Category: Ancestors Corner

Workday Wednesday: My Weavers made shoes

Category: Ancestors Corner

FootwearHats and shoes feature significantly in my family. Whilst hats aren't quite so in vogue as they once were, we all still need footwear, but how things have changed!

My Dando line were the hatmakers, my first confirmed hatter being my 6 x great-grandfather, John Dando (abt. 1715-1775). However, this profession died out in my family during the mid-nineteenth century.

Moving from heads to feet, from the title of this post, you might be thinking my ancestors were involved in the weaving industry, having a sideline in making shoes. Actually, Weaver is the surname of my shoemaking forbears.

My 4 x great-grandfather, Robert Weaver (abt. 1789-1869), lived in Curry Rivel, Somerset, and was described as a shoe and boot maker and also a cordwainer. Distinct from a cobbler who repaired shoes, a cordwainer made luxury footwear out of the finest leathers. Whether Robert was the first cordwainer in his line is uncertain as I haven't been able to confirm the occupations of his antecedents.

My 2 x great-grandfather, William Henry Weaver (1848-1944), lived with Robert and his wife Sarah, and it is therefore no surprise that he too, went into the family trade. He would have learnt his skills from his grandfather. Ironically, there is in fact, a weaving link as William Henry's wife, Jane (nee Arnold), had previously been a silk weaver, coming from a long line of silk ribbon weavers in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

Their son, Richard, had a short spell at shoemaking before embarking on a 40 year career with the post office. The need for homeworkers and factory outworkers met with a decline during the 19th century as factories increasingly took over the manufacturing processes and mechanisation in the industry was complete by the 1890's.

William Henry Weaver's granddaughter was my own gran, Phyllis Grace Geake (nee Weaver). Born in 1916, her connection with shoes was not in the making of them but in the selling. As a young woman she worked in a shoe shop called Leonards.

Footwear continues to play a large part today as our son, Phyllis' great-grandson, is the manager of a shoe store and so the connection with footwear, spanning at least eight generations of our family and four centuries, is still going strong.

Image provided by Classroom Clipart

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

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

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

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

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
W.G.F.
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
Devon
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 »
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