Military Monday: Great-grandfather's wartime story is published

Category: Sharing Memories

Exciting news! I was recently invited to write a few articles about my family history research for the Discover Your History magazine, a brand new publication due to be launched on 5th September. Published each month, the magazine will focus on family and social history and all aspects of heritage.

My first article is appearing in the first issue and tells the story of my great-grandfather, Henry James Weaver, who was accidentally killed during the First World War.

Black Sheep Sunday: 2 boys steal John Oliver's guns for armed burglary

Category: Ancestors Corner

BurglarJohn Oliver was my 3 x great-grandfather. He was a farmer in a hamlet called Bramwith Woodhouse, a few miles from Doncaster in Yorkshire. John held a game certificate, presumably for killing wildlife or vermin, etc. and one summer night in 1847, two seventeen year-old lads broke into his house and stole a couple of double-barrelled guns.

These same guns were used in a second burglary the following night at another house. The young lads stood at either end of the bed of one Samuel Rudman with the guns in their hands and demanded 'his money or his life'. They were disturbed and made off with three shillings, a handkerchief and two ounces of tobacco. A few days later, John Oliver's guns were found in the possession of the two criminals and the lads received the sentence of transportation for 15 years.

I looked up the Criminal Registers and discovered that this was neither of the boys' first offence. Richard Bisbroun or Bisbrown had committed larceny in 1844 and was sentenced to be whipped and impisoned for 1 month. He was at it again in 1846 and was sentenced to be whipped and impisoned for 1 week. James Walker had also committed larceny in 1842 at the age of 12. He received the sentence of whipping and imprisonment for 1 month.

Image provided by Classroom Clipart

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Site Updates - Surnames: Oliver, Woodall, Styring, Woodhead, Moore, Gill

Category: What's New at

Hibbitt Family Tree section

  • Added detailed information and notes for my 3 x great-grandparents, John Oliver and Sarah Woodall.
  • Added the names of their childrens' husbands and wives. The names include Styring, Woodhead, Moore and Gill.
Place names: Bramwith Woodhouse, Doncaster and Leeds in Yorkshire, Blackpool in Lancashire.

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Site Updates: Stephen Free from Hadstock in Essex

Category: What's New at

Hibbitt Family Tree section

  • Added information found in various local street directories to Stephen Free's profile. Also added details of the grant of probate and the sale of his land and property after his death.
Place names: Hadstock in Essex.

Resources > Hibbitt Tree Biographies section

Updated Stephen Free's Biography page with the above information.

Old newspaper articles often add to the detail of the lives of our ancestors. Stephen Free's estate was put up for auction in August 1883 when The Chelmsford Chronicle published the following advert...

(With Possession).

Mr. Cheffins

Will SELL BY AUCTION, on Saturday, August, 25th, 1883, at the Rose and Crown Inn, Saffron Walden, in Six Lots, by direction of the Executors of the late Mr. Stephen Free.
THE Valuable Small ACCOMMODATION FARM, comprising a dwelling-house, homestead, productive orchard, and 7a. 0r. 3p. of highly fertile land, situate fronting the road leading to Bartlow; an orchard and one inclosure of Accommodation Land, containing together 3a. 3r. 16p., situate in Siggins-lane.
TWO Plots of Superior ARABLE LAND, situate fronting the Bartlow-road; and
FIVE COTTAGES situate in the Village, in several occupations of Hills, F. Fordham, Culter, and G. Fordham.
Particulars and Condition of Sale may be obtained of Messrs Freeland and Bellingham, Solicitors, Saffron Walden; and of Mr. Cheffins, Saffron Walden.

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Site Updates - Surnames: Weaver, Twogood, Street, Munckton + Picture Gallery additions

Category: What's New at

Hibbitt Family Tree section

I initially had the wrong Sarah as a wife of my 4 x great-grandfather, Robert Weaver (1789-1869). Beforehand, I had found a marriage in 1810 in Curry Rivel, Somerset, between a Robert Weaver and a Sarah Munckton, both previously widowed. However, there were always difficulties with this. Firstly, they were so young that they didn't seem to have had time to have been married before, I could find no obvious first marriages for either and their children didn't start coming along until 1817.

With my FindMyPast subscription, I recently discovered another marriage between a Robert Weaver, bachelor, and a Sarah Street, spinster. The couple were married in Curry Rivel on 26th March 1816. I now realize this is the better fit for my 4 x great-grandparents.

Whilst I don't have absolute proof, it's reasonable to assume the Weaver/Munckton marriage was the second wife of Robert's father, also Robert Weaver (1757-1832). Robert senior's first wife, Ann (nee Twogood/Toogood), may have died in 1809 as there is a burial in the Curry Rivel parish records of an Ann Weaver on 30th August 1809. There are no other Robert Weavers in the locality as far as I can tell.

This is a lesson in having to be very careful using datasets with various cut-off dates. Some websites, commercial and non-commercial, may not have all the parish records for a particular parish and so it's important to recognize this.

