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Thanks to Judith for getting in touch to share some info she found regarding the Coventry Blitz. It is a harrowing tale related the effect of the Blitz upon St. Osburg's church, Coventry. You can read more here.
I have been so busy researching family trees, that this news page is looking somewhat neglected at the moment. I am working hard as always, and still available if you are looking for a UK based genealogist. You can find out more about my family tree services and rates here.
I am still updating my Family Researcher website when I get a chance. Regular visitors will have noticed a massive redesign of the site in 2016, with all pages benefitting from improved navigation, and responsive pages to support tablets and smartphones as well users of traditional computers.
In August 2017 my family tree Testimonials page was updated too. I very much appreciate all the nice things my customers have said to me about my research work, and the comments they supplied as testimonials. So many of you have said such nice things that I decided that the testimonials page on my website was becoming huge, and a bit unwieldy. Rather than delete some of the older comments, I decided to modify the page so that website visitors will see a different, shorter selection of testimonials each time they visit the page. All testimonials are genuine feedback from customers, and my thanks go to the people who sent them in. It warms my heart to read them.
Today I made a few small updates today regarding my records of deaths during the Coventry Blitz. Specifically, adding new information regarding Harry Berry, William Hutchinson and updated information regarding Denis / Dennis Lapworth. As always, my thanks go to family members who kindly got in touch and provided this info for the site.
all the best
Just added details for Robert Wilton Wood to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre pages. With thanks to Ralph for getting in touch.
A quick thank you to Terry for contacting me regarding the old occupation 'Brace and Bit Maker', which features in his family tree. I have added a definition to the Dictionary of Old Occupations.
I would like to thank Caroline Heritage for getting in touch and donating a photo of Ernest Willn to be included in the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre, along with a poem in memoriam for Ernest's brave sacrifice during the second world war.
With kind thanks to Mr D Roberts, author of an upcoming book about Blue Coat School, I have added some details about Violet Mason to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre.
Just added another batch of info about victims of the Coventry Blitz to my website. This time I found records relating to Fanny Elizabeth Jones (nee Miles), Lily Jones (nee Edginton), William Henry Jones, and Frank Harry Judkins. Hope this helps someone with their family tree research.
I have been researching records about more members of the Jones family who died in the Coventry Blitz. Have just added details for William and Jane Jones (husband and wife), John Jones and John Earnest Jones.
The latter was a member of the auxiliary fire service, and is listed as Earnest John Jones on the memorial at St. Mary's Hall.
Two website updates just added:
- In response to a query from Anita W, I have added details of the old occupation Key Stamper to the site.
Just added another entry to my historical records of Coventry during WW2. Wilfred Robert Askew - Sergeant Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Today is Remembrance Sunday. Please take a moment to reflect upon those who made such great sacrifices that we may live.
If you want to know more about Remembrance Sunday then have a look at the Royal British Legion website http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/how-the-nation-remembers/remembrance-sunday
Courtesy of The Revd Dr Jonathan Holmes, the memoirs of Gwendoline Holmes are now available on www.familyresearcher.co.uk for all to read. Gwendoline's recollections of the Blitz and afterwards make for gripping reading, so please take a look.
Many thanks to The Revd Dr Holmes for sharing such an interesting and moving story for all to read.
I'd like to thank John for his kind donation to the website this week after I checked records about the Coventry Blitz for him. Much appreciated John, thank you.
The most popular surnames such as Smith and Jones can be hard to research because there are som nay records to interrogate. I've been busy looking into the surname Jones recently. This week I added information about three Jones to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. Beatrice Ada Mansfield Jones, Clement Horace Jones and Edward Jones.
Hint - look under J :-)
I have been updating the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre this week, and would like to thank the following two people in particular:
LyneMarie - Thanks for providing corrections and additional info for Lillian Bucknill's record
David - thanks for getting in touch asking about Christine, Herbert and Olive Whitehouse. I was happy to research the details for you, and have added them to the website.
I received an interesting message this week.
This was from Tom K, sent via my website contact form. Tom asked:
I have a question about Dictionary of Old Occupations by Jane Hewitt. Ive bought it and it is cool. But why does the book call old english occupations? I thought old english period is from V to XI century, but the book consists occupations mainly from the 19 th century. By the way why not to call them Professions?
