Mar 262015

It’s a funny phrase, don’t you think? “When push comes to shove” or “when the chips are down” or “when the gloves come off” are phrases usually accompanied by “you know who you can rely on”. It’s true. I remember when I was young, Ma FWL was part of a babysitting circle. I don’t think any money changed hands (though I might be wrong) but it worked more on a kind of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ basis. You gained points for doing a turn at babysitting and you had points deducted from your total when you had someone sit on your child/ren – I mean, look after your child/ren!

GlovesLife is still like that, even in the hectic world we now live in with all this modern technology which ensures we never have a minute’s peace. Whether it’s in a social setting, business or whatever, those who ‘get on’ help each other out, maybe by suggesting a good plumber or offering a hand to do something or another…. Sometimes favours come from associates from long ago because they remember what a ‘jolly good egg‘ you were (and probably still are!). Earlier this year, and on a number of occasions since, I have talked about positivity rules. If you do something positive for someone, they’ll remember you positively. Do something negative and it only takes a minute to destroy any good feelings that person ever had for you.

When push comes to shove, I support the people I care about, our customers and clients and I get that back in bucket loads. If/when the gloves need to come off, that means they have my back or even fight with/for me and I do the same for them. Gone are the days when children play out in the street together (I lived in a cul-de-sac, I hasten to add) like we did when I was young but the sense of community and mutual support hasn’t completely ‘departed this life‘. Have a think …. when was the last time you did something positive, without knowing you would be ‘rewarded’? It’s really worthwhile, especially for those times when the chips are down for you.

Mar 252015

How many hours are there in a day? I know that the sensible, mathematical answer is 24. How many of those should be waking ones? 16 is probably the medical answer. We are supposed to have eight hours sleep, so I am told…. but how can that work when there is so much networking and genealogy to be done?!

Despite the fact that two people tried to tell me this morning that it was Thursday, amazing developments have taken place today – Wednesday. Having met someone at networking last week, we managed to trace his birth mother’s life (and sadly, decease) within an hour of receiving his email. A lifetime of questions, finally resolved for just £20. New business relationships formed and old ones renewed in the early hours of this morning at an excellent Chapter meeting of BNI Spire – great to have the opportunity to meet one of the two new Executive Directors for BNI Wiltshire, network with business professionals and represent Frank Miller of Carlyia Ltd, the new Chapter Director as of next week!

Networking is crucial to FWL – we build our business based on relationships and professionalism. If you know, like and trust us, you’ll refer us with confidence and we are grateful for the superb feedback we have received from clients on Check A Professional already…. We were only approved last week as the first people tracers, Heir Hunters and professional family historians on their site!

It’s fair to say that people react in curious ways to the successes of others but hey, we can only control what we do, not how other people choose to conduct themselves. The team at FWL is superb, outstanding, phenomenal …. I could go on, and I (MD@FWL) am extremely proud of our achievements for our clients. Long may it continue and we will carry on ‘having a laugh’ as we go. Genealogy, family history, whatever you call it, is an extremely rewarding profession.

Mar 242015

Us genies do love a good oddball, don’t we? Over the last few days, Myko Clelland has been posting a lot of funny finds on Twitter which have kept us smiling here at FWL. So, we thought we would share some of ours too!

There are plenty of examples of unnamed children who have been indexed with first names from ‘name not chosen’, ‘name not fixed’, to ‘name undecided’ and such like. As we have written about before, the suffragettes left their mark on the 1911 census with ‘name not given’ and ‘name not known’ frequently appearing on the transcribed indexes, as well as ‘name refused’.

Jim the Cat features on the census with the Cooke family in Leicester in 1911:


There are plenty of other well-documented animals in the 1911 census, but the eccentricities of people are reported far less frequently so far as we can tell. However, there are three particularly interesting characters we have located:

Edith Absolon who clearly wears the trousers in the Absolon Torquay household, being referred to as ‘Boss':


…. and poor Rose Hollick, servant to Charles and Daisy Morgan in Chingford did not know where she was born and, rather than a kind ‘unknown’ in the birth place column, the head of household gave a very blunt account:


…. and surely this can’t be Eliza’s real name?


