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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

E is for Epitaphs, Emigration, Electoral Rolls, Ephemera & Events - A to Z Genealogical Challente

Ros at http://genwestuk.blogspot.com/ has come  up with the idea of an A to Z genealogical challenge for the month of April.  It soon got me thinking, so here are my contributions.

E is for:
Epitaphs can often be moving or witty.  Ones relating to my family follow the traditional pattern, and are not particularly striking, but this one appealed to me in paying tribute to  young Alice Cookson who died 9 May 1815 aged 22, with the touching thought   "She lived respected and died lamented"   

Emigration - where would we be without the Internet when it comes to finding emigration records?  http://www.ancestry.co.uk/ provided me with the details on my great great aunt Alice Mason, nee Rawcliffe aged 33  who set sail  on board the Aurania from Liverpool for New York with 6 children aged 10 months to 11 years old, plus two pieces of baggage - can you imagine how she had to cope with the living conditions on board?  

Electoral Rolls are useful adjuncts to census  returns in  confirming that an individual  lived at a specific address at a specific  time and was eligible to vote. But it is important to remember,  when looking for your female ancestors,  that women in Britian  only gained the vote on the same basis as men in 1928, with limited suffrage given ten years earlier to women aged 30 and over who met the minimum prperty qualification .

Ephemera - posters, handbills, leaflets, receipts, business cards - all those bits of paper which tend to get thrown out.  Yet they can be so full of interest for family historians. 

My grandmother Alice English married William Danson in April 1907.  In the shoebox of family photographs and memorabilia was this receipt  paid by Alice on February 26th 1907 for:

Two yards of bodice lining, hooks, silk sundries and bodice making.  Was this her wedding outfit?  It surely must have had sentimental value for it to be kept?

Events - our ancestors did not exist in a vacuum  and to me it is important to link their lives with events going on around them at a local, national and internationl level.  My father was always called a Titanic baby, as he was born 15th April 1912, the night the Titanic sank.  For major events, date reference books can help, but local newspapers and local histories are invaluable sources of information.    
  • Was your ancestor alive when there was the threat of a Napolenoic invasion with towns and villages ready to light beacons to warn of the French attack? 
  • Might your ancestors have seen the Jacobite army marching through Scotland and the north of England  in 1745  as Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) attempted  to take the Hanoverian throne.
  • The coming of the railway to a community must have been a thrilling event to witness, with local newspapers giving extensive coverage of the excitement generated.
  • Peebles Station in the Scottish Borders, c 1910.
    With kind permission of the Heritage Hub, Hawick

  • What about the impact of the invention of the sewing machine  on the task of making a family's clothes?   
  • Might your female ancestors have seen suffragettes campaigning  locally?    
  • When was your local cottage hospital built, or the local football  club formed? 
  • How did your  ancestral town or village mark the death of Queen Victoria in 1901?  
The possiblities are endless.for adding colour to a family story.............,,,,,

1 comment:

  1. totally agree with you on all of these Susan. I think it quite probable that would be the fabric etc for her wedding frock. I wish I had more ephemera in my collection.


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