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Family Tree News July 2024

I have added a few more old job title definitions to The Dictionary Of Old Occupations. If you find any of the following terms listed on your family census records, you can look them up here. The newly added job titles are: Chip Seller, Cop Winder, Medical Rubber, Pirn Filler and Poindler. I also expanded the existing definition of Floatman.

A big thank you to John L who got in touch about the occupation of Poindler. Much appreciated.

Hope you find these helpful!

Some interesting snippets from the families we have been researching this month include one with an ancestor who married five times. Starting with the second husband, the lady had a new husband approximately every ten years.

I have also been exploring a Coventry family who were butchers based in Butcher Row. This enabled me to use some of my local history knowledge. It was interesting to see several newspaper articles about their businesses and a story about the theft of their horse!

Update: I added additional information to the Dictionary of Old Occupations. The new occupations added were Sally Winder, Simoloer, Sleeper Cutter / Sleeper Chopper, Ticket Porter, Wire Card Setter / Wire Setter and Wood Collier / Wood Colyer. You can access the information for free on

Family Tree News June 2024

This month one of the families I researched lost eight children all aged under 3 years of age. I managed to locate their grave in London Road Cemetery, Coventry. Records showed that most of the children died from Tuberculosis. Of the three children who survived to adulthood, one of these died in childbirth. We forget today thanks to modern medicine that TB was once the world's greatest infectious killer.

I also managed to add another update to the Coventry Blitz pages, adding the details for the Hill, Holder and Jackson families. One of the Jacksons I added was a fireman whose name also appears on the dedication plaque in St Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry.

I went on to update my Dictionary of Old Occupations; click the link below to view this free of charge resource. This update comes with special thanks to Richard J for contacting me regarding a number of old occupations, two of which have now been added to the dictionary of old occupations Butter Badger and Chalk Drawer.

I also had an email from Jeff P who wanted to ‘acknowledge the value of your work in providing such a useful resource for those of us who are tracking down our ancestors, and often puzzled as to the occupations listed on various historical documents. I’m really grateful!’

Thanks Jeff, your email was much appreciated.

Dictionary of Old Occupations

Family Tree News 30 May 2024

This month has yielded exciting results for some of my customers. One ancestor risked his life to save historical treasures from the 1841 fire at the Tower of London. Further research into a different family revealed a convicted murderer who escaped punishment by moving to a different part of the country.

Family Tree News May 2024

Found a bit of time for another update to the Coventry Blitz pages adding the details of another four victims to my pages all named Clarke.

My other research this week has been really interesting. It was fascinating to find a hero in one family; he lived by the canal in Birmingham and saved several people from drowning. It is amazing how much information you can get from the local newspapers. These often include details of the occasional black sheep.

Family Tree News April 2024

It has been a while since my last update but I am still busy researching. The last year has been really interesting and although the areas I normally cover are England, Scotland and Wales I have spent several happy hours researching families of the British in India. As well as British families with roots in Jamaica and Martinique who then moved to live in Straits Settlements (Penang), researching this has been absolutely fascinating.

Family Tree News April 2021

What a year it has been since I last updated the news page on my website! Family Tree Research has kept me incredibly busy all through the various lockdowns we have had in the UK. I would like to thank my customers for making this happen. It has been a delight to keep working and get to know your family histories, which have been so fascinating to research.

Debi B got in touch with me from the USA regarding her fiance’s grandmother Florence Tunnicliffe Thompson, who was born in 1890, and sadly lost her life in April 1941 during WW2 air raids in Coventry. I have been able to add details for Florence to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre, including a lovely photograph of Florence. I would like to thank Debi for sharing this family history with us.

Family Tree News March 2020

For those who have asked… I am still working on existing family tree projects during the coronavirus pandemic, and I am taking on new research projects for new customers, as normal. Being able to work from home means I am able to safely continue research work for customers. So do feel free to check out my main website at, and get in touch with me if you are interested in having your family tree researched.

The government site I order birth, marriage and death certificates from is still operating. Their latest announcement is that they may not meet their usual timescales during the pandemic, so all of us genealogists and family tree enthusiast might need to be a little bit patient with them until things return to normal.

