25 December 2018

Finding a Real Home

In London in the 19th century, as far as I am aware, most of my immediate family were not the poorest of the poor.  They were certainly not the richest of the rich, either. 

On Charles Booth's maps my London ancestors usually fitted somewhere between light blue, purple and pink.  The comfortable middle classes and wealthy upper classes would probably have considered the residences of my ancestors to have been slums, if they had bothered to inform themselves about such matters.


24 December 2018

Comfortable with Nature

Did you enjoy spending time quietly reading and looking at pictures when you were a child, like I did?

I never enjoyed school.  It was too regimented and noisy and crowded for me.  I never saw the point of it, really.  I thought school was a place where you were mainly meant to obey the teacher.  I had no idea I was meant to learn anything there.

Did you enjoy spending time exploring nature on your own as a child, like I did?

I was probably lucky to grow up surrounded by green fields and big trees and country lanes in the middle of England, with trips to the seaside of several weeks duration every year. 


23 December 2018

A Family Yarn

When thinking about the manufacture of textiles, do you also think of yarn?

When thinking of sewing, do you also think of thread?

Linen is made from flax

Damask linen is made on a Jacquard loom.

Do you know much about the history of Irish linen?

Do you own any Irish linen?

Have you been to the Irish Linen Centre in Lisburn?

Have you ever lived in a model village associated with the production of a particular product? 

20 December 2018

Ancestors and their Speech Communities

Even if you have little awareness of the origins of language, you will probably be aware that there have been many different languages, accents, dialects and speech communities in the world.

What would your ancestors have sounded like?

I have already written briefly about the sound of ancestors.


12 December 2018

Your Own Research and Reflections

How much do you know about psychohistory and its relevance to your own research and reflections?

It is a subject I have only recently discovered.  It seems to me to be an ideal topic to explore further in relation to family history research, and towards better government policies in the present and future.


09 December 2018

The Pits

If the pits means something unpleasant to you, why is that?

What does the word pit mean to you?

Were any of your ancestors slaves, serfs, indentured labourers, convict labourers or relatively free but poverty-stricken hard workers? 

Do you have any pit brow lassies or bal maidens amongst your ancestors?

If you know something about slavery in medieval Europe, how do you compare working conditions of that time with workplace hierarchies in more recent times?


02 December 2018

Back in Time to Dawley in Shropshire for Domesday or Any Day


In 1986, I went to an exhibition in London about the Domesday Book of 1086.  My knowledge of the book at the time was minimal, though I vaguely remembered being told something about it a few years earlier, at school.

You can explore aspects of the Domesday Book for yourself, even if your ancestors are not associated with a town mentioned in it.

What do you already know about the Domesday Book?

What do you know about your family history in relation to land ownership?

What do you know about your family history in relation to a sense of belonging to a place, by choice or by force?


06 November 2018

Back in Time

People study genealogy for a wide range of reasons.   They usually seek to trace ancestors.