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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.
In the modern age of electricity, it’s hard to imagine what life was like before automatic lights, light switches and the ability to move around in your house with no issues even when it is dark. One job that was previously a common one to help people find their way around outside was the job of the lamplighter. These individuals would go round lighting lamps at dusk, keep them maintained and then extinguish them again in the morning. These might be candles or oil-burning lamps, before being replaced by gas. Electricity ultimately became the means by which streetlights were lit, with automation finally putting lamplighters out of a job.
Frank W. Carter was a professional songwriter for music hall celebrities such as Marie Lloyd (known as the Queen of the Music Hall), Clarice Mayne and Ella Shields. He wrote the popular songs ‘Why Did I Leave My Little Back Room’ and ‘Good Old-Fashioned Pub’. Despite his popularity he had a complicated personal life with many dark secrets. Were it not for an accidental discovery I made researching the whereabouts of my great-great-grandmother, I wouldn’t have known anything about Frank or his contribution to music.
I was torn like a battlefield commander facing a strategic dilemma. I wanted to feature the Battle of Brunanburh (937 AD), the great victory of Alfred the Great’s grandson, Æthelstan, which many historians regard as the unifying battle ensuring there would be an England. The trouble is we haven’t a clue where it was fought – most likely in the north. I’ve therefore headed south, to Maldon in Essex…
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