Jul 302014

wcup66Sadly, I was not around when England’s football team last won the World Cup. Since the inaugural tournament in 1930, the World Cup has been awarded every four years – except in 1942 and 1946 – and the England fans are used to the constant media attention for the squad and the disappointment when we don’t win…. ever (in my lifetime)!

But once, just once, we did! On this day in 1966, captained by Bobby Moore, England beat West Germany by four goals to two at London’s Wembley Stadium. At half-time, the score was 1-1, thanks to a goal from Geoff Hurst. Martin Peters scored a second goal but 15 seconds from full-time, West Germany drew level from a free kick. Geoff Hurst scored two goals in extra-time to secure the victory…. even though one of his goals was a little dubious but allowed when a Russian linesman confirmed that the ball had crossed the line. Geoff Hurst was the first player in history to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.

The current champions are Germany who recently won their fourth title at the 2014 tournament in Brazil. Brazil are the most successful team, having won the World Cup five times. The 2018 World Cup will be the 21st event and is scheduled to take place in Russia. Maybe the Russian connection might be a good omen for the England team….? Hm…. doubtful.

Jul 292014

Brownsea-IslandOn 29 July 1907, Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941) took a group of boys to Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, for what was basically the first Scout camp. The aim of the venture was to try out some of the ideas that were to become the basic principles and activities of the Scout movement which included fostering a sense of humour, loyalty and good citizenship as well as achieving physical fitness through exercise and developing practical skills from woodwork and crafts to first aid.

The boys who attended the camp were drawn from different social classes and were divided into four patrols, each assigned a tent to sleep in. After morning prayers came drills, games and instruction, interspersed with quiet rest periods and of course, the day ended with stories and singing around the campfire. The ‘experiment’ was deemed to be a great success and Scouting was born.

Now managed by The National Trust, Brownsea Island is famous for its red squirrels and wildlife (as well as Scouting) and has spectacular views across to the Purbeck Hills. Thriving natural habitats – including woodland, heathland and a lagoon – create a unique haven for wildlife, such as the rare red squirrel and a wide variety of birds, including dunlin, kingfishers, common and sandwich terns and oystercatchers.

The Outdoor Centre invites visitors to follow in the footsteps of Lord Baden-Powell and the very first Scouts who camped there in 1907, and groups of Scouts and Guides camp on Brownsea Island in the summer months.

Jul 282014

Since the release of the 1911 census, many articles and blogs have been written about the eccentric entries made by our ancestors. From Beauty Lafayette, the beloved pet dog of The Great Fayette (aged 16) to Biddy, the “faithful Irish Terrier Bitch, Magnificent Watch, a demon on Cats and Vermin, age 11 years” of Mr and Mrs Arthur John Delve in Smethwick, there have been dozens in between. But I haven’t seen any mention of Timothy the Cat, Jack the Dog, Jack Cat or ‘Lark’ who I have discovered today….

Frances Catherine Stone, a 46-year-old church worker, living at 45 Claremont Road, Langley, Heanor, recorded her two animals, Timothy and Jack, aged 7 and 8 respectively (RG14/20398):


And, Tom Brooks recorded their ‘domestic animal’ Jack Cat – a mouse shifter - and Lark - a singer – at 37 Gaythorne Road, Bradford (RG14/26701):


Can any other genies add to the animal kingdom in 1911 – or indeed any other year? Is there a ‘definitive’ list of the ‘interesting finds’ to date? How about we start one here!

Jul 272014

Many years ago, I dabbled with one of my Jones trees. You know the branches you rarely touch? Well, Jones tends to fall into that category for me. My g-g-g-grandmother was a Jones – Kezia(h) Jones – born on 14 July 1842 in Sutcombe:

B1842 S Keziah Jones

Sutcombe is a tiny remote parish – one of many in Devon, I might add! – with an interesting church:

Sutcombe church

Searching for a marriage for Kezia’s parents was not too difficult. William Jones and Sarah Lobb married in the parish of Sutcombe on 23 May 1825, but there was no sign of a baptism for either William or Sarah in Sutcombe.

The first ‘useful’ census – the 1851, which records the birth place of each householder – provides some assistance (HO107/1896/72/6):


Sarah was born in Bradworthy, not Sutcombe and so checking the baptisms for Bradworthy….

Sarah Routley

With William Jones, Sarah had seven known children: Grace (1828-1831), Elizabeth Ann, John, Grace (1838-1868), Sarah (1840-1865), Kezia(h) and William Henry.

Baptised as Routley, married as Lobb and died as Jones. Makes life interesting, I guess! [Her parents - Ann Lobb and Thomas Routley - never married.]


[Note: Although I have known for many years that Sarah died aged 49, I have today ordered her death certificate as I am left wondering, why? Wonderful this #52Ancestors concept - reminds me of the characters in my family who I have left in the filing cabinet for too long.]

Jul 262014

This week has been all about collaboration and networking for me. I have been out of the office researching in record offices for two days – Surrey Heritage Centre on Tuesday and Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre on Wednesday – and although I have been progressing some cases, projects and personal research, I have also managed to uncover a lot of random references for other people I know, particularly one-namers.

BusinessnetworkingHaving been involved in the field for nearly two decades, there have also been a fair few people who I have been delighted to bump into during these record offices visits. There have even been people who have come up to me and said ‘Didn’t I see your lecture at WDYTYA?’, who I have never met on a one-to-one basis. It’s my hair which is so recognisable, I am told…. Best never get older or stop using my current hairdresser I guess…. else no-one will ever know who I am!

And so today …. Saturday …. I have been showing off the new Society for One-Place Studies at Buckinghamshire FHS Open Day. I am very proud to be one of the founder members of the Society and have been ‘waxing lyrical’ about the organisation all day! Exhausting – for six hours – but lovely to come away from the event with comments like ‘Well done – what a wonderful concept’, ‘See you in Telford’ (for the inaugural conference) and ‘Good luck – I will definitely add your website to my favourites. Great job!’

And to cap it all, even though I wasn’t really there with my FWL hat on, about twenty minutes before the end of the day, Jill from CAB Search introduced me to a lady who wanted us to do her family history for her! Just goes to show, business is not about what you know but who you know….

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