Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Sweet 16 Great Great Grandparents

My Sweet 16 Great Great Grandparents

1. Ake Larsson, who was the son of Lars Olsson and Hanna Akesson, was christened 5 Oct 1820, in Ostra Grevie, Kristianstad, Sweden. He died 29 Nov 1893, in Ostra Grevie, Kristianstad, Sweden.

He was married 23 Apr 1847, in Hastor, Malmohus, Sweden to:

2. Else Nilsson, who was the daughter of Nils Olsson and Johanna Andersson, was christened 31 Dec 1823, in V. Vemmerslov, Malmohus, Sweden. She died 18 Oct 1882, in Ostra Grevie, Kristianstad, Sweden.

3. Jons Andersson Sandgren, who was the illegitimate son of Maja Jonsson, was born 16 Sep 1811, in Hallaryd, Frosta, Kronoberg, Sweden. He died 8 Mar 1887, in Djurros, Kristianstad, Sweden.

He was married to:

4. Kierstin Nilsson, who was the daughter of Nils Torstensson and Hanna Joensson, was born 18 Oct 1821, in Tjarehuset Ve, Kristianstad, Sweden. She died 16 May 1896, in Djurros, Kristianstad, Sweden.

5. Pehr Andersson, who was the son of Anders Pafvelsson and Lisa Pettersdotter, was born 3 Jul 1820, in Stora Sventorp, Holmestad, Skaraborg, Sweden. He died 15 Jul 1887 in Grantsville, Tooele, Utah.

He was married 6 Feb 1848, in Vattlosa, Skarborg, Sweden to:

6. Maria Katharine Larsdotter, who was the daughter of Lars Andersson and Maria Andersdotter, was born 17 Feb 1819, in Taglan Sannerborg, Skara Landsforsa, Skaraborg, Sweden. She died 7 Sep 1888, in Grantsville, Tooele, Utah.

7. Carl Johan Jonsson Fihn, who was the son of Johannes Jonsson Fihn and Estrid Jonsdotter, was born 5 Dec 1823, in Ulunda, Varhem, Skaraborg, Sweden. He died 21 Oct 1890, in Stenhuggarestorp, Holmestad, Skaraborg, Sweden.

He was married 19 Jan 1856, in Skark, Vettlof, Skaraborg, Sweden to:

8. Britta Johansdotter, who was the daughter of Johannes Eriksson and Katarina Larsdotter, was born 8 Jan 1832, in Kjellsbacken, Vattlosa, Skaraborg, Sweden. She died 18 Dec 1915, in Goteborg, Goteborgso’bohus, Sweden.

9. Washington McKean, who was the son of David McKean and Elizabeth Van Scyver, was born 17 Oct 1803, in Allentown, Monm, New Jersey. He died 25 Oct 1877, in Allentown, Monm, New Jersey.

He was married 11 Nov 1828, in Allentown, Monm, New Jersey to:

10. Margaret Wallin Ivins, who was the daughter of Anthony Ivins and Sarah Reeves Wallin, was born 6 Sep 1806, in Toms River, Ocean, New Jersey. She died 11 Apr 1886, in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

11. Henry Emery, who was the son of George Emery and Frances Rhodes, was born 5 Aug 1825, in Doncaster, York, Eng. He died 4 Jun 1881, in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake , Utah.

He was married 18 May 1851, in Kanesville, Pottaw, Iowa to:

12. Elizabeth Brewerton, who was the daughter of George Brewerton and Ann Pilley, was born 13 May 1828, in Harworth, Notts, Eng. She died 1 Dec 1906, in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake , Utah.

13. Stephen Sylvester Sargent, who was the son of Christopher Sargent and Jenny Patten, was born 19 May 1809, in Amesbury, Essex, Mass. He died 4 Sep 1875, in Payson, Utah, Utah.

He was married 3 Jun 1832, in Amesbury, Essex, Mass. to:

14. Martha Louisa Elmer, who was the daughter of Squire Elmer and Lucy Chase, was born 4 Jul 1813, in Hartford, Windsor, Vermont. She died 17 Sep 1897, in Payson, Utah, Utah.