Well, that's a good question and deserves an answer. I'll tackle the second part first - why did I choose to call them occupations rather than professions?
When I first started writing the Dictionary of Old Occupations the intention was to write a useful resource for people researching their family trees. When researching a family tree you typically find yourself searching old census records which provide an official record of people living together. UK census records use the term 'Occupation' rather than 'Profession' to describe what people did for a living. So when writing the Dictionary I chose to use the term 'occupation' to be consistent . You can find out more about census records on my website here. People may prefer to call them 'old professions' or similar, and that is perfectly fine. I sometimes use terms such as 'historic jobs' or 'archaic trades' too.
Census records also provide the answer to the first part of your question. Here in the UK the oldest census recordset we typically use dates all the way back to 1841. When someone encounters an ancestor with unfamiliar occupation listed on an official census record, the Dictionary of Old Occupations is intended to help explain what that occupation actually involved. Which is why the majority of the occupations listed cover the 19th and 20th centuries.
Having said that, lots of the included occupations and trades date back for many, many centuries prior to that, and as the Dictionary grew in size to include over 2,000 occupations it does include some much more archaic occupations. As for the oldest occupation listed, well, subject to debate, that could be, ahem, 'Unfortunate'. If you encounter a female ancestor whose occupation is listed as 'Unfortunate' on a census record then their 'trade' may have been that of a member of what is commonly called 'The Oldest Profession'. If you are unfamiliar with the term 'oldest profession' then a search engine will provide a quick explanation. Let's just say that particular occupation is thousands of years old!
Initially the scope of the book was to cover English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh occupations, but it gradually expanded to include United States specific occupations and other parts of the English speaking world too. There is a natural overlap in occupational titles and trade names between English speaking nations. Where I knew about regional- or national- specific occupations I tried to include those.
I'm glad you found the book cool Tom, and I hope I have fully answered your question. Thanks for getting in touch.
With thanks to John T for getting in touch with new information, I have updated the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre records for Ethel and Horace Twite. Always appreciated when people help to improve on the available records.
Cracking on with genealogical research at the moment, but I found time for a small website update. Susan T got in touch with me about her great uncle Albert Harding Walton who was an air raid warden in Coventry during WW2 and sadly died during an air raid on the city. I have added his details to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre.
Also in the news, Coventry Family History Society has just published the third version of their CD full of information for family tree researchers about burials at London Road Cemetery in Coventry. This one includes information from 1847 through to 1972, along with monument inscriptions and maps. You can buy a copy from the Society website.
Updated my Dictionary of Old Occupations website with these old census jobs: Whip Thong Maker, Tailors Baster and Felling Hand. With thanks to Lois and Diana for getting in touch about these old census occupations.
Happy New Year!
2014 has arrived with frightening speed – where does all the time go? Over the festive period I am pleased to have found time to update the page about Coventry Charterhouse, and would like to give my thanks to Jon from Coventry Charterhouse Association for getting in touch with some useful amendments to improve the article. Much appreciated, Jon.
Now – back to my genealogy research!
Gosh, it’s been a while since I updated the website. Things have been really busy here, genealogy is as popular as ever and I have been working flat out researching numerous family trees for people. I’m pleased to add a new web page to my site though – written by Paul Jack and decorated with a few of my pictures the new page is an article about Coventry’s Charterhouse. It is a really interesting building and one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city. Click the link to read more about the Coventry Charterhouse building and its interesting history.
Thanks to Shena K for sending me updated information about her Great Uncle James Barker who died in the Coventry Blitz. I have updated the Blitz website details for James, and also researched extra details about his wife Edith.
Added info about members of the Ring family (Daisy Millicent and John T) to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre
Could Paul E who emailed me at 20:50 on 7th July please get in touch again? I have been trying to respond to your query, but the hotmail address you left me does not seem to work. Thanks - Jane
Just researched details on two more members of the Hughes family and one from the Humphrey family. Have updated my website with the relevant info. Must say, the WW2 Blitz Resource site is coming together now.
For local history buffs there is an interesting newspaper article about construction of the Coventry Council House, which began over 100 years ago.
