Burntwood Family History Group
   Home      Journal 2003 11 Volume 12 Number 1
 
 
Extracts from Burntwood Family History Group Journal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
November 2003     
 
 
 
 
 
 
     Vol. 12 No. 1
 
  Contents of this issue.
 
Chairman’s Christmas message
Review of the A.G.M.
Draw your own conclusion
“Arising from Coal Dust” – Part 2
Old Wives Tales and their veracity
Snippets, etc
Removal Orders
More Snippets
The Genealogist’s Psalm
Lost and Found
Have you had the “virus”?
Memories of the Railway Age
 
 
Chairman’s Message.
 
Hardly have we had our A.G.M. which seemed to take place at end of a summer which seemed to be going on for ever, than Christmas is upon us. This will be the last message from the Chair for 2003 but I am not going to go over what was said at the A.G.M. from which I was so disappointed to be missing but by all accounts Jane filled the gap admirably. Thanks, Jane.
 
Very shortly we shall be in to the Christmas Festivities and I am looking forward to two social events – the December meeting “Christmas social” and a week later our Group Christmas Dinner at the Park Gate Inn.  Let’s have a bumper attendance at both of these.
The Editor tells me that I can only have a few lines so without further ado let me wish all our Members a Very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year on behalf of myself and the Committee. Stan Fussell.
 
 
Annual General Meeting – Monday 8th September, 2003-10-05
 
The Group’s A.G.M was held at the Old Mining College and was poorly attended.  The committee would like to thank those Members who did find time to attend and those who were unavoidably unable to do so but nevertheless sent their apologies.

In the unavoidable absence of our Chairman, Stan Fussell, the Chair was taken by Jane Leake.

After opening the meeting and disposing of the formal items, Jane gave us a resume of the Group’s activities over the year and was able to say that it had been a successful year overall which had seen some changes to the way the Group’s activities were organised and to some of the people involved in their organisation.  Whilst the Group continues to run smoothly in most instances, there is a need for new blood to take on some of the responsibilities which have been shouldered for many years by the same few people.  It has been good to see some of the newer Members getting involved and our thanks are due to them for the contribution they have made.  A continuing problem is to find a way of providing refreshments for the meetings.  For some months now this has been done by Jim Hagan of the Old Mining College but he cannot continue to provided the service indefinitely and some alternative method will have to be found otherwise it may be necessary to offer only a “self service” facility on Mondays as well as on Thursdays. During the year two of our Committee members, Ken Rowe and Lorraine Pitharas have resigned so we shall shortly be having an election to replace them.

The Honorary Treasurer presented his report and the Financial Statement for the year ended 31st July 2003 which had been audited by Vic Vayro.  This showed that whilst the Group’s finances are quite healthy, a considerable amount of the reserves had been spent or committed during the year.  It was pointed out to the meeting that there are certain activities in which the group is involved which generate most of its income –Membership fees are not a major factor but there is an increasing tendency for new members to be drawn from outside the local area.  This is mainly due to the success of the Website.  The committee will continue to use the Group’s income to the benefit of the membership but any unforeseen additional expenditure on hire of the room or speakers expenses could prove to be a problem.

Harold was thanked for his report and for his diligence on behalf of the Group in maintaining our satisfactory financial situation.

The Honorary Secretary then presented his report on the general activities of the Group over the previous year, a summary of which follows:-

It seems that our Group goes from strength to strength with each year that passes. We shall very soon be thinking about a Project to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of our formation and by that time in 2006 our current project to transcribe and index all the local Parish Registers and Census Returns should be complete.  The past year has seen another big leap forward with the issue of many of the local records in the form of 3.5” Floppy Discs and although these are only of use to people with computers, access to computers in one form or another is now almost universal and it has been decided by your Committee that no further printed booklets will be produced.  Existing stocks will still be available for purchase but future requests will only be satisfied on a “one off’ basis and will probably have to be more expensive to buy than present stocks.  The Committee have discussed the possibility of producing a single CDRom on which all the transcriptions undertaken by the Group over the past 7 years will be contained.
 
