It is a sad fact that every age has its unwanted children and its own way of dealing with them. While the number of children who were in some way unwanted would have varied between time and place, many of our ancestors’ lives would have been touched by this issue. This may not be a pleasant question to ask, but what might our ancestors have done if they found themselves with children they could not support, or what if they themselves had been given up – willingly or otherwise – by their parents?
It’s always been a challenge to find where our ancestors lived, but newly online records can help you explore the fields and houses in their home villages and towns. Never before have family historians been able to search nationwide for the uniquely detailed resource of tithe maps.
Have you created a patio? Perhaps installed some decking in the belief that not only will it provide a site for your barbecue but also suppress weeds? Have you constructed a 'water feature’ illuminated at night by LED solar lights? If so, you are no better nor worse than our ancestors who fell hook, line and sinker for all the latest gardening fashions. For gardening as we know it today has its roots deep in the past and in our national psyche.
Captain Arthur Phillip must have felt more than a little apprehension setting sail from Portsmouth on 13th May 1787 aboard the Sirius, accompanied by a fleet of 10 other ships carrying supplies, crew, marine guards with families, and over 750 convicts. Their destination was Botany Bay in the southeasterly corner of Australia, identified as an ideal location for a settlement 17 years earlier by Captain Cook and botanist Joseph Banks.
Although the stagecoach as the prime form of intercity transport had ceased to operate by mid 19th century, such coaches were still to be seen working in smaller towns and suburbs, and for summer outings and visits to the ‘watering places’ or spa towns of Yorkshire until the end of the century. The nine principal coaching inns in Leeds con tinued to be termini for the new bus routes and the stabling of horses.
Researching Irish ancestors can be tricky – a great deal of records, including wills, parish records and the censuses of 1821–1891, have been lost. (The census returns were destroyed in a fire during the Irish War of Independence in 1922 and other documents during World War One.) Furthermore, although registration of non-Catholic marriages took place from 1845, civil registration for the whole population did not begin until as comparatively late as 1864.
Military uniforms have often influenced fashion and during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815) a dashing new style of army boot became the prototype of the functional rubber boots now known as Wellingtons or gumboots. During the 1790s British army officers wore 'Hessians’ – knee-length boots of highly-polished calfskin, similar to riding boots but with a tassel-ornamented V-shape cut into the front. These were also favoured by stylish gentlemen, including fashion leader George ('Beau’) Brummell. However, Hessians became difficult to wear with the lightweight trousers that increasingly replaced traditional breeches in the early 19th century. At some point during the early 1800s, Arthur Wellesley (then Viscount Wellington), had his shoemaker, Mr Hoby of St James’s Street, make his boots slightly lower and the tassel removed, to better accompany the new trousers. When he won his famous victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Wellington (now a Duke) became a patriotic icon, and before long his new boots were being emulated in fashionable circles and called 'Wellingtons’ in his name.
The texts of the first printed editions of Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Milton as well as lesser-known titles from the early modern era can now be freely read by anyone with an internet connection. The University of Michigan Library, the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries and ProQuest have made public more than 25,000 manually transcribed texts from the first 200 years of the printed book (1473- 1700). These texts represent a significant portion of the estimated total output of English-language work published during the first two centuries of printing in England.
Devon (or Devonshire) was originally the homeland of the Dumnonii Celts and in Anglo-Saxon times was partly assimilated into the Kingdom of Wessex. The western boundary with Cornwall was set at the River Tamar by King Æthelstan in 936 and Devon has been a shire of England since.
Adoption is one of the most emotive and complex subjects in social and family history. Gill Rossini’s social history of adoption between 1850 and 1961 uncovers the perspectives of all those concerned in adoption: children, birth relatives, adoptive families, and all the agencies and organisations involved.
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