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Posts about genealogy research and my experiences

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Movies

This is the 12th challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 12 – Movies

My first memory of going to the cinema is with my dad.  I can clearly recall the first two movies I saw:-

- The Magnificent Seven released in 1960 and starring as the seven Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Horst Buchholz and……the other one – you know the one you can never remember (answer at the end of this post).

- The Guns of Navarone released in 1961 and starring David Niven, Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn.

We saw both pictures not long after they were released so I was only perhaps eight or nine.  I don’t imagine that I asked my dad to take me – more like he wanted to go himself and took me along.  Another film I remember seeing around the same time was The Incredible Journey (Walt Disney movie)

The Crown

The local picture house was the Crown which opened in 1919 and closed down in the late 1960′s.  It was converted into a bingo hall for a while but I think it is now vacant.

The Lyric

Another local cinema I used was the Lyric, which opened its doors in 1922 and sadly is also now vacant.  Here I saw my first James Bond film with Sean Connery of course and others like Bullitt (Steve McQueen), Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (Robert Redford and Paul Newman), Easy Rider (Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper), A Hard Day’s Night (The Beatles), Midnight Cowboy (Dustin Hoffman and John Voight) and Rosemary’s Baby (Mia Farrow).  I’m sure there are many others that I can’t recall anymore.

The Majestic

One of the weekly rituals when I was growing up was Saturday morning at the pictures.  The venue for this adventure was the Majestic in Leeds city centre. Here we would see a mixture of cartoons and other low budget movies like Roy Rogers and Zorro.  Great fun – ice cream, sweets and feeling really grown up having been let out on your own.

Of course in many places the small picture house has been replaced by the large multiplex.  It’s just a shame that the old buildings can’t be put to better use.  I know that around the country some have been converted to music venues and some are bingo halls – that must be better than allowing them to stand empty and derelict.  The architecture of some of the old buildings is truly amazing.  And the memories…oh the memories.  Going to the flicks, the flea pit – sitting in the back row, you know with that girl you’ve been desperate to date for ages.  The intermission and buying an ice cream, sweets or a Kia-Ora drink.  And who can forget Pearl and Dean.

BTW – it was Brad Dexter.  Now be honest you didn’t remember did you!

Almost A-Z of Ancestor Occupations

When I was at a bit of a loose end over the weekend I thought I would have a trawl through my database and see if I could come up with a recorded occupation for all letters of the alphabet.

I realised pretty quickly that unless I had someone who worked in a zoo or made / played the xylophone I would come up short.  Anyway in the end I was left with X, Y and Z.  I thought I must be able to get something for Y – especially coming from Yorkshire, but no luck.

Here’s my list with some examples from the census returns.  CAN YOU DO ANY BETTER?  Let me know.

   
A Agricultural Labourer; Asylum Attendant
B Blacksmith; Butcher; Builder; Baker
C Crofter; Carter; Coal Dealer; Collier
D Domestic Servant; Dressmaker
E Engine Tenter; Earthenware Painter
F Fence Waller; Farmer; Farm Labourer; Forge Man
G General Labourer; Gardener; Grocer
H Housekeeper; Hawker; Hatter
I Inn Keeper; Iron Worker
J Journeyman Tailor; Jobbing Smith
K Kitchen Maid
L Linsey Weaver; Limeburner
M Miner; Mangler: Marine Fitter
N Nail Maker; Nurse; National Benefit Trust Agent
O Overlooker
P Power Loom Weaver (Worsted); Paper Maker; Potter; Preacher
Q Quarryman
R Rag Gatherer; Railway Plate Layer
S Stone Waller; Sawyer; Servant; Shoe Maker; Shepherd
T Tollgate Keeper; Tailor; Tobacconist
U Under Gardener
V Victualler
W Warpdresser; Washerwoman: Wagon Fitter
X  
Y  
Z  

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Disasters

This is the tenth challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 10 – Disasters

Today, 9th March 2011 my home town of Sutton-on-Sea will be taking part in Operation Watermark. Funded by Defra and taking place all over the country it is an exercise designed to test both local and national preparations in the event of a flood.  Volunteers will be evacuated from their homes during the day, taken to a rest centre then returned  home in the evening.

I wasn’t born at the time of the flood in 1953 but my mother, father and brother (Ian), who was only five at the time, lived through the disaster.  My mum never really got over it.  In my youth I would love to go onto the promenade on a rough night and watch the waves crashing over the sea wall but for mum the fear was just too great.

My parents ran a glass and china business about 300 yards inland, but down the same street, from The Bacchus Hotel: the white building featured in this picture.  The hotel is still there looking much the same as is the building which housed our shop although we moved out in the early seventies.

Army Duck

Dad, Mum and Ian were rescued by Army ‘duck’ on 1February 1953 the day after the sea had breached the defenses.  By this time the water level had receded but they still had to be reached through an upstairs window.  They were taken up to Hannah Hill.  This is hardly a hill but the very flat landscape of Lincolnshire means we clutch at any incline we can.  It was obviously steep enough to stem the tide as this is as far as it reached – about 2.5 miles inland.