The Library has continued to be in the charge of Geoff. and Mary Colverson but there have been some difficulties in making the books available to members at the meetings due to lack of space for display.  There have been a number of valuable additions to the library during the year and a review of the way the books are displayed and used by Members may result in some changes very soon. Our thanks are due to Geoff and Mary for their efforts and we hope that they will continue to look after our books in the future.
 
Another new development for the Group has been our Web Site.  There were a few problems in the early stages and refinements are still taking place under the supervision of our Webmaster, Alan Betts, who has done a wonderful job so far and to whom we should be grateful for all the hard work that he has put in.  The Web Site now contains much information about the Group that previously was only available in print, such as the Members’ Interests List, Journal, etc., and most of our new applicants for membership are coming through the use of the “Online Membership Application Form” - not only for far distant applicants but also for locals as well.  Awareness of our Group has been considerably extended through the Web Site and although this is welcome, it does mean more work for those who give their time and energy to the various services offered by the Group. Our thanks to Alan Betts, Jane Leake and Bernard Daniels.
 
In addition to our income from Subscriptions, we also benefit from the small charges made at our meetings, raffles, sales of publications and coach trips.  Our thanks are due to Brian Steadman, Val Banks, Pam Woodburn, Jane Leake and Len Wenman for their contributions in this respect.
 
Jane Leake has been our Meetings Secretary for some time now and deserves our special thanks for providing us with a continual succession of entertaining speakers, especially during the past year when she has had so much to cope with at home.  The topics covered and the quality of delivery have varied widely, but what to some members may seem totally boring is to others of real interest.  Most of our speakers are amateurs even though they do talks regularly and they almost always talk without the benefit of amplification equipment.  This can be a problem for those at the back of the room when there is a large attendance and the speaker does not have a particularly strong or clear delivery.  Perhaps we should consider acquiring a microphone and amplifier in the future.
 
My own duties as Honorary Secretary seem to increase all the time and now include the preparation and distribution of the Journal on a quarterly basis in addition to dealing with general correspondence with Members, keeping membership records, maintaining contact with the Committee and membership by telephone and preparing for Committee meetings and the A.G.M.  For a short time last year Ken Rowe took over the responsibilities for Membership matters but has found it impossible to continue for various reasons.  Maureen Hemmingsley has been Committee Secretary for the past year and has made a niche for herself by showing us how a Committee should conduct itself and by keeping an excellent record of our proceedings. Thanks Maureen.
 
When I look around the room this evening, I am struck by the fact that there are so few “younger” members of our Group.   This is a problem in which we are not alone.  Genealogy generally is something which people under the age of 50 seem to take little interest in - although there will always be notable exceptions.  If our Group is to continue to flourish it is inevitable that the people who now take a major part in the running of the Group will have to be replaced.  For my own part, I have been part of the Group since its foundation in 1986, along with Jane Leake and Pam Woodburn, whilst Harold Haywood has been on the scene for almost as long.  Between the four of us we have filled all the major offices within the Group during most of that time without a break.  Harold has been Treasurer since taking over that responsibility in the early 1990’s, Jane, Pam and I have shared the Chairmanship until last year, Jane has been Chair, Committee member and for the past three years has organised our speakers, Pam has also been Journal Editor, Coach Trip Organiser and F.F.H.S. contact.  I have been Meetings Secretary in addition to stints as Chair and General Secretary.  Major contributions have also been made by Bernard Daniels, Geoff and Mary Colverson, Sheila Clarke, Len Wenman and Val Banks.  However, for various reasons connected with our desire to spend more time with our families and on pursuits other than Family History, I am sure we would all agree that we would like to reduce our workload and see some of the major functions of the Group taken over by our newer and younger members.  If the Group is to continue to flourish new blood is essential within the next year or two when it is quite possible that some of us will have to make the decision to hand over the reins of organisation to others and settle back to simply enjoy our personal interests – although no doubt Family History will be continue to be one of them. Geoff. Sorrell.
 
The remainder of the meeting was .taken up with the election of Jennie Lee and Joy Blackmore to the Committee and attempts to fill some of the jobs within the group – with some success but without resolving the question of refreshment provision on Mondays.
 
 
You can draw your own conclusion on this one.
 
