Burntwood Family History Group
   Home      Journal 2004 05 Volume 12 Number 3


Extracts from Burntwood Family History Group Journal
May 2004     
     Vol. 12 No. 3
  Contents of this issue.
News from the Secretary
Meanings of Tombstone Symbols
Arising from Coal Dust (Part 4)
Ancestors (poem)
An Interesting Conjunction of Birth and Christening Dates
A Woman of Mystery
Archive CD Books Ltd
News from the Secretary

The Journal

For some years now, the Journal has been produced by a team of members working on various aspects. Bernard Daniels was the mainstay of this team for a long time and his contribution was to collect together all the material which had been handed to the Editor (Pam Woodburn) and produce a ‘master’ set of prints. At one time, the multiple reproduction was done commercially by a local print shop but, with the money granted to the Group by the Lottery Awards for All scheme, a photocopier machine was acquired and the printing and collation function was taken on by your Hon. Secretary. Bernard eventually decided that his workload was too great to continue and asked to be relieved of his responsibilities for the Journal. He still does a lot of work on behalf of the Group’s Transcription Project.

More recently, the team has been helped by Carol Yapp, who took on the task of making up and stapling together the duplicated pages into a complete Journal and then, during 2003, did some of the editing and preparation work which I had been doing. Now I am pleased to be able to say that Brian Asbury and Jan Green have volunteered to take on the Editorship up to the point of production of the master sheets for duplication.

One of the difficulties faced by anyone editing our Journal is that material is submitted in many different forms, which means that much of it has had to be retyped in correct format. This has been time-consuming and has resulted in many errors of fact and spelling arising in the published articles. In future it is to be hoped that many more submissions will be in a form which can be scanned straight into the computer, and that no errors of fact or spelling will have been introduced during the editing process. However, this will not mean that no editing will be done or that obvious errors will not be corrected, as Brian and Jan will endeavour to check with the submitter if there is any doubt. In some cases, it will be necessary to reduce the length of articles or add to them, in order to satisfy the production criteria that the Journal is in A5 format with four pages to an A4 sheet.

Please keep your articles coming, and talk to Brian and Jan at the meetings if you have any problems with which you think they can help regarding your source material.

Members’ Interests

By the time you read this you should have received the 2004 Edition of the Members’ Interests List. Just as the Journal has been, this is very largely a one-man (me) production! I do my very best to record every new member’s interests and details accurately but I would suggest that you check your own interests and details for possible errors and let me have a written note of any corrections, alterations and deletions which you feel should be made before the next edition. Some errors will be due to my dubious typing skills, so look our for slight misspelling of names and incorrect numbers. An example would where I have accidentally hit the wrong key for a Membership Number, given an improbable date (1980 > – should be 1800 >) or misread the writing on your own application form or name submission. Some things will only be obvious to you personally.

It should be noted that Members’ Interests are kept in the list only while they are subscribed members, so if your subscription is not current you will find your details will be removed in due course. Of course, if you keep your old lists you will always be able to refer back to them. I try to keep at least one copy of each list as the database only contains information on current members, so I may be able to help if you suddenly remember that five years ago someone who was a member mentioned a name which you now realise was in your family. No promises, however.

Interesting Correspondence

The Group has received information from a company called Archive CD Books about their products. They can be contacted at 5, Commercial Street, Cinderford, Gloucestershire, GL14 2RP or at www.archivecdbooks.org and they are offering a discount on their products to BFHG members.
The National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office) has written to us about their own family history magazine, Ancestors, which is available from High Street newsagents at a cover price of £3.25 monthly. The May issue came with a free 11-generation pedigree chart (although these will probably have gone off the shelves by the time you read this), and in June there will be a supplement featuring a range of discounts on genealogical products and services.

The publishers are also anxious for contributions on family history subjects so, if you have any ideas for features, you can contact them direct by emailing elaine.collins@nationalarchives.gov.uk or tel: 02083 925 370.


