Those Places Thursday: Thanksgiving 2011 at the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, England

Category: General

Today is American Thanksgiving Day, which has strong ties with Plymouth, England. Plymouth is home to the Mayflower Steps from where the Pilgrim Fathers left England aboard the Mayflower to cross the Atlantic Ocean to settle in North America on 6 September 1620.

To celebrate, two ceremonies were held to mark Thanksgiving Day this year, the Flag raising ceremony at the Guildhall and a Thanksgiving ceremony at the Mayflower Steps Memorial. The ceremonies were organised by American citizens living in Plymouth and were attended by the Lord Mayor and local Councillors.

I popped down to the Mayflower Steps and captured parts of the ceremony on my camera. Apologies for the sound quality of the video but it was quite a breezy day. You should be able to make out the sound of the seagulls squawking when the wreath was being layed and I particularly enjoyed the rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

Read more about the Mayflower Steps in my previous post.

[Why Those Places Thursday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

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Thanksgiving Thursday: WDYTYA US Series 2 - Ashley Judd's Pilgrim ancestor

Category: General

Series 2 of the American 'Who Do You Think You Are' TV show hit our screens last week and last night's episode featured the film star, Ashley Judd. Of course, I know this is old news to American readers but I thought it worth commenting on anyway.

The first part of the program featured an ancestor of Ashley's who was in the American Civil War but it was the second part which most fascinated me. Timed to coincide with Thanksgiving, the program unravelled the life of William Brewster, one of the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed to America on the Mayflower in 1620.

Ashley travelled to England and visited York, Cambridge and Boston before ending up at Plymouth in Devon. The final scene showed Ashley and her father standing at the Mayflower Steps Memorial on Plymouth's Barbican, a place I'm very familiar with, being a native of Plymouth (see my previous post).

The story was very interesting but I find, in general, the American show skips along at a far greater pace than the English version. There isn't so much time given to the celebrity's musings about what they've discovered so far. Generations are quickly pushed to one side as they rush towards the story they're featuring. I imagine the reason for this is because of the need to build in time to show adverts in the US whereas the BBC has the luxury of being able to dedicate a complete hour to each episode.

So in summary, a great subject for the second show in the US 2nd series but it left me wanting more.

For UK viewers who missed it, the program can be viewed on the BBC iPlayer until 14th December.

[Why Thanksgiving Thursday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Thanksgiving Thursday: Greetings from Plymouth, England. The Pilgrims belong to us too.

Category: What's New at

The Mayflower MemorialHappy Thanksgiving from across the Pond!

Did you know the Pilgrim Fathers are not just remembered in the US but in Plymouth, England, too? Amongst the many references to the Mayflower and the Pilgrims here in Plymouth, the Mayflower Steps Memorial is located in the area known as the Barbican in one of the oldest parts of this city in the South West of England.

The actual steps from where the Pilgrims departed no longer exist. A granite block set in the pavement was the original memorial, although this was previously set in the roadway. A plaque commemorating the historic journey in 1620 was erected alongside in 1891 and the Doric portico was added in 1934. This in turn is flanked by the American and British flags.

Some of the Pilgrim Fathers spent their last night at the 16th century Island House where there is a plaque on the wall listing all the names of the passengers who sailed on the voyage.

Photographs of the Mayflower Memorial and Island House are available for immediate download in my online shop for 0.60, less than $1. Is your ancestor one of those named on the Island House Plaque? If so, I'd love to hear from you.

You can read more about Plymouth's Pilgrim heritage in my earlier post.

[Why Thanksgiving Thursday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Sorting Saturday: Flip-Pal can't sell me their mobile scanner

Category: General

The Flip-Pal Mobile ScannerAmongst the genealogy community I've read so much about the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner and I can see the merits in having such a useful little gadget. In fact, I'm sold on having one except, wait for it, you still can't get one in the UK.

I've been in touch with the manufacturer and their response was...

"Unfortunately, we do not yet distribute in UK. Of course we are actively investigating what that would take. It is a matter of both the distribution/support processes as well as regulatory approvals. Currently, even if you could have a friend in the US or Canada order and ship it to you, the warranty is not valid outside of the US."

I replied that I didn't mind about the warranty but didn't know anyone in the US who could help me get hold of a Flip-Pal but the reply was much the same.

How disappointing that after more than a year (perhaps longer) since launch they still haven't come up with a way of sending the Flip-Pal abroad. I can't believe it takes rocket science!

The Flip-Pal Mobile ScannerAh well, I'll have to start looking around for an alternative so I can quickly and easily scan the numerous boxes and albums of photographs which I have in my possession. If anyone can suggest something similar that is available in the UK (not sure the hand-held ones are all that good), please could you let me know, either by leaving a comment or using my contact form.

[Why Sorting Saturday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Find My Past the TV show

Category: General

I can't believe I've overlooked the television show, Find My Past. 4 of the 10 episodes have already been aired but I shall definitely be watching as from tomorrow (Thursday).

I imagine it takes a similar format to Who Do You Think You Are but with ordinary people. Each episode features three members of the public who are connected to each other through an event in history. This week will be about the Mutiny on the Bounty.

The program goes out on Thursdays at 9pm on the Yesterday Channel: Freeview channel 12, Sky 537 and Virgin Media 203. I understand that repeats are aired the next day.

On This Day...14th - 30th November

Category: On This Day...


1824 - Caroline Dando was born 187 years ago. She was the daughter of Nathaniel Dando, the elder, and his second wife, Caroline nee Hewitt.

1823 - one year before, Emma Rowlandson was born in Hadstock, Essex, but sadly, she died in 1826.