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgement, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
 
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
 
We’ve learned how to make a living but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not the prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
 
These are the times of fast food and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
 
Remember, to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be ‘around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
 
Remember to say, “I love you,” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

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A doctor was addressing a large audience. “The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here, years ago”.
 
“Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realise the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water”.
 
“But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and we all have it, or will eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?”

After several seconds of quiet a 65-year-old man in the front row raised his hand and said, “Wedding Cake.”

Len Wenman

Arising from Coal Dust” – Part 2.

Continuing the serialisation of extracts from Alan Brookes’ book.

A childhood in Chase Terrace.

My early life at No. 117, Rugeley Road, Chase Termce, was extremely happy and contented.  I look back nostalgically on those days now with warm feelings of love and security.
 
The house for which my parents paid rent to my Uncles Charlie and George was very basic, but always seemed warm and cosy, heated constantly by a living coal fire which formed the focal point for most family activities. The coal was a “perk” or ‘concessionary coal’ granted to a cm! miner as part or his meagre basis wages. The house was the end one in a block of six which still exist today. looking virtually the same as I remember they looked to me back in the 1940’s.

The house consisted of two bedrooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. The back kitchen at the rear of the house had no ceiling and we looked up at the underside of the roof tiles. In the winter snow would sometimes blow under the tiles and fall into the room. Below one of the downstairs rooms, stone steps inlaid with red quarry tiles led down to a cellar that used to flood with water in rainy weather. The water would rise up and cover the fourth step into the cellar but thankfully would not come any further despite whatever amount of rainfall fell outside.

As well as electricity the house still had gas lamp holder, fed by town gas.  Occasionally Dad would light the gossamer gauzes that covered the gas points, to provide an alternative source of light in the front room.  I remember after turning off the lights there always seemed to be a burned, blackened patch on the white ceiling above each gaslight, formed by the residue of soot from the burning gas.  The gas was produced at the gasworks in Queen Street, Chasetown, by the process of evaporating smouldering coal.  The by-product of this process was “coke”.  There was no inside bathroom in the house and the toilet was situated outside at the top of the yard.  This was usually frozen in the cold icy weather, despite Dad attempting to insulate the water pipes with old sackcloth and newspapers.  Our family was very fortunate, for the house was connected to the ‘mains sewer’.  A row of house called Spencer’s Row, situated at the rear of our long garden, still had earth closets for their toilets.  Periodically, the occupiers of these houses could be seen emptying the4 contents of the closets into trenches in their gardens.  One of my school pals, Geoffrey Tunnicliffe, lived at one of these houses so I sued to witness this when visiting him.  It was difficult to see, however, as their enormous rhubarb grew to about three feet in height, providing excellent camouflage.

A consequence of having an outside toilet was that we had chamber pots under each of our beds.  This obviated the need to go outside in the middle of the night.  The chamber pots were made out of thick white porcelain and had a strong handle for lifting the pot and its contents for disposal after use.  When your pee entered the pot it produced a loud ringing noise around the porcelain vessel. Everyone in the house knew when a “potty” was being used.

In the winter a another feature of the house was the complete icing of the inside of our bedroom windows.  Post-war miners’ houses did not possess insulation against heating losses and the solid 9 inch brick walls could not prevent what little heat there was from quickly escaping.  The only heating the house was the downstairs coal fires, but for the upstairs bedrooms that was mostly inadequate.  Many mornings in winter, despite being warm in bed, my brothers and I awoke to find the inside bedroom window panes totally ‘iced up’.  This provided us with some time-consuming amusement on those cold mornings before school as we used to draw patterns and sketches on the windowpane ice.  Our favourites were messages written ‘backwards’ so that people walking by in the street could read them.

Dad was a coal miner at Cannock Chase No. 3 colliery, Chase Terrace, working hard at the coal face, dat after day, extracting coal by the use of explosives and afterwards by pick and shovel on to a conveyor or directly into a tub.  The tub was then pulled to the pit bottom by ‘pit ponies’.  Mum was working hard at home looking after four hungry, growing boys.