The Federation of Family History Societies is organising a five day international conference to celebrate their 30th Anniversary and they have sent us details, which I have on file. It will be held at Loughborough University from Thursday 26th to Monday 30th August, 2004. Under the general title of ‘A Flight of Yesterdays’ there will be a wealth of speakers and social entertainments available over the five days, and the cost includes lunch, dinner and single room accommodation with en suite facilities. If you consider it as a ‘long weekend’ holiday it is not too expensive at around £300 for the whole conference, or you can go on a daily basis for £25 (Thursday and Monday) or £35 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Please contact Bernard Amps on tel: 01708 761 125 or email: society.liaison@ffhs.org.uk or browse the website www.flightofyesterdays.co.uk
Research Materials
Your Committee has been using our funds over the past few months to extend our collection of research material and we now have a very good selection of CDs for the local Counties. These can be borrowed for short periods and are in the care of Pauline Stanley. Contact Pauline for further details. The older types of research aids – microfiches and printed matter – are still available to attending members at our Thursday meetings, but unfortunately the Reader Hire Scheme cannot be operated at the present time due to us having no-one prepared to take on the administration of the scheme. This involves storing the fiche readers until hired out, keeping records of hiring, looking after the microfiches at the Thursday meetings and bringing at least three readers to those meetings. If anyone is prepared to take on this chore please contact me or any member of the Committee. Geoff Sorrell, Honorary Secretary
World War I War Graves Photographs
Brian V. Thomas writes: My hobby is researching the First World War, and I regularly visit the Cemeteries and Memorials in Belgium and Northern France. I offer a personal photographic and research service to anyone (e.g. family historians, village/town historians) who has an interest in any soldiers buried in Belgium or France. My next visit will be in May/June 2004, and I am happy to forward an Information Sheet to your members on receipt of a stamped addressed envelope, to: BV Thomas, 38 Meadow Vale, DALE, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire SA62 3RH

Meanings of Tombstone Symbols

If you’ve ever wondered what some of those symbols you see on very old gravestones might mean, here’s a helpful guide:


Hope or a mariner


Victory in death




Eternal life

Bird flying


Book open


Bible open


Bouquet of flowers

Condolences, grief, sorrow

Broken column

Loss of head of family


Resurrection or military


Short-lived, early death

Candle being snuffed

Time, mortality




Ripe old age


Emblem of faith

Crossed swords

High ranking military person

Darts or Coffin

Father Time


Innocence, gentleness, affection, purity


Flight of the soul


Eternal plenty


Victory in death

Hands shaking



Praise to the Maker


Soul in bliss or love of Christ


The resurrection


Swiftness of time

Hand of God chopping

Sudden death

Hourglass with wings

Time flying, short life




Friendship and immortality




Fame or victory

Lily or Lily of the Valley

Emblem of innocence and purity

Morning Glory

Beginning of life

Oak leaves and acorn

Maturity and ripe old age

Palm branches

Victory and rejoicing

Picks & Shovels





Passageway to eternal life

Rings broken

Family circle severed

Rose bud

Morning of life, renewal of life

Rose fully opened

Prime of life


Brevity of earthly life


Pilgrimage of life

Skull and crossbones






Torch inverted

Life extinct

Tree stump with ivy

Head of family or immortality


Heralds of the resurrection

Urn with blaze

Undying friendship

Urn with wreath/crepe


Weeping willow

Emblem of sorrow

Wheat sheaf

Ripe for harvest, divine harvest, time


Earthly sorrow

Winged effigies

Flight of the soul

 Arising from Coal Dust

by Alan Brookes

Part 4: Toilet at the Matinee

When I reached the age of eight, I was allowed to attend the Saturday matinee at the Chase Cinema at Sankey’s Corner. This grand, two-tiered theatre was owned and managed by the Jervis family. Mr Miles Jervis, a stern-looking aristocrat, was the manager, chief usher and reel operator. Mrs Ann Jervis, his wife, was the cashier who solemnly pocketed the 3d fee for the matinee entrance. Perched behind a glass screen in the lush, welcoming foyer, she had the power to admit or decline admittance to persons whose presence in the cinema she considered to be unsatisfactory. To seemingly visually enforce this edict, occasionally a police constable would stand in the cinema foyer and sternly cast his officious eyes over the passing customers. However, his presence inside the cinema would, fortunately for him, usually coincide with a shower of rain outside the warm, cosy theatre.

