Every life story is extraordinary.
My great grandmother Polly Smith worked as a domestic servant for Nicholas Gosselin aka ‘The Gosling’ — head of the Irish Special Branch.
Millicent Gifford left a mining family in the Forest of Dean to work as a cook for a singer, composer and organiser of grand Elizabethan style pageants.
Deodatus Eaton IV of Oxford (1819-1879) was an army surgeon, notorious bankrupt, scandalous divorcé, and Australian emigrant.
In 1867 Richard Talmer was charged with an ‘unnatural crime’ along with fellow workhouse inmate William Jennings.
‘Wilfully murdered by his mother’: In 1851 Fanny Talmer was accused of murdering her nine week old son Henry in Amersham workhouse.
In the 19th century, numerous women were injured and killed when their dresses caught fire, like my ancestor Eliza Maultby.
A look at the dangers that fire presented to 19th century women, such as my ancestor Anne Benwell, whose dress caught fire in 1818.
Alfred Munday led Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s orchid collection for 36 years.
The 1798 Buckinghamshire posse comitatus gave me a valuable window into my deep Bucks ancestry.
The life and career of George Read (1832-1919), a Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police Thames Division
Did Harriet Horlock have a royal baby? And did her daughter Violet become a silent movie star? I turn detective, and look for the truth behind our family stories.
Family lore said that Harriet Horlock was a nurse who had a baby with the King of England. But where did she fit in the family tree? Follow my journey as I unravel a truly tangled family tree.
Meet James Benwell, gardener in the Oxford Botanic Garden for nearly 40 years. Uneducated, an expert on Oxfordshire plants, legendary leach-finder, and celebrated hollerer.
In honour of Nurses Day yesterday and the 75th anniversary of VE Day last week I would like to pay my respects to my ancestor, Mabel Annie Maultby. Though not a close relation, Mabel’s story particularly touched me. Mabel’s father Sidney Skinner Maultby, an Inspector of Weights and Measures, was the first cousin of myContinue reading “Mabel Maultby – a WW2 Nurse and Civilian Casualty”
This week I’ve been investigating an event that took place in my village in 1876 – a crime ‘so unparalleled in that neighbourhood that it occasioned quite a thrilling sensation’! On 30 December, 1876, a ‘tragical occurrence’ took place in Drayton (now in Oxon but then in Berks), when a young man named Benjamin MarshallContinue reading “A Double Murder Attempt in Drayton”
An Ancestor Who Vanished Into Thin Air Two weeks ago, Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge started a four-week theme series of Water, Fire, Air, and Land. Purely coincidentally, I wrote about drownings in the Thames in water week, and in fire week I wrote about an ancestor whose job was theContinue reading “One Wedding, One Fake Marriage, and No Funeral”
On Thursday night at 8 pm my son and husband played ukelele and my daughter and I sang in a family rendition of ‘Over the Rainbow‘ on our front porch, as neighbours all around us clapped for our NHS, healthcare and other essential workers. Throughout our village, and around the world, the rainbow has becomeContinue reading “The Lightning Rod of Esculapius Wood”
Drownings & Burials in 18th Century Deptford I’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately poring over the parish records for St Nicholas’ church in Deptford searching for the burial of an ancestor, shipwright William Saword (b. 1700). His wife Deborah was buried there in 1772 but I can’t find any burial for him.Continue reading “A Person Unknown Drowned In the Thames”
In 1928, my granny (my dad’s mother) broke several records at the tender age of 19 months. This is the story of how she came to be on the front pages of several Canadian newspapers, and what happened next. The story begins with my great grandmother, Annie Margaret Munday. Annie was born in Aylesbury, Bucks,Continue reading “Raised by an Aunt & Uncle Part 2: A Transatlantic Record”
When you find a child missing from a census, the first assumption is probably that the child has died. Sadly, this was far too often the case. Sometimes though, they were living with other family members. You might even find them with a grandparent living right next door, where there was more space! Of course,Continue reading “Raised by an Aunt & Uncle Part 1: The Mysterious Locket”
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