In those early days of the nationalised coal industry there were no colliery baths at the coal mine, so miners would come back to their homes still covered in the black coal dust and grime obtained from their exertions on the coal face.  As we also did not have a bath or bathroom, Dad washed himself clean in a galvanised, oval, zinc plated, tin bath placed in front of the fire.  The bath was filled with hot water previously boiled on the fire or in the back kitchen boiler.  We all took turns to scrub Dad’s back until he was completely clean.  It was then that I used to notice the cuts, bumps and bruises on his body obtained from his toils down the pit on the coal face.  When a miner received a cut underground, the running blood was immediately impregnated with coal dust, this meant that when it healed a blue coloured scar resembling a tattoo would be left.  A lasting legacy for any coal miner are the  blue scars or ‘tattoos’ received from being injured underground and being, at the same time, in contact with coal dust.  He would sometimes come home from the coal mine with a ‘beat knee’.  As a result of constantly kneeling on the hard rock floor of the coal face, his knees would swell up with fluid.  His ligaments and patellas, or kneecaps, would received damaging knocks and blows from hard work day after day.  This wear and tear eventual1y lead to his ‘beat knees’, which needed rest to recover.  the rubber knee pads he daily wore strapped around his knees, could not prevent the debilitating condition recurring.  To aid his recovery he wore a bandage containing a plaster mix of black gelatine paste or poultice.

Viewing the knocks and bruises he regularly used to sustain, I vowed there and then (and Dad and Mom supported that vow) that I would never go to work down the coal mines.  As events turned out, however, I followed in his footsteps and his forefathers’ before him, by working on an underground coal face at fifteen years of age.  Perhaps I possessed a congenital inheritance of ancestral characteristics with propensities for underground toil?

For our bath time my brothers and I were lucky; we went to Gran’s house every Friday evening for oour special bath.  ‘The Chequers’ possessed a beautiful white, glazed, tiled bathroom with running hot water and even a mirror over the wash hand basin,  Gran would always put a dash of ‘Dettol’ disinfectant into the bath water.  Bath time for me today as an adult must still have a drop of ‘Dettol’ to make it a ‘special’ bath.

One advantage of being a coal miner was that each miner received a concessionary coal allowance of one ton per month.  All that ‘free’ coal meant growing up with a warm, living coal fire every day.  We had a black-leaded, cast iron, combination fire grate which heated the living room and which was also used for cooking.  Even in the summer we always had a fire and every evening our pyjamas were pre-warmed hanging on the; brass fireguard before wearing them.  Each morning we would dress in front of the fire, taking our ward clothes from the immense railed fireguard that surrounded the fire and hearth.
 
Friday was also a day to look forward to for reasons other than having a bath.  We were allowed to stay up a little longer before going to bed.  Our treat was to listen to ‘Dick Barton – Special Agent’ on the radio BEC Light Programme.  Together with Mom and Dad, Peter and I would sit around a cosy coal fire drinking warm milk and listening to those fascinating weekly episodes.  It started at 6.45 p.m. and finished at 7.00 p.m. which signalled am immediate climb of ‘the wooden hill’ and off to bed for us.  We were so grateful for our grown up treat of listening to the radio with Mom and Dad, we went to bed without a murmur.  I think they enjoyed Dick Barton as much as we did.

Each Monday was Mom’s washing day.  A cast iron boiler in the back kitchen, when heated underneath by a coal fire, produced scalding hot water.  Mom brought in the dolly tub and placed the dirty clothes in it with detergent and the hot water.  Then the ‘dolly’ was used.  It was a ‘tee’ shaped peice of wood with slots at the bottom and a handle at the top.  She would plunge in the ‘dolly’ then turn and slush the water about to turn the clothes in the water.  Difficult clothes stains were rubbed with ‘Sunlight’ soap or ‘ Pears’ coal tar soap and rinsed in clean water.  The soaking wet clothes were put through the mangle – two rollers which were turned by a handle.

The damp clothes were hung outside in the fresh air to dry.  Clean bed sheets always felt nice and lovely to snuggle in to.  Sometimes on rainy mornings the clothes were dried inside the house on the clothes hanger.  A series of pulleys hauled parallel lines of washing up to the ceiling in the kitchen until dry.

