  where we danced around the hall pretending to be a roaring lion or a a leaf blown about  in the  wind?  That was more my idea of physical activity.  

Nifty at Netball - At my first secondary school, I loved netball  with memories of crisp autumn days and sunny skies glinting through the trees as we dashed across the court, jumping high for the ball and shooting at the net,  in our sports kit of sky blue aertex shirts  (a polo short today) and short navy pleated  skirts.   I felt like a promotional poster for Healthy Active Britain. 

Hopeless at Hockey - But at 14, we moved across the country and I began a new school with new subjects - such as hockey.  I hated it and my mother was not too keen on having to buy me hockey boots and a hockey stick.    I had never played it before, compared to my teammates who had two years play ahead of me.  I hadn't a clue and dreaded getting hit on the shin by a hockey stick or even worse on the head by an over-excited player and losing my glasses.   Being chosen to play goalie was even worse, having to don the heavy shin pads, and either stand still and be bored if the play was all at the other end of the pitch - or face a mob determined to get a goal passed me.  Hockey meant being cold, wet and miserable with frozen knees and hands and muddy boots and legs. If netball represented brightness, I saw hockey in shades of gloomy grey.

I was an unadventurous creature, so Rounders was Risky - the shame of not managing to connect bat with ball,  or hand with ball if fielding, or again the risk of getting hit on the head by someone eager to run me out as I dashed for the first base.

Tennis was Terrific - I loved it - the grass courts and the white tennis outfits.  From the age of 12  I was converted to being a lifelong Wimbledon fan  (for the uninitiated,  this is the British Lawn Tennis Grand Slam Championships held in summer with wall-to-wall TV coverage).  I still get excited by it, as I did then and a few years ago visited Wimbledon on Men's  Championship Day - purely as a ground spectator, sitting on the hill to watch  play on  the big screen, savouring the atmosphere and enjoying  the traditional strawberries and cream.    So at least I have school to thank for introducing me to this lifelong pleasure!  


Family talent in sport improved with my daughter joining her school gym club team and winning the regional cup.

 An early start to exercising in the park

 Grand-daughter followed in her footsteps, liking nothing better to run,  jump. climb  somersault, and vault  etc. from an early age.  She doesn't need to go to any exercise class to keep fit.


Sepia Saturday gives bloggers an opportunity to share 
their family history and memories through photographs.

Click HERE to see what has exercised the brain of other bloggers.