Friday, 25 January 2013

Sepia Saturday: Men and Hats

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.

This week's prompt showed a shop frontage with awnings, signs and display of fruit and veg.  But I decided to continue the theme from my last  Sepia Saturday posting on "Forward with Flat Caps" and focus on  the men's hats.   Thank you to Mike Brubaker for suggesting in his comment that a feature of men's hats could be a logical follow on.  
Women have lots of  hat styles but apart from cloches, berets  and the current fashion for fascinators, I cannot think of many given a distinct  name.  Very different for men,   as I soon discovered

  • Fedora and trilby came  on the scene in the1890's and were made popular by   20th century movie stars such as Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart.
  • Homburg -  named after Bad Homburg (‘Homburg Baths’), a town in  Hesse in Germany, where it was created.Think of Edward VII, Winston Churchill  and on screen Hercule Poirot.
  • Pork Pie - another mid 19th century development  and associated with the man about town and jazz musicians,  
  • Straw Boater -  traditionally associated with Venetian gondoliers.
  • Panama  - another popular light hat for summer wear, though actually oringinated in Ecuador.
  • Beret - associated with peasant wear in France (think Onion Johnny) and Spain.  Adapted in Scotland to become a Tammie - Tam O'Shanter.   
  • Deer Stalker - think of Sherlock Holmes and upper class country wear.
  • Bowler  - think of the typical London businessman of the 20th century with rolled umbrella, briefcase and bowler hat;  also movie comedians Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy.
  • Top hats - think of romance and swirling capes - the symbol of the 19th century gentleman, now more associated with  Ascot Races and weddings.

Below are some men's hats from my family collection of photographs, though I can't always identify the style by name. 

Here is master mariner John Robert Moffet (c.1814-1881) in a Napoleonic pose - my husband's great great grandfather. In the earlier  census returns John was living in Stepney, and LImehouse,  London. but by 1871 he and his family had moved back to his roots in  South Shields on the north east coast. 
 This dubious looking character, I am pleased to say,  is no relation, as far as I know, but he featured on the right  in the photograph below of my great grandfather James Danson, sitting merry in the ancient stocks in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  And are those berets worn by the two men seated on the left?  


Wearing a straw boater  is John Mason of New Jersey, USA who married my great great aunt Alice Rawcliffe. of Hambleton,  Lancahsire. They had six children in England, before emigrating in 1886-7  to Brooklyn, New York where they had a further five - three not surviving infancy. This photograph came from my third cousin Bonnie - finding her was a great blog success story and I am grateful to her for filling a gap in my family history.  

The three men in the front of this wedding picture area all carrying hats - panamas or trilbys?    My father (on the left) is looking very solemn at the wedding of this eldest brother Fred Weston at Leicester in 1929.  
And what about the style for young boys?  The hatwearing fashion started early.  Below is my uncle Fred Weston c,1909.  This hat looks more like a sombrero,  it is so huge for a wee boy.  I wondered at first if  it was meant to reflect the popular fashion of sailor outfits for children , but have not seen a coat like this before  in old photographs,


I remember my brother wearing a school cap like this, often perched on the  back of his head, Here is my husband' brother c.1936. 
A photograph below  from 1948 shows my husband in his school cap  with his father sporting a beret. They were on his motor bike, so such a headgear would be frowned upon in this health and safety era. 
I could not end a feature on men's hats without recollecting  themen's  hats seen on our holidays in southern Germany and Austria.   Here is a fun representation!  Enjoy!
Click  HEREE to find out what other bloggers have found
in this week's prompt photograph. 
Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Awards, Rewards & My Blogs Favourites

January may be a bleak month here in Scotland, but I am over the moon at being nominated for more blog Awards by my fellow bloggers on top of the two stars Blog of the Year Award recently received.

Thank you to Pauline (cassmob) at Family history across the seas for nominating me for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award.  


Also my appreciation to  Diane at 
for nominating me  for  the Liebster Award (Liebster means "friend" or "dearest" in German).

Thank you to everyone for first of all reading my blog,  and then for  thinking of me in this way.  I value the comments I get from all over the world and value the fact that people have taken  the time to make them. These are such a lovely Reward for blogging and  I certainly do not regard them lightly.

I have been asked to nominate further bloggers for the award.   This is such an invidious task to select a few from my reading list, as the genaabloggers community has  meant so much to me since I started blogging in August 2010.  I must admit to difficulty in keeping up with fellow blogger's activities.

