Burntwood Family History Group
   Home      Journal 2008 07 Volume 16 Number 4
Extracts from Burntwood Family History Group Journal
July 2008     
     Vol. 16 No. 4
  Contents of this issue.
From the Chair...
Slogans for Genealogists
News from the Secretary
Extract from Dorothy’s Story
Dating Family Photographs
Waiting for 1911
Earth (poem)
That Elusive Ancestor (poem)
Reviews of Monthly Talks
The Lost Family and the Medallion
Lichfield Local History Fair
Can You Transcribe the 1851 Census?
Library Additions
Arising From Coal Dust: Part 13
Back cover

From the Chair…

Dear Friends, I am pleased to report that the recent trip to Kew was a success and everyone seemed to enjoy the day, despite a bad start when the coach turned up late and at the wrong pick-up point. That was particularly annoying, as Jenny Lee had provided the company with a map for the driver and instructions, neither of which he bothered to use. The reason given was that the ‘sat-nav got it wrong’! A letter of complaint has been sent to Flights and a reply received which was not very satisfactory. However, it did not spoil the day and we have received requests for another trip later in the year. Those of us who chose to visit Kew Gardens were very lucky with the weather and were able to enjoy wandering around in comfortable conditions. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jenny for all the work she did to make the day a success. It was much appreciated by our own members, as well as the members of Cannock Wood and Gentleshaw Gardening Club who accompanied us this time.

While at the National Archives, I took the opportunity to browse around the bookshop and I noted a few book titles that I thought would be useful additions to our library. I have since ordered them via the Internet, which cut the costs, and they will now be passed on to Geoff Colverson for inclusion in the library which is available to members at the Thursday meetings. A list can be found elsewhere in this Journal. If anyone has further suggestions for new books, we are always glad to receive them and we will, funds permitting, try to make further purchases.

By the time you read this, we shall be getting close to the AGM. The committee has worked hard as usual this year to ensure that the group keeps moving on with the times. However, several of us have been involved over a number of years and would be delighted to welcome new members to bring new ideas and to share the work. Please give it some thought.

Don’t forget that subs are payable on 1st of August! The fee will continue at £8 for individuals, but I am sure more details will be found elsewhere in the Journal. Please pay promptly to help Harold, our Hon. Treasurer, to make sure we are all covered by the terms of our insurance policy.

I hope you all have a lovely summer and good hunting if you are trying to climb the family tree! Jane Leake

Ten-minute Tales

As a follow-up to the AGM it has become our custom to ask members to volunteer to talk to the Group about something that they discovered or that happened while they were researching their family history. We need five or so ten-minute talks to fill the time after the business of the AGM until coffee time.

This has proved to be most interesting in the past and I would be delighted to hear from anyone who feels they could help. Go on! Be brave and give it a whirl – it’s only ten minutes after all!

Slogans for Genealogists

More handy mottos which researchers into family history might consider:

I think my ancestors had several ‘bad heir’ days.

I should have asked them before they died!

Theory of relativity: If you go back far enough, we’re all related.

Shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall!

News from the Secretary

Anyone using our website may have noticed that the application for membership form which can be downloaded contains incorrect information regarding the current subscription rates. Because of this, some members who have joined during the year have paid their subscriptions at the 2006-7 rate. Don’t worry if this happened to you – we will not be asking you for back payment! However, the current subscription is £10.00 per annum for single membership or £15.00 per annum for two people in the same household. Family memberships receive exactly the same services as single memberships, with the exception of the following:

Family memberships entitle you to only one copy of the Journal; and entrance fee for meetings is ‘per person’, i.e. each partner in the family pays individually when they attend. The increases in fees which were introduced last year, added to the fact that we received two very welcome grants from Lichfield District Council and Burntwood Town Council, have enabled us to extend the facilities offered at the Thursday meetings for the foreseeable future.