With thanks to Helen D for getting in touch with details about her great, great grandfather's occupation as a Whitesmith working as a Whitesmith in a cotton mill, the definition of Whitesmith in the Dictionary of Old Occupations has been expanded.
Had to mention this... I love this newspaper story about the Blitz. Jock Forbes was the mason who made the famous Charred Cross at Coventry Cathedral after the bombing.
Today - at Coventry Chapel, Whitley from 10-5... Family History Conference in Coventry with Dr Nick Barratt from Who Do You Think You Are, Coventry Family History Society and others. Free admission. Be there if you can!
It was lovely to receive this week a copy of the marvellous printed book of the Lloyd Family History. Weighing in at an astounding 473 A4 pages of comprehensive research results, wonderful illustrations and family photographs, it really is a true family treasure and heirloom. It was an absolute joy to work on this project and it is fantastic to see the full thing in print after all these years.
Many thanks for sending me a copy, the book is wonderful. (And very rewarding to see my name in the acnowledgements and my family tree diagrams and research results included in this magnificent opus.)
I came across the interesting old census occupation of Sad Iron Grinder when Sheila E got in touch regarding a relative who died in 1881. Sad irons are the ancestors of the domestic electric iron we all love / loathe to use in this day and age. Thanks for getting in touch Sheila - I have added both Sad Iron Grinder and Solid Iron Grinder to the Dictionary of Old Occupations.
In the news this week was hero Lionel Clarke who has just been awarded a well deserved medal for his brave efforts during the war. Lionel was an auxiliary fireman serving during world war two, and was amongst those who fought to save Coventry Cathedral when it was bombed during the Blitz. It’s great to read stories such as this, about Coventry firefighters who braved such appalling conditions night after night to save lives and property.You can read the full story at the Coventry Telegraph website.
Added Owen Martin as a possible unidentified victim of the Coventry blitz buried in the mass grave at London Road. Thanks to information supplied by family member Anne, we know that Owen was working for a tyre factory in Coventry at the time of the blitz when he disappeared. My thanks to Anne for getting in touch; I have added Owen to the website as requested.
Just wanted to say ‘thank you’ to Terry F and to Lucy for your kind feedback this week. It is really rewarding to receive such praise from you. I have updated my family tree testimonials page with your kind comments.
Angela – thank you so much for your lovely letter. It was really kind of you to take the time out to write to me to let me know how happy you are with your family tree results. It has been a while since I last updated my family tree testimonials page so I thought I would type up your letter and add it to the page. Thank you so much for writing, and best of luck with finding descendants in Wiltshire!
2013 is upon us already! I'd like to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.
Back in November Mr J Ashfield contacted me regarding a family member who was tragically killed in the Coventry Blitz during WW2. Mr Ashfield kindly donated several photos for the website, along with details of the incident. I am very grateful to Mr Ashfield for sending me all this info, and I have now included them in the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. Follow the link to read more about Harry Clarke.
Was able to update the Dictionary of Old Occupations this week. I would like to thank Richard for getting in touch regarding the occupation of Drowner, which has been added along to the site along with a lengthier definition for Water Meadow Drowner.
Also, David C provided some useful information about the occupation Oliver Smith, a definition of which has now been added to the site. Many thanks to both Richard and David for contacting me and sharing useful information with us genealogy enthusiasts.
Christmas is practically upon us as I write, and I would like to send my best wishes to all my customers. It has been a pleasure to work with you all during 2012 and I look forward to continued family tree research projects in the new year.
In the news this week an interactive map is available both online and as an app. The map shows the locations of German bombs dropped on London during The Blitz. From an educational perspective this is a valuable resource. It is startling to see how densely bombs fell upon individual streets and homes. It highlights what a miracle it is that the city survived.
If you are interested in the WW2 Blitz I have lots of information about it on my own family researcher website.
Just a short note to say that the December 2012 issue of the Coventry Family History Society Journal is out now – Volume 9, number 4. Some really interesting local and family history in there this quarter, such as a great article about City College Coventry, the Freemen's Guild and some memories of the local library service in the sixties. Oh, and how lovely to see one of my winter photos adorning the cover of this issue!
