30th April 2007
Monday - 9.25pm : I have made a discovery! You might remember me mentioning my search for Great Grandfather Alfred's birth certificate. Well, I haven't found it, but I have found something else.
A few weeks ago I received a copy of Alfred's Baptism entry in Parish registers, so I knew he was born before a certain date. Yesterday evening I was going through our bookshelves to find the books Nan had received for attentance at school. I already had a family bible in a box so assumed that was the only one. How wrong was I?! Pulling the books off the shelf one by one, I came across another bible, one just like the other except the cover on this one was in a more delicate condition. I carefully opened the cover and there in beautiful handwriting at the top of the inner cover was Alfred's name and date of birth. I'd had the information I needed all along, I just didn't know it! I was practically jumping for joy, although nobody was quite as happy as I was about it. Alfred's name isn't the only one on the inside front cover of the bible. It also contains details of Nan, her Mum, sister and brother.
Upon closing the book I caught sight of some handwriting on the back pages. I turned the book over and carefully opened the back cover. Inside there was 2 pages full of names, dates of birth and dates of death. Some kind soul had written all this down in the family bible, probably not knowing just how helpful it would be for me.
I told Dad about the book, knowing that either he or Mum had to have put that bible on the bookshelf when we moved here over 7 years ago. Dad had known about the bible, but he'd completely forgotten that it was full of names! Now I wonder just what other useful information he knows about, but has forgotten. Actually, I had a similar situation when I discovered what his Nan's maiden name was. I told him and he suddenly remembered that he already knew that. I need to find some way of tapping into Dad's memory!
Right then, I'm off to write my entry for this months Carnival of Genealogy. The topic is "School Days", so now you know why I was looking for Nan's books from her school.
29th April 2007
Dad & I met Roy & Anne at Coed y Dinas (Welshpool) at 12.30, just in time for lunch. Anne had brought me a scan/print-out of a family shield & inscription they'd had done on the family surname and I had copied a photo of Alfred for her. We all sat and ate lunch while telling family stories and describing relatives. You wouldn't believe the similarities! Put it this way, we've discovered the male members of our family should never be in possession of a gun! We're also hoarders (I'm definitely a hoarder, but I'm glad to know it's a family trait and not just me). I enjoyed listening to family stories and memories, from both Dad and Roy.
It was great to meet Roy & Anne. They're wonderful people and we're already planning to meet up again. A big thanks to the Genes Reunited website for helping us connect!
I've watched 2 more films since my last film-filled entry. On Wednesday I watched The Departed. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it features an all-star cast including Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone and Alec Baldwin. It's a great film with a fantastic storyline (why else would so many top actors sign up to be in it?). I'd definitely recommend this one.
Yesterday I watched An Unfinished Life. I'd never heard of it before, but seeing that Robert Redford is in it I decided to give it a go. It's a wonderful film starring not only Redford, but also Morgan Freemand, Jenifer Lopez and Damian Lewis. It's about a woman who escapes her abusive boyfriend with her daughter and moves in with her father-in-law, who blames her for the death of his son. I'm glad I found this one. It's well worth watching.
Friends have raved about Casino Royale, so I have rented the DVD to watch sometime today. It's had great reviews, so I'm sure I'll enjoy it.
23rd April 2007
Monday - 8.15pm : I've just been watching Miss Potter, a film based on the life of author/illustrator Beatrix Potter. It's a wonderful film starring Renée Zellweger (as Miss Potter) and Ewan McGregor (as Norman Warne, her publisher). The film shows us Beatrix's stand to live life how she wanted and how much love & pride she put into her work. Renée and Ewan work very well together and even Beatrix's illustrations come alive. It's a beautiful film and I'd definitely recommend it!
It's not the only film I've watched lately. In fact, I've watched a film a day for the past 3 days and I intend to watch another tomorrow. Choices sent me various vouchers (to be used before the end of the month), including Free Rental, Rent 1 Rent 1 Free, Rent for 99p, Free Popcorn, and so I intend to make the most of them.
Yesterday I watched World Trade Center. It's based on the true story of John McLoughlin and William Jimeno, two Port Authority Police officers who were trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center on 11th September 2001. I believe the film was done well and wasn't Hollywoodised (if you know what I mean). It's a truly moving film.
On Saturday I watched Inside Man. It begins with a man who tells us he has planned the perfect bank robbery and we watch the robbery unfold, only it doesn't seem quite like a straightforward robbery. It's worth a watch.
Last week I rented You, Me and Dupree (funny!) and The DaVinci Code (brilliant!). All these DVDs (5 and counting) and I've only paid a rental fee on 2 of them. I'll be renting another free one tomorrow!
14th April 2007
Saturday - 9.45pm : That bit of photography kit I ordered a few weeks ago finally arrived this morning! The item in question is a Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens. I'd been after one since I bought my digital SLR camera last year and I finally saved up enough to buy it. So I'm sure you can guess what I was up to today! Here are the results:
In my other hobby... Some birth/marriage/death certificates I'd ordered arrived this morning. One of those certificates was that of the birth of Francis, my Great Grandfather Alfred's eldest brother. It gives me hope that there must be one for Alfred too. After all, his eldest brother and young brothers had their births registered, so why wouldn't he? One clue I have to work from is Alfred's baptism. The Archive centre sent me a copy of his baptism from the parish records, so I know he was born before that date. A friend of Dad's has offered to help me search for Alfred's birth certificate, so maybe he'll have more success than I've had with it.