1893 - William Tyler died at Woodcroft, Tidenham, Gloucestershire, 118 years ago and was buried in St Mary & St Peter's Churchyard at Tidenham five days later. His headstone remains there today.


1930 - Brian W Dando was born in Teddington, Middlesex, but it is believed he died a few months later. He was the grandson of my great-great-grandfather, William Elbert Dando. Brian's birth announcement appeared in The Times as follow...

DANDO.-On Nov. 21, 1930, at Oketon, Hampton-road, Teddington, to SYBIL (nee Roylance), the wife of MALCOLM DANDO-a son. (F.M.S. papers, please copy.)


1809 - my 5 x great-grandfather, John Dando, the younger, died in Bristol, 202 years ago. There is a grave and plaque in the cemetery at Rodborough Tabernacle commemorating John and his first wife, Ann Dando (nee Brothers), and six of their children. However, although John's name appears on the plaque in Rodborough, he was actually buried in New Yard, Broad Mead Baptist, Bristol, in Mr Shipway's grave where his second wife, Esther (previously Mrs Shipway), was also buried. The register shows...

1809 Novr 30th John Dando Interr'd in Mr. Shipway's Grave 10s 6d.

The Dando grave plaque at Rodborough, Gloucestershire
The Dando grave plaque at Rodborough, Gloucestershire
Click the image to see a larger version.


1940 - Alice Amies Sill (nee Dando), died in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, at the age of 82.


1822 - 189 years ago, Nathaniel Dando, the elder, & Caroline Hewitt, were married at Holy Trinity, Clapham Surrey. The Times announcement read as follows...

On Thursday, the 28th inst., at Clapham church, by the Rev. Wm. Dealtry, B.D., F.R.S., rector, Mr. Nathaniel Dando, of Pennsbury, Clapham, and Cheapside, to Caroline, second daughter of the late John Hewitt, Esq, of Clapham common.

1791 - William Hall & Carolina Browning were married at Arlingham in Gloucestershire. After William died, Caroline/a married my 5 x great-grandfather, John Fryer.

1887 - the great-grandson of John Fryer, mentioned above, celebrated his marriage 124 years ago when John Augustine Fryer & Mary Ann Julia Girling wed in Chepstow, Monmouthshire.


1798 - Richard Fryer & Sarah Roberts were married by licence at Fretherne, Gloucestershire. Richard was the younger brother of my 5 x great-grandfather, John Fryer.


1726 - 285 years ago, John Ball & Hannah Pitcher, were married at Ross on Wye, Herefordshire. Hannah was the daughter of my 7 x great-grandparents, Arthur Pitcher and Ann (nee Ansley).

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Site Updates - Gallery photos: WWII Medals plus Newland & Clearwell, Glos.

Category: What's New at

Gallery > Potpourri > War Memorabilia section

  • As this is Remembrance Day, I've decided to add my grandfather's WWII medals to the gallery. William Hellyer Geake enlisted in the Royal Marines on 1st January 1941 and won the 1939-45 Star, the Burma Star, the Africa Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal. You can view his medals here.
Gallery > Places section
  • A couple of years ago, I briefly visited the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire as various branches of my family came from there. I've recently confirmed my Pitcher ancestors were connected to the villages of Newland and Clearwell and so I've added some photographs to the gallery, which I took when I was there.
[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Leave a tribute and donate to the Royal British Legion

Category: General

Post a tribute of remembrance at Ancestry's Facebook page and they'll donate 1 to the British Legion up to their target of 10,000.

I posted the following about my great-grandfather...

Pte Henry James Weaver 4732, my great-grandfather, killed by accident on 8th September 1916 whilst at the base in France. Buried at Merville.

See more about Henry on my website.

Stop Press! Free WWI records at Ancestry for 4 days.

Category: General are offering a selection of their World War I records FOR FREE between 10th-13th November.

For 4 days you can access:

On This Day...1st - 13th November

Category: On This Day...


1767 - 244 years ago, my 5 x great-grandparents, John Dando & Ann Brothers, were married in Dursley, Gloucestershire, before moving to Rodborough on the outskirts of Stroud.

1898 - Georgina Emma May Hibbitt (nee Williams) was born 113 years ago.


1833 - William Tyler & Elizabeth James were married at Chepstow, Monmouthshire, which was the bride's parish. William was from Tidenham in Gloucestershire.


1838 - the marriage of Joseph Hart & Hannah Fryer took place in the Parish Church of St Thomas, Bristol. Hannah was the grand-daughter of my 5 x great-grandparents, John Fryer & Phoebe (nee Taysum), and Joseph was a mariner.


1808 - and there was yet another wedding when Charles Tyler & Mary Price tied the knot at St Mary & St Peter's Church, Tidenham, Glos., 203 years ago.

St Mary & St Peter's Church, Tidenham, Gloucestershire
St Mary & St Peter's Church, Tidenham, Gloucestershire


1813 - my 3 x great-grandparents, Robert Free & Mary Adams, celebrated their marriage in St Botolph's Church, Hadstock, Essex, this day 198 years ago, their banns having been read in the previous May and June.


1761 - early November was certainly popular for weddings for exactly 250 years ago my 6 x great-grandparents, Richard Fryer & Mary Harvey, were married at Westbury on Severn in Gloucestershire.

1948 - William John Smale died 63 years ago.


1881 - Henry Richard Fryer & Mary Walters were married at Tidenham, Glos. Henry was a turner and Mary was a servant.

1903 - Mary Pockett (nee Fryer) died at the age of 50 and was buried in St Mary the Virgin's Churchyard at Fretherne, Glos.

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]
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