As ever, my best wishes to you all, and I hope you stay safe during these unusual times. As I said, I am available to undertake family tree projects for new customers, so if you are interested in that then the best way to contact is via

All the best,

Family Tree News March 2019

I would like to thank Pete S for getting in touch this week, with a query about Frederick George Waterer, who Pete is researching. I was able to find a newspaper article from the Coventry Evening Telegraph in October 1940, which provided useful information. I was also able to provide some supplementary information regarding Frederick, and have added all this to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre to help other researchers.

Family Tree News February 2019

Paula R got in touch recently asking if I could help provide any information regarding her granddad’s first wife Kate Dawson nee Stephenson, and youngest son Christopher Dawson who were tragically killed in the Coventry Blitz during World War 2. I was able to research some information for Paula, and have updated the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre with the details.

Family Tree News January 2019

I would like to thank Alan B for getting in touch regarding the definition of Press Maker in my Dictionary Of Old Occupations. After a bit of detective work including checking the 1901 Census, I have expanded the definition to include the manufacture of mangles.

Family Tree News November 2018

I was able to add some new info to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre this week. With thanks to Janet S for providing new details about her grandmother, Catherine Williams, who sadly lost her life in the Coventry Blitz.

Family Tree News October 2018

Thank you to Jean H for sending me updated information regarding Jean Reeves and Lily Bessie Reeves nee Bennett which I have added to the information on the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. I would also like to thank Heather S for providing new info obtained from Coventry Council regarding the burial place of John George Downing, which I have added to my website too. Interestingly, the site was recorded incorrectly by the War Graves Commission, Coventry Roll of the Fallen, etc.

Family Tree News June 2018

Found a bit of time for another update to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. This time I was able to add details for the following surnames: Barritt, Baseley, Battersby, Baylis, Beadle, Behan and Bell. You can find all the new information here:

Family Tree News May 2018

On this beautiful Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of May 2018, James Hewitt and I took a bit of time out to research some new information to add to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. We were able to add new information for the following blitz victim family surnames – Archer, Arthers, Ashby, Atkins, Barber, Barker and Barrell. We also updated Arthur Print’s record with additional information.

Family Tree News April 2018

Keith R from South Africa got in touch recently, helpfully providing information about the old occupational title of Spelterman. The information was gratefully received, and I have been able to add a definition to my Dictionary Of Old Occupations. Should any reader come across a Spelterman in your family tree, hopefully this information will be helpful.

I updated the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre. Added or updated historical records for the following families who lost someone in the Blitz: Williams, Roberts, Grady, Lewin, Lockett, Seltzer, Knighton, Angus, Clarke and Scott.

Thank you to those who got in touch with info about these sad losses.

Family Tree News March 2018

New data protection regs known as the GDPR come into force on May 25th 2018. In readiness for this, we reviewed our data handling processes in line with the new legal requirements to protect the personal data of our family tree customers.

If you are looking to commission a family tree research project, it is important you choose a genealogist who respects your privacy and your personal data.

To find out more about how we how we comply with the GDPR and respect your privacy, please have a look at the privacy policy/privacy notice on the Family Researcher website. The link is

Family Tree News February 2018

This is my first website update of 2018 due to the amount of work I have been doing researching family trees for so many wonderful customers, which has been keeping me very busy. However, I do have some great news on that front.

My son James is joining the Family Researcher team full time, which will increase the amount of concurrent projects we are able to fulfil. In addition to providing ongoing admin and clerical support for some time, James spent the last three years or more gaining practical experience of genealogy and learning family tree research skills. He is a welcome addition to the team.

Also, I would like to thank Julie B for the information she provided regarding three Blitz deaths during WW2. Julie kindly provided details for three members of the Pickering family who tragically lost their lives during the Coventry Blitz. These details have been added to the website.

Family Tree News September 2017

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.

Family Tree News August 2017

Hi everyone

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

Family Tree News July 2017

Just added details for Robert Wilton Wood to the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre pages. With thanks to Ralph for getting in touch.

Family Tree News May 2016

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.