15. George Pickering, who was the son of William Tripp Pickering and Muriel Pitts, was born 22 Feb 1821, in Newark, Notts, Eng. He Died 9 May 1892, in Payson, Utah, Utah.

He was married 16 May 1848, in Sheffield, York, Eng. to:

16. Ann Craig Wainer, who was the daughter of Thomas Wainer and Ann Cragg, was born 26 Jan 1827, in Newark, Notts, Eng. She died 7 Sep 1902, in Payson, Utah, Utah.


8 Swedish (50%), 7 English (44%), 1 Scottish (6%).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fishing with my Father

My father, my uncle and my cousin, about 1943.

From my earliest memories, I remember camping by a river or stream, my father would leave the family picnicking by the old pickup truck, converted for camping, while he and my older brother would go off fishing. When I was a little older, my father dragged me along too and let me fish in the best fishing holes. Where I would usually catch a fish or two and then my fishing line would turn into a massive tangle. He would return later and patiently untangle or replace the line. Then off we would go fishing again, till the mosquitoes were biting more than the fish. Once, while it was late my father cast his line and he caught something before it hit the water. A bat had snatch his fly and his line was circling up in the air. It wasn’t till he reeled it in that he found out it was a bat.

On opening day in the fifties and sixties, my father would wake us up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning where we (sometimes my sisters were invited) would crawl in the car or truck and fall fast asleep, soon to wake up at an eating establishment somewhere near a lake or stream, usually Rockport, Strawberry or Schofield. We would eat an early breakfast where other fishermen gathered on opening day shoulder to shoulder eating a hearty meal. We would then go to a lake, stumbling in the dark over rock-covered shorelines and then shiver as my father would build a small fire. By the time it was light, we would be once again shoulder to shoulder with fishermen and you could walk across the lake stepping from one boat to another.
Sometimes my father would take a shortcut to a fishing place. Once we traveled on the roughest and dustiest road ever (a lumber truck road, with 10" of dust), only to find pavement at the other end.
Whether its fly fishing a river or drowning a worm in a big pond, he taught me to be a good fisherman.

The week before he died, he tried fishing but was in too much pain. It has been almost 20 years since my father left for a better fishing place. The fish around here are pretty much safe.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Strange Brew

Being a stickler for words when transcribing wills, I came across a group of words my ancestor Elizabeth Cooke ( Transcribed here), had given to her daughter (also my ancestor) in her registered will proved in 1618.

I first read this as ‘a stove of stax and agylefatt’.
It didn’t make much sense, then I thought ‘fove of fax’, ‘fove of flax’ and even ‘stone of flax’ (14 pounds of flax) which seemed to make more sense, but what was an agylefatt? Two months later while reading other wills (which I do quite often) I found an inventory ‘In the brew house a mashefatt and gilefatt’, (well duh, I thought the ‘a’ was connected to gylefatt) now I could determine what the meaning of the words were. It was ‘a gylefatt’: a tub for fermentation of ale. And the ‘stove of stax’ most likely was used to roast grains to make malt or boiling water for pouring in a mashefatt. The mashefatt being the tub or vat where the crushed barley or other grain was soaked. Even if the only malt that you consume is in your ice-cream. It doesn’t hurt to learn a little about medieval practices.

Word of the Week:
Gylefatt, Gilefatt = A fermentation tub for ale.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Always Eat Peas With Honey

A little saying my mother used to say:
I always eat peas with honey.
They may taste funny.
But they stay on my knife better.
The Letter P with the Crossed Tail

In old hand writing the letter ‘p’ sometimes had a cross on its tail this was the abbreviation for pre, per, par and pro.

Above is a sentence from a parish register in 1620, ‘Frances the daughter of Robert Coop(er) was baptised the 21 of August’. Notice the looping cross on the tail of the ‘p’.

