31st March 2007
Saturday - 4.15pm : I've talked a lot about my Great Grandfather Alfred, but I've only mentioned my Granddad Charlie (Alfred's son-in-law and my Dad's Dad) a couple of times, so I thought I'd tell you a bit about him.
As far as I'm aware Granddad Charlie was one of 14 children - his 3 youngest siblings were from his father's second marriage. He was only 2 when his mother died (we assume as a result of giving birth to Charlie's sister Edith, but I am awaiting her death certificate). He grew up not far from here, on the border between Wales & England.
Granddad worked as a Timber Waggoner, but during the Great War he enlisted with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He served in the 2nd Battalion,as a Lewis Gunner, and fought in major battles on the Somme and at Ypres. We don't know much about his time during the Great War as he didn't like to talk about it (and I can't blame him). We have been told he was rescued by another local man in the field, but we don't know any details. We think my Great Grandfather had received a notification of Granddad being missing-in-action sometime during 1918. I have a postcard (sent to my Great Grandfather) from the Red Cross notifying the family that Granddad was reported a Prisoner of War though wounded. Thankfully he returned home. He received the Victory medal and the British medal, along with a letter from King George at Buckingham Palace as a result of his service. I beleive he also served in Northern Ireland in the 1920s.
In the 1930s Granddad married my Nan, though she had to lead a double life for a while as Great Grandfather Alfred didn't like my Granddad! Nan looked after Alfred during the day, but once she'd put him to bed and he was asleep, she went down to see Granddad. This double life lasted until Alfred was so ill he had to be admitted to hospital. Not long after Alfred's death, Granddad & Nan had a son - my Dad!
During World War II Granddad served in the Home Guard, defending our country at home. We have a certificate stating that Granddad was certified having attended a practical examination at a Bombing Range and was qualified to assist in the throwing of live grenades. I would have thought his time in the Great War trenches would have qualified him for something like that! Nan also did her bit by taking in evacuees.
Granddad worked as an estate labourer until his retirement, as well as looking after his own patch of ground.
Granddad was 84 by the time I was born. In fact I was born just a few days after his 84th birthday, so I was probably a pretty good birthday present! I think I either favoured my Granddad or I knew I didn't have long with him, either way when it was time for Nan & Granddad to go home I always ran (or rather, toddled) to Granddad first (which I think upset Nan a bit!).
Granddad died at the age of 86. He had stomach cancer, but died at home. I remember Dad telling me Granddad didn't want to lie in bed dying and would use his last energy trying to get out of bed. He was a tough old man and I only wish I could have known him for a lot longer. He'd be 110 now if he was still alive.
Looking back at photos I always think Granddad looked old when he was still quite young. Still, he still had a full head of hair when he died. Dad most certainly follows Nan's side of the family in regards to his hair... or lack of it!
27th March 2007
Tuesday - 10.00pm : Congratulations to Lisa and her family! Early this morning Lisa gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Lisa had been having contractions when I talked to her on Sunday, so I had expected to hear that she'd had him yesterday. I could hardly believe it when she told me he was born early this morning. He looks just like his brother Harley. Lisa sent me a picture message, but I can't wait to see him for myself. I'm planning to drive over there for a day trip in 2 or 3 weeks (once the little fella has had time to settle in at home) to take over some knitting Mum has done for the baby (I can't knit at all!) and some presents I've got for them.
Talking of presents... The bit of photography kit I saved up for won't be arriving this week like I'd hoped. The company have informed me the item is currently out of stock and they have it on order for me. I wish companies would keep their e-commerce websites up-to-date with regards to stock. Mind you, they did have the best price so I don't mind waiting, just as long as I don't have to wait too long!
I have a recommended blog for you... Grandma's Diary is a diary written in the 1940s by Shirley and now being blogged by her Granddaughter Val. She is also adding various related things, such as photos and other items, to provide a fuller picture. A lot can be learnt from somebody's diary. We can find out how life was lived at a different point in time. Worth checking out!
