09 December 2010

A Genealogical Look Around

One of the most useful resources when exploring family history is an atlas, especially one giving both political and topographical features.

I find historical atlases useful, too.  They enable me to compare changing political boundaries over time.

03 December 2010

At the Seaside - Part Five

When you think of the seaside, does the song Rule Britannia spring to mind? Perhaps ideas of slavery comes to mind, however, especially if some of your ancestors were slaves and/or slave owners.

13 November 2010

At the Seaside - Part Four

When you think of ice cream, do you think of the seaside? Is ice cream something you connect with the Belle Époque, Art Nouveau, and elegant ice cream parlours serving extravagant ice cream sundaes? Is ice cream something you associate with Italy?

07 November 2010

At the Seaside - Part Three

Not far from where I live, there is a hill looking over the sea. I love to go there to see the vast horizon. Somehow, the experience is often very peaceful, even though hills can be cold and windy places.

30 October 2010

At the Seaside - Part Two


For quite some time now, I have been quite fond of a paddle in the sea, as this picture taken with my mother may suggest. Our holidays were often spent camping on the coast of North Wales, where the weather was often cold and wet! We were fortunate, however, in never experiencing a tsunami there.

27 October 2010

At the Seaside - Part One

Does your family love the beach? Are you someone who thinks of bliss as walking along a beach at sunset, hand in hand with a special person? Are your childhood memories brightened by remembrances of sandcastles, rock pools and shell collections?

08 October 2010

A Better Life

The steamship Oroya had only been in service for a couple of years when a young man by the name of Domenico embarked on a journey to the other side of the world in 1889.

09 September 2010

Shadows of Inheritance


I wonder if any of my ancestors are in this picture from a short film of Trafalgar Square in 1890. The scene is very familiar to me from my life in London in the 1980s. Some of my great, great grandparents may have recognised many of the same buildings if they had been there with me.

31 August 2010

Huntingdonshire Heritage

A long, long time ago, in a small town called Eynesbury, there lived a carpenter called Robert and his wife Martha. It is not exactly known how many children Robert and Martha may have had but it is known that they had a son called Tom who was born in 1840.

22 August 2010

Emily or Eliza?

Do you have any portraits in your family that are difficult to identify? Here is one of mine. The photograph is probably of one of my great, great grandmothers from Shropshire. Is it Emily or is it Eliza?

Perhaps you can work out which year the photograph was taken. I think it may have been sometime in the 1890s though it could be from the 1880s. I am not very knowledgeable about fashion of any era!

29 July 2010

Unlocking Australia's Past

Exploring our own family history and heritage, and that of the people we marry, can bring to light aspects of the broader history of our nations, the parts of history often left out of history books.

We learn, through our own investigations, and those of others doing similar research into their own families, that there are many versions of history that are yet to be adequately acknowledged.

25 July 2010

The Art of Genealogy

Here is one of my little computer artworks from quite a few years ago. I think it is quite an appropriate addition to this genealogy blog.

23 July 2010

The Importance of Being Earnest With Alice In Wonderland

Unlike his elder brother Arthur, Ernest Ginn managed to survive the First War and married Alice. In 1933, when his brother-in-law Louis Veheyen died, Ernest left his job on the London trams and went to assist his sister Florence in the spice warehouse.

Well, that is what I think may have happened. I have been wondering about Ernest, just as I have been wondering about Alice and various other relatives. The Alice in question here is not my grandmother, who you may recall is mentioned elsewhere in this blog as being known by the name of Alice, but this other Alice is Alice's Auntie Alice.

20 July 2010

We Are All Related


I like to remember that we are all related, sometimes quite closely and sometimes more distantly. However peculiar we may think another person might be, there are aspects of their lives that may be very similar to our own, and other aspects that are probably very different.

19 July 2010

The Spice of Life - Part four

It is good to have plenty of variety when exploring family history. We can often become bogged down when looking for details about one particular person, event or place, and even lose our enthusiasm in frustration, so it is good to put those particulars to one side for a while and research something different.

10 July 2010

The Spice of Life - Part Three

Louis Prosper Verheyen was born on 10 June 1867 in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, near Brussels, Belgium. He had two brothers, Charles Cesar and Joseph, and a sister, Anne Joseph.

The children's father, Jules Cesar Verheyen, died on 8 December 1868, leaving their mother. Anne Catherine nee Dehouwer, to bring up the four children on her own.

Jules had been a merchant, according to the council records in Molenbeek. Anne, who may have been known as Catherine, was about 20 years old when her husband died and she moved her young family to the nearby town of Saint-Gilles on 18 December 1869.

08 July 2010

The Spice of Life - Part Two

Which of your ancestors had the most varied life? Is that person also the most interesting inhabitant of your family history?

23 June 2010

The Spice of Life - Part One

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Here is the first part of a series (I hope!) of blog posts I intend to write on the topic of The Spice of Life. I have already introduced the topic on my Continual Journeys blog so please click the link if you plan to read future parts of this series.

07 June 2010

My Fair Ancestors in Mayfair

Although none of my known ancestors went by the name of Alfred P. Doolittle, I do know that the Londoners in my family probably pronounced Mayfair as "My Fair".