Here we have p(er)formed from 1579, p(er)fect from 1683, and p(ar)te and p(ar)cell, 1683.
Notice the loops are all clockwise in direction. Next is a ‘p’ with a counterclockwise loop:

The word is p(ro)vided from 1683.

The pro abbreviation can sometimes be distinguished from the pre, per and par abbreviations. However, like in all old handwriting rules, sometimes there is no difference, in which case the content of the words around and the sentence is useful to solving the mystery of the crossed ‘p’.

Word of the Week:
Bed presser = A lazy and slothful person (something that I have been too much lately).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Exceeding the Speed Limit

California Alligator Farm, Cir. 1910

My grandparents probably picked this up on one of there many trips to California.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Pocket Full of Posies

A pocket full of posies was used to warn others of a plague-infested victim. The posies might not keep you safe from swine flu or the plague, but there is a genetic variant, CCR5 Delta32, which may keep you from dying from the plague. For several years now geneticists have been studying the Delta32 variant. It is now known that if you have Delta32 you probably won’t die of the plague, if you have double Delta32 you may not even get sick. About 14% of Europeans and North Americans have the gene variant. The variant has 32 DNA base pairs missing, which causes the plague bacillus from binding to the receptor on white blood cells’ CCR5 protein coating.

One of my ancestors who may have had the Delta32 variant was George Iddenden (Eddenden) whose son Edmund Edenden settled in Boston/Charlestown, MA. When the plague struck Cranbrook, Kent, England in 1597, George’s first wife and three daughters and possibly a fourth daughter all died of the plague. Leaving everyone else in his house dead from the plague and yet George survives, giving the possibility that George may have had Delta32.
The following records were extracted from the Cranbrook parish records:

BAP Martha dof George Iddenden 9 Aug 1590
BAP Sara dof George Iddenden 24 Dec 1592
BAP Hester dof George Iddenden 20 Apr 1595
BAP Elizabeth dof George Iddenden 1 Aug 1596
BUR Sara wof George Iddenden 31 Jul 1597 plague
BUR Elizabeth dof George Iddenden 15 Aug 1597 plague
BUR Martha dof George Iddenden 16 Aug 1597 plague
BUR Sara dof George Iddenden 31 Aug 1597 plague

As you can see above, the plague struck hard in Cranbrook in the late summer of 1597. George survived, remarried and had an additional four more children.

I don’t even know if I inherited Delta32. The standard DNA test doesn’t give you that information. Delta32 will probably not protect against the swine flu pandemic, because it is a virus, while the bubonic plague is bacterial.

"Bring out your dead!"-Monty Python

Reference: Cranbrook PR FHL-ENG#1473753

Word of the Week:
Hoke = Hole

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rush Me to the ER

Abbreviated ‘er’

Abbreviation of ‘er’, ‘ur’, ‘or’ is used quite often in old wills and parish records. They are mostly an upward sweeping hook or a zigzag superscript character.
Examples of the zigzag:

‘Butter’ from the 17th century.

‘Manner’ from the year 1646.

Examples of the upward sweeping hook:

Once again we have the word ‘manner’ which can be transcribed as ‘mann~’ , ‘mann(er)’ or ‘manner’.

This word from 1683 is ‘every’, likewise transcribed as ‘ev~y’, ‘ev(er)y’ or ‘every’. Consistency is important in transcribing. However, using italics in these cases may not be as good. Sometimes when you copy and paste, some of the letter format is lost.

A combination abbreviated word with a superscript ‘t’ and the ‘er’:

Here is the word ‘whatsoever’ also from 1683, transcribed as ‘wtsoev~’, ‘w(ha)tsoev(er)’ or ‘whatsoever’.

Content of the surrounding words is also important to determining the actual word.
When p~using an old will or lett~, you will s~prise y~self when you discov~ your first ‘er’ word.