25th March 2007
Sunday - 6.35pm : I went to the cinema this afternoon to see Mr. Bean's Holiday. Cineworld in Shrewsbury have been showing previews of it all weekend (it's released next weekend) and I couldn't resist going. I enjoyed the film and thought it was better than Bean (the first Mr. Bean film). Rowan Atkinson even upstaged Willem Dafoe! This film is about Mr. Bean winning a holiday. You follow him on his journey to Cannes, which doesn't go quite according to plan. Definitely worth watching!
I also rented a DVD this weekend. The Deal caught my eye purely because the cast is lead by Christian Slater. The film is a political thriller centring around the oil industry and Wall Street. Worth watching, but I think full attention is needed.
The weather has been lovely this weekend. Yesterday it was so nice that Sarah & I sat out in her back garden having a good old chat. It's now officially 'British Summer Time' (BST) according to the clocks, so the evenings will be getting much lighter now. It the weather holds up I'll be able to get some exercise and take some photos at the same time.
Talking of photography... I've managed to save enough money to order myself a bit of kit that I've been after for some time now. I'll let you know what it is when it arrives (Shhh, Karen!).
I was right, I had discovered James' death certificate. He died when he was just 1 year old. The poor little thing had pneumonia. Since their Dad (my Great Great Grandfather) had died in the months before James' birth, James' eldest brother Francis (barely a teenager) was the informant on the certificate. Life was tough back in the mid 1800s, we've got it so much easier these days.
21st March 2007
Wednesday - 7.45pm : Having recently discovered James, the youngest brother of my Great Grandfather Alfred, I think I may have discovered his death just a year later. Since James didn't seem to appear in any census records I decided to search for him in the BMD (Birth/Marriage/Death) registers. I found his name registered in the Death registers in the right area. It can be quite useful to have an unusual family name! I should get the death certificate early next week.
Another death certificate arrived in the mail today. This one was for Alfred's father, Francis. He died 4 months before James was born, so the family lost them both within a short time. Francis died from Quincy of the throat at the age of 47. The eldest son was barely a teenager, but I'm sure he would have had to have gone to work to bring in some money.
Alfred's death certificate and that of Mary (his wife) should be coming my way shortly, but I already know the information they will tell me. I have also ordered a copy of Alfred's parents' marriage record and that should give me some information I don't already know.
It's so easy to order all these certificates, records and other documents without realising exactly how much you're spending. It all mounts up, but it's worth it to find out more about my ancestors.
Saturday - 9.25pm : My Great Grandfather Alfred has featured here a number of times as I have gathered information about him. One piece of information I have yet to find is his all important birth certificate. I have searched through the Birth Indexes on both Ancestry UK and Find My Past with no luck.
Recently I applied to Shropshire Archives for a search and gave them the information I have on Alfred. A few days later I received an email from the records office saying they had not been able to find Alfred's birth certificate, but during the search they had came across 2 brothers birth certificates and what would I like them to do (as the search includes a copy of one certificate). I replied giving the information I have on Alfred's brothers (basically, what I'd found in census records) and said to send me one of the certificates.
A few days ago an envelope from Shropshire Archives arrived in the mail. Opening it revealed the birth certificate of Alfred's youngest brother James. Something didn't seem right though, so I logged on to the computer to view my family tree. I had William down as Alfred's youngest brother. So I've found another brother (or rather the records office have)!
At least something good has come out of not being able to find Alfred's birth certificate. I have found another family member! Another person to investigate. The search for Alfred's birth certificate goes on!
You may have heard of a man called Charles Darwin (I share something in common with him). Anyway, I thought I'd share something I found of interest - his wife Emma Darwin's Diaries. Shrewsbury isn't very far from here and some of the other places she mentions within the diaries are even closer, so I guess that is an added interest to me.
Sunday - 10.45pm : Edna was the Aunt I never knew. She would have been 80 this year, but sadly her life was cut short two months before her 33rd birthday. Dad was just 23 years old. I wish I could have known her.
