I’ve sometimes complained about how disappointed I am to be a crime historian with not a single criminal ancestor in my family tree. My husband’s family is full of them: from the ancestor who was convicted of stealing women’s underwear in mid-19th century Cornwall, to the female ancestor who attacked a bailiff with an axe, and her daughter, who was hauled up before the magistrates for assaulting a relative in the street. My family tree, however, is the opposite – it is full of vestrymen, Poor Law guardians and even one of Gloucestershire’s first police officers. My ancestors appear to have been fine, upstanding members of their communities, and the only sniff of anything untoward I’ve ever detected is in the coverage of my 2x-great-grandfather’s death. A wealthy Dorset farmer, who had only ever dealt with the courts when giving evidence in relation to a burglar stealing from his property, he unsurprisingly had his obituary printed in the local press. However, the way his obituary was phrased suggested that he was seen as rather old fashioned and not particularly respected by his neighbours or the press.
Although a substantial amount of Irish parish records and other resources were destroyed in 1922, during the Irish Civil War, many of the problems we face in tracing our families back in Ireland can be overcome with the use of land records. Among the materials that can help are records of purchases, tenancy, residence, inheritance, taxation and valuation.
TheGenealogist has just added over 500,000 individuals in a new release of Norfolk parish records with images of the original records in association with the Norfolk Record Office. TheGenealogist has transcribed them so that they are fully searchable by name and place. These East Anglian records feature the registers of baptisms, marriages and burials covering various parishes in Norfolk, allowing family history researchers from all over the world to search for their Norfolk ancestors online.
Major British hospitals like St Bartholomew’s (Barts), London, originated with the medieval religious houses that cared for the sick, their nursing sisters being issued from 1555 onwards with livery in the form of blue gowns. During the 1700s more modern hospitals were established, serving only medical needs, but most did not yet provide their nurses with standardised garments. As late as 1858 Guys nurses were only identified by a round tin medal worn around the neck, bearing the wearer’s position and ward. However, reflecting wider uniform trends across the services, it became more common for Victorian hospitals to develop distinctive uniforms, fashioned in specified colours and with varying details that identified the different ranks within their nursing hierarchy.
The area around Winchester has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and after the Roman conquest of Britain the settlement served as the capital of the Belgae and was known as Venta Belgarum, among the largest towns in Roman Britain. The city later became known as Wintan-ceastre (‘Fort Venta’). In 648, King Cenwalh of Wessex erected the Church of SS Peter and Paul, later known as the Old Minster. This became a cathedral in the 660s; the present form of the city dates from reconstruction in the late 9th century, when King Alfred the Great destroyed the Roman street plan.
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