So in the meantime, I have set up a new Page - My  Blog Favourites  -  where I am listing  the sites I aim to read and to comment on on a regular basis.   This won't be set in stone and I am sure I will add to it other great blogs that come to my cloae attention.  

So do have a look at it and maybe discover some new blogs that will provide interest, knowledge, stimulus, inspiration, humour and pathos to your reading and writing. All part of being in such a supportive blogging community.

Thank You to Everyone.

Happy researching and happy writing in 2013.     Susan.


So far listed on the site are: 

Shelley at A Sense of Family

Chris at British GENES (British Genealogy News & Events

Pauleen (casmob) at Family History Across the Seas

Joy at Family History Writing

Anne at Finding Forgotten Stories

Jo at Images Past

Jana at Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog

Brenda at Journey to the Past

Catherine at Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

Alan at Sepia Saturday

Lynn at The Armchair Genealogist

Lorine at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Sepia Saturday - Carters and Coalmen.

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.

When I first saw this photographic prompt, my reaction was "This will not be for me".  Yet here I am writing a second posting. (See also "Forward with Flat Caps" ) It is amazing what you can pick out when you look more closely at a picture, that at first glance does not appeal.  

This time the truck in the picture reminded me of the Oldham family of Blackpool.  They  were carters and coal merchants for three generations - Joseph Prince Oldham (1855-1921), his son John William Oldham (1880-1939) and his granddaughter Elsie Smith, nee Oldham (1906-1989),

The business was founded around 1890, steadily became prosperous and in 1905 moved to near North Station, Blackpool in a house with a large yard, hay loft, tack room. and stabling for around 7 horses.

In the 1901 census Joseph (below) was described as a self-employed carter and coal merchant with his son John a coal wagon driver. An accident at the coal sidings in the railway station resulted in Joseph being blinded and he died in 1921, with his will, signed with his "mark".

Shortly before his death Joseph had purchased the first vehicle (below) which was used alongside the horses and carts. until the 1930's when two new vehicles were bought. May Day and the dressing of the horses with brasses was a colourful event remembered by the family.

The first Oldham road vehicle bought in 1921.

In 1921 son John William took over the business where workers included his brother-in-law George Butler  and Arthur Edward Stuart Smith who went on to marry John 's daughter Elsie.

On the death in 1939 of John William Oldham (right) his daughter Elsie (below) took the helm and saw the business through the difficult wartime years, combining it with her own hairdressing concern run from the family home. 

This vehicle (c.1936 )  wasw requisitioned during the Second World War by Government for use by  the Fire Service. It was neve returnedd

Lorry c. 1936

Elsie Oldham(1906-1989)
See the posting Bobbing, Shingling and Marcel Waves
The coal merchant business was eventually sold around 1948 to another local firm, thus ending over 50 years of the family concern.  

With thanks to Elsie's son, Stuart (my third cousin) for these photographs and family history.

 Find out how other bloggers have viewed the street theme prompt - click HERE

Sepia Saturday - Forward with Flat Caps

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.

One item immediately stood out for me in  photographic prompt  - the man wearing a flat cap. 

Below is a photograph of my grandfather William Danson seated with a group of workers at the ICI factory at Thornton, near Fleetwood, Lancashire.  Was this some special occasion with Grandad given the pride of place at the front?  It is difficult to assess the date - 1930's?   William featured in my Sepia  Saturday postings in December - this time focusing on his experiences in the First World War and the cards he sent back home to his family.   

Here is my husband aged about one with his maternal grandparents Matthew Iley White (a boilermaker)  and Alice Armitage of South Shields, County Durham.  c. 1939.

Stepping out oblivious of the camera is Grandfather Donaldson, a signwriter and painter, again in South Shields, County Durham. 

Turning back  to the start of the century c.1903   here is a group  of schoolboys including my great uncle George Danson  - on the left sporting a flat cap.   George was killed in the  First World War aged just 22. 


In Britain flat caps were generally associated with workers in the north of England and .  Think of old photographs and newsreels  of men streaming from the mills, or cheering from the football terraces or enlisting for the First World War.
I think of them too as worn by coster-mongers in London - think of Eliza Doolittle's father in the film of "My Fair Lady";  or Del Boy in the TV comedy  "Only Fools  and Horses".
At the other end of the social scale,  the Duke of Windsor as Edward Prince of Wales, was photographed in a flat cap as part of a golfing outfit.  Nowadays finer versions are popular rural wear at farming events, countryside fairs, horse race meetings etc. And if you have the youth  and looks to get away with it, flat caps are  being worn  as fashion statements by "celebrities".   
My own father would not be seen dead in one!

