Raised by an Aunt & Uncle Part 2: A Transatlantic Record

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”

Raised by an Aunt & Uncle Part 1: The Mysterious Locket

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”

Geagle Badcock Sniffs Out a Criminal

Geagle Badcock (c1724-1802) was the Cook of Pembroke College, Oxford for more than 50 years in the 1700s. I love his name, and imagine that even if he was an excellent chef, some cheeky scholar would have nicknamed him ‘Geagle Badcook‘. In 1776, when he was about 47, Geagle placed an extraordinary advertisement in Jackson’sContinue reading “Geagle Badcock Sniffs Out a Criminal”

Crowdfunding – Georgian Style

Have you ever contributed to a crowdfunding campaign to support a startup, community project or someone in need? It might seem like a new idea, but in fact, people had similar ways of fundraising for causes and ideas 250 years ago! In the 1700s-1800s crowdfunding for a new product or project was commonly called ‘publicContinue reading “Crowdfunding – Georgian Style”

Wot No German DNA?

Last week I got my DNA results back from Ancestry.com. I’ve been doing document-based genealogy for 30+ years but I’m unfashionably late to the party with DNA testing. Unlike most of my American friends, whose DNA would be a colourful and exciting melting pot, I was fully expecting mine to be primarily English and quite boring.  However,Continue reading “Wot No German DNA?”

Christmas Cheer in the Workhouse

Workhouses have a reputation for cruelty and despair. After watching the BBC’s edgy new production of a Christmas Carol yesterday, and the (not at all edgy) Muppet version today, I’ve been reminded of Scrooge’s famous commentary on the workhouses; his appalling lack of empathy for the poor still resonates in 2019: “At this festive seasonContinue reading “Christmas Cheer in the Workhouse”

Queen Alexandra, a Progressive Police Orphanage, and a Royal Affair

Last year my daughter found an algae-covered claypipe bowl head in the Letcombe Brook in Wantage. We cleaned it up and I realised it was the lovely face of Queen Alexandra (Alexandra of Denmark), who had visited Wantage in 1877 when she was Princess of Wales (a title she held for 38 years until theContinue reading “Queen Alexandra, a Progressive Police Orphanage, and a Royal Affair”

I’m a British Library reader! And you can be one too!

This week I became a reader at the British Library, and I want to tell you the steps I went through (spoilers: it was easy!) A friend suggested meeting at the British Library to see the Buddhism exhibition. Great, said I (since I had heard really good things about it) but would you mind ifContinue reading “I’m a British Library reader! And you can be one too!”