Renewal of Membership

Enclosed with your July Journal you will find a form which you should use to renew your membership and update your surname interests. This should be in the hands of the Hon Treasurer (address on the form) before the date of the first group meeting of the 2008-9 year, i.e. on 11th August. Local members who are coming to the meeting can pay direct to the Hon Treasurer at the meeting, but he would appreciate your payment being made by cheque or postal order rather than in cash.

It would be appreciated, when paying at the meeting, if the completed form could be given directly to me. Renewal forms which are sent to the Hon Treasurer by post, with payment, will in due course be passed on to me by him.

Members’ Interests

Some new members who joined early in 2008 (and some existing members who did not send in details or amendments to the list) may find that their names are missing from the current list. I start compiling the new list in September and it is usually ready for publication by December. However, in order to accommodate new memberships, and as many amendments as possible before publication, I hold back on the printing of the list for as long as possible and send it out with the January issue of the Journal. Last year I received one or two complaints that names were not in the list which the members concerned thought should have been there. This was probably due to a slight delay in distribution. Although the Members’ Interests List was printed shortly after Christmas, it and the issue of the Journal which it accompanied did not go out to the membership until late in February. We will do our best to ensure that this doesn’t happen next time, and meanwhile, below you can find the full information for all members who joined the group after October 2007, or whose details were inadvertently omitted, as a supplement to the current list.

Help required

A new member who is researching her family in the North Staffordshire area is having great difficulty in establishing the identity of the wife of her great-uncle (her grandfather’s brother’s wife). I have obtained from her as much detail as she has acquired so far and, if anyone can add to it, please either contact her directly at the addresses given below, or pass the information on to me and I will forward it to her.

Charles Harrison was born in 1865 at Hopton, near Stafford, son of Charles and Elizabeth Harrison. At the time of the 1881 Census, Charles was an indoor servant, aged 16, at Cold Norton Farm (census place Chebsey, Staffs). A brother, John William Harrison, was also at the same address and working as a servant. Is it possible that Cold Norton Farm was owned or farmed by a family connection, or even that Charles met his future wife there?

By the time of the 1891 Census, Charles was living with his sisters Florence and Betsey, Florence’s husband George Horobin, and George and Florence’s children, aged 10, 5 and 3, in Bucknell, Stoke on Trent. Charles was listed as married, but his wife is not in the household. Was she living elsewhere ‘in service’ in a hospital or other institution, or had the marriage broken up?

By the time of the 1901 Census, Charles was back with his parents at Salt, very close to Hopton, and possibly in the house where he was born. He was, however, now listed as a widower.

Margaret has been unable to establish who Charles’s wife was (maiden name or even forename would be a help) and when, where and why she died, comparatively young.

If you can help with this, please contact Mrs M Thompson, 14, Ferrand Road, Littleborough, Lancashire, OL15 9ED. Email: markee.thompson@zen.co.uk

Extract from Dorothy’s Story - by Sheila Clarke

My mother, Dorothy Elsden née Malin, died on February 1st 2000 in her 92nd year. When she was in her eighties, I asked her to write down her memories. The following is an extract from what she wrote.

Her father was a master baker who had a shop with a bakery behind his house in Highgate Road, Sparkbrook, Birmingham. Dorothy wrote of the shop:

“It was nice and warm in the bake house. I liked to go in there because there were usually nice things to eat, such as malt extract, dried fruit and condensed milk. I was not supposed to have these and got into trouble if found out.

“The smell of hot bread from the oven always reminds me of my youth. The bread would be ready to bring into the shop at about 10.30 am during the week, and again at 8.00 pm on Saturdays. We sold a few other items like tea, sugar, and biscuits.

“At one time, a young man worked for us just to make doughnuts. These were delicious. We were told not to eat them when they came into the house just cooked, but often we did. Bill, my eldest brother, made small cakes and tarts, and also 1lb Madeira cakes which cost sixpence (two and a half pence today).

