Guess who’s back, back again?

I just went to my first local genealogy group meeting, and I loved it.  There was a variety of experience, age, and history in the room – which is fascinating.  I talked a bit about my two big brick walls, losing my entire database in a hard drive crash, and my murderous coal mining ancestors.

I’ll be going back next month, for sure. 🙂

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I have.. returned?

I am back.

I took a few years off from this blog, for reasons that I cannot recall right now, but I am glad to be back. I certainly haven’t stopped working on my genealogy, and in fact, my tree has grown substantially. Last year, I got married, and so I’ve had a whole other branch to look into.

I’ll be updating my Brick Walls and About pages pretty soon. But in the meantime, hello again! 🙂

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Still alive!

Boy, this “writing and publishing a book” thing sure takes up a lot of time.  I’ve completely stalled in my genealogy research, because I’m spending so much time researching social history.

I am giving myself another day or two, and then digging back into my family history.  I miss it!

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Illness in the family…

Well, sorta.

My cat, Bitsy, is rather sick.  She’s been diagnosed with megacolon, and is currently in hospital having unspeakable things done to her insides.  I am worried, and when I worry, I need something to do.  Laundry is on, dishwasher running, house is relatively tidy.. what now?

Now, I am working on my book.  I am writing one, you see, like many other people out there.  For the longest time, I’ve been throwing around ideas, doing half-hearted outlines, and have been totally unable (or unwilling) to get anywhere with it.  Until this month, when I decided to narrow the focus.

I narrowed the focus down to tracing my family through the 1800s.  That nicely fits in with 4 generations of my family, from my great-grandparents, to my 4th great grandparents.  I’m going backwards from each great grandparent, which gives me 120 people total.  Scratch that, 150 — I’m going to also do my step-father’s tree, because he raised me and it seems silly not to add his family into the mix.

And so, for each of these 150 people, I am going to get my hands on original records, if I can, for all their major life events, and do research on what their careers would have been like, and their daily lives, and the places they lived.  Should take me, oh, 10 years?

And then I want to write a story, not just present facts.  I want to dig through weather reports and see if I can find out if it was sunny or not on my 3rd great grandmother’s wedding day.  And find out who my 2nd great grandfather may have worked with in the coal mines in Stirlingshire.  Et cetera, et cetera.

Oh, but isn’t it going to be fun! 🙂

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24 May 1879 – Fatal Pit Explosion

24 May 1879

Fatal Pit Explosion – A disastrous explosion occurred on Sat afternoon at Denny in the No 1 pit, Quarter, Denny, belonging to Messrs Baird of Gartsherrie, which resulted in the death of one man and the serious injury of another. Robert Henderson, fireman, residing in Dunipace, was killed by the explosion, and Robert Cook, a roadsman residing in Denny, severely burned, but Dr Benny who attended him, reported on Sunday that he was doing pretty well. Henderson was 26 years of age and leaves a widow and 3 children. [Hamilton Advertiser May 31 1879]

— from The Scottish Mining Website, Stirlingshire Accidents 1871-1901

Robert Henderson was my 2nd great grand uncle.  I found this sad little entry entry quite by accident – I was looking for information on the coal pits in the Denny area, and noticed a death by a man with the surname Henderson.  I immediately hopped over to ScotlandsPeople to pull his death record up, and sure enough, he is related to me.  My 2nd great grandfather, William Henderson, was the informant for his death record.

I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to live in that place and time, to be a coal miner, or the spouse of a coal miner.  I read through a few of the other entries as well, and it just seems too horrible to contemplate.  By the way, the 2nd man listed in the quote above did end up dying of his injuries.  RIP, Robert Henderson, and RIP, Robert Cook.

And on that note, I am off to bed, hopefully not to dream of pit explosions.

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This week (April 7-13)

This week, in my family, a birth, a marriage, and a death:

Actually, I’d like to talk about 2 births this week, the first one being near and dear to me:

April 10, 1930 – My maternal grandmother was born, in Rochdale, Lancashire. I’d go into a lot more detail, but she’s still living. She’s the stunning woman in the foreground of the header image on my website. Happy birthday, Grandma! 🙂

April 13, 1908 – Helena Jennie “Dodie” Crassweller, my great grand aunt, was born in Gloucester, Gloucestershire. She died on September 2, 1970, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, of brain cancer. She was married twice, but I don’t know when or where her marriages took place, but I believe she married her 2nd husband after the death of her first husband, Frank Wilfred Brooker, who was a Vancouver fire fighter who died in 1964. I found Helena’s gravestone on a recent trip to Ocean View Cemetery in Burnaby, British Columia – she’s buried next to her mother, Amelia Esther Rudge.

April 11, 1721 – My 7th great grandparents, Joseph King and Mary Bateman, were married in Tingewick, Buckinghamshire. Tingewick is a small place, and my family lived there for many generations. I’ve no idea what Joseph did for a living, but I do know that he died on September 6, 1766, and had at least one child. Mary was baptised on May 2, 1689, and was buried on May 16, 1762.

April 13, 1819 – My 4th great grandparents, Bartholomew Parker and Tryphosa Southcombe, were married in Hatherleigh, Devon. I absolutely love their names. He was a farmer, born in 1793 in Iddesleigh, Devon, to unknown parents. I don’t know when he died, yet, but I’ll find out! Tryphosa was born in 1798, in Hatherleigh, and I don’t know when she died, either. They had a pretty remarkable number of children – 10 in total, most of whom I know very little about, except my 3rd great grandfather, John Parker.

April 9, 1916 – My great grandmother’s first husband, Cpl. John Arthur Cross, was killed in action in World War I in Nahr Kalis, Mesopotamia, an area just south of modern-day Baghdad, Iraq.  He joined the military on September 13, 1914, less than 3 years after he married my great grandmother.  He served with the 6th Battalion of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  My grandmother believes that one of her uncles with was him when he died – I like to think that this is true, even though I haven’t dug into my great uncle’s military records yet to see if he was even in the same place at the same time.  I do, however, have Cpl. Cross’ military records, and I love to read them, with their burnt edges and letters written by my great grandmother to the War Office, asking about her husband’s missing in action status.

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Speaking of books…


I went out today to buy some groceries, and got sucked into a little used book store down the road from my house.  I try to limit my trips in there, but they have such a great collection that it’s hard to avoid.  Every time I go, I find a few gems for my genealogy/history collection.  Today was no different.   From left to right:

These books all relate directly to someone or some place in my family history, with the exception of the Anne Langton book – I bought that one just because I love the idea of reading about what it was like for the settlers of Upper Canada, even though my family didn’t make it over here until the early 1900s.   I’m looking forward especially to the book on Canadian housewives – it covers the 1600s to 1950s!

What have you found in your local used or new book store lately concerning your family history?  Anything good?  Please share!


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