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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Stop Press! A Holiday Trip in 1875.

Old newspapers offer fascinating titbits of information and cast a light on life at the times.  Here are a couple of short items on a works excursion  from the small mill town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders

On August 14th 1875, "The Hawick Advertiser" announced:  



will take place on SATURDAY, 21ST August,
when a Special Train will leave Hawick at 6.20am.
and BERWICK on the return journey, at 6.30pm.


Fares – ADULTS, 2/9; Juveniles, 1/4½

Tickets to be had at Wilton Mill

The HAWICK SAXHORN BAND will accompany the Excursion.

"The Hawick Advertiser" of August 28th 1875 reported:
Overheard on Hawick Station platform a Dicksons & Laings worker announced that: “Oor trip’s aye the biggest”. They sold a total of 2113 tickets; 1330 Adults: 700 Juveniles: 60 Apprentices, and 23 tickets for the Saxhorn Band.

Considering the population of Hawick in the 1871 census was given as 8,370,  the numbers on this train excursion made it quite an occasion. 

With thanks to local historian Gordon for passing on this item


Monday, 29 August 2011

Who can resist a Wedding? 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History

The topic for Week 35 in Amy Coffin’s and Geneablogger’s 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History series is "Weddings".

The omens were not good on  my wedding day  on 24th July 1971. It poured down and we have no photographs taken outside the church;   my husband Neil looks a bit shell shocked in this picture;  and with the Tudor monarchs all the rage on film and TV at the time, I chose to wear  an Ann Boleyn style headdress - she suffered the fate of being  executed by Henry VIII.

Still love  conquered all,  as we have just celebrated our Ruby (40th wedding anniversary), with a holiday in Austria, looking older and greyer, but  on a much sunnier day.

The oldest wedding photograph in my family collection  dates from 1929 and the wedding of my Great Aunt Jenny (below).  There was  a marvellous over-the-top report in the local paper, describing in great detail the dresses worn.   See the posting:  Jennie Danson's Wedding - 1920's Style

Fast forward to  April 18th 1938 and my parents' wedding at St. Chad's Church, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire - John Weston and Kathleen Danson on the left in this photograph with Edith Danson and Charles Weston their  witnesses. 

 Post war austerity Britain was the setting for my only time as a bridesmaid at my uncle's wedding in December 1946. I am the little bridesmaid in what was a dusky pink dress.   See the posting A Shivering Bridesmaid

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Birthdays & Battles Remembered - Sentimental Sunday

Alice Danson (nee English) with Edith, Kathleen (my mother), Harry & Baby Billy, c.1916
 All born in September

The month of September was an eventful month for my family.

2 September 1907 - My aunt,  Edith Danson  was born.

8 September 1908 - My mother, Kathleed Danson was born.

15 September 1912  - My uncle, Harry Rawcliffe Danson was born.

16 September 1916 - My great uncle George (right)  was killed on the Somme.  

16 September 1916 - My husband's great uncle, Frederick Donaldson was also killed that day on the  Somme.

23 September  1884 - My grandmother Alice Danson,( nee English) was born.

23 September 1915 - My uncle, Billy Danson was born.

23 September 1943 - I celebrate my birthday.

26 September 1937 - My husband,  Neil was born.

George Danson's Grave in the  Guards' Cemetery, Les Boeufs, France  

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Bobbing, Shingling & Marcel Waves - Workaday Wednesday

"Bobbing, Shingling, Marcel Waving and Perming", was the promise of hairdresser "Elise" whose business in Blackpool, Lancashire  was advertised in this lovely evocative 1920's "blotter" (left).                                                          

Elsie Oldham -
"Elise" c. 1920's
Elise's real name was Elsie but perhaps the French adaptation was regarded as more appropriate for a hairdresser.   The business was conducted from the rather less glamorous setting of her home (below) with the large adverts in the windows and on the pole outside. 

Elsie set up her hairdresser's in  about 1926 and it continued until the property was sold in 1975. In moving into a bungalow, one of the bedrooms was converted into a hairdresser salon, with Elsie working   until shortly before she died in 1989 - by that time the number of customers had dwindled to about three a week all of whom were as old as she was!  When the house was emptied a cupboard was discovered full of bottles of hair dye  in myriad colours - some of it must have been at least 20 or 30 years old!

The Oldham home in Blackpool, Lancashire
with the adverts in the window & on the garden pole.

Elsie's old set of scissors and hair clippers

 Elsie's son Stuart and I are third cousins and share the same Danson great, great grandfather (Henry Danson (1806-1881).  We made contact through my blog and discovered we lived only 50 miles  apart, so it was easy to meet and exchange photographs and memories -  we even discovered  we had been to the same primary school in Blackpool.   With thanks to Stuart for allowing me to tell the family story and to show these images.