When my parents became a little better off my Mom was one of the first housewives in the street to have a washing machine.  No more lighting the boiler under the water tub or scrubbing the dirty clothes by hand.  I remember neighbours and relations all visiting our house to marvel at the new technology.

Christmas was a good time for our family despite my parents being short of money.  This was no reflection on Dad who worked harder than anyone at the coal mine.  He was always working overtime and double shifts, when and where he could, to earn extra money.  Every family who had a father working at the colliery and dependent upon the coal mines for their existence, was generally short of money.  Notwithstanding, Mom and Dad always gave us a happy Christmas with plenty of good food and presents and the playing of family games.  On Christmas eve we would go to bed with our stockings hung on the bed heads.  Christmas mornings always came with such excitement as we awoke earlier than usual and emptied our stockings.  We would always find and apple and an orange, with nuts and a bag of sweets.  Larger toys were waiting downstairs under the Christmas tree.  Mom and Dad fixed chocolates on the tree, which we delighted in searching for.

For Christmas dinners Mom produced special delights.  With no freezers or supermarkets in those days. Mom used to preserve and bottle fresh produce from our garden.  We had new potatoes, garden peas, carrots, broad beans and other vegetables as fresh and as succulent as the day they were picked in June or July.  At teatime we had trifles, jellies and cakes and afterwards we played snakes and ladders or ludo.  Usually our Aunts and Uncles would come around in the evenings and then off to bed full of warmth and good cheer.  It always seemed such a wonderful day.  The snow always seemed to fall on cu on Christmas morning to add a particular magic to the festive season.

The ever abiding memory I have of our Christmases as children, however, is not the toys or presents we received, but the loving atmosphere and general feeling of warmth and belonging to a close family.  This was somehow connected with us all sitting around the flickering flames of a coal fire; knowing the Dad was at home because his pit clothes were hanging in the back kitchen; provisions being delivered to the door by horse and cart; listening to carols being played by a brass band in the street,, while the musicians’ caps and instruments were being coated by falling snowflakes; gas lamps burning cosily on the walls; the blackened kettle hanging on the cast iron swing armsover the fire always simmering and humming a tune to itself; the wonderful smell of something being roasted in the coal fired oven.  A coal miner’s home at Christmas all those years ago had a unique atmosphere all of its own.  The warmth, the love and the contentment congealed into an all-enveloping aura without paralell.

To be continued in the next issue of the Journal.
 
 

Beware of old wives tales – which turn out to have a great deal of truth in them.

In recent years I have written two articles and given a talk under this title. All the initial information has been gained from my mother’s cousin, Phyllis, Contact was made with her after replying to a request for information about the Arnold family in the Hereford Times. This was about thirteen years ago. The lady I replied to is now ninety-seven, She lives in Essex where I have visited her on many occasions in recent years. Usually I am able to make use of the Family History Trips to London to do this. She is always eager to know how the research is progressing and makes me very welcome.

My last talk concerned Phyllis’s Great, Great Grandfather, John Blosset, who was an Army Officer from 1795 – 1816. The story was told that he married a Spanish girl. My recent research has shown that she originated from Gibraltar. The names Eyre and Devarazel used as Christian names by the family are proving more difficult to sort out. Recently there has been a twist to this story, which according to archives of Westminster, London, revealed there is a settlement bond in the parish of St Martin’s in the Field, dated 1760 for John Blosset, aged thirty four. He was a soldier in Charles Hayes Regiment. He was born in St Martin’s Lane. His parents came from Berlin in Germany. These people could have been his parents or grandparents, but more research is needed to clarify this, also the fact that he married Mary in Minorca I 1750.Could this story have been confused with the activities of a later generation? This would then give another perspective to the original story,

However, this is deviating from the subject of my talk tonight, which is really about one of John Blosset’s sons. His name was Thomas Eyre Blosset. He was my mother’s and Phyllis’s Great Grandmother. I recently managed to find a marriage certificate for his sister Eliza, which was dated 6th September 1837 at St Mary’s Church, Lambeth in Surrey. It states that her father, John Blosset, was a Major in the Army, and by this time was deceased. Eliza’s address is given as, 10 St Alban’s Terrace, Lambeth. Her husband, John Collett was a widower and Officer at the House of Commons. This information can be substantiated later.