Updates include:

Place names: Curry Rivel in Somerset.

Resources > Family Tree Reports section

Updated the Ancestors of Phyllis Grace Weaver report.

Barnes Picture Gallery

Added the following albums:

  • People - (Individuals) > Barnes - so far, the album contains one image of Harvey's great-aunt, Cissie Barnes. More Barnes photos to follow in due course.
  • Graves & Memorials > Rouen, France - St Sever Cemetery Extension - Harvey's great-grandfather, George Harvey, is buried here.
Dynamic Family Trees

The Dynamic Family Trees section has been removed. With the numerous devices on the market which don't have flash player installed, I've decided to concentrate my efforts on researching and updating the main family trees.

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Family Recipe Friday: Kitchen Maxims from Mrs Beeton's

Category: Mrs Beeton's Cookery Books

It's been a while since I published an excerpt from my gran's 1894 publication of 'Mrs Beeton's Cookery Book and Household Guide' so here goes:

Kitchen Maxims

Kitchen Maxims

I think the funniest phrase is "One egg well beaten is worth two not beaten".

For more information about the book, please see this post.

[Why Family Recipe Friday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

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Wishful Wednesday: Great-aunt Cissie poses for Newlyn School artist

Category: Famous Connections

Cissie Barnes, aged 17Harvey's great-aunt, Cissie Barnes, sounds like 'quite a gal'. She posed for Newlyn School artist, Dod Procter, for the picture, 'Morning', which caused a bit of a stir at the time. Cissie (real-name - Sarah) was just 16 years old when she modelled for the painting, which shows her reclining on her bed having a morning snooze.

Painted in 1926, the picture was voted Picture of the Year at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 1927 and was bought for the nation by the Daily Mail newspaper. It was also displayed in New York, went on tour for 2 years and became part of the Tate collection. The painting now hangs in the Tate Modern Gallery in London.

Cissie was born, and grew up, in Newlyn, Cornwall, and it's understood that Dod Procter painted her several times. I can only imagine Cissie might have enjoyed some short-term notoriety when the picture hit the headlines. Amongst the family archive is a newspaper cutting which shows a photograph of Cissie standing in one of her father's fishing vessels wearing a sou'wester hat, waterproof coat and boots. It was taken when she was 17 years old and the caption refers to Dod Procter's painting.

It's with some regret that Harvey never met, or even knew about, his great-aunt Cissie, especially as it appears she was still alive when Harvey was growing up. Even more ironic is that she resided in Plymouth in her latter years, which would have coincided with some of the years Harvey spent living in the same city.

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Site Updates - Surnames: Barnes, Gardner

Category: What's New at

Barnes Family Tree section

Place names: Newlyn in Cornwall and Plymouth in Devon.

Barnes Family Biographies section

Added a biography page about Cissie Barnes in the new Barnes family biographies section.

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Site Updates - Elizabeth Gale (later Hellier)

Category: What's New at

Hibbitt Family Tree section

  • Added further details and notes for my 4 x great-grandmother, Elizabeth Gale.
So what have I discovered so far?

Elizabeth Gale was married to Samuel Hellier in Tavistock in 1815. She was most likely widowed before 1841 as she appears on the census with her grand-daughter, Sarah Hellier, and a Grace Gale, who was probably a relative but I've yet to discover who Grace was. Residing in West Street in 1841, Elizabeth and her grand-daughter lived at Ford Street Alms House in 1851 and 1861.

Elizabeth lived to be about 78 years old and was still working as a laundress 3 years before she died. She was probably born in Widecombe-in-the-Moor as stated on the 1851 census, although the 1861 census puts Tavistock as her birth place. This might easily have been an error - whoever gave the enumerator the information might have guessed or said 'Don't know' so perhaps Tavistock was chosen because this was where the family were living at the time.

I need to undertake further research to discover Elizabeth's roots but, as I don't currently have access to baptism registers for Widecombe, this will be placed on hold for the time-being.

Place names: Tavistock and Widecombe-in-the-Moor in the county of Devon.

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Sentimental Sunday: Messing about on the Water

Category: Sharing Memories

My Grandpa Hibbitt (Charles George Hibbitt) used to have a boat, a small cabin cruiser, and we spent many hours as a family on the Kingsbridge/Salcombe Estuary. He kept the boat at Frogmore Creek, a short drive from his and Gran's home in the South Hams village of East Allington.

Frogmore in 2010
Frogmore in 2010

They say the sense of smell is the most nostalgic of the senses. Every spring when the new season arrives there's a certain smell in the air and it always reminds me of our days out in the boat. Mind you, the smell of two-stroke does the same thing.

Grandpa on his boat
Grandpa on his boat

Grandpa had two rowing boats but one leaked so we never used it. The other one would accompany us on our day trip, being towed by the cruiser. The rowing boats were named after my elder brother and I (my younger brother probably wasn't born when the names were first used). It sounds stupid now but I remember being miffed that the leaky boat was the one named after me......Read more »
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