For more photographs and stories of the Oldham family, see:
Finding a Third Cousin
And Dolly Came Too
Three Generations of Carters & Coal Merchants  
What a  Magnificent Hat!

"Workaday Wednesday "  is a one of many daily blogging prompts from www.geneabloggers.com to give inspiration to writers of family history.   

Sunday, 21 August 2011

My 1st Blogiversary at 152 postings.

 August 21st and my first Blogiversary!  It has been a great year and has far exceeded my expectations.   I began with a target of one post per week - and here I am now writing post no. 153. 

I thought I would soon run out of material , but the prompts from www.geneabloggers.com and inspiration from other bloggers has been so stimulating, I still feel I have a lot more to contribute.  I am learning how to be a "Better Blogger" and making improvements to my site all the time.  So do keep watching!

To find out more about how I began blogging and what has worked and not worked, have a look at Beginner Blogger's Review

Thank you to everyone for their support.   Susan.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A Jilted Bridegroom, 1871: Stop Press!

A Breach of Promise of Marriage with a difference - for the innocent party here, is the jilted bridegroom, not the bride.

I came across this item  in "The Border Advertiser" 18th March 1871 entitled "Action against a Lady for Breach of Promise" and it made fascinating reading.  So here is a summary of a very lengthy article.

"In the Court of Common Pleas an extra-ordinary action for breach of promise was heard.  The plaintiff in the case Lewis Currie sued his cousin Mary Margaret Davidson Currie  and in his declaration alleged that they had during the infancy of the defendant  agreed to marry one another, and that after she became of age they duly ratified  and endorsed the promise.  Yet the defendant had refused to marry him. 

With regard to the young lady, she was possessed of considerable personal attractiveness and,  beyond that,  a dowry of £6000.  There had been a considerable correspondence between the couple, with letters read out in court to much laughter.  The defendant addressing her fiance as "My dearest George", and signing herself "Ever yours, dearest George - Yours till Death" before winding up  most appropriately with a bit of poetry.  Other  letters declared "Since you left, I care for nothing. I live for you".   "Oh my own very darling George.  I have given you my heart and with it my first and only love.  With heaps of love and millions of kisses, I remain my darling George, yours ever" 

The defendant, however, related also that at a the house of a recently married friend, she had met a young Spaniard who expressed the wish "to be the happy fellow in her locket".  
Wedding dress - 1879  
In further correspondence with her fiance George, she talked of being married in white silk and the 19th of January was fixed on for the wedding.  On that day the defendant married  - but not to the plaintiff (more laughter in  court).

On the 3rd of January she wrote to the defendant breaking off the engagement on  the grounds that "we are not in any way suited to one another".  She refused to meet the plaintiff who, the court was told,  had spent  £400  in preparing a residence for his new bride.  

The defendant became the wife of Mr J. Fernandez Martini on 19th January 1871 with the certificate of marriage presented to the court.

It was acknowledged that the defendant had wronged the plaintiff, but no action of this kind brought by a man should be encouraged.

The jury after deliberating the matter for an hour found in favour of the defendant with damages awarded."

This case reminds me so much of the Gilbert & Sullivan's comic operetta "Trial by Jury".  What would they have made of this reversal in roles? 
If you share my liking for old newspapers, have a look at other stories in my "Stop Press series

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Nothing Like a Deadline! Motivation Monday

There is nothing like having a deadline to push me into action!

This week I am due to meet my third cousin (we share the same great great grandfather in Henry Danson).  Stuart found my blog, made contact and we have already exchanged stories and photographs.  Even better we only live 50 mlles apart.

So there was an immediate incentive to finish Part 2 of my family history story, which I must admit has been on the go rather a long time.

James and Maria - a Fylde Story of their Ancestors and Descendants" focuses on my great grandparents, with Part 1 all about the Rawcliffe side of the family.  Part 2 tells the Danson story  from the baptism of John Danson in 1736 to around 1900.  It is written in a narrative style with copies of records and information on places connected with the family.

I could easily have finished it last year, as there wasn't much to add, but instead I discovered blogging with the short article style of writing appealing to me very much and rather taking over my spare time.  

Writing a volume is not as easy as it seems and I know now why authors have editors assigned to them to ensure among other things that there is consistency in the  work  e.g. style of writing  dates, font sizes for text, headings, photographic captions etc.  

However there is nothing to beat the satisfaction of taking the pages (all 107 of them) to the printers and getting my work bound.  It is amazing how different it looks. 

Now onto the next part of the Danson Story- the story of James and Maria's descendants.  I just hope it does not take quite so long. 

Motivation Monday is a blogging prompt from www.geneabloggers.com to give inspiration to writers of family history..