The Jervis family were cinematograph pioneers in portraying some of the first moving pictures in England of the 1920s. The family had been engaged in travelling entertainment shows for generations. Miles’s father, Thomas, as a boy in the 1880s, had used one of the first portable projectors for transmitting pictures onto screens at travelling fairs. Together with Miles and his brother Edward, they built the Chase Cinema at Sankeys Corner in 1919. Miles and Edward also had financial interests in the Tivoli and Empire Cinemas at Hednesford, as well as other cinemas across the Midlands. Three other local cinemas that he controlled were the Forum at Cannock, the Palace at Chasetown and the Picture Palace at Heath Hayes. Until her retirement in 1928, Edward’s wife Ada was the foyer cashier at the Picture Palace.

Continuing the family tradition, Miles’s daughter, Mary, used to help assist her parents as an usherette at the Chase Cinema matinees. She was lovely, with long smooth hair – so refined and well-dressed, always looking clean and smelling nice. I wonder what she used to think about me and my rough pals being let loose in her parents’ lovely theatre once a week as she anxiously watched us take our seats? I don’t think she would have returned my amorous feelings for her, had she known what was to happen to me on my first visit to the cinema matinee!

The matinee performance used to consist of three films. Firstly, a cartoon – Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck – then followed by a ‘B’ picture – perhaps Laurel and Hardy or The Three Stooges. The main film consisted of a serial, usually either featuring Roy Rogers or Gene Autrey, or my favourites, Captain Marvel, Batman or Superman. The hero would close the matinee in a perilous situation, only to miraculously escape at the beginning of the next episode on the following Saturday morning.

On my first visit to the matinee, I was in awe of the posh surroundings and the magic of the occasion as the lights dimmed and I entered a world previously unknown to me. I sat in the middle of a row about halfway down the sloping stalls with my younger brother, Peter. I was so enthralled at the overwhelming theatrical spectacle, I completely forgot about the necessity to go to the toilet. By the time I realised I needed to go, I became aware in the dark that we were hemmed in on both sides by older boys, the bullies of ‘The Terrace’. The theatre was full. The music sounded and the matinee began.

“Shut up and sit down,” one big chap shouted at me with obvious annoyance when I timidly asked him if I could disturb him to let me exit to the toilet. Oh dear – I realised I was trapped. What was I to do? I frantically wondered.

I waited and waited as long as I could, trying to postpone the mounting pain. Crossing and re-crossing my legs made no difference to my acute situation.

“Will you stop fidgeting, and sit still?” A gruff voice from behind me issued a stern rebuke. “You’re a blasted nuisance!”

By now I was utterly desperate, and realised I needed to go there and then. I had no option but to pee on the floor, which I did with no inhibition whatsoever. To avoid possible discovery, and muffle the sound of the ‘tinkle, tinkle’ my pee would make on the stone floor, I delayed and delayed until a loud audio period was occurring in the film. Luckily, Gene Autry was being chased by the Apaches.

The Red Indians were just about to attack the stagecoach. I hesitated until their screaming yells were in full flow, and then liquidly reciprocated. Blissful relief! My teeth were on edge as a wave of pleasure racked my body.

At that moment, I was completely unaware and just didn’t care where my pee was going. When you needed to go as badly as I did, it was impossible to stop in mid-flow anyway. It seemed like I would never stop, and it continued for several minutes.

It was only afterwards, when I was relaxing in the comfort of the upholstered cinema seat, watching the rest of the performance, that I started to wonder: where had my pee gone? It must have rolled down the sloping floor of the cinema! So where was it now? I looked down at my feet, but only discerned a darkened wet patch on the floor. It had passed under the seats of people sitting in front of me.

I anxiously lifted my gaze to the person seated immediately ahead of me. He was watching the film, and seemed completely unaware of the drama that had occurred behind him. I wondered if the people around me could smell my pee. I furtively glanced to my left and then right. My brother Peter, fully concentrating on the film, didn’t even notice me looking at him. Perhaps the people in front now had wet shoes, I thought.

My mind started to wander and to think of worse scenarios. I hoped no-one was sitting with their shoes off, or if any of the women had placed their handbags on the floor. What if people had placed their bag of popcorn on the floor, or if someone’s coat had been placed on the floor?

Oh my word – what have I done? I shall be in big trouble for this, I realised, with mounting trepidation at the consequences of my actions. Thank goodness I only needed to pee!

For the rest of the matinee I sat in a heightened state of anxiety, resigned to a fate worse than death. My catatonic state would not allow me to absorb any of the performance on film, or even remember afterwards what film I had been watching. I seemed frozen to my seat, just waiting for the matinee to end so I could escape from my agony.