Was able to add research findings into the deaths of a further six people sadly killed in the WW2 Coventry Blitz. You can find their details on the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. The names of the people added are:
I have not had much opportunity to update the website over the last month or so because I am working hard on assorted family tree projects for Christmas. I did find time for a short update this week though. With thanks to Gerry H for getting in touch ref his grandfather's occupation, I have added a short definition for Blast Furnace Slagger to the Dictionary of Old Occupations.
I had an enquiry from Anna M regarding her great great grandfather's occupation of Rubber Spreader, dating back to the last quarter of the 19th century / first quarter 20th century and possibly linked to India. If you have any useful information related to this old occupation it would be great if you could get in touch, and I'll pass it back to Anna.
This week I found time to research a couple more victims of the Coventry Blitz – two members of the Bradnick family - and added their details to the Blitz Resource Centre.
Christmas is on the horizon once again. Doesn't it come around quickly! I have taken a lot of orders from people commissioning family tree research projects to complete for Christmas which will become Christmas gifts for loved ones. Sadly, this means I am now fully booked with regards to large projects with a Christmas deadline.
However, if you are interested in commissioning a family tree project as a Christmas present for someone in your family then why not consider purchasing one of my family tree gift certificates ? It means you can give the certificate to the lucky recipient on Christmas Day, and I can work on their family tree either with them or with yourself in the New Year. Contact me for further details.
On Friday, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire radio station did a piece on tracing your family tree. They featured a mixture of people about to begin researching their ancestors and some who had been doing it for a while. I joined in briefly with the broadcast too, as an advisor.
If you are about to get started on your family tree, you can find more tips on my website at https://www.familyresearcher.co.uk/family-tree-information/researching-your-own-family-tree.html
Alan B contacted me this week with a helpful suggestion to add the tasteful old occupation of Coprolite Digger to the Dictionary of Old Occupations. I was able to add a lengthy definition to the dictionary. Many thanks to Alan for getting in touch.
Thanks to Sue WM for getting in touch regarding two 1851 census occupations not listed on my site. I have added a definition for Marine Rope Dealer. Am currently seeking info for Sue regarding the occupation of 'Grocer Biscuit Agent'. Please drop me a line via my contact form if you have any helpful info about this occupation.
Braved the torrential rain this week to visit Birmingham. Have begun the initial research work in my spare time which may lead to me producing a new free online resource regarding the WW2 blitz on Birmingham. It feels natural to expand my site about the Coventry Blitz to include neighbouring Birmingham.
This local history research project is another big commitment and will take some time to bring to fruition. You may want to check back over the coming weeks and months if you are researching ancestors from the Birmingham area or are interested in second world war history.
Sadly the downpour made taking good quality outdoor pictures nigh on impossible, hope to fare better on the next research trip!
All the best
I have been helping some reviewers set up a new music related website which launched a couple of days ago. If you fancy a break from genealogy then head on over to their all-new Rock Hard Reviews website for an interesting read. I see they have been kind enough to acknowledge my help on the site - thanks guys!
I have done some long overdue housekeeping on the site and archived off the 2011 family tree news articles.
Finally managed to make the time to update the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre with new information:
Very special thanks to Anita for sending me such lovely flowers. It has been fantastic to have been doing research work for you for so long, and it does feel a bit sad to have finally reached the end. It has been thoroughly worthwhile, even if I will miss it!
I was able to add another couple of old census occupations to my online dictionary today. Thanks to Verity H for the information kindly provided about her ancestor's occupation listed as Bone Cutter in the census, and Ian P for getting in touch regarding Colliery Hangers.
Also spotted a line about my website in the June 28th newsletter from Cyndi's List. Not sure who submitted my Dictionary to their general resources page for occupations - I didn't - but it's lovely to see it deemed worthy of inclusion.
Wish I had spotted it in time! Sadly I missed out on the opportunity to attend "The Great British Story – Ancestors in the Archives" at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum yesterday. Sounds like there was a lot going on and I would have loved to have been there, but I didn't see any publicity for the event until too late. On the plus side, I managed to put in about 10 hours of family tree research yesterday so it was still a productive day!
Looks like the June edition of the Coventry Family History Society Journal will be out soon. You can read highlights of the contents by looking at the official website. I had a sneak peak at the cover today, and am delighted to recognise the cover photo on the June edition of the Journal – it's one I donated showing the Cook Street gate, part of the old Coventry City Wall.
