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Friday, 19 December 2014

The (Old) Exchange

With Christmas just around the corner, many of us will be shopping and cooking for family gatherings. and feeling pushed for time.

Spare a thought then, for the people involved behind the scenes at Sir T.W. White's ball in Nottingham in February 1849.

Held at The (Old) Exchange, Nottingham, it involved enormous floristry displays, lace draped to imitate a tent and the most able ball room band in the country.

The two hundred and fifty plus guests arrived at 9pm, dancing began at 10pm and continued until 5am the following morning.  During this time the guests had access to the Refreshment Room, which offered wines, liquors, confectionery and fruits.

In addition to this The Supper Room offered the following:

This makes Christmas lunch for ten pale into insignificance!

Picture Credit:
Newspaper Credit: 08 February 1849 - Nottinghamshire Guardian - Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

One of my (many!) on-going areas of research is that of the Richardson brothers and how they faired during the First World War.

My 2x Great-Uncle Percival Richardson was with the Royal Engineers in WW1 and I know he survived the war but I didn't know what happened to him afterwards.

A few weeks ago, I found a BMD (Births, Marriages and Deaths) reference, via FreeBMD, to a possible marriage for him.  Certificates cost £9.25 at the moment, so it's an expensive mistake if it isn't the correct person, although sometimes you have to order an incorrect one just to eliminate possible matches.

Fortunately when it arrived it showed his father as Robert and the address I have for the family at Berridge Road West in Nottingham also matched.

Percival married Edith Waby at the Registry Office, Nottingham, on the 31st August 1922.  Her father was John William Waby, a gardener.

As well as moving my research on Percival a little further, the marriage certificate has also helped solve another problem. The witnesses to the marriage were William and Robert (Fred) Richardson, two of Percival's older brothers. Up to finding this information I hadn't known whether William survived the war.  I had found a possible match in the Lincolnshire Regiment who died in 1914, but hadn't been able to corroborate this.

So now I know he survived I can carry on looking.

Monday, 8 December 2014

To follow up from my earlier post, I have tracked down my 4x Great-grandfather George Percival in the 1841 census.

He was 55 and living at 4 Chadwick Street, off London Road in Manchester, with Hannah Percival, probably his wife, and Samuel Percival, most likely their son.

Chadwick Street no longer exists, but London Road is still there, part of it is the A6 which runs through the centre of Manchester, past the main railway station.  It's a stone's throw away from Holbrook Street, behind The Lass O'Gowrie, where George's son, also George (Jnr), was living in 1861 with his wife Sarah and young family.

Map from Google Maps

The Percivals appeared to move in and around Chadwick Street; George (Jnr) was married from No. 15 in December 1841, although in the census earlier in the year he was living in the Union Workhouse.  In the 1851 census he was in Holbrook Street, but in 1861 he was back in Chadwick St, at No. 12a. I know from researching my previous post what a run down and deprived area this was in this time.

Now I've found the 1841 census for George and Hannah, I'll look for more details of their lives. It'll be more difficult to find George, as the 1841 census reveals that he wasn't born in the county of Lancashire.  I also have the Annett side of this family to research further.

Friday, 28 November 2014

I inherited a box of photographs following my grandparent's death and have since spent a good while trying to identify and sort them all.  I've been relatively successful at this - apart from the two people in the pictures below.

I think it is the same man in both photos, the one on the right being an earlier photo than the wedding one, because he has gained some stripes.

I'm almost sure they aren't immediate family so they may be friends of my grandparents or possibly more distant relatives.

The wedding photo is lovely; the bride looks wonderfully elegant in her 1940s dress and large floppy hat - I would love to find out who they are.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

I recently received a copy of my 3xGreatGrandparents' marriage certificate. George Percival and Sarah Annett were married on the 14th December 1841 in Manchester.

It has helped me confirm that Sarah's surname was definitely Annett. I'd found her in the 1841 census, but wasn't sure whether her surname was Hannett or Annett.

The certificate has also helped me go back another generation with this family, that George's father was also called George and that they were both carters.  Sarah's father was James. His occupation is difficult to read but I am almost sure he was a fustian cutter. Fustian was a coarse cloth made from flax and cotton and a cutter would have cut the loops in the threads as the fabric was stretched.

Picture Credit:

My next steps with this side of my family would be to find the two fathers in the census which could provide details of their wives and then to look for parish records of their marriage.  I'll also have a look at online street maps to give me an idea of the area they lived in and possibly the name of the church on the marriage cert as I've been unable to decipher it.

Update:  After posting my query on Roots Chat it looks like the marriage took place at the Collegiate, the original parish Church of Manchester, now the Cathedral.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

I came across this video by Nottingham blues singer Ryan Thomas a while ago - it's good to see the street where my family lived mentioned.

Here's a photo of me outside 75 Elstree Drive, aged two in 1967.

I lived there until I was six, but my grandparents lived in this house all their married life, from 1939 to 2001.

Happy memories!
Sunday, 26 October 2014

A distant cousin and I had spent lots of time trying to find the death of our mutual ancestor Thomas May, without success. 

Thomas is my 3x great-grandfather and he was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire in c1819, the son of William May and Catherine Townsend.  During his life he had lived in Hinckley, Nottingham and Birmingham so we needed to consider all these places when we searched for his death.

I managed to order an incorrect certificate - the age and occupation were both wrong; but I prefer to think of it as part of the process of elimination rather than being yet another £9.00 out of pocket!

My cousin had asked for help on both the Ancestry and Roots Chat forums but without luck.

Then a general search on the British Newspaper Archive  revealed the following death notice in the Leicester Chronicle of 22nd August 1874;

Thanks to the definite date and place I managed to find the GRO reference and order the certificate:

To my delight everything matched up - the newspaper said Thomas had died at the home of his sister in Belgrave, while the informant on the death certificate was John Evans.  Thomas had a sister, Elizabeth, who had married John Evans.  In the 1871 census, Thomas was living with Elizabeth and John Evans at their pub in Aston, Birmingham.

Thomas May's death was attributed to 'hepatic dropsy' or an accumulation of fluid in the liver, possibly cirrhosis.  As well as being a hosier he had also been a publican; the cause of his death suggests he had enjoyed being a landlord far too much!

Newspaper Credit: Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, August22, 1874; pg. 9; Issue 3395. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II