Imagine going out to buy things like bread, tea, coffee and sugar, and never being sure you were sold the genuine article. That’s the situation our forebears faced in the 19th century before trading standards were introduced. Adulteration was rife and almost accepted as the norm. As a result, every time they shopped for food, people risked digestive problems, malnutrition and even death.
Coventry has come a long way since its large-scale destruction by enemy action in November 1940. One of the worst hit cities during the Second World War, Coventry had been a thriving industrial hotspot for 700 years before the Luftwaffe famously reduced much of the city to rubble, destroying lives, buildings and livelihoods. But the city bounced back remarkably quickly during the post-war years, and now, 81 years on from that fateful day, is poised for a year of celebratory events as it becomes the UK’s City of Culture, following in the footsteps of Londonderry (2013) and Hull (2017).
There has only ever been one actor to have won an Oscar at an Academy Awards ceremony where they were also the host – and that was David Niven in 1958. At that time he won the Best Actor award for playing Major Pollock in Separate Tables. Wikipedia also tells us that his 23-minute on-screen performance in the film has gone down as the briefest appearance to have ever won the Best Actor award. These are not the only interesting facts about this very British Hollywood actor, as a little research into him in some of the online records easily accessed on TheGenealogist will show.
Historical newspapers are a great source for finding out details about our ancestors’ lives – not only the basic facts of their lives, but also details of their personal lives. One story might give you one impression of their lives, but if you’re lucky enough to find a variety of different stories, they can build up quite a picture of their lives. When I was researching a Victorian dentist, I originally thought of him as man who had transcended his humble origins in Wales to become a successful man, operating in Liverpool and London. He appeared to be someone who had been let down by his wife, who had, he believed had an affair, and who never married again after he petitioned for divorce from her.
On Friday 3 October 1913, members of the Easton clan threw a party in the Good Templars’ Hall, Carluke, Scotland. A now anonymous poet in the family captured the celebrations on papers which had ‘formed divisions in a Rountree’s chocolate box’. Among those present at this ‘rare affair’ was a former compositor who was probably responsible for collecting the papers at the end of the evening and getting the verses printed professionally. Over a century, the poem changed from treasured memories into an enigma. When I eventually discovered it in a box of old photographs, everyone who could have explained the allusions was dead. As I had already done some research into this branch of the extended family, and recognised a few of the names, I decided to see how much of that evening I could bring back to life.
TheGenealogist has released the records of 143,956 individuals to increase its Lloyd George Domesday Survey record set coverage. This unique online resource of nearly one million individuals records, can help researchers discover where an ancestor lived in the period 1910- 1915. The new records this month are for properties situated in Balham, Battersea, Fulham, Hammersmith, Putney & Roehampton, Streatham, Tooting Graveney and Wandsworth.
The production of wool from British sheep had risen and achieved unparalleled success by the early modern era. In the early 1700s Daniel Defoe wrote that English woollen goods were the ‘richest and most valuable manufacture in the world’ and indeed no other industry gained such status, or was carried out so widely or for so long. For centuries, scarcely a town, village or hamlet was not involved at some stage in producing woollen cloth: spinning wheels and hand looms were found in most homes; and fulling operations were as common as grinding corn.
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