Word of the Week:
Fyrth = Forrest

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Thorn By Any Other Name

The Letter Thorn
The now obsolete letter Þ (lowercase) and þ (uppercase), known as 'thorn' was used up until the early 1700's to represent a 'th' sound. It is said to have been derived from the Saxon word for ‘giant’. Most often it looks exactly like a y, and it is in this form that it is to this day misunderstood in countless establishments with names like 'ye olde barber shoppe'. Holding down the ‘alt’ key then typing in 0222 and 0254, can give you the thorn letters on most text editors.

Examples of ‘thorn’ used to spell the word ‘the’:

Ordinarily a ‘thorn’ with a superscript ‘e’ is the word ‘the’.
Examples of ‘thorn’ used to spell the word ‘that’:

When you see 'Þat' or a ‘thorn’ with a superscript ‘t’, it should be transcribed as 'that'.
An example of the two forms used together is:

Where it states, ‘that he the said Nicholas my son’.
Note: when transcribing documents it is good practice to convert the thorn letter into italics. I prefer to italicize the whole word.

Where a ‘y’ is used in place of an ‘i’, sometimes the word ‘it’ gets confused with ‘that’, but as you can see there is no superscript ‘t’:

Also an example of ‘if’, note the longer tail than the ‘t’:

For more information on the letter thorn see:


Word of the Week:
Favel = Yellow

Monday, April 6, 2009

How has technology helped in my genealogical research?

USB drives
USB drives, thumb drives or as I like to call them my Urim and Thumb Drives are my favorite. I backup all my genealogy on USB drives and keep one in my safe. I also always carry another in my pocket wherever I go. When I’m at the Family History library, I can always plug it in and access my database. I have a GEDCOM file and also an aq (Ancestral Quest) file. Luckily, the Family History Library in SLC has Ancestral Quest installed on their computers among other genealogy programs.

Spreadsheet applications
Where would I be without Excel? Putting extracted data in nice neat rows and columns, then arranging then in proper order, makes it easier to see family connections. I have been using spreadsheets since þe old Enable program (<===notice the letter thorn).

Digital Cameras
Now I don’t have to scan all those multitude of pictures into my computer. Taking a shot of a headstone is great, because now if the picture wasn’t quite right you just take another and delete the grave picture (pun intended). Digital cameras have increased the volume of pictures taken immensely, now if we can just make sure that they are all labeled adequately.

The internet has some very useful information, if you know where to look and are lucky enough to find it. Of course there is a lot of bogus genealogy out there too. Always check your facts.

Notice how all the previously mentioned technologies relate to the computer. The computer was invented for genealogy. However, I do remember entering all my genealogy by hand, only 3500 at the time and then having the old PAF auto-merge great grandparents to great great grandchildren. Every once in a while, I still see the old merge problem in genealogy data bases today.

Although my Y chromosome is Swedish which uses patronymic names, I have seen some interesting connections with other families. If I can only talk my Scottish cousins into getting their DNA results?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Someone Deserves a Good Sneafin

This is in response to the five worst sources of genealogy. I will not even mention this so-called ‘expert’ genealogists’ name or his site. His excuse: something about increasing traffic. Try spam, which most of us will ignore.
Last week’s hurried post was an attempt to correct a book written in 1906 by an ‘expert’ genealogist that many people have copied and passed around for many years. Proof is in the picture and the source is noted for any to check out.

Blogs are one of the best sources of genealogy; people talking about their grandparents, their lately deceased Aunt Betty or cranky Uncle Elmer, first-hand knowledge, pictures, recordings and videos, or what it was like growing up in Malta, Idaho or Misquamicut (sic) Rhode Island.
There’s more to genealogy than birth, marriage and death.
Blogs are the new backbone of genealogy research, opening up communication between people discussing and commenting on the most recent post.
Many bloggers teach, give hints and tips to help improve researching techniques.
There are also Graveyard Rabbits who spend countless hours photographing and transcribing sometimes nearly futile to read weathered headstones. et al.

Even our primary sources are rife with possibly bad info:
Census takers with bad hearing or in too big of a hurry to get home for the evening, estimating ages haphazardly.
Bishop’s transcripts, copies of the original parish records.
Registered wills, Oh, my gosh! They too are not originals merely copies.
And let’s not forget that all the original English parish records were written on paper in 1537 through about 1598, and then transcribed between 1598 and 1601 onto parchment by order of Queen Elizabeth.

