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Its the end of March 2011, so I have moved the family tree news updates for 2010 into this archive. (Follow this link for the latest family tree news.)
Thanks to Anita for the beautiful plant which arrived yesterday, it was very kind of you. Hope your family enjoys the presentation packs.
Thanks also to Michael Watson for the photograph and extra Blitz information on the Ager family. This has been added to the site.
Finally, some sad news this week. The cold weather has caused a water pipe to burst at Coventry Archives. Fortunately the records have survived intact, but the Archives will be closed for a few weeks while all is put back in order. If you were planning a trip to the Archives any time soon I would suggest phoning ahead to check they are open before setting out.
Christmas is approaching, and I have been busy researching family history for those of you who ordered a family tree project as a Christmas gift for loved ones. Work is progressing on schedule, and some family projects have already been completed and shipped.
We attended the Blitz memorial service at Coventry Cathedral on November 14th, exactly 70 years after that dreadful night. The service ended with the sounding of an air raid siren, mini spotlights circling the old cathedral ruins and the peals of cathedrals bells. Despite having had a long day which started with me arriving pre-dawn at London Road Cemetery for my spot on BBC Radio 5, the commemoration service was an historic event which was thought provoking and well worth attending.
You may be interested in a new website which launched recently. Coventry Memories presents a timeline of Coventry history where people can look up the memories people had of living in Coventry during the last century, and share their own recollections. Go have a look!
I would like to give my thanks to Ruth Kennedy, Mary, and Iris Griffiths for sharing your family stories and photographs about the Coventry Blitz. A new page has been added to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre telling the stories of Denis and Edward Brown, and Gilbert John Griffiths.
If you are up early tomorrow morning, you can catch me speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live. The Weekend Breakfast show will be interviewing me about the Coventry Blitz on air at 06:20 am. So, early night then!
Aside from local history, I am working hard producing Family Tree Christmas presents, which are all on schedule.
I have spent my evenings this week revamping the index page for the Dictionary of Old Occupations. It is now much easier to find the job you are looking for because the Index now shows all jobs currently listed and each title is a working hyperlink to the relevant page and job definition. With over a thousand hyperlinks on the page this was no small task. I still have several pages of notes to type up for the last few letters of the index, but it was worthwhile taking time out to make the index page friendlier to use.
The 70th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz is looming. Many events are scheduled to take place to mark this major event in the history of Coventry. I have added a bit more information to the details of the blitz victims, my thanks to family members for getting in touch. Please keep these pieces of family history coming, they make valuable additions to the site to preserve local history and educate future generations.
A list of events taking place to mark the 70th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz can be found on the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre page. If you are running an event which is not listed and wish me to add it then please drop me a line.
Conscious that it has been some time since I added any more historical job definitions to the Dictionary of Old Occupations, I have today published a large update. Over 200 descriptions of old trades and occupations have been added, all beginning with the letter P. That makes definitions for 21 letters of the alphabet complete, with 5 to go. Hope you are finding the dictionary a useful resource when researching your ancestors and interpreting census records!
The new and improved 2011 versions of Family Tree Maker Platinum and Family Tree Maker Deluxe have just been released. Both contain a useful selection of new features and handy enhancements to existing facilities. Definitely worth checking out. If you are still using an aging version of Family Tree Maker then the new features may well make you want to upgrade.
Christmas is starting to appear on the horizon already, so now is the time to get in touch if you would like me to research a family tree as a present for a friend or loved one. My family tree packages make for a delightful and original present, and can become family heirlooms to pass down through the generations. Look as the fantastic letter I received earlier this week, transcribed below.
All the best,
Thank you so much for the package you sent on my family tree. I am really, really delighted with it, at 85 years I have time to spend and am so happy with all the information you have uncovered.
As you will know, I am one of five siblings, they in turn have children and although it was my granddaughter who paid for this for my birthday it has turned out a present for all the family who are delighted as well.
Thank you so much.
Recently I visited the archives to check the apprentice records for a Watch Making family and a family of Saddle Collar & Harness Makers. Checking these records showed that the first Watch Jeweller was apprenticed by his father, a Carpenter and the Saddler, by his widowed mother. This enabled me to trace this family back to their original home in Stretton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire.
I have also been tracing an interesting family of Canal Boatmen from the Cheshire and Derbyshire areas the census returns gave some fascinating information including in one instance the name of the boat. Other trees are progressing nicely.