At the end of the performance, Mr. Jervis opened a door at the front of the theatre for us all to exit. This saved half the audience going back through the foyer. Peter and I walked down the aisle and in front of the first row of seats, which coincided with the end of the sloping floor. Sure enough, lying in a great big puddle in front of the screen, was my now cold urine. By this time, some of the other juvenile cinemagoers had walked through the incriminating puddle, and inadvertently left a trail of soggy, smelly, footprints en route to the exit.

Before I got to where Mr. Jervis was standing I could see and hear he was already aware of the result of my earlier indiscretion. His shiny, rouge complexion shone through his bulging cheeks. He pulled back his tightened lips to reveal a row of clenched, gnashing teeth. I thought his face would burst open with rage! Whilst waving his animated arms, he furiously yelled repeatedly at the blank looks of the passing children: “Who did this? I’ll flog the culprit who did this.”

Peter and I then walked gingerly past him. I avoided treading in the urine, trying to look as innocent as possible. I was terrified of being discovered as the perpetrator. I’m sure my penalty would have been that my first visit to the matinee would also have been my last. Upon reaching the outside fresh air, I exhaled a huge sigh of relief. So I now confess to a secret I have withheld for fifty years. “I’m so sorry Mr. Jervis, it was me.”

Thinking back now, the steam rising from my hot urine as it ran down the cinema’s sloping floor must have become visible in the beam of light of the film projection. As the majority of youngsters smoked in those days, I suppose it could have been mistakenly thought of as smoke circling upwards. On the following Saturday, on my second visit to the matinee, no trace of the urine was visible and the theatre smelt extra clean, with a whiff of bleach in the air.

Even to this day, I always go to the toilet first before entering a cinema or theatre...    To be continued...

Ancestors by Edith Littledale
If you could see your ancestors
all standing in a row,
Would you be proud of them or not,
or don’t you really know?
Some strange discoveries are made
in climbing family trees
And some of them you know do not
particularly please.
If you could see your ancestors
all standing in a row,
There might be some of them, perhaps,
you wouldn’t care to know.
But here’s another question which
requires a different view,
If you could meet your ancestors,
would they be proud of you?
Edith’s great-grandson granted permission to Pauline Stanley for the above poem to be reprinted. Edith was born on 14th August 1848 at Highfield House, West Derby, Liverpool, married Alfred Fletcher on 25th June 1868 at St Mary’s Church, West Derby, and died on 26th May 1920 at Allerton Manor, Liverpool.

(Not So) Well-Known Sayings: ‘Ring the Gavelock’

A gavelock is a large iron crowbar used in quarrying. For special events, such as the marriage of a work-mate, the gavelock was suspended from a chain and struck; thus arose, in connection with such events, the expression ‘to ring the gavelock’.
An Interesting Conjunction of Birth and Christening Dates by Tony Wallington

When we look at a christening date, I think we all tend to assume that it took place within a week or two after a birth. However, while recording the birth and christening dates of some Wallingtons unrelated to me, I noted some interesting conjunctions.

These are the children of William and Elizabeth Wallington of Rickmansworth, in the early 19th century:








6 May 1827


22 Aug 1818

11 Jul 1830


6 May 1827


27 Aug 1820

11 Jul 1830


12 Apr 1829



21 Jun 1817

11 Jul 1830

Four questions arise:

(1) Were there two Williams who married two different Elizabeths in Rickmansworth about the same time, or were the children all from one set of parents?

(2) Were Bethia and Kezia twins, or were they just christened at the same time?

(3) Why were there gaps between birth and christening for Jesse, Joseph, George and Mary? Could it be that Jesse decided to be confirmed at the age of 13, and the consequent discovery of his non-baptism prompted the rest of his siblings to be baptised?

(4) If all the children were from the same parents, why did they christen Bethia, Kezia and Martha earlier on, but leave the others for a bulk christening in 1830?

Whittington & District History Society News

The new website of Whittington & District History Society (www.wdhs.org.uk) was born out of village exhibits at the Millennium Day celebrations. The society launched the website before an audience of 60-plus people at the Village Hall, where they were shown the make-up of the site. It is split into a number of headings, e.g. ‘Maps’, ‘Buildings’, ‘People’, ‘Censuses’.