Conclusion: I like blogs, instead of an ‘expert’ site in which tons of people have done the wrong lines and where anyone with a little cash is descended from Charlemagne.

Word of the Week:
Sneafin = Reprimand

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Proof of Cisely Tawyer's Grandfather as Thomas not John

Copy of the top of page 391 in the parish records of Thornbury in April 1611 which actually reads:

"The 30th Day was buried Mrs Mary Cooke
whose firste (May) husband wast the
Thomas Tawyer who died in Año 1573"

Note: The month of May is inserted in the original quote with an arc over the top to separate it from the top burial entry.

In the Thornbury records a Thomas Tawier was buried 17 Mar 1572/1573. I have extracted the Tayer names from Thornbury. See Tayer of Thornbury. Unfortunately, almost all the records list only the godparents not the parents.

Thornbury PR FHL-ENG#0414766

Word of the Week:

Badinage = Playful banter

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pay as You Go

Death Duty Tax
In England and Wales numerous duty taxes were enacted between 1796 and 1853. The tax was adjusted depending on the relationship of the beneficiary. Close relatives such as spouses, parents, grandparents or children did not have to pay the tax. More distant relatives and acquaintances had a percentage assessed. The Stamp Act of 1815 only exempted spouses. Small estates as well as those dying in the service of their country were exempt.
Will abstracts and administrations were made for the time period 1796-1857, which included names, relationships, locations and dates. During this period, many wills and administrations from Cornwall, Devon and Somerset have abstracts, which is very useful because of the destruction of the original records in 1942 by a German bombing raid on Exeter.
There are several registers, depending on the court or jurisdiction of the deceased’s property. The Estate Duty registers are in two parts, the PCC (Prerogative Court of Canterbury) and the Country Courts. The Country Courts include all of the remaining ecclesiastical courts in England including the PCY (Prerogative Court of York). The index to these registers is also divided into two year groupings 1796-1811 and 1812-1857.
The reference book for the indexes and originals, at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City is found in the middle reference section on B2. Ask the people at the desk.

Word of the Week:
Conjobble = Settle, as in conjobble down.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Fig for the Law

In celebration of National Women's History Month I could have picked from many, but decided to go with a woman from the sixteen hundreds. I, as a guy, have a hard time getting all mushy so this might be a little mechanical.
Dionis Coffin nee Stevens wife of Tristram Coffin was born in Brixton, Devon, England. She was baptized 4 Mar 1609, daughter of Robert and Dionis Stevens. She married Tristram Coffin about 1629 and had nine children. She and her husband immigrated to New England around 1641 during the time of the puritan uprising. He may have been a royalist. They settled in Haverhill and then in Newbury and were licensed to make and sell beer and wine at their ‘ordinary’.
Quote from some unknown source past down many times:

In September 1653, Tristram Coffyn’s wife Dionis Coffin was presented for selling beer, at his ordinary in Newbury, for three pence a quart, higher than the set price for beer. Having proved upon the testimony of Samuel Moores, that she put six bushels of malt into a hogshead she was discharged. Dionis was found to be doctoring the beer sold at the ordinary. Contrary to current practice Dionis was making her beer stronger and charging a correspondingly higher price. The law at the time called for beer to be good wholesome beer of four bushels of malt to the hogshead. Goodwife Coffin is said to have remarked “I’ll have better beer than my neighbors and be paid for it. A fig for the law.”

Tristram and Dionis later settled on Nantucket Island where Tristram was Governor for a time. They were both buried there. Dionis was a plucky woman defiant of the law for something she felt was her right. She has many descendants, and some of her female descendants are just as plucky. I had a feisty grandmother who used to whip my grandfather with a willow for being late for dinner. I can still see my grandfather trying to protect his behind while she herded him
like a donkey all the way to the house. I also had a feisty mother and two aunts. And I have four sisters and four nieces that manifest the same spirit.

