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Each issue is packed full of entertaining stories, case studies, social history articles and research advice – great for anyone starting out in family history research, for experienced researchers needing help overcoming stumbling blocks, and for those with a general interest in how our ancestors lived their lives.
When seeking an intimate relationship, today busy people regularly use global online dating and geosocial networking applications like Tinder, whereas earlier generations seemingly met their partners naturally, face to face, from within their own communities. Often they were childhood sweethearts, neighbours or family friends, work or wartime colleagues, members of local sports or social clubs, even members of the same extended family, as in mine, where Alfred Brooks, the widowed father of my paternal grandma, Amy Shrimpton (née Brooks), married as his second wife Annie Shrimpton, the single, older sister of Grandma Amy’s husband-to-be, William Shrimpton. Thus my dad’s maternal grandfather later became his uncle, by marriage!
On 8 December 1862, at the Edmunds Main Colliery, Worsbrough Dale near Barnsley, three underground explosions killed 59 men and boys. In a coal field that was known to be fiery and to harbour gas, death was nothing new. Added to the inherent risk of working underground, proprietors regarded safety in terms of avoiding lost production, rather than saving life and limb. Women saw their menfolk leave for work wondering if they would come home and spent each shift half expecting a visitor with bad news.
In a recent wander along the river bank of the Thames at Windsor I came across the footbridge from the town. A busker was playing on its crown to the stream of humanity crossing the short distance from the south bank to the north. Tagging myself onto the back of a gaggle of tourists I followed them over and suddenly realised that I was now in Eton. Seeing the historical buildings on its high street piqued my interest. Of course it is the site of the famous English public school, but it was its picturesque streets, with shops occupying old buildings of various designs and sizes, that drew me in that day.
Some years ago we bought a pine chest for our bathroom from a friend’s antique shop. It was stuffed with documents belonging to an upper working/lower middle class family from Newcastle upon Tyne. The documents covered a period from the 1930s to the 1950s. There must have been nigh-on 100 pieces and, with the current interest in house history linking to the longer-term afascination for family history, now seems a good time to share what we can learn from them.
The Family History Show is back in its online incarnation this month, on Saturday 18 February from 10am to 4pm.</p> <p>The success of last year’s online event, much appreciated in the family history community, has ensured its return. With new talks and all the features of a physical family history show, this virtual event – organised by Discover Your Ancestors – can be easily accessed from around the world in the comfort of your own home.
As we saw in January, by the mid-Victorian era – a time of growing conspicuous consumption – entire fur garments were high fashion for an affluent minority. By the 1880s, although full fur coats remained beyond popular reach, soft fur accessories including hats, muffs and neck-warmers became more affordable. For these small items, the whole animal skin including the head, paws and tail, was admired, starting a decorative trend that was condemned by some, like the Young Ladies Journal, which protested against the wearing of ‘cats’ heads, tiny monkeys and large perroquets upon one’s bonnet’.
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