In local news, it is good to hear that the council have decided to sound the air raid siren at Coventry Cathedral to mark the 70th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz this November. Also, Coventry Market plan to hold a special event to remember the spirit of the Blitz, with an opportunity for Coventrians to record their Blitz memories.
Earlier this week BBC local radio interviewed me at London Road Cemetery again. This time I was able to attend in person, where we discussed the neglected state of the Blitz memorial. We hope that something will be done to clean up the green stonework back to white and replace the missing tree. It would be nice if the surrounding bushes were pruned back so that visitors can sit on the bench again!
Coventry and the surrounding area held their annual Heritage Open Days this weekend. It was great to see the local historic buildings opened up to the public for a friendly, educational day out for adults and children. Draper’s Hall was looking in need of maintenance, with peeling paint on its wonderful ceilings. The Coventry Watch Museum was opened up, with some interesting displays about the local watchmaking industry of yesteryear. The Coventry family History Society stand was very popular, with lots of useful resources for sale. I picked up a couple of good data CDs for my collection! We saw the wool dying demo at the old Weaver’s House, Black Swan Terrace and admired their Tudor garden.
Far too many things were going on to list here – suffice to say that if you missed it this year then keep an eye out this time next year.
I would also like to thank Anita for the lovely flowers she sent me as a ‘thank you’ for a family tree research project I did for her. The flowers have been brightening up my home since they arrived, and are much appreciated. I hope your mother enjoyed the family tree presentation pack on her birthday - Jane.
There seems to be a debate going on in Coventry at the moment as to whether the air raid siren should be sounded to mark the 70th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz. Needless to say, I am in favour of honouring the memory of this important part of Coventry’s past.
Genealogy is keeping me very busy at the moment, but I have found time to transcribe a very interesting text about the Coventry Blitz written and donated by Paul W. Currie. It is an extract from a larger document entitled One Man: One Day, and recounts his father, Sam Currie’s days in Coventry during the blitzes of 1940 and 1941. I encourage you to have a read, it is a very personal account of a family’s experiences during the horror of the blitz. You can find it on my site under Coventry Blitz Memories. Many thanks to Paul for contributing this valuable document to the site.
Some readers may have heard me being interviewed on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio last week. They were running a story about the history of the Blitz memorial at London Road Cemetery. It was a pleasure to contribute.
All the best,
Well, having returned from a short summer holiday I am back at the helm. A stack of assorted birth, marriage and death certificates have arrived over the last week, enabling various family tree projects to continue now.
Although busy processing the new certificates, I have found time to update the Coventry Blitz pages with details for several families including the Holt, Miles, Neale, Neville, Newson, Nichol, Walters and Watkins families. I also added some notes about a member of the Langshaw family to the World War 2 burials page.
Finally, I have signed up with House of Names, who sell a wide variety of merchandise bearing family crests of your choosing. These are great present ideas, and a good complement to a family tree project.
I have updated the Coventry At War section of my website with extra details and other amendments. Many thanks to Susie, senior journalist from the BBC who got in touch regarding the Royal Engineers, 9th Bomb Disposal Company. After checking burial records and the Midland Daily Telegraph from October 1941 I have updated the relevant pages on my site for Ernest Arthur Stote.
Recent research projects include the Parish records for Avon Dassett and Tanworth in Arden. Also, I have tracked down records for an early 20th century bigamist who jumped ship during WW1, been tracing a chap who was in the Metropolitan Police from 1884 and an ancestor who was in the Royal Navy through the National Archives.
I had the pleasure of attending an award ceremony at St. Mary's Guildhall, Coventry where one of my family received an award for fiction writing in a competition organised by Coventry Council and the local newspaper. Whilst there I was able to take some photographs of the plaque by the doorway commemorating the local firemen who gave their lives during the Coventry blitz. I intend to add these details to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre soon.
Other than that, family tree research continues at full pace. Website updates have been sparse in June because I always prioritise family tree research so that projects are completed in time for birthdays and special occasions!
I would like to thank Mrs Hope for sending me her family story about the Coventry Blitz. It is published under the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre pages, along with a wonderful wartime photo of the Auxiliary Fire Service. Mrs Hope also supplied additional info and a photo of another Blitz victim, Violet Hickling nee Ludlam. These too have been added to the Resource Centre.