Returning to my mother’s cousin Phyllis – she was able to tell me that her grandmother Bessie [one of Thomas Eyre Blosser’s daughters] was very aloof_ had airs and graces, and was spoilt as a child. She rode around the countryside in a pony and trap when her father was touring his police area in Ross-on-Wye. Later he was in charge of Shire Counties next to the Welsh border. Just like the stories of John Blosset, the Army Officer, I had never heard of these either. After his grandparents had died, there was a family rift over the will, the two families lost contact with each other.

My research at St Catherine’s House and the censuses from 1841 – 1891 have gradually produced a family tree of Thomas Eyre Blosset. This also included information from various Police Authorities and the Birmingham Police Museum.

Thomas Eyre Blosset was baptised on 1st January 1814 at St Mary’s Church, Portsea, Hampshire. He was the son of Captain John Blosset and Elizabeth, his wife of the 8th Royal Veteran Battalion, which was stationed at Fort Cumberland, Portsea, Hampshire. His father took _art in the 2nd War of Independence and was at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 with the 5th West India Regiment, but I have not found out where the family were. He retired due to ill health, with the rank of Brevit Major, on 7th March 1816 and was living in Bath. He may have been taking the mineral waters to improve his health. Another brother was baptised at Bath Abbey on 29th April 1816, the address given was The Grove.

After this there is a gap until about 1828, when he became a sailor, as yet, I have not managed to find out any details about this. In about 1835, he gave up being a sailor and married Eliza Nichols. She was born about 1815/1816 at Palmer’s Village, Middlesex, which is in central London [not Palmer’s Green – Hertfordshire]. I have not found a marriage certificate yet. He was then a Beadle at Covent Garden and she was the granddaughter of a stallholder. In 1838, he was still a Beadle as this was his given profession on a daughter’s birth certificate. In 1839, he was a constable under the Duke of Bedford. This was probably on his estates around Covent Garden. At present I am awaiting a reply from the Archivist to the Duke of Bedford, to determine if they have any records about this. Around 1839, they were living at 8 Horseferry Road, with his wife’s widowed grandmother and other family members. In 1843, he was a Clerk in the House of Commons and was now living at 84 Regent’s Street. Perhaps his brother-in-law secured him a position as clerk. We will probably never know for sure though. In 1844. he moved to Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, as a Superintendent Constable, living at Station House, 113 Brampton Street. It was here that he had the use of a pony and trap to patrol the Russ and District area and where part of the story came from. When the Herefordshire Constabulary was formed on 1st April 1857, he was given special dispensation to join [with six others], as he was now 43 years old and given the rank 3rd Class Superintendent. The next year he was promoted to 2nd Class Superintendent and was still living in Ross. His widowed mother Eliza, born in Gibraltar was staying with them at the time of the census in 1851, when my grandmother was born. Then he was posted to Abbey Dore, Herefordshire in 1858, when the last child was born, then to Harewood End in 1862 and finally to Kington in 1868. It was here, next to the Welsh Border in N.W. Herefordshire [next to Radnorshire then] that the other part of the story relates.
 
When the Herefordshire Constabulary was formed in 1857, he was given redundancy payment of £21-15s-6d from the old Ross force. He retired on 7th August 1875, on a pension of 3s-1d a day. He moved to 1 Barton Villas, Hereford for a time before moving to live with a grandson at Holly Tree Cottage in the village of Llanfabon near Nelson, Glamorgan, South Wales, in about 1880. His health deteriorated, and on 27th June 1882, he died. His wife continued to live there until her death on 18th December 1897. He also had a married daughter who lived at Nelson at this time.

Thomas Blosset’s police career record also gives the following information:

Visage – round,     Complexion – dark,     Eyes – brown,     Hair – dark brown,     Particular marks – none – scar on left leg,     Figure – stout,     Height 5ft-111/2ins.