“I liked to dress the window each day. All the shapes of bread had a name: cottage loaves; batch; brick; Coburg; tin; sandwich; and a cylindrical loaf cooked in a tin which closed around the dough and marked it all round in slices.

“At Easter time there were hot cross buns, four for 3d, and at Christmas time, pork pies and Christmas cake, mince pies, and short and flaky pastry. We all had a job to do, such as putting the jelly in the pork pies. Very lean pork was minced for the pies and seasoned well with pepper and salt. Pig fat, feet and tails were boiled for hours for the jelly. One year Dot [Clara, her eldest sister] made a mistake with the seasoning and put in a double amount of pepper. The pies were certainly hot that year!

“People came from quite a way for Dad’s bread, cakes, and pies. He always put the best quality ingredients in the things he made. Sponge cakes, cut in half, had jam or cream spread on them. Never, never should we open the door to go into the bake house when the dough was rising or the bread was being taken out of the oven, We were in real trouble if we did.

“There was a big room behind the bake house where coke was kept. This was used to heat the oven. It was very warm so we liked to play in there in the winter, sliding down the coke hill. What I did not like were the crickets and blackbats in there. They liked the warmth, too.”

Dating Family Photographs

For those of you who have interesting old photographs but have not managed to figure out just when they are likely to have been taken, a new book just released may offer some help.

Family Photographs and How to Date Them by Jayne Shrimpton is a new title in Countryside Books’ Family History series. For those engaged in family research, there is often nothing more frustrating than finding an early photograph without any label to help identify the subject or the setting. But there are always visual clues, and the strongest of these come from what the people in the photographs are wearing. Our ancestors dressed up for the camera, and their clothes can offer us a wealth of information about the period and the person.

Jayne Shrimpton is an experienced fashion historian and portrait specialist, she has been dating and analysing old photographs and paintings for over 20 years. She is a regular contributor to Practical Family History magazine and has written and lectured widely. Her book covers 100 years of family photographs from 1850 to 1950. Each decade has its own chapter, with an introduction followed by a wide range of photographs to show its fashion styles for men, women and children.

The book is illustrated with over 230 photographs and is published by Countryside Books, priced at £12.99, and is available from Amazon.co.uk and other usual stockists. The format is B5 softcover with 192 pages.

Waiting for 1911

Source material: www.1911census.org.uk

As we all know, the UK censuses are among the most valuable sources of archive information for researching family history. The seven censuses from 1841 to 1901 are available for public search, and can nowadays be accessed online if you have a subscription to a service such as www.ancestry.co.uk

Although The National Archives (TNA) were not planning to make the 1911 census available until January 2012, a ruling in 2006 forced them to make some information available now in the form of a paid-for search for details of people living at a nominated address. This costs £45 per address (with no refunds for unsuccessful searches) and you will need to provide a house name/ number, a building name or a vessel name, plus the civil parish and county.

From next year, though, much more will be available, when a phased release of the 1911 Census will begin, although ‘personally sensitive’ information such as ‘details of infirmity or other health-related information, information about family relationships which would usually have been kept secret and information about very young children who were born in prison’ will not be available until 2012.

The 1911 census was taken on the night of Sunday 2nd April 1911 and holds information on every household, vessel, institution and overseas residencies that were part of England and Wales (including some ships at sea and some army units stationed overseas). A full entry would contain names of persons in each household, age, occupation, position in household, whether they had any illnesses and the full address of the property. The census comprises 35,000 volumes of information relating to 35 million people in England and Wales.

The documents sustained water damage years ago, which affected about 5% of the volumes and means that information is not retrievable from parts of these volumes. There is only one volume missing from the whole series in total.

New information in the 1911 census forms included questions that had to be answered by married women on how long they had been married and how many children there were from the marriage (very useful for genealogists trying to determine whether any children may have been born and died between censuses).