I have made time this week to do some website housekeeping. In addition to several many minor changes and corrections, I have archived the 2009 family tree news updates, which helps keep the main family tree news page at a reasonable length.
I have created a new web page for poems about the Coventry Blitz. Starting this off is a poem written by John J. Rattigan when he returned to Coventry in November 1940 whilst on leave from the army.
Whilst searching through the Parish Registers for St Michaels (Coventry’s old Cathedral) I found the following, which illustrates the fascinating snippets of history to be found in Parish records: John Life of St Michael’s parish buried 23rd October 1829 Aged 48. Lost his life in a fray with the military while standing peacefully at the shop of his employers Moss and Goodacres, Grocers. He was wilfully cut or stabbed with a sword.
I am delighted that Maurice Rattigan has provided me with a thoroughly researched and informative document full of Coventry Blitz facts and figures. Maurice compiled this information many years ago and has kindly given me permission to reproduce it online. Follow the link to read his work, it is very informative. There are also some sketches and a plan of bomb sites which Maurice drew as a teenager, some of which have been included in an exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry. Many thanks to Maurice for sharing his excellent work.
2010 marks the 70th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz. Maurice got in touch after seeing my request for information in the Coventry Telegraph. If you have any Blitz information, be it simply family anecdotes of the bombings or research you have undertaken yourself, then please get in touch if you are willing to share. I created the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre as a free place to preserve and share information about this significant part of Coventry's history. Scans of old photos of Coventry after the Blitz would be especially welcome.
The new versions of the rather good Who Do You Think You Are family tree software are out imminently. The budget version is very reasonable and available here:
"Who Do You Think You Are?" Family Tree Maker
There is also a deluxe version available here: Deluxe Edition of Who Do You Think You Are?
I have made several updates to my website this week. My online Family Tree Shop has had a bit of a facelift, and is well worth a look if you are seeking family tree books and software, local Coventry information or military history books and DVDs including the Blitz.
At the archives this week I was able to find evidence from an 1836 copy of the Coventry Herald and Observer newspaper showing details of the trial and conviction of a customers ancestor showing why the ancestor had been transported to Australia.
I will finish on a cautionary note. I have been contacted by a chap who wanted to check up on a letter his elderly mother-in-law received. Someone wrote to her claiming to be a genealogist / researcher and requesting private, personal data from her about her family. The letter alleged that this is in relation to a ‘family entitlement’.
As proof of authenticity, the letter writer claimed that he has written articles for my Family Researcher website. For the record, I have no knowledge of any such researcher. I would advise anyone receiving similar correspondence to thoroughly check the authenticity of the sender before releasing any personal information.
This week’s family tree news is brought to you by the letters Q and L.
Just kidding! I have found time this week to add four more pages of definitions to the Dictionary of Old Occupations, so check out the occupations lists Q and L if you want to know exactly what that old occupation listed on your ancestor’s census record means.
Also this week I was able to provide details from local records to the son of a Coventry Blitz victim.
The highlight of my week was one particular family research project. I was delighted to hear that the information provided has reunited siblings who had lost touch with one another.
Amongst the interesting projects I have on the go at the moment, I have been helping an ex-Coventry resident discover the details of how his old school friend died in World War 2. Turned out the chap was an Ex-Daimler employee who was killed in action in 1945. I was able to track down the grave reference details; he was buried in the Netherlands.
I have been spending a lot of time at the Archives over the last couple of weeks. Sad to report that they have reduced their opening hours, so I was kept hanging around outside last week waiting for them to open up! When I finally got in out of the rain I was able to research the Parish records for Avon Dassett and local directories for records on a Coventry Coal Dealer from approx 80-90 years ago.
I have added another 100 job descriptions to the dictionary of old occupations, so if you are interested in information about old jobs beginning with the letter D then take a look.
My family tree presentation packs have been especially popular recently. I am becoming a familiar face at the post office, having just posted another ten packs. Looks like I will need to visit the stationers again, to stock up on supplies!
I recently visited the archives to search the Parish Registers for St Lawrence Foleshill and for Haseley village. I found out some useful information about baptisms and marriages for two of the projects I am working on at the moment. Also, I have been researching various London Parish Records including St Nicholas Deptford and St George in the East.
It was interesting to dig up some family history about two brothers working in the watchmaking industry. One was a guilder, the other a jeweller. The local 18th century Apprentice Enrolment records are a useful source of information. These records tell us the name and occupation of the apprentice’s father, which certainly helps when researching your family tree. I am always happy to look up such local records for people with ancestors from Coventry and the surrounding area.
