Category: Ancestors Corner

Treasure Chest Thursday: The mystery of the Prayer Book

Category: Ancestors Corner

I have in my possession a Book of Common Prayer with Hymns Ancient & Modern previously belonging to a Florence Smale, or possibly Small.

Book of Common Prayer with Hymns A. & M.
Book of Common Prayer with Hymns A. & M.

Inside the front cover it states:

Florence Smale [or Small?, it's difficult to read]
Prize for Religious Knowledge
Easter 1904

Who was W.F.G.? A vicar or Sunday School teacher perhaps?

Inside the Book of Common Prayer with Hymns A. & M.
Inside the Book of Common Prayer with Hymns A. & M.

Inscription inside the front cover
Inscription inside the front cover.

There is a note inside the back cover as follows:

Florence E C Small [could be Smale]
Oak Hill
East Budleigh
Somewhere in Blighty.

Note inside the back cover bearing Florence E C Small/Smale's address
Note inside the back cover bearing Florence E C Small/Smale's address.

Although Florence Emily C Small became Florence E C Smale when she married Charles Henry Smale, this book has been passed down to me, a descendant of her sister-in-law, a different Florence Smale (later Weaver), so it may not have belonged to Florence E C Small/Smale at all, even though the reference on the back cover definitely relates to her.

[Why Treasure Chest 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 & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Talented Tuesday: Ann Murch's antique embroidery

Category: Ancestors Corner

Studying family history never ceases to amaze me - I never know what's going to turn up next. Last week I was contacted by a distant cousin in Canada who mentioned that she owned a gorgeous embroidery which was worked by my 4 x great-grandmother, Ann Murch.

Antique, embroidered map of England & Wales by Ann Murch
Antique, embroidered map of England & Wales by Ann Murch

I know very little about Ann except that she was born in about 1782, married Joseph Dando, the elder, in Bristol in 1801 and died on 11th May 1831. Therefore, imagine my surprise to discover that such an object was created in the first place and that it has survived and stayed in the family for more than 200 years.

The embroidery takes the form of a map of England and Wales and bears Ann' s name and the date, 1794. Ann would have been 12 or so when she made it. Although I've only seen it in photos, I should imagine the embroidery is a couple of feet high and it sits behind glass within an oval, gold-coloured frame.

Some of the place names are interesting too - the North Sea is called the 'German Ocean' and Scotland is 'North Britain called Scotland'. I see Plymouth on there (spelt Plimouth), which is where I live, and Ann has included Bristol where she and Joseph shared their married life together.

Not only did I discover the existence of the embroidery but I also learnt from my cousin that there's a family connection by marriage to the poet, W H Auden.

(Photograph kindly supplied by Sally Tozer)

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

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

Advent Calendar: Christmas Cards

Category: Ancestors Corner

My grandpa, William Hellyer Geake, was called up to take part in WWII on 1st January 1941. He sent this Christmas Card to his family whilst he was away, I believe in 1941 as his youngest daughter would have been a baby then, which he mentions in the card. Away at war, he didn't see his youngest daughter until she was 4 years old.

The front of Grandpa's Christmas Card
The front of Grandpa's Christmas Card.

Inside my Grandpa's Christmas Card
Click the image to see a larger version.

[Why Advent Calendar? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers]

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

Sentimental Sunday: Hello Great-great-grandpa, how do you do!

Category: Ancestors Corner

Were your ancestors talented, did they bring a little sunshine into their friends' and neighbours' lives, or were they good-for-nothing scoundrels or somewhere in between? Imagine you could travel back in time and visit your predecessors. Who would you visit and why?

I quite like the notion of visiting bad-boy, William Elbert Dando, my great-great-grandfather. He may not have been a particularly pleasant person to know. Read his biography which outlines his escapades which include bankruptcy, assault, kidnap and bigamy. Nevertheless, I can't help thinking he might have had a certain charm in order to persuade those unsuspecting investors to dabble in his dodgy schemes. Was he a larger-than-life character or more sinister than that? The paper-trail doesn't reveal everything......Read more »

Maritime Monday: Coastguard records at the National Archives

Category: Ancestors Corner

Alfred C N HibbittI'd known for a long time that my great-grandfather, Alfred Charles Newbold Hibbitt (see right), was a Coastguard and I'd already obtained a copy of his Naval Service record some while ago from the National Archives DocumentsOnline facility. The record, however, ends on 30th April 1919 and a note appears at the bottom stating, "Transferred to Coast Guards (New Force) (see Special Register)". My next question was, "Where was this register and how could I view it?"