Extra information was also required on professions or trade rather than simply ‘occupation’. These two snippets, ‘Industry/service with which worker is connected’ and ‘Employment status’, might mean, for example, that someone who was unemployed at the time would still give his/her usual occupation.
The rule in counting people was that someone should be included if they passed the night of Sunday April 2 1911 in this dwelling and were alive at midnight or arrived there the following morning, not having been enumerated elsewhere. This did not include new-born children born after midnight, however! It was the job of the police to enumerate everyone who passed the night in ‘barns, outhouses or in the open air’. To try and reduce the number of vagrants on the street, the Salvation Army opened up extra shelters for the night.

36,000 enumerators were hired to distribute the schedules and collect them, completed, on Monday April 3rd. They were paid a minimum fee of 21 shillings plus 3/6d for every 100 persons enumerated after the first 400, as well as an allowance of 1/- for every mile in excess of six ‘necessarily traversed’. They had to provide a summary of the dwellings and population in each enumeration district.

Failure to complete the schedule was an offence, liable to a fine not exceeding £5. The Women’s Suffrage campaign was in full flow and they planned to disrupt the census by staying out all night and refusing to complete a schedule. One group spent the night at a skating rink, but they were counted there by the police, so their action was considered a failure. The lack of names, age, etc. was seen as of secondary importance at the time, although that is of little comfort to anyone trying to find details of Suffragettes for their family tree.

After the schedules were collected, the details were sent to a building in Millbank, where 24 calculating machines had been installed. The data were entered on to punched cards – one set of about 80,000 for dwellings, a second set of about 4 million for married women and a third set of about 36 million for the rest of the population. The cards were punched with key information from the schedules, then sorting machines read the cards and sorted them.

The Times described how the ‘machines are worked and the division is accomplished by electricity. The cards pass between a wire brush and a brass roller. The wires on the brush press against one column of the card and, passing through the punched aperture in that column, establish electric contact with the roller at a spot opposite the aperture and corresponding to the particular class which the punched mark represents. A corresponding “jaw” immediately opens, the card slips into it, and is forced into one of 11 boxes representing as many classes.’

All this was intended to produce the census results within a year. Provisional figures were produced on May 25th that year showing the population of England and Wales as 36 million, an increase of 10.9% since 1901.

And soon, of course, we’ll all be able to see the results!

Earth - by Jan Green

A journey past the old farm

brings flashing back

an atavistic image;

my father in cloth cap, strong arms sunned to walnut brown,

slack labourer’s trousers held in place by knotted twine.

I see gnarled hands wield chopper, spade or scythe,

to tame one patch of disobedient earth.

My musings switch to where steel monsters stalk,

to scoop with hostile hands this fertile soil.

I watch them slay his hedgerows, wreck his fences,

lay waste the land my father loved and tilled.

Earth erodes all traces of its dead,

hides history from our sight in Stygian tomb,

breaks down bleached bones, soaks up the crimson blood,

Smothers tribal dreams beneath the loam.

That Elusive Ancestor

It’s not just here that our genealogical researches sometimes get frustrated at every turn, as this American poem, quoted in Irish Roots magazine, shows...

I went looking for an ancestor. I

cannot find him still.

He moved around from place to

place and did not leave a will.

He married where a courthouse

burned. He mended all his fences.

He avoided any man who came

to take the US census.

He always kept his luggage

packed, this man who had no fame.

And every 20 years, this rascal

changed his name.

His parents came from Wicklow,

they could be on some list

of passengers to the USA, but

somehow he got missed.

And no one else anywhere is

searching for this man.

So I’m perusing Irish Roots to

find him if I can.

I’m told he’s buried in a plot, with

tombstone he was blessed.

But the weather took the

engraving and some vandal took the rest.

He died before the county clerks

decided to keep records.

No family Bible has emerged in

spite of all my efforts.

To top it off this ancestor, who has

caused me many groans,

Just to give me one more pain,

betrothed a girl named JONES!