Judging by her age and birth place (given as Codford St Mary), we would hazard a guess that she was probably Eliza GLADYS Baker, born in June quarter of 1907 in Warminster Registration District, along with her twin sister, registered as Florence Bessie. The fun never ends…. what to search for next!? [With thanks to FindmyPast for such wonderful indexing….]

Mar 232015


I love the fact that every day presents a different challenge. Cases which teach us something new, clients who request some ‘out of the ordinary’ research, people to track down who don’t quite conform to ‘expectations’. It’s a little bit like my previous existence as a teacher! No two classes the same, no two days the same, no two students the same…. But, don’t you find that some days you could do without some of the unnecessary challenges? Those which present hurdles which you have to leap over though you gain nothing by doing so…. Those which you wish would just disappear and then life could be a little less hassle-filled….

And then, some awesome events occur to brighten the day – three intestacy cases back from the Treasury (amounts undisclosed) and some super feedback on our CheckaProfessional page. Amazing how a few positives can completely turn things on their heads!

The day began with a long list of things to do. I can’t honestly say it’s shorter than at 9am this morning but we, at FWL, have achieved a lot today. With a fair few giggles along the way from 1911 census searches (to be shared tomorrow), the office is not quite paper-free this evening but that is a testament to the team’s achievements! [And the calls were still coming in at 10pm and onwards….!] So now, roll on Tuesday – please no more Smith families! – and with less interruptions to the planned schedule, if possible.

[Having said that, we also wish for a better Bonavacantia list tomorrow – today’s was not the best, in all honesty. If anyone can actually identify Thomas Raymond Meritt Phenis (1927-2007), do let me know!]

Mar 222015

In the UK – and most probably elsewhere in the world – the slightly more ‘minor’ roads are white on Google. The wider the white, the wider the road and clearly, the reverse is also true, as I discovered today. In order to correctly refer to the A-road I travelled on yesterday (for the blog), I looked it up on Google and to my surprise, noticed a Methodist Church which, to my knowledge, I had never visited in order to find out if any Sillifants were buried there. Not all non-conformist chapels/churches have burial grounds but I decided it was worth a slight detour to find out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunday is always a really good day to visit a church – the car parks are usually packed (if in existence at all) and there is generally nowhere to leave the car for the five minute visit required. Holsworthy Beacon Methodist Church was no different. Just a tiny chapel marked as ‘Wesleyan Chapel – 1882′, there were sadly no Sillifant gravestones, but I did find a Lashbrook to send to a geneamate doing a surname study on the name (one which regularly crops up in my travels in Devon!).

Rather than retrace my tyre tracks, I continued along a previously uncharted road and found that I was soon heading out at Anvil Corner. Rather than follow the main A3072, I decided to visit the village of Hollacombe (my Sillifants passed through there in the late eighteenth century) as I had in my mind that I had failed to find the church on a previous attempted visit. However, as soon as I arrived in Hollacombe, I remembered the church and recognised the stones I had photographed on my last visit some years ago. Nevertheless, I also found some Rickett graves which had previously gone unnoticed, so a trip worth making.

My journey continued down lanes designed more for tractors than for an Audi A3 but we managed well, avoiding as many pot holes as we could! A sign for Muckworthy directed us off right into a very mucky lane (rather apt) and the lane became narrower and narrower and narrower. Thank heaven that nothing came the other way but no church to be found in the village which was a little disappointing.

Exiting Muckworthy and placing ourselves half in a hedgerow to avoid the most enormous pot hole in the world, we decided to aim for the wider white roads and headed back towards civilisation. A long journey including the A30, M5, M4 and a wiggle home from J17, Gertrude, the ‘as-yet-unnamed’ new car and myself are now collapsed for the evening before beginning another hectic week of heir hunting and family history cases…. Zzzzzzz ……

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