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Monday, 28 October 2019

Rootstech London 2019

You may have been aware that Rootstech came to London for the first time at the end of last week.  Rootstech is arguably the biggest of the Family History Conferences.  It took place at the London Excel centre on 24th to 26th October.

I was lucky and given the OK by my husband to attend on all three days as I had won a 3 day free pass.  I didn't enjoy the travelling; getting a train at about 7am and not getting home until 7 was very tiring.....yes, back to commuting during peak times.

A friend was there too but we didn't see much of each other as she was partly volunteering on the Guild of One Named Studies and we were often in different talks.

I attended 14 lectures by experienced researchers; I had a 1:1 with a professional researcher to try and solve Peter's Irish brickwall and a 1:1 with an experienced volunteer on the Society of Genealogist's stand for my Scottish brickwall.  I am afraid we didn't break down either of them but I have plenty of further resource links to go through now.  I saw a demonstration on an update to Family Historian, my family history software, and looking forward to it's release after Christmas.  I sat through several demonstrations on stands on Ancestry, FMP and Family Search.  I got freebies - bags, notebooks and pencils.  There were special prices, a chance to print big fan charts for free, cyber cafe's for researching whilst there, books and many, many exhibitors on a range of products, information and websites about family history.  I also chatted with people interested in the same topics as me and spoke to people from around the world....all sharing the same passion.  You had to pay for a pass to get to the lectures but the exhibition hall was free.  I'd go again if it comes, here's hoping it was successful and they want to return.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Zachariah Weston 1857-1933

Zachariah was my great great uncle. He was born 1 March1857 in Etchingham and died in 1933.   His parents were Samuel Weston (1806-1894) and Sarah Newick (1818-1897)  He married Emily Jane Kemp in 1887  Zachariah and Emily Jane had 9 chldren of which 7 were still living in 1911.  

He was a railway platelayer in 1881 and lived with his parents in Garners Cottages, Etchingham.  In 1891 he was living with his wife and family at Churchh House Cottages, Etchingham and was still a platelayer.  In 1901 he was living at Hammerden Cottage, Stonegate, Ticehurst and was still a platelayer.  In 1911 he was a raiway labourer but that could still have been a platelayer.  He was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers during World War 1..  

Plate layers were trackmen. Some early railway lines were of wood, capped with metal plates to protect the wood from wear. The men who laid the track were therefore called "platelayers". The name stuck, even though that form of construction soon went out of favour.

The upkeep of the rails, sleepers, plates and permanent way are vital to the safe running of trains A plate layer would be responsible for all aspects of track maintenance such as replacing worn out rails or rotten sleepers, packing to ensure a level track, weeding and clearance of the drains etc. There was little available to them in the way of mechanical assistance in those days and it often involving arduous and uncomfortable work. They were usually assigned to each mile or two miles of track, with a platelayers' hut as shelter and working base. These were generally a single room, immediately adjacent to the running lines, equipped with a table, chairs, and a simple heating stove.

The status and pay of a platelayer, fixing and maintaining the track day in day out, was far lower that the engineman driving the train passed him.

Etchingham station building dates from 1851, when both the station and the first section of the Hastings line opened.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Certificate surprises

I decided to ask for BMD certificates for my birthday and Christmas presents.  I didn't really expect any surprises from the Death certificates but I was wrong!!  Firstly I had a death certificate for my Grandad, Frank Horace Weston.  No surprises there but it did confirm his cause of death.  Secondly a death certificate for my Great Great Grandad, William Eldridge, who had died when only 24 in 1868  Cause of death was "want of iron in blood"; anaemia, as we would say now.  Both of these were on my maternal side.   Finally a death certificate on my paternal side for my great grandad, Thomas White, who died aged 69 in 1923 of aortic aneurism and cardiac muscle failure.  The surprise was the name of the informant as I had believed she had been disowned when she had an illegitimate child.

My final certificate was a marriage certificate for 1840 of my great, great, great grandparents on my maternal side.  How disappointing to find no father's names listed on the certificate.  Perhaps I can take some comfort that at least it didn't list them as "not known".  Who were they?

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Genealogy update Clark (e)

It is quite exciting to get back to the early 1700s and find my 6x great grandfather, Christopher Clarke and his wife, Mary Noakes, mentioned in old documents relating to Zebulon Noakes.  I spent a day at The Keep pouring over old documents such as probate of wills and conveyances.

I also found a bastardy record for my 5x great grandmother, Eleanor Griffin, workhouse registers for my 3x great grandfather, Henry Clarke and also documents relating to my 2x great grandparents, Dick Douch Clarke and his wife Margaret Hoad.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Yorkshire Dales and the Flying Scotsman

We saw an advert for a short coach trip holiday to the Yorkshire Dales that included a trip on the Flying Scotsman on the Keighley to Worth Valley Railway and decided it was an ideal opportunity to see a part of the countryside that we had never visited before as well as having a trip on this special steam train.

The scenery during morning's coach ride through the Yorkshire Dales to Oxenhope was beautiful even though many parts were shrouded in mist.  It truly was up hill and down dale; very bleak in parts and towns and villages built on sides of hills and in valleys; from remote farmhouses to back to back terraced housing with no gardens.... what a range.

We arrived at Oxenhope about an hour before our train ride so there was plenty of time to take photos of locomotives and view the carriage shed museum before the Flying Scotsman was due.  All the tickets had been pre-sold for the journey and so there were plenty of people on the platform all eagerly waiting the first sight of her.  We found a good spot on a grass bank on the far side of the platform and waited with our cameras poised; we weren't disappointed.