Thomas Eyre Blosset and his wife Eliza had ten children, half of them died young [4 in London, 5 in Ross and I in Abbey Dare)
 
My Great Great Grandmother, Bessie Blosset, who was the seventh child, married Charles Arnold from Hereford in 1871 and they had fourteen children, ten of whom survived infancy. Bessie was fifty-two years old when Clara, the last child was born in 1902. Bessie’s husband Charles worked at the Probate Office in Hereford for sixty-three years and was the Chief Clerk until he died.
Another coincidence is that my father’s family was living in the Abbey Dore area of Herefordshire in 1860 and may have known some of mother’s relatives. This then is how from family stories, I have managed to prove how much truth they hold. Mike Jennings.
 
 
Thought for today

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Len Wenman
 

Occupation: Tide Waiter

A person (Customs Officer) who waited for ships coming in with the tide to collect duty on goods before being unloaded.

Pauline Stanley
 

Removal Orders- 1

These can be found amongst Quarter Sessions Records and sometimes amongst Church records.

When an inhabitant became a liability on a parish, and if they did not possess a Settlement Certificate, they would be examined by a Justice of the Peace. If they could not be proved they belonged to the place, then an order would be made to remove them to their place of origin.
 

Removal Orders – 2

12th January 1757.

Hannah, the wife of William Eglin, soldier, of Ulverston and her children Josiah and Charlotte, apprehended in the parish of St Mary’s Leichfield as rogues and vagabonds, from Leichfield to Elmhurst, co Staffordshire, to Lawton, co Cheshire to Warrington co Lancashire, to Ulverston.
 

Snippets Australian and American 1854 style

A young lady, a native of Sidney being asked if she would like to go to Britain, answered that she would like to see it, but not live in it.

On being pressed for her reason, she replied that, from the great number of bad people sent out from thence, it must be a very wicked place to live

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Nearly all suicides in this country are foreigners. Yankees rarely make away with themselves. For nearly everyone thinks he has the chance of becoming President and at any rate, curiosity prompts him to live to see what he WILL come to!
 

Website: – www.allthecotswolds.com

This site holds many censuses for the Cotswolds and surrounding areas

Stow on the Wold: 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891

Bourton on the Water: 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891

Pauline Stanley
 
 
You think Census Transcription is easy?
 
This is from the U.S.A. – where else. “Occupayshun, Cencus Taker.

I am a Cencus Taker for the City of Buffalo.  Our City has groan very fast in resent yeers & now in 1865, it has become a hard & time consuming job to count all the peephill. There are not many that con do this werk, as it is nesessarie to have a ejucashun, wich a lot of pursons steal do not have.  Anuther atribeart needed for this job is god speling, for meny of the peephill to be counted can hardle speek inglish, let alon spel there names.

With current trends in spelling ability, could this be the situation locally if one substituted “Bumtwood” for Buffalo and “2065” for 1865?
 

The Genealogist’s Psalm

Genealogy is my pastime, I shall not stray,

It maketh me to lie down and examine half-buried tombstones.

It leadeth me into still Court Houses,

it restoreth my ancient knowledge.

It leadeth me in paths of census records and ships’ passenger lists

For my surname’s sake.

Yea though I walk through the shadows of research libraries and microfilm readers,

I shall fear no discouragement,

For a strong urge is within me,

The curiosity and motivation they comfort me.

It demandeth preparation of storage space for the acquisition of countless documents,

It anointest my head with burning midnight oil,

My family group sheets runneth over.

Surely birth, marriage and death dates shall follow me

all the days of my life,

And I shall dwell in the house of a family history seeker for ever.  Amen.
 

Lost and Found

Alan Betts tells us that whilst browsing second-hand book stalls recently he has acquired at considerable cost (£1 each), two small books.

The books themselves are probably of little interest to anyone other than the avid collector of minutiae, but they each have flyleaf notes on the persons they were presented to, the date and the occasion.

“Helps to Worship”.  Inscribed “Leonard Victor Hutchcox.  Confirmed at St Matthew’s, Walsall, April 5th 1919.  B.D> Relton, Vicar.”

“Common Prayer Hymns A. & M.”.  “To Annie Hemming from Mrs. Peel on her confirmation, Wednesday March 12th 1902.

Seeing these two items reminded yours truly (Geoff. Sorrell) that I have three similar items, one of which is relevant to my own Family History, the other may well be of interest to someone else in the same way that Alan feels that his two books might be of considerable sentimental value to the descendants of the people whose names appear.