Reviews of Monthly Talks - Reviewer: Sheila Clarke

May 2008: Beryl Hyde Wilkes and June Morgan Summerfield on ‘Uncle Ike and the Family in the Black Country’

This month’s guest speakers were born into the close-knit community of Roseville, one of the villages making up Coseley, formerly thought to be the largest urban area in the country. When the canal network through the Black Country was being built, it was decided that, because Roseville was an established community, the canal should run through a tunnel under the town. However, in the 1920s, when the Wolverhampton New Road was constructed, no consideration was given to Roseville and the road sliced the village in two.

June’s Uncle Ike used to live in the house next to Beryl, and they both knew him very well until his recent death at the age of 90. June’s research shows the importance of putting flesh onto the bones of basic information. She asked Ike to tell her of his earlier life and used the information as a starting point, backing up his story with concrete information where possible.

Isaac Malcolm Kitchener Morgan was born on 28th July 1916, three months after his father died in Bryson Hospital from wounds sustained during the First World War. Isaac senior was given a military funeral and his widow later married her brother-in-law, William, a union plagued by his drunkenness and violence. The hospital had been an old workhouse but became a military hospital during the war. It reverted to civilian use during the 1920s and is now part of the NHS.

Six Morgan brothers had served in the war. June found the enrolment of some of the brothers in the army, though not of Ike senior. Two brothers had not survived and one, William, suffered severe burns, possibly from mustard gas, which required skin grafts on his face. From then on William was called Smiler by the locals, because he had difficulty moving his facial muscles.

The people of Coseley planted trees as a memorial to the men killed in WWI. Each tree had railings around it and a plaque with the name of the serviceman attached. The railings were removed during World War II and, although a record of the men’s names was made, this has been lost by Dudley Council, of which Coseley is now a part. However, many of the trees still survive.

Ike never mentioned the death of a brother who died at 18 months, but June discovered that the son had died in May 1915. She has the bill for his funeral and burial – £3. 15s. 06d. Families often hide, or try to forget, sad or embarrassing facts.
Ike attended Mount Pleasant School, built in 1902, which now houses the Dudley and Coseley Archives but is under the threat of demolition.

After leaving school, Ike worked as a part-time fireman and also in the market, like his grandmother. She was listed in Kelly’s Directory as a wardrobe dealer, which Ike thought was an amusing title for a dealer in old clothes. She may also have been an unofficial pawnbroker. Later, Ike became a full-time fireman, and was in Plymouth during WWII. He also worked at Babcock and Wilcox, who produced the tackle which helped to raise the Mary Rose.

Changes in name can pose difficulties for genealogists. June found her family stemmed from a 16-year-old girl named Charlotte Green who gave birth to a child in a workhouse in 1822. She then married a man called Fletcher, but because he only left money to his own children, Charlotte’s first son took the name of Morgan but also gave his children the name Green. A descendant married under the name of Green instead of Morgan, so June was lucky to find her.

There was a warning to all of us not to perpetuate misinformation. June spoke of a family tradition that ‘Uncle George’ had inherited his mother’s money. It later transpired that he made his money during the war, wheeler-dealing and supplying goods for his richer clients. However, he was able to move out of the council house which he had been allowed to keep after his mother’s death, and he then arranged with the council that the house could be passed on to his brother Ike.

Anecdotes like this remind us that we must always get as much verification as we can before coming to a conclusion.

June 2008: Delia Wyres on ‘Heroes in my family tree’

This was a fascinating talk, based as it was on the story of two fairly distant ancestors of our guest, Delia Wyres. Delia explained how she had been enthralled as a child by family stories told to her by her mother, who had in turn heard them from her grandmother. But how much of these stories, so often heard, are based on fact, with quite a lot of fiction added to them?

She explained the long quest on which she had embarked many years before, presenting many snippets of information which had provided her with some evidence that her research was going along the right lines.

