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Friday, 19 January 2018

52 Ancestors - Week 1: Introduction

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks
 52 Ancestors in 52 Week is the latest blog chellenge from Amy Johnson Crow that I have just signed up to.


I have been blogging for 7 years now, and feel I have become rather jaded and restricted in my writing and need a boost!  So I am looking forward to Amy's broad weekly prompts.  

Much of my blog concentrates on my mother's side of the family (Danmson and Rawcliffe  families of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire), largely because I grew up there and have a great collection of family photographs.  But I have exhausted most of this material.  I hope I will be encouraged through the prompts  to broaden into other aspects of my research.

A wedding of 1930 - 
One of the few photographs I have from my father's side of the family 

My father (John Weston)  is the rather stern looking young man on the far left, carrying the trilby (or panama?) hat, with,  I think,  his brother Charles behind him.  My grandmother is in the cloche hat next to the bridegroom (my uncle FRed)  and unfortunately I have been unable  to identify my grandfather - he could be the man hidden at the back. Fred's sister Madge  could well be one of the bridesmaids and I have no idea who the young boy is.  I presume the older couple on the left of the photograph are the bride's parents. 


Memories of "Miss Danson" from an Unexpected Source.

My aunt Edith - Edith Danson had featured on a blog profile I wrote some time ago. Edith was born 2nd September 1907, followed just a year and a week later by my mother, Kathleen, born on 8th September 1908, daughters of William and Alice Danson of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. They remained very close as sisters and most of the photographs I have of Aunt Edith show her almost always with my mother - below. 

Aunt Edith was fond of regaling me with stories of the family and her life in teaching. She was the only one of the family to win a scholarship to Fleetwood Grammar School, riding the four miles on her bike in all weathers. She became a teacher at Burn Naze School in Thornton Clevelys, near Fleetwood  (a poor area of town in the 1920's and 30's) and had a keen memory for past pupils (particularly black sheep) and humorous incidents such as excuse notes, written for absences. 

I have my blog and Facebook to thank for a wonderful update on Aunt Edith. Ex pupils at the school set up a Facebook page on Burn Naze School Past ahead of the centenary of the school and in a google search found my blog and got in touch.   

I gave them the link to my profile and this resulted in comments from former pupils of "Miss Danson", who was remembered  with fondness

"Miss Danson was my first teacher and was a lovely lady.

Just read Miss Danson's history and pictures - very interesting and I always thught she was a wodnerful teacher with lots of patience and undesrsstnaind. 

I started Infants in 1963 and Miss Danson was my first teacher.   

What a lovely  tribute to a wodnerful teacher - my first teacher at Burn Naze School in 1956.
Fantastic tribute and pictures - just as I remember her.?
Amongst learning our tables, reading and writing etc. who remembers knitting cvlass with Miss Danson, making a sackcloth needleword case using blacnket stitchm  with Miss Hampshire, pounds, shillings and pence and "readl" writing with Mrs.  Bullough,  paper mache monsters with Mr Brown and  makign ahdn puppets with Mr Blair". 

Sadly the photogrpah below is the only one of Edith (front right)  with her class.


Such memories delighted me and added to the picture of my much loved aunt.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

A-Z Surnames on my Research List

Lorine of Olive  Genealogy has posted a meme that is doing the rounds, where we are asked to  write a list of surnames that we are researching.  You never know you might find a connection!

I am researching my mother’s ancestry, my father’s, that of  extended family members, plus my husband’s.

  St. Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire where many of my ancestors were baptised, married and buried.

A for
ABERY - from the Fylde area of Lancashire,

ARMITAGE  - a mining family from the West Riding of Yorkshire

B for
BAILEY, BREKALL, BROWN, BROWNBILL, & BRINING/BRYNING  - from the Fylde area of Lancashire, around Blackpool, Fleetwood and Poulton-le-Fylde.

C for
CALVERT, CARDWELL, CARR, CARTER, COOKSON & CRANE - from the Fylde area of Lancashire, around Blackpool, Fleetwood and Poulton-le-Fylde.

CONSTABLE - from Victoria, Australia. 

D for
DANSON  from the Fylde area of Lancashire, around Blackpool, Fleetwood and Poulton-le-Fylde.

DONALDSON -  with maritime  and shipping occupations from South Leith, Midlothian; South Shields, Co. Durham and Portsea, Hampshire.

E for
ENGLISH - of Bolton and Poulton le-Fylde,  Lancashire.

F for 

FAYLE  - from the Fylde area of Lancashire.

GAULTER  - from the Fylde area of Lancashir.

H for
HAWKYARD - from  Alnwick, Northumberland  and South Shields, Co. Durham.

HESKETH - from Fleetwood, Lancashire 

HIBBERT  - a mining family from Derbyshire, Yorkshire and South Shields, Co. Durham

I for 

ILEY  -  Scarborough, Yorkshire 

J for
JOLLY - from the Fylde, Lancashire


L for
LOUNDS - from Lincolnshire

M for 
MATTHEWS - from Wolverhampton, Staffordshire.