A couple of marriage certificates also arrived this morning. In both instances the couples were known to go to chapel and were also buried at chapels. However, it turned out that both couples were married in church. I'm going to have to talk to Nan & Granddad about this one to see if they know why.
Something that might interest you... The original Titanic passenger lists are now available online at Find My Past. You can view them for free on the website for a week (until Friday 20th April), but after that they will be subject to a fee (as per their other records). Definitely well worth taking a look while they're free!
11th April 2007
Wednesday - 10.00pm : I recently received a copy of my Great Great Great Grandparents' marriage in a parish register. It didn't give me as much information as I thought it would, but there was something that surprised/excited me. Most of my ancestors seem to have been illiterate, which isn't surprising as education wasn't great in those days. What did surprise me was instead of the usual "X" mark, my Great Great Great Grandfather Francis had signed his own name. I have a sample of handwriting from an ancestor in 1797!
A couple of years ago Nan gave me a handful of letters from some relations in Ontario, Canada. The first couple of letters were from Nan's Great Uncle, A.B. The other letters were from his daughter, Mary. The family lost contact sometime during the 1970s and I would love to get in contact with them, especially as I know both Mum & Nan would like to hear from them again. A.B. died in the 1950s and I think Mary died too, but Mum had been in contact with Mary's daughter Sharon so it would be great to find her again.
The letters have enabled me to find A.B. on a passenger list on Find My Past. He departed Liverpool on 2nd June 1904 for Montreal, Quebec. He went on his own. Once I'd found this out I searched the net for any other records I might be able to find. I came across the Halton Information Network which enabled me to search their Historical and Newspaper Records. Entering the appropriate surnames brought up a range of birth, marriage and death notices including the people I've been looking for! The most useful being Sharon's engagement notice. It should show the name of her husband, so that might help us to track her down. The other articles, such as A.B.'s obituary, should give me handy information to help add to the family tree. I have contacted the library which holds the newspaper articles and they have been very helpful. I can't wait to see the newspaper articles.
Congratulations to Sarah & Paul on their engagement!
8th April 2007
Sunday - 2.15pm : It's Easter weekend which means I'm in the middle of a 4 day weekend. On Friday morning we went to West Midlands Safari Park. To say it was busy was an understatement... Never go there on holiday weekends! It was a boiling hot day (if it's like this now, what's it going to be like in August?!) and I wasn't so keep on being couped up in a car for that length of time in that heat. It took twice as long as it should have done to get around the safari park because of the sheer amount of traffic and the amount of people who stop for ages to look at something (which was causing the huge queue in the first place). I did enjoy looking at all the animals (the tigers & lions certainly seemed to be enjoying the hot weather), but I won't be rushing back there in a hurry (even if we were given a free return ticket!).
After some lunch in Bewdley we headed to Titterstone Clee Hill. Some of my family worked & lived in that area and I wanted to take a look. From the summit you can see for miles & miles and some of the landscape up there is pretty barren. It's more like a mountain! The "golf ball" like structures are radar domes and can be seen from miles away (you can find a close up of one of them here). Dad found it too cold & windy up there so he stopped in the car while Mum & I went for a walk. The hill is shaped by many years of quarrying and remains dot the landscape. Unfortunately, many of those remains have now been vandalised. The mind boggles as to why somebody so bored with life would make such an effort to go up the hill just to vandalise it.
From there we drove to Stoke St. Milborough, where Mum spent some of her time growing up. We parked the car just outside the village and walked across the Common. Mum had walked it many times as a child, usually going down to the village shop with a neighbour or to fetch something. The Common now has a stone track for access to the few cottages dotted along the Common, but it was just a green track when Mum was young. We passed Granny's cottage, the old family home and George's house (a neighbour), before walking back to the car. Mum talked about days gone by while we were up there. I love getting my parents to come for a drive/walk as I often get to hear old family stories and learn new things.
Before coming home we headed into Ludlow for an ice cream (or, in my case, an ice lolly) and a walk around the market.
Yesterday we headed back to Ludlow. We parked on top of Whitcliffe Common and walked down one of the routes down to the river before heading back up the town hill. We had another walk around the market then got an ice cream. This time I went for a coconut sorbet (as I realised there's no milk in sorbet). It was delicious and almost tasted like ice cream! We then headed back up to Whitcliffe Common (unwittingly taking the steepest route!).
We then headed to Church Stretton to visit my Grandparents and go for a walk around Carding Mill Valley. The valley was heaving with tourists and it wasn't easy finding a place to park. We spent an hour there, but have decided to back when it's less busy.
I haven't been so busy today. This morning I watched the F1 Malaysian Grand Prix and I must say I'm absolutely estatic at today's F1 result. A McLaren 1-2 finish! Alonso belted off into the distance while Hamilton took the Ferraris and help them back. Another stunning start from the rookie. Hamilton came 3rd in the first race of the season and 2nd today, so what's next?! I thought Räikkönen and Alonso would have been the perfect team, but now the season has started I think McLaren do have the perfect team in Alonso and Hamilton. I can't wait to see what happens next weekend!
I haven't a clue what tomorrow will bring, but I have various vouchers (free/rent for only 99p/rent 1 rent 1 free/free popcorn) for DVD rental so I think I'll pop to town in a bit and see what takes my fancy. I might just pick up a Chinese take-away while I'm at it.