Old Families of Salisbury & Amesbury V1 p103
The Coffin Family a5 a9 p52-53
N.E.Hist and Gen. Reg. 68:129
Am.Pub. H. V24 p150

Word of the Week:
Ordinary = A tavern

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Taxed

There are various taxes in England at certain time periods. Most of these records are limited in availability. The tax records are photographs of the time period much like a census record.

Lay Subsidy returns are certainly some of the earliest records, which is a tax to subsidize the coffers of a royal personage, mostly during times of conflict or war. The subsidy tax showed value of the appraised property or goods and the rate of tax charged to each tax payer. Do a keyword search for lay subsidy, subsidy returns, subsidy tax or subsidy rolls.

The Hearth taxes in England 1664-1666, 1672-1674, and the Hearth tax in Scotland in 1691 taxed dwellings based on the number of chimneys or hearths in each house or mansion. The Hearth Tax is one of the most complete of the taxes. The tax gives location and the number of hearths, indicating wealth by the higher number of hearths. Many people avoided the tax by knocking down some of their chimneys and using the hearth opening as an alcove or storage facility.

The Window taxes charged a per house tax of two shillings and an additional tax for the number of windows above ten windows. Properties with between ten and twenty windows paid a total of four shillings, and those above twenty windows paid eight shillings. In 1766 the minimum number of windows was change to seven and in 1825 to eight. In England there is still evidence of some older cottages having the windows blocked up to avoid the tax.

A bachelor and childless widower tax was enacted in 1694 and came into force on 1 May 1695, initially for a five-year period, but was later extended until 1 August 1706. This tax was to help pay for the war with France and to encourage people to marry as to lessen the financial burden on communities supporting widows and spinsters. Bachelors more than 25 years of age and upon childless widowers, paid one shilling a year or if your property was worth more than £100, six shillings and on up depending on societal class. The records for these taxes are mixed in Quarter Sessions and parish chest records.

There are also poll taxes (head tax), occupation taxes and much like today in California taxes on just about anything.

Word of the Day:
Henchboy = a page or servant

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Feet, Penguin Meat

Feet of Fines
Feet of fines started at the time of Richard I and continued to about 1830, and were essentially deeds transferring land. Mutual agreements put an end (finis) to contentious suits in the royal court. It also became a means of efficiently and safely transferring of land. Originally three copies of the transfer were made on one sheet of paper, top left for the querents, top right for the deforciants and the bottom (the foot) portion to remain with the court. The portions were then separated with uneven or jagged cuts to prevent forgeries. They are arranged by county, giving land transfers, sometimes names of relatives and locations. Sometimes fractions of property (1/3, 2/3, etc.) can reveal property given by will or administration, showing relationship to others mentioned in the feet of fines. A keyword search of ‘Feet of Fines’ in your family history library can produce a list of county records in England. Also, many records are now on the internet so a search for the same on your favorite search tool can yield results.
Querents were usually the party of a person or persons to whom the property was transferred to.
Deforciants were the party of a person or persons to whom the property was transferred from.

Word of the Week:
Hoffens = Feet

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Apprenticeship for Dummies

Most apprenticeship was father to son or sons. Some pauper children had theirs paid for by the overseers of the poor in a parish. Others were paid for by a parent or guardian. Apprenticeship was usually for a term of seven years, though some chose to go for an additional specialty training for six months or more in a completely different town. Once the contract time was finished, the apprentice became a freeman, while some freeman paid for, inherited, or married into their position (see freeman or burgess rolls).
In England, there are some books for individual parishes, there are also the Inland Revenue Service apprentice records (1710-1774-1811) where the government charged a duty tax depending on the type of occupation, more for higher paying jobs. Not all apprentices are mentioned in the index, father to son and parish sponsored were exempt from this tax.
A keyword search for Inland Revenue in your family history catalog brings up these tax records. They can be useful, listing parent or guardian, occupation, location or in calculating the approximate age of the apprentice (twelve to fourteen years of age). Sometimes an apprentice would stay in the village of their training, which may have been a long distance from his or her place of birth.

