Jean Mary Olorenshaw: A Tribute to My Grandmother

Jean Mary Olorenshaw 1921-1958 My grandmother This is a hard post for me to write, because unlike the other ancestors I have written about, this isn't just a piece of history that has been forgotten.  There are people who knew Jean who are still alive and who remember her final days only too well.  This … Continue reading Jean Mary Olorenshaw: A Tribute to My Grandmother

My Northern Roots

I think of myself as not only almost completely British, but almost completely Southern as well - most of my research is within Kent and Essex.  But I am actually one eighth Yorkshirese.  My great grandmother, Elizabeth Danby, came from a little town near Harrogate.  She met my great grandfather, Frederick Downing, when he was … Continue reading My Northern Roots

John Beale: letters from the grey sheep of the family

John Beale 1811-1873 Farmer of Biddenden and Beckley and my great great grandfather.   Rich Richard Beale, 18th century dog doodler and Twitter sensation, had eleven children.  The second youngest was my great great grandfather, John.  I have been lucky enough to receive some copies of letters once in the possession of my 3rd great … Continue reading John Beale: letters from the grey sheep of the family

Rich Richard and the Trousered Chicken

It appears that my great great great grandfather has gone viral, nearly 200 years after his death. The Museum of English Rural Life, in Reading, has acquired various bits of Beale memorabilia - mainly farming diaries and account books.  But one little book caught their eye more than others: the school maths book of 13 … Continue reading Rich Richard and the Trousered Chicken

Henry Bishop: The Alternative Deacon

Henry Bishop is another example of a very distant non-blood relative who has grabbed my interest.  He was my 5th great aunt husband's brother, and lived alongside my Downing Ancestors in Southminster.  I find building a picture of 19th century Southminster, the key figures in the village and how they all interacted with each other … Continue reading Henry Bishop: The Alternative Deacon

Who Was Elizabeth Beale?

Elizabeth, wife of Richard Beale (1663-1757) Clothiers of Biddenden, Kent and my 6th great grandparents There's been quite a few posts on this blog about unidentified fathers, but this is my first unidentified mother! I was very pleased to get an email from my Beale cousin, Geoff West, the other day.  Geoff was one of … Continue reading Who Was Elizabeth Beale?

Frederick Harold Whibley: The mysterious disappearing family

Frederick Harold Whibley 1878-1921 Gardener and Store Keeper of Lambeth, Mitcham, Epping, Woolwich and Guildford and my 2nd great uncle. I've been continuing my delve into all things Whibley, determined to find my connection with my mysterious DNA probable second cousin once removed "Ronan Quick", and this has involved probing the lives of the brothers … Continue reading Frederick Harold Whibley: The mysterious disappearing family

Arthur Charles Baldwin: The Boy Who Killed His Sister

Arthur Charles Baldwin 1898-1950 Miscreant child of Southend on Sea, Essex, and my second cousin, three times removed. Whilst metaphorically leafing through old issues of the Southend Standard on FindMyPast, ever hopeful of finding something new about my ancestors, I chanced upon an article about the family of my first cousin, four times removed, Thomas Henry … Continue reading Arthur Charles Baldwin: The Boy Who Killed His Sister

George Appleton: A Bad Apple

George Appleton 1873-1934 Habitual Criminal of Hadleigh, Essex and Cleveland, Ohio, and my half fourth great uncle Since I have spent so much time researching my mysterious bigamous disappearing ancestory, Angelina/Leanor Appleton/Collins/Moxon, her siblings were a natural point of interest.  I knew two of her younger full siblings had emigrated to California and two of … Continue reading George Appleton: A Bad Apple

Seaman Cooke Beale: A London Wharfinger

Seaman Cooke Beale,  1742-1789. Wharfinger of London, and my 4th great grandfather. It's the ancestors closest to home that get neglected.  After all, I've lived in London all my life.  I am very familiar with London Bridge - I used to live a short walk away.  I've walked past Southwark Cathedral a million times.  There … Continue reading Seaman Cooke Beale: A London Wharfinger