Coventry Cathedral was in the news this week. It's been fifty years since the consecration of the new cathedral built following the blitz. Terrific to see the Archbishop of Canterbury and Princess Anne attending to celebrate the cathedrals golden jubilee. Brilliant that local schoolchildren got involved too. Click here for more info.
A couple of readers got in touch this week with queries about old census occupations they found. I was able to add definitions for closely related jobs to my Dictionary of Old Occupations: Composition Frame Carver and Dressing Case Maker.
I realised that it has been a long time since I updated my family tree testimonials page. Over the years I have received such nice feedback from so many people regarding my genealogy research that it makes my work feel very rewarding. I have collated a selection of comments and feedback from customers and added them to the testimonials page.
To all the customers who have taken the time to write to me saying such nice things – thank you all so much! Researching family trees for you has given me a lot of satisfaction over the years and I really appreciate your positive feedback.
Special thanks to Darren B for his support and donation, which enabled me to research the following names: Harold Cain, Desmond Callaghan, Lucy Callagher, Thomas Camp, Ethel Campbell nee Eaton, and Kenneth Campbell. You can find their details published on the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre pages on www.familyresearcher.co.uk.
Demand for new family tree research projects has been very high over the last couple of weeks. Apologies to anyone I could not fit in straight away, I am currently working hard on several research projects and hope to catch up with demand soon.
I see London Road Cemetery has been in the news again this week. Following on from concerns about the way the communal grave had been tarmaced over a little while ago, which some people said made the area resemble a car park, the latest news story was about the digging up of pathways / roadways in order to squeeze in more graves. It seems that the council fenced off six ancient routes and got as far as digging up one route which dates back to 1837.
Glad to hear that the destructive work in this Victorian Cemetery has stopped now following a petition handed in by the Friends of London Road Cemetery. Councillor Foster was quoted expressing concern that families with loved ones buried at the cemetery (such as myself and my husband!) did not know anything about this issue until metal fences were put up. I think it would be good to see the Council working more closely with the Friends group in future.
The latest Coventry Family History Society journal will be out any day now, you can see some of the highlights on www.covfhs.org.
Thanks this week to Peter S for getting in touch regarding the old occupation of Sawer, which has now been added to my website.
Malcolm C is asking for information about the following census occupations: Keu, Shambler, Tignar Impostor, Bersar, and Mueman. If you have come across anything useful regarding these occupational titles then please get in touch and I will feed back to Malcolm. Bersar may be a spelling variation of Bursar.
Julie G-F is looking for information related to the old occupation Silks Man, which she found in the 1841 Ayrshire census. She believes it to be related to flour mills in Liverpool around that time, and is looking for info about her ancestor's occupation and about the locations of Liverpool flour mills in the 19th century. Again, if you can help then please get in touch with me via my family tree contact form and I will feed back to Julie, as well as adding anything useful to the website to help fellow family tree enthusiasts.
February was a busy month researching family trees, and March looks set to be the same. I have been ordering lots of certificates, so no doubt will be receiving a mound of old records through the post soon!
Thanks this week to Abby for donating a family photo and sending me details of her relatives who lost their lives in the Coventry Blitz. The photo and details for Margaret and Frederick Clare have been added to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre.
Computers - who'd have them? Suffered from a bit of ICT pain over the last 10 days due to my computer failing to start. Turned out both motherboard and some of the memory had died after working perfectly for years. Still, back up and running now and grateful that (a) didn't really lose any research time, and (b) my backup procedures all worked fine.
Have added a couple of Old Occupations to my site: Farm Grieve, which I came across on a census return recently, and Billy Spinner which was suggested to me by Angela N. Thanks for getting in touch Angela!
Thanks this week to Neil K for getting in touch regarding an old occupation called Bower of Cows. It has been added to the Dictionary of Old Occupations. If you have any evidence to share about this occupation in 19th century Scotland it would be great if you would get in touch with me.
2012 is here and I will be resuming research work tomorrow. The other day I was contacted by a chap who works freelance for the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are magazine. He asked me to write a few words for a feature he is working on, which I was happy to do. He said my website gets a mention in the article – what a lovely way to start the New Year!
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