Indenture is a contract, it is not servitude. It may be for apprenticeship, but could also be a mutual agreement for sharing land, supplying goods or any other contract like instrument.

Word of the Week:
Nebbe = Nose

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Give Us Back Our Eleven Days

Julian to Gregorian
The orbital period of the Earth around the Sun is approximately 365.242 days, which is why we have leap-year. Adjusting the calender every four years, but it is still off by 11 minutes per year. Before our current calendar (Gregorian), Europeans used the Julian calendar. Despite having leap years, the Julian calendar gained a day about every 134 years.
Until 1752, in England, the legal year began on “Lady Day,” which was March 25th, the last day of the year being March 24th.
When England finally changed from Julian Calendar to Gregorian in 1752, the calendar was off by 11 days. In 1752 an Act of Parliament changed the beginning of the year to January 1st this is the present calendar that we use today. The 3rd of September became the 14th of September and the year ending became December 31st. France changed in 1582, Denmark and Norway changed in 1700, Sweden 1753. The last European country to change was Greece in 1923.
Some towns in England secretly adopted the new calendar in 1582, an example of this is Thornbury in Gloucester, where there may have been a few closet Catholics. This was a town that Queen Mary frequented often.
There were rumors of riots in England when they had lost their 11 days. “Give us back our eleven days” was repeated throughout the land. However, it was probably a tongue-in-cheek story told and retold in taverns and around the hearths.
Quakers did not like the use of pagan names in the calendar, so the months were numbered instead. An easy way of remembering these dates is using the Latin prefix of some of the month name’s viz. septem (seven), octo (eight), novem ( nine) and decem (ten).
A common notation for genealogists is to use the system (old style)/(new style), for example 1735/1736. However, the slash date was only rarely used in America and England before 1752 and is only used for clarity purposes. Technically, the legal year started March 25th.

Word of the Week:
Shrovetide = Three days before Ash Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Marriage by Banns

For three successive sundays the Banns were published. This was commonly done by the priest pronouncing from the pulpit the names of the couple with their intentions of marriage. If the couple resided in the same parish, notice of their intention to marry was given to the parish clerk or priest. If they lived in different parishes, then the priests of both parishes were notified. If either or both of the persons were under age, the consent of their legal guardians was necessary. During the three-week waiting period, any person could state a reason why the marriage should not take place and was free to assert their objections. Reasons might be that at least one of the couple was under age and did not have the consent of a parent or a guardian; one of the couple was already engaged or married and still had a spouse living; or that the couple were too closely related (consanguinity). If an objection occurred then it was known as “forbidding the banns.”
This formality allowed both public notice and the duration of three to four weeks. If there was no “forbidding the banns,” a parish church in either parish could be selected for the ceremony, also it is more likely that the bride’s parish was more advantageous. The marriage was then performed at any opportune time after the third Sunday. Marriage by banns might give places of residence, place where ceremony took place, occupations and witnesses.

Word of the Week:
Mease = A meadow or field.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bond, Marriage Bond

Marriage Licenses Bonds and Allegations

In England, a marriage by license consisted of three documents. These documents were obtained from the archbishop, bishop, archdeacon or a clergyman from a peculiar. It involved making a sworn statement or allegation that complied with canon law, a set of rules in the Book of Common Prayer that the couple were fully qualified for marriage. Forbidden were those of too close consanguinity of blood. Although first cousins were accepted by the Church of England, it was condemned by Quakers and Catholics (unless a dispensation was paid for). These allegations usually include the parish of residence and the place where the marriage was performed, but may also include age, occupation and parent names.

The marriage bond was a sworn statement by the groom and a bondsman (usually a friend or relative), and a bond fee was paid to ensure compliance.

Once all the legal conditions had been met, a license was issued. The groom would then present it to the clergyman who would perform the marriage ceremony.