Find out how other bloggers have viewed the street theme prompt - click HERE

Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Friday, 18 January 2013

Tuesday's Tip - British Newspapers Online

A great new resource is now available online - Briitsh Newspapers 1710-1950   on the website and it is well worth having a browsing session. There is always a fascination in  seeing an original archive relating to an ancestor, and I was delighted  to find these entries below  on individuals in my wider family history  who were leading very ordinary lives. You can purchase pay-as-you-view credits, so do not need to take out an expensive subscription.  

I keyed in "Henry Danson" of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire  (name of both my GG and GGG grandfather) and found four  references.
  • Lancaster Gazette Saturday 21 March 1812
    To be Sold by Auction.
     Lots  6 and 7 relate to my Danson family,

  • Blackburn Standard Wednesday 20 May 1840 - In the Death Announcements . Betty, widow of the late Mr. Henry Danson, yeoman, Trap Estate, Carleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde. She was much esteemed, and will be greatly regretted by a large circle of acquaintances.
  • Preston Chronicle Saturday 16 April 1859 - in the Marriage Announcements
  • William Henry Gaulter, coal and land agent, Poulton-le-Fylde, to Mary, third daughter of Mr. Henry Danson, of Leys Farm, formerly of Trap Farm, Carleton.

  • Preston Chronicle - Saturday 31st August 1867 - On Saturday 1st the directors
    of the Shard Bridge Company appointed Mr Henry Danson of Poulton-le-Fylde toll collector, vacant by the demise of Mr Thomas Moore.

These are not normally newspaper titles I would think of consulting for events in Poulton, especially "The Blackburn Standard", so it is worth considering widening a search beyond the  obvious.  
I  was researching a sideline to my family - a female line of a great uncle.   I found this very sad entry where, because of the sensitive nature,  I have omitted the actual names.  
  • Lincolnshire Chronicle Friday 27 March 1896:  
  • GRANTHAM - SUICIDE.  Mr Aubrey H. Malin, coroner, held an inquest into  the death of H.......L........, aged 65, a coach-body maker, who died on the previous day.—A..... L......... son of the deceased, identified the body. Deceased had been suffering from white-lead colic for six weeks but had not stayed off work until the previous Wednesday.  Deceased of late had appeared in a rather depressed state.  He seemed to trouble about the idea of having to live upon his children.   William Deed, engine driver,  said he had known the deceased for about 20 years.  On Saturday at lunchtime, the witness was called to the deceased house.  In his bedroom, he found the deceased lying on his side, with his throat cut and a razor in his hand.  He had noticed that the deceased had been rather absent minded.  Dr. Paterson, attributed death to shock and exhaustion, due to loss of blood.  Verdict - Suicide whilst in a state of unsound mind. 
My husband's great grandfather was Aaron Armitage  a miner from Yorkshire  and I came across this entry.  The age and place  tallies with "my" Aaron Armitage, but it  will need more research to confirm it is the "right" person.

  • Leeds Intelligencer Saturday 20 August 1864T - THE SECOND ASSIZE SUNDAY. AARON ARMITAGE, 13, collier, pleaded Guilty to a charge of having feloniously placed iron lurry upon and across the Worsborough branch of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway, with intent to injure and obstruct the train, the 10th of July.  He was sentenced to be imprisoned for  one moth and to receive six stripes of the birch rod  in the last week.

So if you have British ancestors, take a look at this site.   
You could find some interesting entries relating to your family.   

Tuessday Tips is one of many daily blog prompts from to encourage writers to record their family history activities.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Enjoying the Sun - Sepia Saturday

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.

Sun bathing is the theme of this week's Sepia Saturday postings.  A suitably cheering thought on  a cold, wet, dreicht winter's day  in Scotland.  So sit back, read  and think of summer!

This charming  photograph below  is couresy of my American friend Gail.  Here is her mother Lillian Adele Whitney, aged 7.  enjoying the sun on a beach in  in San Francisco in 1925 - though she complained that her bathing suit was made of wool and itched something terrible.

