Mar 032015

Some days I blog about genealogical finds, sometimes I write about FWL and sometimes it’s slightly more random …. Often people say ‘how do you find something meaningful to write about every day?’. I wonder the same thing! Today, it was simple.

Nice_biscuitThe value of being ‘nice’. ‘Nice’ is not a word I regularly use. It’s an odd word though well used in the quote, “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice“. I am a strong believer in being ‘nice’.

Over the last 24 hours, I have once again been staggered at the ruthless and insensitive behaviour of my fellow Heir Hunters. They are quite frankly far from nice. Five hours after the BV list had been published yesterday, I telephoned a gentleman in the south of England to discuss the estate of his late brother. He had someone already in his house talking about the case! Had they called to arrange an appointment? Nope – just turned up and ‘door-stepped’ him. We arranged a call this morning and to say that I was aghast at what they had told him would be an understatement. ‘Well Mr X, if the case is worth less than £500, we will administer it at no cost’…. well, of course you blooming will because you know that any case listed on the BV list is worth more than that! Cheeky blighters.

In between calling Mr X last night and our pre-planned telephone conversation this morning, I called Mrs Y. Her cousin had passed away. I could tell immediately that she had been inundated by callers since 2pm yesterday and her brother (she informed me) had also had someone just arrive at his front door. Sadly, Mr Z had been recently bereaved himself and told my (un)professional colleagues where they could go. I don’t blame him either. Mrs Y was courteous though clearly upset at the news of her cousin’s passing and also the ‘vulturous behaviour’ of some of the previous callers. She even told me that ‘of all of them’, we were ‘doing it right’. Praise indeed at a time when she is doubly bereaved – losing a sister-in-law and a cousin – and fed up to the back teeth with companies like us.

Come on guys and gals…. yes, this is a business (and a competitive one at that) but please remember that these are PEOPLE we are dealing with who have feelings and deserve to be treated with respect, kindness and compassion when you are informing them of the loss of a member of their family. What is the value of ‘being nice’? I’ll let you decide.

Mar 022015

What do you want to achieve this year? What are your goals and aspirations? How are you going to accomplish your objectives?

GoalsBack in 1949, a US Air Force B50 aeroplaneLucky Lady II, landed in Texas today at 9:22am having completed the first non-stop round-the-world flight, commanded by Captain James Gallagher. Taking off from the same air force base four days earlier, it had been refuelled four times in mid-air – an amazing achievement and just shows what can be accomplished when someone (or a team) sets their mind to a specific goal.

Today in 1958, the English explorer and scientist, Vivian Fuchs reached Scott Base, Victoria Land, having led the first expedition to cross Antarctica. Travelling 2,200 miles in 99 days, the expedition set out from Shackleton Base, Weddell Sea, on 24 November 1957. I wonder why/how the expedition idea first crossed Vivian’s mind?! Not an everyday thought for most people….

And then in 1969, the maiden flight of the first French Concorde took place today. Who came up with the concept of having a supersonic passenger airliner? An excellent idea …. but once again, not the kind of thought/discussion you have over a beer/wine/coffee with friends on a daily or weekly basis!

So, what are you going to accomplish in 2015? We are already 1/6th of the way through the year…. Tempus fugit, though not as fast as Concorde! …. Don’t let the year pass you by and arrive at Christmas wishing you had done X or Y, or achieved Z but failed, because you hadn’t set out your steps along the way. Make every minute, every hour, every day count!

Mar 012015

I do love a good random search of various websites for unfortunate names, don’t you? Well, this weekend has been the turn of the ailment department. Measles, Chickenpox, Smallpox, the common cough and cold …. you get the idea.