Marriage index books can be found for most counties. Finding the original allegations, bonds and licenses might be a little more difficult. A keyword search in the catalog could bring up some good results. A caution should be noted that not all licenses produced marriages.

Word of the Week:
Plancher = A flat board (apparently they might have had some value in the seventeenth century, as seen in some wills.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stop Your Whining

Ancestral Quest has been my favorite genealogy program for years. It is compatible with and has all the features of PAF and an abundance of other properties, a wide variety of reports, charts and scrap-booking capabilities. It also has research manager, direct connection with Family Search, World Vital Records and What I like most about AQ is the ability to move about to various families and names in a rapid manner, since I’m working on about as many lines as a lounge lizard has to pick up the ladies.
Last week I reviewed three genealogy programs for Linux Operating System. So I figured that a good genealogy program was not available for Ubuntu. When I was a kid, my grandfather used to tell me “Stop your whining.”
This week I sucked in my bottom lip and tried a package called Wine (a Windows emulator) in conjunction with Ancestral Quest. First, I installed Wine, then I went to the cdrom directory in terminal and typed in ‘wine setup.exe’. Then I let Wine and Ancestral Quest do their thing. Testing the program produced no errors so far.

Word of the Week:
Wand = A portion of communal land, marked by corner sticks (wands).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Testing or Testing my Patience

My favorite genealogy program is Ancestral Quest; I have been using it since its inception. My spare computer has been turned into an Ubuntu operating system, which is Linux based. So I decided to evaluate different genealogy software programs on my Ubuntu machine:

Gramps is probably one of the best linux-based genealogy programs. It was a fairly easy install and opened up with my 6000+ gedcom file with no problems. It can produce some cool reports and has a nice look. Some graph reports (.dot), however did not show up properly. It also lacks the ability to move quickly around to various names and families.

Lifelines a text-based package which reminded me of an old 8088 software program. After download and installation, I soon found out it only runs in terminal. Then I tried entering my name and it took five minutes. This program is not even worth the effort it took to uninstall it.

GeneWeb is an html-based program. After installing the three packages geneweb, gwsetup and gwtb, I then converted my gedcom file in terminal to where? I don’t know. Two hours later, I still couldn’t bring up my database. I consider myself a bit of a geek, but this was a total waste of time. If anyone finds my genealogy database somewhere on the net, please let me know.

There might be other genealogy software for Linux systems that I haven’t heard of yet, please let me know if you are aware of any. As for the above three, Gramps is workable, but the other two programs are impractical.

Word of the Week:
Brandwithe: A fence around a well, used to prevent people and animals from falling into it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pyramid of Confusion

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of English Probate Courts
In England the Anglican Church had jurisdiction over probate from 1537 to 1858. The highest ecclesiastical court was the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC). It had authority over all of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the colonies, foreign soldiers and mariners. The next level was the provincial courts, at the time of the early wills there were only two: Once again the PCC and the Prerogative Court of York (PCY). The PCY included the northern counties of Cheshire, Cumberland, Durham, Isle of Man, Lancashire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Westmorland and Yorkshire. All the remaining counties in the south were under the jurisdiction of the PCC. The third level was the Diocese, Bishop or Episcopal jurisdiction, similar to county boundaries except some counties had more than one diocese and yet some dioceses included more than one county. The fourth level was the Archdeaconry, as the diocese was broken down further into smaller units. The fifth level was the Rural Deanery consisting of parish groups of twelve and more. And the lowest level was the Parish and Peculiars. As for parishes, most wills were proved in higher courts, but peculiars had certain rights not bound by some higher courts, many of them were the Dean and Chapter, Manor courts, Prebends, Chancellor, Sub-Dean, Succentor, Vicarial and various other titles.

If a testator owned land in different jurisdictions, then the probate was most likely certified in the court that included both jurisdictions. (Example: if the testator owned a messuage north of the Humber River and a farm south of Humber then the higher court of PCC would have authority over the said properties).

Word of the Week: Cordwainer is a shoemaker who worked with new leather, as opposed to a cobbler who made shoes generally from used materials.