We boarded the carriage for our booked seats and were close to the end of the train which meant we got views of the Flying Scotsman locomotive as we went round curves.  One of the Keighley locomotives was on the back of the train and that pulled the train from Oxenhope to Keighley non-stop.  We had about 20 minutes on the platform whilst some of the passengers left and others joined and then the Flying Scotsman pulled up the slope out of Keighley to Oxenhope.  It made one stop at Haworth for the changeover of more passengers and then finally pulled into Oxenhope again.  A very momentous occasion although it meant more in a different way to Peter than to me.  I just appreciate the beauty and nostalgia of a steam train whereas Peter would live for them and all the technical details.

These are all photos as the Flying Scotsman arriving at Oxenhope.








Steam loco on the back of the Scotsman train



Flying Scotsman pulling out of Keighley station on our return journey.



Arrived back in Oxenhope

Pictures from the carriage shed/museum:




The coach took us from Oxenhope to Haworth; Bronte country!!!  A beautiful village built on a steep cobbled street.  We were left at the top so that people could choose how much of the hill they wished to climb; many stopped in the cafes and enjoyed the sunshine and others chose to walk around and get some exercise.  We were a little disappointed the church was shut whilst the local primary school was rehearsing their end of term performance.  Certainly a place to visit again when we are on our own and can choose how long we stay in each place.  The coach took the same route back to our hotel so we could see the scenery in the afternoon sun.

Views in and around Haworth:








The next day we left early as we had a trip to Skipton and Grassington before setting off for home.  More beautiful scenery past old mills and Pendle witch countryside.  Skipton was a lovely market town set on the side of the canal and we had a lovely time exploring the boat station and along the canal paths before grabbing a coffee and going back to the coach.

Views along the canal in Skipton:








Grassington is a pretty picture book village overlooking the Dales and we wandered round the village, grabbed some fish and chips to eat in the village centre whilst people watching!  We ten explored some of the back streets of old cottages before returning to our coach and starting the 8 hour journey home.

Views around Grassington:











Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Genealogical Musings

Was it really 4 months since I last blogged?  No point in wondering where the time went because we know Christmas got in the way and then I was busy making decisions what to do about this Do Over for my family history.  It didn't help that the software company was pulling the plug on my software; that my attempts to change some of the event types to match those in Ancestry was an absolute disaster and all of a sudden I had a new contact to exchange family genealogy on my maternal side.  I wanted to research more to exchange, answer her questions and yet sort out new software at the same time - not easy.  I was also trying to sort out all my genealogy images into a new system on the laptop too.  I don't do things by halves!!

Somehow I managed to juggle the new research and yet get new software too (Family Historian) but I have only been tinkering with the software and not really started using it yet.  I need to bite the bullet but something is delaying me......... well, three things really.

Firstly I signed up for a six week free online genealogy class with Future Learn but that is finishing this week so I can't use that excuse again (maybe I can use another excuse that I have signed up for another class starting next week !!).

Secondly I really want to create a direct line ancestor journal to pass on to my children and I might be better only entering those people into the new software first, creating any charts needed and then expanding the software. 

Thirdly the dilemma of importing a gedcom and sorting out the problems or do I just re-enter afresh and give things a good check over as I do that.  Hmmmmm.....Go-over becomes Do_over.
I want to keep an expanded paper file for me that has all the information I know about my direct line ancestors, rather than the abbreviated version.  If either of the children are interested in later life then they can have the full version when I have to give up research.  Part of me also wants to keep a paper list of basic details or maybe a card index file of anyone in my tree.....yes I am collecting as many distant relatives as I can.  At least with paper based records it is a valid alternative to the electronic though you can't beat the software for all the reports and charts it produces at the click of a button.  I am struggling with how to organise my expanded paper file though.  I want to make it by relationship; so having all my grandparents in one, all great grandparents in another, great great in another and so forth.

So have my musings helped me make decisions ...... no, not really.  I just need to stop some of the other hobbies and apply myself to the family history :)



Friday, 11 December 2015

Cuckfield Christmas Tree Festival - The Little Yellow Duck Project

Little Yellow Duck Project - Cuckfield Christmas Tree Festival 11th-13th December

Do visit this Festival in Sussex this weekend and take a duck from under "The Gift of Life" tree.




"The Little Yellow Duck Project is a global initiative highlighting the life-saving random acts of kindness of blood, bone marrow, organ and tissue donation.  Whilst every random act of kindness has the ability to brighten someone's day, these donations have the ability to literally save or transform someone's entire life."


More can be found at their website here




The tree is decorated with card ducks with the website url on oneside and on the otherside is a quote from some of the comments left when ducks are registered on the map. There are also lots of little salt dough ducks painted yellow; these were made by my little grandchildren. My husband cut out four white polystyrene ducks and hung them and there are also some fluorescent ducks in pink and yellow telling people to take a duck from the boxes below. There are also  pink flourescent circles with the statistics about donations. I made a crochet "duck" angel for the top of the tree and bought some gold lights and gold lametta (gosh that lametta took me back to my childhood!!) I started off with the explanatory note beneath the tree but in the end moved it up onto the tree itself where it could be read more easily.





One third of the ducks are in boxes beneath the tree for visitors to take as a random act of kindness; made with love for the cause and for the recipient.  The ducks have been donated for this purpose from friends and fellow supporters around England and the boxes will be replenished throughout the event.







I have already handed out several ducks to people who were decorating their own trees. Hopefully the ducks will start to be registered and should soon appear on the map. I know I will be watching the map and ticking off any Cuckfield duck that appears (I have a list of all the duck names.)





 Do visit the tree, take a duck and register it on the map.  Linger a while on the website and read about the project.