Saturday, 30 November 2013

November's Interesting Blogs

There are a lot of interesting blog posts I have encountered this month, so here is a selection...

British Newspaper Archive - The British Library prepares to move...

Great news to the northern English genealogists out there, to be getting the Newspaper Archives on our doorstep.

Bonfire (Image link:,
Author: Yoninah,  1 May 2010

British Newspaper Archive - Guy Fawkes Night Celebrations

How was Guy Fawkes Night celebrated in the past?

British Genes Blogspot - Victorian London OS Maps go online

Old London maps are now available to view online and are georeferenced so they can be viewed alongside present day maps.

GeoCurrents - The Geography of European Surnames

Yes, I am a geek who loves names and the meanings of them and their origins, so I found this blog post really, really interesting. There is lots more to learn :)

Young & Savvy Genealogists - Learning: The Village Idiot Factor

More about "the genealogical standard of proof", how to prove the facts from your research.

The British Genes Blogspot - Life in London's Anglican Parishes - exhibition

An exhibition of the parishes of Victorian London, their interaction in society and within their local communities.

Your Family Tree - London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes website revamped

Searching the newspapers, check out the revamped website for the Gazettes online.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 12 - The Year I Was Born

Each week there are prompts which require answering. 

Week 12 - The Year I Was Born

The year I was born was designated the International Youth Year by the United Nations.

Titanic Wreck
(Image link:, Author:
Courtesy of NOAA/Institute for Exploration/University of Rhode Island
(NOAA/IFE/URI), June 2004
Queen Elizabeth II was on the throne and Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister.

Significant Events

  • South Africa ends its ban on interracial marriages
  • Coco-cola releases NEW COKE, but it was not popular & only lasted 6 months
  • Discover a hole in the Ozone Layer
  • The wreck of the Titanic is located
  • Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior in bombed and sinks in Auckland Harbour
  • A total solar eclipse occurs over the Antarctic
  • Calvin & Hobbes debuts
  • Comic relief is launched
  • BT began phasing out their iconic red phone boxes
  • First British mobile phone call is made
  • DNA is first used in a criminal case
  • Windows first version is released by Microsoft
  • Nintendo's first home video game console is released
  • Tetris is released


  • Boris Becker, aged 17, is Wimbledon's youngest winner
  • Bradford City football stadium goes up in smoke, killing 56 people


  • Norway wins Eurovision
  • Live Aid raises >£50 million for the famine in Ethiopia
  • 'The Power of Love' by Jennifer Rush was the biggest selling single of the year
  • 'Merry Christmas Everyone' by Shakin' Stevens was the Christmas Number 1
  • Number 1 singles:
  • Live Aid
    (Image link:,
    Author: Alfabille, 14 Dec 2012
    • 'We Are The World' by Band Aid
    • 'I Want to Know What Love Is' by Foreigner
    • 'I Know Him So Well' by Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson
    • 'You Spin Me Around (Like A Record)' by Dead or Alive
    • 'Easy Lover' by Philip Bailey & Phil Collins
    • 'We Are The World' by USA Africa
    • 'Move Closer' by Phyllis Nelson
    • '19' by Paul Hardcastle
    • 'You'll Never Walk Alone' by The Crowd
    • 'Frankie' by Sister Sledge
    • 'There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)' by Eurythmics
    • 'Into the Groove' by Madonna
    • 'I Got You Babe' by UB40 & Chrissie Hynde
    • 'Dancing In The Street' by David Bowie & Mick Jagger
    • 'If I Was' by Midge Ure
    • 'The Power Of Love' by Jennifer Rush
    • 'A Good Heart' by Feargal Sharkey
    • 'I'm Your Man' by Wham!
    • 'Saving All My Love For You' by Whitney Houston
    • 'Merry Christmas Everyone' by Shakin' Stevens

Bacup Police Station featured in Juliet Bravo
(Image link:,
Photographer: Dr Neil Clifton,  30 Jun 2011

Films & TV

  • Back to the Future, was the highest grossing film
  • Eastenders is first aired on BBC 1.
  • James Bond film, A View To A Kill is released
  • Juliet Bravo, ended (filmed in the town where I lived)
  • Open All Hours, ended

Famous Births

  • Lewis Hamilton, British F1 driver
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese footballer
  • Keira Knightley, English actor
  • Leona Lewis, English singer
  • Lily Allen, British singer
  • Wayne Rooney, British footballer

Famous Deaths

  • EB White, the author of Charlotte's Web & Stuart Little
  • Laszlo Biro, inventor of the ballpoint pen

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Surname Saturday - Wright

Surname Saturday is a regular blog post in which I will discuss the origins and geography of the surnames which appear in my own family tree.

