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

Elizabeth Beale: Mystery SOLVED

My fourth cousin Geoff and I had reached different conclusions as to the identity of our 6th great grandmother, as discussed in this post.  A quick summary is that in 1705, there lived three Richard Beales - our ancestor (Tombstone Richard), his cousin (Other Richard) and some random Richard in Wadhurst (Wadhurst Richard).  One of … Continue reading Elizabeth Beale: Mystery SOLVED

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

Difficult Ancestors

I had a very frustrating day at the Kent Archives yesterday! I had four Kentish Questions that I needed answering: I wanted to know the name of a father of an illegitimate baby who was born in Buckland in 1865.  There is a slim chance this might appear in the baptism or workhouse records.  But … Continue reading Difficult Ancestors

Am I a True Brent?

George Brent 1831-1898 Miner of St Dominick, Cornwall, and my 2nd great grandfather... or possibly not... The main reason I started tracing my family tree was because I knew next to nothing about my father's family.  He died when I was seven, and I had very little contact with the only living relatives on his … Continue reading Am I a True Brent?

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