Jul 052015

Earlier this week, the Woodwind Section of the orchestra featured and today is the turn of the Brass Section. Contrary to popular belief, the saxophone is not a brass instrument and it most certainly does not feature in a regular orchestra. Oddly, there are a fair few surnames connected with this section, in particular, the trumpet. My favourite character is Randolph Trumpet who, in all fairness, may well be reading this blog if he googles his own name! He married in 1961 and had two children, one of whose middle names was also Randolph. Other trumpets are less colourful, like Elizabeth, Sarah, Thomas, Ann and others…. I guess with a surname like Trumpet, you don’t have to make too much noise with your first name?

brass_sectionJohn Tuba is referenced in one of the best books on our shelves, Potty, Fartwell and Knob (marrying in 1774). However, there was also a Female Tuba, born in Leicester in 1868 in June quarter and, as she was not given a first name, I am guessing that she did not last long on the planet.

There has never been – I am pleased to say – anyone called French or Flugel Horn, anywhere in the world (as far as we can tell) …. can you imagine?! But Trombone does feature in Italian and US records – including the grave of Trombone Pizzuto and family (Jamesburg, Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA) – though no English Trombones have been located to date.

Trumpeters often double as buglers in certain symphonies, concertos etc. and Arsene P. Bugle was around for 71 years before passing away in Battersea in 1930. No birth has been located for him in England – perhaps a European player? There really is no end to the fun you can have in genealogy….! Percussion and string sections to follow – watch out for Tom Tom, a gong or two, violins, violas and harps.

Jul 042015

Having removed half the leaflets and brochures from the hotel reception last night, Mr FWL and I went through the pile and separated them into yes, no and maybe by location at first. Then we delved deeper into what each tourist attraction had on offer and scheduled our day which was meant to be 24 degrees (Celsius) and sunny. We awoke to rain. Not to be stopped in our tracks, we headed north towards the Brecon Beacons. The rain did not appear to be stopping and the cloud cover was pretty low over the hills, so we were less than enthusiastic about the real weather outlook for the day. Coupled with that, Gertrude (Satnav) took us on a merry dance down a rather entertaining B-road to arrive at our first location – the National Showcaves.

The main cave, Dan-yr-Ogof, claims to be the largest in Europe and is one of the major tourist attractions in Wales. The first section of the cave system is open to the public but the extensive cave system beyond is a national nature reserve and is open only to bona-fide cavers. The cave was first explored by two local brothers in 1912, Tommy and Jeff Morgan, using candles and primitive equipment. They were unsure what they would discover and hence, armed themselves with a revolver!

Tommy and Jeff Morgan were two of the six sons of William Morgan who was the eldest son of Morgan Morgan – no, I am not joking! William Morgan developed Abercraf Colliery and various quarries using the Swansea Canal and when he died in 1905, William left an estate of £35,000. Professor Myron Wyn Evans book, O Hudd Ei Ddoe, gives more detail about the Morgan family and is available on Google Books.

A super place to visit – lots of photographs taken – and we managed to take in the National Trust Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfalls on the way back to Swansea (as well as Machine Mart, but that – for me – was not so worthy of note!). Lovely day out and about and the weather improved enormously during out time in the first cave, with the sun shining brightly for the rest of Saturday.

I struggled to drive past a non-conformist chapel and graveyard on our journey today – in fact, I failed! However, we didn’t stop long. I just took a few snaps of the chapel itself and a few gravestones. Amusingly, I saw very few names other than Jenkins, Morgan, Williams, Evans, James and Jones! [Although my maternal grandmother was born as an Evans and she always said she was Welsh, I – at the moment – have no family lines in Wales.]

Tomorrow, we are expecting the worst (weather-wise) so Swansea-based indoor museums are the order of the day prior to departure from Welsh Wales.

Jul 032015

It’s not often I take time out of the FWL office but this weekend, we are away on a short break…. who’d have thought it possible?! Some while ago, me and Mr FWL decided we needed to book something. We don’t take the opportunity to switch off very often (and even now, I still write a blog each day and keep on top of FWL case work) so we looked into heading off abroad for a long weekend but, by the time we factored in flights, accommodation, a car, car parking and heaven alone knows what else, we decided to stay in England. Well actually, in the UK. We are in Welsh Wales.