Gail recalls " Lillian Adelle Whitney, was born in  1918 to Bertha Louise (Parton) Whitney and Ira Edwin Whitney in Letterman Gen'l hospital in the Presidio in San Francisco.  (The hospital later burned down, but Mom says it wasn't her fault.)  Her maternal grandmother, Johanna Magdalena Hedman, at age 11, moved with her family from Sweden to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she later met and married William Henry Parton from England, and Bertha Louise was their second child.

Before she married, Mom sang with a band – entertaining at various places in San Francisco including the famous Cliff House.  She married  Herbert Kinsey Bradley whose father Frank Herbert Bradley  emigrated to Pawtucket, Rhode Island  c.1885 from Blackburn, Lancashire,  aged 5, along with his mother and five sisters - what happened to their father Abraham is still a mystery to be unravelled!   


Here my mother Kathleen Danson, her youngest sister Peggy and her great friend who I knew as Auntie Phyllis were enjoying the outdoor South Shore Swimming Pool at Blackpool, Lancqsahire  in the 1930's.  Aunt Peggy emigrated to Auistralia in 1949 shortly after her marriage.  

Two decades later in the 1950's, I remember Mum taking my brother and I there for a swim. In that era it was also a popular venue for beauty contests.   It was later demolished and I think the site is now a car park - a sad end to an iconic 1930's playground.

Look at those shoes - still in fashion!

Were summers really better when I was young?    Here is a nostalgic  look back to the 1950's  when summer meant sun - family holidays at Bournmouth on the south coast of England.

And just to show that spring may not be far behind - this photograph was taken yesterday in our garden on January 10th  

To find out how other bloggers have enjoyed the beach theme, click HERE

Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Blog of the Year Award 2012

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg I was over the moon to hear from Catherine at   that she has included me in her nominations  for the “Blog of the Year 2012 Award” -

Recognition is a great motivator, so a big Thank You to everyone for finding and reading my blog.
This has been a good blogging year for me, largely because  of two prompts which I discovered  - A-Z Challenge and Sepia Saturday -  both  very stimulating   to follow and great fun to compose.  It has been amazing to read how fellow contributors have  interpreted each letter or each photo prompt so differently. 

Now I have a new tricky challenge of nominating  others for this award from the many blogs on my reading list.   Here they are: 

Do click on these links and enjoy their thoughtful, thought-provoking, and at times moving and humourous posts.   Plus they have widened my knowledge and understanding of other parts of the world.

The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:
1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award.
2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
3. Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
5. If you choose, you can now join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.
6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars for every time you are nominated. For further information on collecting stars, just click on the link provided in Rule 3.

Happy blogging in 2013!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A Lancashire "Scot" ? Sepia Saturday

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.
I looked at this week's photo prompt, and knew I had  one photograph in my collection which was so apt - that of  my grandfather dressed in a kilt - and he wasn't even Scottish!

This photograph of my grandfather William Danson of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire was in the family shoebox collection of memorabilia, and intrigued me when I first saw it as a child. There was no Scottish connection that I knew of on my mother's side, so why was Grandad wearing a kilt and a tammie?

The story was that in the camaraderie of World War One  he became friendly with some Scottish soldiers, and as a laugh he had dressed up in one of their kilts, with a tammie, and had his photograph taken to send home.  It must have been taken in France as the reverse of the photogrpah  indicates it is a "Carte Postale" with space for "Correspondance" and "Addresse".  Grandad served 1916-18.


Continuing the theme of friendship in war,   here is a Christmas memento from William's son Harry (my uncle)  in World War Two - a menu from his Christmas meal in France in 1939.  

This signed menu of December 25th 1939, written in French and typed on flimsy paper, was found amongst the papers of my Uncle Harry. He was in France with the British Expeditionary Force, 9/17th Field Battery. In the Sergeant's Mess,  breakfast was cold ham with piccalilli, eggs, coffee and roll and butter; for dinner - turkey with chestnuts, pork with apple sauce, potatoes, and cauliflower followed by Christmas pudding, apples, oranges, and nuts, with cognac, rum and beer.

Five months later Harry (left)  was one of the many men evacuated from Dunkirk, saved by the flotilla of small ships. Sadly many of the men who were at this Christmas meal may not have survived.

He arrived back home from Dunkirk still in the uniform in which he entered the sea to be rescued. He never talked about his wartime experiences, but seeing commemoration services or documentaries on TV could bring tears to his eyes, so the memories remained very strong. He later served in North Africa and lived to the age of 89.

To see how other Sepia Saturday participants have interpreted this week's theme -  click  HERE

Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson. All Rights Reserved