This week's surname is WRIGHT.

Variants: Right, Rite, Wraight, Wraighte, Wrate, Wreight, Wrighte, Write or Wryght

Wright is an occupational surname for a person who made things. "Wright" is derived from the Old English wyrhta or wryhta meaning a craftsman. There were different kinds of wrights depending on whether the craftsman had a speciality craft such as:
  • Wheelwright - a person who makes wheels
  • Shipwright - a person who builds boats 
  • Playwright - a person who makes or writes plays

Wright is the 13th most common surname in the UK and the reason behind this is most villages would have had a "wright" - a local village handyman, who was talented at making things with his hands.

In 1891, 14% of the Wright family's were located in Yorkshire, 14% in London and 13% in Lancashire.

As it is a common surname, it is not a surprise that this surname appears in at least two different families in my family tree:

  1. My great, great grandmother, Mary Wright, married George Presswood. She was born c1838 in Elksley, Nottinghamshire but I know very little about her background or family...more research to be undertaken.
  2. Another of my great, great grandmothers was a Wright (see photo below). Born Lucy Ann Wright she married William Thompson in Leeds. She was the daughter of a groomsman named John Wright and the family originated from the Church Fenton & Ulleskelf area but they also lived in Harrogate, Knaresborough, Chapel Allerton, Leeds and Garforth areas.

My great, great grandparents, William & Lucy Ann, and
 their 3 eldest children, Harold, Cyril & Alice (my great grandmother) Thompson

Information from:
Family tree magazine 131 - Anthony Adolph - July 2013

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 11 - Military

Each week there are prompts which require answering. 

Week 11 - Military

My grandfather, Dennis Sutcliffe, 1925 to 2009 - D-Day and East Africa - World War II

Dennis Sutcliffe in 1943
The closest relative to me who served in the military was my grandfather, Dennis Sutcliffe, who served during World War II as part of The Green Howards Regiment. He turned 18 years old in June 1943, so only saw the latter years of the war. Unfortunately, he only occasionally spoke of the time he spent serving in the army and even then it was only when he was questioned, but I sort of regret not questioning him more. 

His first major military event was the Normandy landings on the 6th June 1944. He was on one of the first boats to land in France which had sailed across the Channel. He was injured in the right shoulder, an injury which would cause him problems for the rest of his life. As a child, I was taken to visit the beach at which he landed but I can no longer remember which that was.

Dennis & Spider in Nairobi 1946

Dennis Sutcliffe in 1947

After convalescing, my grandfather was posted to East Africa with his friend "Spider", I have a photo of the 2 of them somewhere. His time in Africa was a more positive period and he often told us a story of being given a sheep's eye to eat as a local delicacy by the local tribes, whether he ate it or not I cannot quite remember.

My great grandfather, Harold Vernon Poole, 1894 to 1954 - World War I

Harold Vernon Poole Discharge Papers
I know even less about my great grandfather's military experiences. He was in the West Yorkshire Regiment and was a Private. He married in September 1918 just before the war ended and was demobbed a year later in August 1919.

He was away in France when he received the news that his dearest mother, Grace Ellen Poole had passed away on the 31st July 1917. To add to the challenges of coping with his mother passing away, his father remarried in April 1918. It must have been challenging for Harold to come home to losing his mother and a new-step-mother (who was a bit of a "tar-tar" according to my grandmother's cousin!), Harold had very little to do with his father after the war and my grandmother never knew her grandfather.

I think there was some link to Verona during the war, for his second daughter's middle name was Verona and she would tell the story that the name was some link to her father's military days. 

I seem to remember being told that he was gassed and had problems with his lungs for many years after the war, he became the caretaker of a small Methodist chapel, which provided a house for his himself and his wife as well.

My great, great, great, great grandfather, John Davidson, c1800-c1838

John Davidson was a musician or drummer in the Royal Marines and was based in Woolwich, Kent. Unfortunately I have been unable to find any army service records for him as yet, but would so love to learn more about his days in the Royal Marines. You can read much more about the story of John Davidson, his widow, Charlotte and the further generations at The Davidson Story - Chapter 1.