Frances Callow, née Adams, was the first link in a chain which may lead back to a national hero – General James Wolfe (famed for his campaign in Canada) and also to William Callow, a local hero in the Canterbury area (famed for his bravery in saving several children from drowning in the River Stour).
Family legends which had been handed down had suggested that a niece of General Wolfe had married into Delia’s family, so she set out to discover whether this was fact. Delia explained her research and its results in the order in which she had carried it out in those pre-internet days.

She attended lectures, was able to contact 2nd and 3rd cousins, and had a stroke of luck when reading a book called ‘Adams of Staffordshire’, which included an interesting footnote. She followed the family line back to about 1692 and was able to prove that General Wolfe was indeed a relative by marriage. The original story concerning his relationship to Delia’s family was that she was a niece of an ancestor of Wolfe’s, but her own research proved that she was, in fact, a cousin.

The research into her second hero was totally different and indicated how researchers need to explore every avenue and the smallest details! In the family’s possession was a photo, taken about 1895, of Delia’s ancestor William Callow sitting outside his home – an almshouse in Canterbury. This photo, together with a silver medal, had been found when the almshouses were being cleared out for renovation, many years after Callow had died. Fortunately, the two items had been returned to family members.

Delia first read about the details of William’s rescues from drowning in a Victorian History of Canterbury, where she learned how he had been awarded his medal by the Royal Humane Society. This led her to spend many hours at the Newspaper Library at Collingwood, North London, where she had laboriously searched the Kent Herald, the Kent Gazette and The Times.

We saw extracts from these papers, which showed that between 1829 and 1850 William had saved the lives of at least six young children, the first when he was only about 13 years old himself! Delia was also able to contact the Royal Humane Society, who sent her ‘Case Notes of the Medallions’, which showed William had been awarded both the Bronze and Silver medals.

Sadly, all these rescues took a toll on William’s health, which meant he could later only manage to do light work. Since he was by then married with a large family, he therefore had financial worries. A letter was written to The Times about his bravery, resulting in a subscription fund being set up and an award of £40 made by the Royal Bounty Fund. This fund has always been administered by the prime minister of the day (Palmerston in this case) and has only recently been discontinued.

Delia couldn’t help wondering how much more quickly she could have found out all of this information on the Internet, had it been available when she was researching all this. However, if she had not had to struggle to find it all out, I don’t think we would have had such an interesting evening.

The Lost Family and the Medallion - by M F Jennings

St. Michael & All Angels, Ewyas Harold

When I was a child, I was often taken to see my grandparents’ grave in the churchyard at Ewyas Harold, a small village on the borders of Herefordshire and Gwent, Wales. The churchyard is by the side of the Dulas Brook and is overlooked by the remains of the Norman castle and the escarpment of the Black Mountains.
The village before this one is called Pontrilas, and is where you turn off the main Hereford to Abergavenny road. It was at this road junction that an old house carried an advertisement for Thomas Gwilliam Jenkins, Painter, Decorator and Plumber, on one of its walls. I knew that my grandfather, Francis Jennings, was in that same trade and I often wondered if he might be a relation. The reply from my parents was always the same – no.

Years later, when my father his brother and all but one of his sisters had died, I looked more closely at the grave at Ewyas Harold. To my surprise, I found four more graves behind that of my grandparents, all belonging to the Jennings family, and one of which was the grave of my great-grandfather, George Jennings.

Over a number of years, I kept asking my father’s last surviving sister for information about the Jennings family, but she seemed very reluctant to talk about them and gave me no further information. After she died, however, I was able to build up the family tree from various pieces of information supplied by my surviving cousins.

It revealed that my great-grandfather George Jennings had married for a second time, following his first wife’s death after childbirth. There were eight children from his first marriage and four children from his second. It would seem that only one child of the first marriage and one from his second got married, and that many of their siblings died before they were twenty years old. The five graves contain members of both of my great-grandfather’s families.