MASON -  from the Fylde area of Lancashire, Brooklyn, New York and Jamesburg, New Jersey 

MOFFET/MOFFAT - a family of mariners from London and South Shields

MOON - from the Fylde area of Lancashire

O for 
OLDHAM - from Blackpool, Lancashire


R for
RAWCLIFFE from Hambleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.
RILEY - from Fletwood, Lancashire.

ROSKELL - from the Fylde, Lancashire.  

S for

SIMPSON - from Wolverhampton, Staffordshire

SMITH  - from Unst, Shetland, and Blackpool, Lancashire

STEMP - from the Fylde,  Lancashire and  the Birmigham area. 

U for
URSTADT  from Nedw Jersey, USA.

W for
WESTON  - from Bilston, Wolvampton;  Broseley near Ironbridge, Shropshire; nd Blackpool, Lancashire 

WHITE - from South Shields, Co. Durham 

The famous bridge across the River Severen opened in 1779.
linking Broseley and Ironbridge,


        Do get in touch if you think we might have a link.


Saturday, 23 December 2017

Christmas Wishes

A Very Merry Christmas to all my Blog Readers.
Thank you for all your support and comments 
throughout the year.  

This postcard  sent in 1877,  was in the family collection of a distant cousin.  The verse reflects  Victorian maudlin sentiment of the time,  but it is still a lovely picture. 


Friday, 22 December 2017

Christmas Wheels - Sepia Saturday

A Christmas themed postcard  is this week's Sepia Saturday's prompt, with smiling families shown amidst  the spokes of a cartwheel.   So I thought I would  continue the seasonal link with wheels.

One of the many beautiful wall paintings you see on the outside of buildings in Austria

When we look at the pictures of stagecoaches on Christmas cards,   they look colourful, dashing and rather romantic, but what was the reality like for our ancestors traveling over 170 years ago?

This image  of stagecoach travel has been   perpetuated by many writers including Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.  Charles Dickens in "David Copperfield" published in 1850 painted a rather different picture of the reality of a winter stagecoach journey. 

"How well I recollect the wintry ride! The frozen particles of ice brushed from the blades of grass by the wind and borne across the face; the hard clatter of the horses' hoofs beating a tune upon the ground;  the stiff-tilted soil,   the snowdrifts, lightly eddying in the chalk pit as the  breeze ruffled it;  the smoking team stopping to breathe on the hill top and shaking their bells musically,.........."
 Stagecoaches were public service vehicles designed specifically for passengers and running to a published schedule.  Eight passengers could be packed inside, with others sitting at the back of the coach and the poorest passengers atop along with the luggage. A newspaper report  of 1846 (below) refers to a heavy coach of 18 to 20 passengers.  

A pub sign at Greenwich, near London 

The  driver was often the sole crew member responsible for the coach, the passengers, timekeeping and dealing with minor incidents.  Coaching inns acted as stopping  points for travellers and  were where  the ostlers changed and fed  the teams of horses   On the Edinburgh  to London journey there were twenty eight changes of a team of four horses. The hey day of stage coach travel was the early 19th century, with  improvement in road building techniques, the development of the turnpike system (where tolls financed  road construction),  and  increased comfort of the coaches themselves.  

For Mail Coaches the primary concern was the delivery of mail  although passengers were also taken.   In 1786 the first mail coach arrived in the Scottish capital from London. welcomed by the ringing of church bells,  and guns fired from the castle ramparts - even though on its inaugural run it was twelve hours late!

Contemporary newspaper reports of the time present a graphic picture of the perils facing passengers and  (and pedestrian) alike.
"The Border Watch" - 19 November 1846: 

“A SLOW COACH. – The Edinburgh and Hawick coach, which left Princes Street, Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon at 4pm  did not reach the Bridge Inn, Galashiels, until about 10pm; thus accomplishing the distance of thirty-two miles in the astonishing period of six hours!   

The pace was such that an ordinary pedestrian would have found little difficulty in keeping up with the coach. The road was by no means heavy, although in some places newly laid with metal. The coachman did his duty well with whip and voice, constantly urging forward his jaded steeds, and employing the box seat passenger to assist him with a spare thong.
But it was all of no avail. The animals would not move one foot faster than another. Up hill or down hill there was little perceptible difference, and several times the vehicle came to a dead halt, almost on a level.

The coach was full from Edinburgh, but a passenger having been let down on the road, another person was taken up. In spite of the loud remonstrances of the passengers, a second was buckled on behind, and a third was allowed standing room beside him. It appears there is now no restriction as to the number a stage coach may carry, and consequently three poor miserable horses were forced to drag, throughout a weary stage of fifteen miles, a heavy coach loaded with eighteen or twenty persons.