Well, I recently discovered the Digital Microfilm records, which the National Archives have made available on their website free of charge. These records are in PDF format and aren't indexed so you have to scroll through the pages in much the same way you would a microfilm......Read more »

Sentimental Sunday: Searching for Zachariah

Category: Ancestors Corner

Our names are used virtually every day of our lives and yet the oddity remains that it's the privilege of our parents to choose it for us, whether we like it or not. I tend to go by the name, Annie, when in fact I'm an Anne I somehow think Annie sounds friendlier and less formal. It's not just people who have names, look at the clamour to get hold of web domain names for use in the virtual world. What we're talking about here is our identity, who we are and how we wish to present ourselves to each other. The fact is, names matter!

Looking through my family tree, there are several names belonging to various individuals, which have caught my eye along the way......Read more »

Church Record Sunday: St James's Church, Westminster

Category: Ancestors Corner

Last Tuesday, I retraced the steps of my great-great-grandparents, William Elbert Dando and Sarah Louisa Oliver, when I paid a visit to St James's Church, Westminster, where the couple married on 11th October 1875.

St James's Church, Piccadilly, London
St James's Church, Piccadilly, London

My visit to London was a fleeting one but I managed to spend 20 minutes inside the somewhat ornate church with its impressively high, decorative ceiling. There was a small service taking place in the side chapel so I didn't feel at liberty to move around the building. As I sat, I tried to imagine my ancestors standing before the altar more than 135 years ago......Read more »

Those Places Thursday - Down on the Edwardian Farm

Category: Ancestors Corner

Today I'm writing about the recent BBC series, 'Edwardian Farm', which was set in the beautiful Tamar Valley, on the borders of Devon and Cornwall. In case you didn't see it, the program was about two archaeologists and a domestic historian, who took up residence for a calendar year at Morwellham Quay, living, working and dressing as they would have done in the Edwardian period at the beginning of the 20th century......Read more »

Treasure Chest Thursday: Florence's Tea Set

Category: Ancestors Corner

One of my most treasured possessions is the tea set given to me by my grandmother, Phyllis Grace Geake (nee Weaver). It had belonged to her mother, Florence Smale, and it is thought to have been a wedding present. Therefore this lovely Crown Staffordshire 12 place china set probably dates before 1915, almost an antique!

The set comprises 12 cups and saucers, 12 tea plates, 2 large cake plates, a sugar bowl, milk jug, tea pot and hot water jug with metal lid (my favourite item)......Read more »

Amanuensis Monday: Henry Weaver's personal WWI letters

Category: Ancestors Corner


A private in the 2/1 Bucks Battalion, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, during the Great War, my great-grandfather, Henry (Harry) James Weaver appears to have written home regularly and three of his letters to his wife, sent in August and September 1916, still survive.

The following excerpts are a taster, the complete letters are available at:
Henry James Weaver's Biography Page

"...I have been issued out with some bandages if I should get wounded, what they call first aid field dressing, but I hope I shall never want to use it..."

"...I hope Lovie Dear we shall have a pleasant voyage across the Channel, I do hope I shant be Sea-sick..."

"...Oh Dearie what a meeting it will be if I am spared to come home safe to you after the war is over, My Dear Baby will be quite big by that time, I hope you will get on alright when Baby is born..."

" is very hot here in France & the roads are so dusty, we see plenty of Soldiers here & they call the Germans Frits, a new name for them..."

"...we are going through a weeks training here at the base, so I am sure we shall soon be going up in the trenches which is many miles from here, they say it is a 2 days journey..."

"...I may say the money here is strange to me, for an English shilling is worth 1/2, I dare say I shall get used to it if I am here long enough..."

"...a lot of my Chums have gone up in the firing line, & I dare say by the time you get this letter I shall be up there too..."

"...My Dear, when you write to me again, would you kindly send me on an addressed envelope in ink, as I have only pencil..."

"...Now My Dear I must tell you I have been in the Trenches, but of course I must not tell you where I am, but as long as you know I am quite well that is really good news for you..."

"...I have come across a lot of my Chums who were with me on Salisbury Plain, & it did seem good to see them, I may tell you My Dear we are out of the Trenches for 8 days rest, then we shall have to go back again..."

"...we shall all be very glad when this terrible war is over, it looks brighter for us now Roumania has joined in on our side & now I think Greece will soon come in..."

"...I have you in my thoughts night & day, for I know this is a very anxious time for you, & you know too well how much I Love and care for you..."

Find out what happened to Henry - read his story here.

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