Recently it was necessary to have the graves refurbished by a local stonemason, and during this work it was found that one of the graves, that of John Reginald Jennings, was a war grave. Subsequent research has revealed the fact that he is on the village Roll of Honour for the First World War.
His gravestone has a missing medallion space cut into the cross. When I contacted the Commonwealth Graves Commission, they it was not a war grave pattern headstone, as the family had declined to have one at the time. Also, the records showed that a World War I death plaque had probably been inserted into the stone, but that it had been missing for at least fifty years.

As it was made of bronze, we all thought that it must have been stolen. To my amazement, however, after two months’ work on all five graves, the firm carrying out the work unearthed the medallion, buried beneath the grass. It was unharmed and in remarkably good condition. My oldest son managed to make a replica of it, which has now been inserted back into the gravestone.

Both my father’s brother Rowland and John Reginald Jennings were born in 1899, but the latter survived the First World War and later emigrated to Australia.

It is quite remarkable what genealogical information can be traced, even when one has very little to start with. Even now, however, I do not know what caused the family rift all those years ago.
Lichfield Local History Fair

We have received notice of a family history fair to be held at Lichfield Library on September 13. I have provisionally accepted and booked a table for the group, but we shall need some volunteers to come along for all or part of the time.

We hope to have our group information available, together with our CDs of Parish Registers for sale. We also hope to be able to offer some help to anyone who is interested in starting out on family history research or trying to find ways around problems that they have encountered.

The times suggested are from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm, but more information will be forthcoming nearer the time.

Please let a member of the Committee know if you can offer to help out. If not I hope you will come along to view the various exhibits, as I am sure it will be an interesting event. Jane Leake


Can You Transcribe the 1851 Census?

Do you get annoyed with errors in the online censuses? Most of these, other than the 1881, have been transcribed overseas and, despite some quality checking, there are inevitable differences. Many of us have found that alternative transcriptions of the census have a value in their own right, as one index may have obvious errors where another index gets it right.

You now have a chance to help in transcribing the 1851 Census and assist the family history society that covers an area of interest to you.

Many family history societies have previously indexed the 1851 Census in many different formats, ranging from surname-only indexes to full transcripts, and these have been published in booklets, on fiche and CD-ROM, with several being available also on the FamilyHistoryOnline web service of the Federation of Family History Societies. Some of these indexes were produced in the days before the widespread use of personal computers and are only available in typescript format.

In this new project, many societies that are members of the Federation, and findmypast.com, will be working with volunteers to produce a full index to the 1851 Census that will allow searching by virtually all fields, including occupation, age and sex. This index will be connected to images of the pages from the census enumerators’ books.

Societies will receive a small payment each time a researcher views the results of a search that’s been indexed by a volunteer working for that society. This will be an important source of revenue for societies, as sales of other versions of the census have seriously declined.

You can work at home using your own computer and broadband connection whenever you have a few spare minutes. All you need is a recent web browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, and the Adobe Flash player (this will install semi-automatically in the unlikely case that you don’t already have it). Views of the ‘transcription tool’ showing the image of the census page, and the spreadsheet-like grid where you enter the information plus more details about the program, can be found at www.familyhistoryonline.net/fmp/1851.html

If you’re interested in taking part, please email 1851census@ffhs.org.uk with your contact details and the names of any counties where you have a particular knowledge or interest. Not all societies will be taking part, so not all areas will be covered. Those areas ‘unclaimed’ will have to be completed overseas.
Findmypast.com are aiming to produce most of the 1851 census online by the end of the year, so please don’t delay and help today!
People have said that your education as a family historian cannot be complete unless you’ve done some transcribing, as only then will you appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of original records. So now’s the time to educate yourself and give that special help to so many others with their searches.
Gillian Stevens, FamilyHistoryOnline, Administration & Society Liaison, Email: 1851census@ffhs.org.uk
Arising from Coal Dust - by Alan Brookes - Part 13: Oomph pah pah

My greatest joy at school was learning to play a brass wind instrument, and I am eternally grateful to Mr Edwin Dawes, my music teacher, for his dedication and persistence, because I still play the euphonium today.