We hope you will visit our site and enjoy the various topics and photos. If anyone has any information or photos pertaining to Whittington and district which they are prepared to share, the society would be very grateful. Information gathering is imperative if we are to continue to build the site and publish our second book. David Roberts (chairman, W&DHS)
A woman of Mystery by Brian K. Asbury

They said it couldn’t be done.

When I first started researching my ancestry, all my initial successes were on my father’s side. His mother, Gertrude Darrall, was the only one of my grandparents listed on the 1901 Census, but that enabled me fairly quickly, using the Internet, to find the names of her parents – William Darrall and Louisa Jane Harley – and work back through their lines. Louisa proved a particularly fruitful find as she led me swiftly back through several other female lines to William Handsacre, born 1612. William was my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, 11 generations back!

My mother, however, and other members of her side of the family, were sceptical about my chances of success on that side. “You might have some luck with the Clarks,” they said, “but not the Bookers. No chance.”

The problem was my maternal grandfather, Frederick William (Bill) Booker. He had married my gran, Beatrice Clark, in 1923, and they’d had ten children, including my mother. However, he had died in 1948 and his background was a bit of a mystery. Or rather, his mother’s background was a lot of a mystery.

Grandad was born in 1903; that was well known. He had an older brother, Harold, but they had different fathers and, so far as anyone in the family knew, their mother had never married.

What else did they know for certain? Well, my gran had described her as ‘a big woman with a heart of gold’, and my mother remembered being told that when she had died they had had to lower the coffin through a window as it was too big to go down the stairs. She had lived somewhere near St. Matthew’s Church in Walsall. So what was her name?

Er... No-one was sure. ‘Polly’ and ‘Annie’ were the favourite possibilities, but no-one could say for certain. The only thing they were sure of was that her surname was Booker, as she hadn’t married.

Okayyy... so could I find her in the online censuses? She was certainly alive in 1901, and maybe even in 1881 too. So I looked. Without success. There were Annies on there, and Marys too (no Pollys as such) ... but none of them looked very likely. I needed more information – her age, for one thing.

Then a stroke of luck! An aunt phoned me to report that she had found some old documents, among them both of her parents’ birth certificates and her gran’s will! “And of course, her name is on them,” she said. “You’ll never guess what it is!” She was right. Annie? Polly? Not even close. “It’s Harriet Drucilla Ross!”

After I had picked myself up off the floor, I was over there to look at these documents myself before you could say ‘genealogy’. Rather than make things clearer, they only added to the confusion. The will, sure enough, was signed ‘Harriet Drucilla Ross’. It was definitely her, though, because she’d left everything to her younger son, my grandfather. His birth certificate was also among the papers and was doubly interesting because it was two-sided – a copy which his mother had applied for in 1910. On one side was an application form, filled in in her handwriting. Her name? ‘Harriet Drucilla Booker’.

And on the other side, which had been filled in by the registrar, Bill’s mother was named as ‘Annie Booker, hawker of Dudley’!

Minds boggled in unison. One woman with an evolving name: Annie Booker to Harriet Drucilla Booker to Harriet Drucilla Ross. Which was her real name? Was any of the three her real name? She seemed to move around a lot, too: Bill had been born at the Union Workhouse in Sedgley; in 1910 they were living in Wolverhampton; and by the time of her death she was at Temple Street, Walsall. This was a woman who seemed to have something to hide!

There was other useful information among the papers my aunt had, but not pertaining to this woman of mystery. My gran’s birth certificate told me her mother’s maiden name had been Keeling and that they were living in Black Boy Yard, Walsall, in 1904. I used this information to get further back on that line.

But Harriet – Annie – whoever – remained a mystery. I couldn’t find her on the censuses in any of her incarnations or in any of her known haunts. It was obvious that I wasn’t going to get any further without help.

I didn’t have any access to the 1891 census at the time, but it was possible she might be found on there. So I posted an SOS on the ‘Genes Connected’ website – could anybody please do me a lookup to see if they could find someone with any of these names, probably in the Walsall area? I didn’t know how old she would have been in ’91 but, assuming she was in her twenties when she had my grandfather, she would presumably be in her teens or even younger.

I didn’t really expect anybody to take up the challenge ... but then, a very kind person named Liz Mackay emailed me some pages from the 1891 census, showing three families of Bookers living in Black Boy Yard, Walsall.