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Surname Saturday - Fletcher

Surname Saturday is a regular blog post in which I will discuss the origins and geography of the surnames which appear in my own family tree.

This weeks surname is FLETCHER.

Fletcher - arrow maker
(Image link:, Author: Frank Vincentz,
18 Feb 2011
Variants: Flescher, Flesher

Fletcher is an occupational surname for a person who made or sold arrows, but also a medieval supply officer who would equip the bowman. The surname is thought to have derived from the Germanic pre 7th century "Fulcher" which means "people's army" and it was probably introduced by the Normans.

It is a common Northern surname with 22% of the family's being recorded in Lancashire on the census 1891 and 16% of the family's in Yorkshire.

My great grandmother was Ethel Fletcher from Mere in Lincolnshire. Her whole family is rooted in Lincolnshire in the area south and south west of Lincoln towards Newark especially in the villages of Long Bennington and Bracebridge Heath. The eldest Fletcher in my tree at present is Robert Fletcher, my great x5 grandfather, who was born c1791 in Leadenham, Lincolnshire. Robart was an agricultural labourer which was the occupation his descendants also followed for at least five generations.

Information from: SurnameDB - Fletcher

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 10 - Unexplained Memories

Each week there are prompts which require answering. 

Me with my baby brother

Week 10 - Unexplained Memories

I found this blog post quite hard to get my head around initially, there are many memories I have from photos which I think are memories but may be from looking at photos, but they're not exactly unexplained memories as I have photographic evidence that they existed so the more I thought about the confused I became until I remembered this...

I have a very early first memory of visiting my mum and brother in hospital, just after my brother was born. I remember the bedside table having a tea tray on it with a little milk jug. My memory is of being allowed to drink the milk out of it.

In the past, I have told my parents about this memory but they don't recollect it. At the time I would have only been two and a half years old so it is a very early first memory which may have been confused with another occasion, although in my head it is definitely linked to the birth of my brother and the hospital.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Surname Saturday - Kay

Surname Saturday is a regular blog post in which I will discuss the origins and geography of the surnames which appear in my own family tree.

This weeks surname is KAY...

Variants: Kaye, Key

(Image link:, Author: Robert Lawton, 2006)
The surname Kay may be derived from:
  • the Olde English caeg meaning key and used as an occupational surname for a key-bearer of an aristocratic household or even a key maker. 
  • The Old French kaye meaning quay and a topographical surname for someone who resided close to a wharf or quay.
  • The Celtic given name, Welsh cai or Cornish key as a patronymic surname.
  • The Old Norse ka meaning jackdaw as a nickname for a person.
  • The Danish kei meaning left, again as a nickname for a left-handed or clumsy person.

55% of the family's with the surname Kay lived in Lancashire at the time of the 1891 census and 20% in Yorkshire.

76% of the family's with the surname Kaye lived in Yorkshire at the time of the 1891 census.

Two variants of the surname Kay and Kaye are found in my family tree. The latter was my aunts maiden name and the surname Kay goes back a few generations to my great x4 Grandmother Ann Kay born c1804 in Burton Pidsea, East Yorkshire to Ralph Kay born c1775 in Keyingham, East Yorkshire and Hannah Ellis c1775.

To read a little about my Kay family you can read more on The Davidson Family - Chapter 12.

Information from:
SurnameDB - Kay

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Surname Saturday - Poole

Surname Saturday is a regular blog post in which I will discuss the origins and geography of the surnames which appear in my own family tree.

This week's surname is POOLE.

Variants: Pool, Pooley, Pole, Pull, Paul, Paule

My great, great Poole grandparents 
The surname is a topographical surname derived from the Anglo-Saxon pol meaning pool which is used to describe a family which live near a pool of water. It can also be a locational surname from the villages around the UK named Pool or Poole, eg Pool in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire or Poole, Dorset. 

In the 1890 census, 10% of the Poole families lived in Lancashire, 7% in Yorkshire, 14% in London and 9% in Staffordshire. 

My grandmother was born Mary Verona Poole in Rawdon, West Yorkshire. Her family was mainly from Shipley and Bradford also in West Yorkshire. I have often wondered whether her surname was derived from the small township of Pool-in-Wharfedale near to the north of Bradford and Leeds. Will need to continue researching to find out. There is a grave to my great, great grandfather and great, great, great grandmother at Nab Wood Cemetery near Shipley, West Yorkshire, which can be found at

Information from: SurnameDB - Poole
Ancestry - Poole

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan