Crackers, Mangers and Donkeys

8 December 2015

As we veer helter skelter towards Christmas, the days are becoming more and more crackers…. ‘scuse the pun. The deadlines have been set and the daily task lists have to be adhered to even more rigidly than normal. Already, we are looking at scheduling work well into 2016 and I – MD@FWL – have confirmed speaking engagements well into 2017. I never even used to have a diary that far ahead of time but now, it’s a must!

So, considering the festive season ahead (which I guess we are now going to have to), there are a few historic Cracker characters, don’t you know…. Henry Cracker Stevens born in Plymouth Registration District (RD) in March quarter 1855 and James Cracker Balsdon who married in Okehampton RD in June quarter of the same year. Although no birth is evident in the GRO indexes for Alfred Cracker Philp, he died in Tavistock RD in March quarter 1875…. I wonder why, up to this point, all the Crackers were in the South West of England!! The only Cracker found outside Devon and Cornwall was Charles Cracker Lyon – born Bourne RD (Lincolnshire) in September quarter 1880 and married in Bramley RD (West Riding of Yorkshire) in March quarter 1903.

I was shocked to find two people born in England with Manger as a first name in the transcribed GRO indexes on FreeBMD. One died young – born and died in March quarter 1877 – but the other one, his birth registered as Manger Brooks Austin, appeared to last the test of time and was known as Herbert for most of his life, including his baptism…. who can blame him!


Although few BMDs reference Manger as a first or middle name, the number of Manger references in the National Probate Calendar is simply staggering: TWENTY, although some are mis-transcriptions for Mauger. Of all the probate references, my favourite find is Gerrit Nicholaas Manger Cats … I don’t think further words are required:


A Donkin but no Donkey in the BMDs for England and Wales, though until my correction goes through, FreeBMD would have you know different! I’ll leave it to your imagination to calculate how many Mary’s, Joseph’s and Jesus’ there are in the 1837-2005 BMD records…. Perhaps not a topic for another blog, me thinks.

  1. Ancestry.comEngland & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1933
  2. Ancestry.comEngland & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 190


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