DrSurgeryThe first visit to the surgery was poor Rubella Florence B. Frost who was born in the Dartford Registration District (RD) in June quarter 1907. She must have constantly been the butt of people’s jokes during her formative years in particular and unfortunately, it’s not a name she lost on marriage to Charles R. Constant in September quarter 1926 in Woolwich. Rubella makes regular appearances in the London Electoral Rolls on Ancestry and there are also references to Miriam Rubella Frost who married in Woolwich RD in 1927. It would appear though that Miriam was not an original Frost but married to become one in 1904 (born Holmes in 1883) and was in fact the mother of Rubella Florence, it being her second marriage. It is perhaps not so surprising that her daughter, Rubella, was referred to as ‘Ruby’ on the 1911 census ….

Following Rubella was James Headache. Unfortunately, he died aged just 33 years old and was buried in Oxted on 11 March 1826:


[Source: Ancestry,  London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980 (Call No. DW/T/7285and Surrey, England, Burials, 1813-1987 (Ref No. P3/1/34)]

Headaches seem to die out in the nineteenth century as Elizabeth departs in Bicester RD in 1854 and she is the only reference to the surname on FreeBMD. Mumps are equally uncommon though Mary was baptised of Adam and Elizabeth in 1857 in Sacred Trinity Church, Salford and Richard is referenced on FreeBMD as being born in 1864 in Salford:


No reference to the family has been located in any census in England with the correct transcription of their surname! Quelle surprise!

And so, here endeth the list of surgery attendees for this week …. More next Sunday. Keep your eyes peeled!

Feb 282015

So what did Saturday hold for you? How many of you had a leisurely day off? Watched some sport on the television? I’ll lay money on the fact that 99.9% of you did some kind of household chores. Saturday can be a bit of a pain in that way…. duster, vacuum cleaner, washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher day. Even I managed to use three of five today which is pretty good going for me!

HappySaturdayAs you know, I am lucky enough to do this genealogy lark all day every day. And sometimes that all day is longer than it should be, especially on weekends when I can catch up on the task list. Without boring you with all those items crossed off, I have spent a bit of time thinking out of the box on the BV list, finished off some client reports, replied to the BBC and Qui est-vous? researchers, completed my secretarial tasks for the Society for One-Place Studies and chair tasks for The Surname Society, including ‘hanging out’ and talking about Canadian records…. I love my ‘job’, and those are just the highlights!

And so, to chill out with The Voice…. and do a few more family histories on the laptop at the same time! Team tactics for the week ahead have now been planned, writing tasks still to be completed tomorrow and then the March Madness can properly begin. Quite how I am going to achieve my objectives for the month is beyond me but hey, aim high…. that’s always been my motto!

How do you fancy some Stupendous Sunday Surnames tomorrow?

Feb 272015

During our research into the past, many of us discover some truly splendiferous information about our ancestors. Sometimes this relates to their antics and sometimes just their names are entertaining enough on their own! I often wonder when carrying out client research whether people would be perturbed if their forebears were a ‘few sandwiches short of a picnic‘ and we do have to be sensitive in our line of work. You never know what you’ll find when you start digging …. but those stories can wait for another day.

Sandwich Retucker was born in Stockton Registration District in June quarter 1898 (Vol. 10, Page 90) but sadly, I cannot find any further trace of him/her after this record. There are frequent references in historic records to the Earl and Countess of Sandwich and also individuals with Sandwich is a middle name, like Joseph Sandwich Woof. In fact, there were two of them, one born in 1844 and one in 1851. There aren’t very many Sandwich deaths though – just one after 1916 for Mollie Sandwich Parker (1916-1990). Interestingly, the only reference to Sandwich as a name in the census is the 1871 census for the Earl himself when his occupation is described as ‘Earl of Sandwich’.

You may well have guessed the other name due to feature in this blog – and if you haven’t, shame on you! Harris Picnic, born September quarter 1895 in Sheffield…. I am not kidding! Again, much like Sandwich, no trace other than his/her birth and no other records relating to any Picnics – well, there are transcription errors, but no real ones!

And finally, not quite a Club Sandwich but Clubhouse Thomas Morton who died in Salford in June quarter 1838. Heaven only knows what his parents were thinking!

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