Mr Dawes’s musical education began by playing the cornet in the Hednesford Salvation Army brass band conducted by Mr Jack Baskeyfield. He then played with RAF bands in Merseyside and South Wales. With the benefit of this experience, he enthusiastically formed and conducted his own school brass band. Classes to learn a brass instrument were an extra-curricular activity, held twice a week after normal school hours.

After just two months of straining to produce a few scales I was allowed to sit in with the school band, playing the third cornet part – the lowest position in the band. My initiation was to participate in Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz. This consisted of a slow three beats to a bar.

Along with my mate, Alan Stevens, we usually played the ‘after beats’ in the rhythm of the melody. We were not considered proficient enough to be able to play the melody. Our renderings were just the ‘pah-pahs’ following the bass ‘oomph’, the desired overall effect being an ‘oomph-pah-pah’, ‘oomph-pah-pah’, as a prelude to the melody.

There was only one problem: Alan and I just could not get the ‘pah-pahs’ in the right place, not even after listening to Barry Emery, the first cornet player, who had a similar part. No matter how hard Mr Dawes tried, we just couldn’t get it right. He slowed the tempo down; he sang, then shouted, our part at us, while we listened to him. He even gave our part to Neil Beard, the solo cornet player, to give his expert rendering of our simple contribution while we listened to his dulcet tones.

Despite Mr Dawes persevering with us, I knew he was getting frustrated because he started raising his voice, even though normally he rarely shouted at anybody without just cause. The other band members were also tut-tutting and giving us both black looks.

Oh dear, I thought, feeling disappointed and embarrassed, my brass band playing is going to be short-lived. Then Mr Dawes literally knocked the rhythm into us. He started the band off, then came and stood over us while we played.
When it became our turn to play the ‘pah-pahs’, he tapped me on the back of my neck with his baton. His taps were not strong enough to cause pain, but enough to send vibrations through my head. “Pah-pah!” he shouted, corresponding to his baton taps on my neck.

He repeated this for a few minutes and then stopped. Returning to his rostrum, he started up the band again. “Okay,” he called in a frustrated tone, “one last time!”

Down went his baton, signalling the start of the music in a 3-4 basic rhythm. ‘Oomph’ called out the bass tuba of Andrew Leeder, on the first beat of the bar. Half-expecting Mr Dawes’s baton again on the back of my neck, I echoed ‘pah-pah’ in exactly the right place. Another bass ‘oomph’ in the next bar was followed by my ‘pah-pah’.

Mr Dawes seemed to relax and his face beamed at us, as he carried on conducting to the end of the music. Feeling more and more confident as the music progressed, Mr Dawes actually had to tell me to play pianissimo, or more quietly, as I was now overdoing it and drowning out the melody.

I’ve got it, I thought, as I played. It all seemed so simple now. Why couldn’t I do it before?

Mr Dawes then applauded us, and said to Alan and me, “Don’t ever forget the rhythm again.”

I never did. Looking back, I think the basic problem was that playing for the first time in the middle of twenty more capable musicians was a daunting and overwhelming experience for us.

Eddie Dawes and I played alongside each other in later years in the Rugeley Brass Band. We both laughed together, remembering my tortuous initiation into the school brass band.

This Issue’s Cover Photograph...

... is of a building which was originally known as Caddick’s Chapel. It was a Methodist Chapel in Chapel Lane, Gentleshaw in the 19th Century, but fell into disuse and was subsequently used as a shop. It lay derelict for some years but was sold for development as a private house, together with its small graveyard containing three identifiable headstones. It has been restored and the photograph shows it as it is now.