My first item is a small family Bible which was presented to my Great Grandfather in 1861. The inscription has always intrigued me.  It reads “Robert Sorrell trom Beatrix Durham, Coupland Castle, Dec 9th 1861”.  It is the oldest artefact that 1 have in my possession which I know was actually handled by my ancestors from 1861 until the present day and it is of inestimable value to me.  Beatrix Durham was the wife of the Earl of Durham in 1861 but Coupland Castle was not the family seat.  My Great grandfather was a coachman, resident in London at the time.  One can imagine how he might be in County Durham but what service did he provide to the Countess to earn this little gift?

The second book is also a small family bible but 1 have no date of publication and there is no date in the inscription on the flyleaf, which reads “Laundry School No. 14.  Frank Matkin, 314, Blackpool Street, Burton On Trent.  A gift from Mr. Jeffries”.

The third item is rather different in that it has no significant religious connections.  It does, however, contain numerous names of people who I have reason to believe are from, or have connections with, the Walsall area.  The book is very small, leather bound with a gold leaf design, entitled ‘Text and Autograph Album’.  The inscription inside it reads “F.C. Roberts – a small token of love from her sister Annie.  May 17 1872”.  There are numerous entries in the book, some of which are intriguing.  In the space for January 28th is written ‘Louie Roberts, Briton Ferry’.  February 18th has ‘Mrs. Wallace, Walsall’ and 6th October has ‘Mr. G.L. Wallace, Birmingham Road, Walsal1’.
 
On March 16th ‘Lizzie Webb’ – the name rings a bell in connection with the Methodist Church in Walsal1.  Later in the year, July 23rd’ ‘Beatie Webb’ – could this be the famous Beatrice Webb?  There are other entries which are not contemporary with the book’s origins and they seem to be birthday reminders so the book was used probably over a period of years. It is in remarkably good condition for its age.
 

Have you had the “Virus” this Autumn?

No – the ‘flu or common cold one but the one that appeared on your e-mail list purporting to come from Microsoft with a “Critical Patch Update” which you were exhorted to install ‘immediately.  Were, like me, gullible enough to believe that as it was from Microsoft it must be safe to down load it.  Not so.  It was a vicious little thing which apparently grabbed all the addresses of your Outlook Express address book and passed the virus on to anyone whose computer was not protected it they received it.

I was away for a couple of days having minor surgery and when I returned home and attempted to collect my e-mail, my “Inbox” contained no less than 625 messages, all of which so far as I could tell were from computers which had rejected and returned the e-mails which I did not even know had been sent.  In spite of having asked UkOnline to empty my inbox completely, it immediately filled up again within days and to date I have received something over 2,300 messages, many of which are still in my inbox and I can no longer connect to my server!

If anyone reading this received a message which seemed to have come from me and which infected their computer with this virus, please accept my apologies.  If you have tried to e-mail me in the past month, rest assured that I have almost certainly never read your e-mail and never will due to this virus.  Eventually, I hope to find someone who will clear out all the problems which I now have with my computer, some of which have arisen through my efforts to get rid of the problem through a Norton Internet Security Program.  Can anyone think up a suitably diabolical punishment for any hacker who is proved to have started one of these “swarm” viruses.  “Hang, draw and quarter” is far too lenient.   Geoff. Sorrell
 

Memories of the _Railway Age

We have received from our Members, Mr. & Mrs. Ormerod, who live in Hazel Grove near Stockport, a fascinating insight into the state of rail travel in the 1870’s.  Who ever said that all change is progress should read it.  It takes the form of an entry in Black’s Guide to Devonshire, 1877 and is a description of the Midland Railway’s new route between England and Scotland. There are references which have particular relevance to the Midlands and adjacent to it is an advertisement for the North Western Hotel, Stafford (adjoining the railway station).

“A first class hotel for the Nobility and Gentry, which is fitted up with all the Requirements of a Modern Establishment, combined with Strictly Moderate Charges, and is under the personal superintendence of SARAH WOOD, Proprietoress.

HORSES and CARRIAGES in connection with the Hotel at the Shortest Notice.