All families have skeletons in their genealogical closets and finding a criminal ancestor adds colour to a family tree; even the most ‘respectable’ families have secrets lurking just under the surface. Many factors can drive an individual to commit a crime and, if your ancestors were struggling to survive, then they may well have strayed over to the wrong side of the law. In the 19th century, extreme poverty, without the safety net of state assistance, was intrinsically linked to criminal acts, as well as other more complex reasons such as mental health issues.
A recent BBC2 TV programme on Horatio Nelson (Nelson in His Own Words, broadcast on 6 March and available on BBC iPlayer until 6 April) centred on what the famous Admiral wrote in his letters, to reveal a more complex man than the hero created after his death. It is not just his correspondence, however, that can be used to understand the great man further – we can also discover a great deal more about him from the words that he included in his will and codicils by using the online resources of TheGenealogist.co.uk to find his last will and testament.
In 1750, the population of Wales was a mere 500,000 people. To put this into context, today, in London alone, there are 300,000 inhabitants who were born in Wales. In the mid-18th century, most employment in Wales was agriculturally based, with the majority of the workforce occupied in growing food and tending animals among the green valleys and high mountains of the Welsh landscape.
On 20 April 1910, the first in a new series of cartoons was published in the weekly illustrated magazine The Sketch. ‘Am Tag! Die Deutschen Kommen!’ sought to make light of what was a grow ing paranoia in the British press – the possibility of a German invasion. In retrospect, the series appears remarkably prescient, and in 1910, though it would be more than four years before war was to erupt in Europe, the theme was both timely and topical.
TheGenealogist.co.uk is launching millions of new records at the Who Do You Think you Are? Live show this month. These include many unique resources: • New tithe maps for more English counties • New tithe apportionment documents for Wales, completing the release • 750,000 more parish records • 4.66 million new WW1 medals records.
Many people will be familiar with the name John Wesley. When pressed for more information, they may recall that (1) he founded the Methodist church, (2) he had a brother called Charles, and (3) that he had a tremendous work ethic and travelled many thousands of miles in order to preach to people across the British Isles. Wesley’s travels were largely on foot or horseback and it is estimated that he journeyed around 4,000 miles a year.
The word ‘umbrella’ derives from the Latin word umbra (‘shade’), and initially umbrellas were used as protection from the sun. The first waterproofed umbrellas reportedly originated in China in about the 11th century BC, when luxury leather umbrellas became available to royalty and members of the nobility. In ancient times umbrellas were mainly used in Egypt, India and other civilisations of the Middle East and Asia; this also extended to the Greek and Roman Empires.
Bristol received a royal charter in 1155. It was part of Gloucestershire until 1373 when it became a county in its own right. From the 13th to the 18th century, it ranked among the top three English cities after London, along with York and Norwich, until the rapid rise of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham in the Industrial Revolution.
As much as 70 per cent of Essex is agricultural, and given its proximity to the capital it is not surprising that so many members of the Women’s Land Army found themselves on Essex farms and in Essex fields during the two world wars, doing their bit to make sure that Britain did not starve.
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