Hang on ... Black Boy Yard??  That was where the Clarks were living just a few years later! Don’t tell me the Bookers were there too! Is that how my grandparents met?

I excitedly scanned the printouts. One of the families was headed by one Isaac Booker, who was in his sixties. His wife was named Harriet, but she was far too old. The name was interesting, though – was there any significance? The second family was at the Black Boy Inn itself and headed by one Alfred Booker, but there was no sign of a younger Harriet in his family.

With the third family, however, I seemed to have struck paydirt! There were four people at No. 1, Black Boy Yard – Thomas Booker, his wife Clara, their ten-year-old son John, and, wait for it ... their eight-year old daughter Harriet! Was this success at last? It looked likely. But of course, I still didn’t know whether Harriet was great-gran’s real name. This was equally likely to be someone unrelated who just happened to be named Harriet Booker.

Where could I find confirmation? I turned to the World Wide Web and a site called ‘1837 Online’, which has scans of all the content of the Births, Marriages and Deaths indexes for the UK from 1837, when civil registration first began. It’s a pay site, but at a fiver for fifty peeks at its pages it seemed to offer much better value than the extortionate cost of accessing the 1901 census online.

I started to look at the pages listing any Bookers born in each quarter between 1881 and 1884 (allowing a bit of leeway for the birth date as censuses are notoriously inaccurate on these things), to see if there was a Harriet. The first few pages turned up nothing – but then, as I viewed the page for the June quarter of 1882, a thrill coursed through me. Not only was there a Harriet listed for Walsall – her full name was given as Harriet Drucilla!

Got her!

So... great-granny Booker had not always used aliases. On her application for her son’s birth certificate copy she had given her real name!

Discovering that fact opened up her whole family tree. Thomas and Clara were her parents, and Isaac and Harriet, living just a few doors away, turned out to be her grandparents. Alfred, who ran the pub, was her uncle. Further investigation turned up Isaac’s parents: his father was another Thomas, and Thomas’s wife was Alice (a school mistress – always nice to have educated women in the family!). Furthermore, the older Harriet’s maiden name was Hartshorn, and she had had a sister named Drusilla. So that’s where the name came from!

There are still a lot of questions to be answered, of course. We’ll never know who the fathers of Harriet’s two sons were, as that knowledge went with her to the grave and is certainly not on birth certificates. The question of why she kept changing her name is an enigma, also – had she changed her identity to stay ahead of the law? Just what did she ‘hawk’ in Dudley?

Then, too, is the mystery of where she was in early 1901. In December, her illegitimate son Harold was christened at St. Matthew’s Church, Walsall, and her address was given as ‘24 Sandwell Street’. However, she wasn’t at that address on the 1901 census a few months earlier, and in fact I can’t find her on that census at all! What’s more, her parents, Thomas and Clara, are also not in evidence on the 1901 census. What happened to them, I wonder?

It’s a funny old game, genealogy. Answer one question and a whole raft of new ones present themselves. But at least I proved the family wrong; great-granny Booker was not a dead end after all. I’ve traced her line back another three generations so far and I’m still investigating.

So when they tell you it can’t be done, don’t take their word for it. With a little luck, some help from your friends and a lot of persistence – it probably can! Brian Asbury
Archive CD Books Ltd
The above company has generously donated to the Group, free of charge, a CD for the 1861 Census for Worcestershire. In addition, when it is produced, they will also be providing us with a copy of the 1871 Census for Staffordshire, again free of charge.

This Company makes reproductions of old books, documents and maps on CDs available to genealogists and historians, as well as providing CDs relating to the various Censuses. At the present time the company are making a special offer to Group members of various CDs at reduced prices. A pamphlet giving details of these is available, upon request, from the Secretary.

Their website, www.archivecdbooks.org/adopt, has an up-to-date list of CDs presently available and also those ‘in the pipeline’. The Group will, if requested, purchase personal CDs direct from the company for Group members.

I will contact the company and thank them for their generous gifts and assure them that we will, both as a group and individually, be pleased to maintain contact with them. Harold Haywood, Hon. Treasurer
Murphy’s Law in Genealogy

You know the great god Murphy is influencing your research when you find...

No-one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, owned property, was sued, or was named in wills.

You finally find your great-grandparent’s wedding records and discover that the bride’s father was named John Smith.

You learn that your great aunt just sold her life’s collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer ‘somewhere in London’...