SwanseaDid you know it costs £6.50 to get into Wales via the Severn Bridge but it costs nothing to get out again?! You can take that in any way you choose – the Welsh tell me, it’s for a variety of reasons relating to the fact their country is wonderful, but I shall not pass comment. Safest I think….!

Travel was fairly simple and with only four phone calls en route (!!), we arrived at shortly before 4 to check into our booked hotel. Haha – should be simple, but no! Booked into an ‘accessible’ room with lots of hand rails and a specially lowered bed…. Thanks but no thanks! So, we moved from one hotel to another before even checking in!

The new hotel was actually better placed (in the City Centre) than the booked one (Waterfront) and we have already visited the sea, I have put my toes in the sand and we have planned our two days off. There are so many things to see and do in and around Swansea – oh yes, that’s where we are staying by the way! – that we might have to schedule a revisit if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. Tinworks, Waterfall, Showcaves and more, tomorrow looks to be a great day on the weather front, unlike Sunday when the heavens are due to open and lightning bolts are drawn on the BBC forecast. So, Sunday’s plans are undercover before our return to Wiltshire. Watch this space for exciting historical reports ….

Jul 022015

PennyAs a business owner, Managing Director, or whatever you would like to call me, I regularly attend business network meetings in the local area (and sometimes further afield). I have been doing this for some years now to raise the profile of FWL. In our field, we need to stand out from the crowd. We can be great researchers in our own offices but if people don’t know we exist….!

During the hundreds of meetings I have attended, there have been various occasions when the penny has quite literally dropped in front of my eyes. Today was one of those – a business colleague I have met a couple of times who specifically wanted to talk to me about a personal matter which she needed me to investigate, as well as two services I needed right there in the room! Networking works…. Had I ‘just met’ any of these individuals for the first time? No. I know them (in varying degrees), I’d even go so far as to say I like them and I certainly trust them as fellow business owners.

When I set up FWL, did I think I would be managing a team of researchers? No. Did I think I would need professional office equipment? No. [Oh, I thought I would be able to manage with a desktop printer ….urgh … no!] Did I ever imagine that I would need people to answer the telephone in the office when I wasn’t available? No. How have I come by all these services? Networking. Yes, full stop. That’s it. It is – quite seriously – the answer to everything.

If you want to grow your business, you MUST seek out the local networking events. You really cannot afford not to be involved.

Jul 012015

Frequently at FWL, our  minds turn to the eccentric – sometimes, we are driven there and on other occasions, we drive there of our own accord. Over the past few weeks, we have been collecting various musical instruments in our research and we will begin our orchestral dalliances with the woodwind section.

For those of you who are not au fait with this particular section of the orchestra, all reed instruments fall within the woodwind section – oboe and bassoon being the double reed family, the clarinet having a single reed and the flute …. well, that’s another story. Anyway, two oboes are present in the historical censuses of England – Oboe Oglesby of John and Ann in 1901 and Oboe Mary Myatt in 1911, the wife of Edward, living in Caverswall, Staffordshire [OK, so now you need to guess what they actually were before clicking on the hyperlinks.] Concerning though it may be, there is someone potentially walking the planet right now – born in 1979 – with Oboe as a middle name.

WoodwindThere are less clarinets in the world – in fact, just two impostors in the 1911 census. Clarinet M. Fraser, wife of John, was born in India and perhaps better known to her friends as Claribel? Another variation on the clarinet theme is Arthur Clarinet Brody Hick, or even Arthur Clement Boyd Hick. Hmm….

Having been a flute player from a young age, one particular 1911 census schedule tickled me – Flute Flora Wilch, aged 23 and living in Seaton, Devon. There is also a very young Flute born in 2005 roaming around (potentially) the South of England. Bassoon-wise, of the 18 hits on FindmyPast (at the time of writing), several were travelling out of England and Wales whereas others were definitely made abroad before importation.

Oh you know you want to! Go take a look – you’ll find some amazing/amusing stuff out there. Please let us know of any funny finds – we’d be delighted to from you.

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