…. well, it was going to be about Workhouses. Then I changed my mind and decided to make it about Women in War (one of my lectures at WDYTYA 2014)…. but, considering the centenary which lies ahead in 2014, I thought I would save the many articles I have up my sleeve on this topic for the future.
Raiding the handy David Hey publication, The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History, several possibilities jump out though not one W really ‘floats my boat’. So instead today we have W for What’s occurring?
Whilst trawling through FreeBMD for the Unbelievable blog, some fairly obscure searches were carried out, including animals – only one Sheep, being used as a middle name, though a staggering number of people named Zebra in the West Midlands – and also numbers, after locating William Number Four and Five Harris. Having entered *eight into the first name, two death records were located in December qtr 1910 in Newport, M. – UNKNOWN, Male (No. 8) and UNKNOWN, Male (No. 18). Being the inquisitive soul I am, I decided to take a look at the index page itself and found that there were eighteen unknown males, all of unspecified age, on pages 125 to 127 of the death register for the registration district.
So, what’s occurring in Newport in the early twentieth century? Was it a mining area? Something down at the docks? Certainly an event which I was not aware of, but then how extensive is my Welsh history of the 1910s?
What did we do before Google (other search engines are available)? Newport in Monmouthshire – was a thriving merchant town with a brand new Transporter Bridge, designed to allow access to sailing ships on their way to the docks. Coal claimed many lives in pit disasters all over Britain at this time in history. In this incident through, the coal industry inadvertently claimed the lives of men who had never entered a mine, they dug earth, not coal. The coal being exported from the valleys of South Wales was a major factor behind the need for a larger dock.
And so, you are probably wondering how the eighteen deaths registered in December qtr 1910 are linked to the incident at Newport Docks in September qtr 1909. Well, while work was underway to sink blocks of stone near the disaster area in December 1910, bodies were found and exhumed. It is believed that a further sixteen were buried beneath the dock. Hence, as the men were unknown, they were all registered numerically. A tragic end…. but a really interesting story to stumble upon and find out more about what occurred in the early part of the 1900s in Newport.
I do feel that my Welsh history has improved somewhat today….