When I was a little girl, my great grandmother, Annie, pronounced cake as "kike", and so did I.  My accent has changed over the years and, like Eliza Doolittle, I developed a semi-RP instead of a Cockney accent or a Scottish accent or a Staffordshire accent or even Aussie one. 

Having moved about a bit, all I want is to be understood!


Annie's grandfather, on her mother's side, was called Welcome Cole, whose father and grandfather had the same name as he did. I am very fortunate in that a couple of people had already researched the family line before I started, not because they were directly related to anyone called Welcome, but because they thought it was an interesting name. Luckily for me, some of that research was online when I began searching for my family history.

So, what is my possible connection with My Fair Lady?

Well, Alfred P. Doolittle, Eliza's father, was getting married in a high society church in Mayfair.  I am intrigued by one particular record: I want to know if a very important (at least to me) marriage took place in St George's Church in Hanover Square in September 1789.

St George parish was very large at around the time of the French Revolution so my ancestors, Welcome Cole and Elizabeth nee Wilson, may not have actually married in the main church.  But I would still like to know, especially as I like the music of one of its earlier parishioners, George Frideric Handel, and not just during weddings.

The marriage records for the church are in the Archives at Westminster City Council so if you are in London, and you have a spare few moments, perhaps you might like to assist me.


Update:  January 2016

I now have confirmation that the record is correct!  More information to follow in a new blog post soon.

01 June 2010

Lily of Lawley Common


My mother has only ever known one grandparent, her grandmother Edith, who was known as Lily. Unlike me, Lily had a beautiful skin in her youth, which is why she was called Lily.

Throughout her life, Lily lived on the edge of Lawley Common in Shropshire. In her childhood she lived with her parents, Enoch and Eliza, her only sister Louisa, known as Louie, and many assorted brothers. I think they went to the Methodist chapel in the village on Sundays.

17 May 2010

Public History - By You and Your Ancestors

If you publish anything historical, even just in a little blog like this one, you may be a public historian, even if you do not yet know it.

07 May 2010

Treasure Troves

There are many treasures that have far more worth to me than their monetary value may imply. On a philosophical level, I often explore this topic when writing my Quieter Living blog.

29 April 2010

Something Quite Marvellous

A week ago, I received a response to one of my earlier blog posts. The comment began like this:

Hello there. I've just read your lovely blog on Bertie Harris. I can answer all those questions you asked in the blog because I am his great grandson. So yes, he did have children. He had two... I would love for you to contact me through my email where I could send you more pictures of Bertie and carry on this conversation...

15 April 2010

Tidying Up

I am not the tidiest of genealogists. My preference is for creative chaos over orderly investigation. In the end, though, I find out all sorts of interesting things that a more methodical approach might miss.

12 April 2010

The Art of Knowing

Do you love art? Do you love the art of knowing? What do you believe it means to know? What is art? How might you gain a deeper appreciation of your family history through an awareness of art history?

09 March 2010

A Carnaby Street Childhood

My great grandfather Jack grew up in the Soho district of London, where his Belgian father worked as a theatrical costumier. The family lived in Carnaby Street during the 1890s.

Click here for one of my earlier blog posts about the family

If you are a dedicated follower of fashion, you may recall that Carnaby Street became famous in the 1960s as a hub of popular culture. I am too young to remember the 1960s in much detail, though two of my aunts were in their teens at the time and remember it well.

02 March 2010

Justice for Josephine

Here is a picture of my husband's grandmother, Josephine, long before she even became a mother. I wonder if bonnets will ever come back into fashion?

Well, the photograph is from around 1903 and it was taken in Australia. Josephine's parents had migrated from the Basilicata region of Italy in the 1880s.

15 February 2010

The Mystery House

If you have seen my previous blog post, you will know that I am trying to identify a mystery house...

07 February 2010

Taking the Best of the Past into the Future with Family History Research

If you have navigated your way to this blog using its web address, or have looked at the top of your screen at the address bar/navigation bar, you will have seen that the address of Ancestors Within is:

http://bisnonni.blogspot.com

Bisnonni means great-grandparents in Italian. It can also mean great-grandfathers. If you know of any other meanings of the word, you may like to let me know about them. I am always trying to improve my language skills.

05 February 2010

Via the Independent Scholar and Non-Commercial Family Historian

I have recently received quite a lot of emails from various genealogy and media organisations so I thought I should write a blog post to clarify my status as an independent and unpaid genealogical scholar.

01 February 2010

My Heritage, Your Heritage, Our Heritage

What does the word "heritage" mean to you? It is a question I asked in my By Any Other Name blog back in October last year. 

21 January 2010

Neat and Tidy Family History Research

Research can be an enthusiastic pursuit, whatever the topic. We accumulate knowledge and gather it together, or, at least in my case, let it overflow all over the place.

08 January 2010

Celebrities, Genealogy and Your Family History

Are you one of those people who has been inspired to learn more about your own family history after watching television documentaries about the family backgrounds of well known people?

07 January 2010

Exciting New Discoveries

Hello again everyone and welcome to a new year here at Ancestors Within. What do you hope to discover in the weeks and months ahead?