Image, Painting, Nuremberg, Middle Ages
Image courtesy of Pixabay

 "The Kelso Chronicle" - 16 June 1837: 

"ACCIDENT. – On Tuesday evening when the coach from Kelso had passed Ord, the reins broke, and the driver left his seat, and went along the pole to recover them. His foot slipped, and he fell between the pole and the horses to the ground. Fortunately, the wheels passed on both sides of him, and he escaped with no other injury than a slight blow to the head.The horses set off at rapid pace, and ran through Tweedmouth. The passengers kept their seats, and the horses while running furiously along the bridge, were stopped by a young man named Robert Robertson, who, with great personal risk, seized the horses’ head.Had they not been stopped, in all probability, from the speed with which they were proceeding, the coach would have been upset at the turn of Bridge Street.  The conduct of the young man deserves great praise.”
"The Kelso Chronicle" -  4 October 1844:
“WONDERFUL ESCAPE. – As the Defiance Coach was leaving the town on Friday last, a girl, about 10 years of age, daughter of Mr. Ferguson, tailor, who was hastily crossing the High Street, and not perceiving the coach, ran in betwixt the fore and hind horses, by which she was struck down, when the horses and coach went over her, to the horror of the spectators, who could do nothing to save her. The wheels on the one side passed over one of her legs, bruising it most severely in two places, while the opposite wheels went over the top of her bonnet, close to the head, but without doing any injury. The poor girl’s thigh was also much bruised, apparently by one of the horses’ feet. We are glad to state that she is recovering from the effects of her injuries.”.

We were on holiday in Warsaw when this stage-coach drove into a square  - but we  never found out what it was all about. 

But the iconic image of the stagecoach as a mode of travel still captures our imagination. especially at Christmas time. 

Two final images:

 Christmas is often the time to have a convivial drinkClydesdale Horses here are pulling the dray, advertising Vaux Brewery  Fine Ales -  at the Border Union Agricultural Show in Kelso, Scottish Borders.  

little horse and cart  which brings back memories of my mother - a talented stitcher who made this soft toy, filled with sweets at Chritmas time. 


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

Click HERE  to find further Christmas tales from Sepia Saturday bloggers.


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Blog Caroling - Silent Night

Blog Caroling is the challenge posed by    Footnote Maven aka LindaRae Palmer  who invites us to write a blog  post on our favourite Christmas carol. Post a note to the comments on  her  article or link it on Facebook directing us to your Blog.

LindaRae will create a listing of all our favourites. (Please list Your Name, Blog Name, Favorite Carol and the link to your post in her comment box or on Facebook.)

Josef, Joseph, Maria, Donkey
My all-time favourite carol is "Silent Night"  sung  in a simple unadorned arrangement, with a  guitar  or harp accompaniment.  It  has  a beautiful harmony and is very moving sung softly, especially in its original German, which brings back fond memories of holidays  in Bavaria and Austria.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht
Alles sclaft. einsam wacht
Nur das traute heilige Paar
Holden Knabe in lockigten Haar
Schlafe in himmlische Ruh
Schlafe in himmlische Ruh

It was 24th December 1818 in a small Austrian village  of  Oberndorf, near Salzburg, just hours before Christmas mass, when  pastor Joseph Mohr's musical plans for the evening service were in ruins,  since the organ of his church (St. Nicholas Kirche) had broken down.   In a moment of inspiration, he found a Christmas poem he had written two years earlier and  asked   his friend Franz Gruber, the church organist, to set it to music for the choir and congregation to sing. 

Franz Gruber's composed  that night  the first version of the world renowned Christmas carol “Stille Nacht”, sung to a guitar. 


Sing along with this lovely German version,  by the Vienna Boys Choir HERE at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG-62zBnKkQ

Rheinebene At Full Moon 
Photograph  courtesy of Pixabay



Thursday, 14 December 2017

Snowy Pleasures - Sepia Saturday

This week’s Sepia Saturday photographic prompt show a children’s playground, with the swings, roundabout and seats empty but for coverings of snow.

Linking the snow and the playground - snowy pleasures is my theme and people enjoying themselves.  I have no childhood photographs in the snow - my family only seemed to bring the camera out in summer.  


Below is the oldest snow picture in my collection and brings back memories of my father.  This photograph was taken in the wartime winter of 1944 in Luxembourg.  Dad served in the RAF working in codes and cyphers and  at this time was attached to the US 12th Army Group commanded by  General Bradley.  Whilst stationed in Luxembourg, Dad became friendly wth a local  family.   Here he is (on the left)  with Mr. Batten out for a walk with his little daughter.  Dad remained in contact with the Batten family for many years and I think he enjoyed this brief taste of a family life amidst the harshness of war. 

 Onto my own family - my daughter was born in January and it often seemed to be snowing on her birthday  and it could play havoc with party plans.

 1976 - out for a walk in the park in Hawick in the  Scottish Borders. 

Fast forward  some 20 years and daughter is enjoying the pleasures of taking our dog a  walk in winter on the hill above our home.

Below:   Summer snow in July 1997  - husband and I are on the Stubai Glacier, near Innsbruck. 

Onto where we live now in Earlston in the Scottish Borders,  with some pictures from the collection of my local heritage group - Auld Earlston.

                          Members of Earlston Curling Club enjoying a game, 1995.

Regarded as one of the worst winters in living memory - 1947.  Here children are playing on the road - but in fine weather this is the main A68 road through the central Borders, linking Newcastle and Edinburgh. 

 2009 and my granddaughter exploring this new world of snow for the first time

 But summer fun cannot be far behind - and she was soon back enjoying the swings.

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


Click  HERE  to find further snowtime tales from Sepia Saturday bloggers.