In the 1920s having a child out of wedlock was still frowned upon. Nan was living in Mid Wales with her parents, but was sent up to Ash in Shropshire to give birth to Edna. My Great Grandfather and his siblings were from Ash, so we assume Nan must have been staying with an Uncle or even an elder brother or sister (there is quite an age gap between Nan's eldest sibling and herself, the youngest). All we know about Edna's father is that he was a medical student who became a doctor off Harley Street in London.
Edna grew up in Mid Wales. She attended Sarn Church of England school and passed her exams to go to Newtown County school, this was despite missing a lot of school due to ill health. Edna suffered from severe asthma all her life. Getting to the County school wasn't easy. She had to cycle from Sarn to Kerry station (a few miles away) and catch the train to Newtown.
Nan married my Granddad when Edna was 9 years old and Dad was born the following year. Dad speaks so fondly of her (as any brother would) and it brought a tear to his eyes to help me when I asked him to write down something about Edna for me as part of our family history. I only wish Edna was still alive so I could ask her all about her life.
Upon leaving school Edna started work at a ladies shop & haberdashery, but when former workers returned from World War II she was made redundant. She then found a job at a shoe shop where a man called Fred was the manager. He was asked to take the manager's job at a new shoe shop, but he said he would only take the job if Edna would go with him. So she did and she worked there until her death.
Edna was a keen dancer. She danced with her boyfriend, Harold (picture right) and taught many local people to dance. Edna was an excellent dancer (unlike me!). She also played the piano and had taught herself through a postal course.
Sadly, Edna died suddenly aged 32 in Nan's arms, exactly two months before her birthday. She had been in Bishops Castle with the family and Harold.
Harold is still a friend of the family and has since married Vera.
This entry was inspired by Apple's post about Ruby. I had planned to post this on 8th March (International Women's Day) as part of Creative Gene's A Woman's History Challenge, but it's not the first time I've missed a deadline!
4th March 2007
Sunday - 3.35pm : Kids, have you ever wondered what happens to your goldfish when they die? Well, our local Chinese take-away serves up "Gold Fish Special Curry"! Thankfully, the menu does show what is actually in the curry and there are no goldfish are to be seen. Mind you, I can't eat curry so I couldn't tell you if there are any in it or not!
Take That will be touring the UK again at the end of the year. The tickets went on sale on Friday morning and sold out pretty quickly. However, I did manage to bag myself a ticket! I'll be seeing them at Birmingham NEC in November. They always put on a fantastic show, so it's definitely something to look forward to.
I'm expecting Take That to go to the top of the UK Top 40 Singles chart this evening. Shine was released last Monday and it's due to chart today. I have complete faith in it going straight into #1.
Take That's former bandmate releases a new single tomorrow. She's Madonna (a collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys) is the 3rd single from Robbie's Rudebox album. I think it's a great song (although I'm not too sure on the video!) and there's more than a hint of the Pet Shop Boys in it. I've seen no promotion for the single (apart from radio play), but that's hardly surprising when Robbie is currently in rehab (and reportedly making good progress).
I'm a big fan of a series of books called The Dresden Files (written by Jim Butcher). As some of you might know, it's been made into a TV series currently being shown on the Scifi channel in the US and on Sky One here in the UK. My usual rule is not to mix books and TV and to stick to one or the other (such as I watch Bones on TV, whereas my friend Lisa reads the books by Kathy Reichs). With The Dresden Files I couldn't help myself. I just had to see what the TV series is like. There are differences between the TV series and the book series, but both are highly enjoyable. The TV series is getting better with each episode (as did the books) and Paul Blackthorne is fantastic as Harry Dresden. Fans of Angel might like this one. I'd definitely recommend people to give it a go. I'll certainly be buying the DVD boxset when it's released and hoping for a 2nd season.
I'm still working on my family history. I'd ordered a copy of my Great Grandfather Alfred's will back in January and it finally arrived last week. It didn't tell me much more than what I already knew, but it's nice to add something like that to the documentation. A marriage certificate arrived yesterday, providing me with proof of who I thought was a Great Great Grandfather's father. I've also have 3 more birth certificates on order, all of which should arrive sometime during this coming week.