Family Tree News January 2016

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.

Family Tree News August 2015

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.

Family Tree News 14 March 2015

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.

Family Tree News 23 February 2015

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.

Family Tree News 25 January 2015

Two website updates just added:

- Details for Thomas George Over have been added to the list of victims of the Coventry Blitz. (With thanks to Gary M who kindly got in touch with details; Thomas was the husband of his great aunt).

- In response to a query from Anita W, I have added details of the old occupation Key Stamper to the site.

Family Tree News 16 November 2014

Just added another entry to my historical records of Coventry during WW2. Wilfred Robert Askew - Sergeant Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Family Tree News 09 November 2014

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

Family Tree News 28 October 2014

Courtesy of The Revd Dr Jonathan Holmes, the memoirs of Gwendoline Holmes are now available on 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.

Family Tree News 22 July 2014

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.

This week I added 4 new definitions to the Dictionary of Old Occupations - Linkman, Seamstress, Small Runner and Mantle Maker. I also updated the definition of Runner with additional info.

Family Tree News 15 June 2014

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 :-)

Family Tree News 31 May 2014

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.

Family Tree News 11 May 2014

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.

Family Tree News 29 March 2014

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.

Family Tree News 8 March 2014

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.

Family Tree News 2 February 2014

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.

Family Tree News 3 January 2014

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!

Family Tree News 02 November 2013

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.

Family Tree News 30 July 2013

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.

Family Tree News 11 July 2013

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

Family Tree News 16 June 2013

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.

Family Tree News 29 May 2013

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.

Family Tree News 19 May 2013

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.

Family Tree News 27 April 2013

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!

Family Tree News 14 April 2013

Added details about Edward Hughes and Harold Benjamin Hughes to the website.

Family Tree News 24 March 2013

Researched two victims of the Coventry Blitz – Ann and David Hughes. Read about them at the Coventry Blitz Resource Centre.

Family Tree News 09 March 2013

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.)

Family Tree News 17 February 2013

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.

Family Tree News 03 February 2013

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.

Family Tree News 20 January 2013

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.
- Jane

Family Tree News 12 January 2013

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!

Family Tree News 01 January 2013

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.

Family Tree News 23 December 2012

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.

Family Tree News 08 December 2012

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.

You can access the site here. There is also a BBC news article on the subject available here.

If you are interested in the WW2 Blitz I have lots of information about it on my own family researcher website.

Family Tree News 01 December 2012

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!

Family Tree News 18 November 2012

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:

  • Herbert George Harrison
  • Lydia Ann Harrison nee Checklin
  • Emily Harritt nee Meakin
  • Cyril Herbert Glenister Hartup
  • Daniel Harvey
  • George Leonard Harvey

Family Tree News 10 November 2012

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.

Family Tree News 14 October 2012

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.

Family Tree News 30 September 2012

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

Family Tree News 09 September 2012

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.

Family Tree News 02 September 2012

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.

With thanks to Terry who got in touch in August I have now added Pike Helve Maker, Spade Tree Turner and Spade Tree Maker to the Dictionary of Old Occupations.

Family Tree News 30 August 2012

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
Jane Hewitt

Family Tree News 09 August 2012

Did you know you can get my Dictionary of Old Occupations in the US as well as in the UK? If you are in the US it is available in Kindle format as well as other formats.

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.

Family Tree News 01 August 2012

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!

Family Tree News 01 July 2012

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.

Family Tree News 24 June 2012

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!

Family Tree News 6 June 2012

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.

Family Tree News 26 May 2012

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.

Family Tree News 12 May 2012

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.

Family Tree News 6 May 2012

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.

Family Tree News 12 April 2012

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

Family Tree News 01 April 2012

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.

Family Tree News 11 March 2012

The latest Coventry Family History Society journal will be out any day now, you can see some of the highlights on

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.

Family Tree News 04 March 2012

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.

Family Tree News 16 February 2012

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!

Family Tree News 22 January 2012

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.

Family Tree News 2 January 2012

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!

Older news updates can be found in the 2011 family tree news archive, the 2010 family tree news archive and the 2009 family tree news archive.

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