My website has had several minor updates, including some of the latest family tree software recommendations for those of you who are researching your own trees. The new 2010 version of Family Tree Makeris very good, and well worth checking out.
I have been putting together several copies of one of my completed Gold Presentation Packages. Acting as go between I introduced an adopted child to their birth family (a delicate process but can be very rewarding).
I visited the archives and looked at the Parish registers for Foleshill, Stretton on Dunsmore and Leek Wooton. I also checked copies of the Midland Daily Telegraph for obituaries and searched Spennell’s Coventry list of Residents (this is a great way to find the addresses for relations in the 1920s as it includes most residents not just those with trades). I am now putting the finishing touches to a birthday presentation pack which will be sent special delivery to ensure its safe arrival.
I have also found time to type up another 80+ jobs for the Dictionary of Old Occupations. These begin with G, featuring glassewryghts, assorted gun makers, several textile and mining industry job definitions and many more.
More snow... this winter reminds me of the 1970s! It has not been affecting my work though; I have been able to get to the archives despite Coventry’s roads falling apart with frost damage and potholes.
I have been quietly working away on some more job definitions for the dictionary of old occupations, mostly working on the letter G for the moment. Hope to have these ready to publish in the next couple of weeks.
Also been doing some web design for a potential new site about London Road Cemetery. The new prototype is looking rather nice, and is currently awaiting feedback on the layout, and also some draft content. I will be pleased if this project goes through to completion, as it has been a few months now since I met with a nice chap from the Friends of London Road Cemetery to discuss creating a new site for their group.
This week I have been researching a number of families with Scottish roots. I was also contacted by a member of the Goons (Guild of one-name studies) about a World War One soldier from Coventry. I was able to recommend a search of the Coventry Graphic at the local archives, which I can help with. This wonderful paper gives information about many Coventry citizens who served in the armed forces during the First World War, often including photos.
Local author Iain Soden has written a new book about a significant and famous figure from Coventry's history - Ranulf de Blondeville.
Lifelong Coventry resident Bill Brookes has written an interesting essay about the Coventry Blitz, and its significance on the war effort and the lives of ordinary civilians in Coventry. Follow the link to read the thought-provoking article.
This week I have been busy researching several family trees. Highlights for me include a family with a strong Naval background going back to the mid 19th century, various railway and colliery workers, and a Lord Mayor.
Thanks to Mr I Elliott, who got in touch this week with further information regarding one of his family members who died in the Coventry Blitz. I have updated the listing on the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre with the new information kindly supplied.
In my spare time I have finished transcribing the definitions and notes for just over 240 old job titles. These ones begin with the letter S, ranging from Sacristans to Sword Slippers. I have published these to my Dictionary of Old Occupations; they amount to ten new web pages! Last weekend I was so engrossed with this project that I ran out of time to publish a family tree news update. Hope you find the dictionary useful when you are researching your family tree.
All the best,
Among the family history I have been researching this week, I have been tracing the ancestors of a couple who were both officers in the Salvation Army in the early 20th century. So far I have traced one side back to 1806, and the other 1847. There is scope to investigate further back, into the 1700’s.
I have also been looking into families with very interesting first names recently, such as Aquilla (which according to a bible dictionary means ‘eagle’), and Maze, Maise, Mayze, Mays, or Maize etc. Lots of spelling variations to search for on this one! I am wondering if the name comes from a maternal surname of Mays.
Just a short note this week - I have begun work on the next update to the Dictionary of Old Occupations. Should have another 100 or so extra definitions to add to the dictionary soon.
The bad weather has not affected ongoing family tree research, I am soldiering on as normal, even though trips to the archives have been fun due to the snow and ice!
2010 is upon us already! After a welcome holiday, family tree research carries on apace into the New Year.
Special thanks this week to Carol Weale for sending me a photo and details of her uncle, Bill Roper, who was killed in the Coventry Blitz whilst working the late shift at the Armstong Siddeley factory in Parkside. These have now been published to the website as promised.
Finally, I would like to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2010.
Older news updates can be found in the 2009 family tree news archive.
The legend of Lady Godiva is famous throughout the world.
This book investigates who Lady Godiva was, how the story of her naked horseback ride through Coventry arose, and how the whole Godiva legend has evolved from the thirteenth century through to the present day.