From here the family was moved to Alford.  I’m not sure how long they were here.  Ian went on to stay with an Aunt near Grimsby whilst mum and dad returned to Sutton to start the clean up of their own shop and that of my grandparents who ran their own business from the neighbouring town of Mablethorpe.

Of course for a five year old lad this was all a bit of an exciting adventure.  Ian doesn’t remember being scared even when he saw one of the beach chalets floating down the street or witnessed our dad, chest deep in sea water, bringing two of my brother’s young friends from over the road to his first floor refuge.  Their mum apparently wouldn’t follow so the three of them waved to her from Ian’s bedroom window.

It’d difficult to imagine how terrifying it must have been.  Over 2100 people died, many in Holland which was hardest hit.  There’s more here

In the following years Sutton-on-Sea, which had been protected by only sandhills for most of it’s coast line, was treated to a sea wall along with much of the rest of the east coast.  The first plans for the Thames Barrier started at this time.

The sea defenses have been updated at least twice since.  Most recently sand dredged from the sea bed has been piped to the edge of the beach creating a man made slope This prevents the sea ever reaching the sea wall.  Not so much fun but definitely safer.

Here’s a link to some Pathe news clips

Postcard Fair

I recently decided I wanted to add some postcards to my collection of family history material.  We saw a postcard fair advertised at Pudsey Civic Hall so went along this morning to see what we could find.  I had been looking on eBay for a while but hadn’t bought anything so was quite excited at the prospect of coming home with some purchases.

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of traders there and the huge selection of postcards available.  There was no trouble finding what we were looking for as they were all arranged either geographically or by subject.  I was looking for postcards of Cowling, West Yorkshire and Jayne was looking for postcards of Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire.

I came home with five purchases and Jayne came back empty handed.  My search was somewhat easier as I was looking for any village scenes but Jayne was searching for more specific images.  Her parents and grandparents had shops in Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe so she was hoping to find some pictures featuring the premises.

I’m happy with the postcards I found and will get them scanned and posted in my blog over the next few weeks.  There are a couple still on eBay that I didn’t see at the fair today so I might invest a bit more money in those.  This is an interesting change of direction for me – away from just researching individual ancestors and looking more at where they lived.

The postcard fairs in Pudsey are every couple of months and I’m sure we will be going again and spending more money.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Sounds

This is the ninth challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 9 – Sounds

I have always been awake early for as long as I can remember.  My dad worked shifts and I recall lying awake after the alarm clock had sounded and shouting from my bedroom to make sure he got up and off to work on time.  So the sound of a ringing alarm clock brings back good memories.

When I was old enough I got a paper round – first delivering evening papers then eventually doing mornings, evenings and Sundays.  I used to share the early hours with the milk man making his rounds.  In those days in the mid 1960′s the local milk man had a hand pulled cart stacked with milk crates and you could hear the milk bottles rattle and clink as the cart was pulled along the cobbled streets of Leeds.

The local park where we spent many an hour playing football was next to a railway track and I can remember the sound of the steam trains chugging and whistling as they headed to or from Leeds railway station.  I used to watch them and wonder if my granddad was driving or stoking the engine.

Another long lost sound is that of the rag-and-bone man walking the streets with his horse and cart.  They always seemed to shout out in some really incoherent way but basically they were calling something like “any rag and bones”.

Espley Hall

I mentioned in a recent Espley One Name study update that I was hoping to buy an aerial view of Espley Hall from eBay.  Well here it is.

Espley Hall is located near Morpeth in Northumberland.  According to the text in the top right of the image the photograph was taken on 19 August 1918.  I have no idea why the photograph would have been taken and I have no information from the eBay seller.

The building now seems to be used as a hotel, meeting and wedding venue.  I can’t find a website so it looks like we will have to make a trip there before too long and see if we can find any information about the history of the place.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Toys

This is the seventh challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 7 – Toys

Probably like alot of boys in the UK in the 1950‘s and early 1960‘s my toy box included Dinky and other model cars.  I didn’t have anything rare or unusual – although if I had kept them and still had the original packaging I guess that they might be quite rare and even valuable today.

I remember visiting my grandparents in Leeds and playing on the floor with my cars.  They had a carpet with a design of squares and quite wide tram lines between the squares.  These tram lines were perfect for roads and junctions.

I also had soldiers, cowboys and indians, horses and farmyard animals.  They were more interesting to play with when I got my wooden fort and a wooden farmyard complete with farmhouse, stable, cowshed and pigsty.

Over the years playing with toy soldiers has become big business and there are now online forums and battle re-enactment associations.

I remember having a small train set and a Scalextric track with racing cars.

However I can’t do a post about toys without mentioning the one thing that provided me and my brother with so much entertainment and drove my mother mad.  The good old Subbuteo table football – although in our case we played it on the floor.

We had our own mini league – just the two of us.  We had maybe four teams each, I just can’t remember exactly, and had a fixture list and kept league tables after each round of games.  We set up our Subbuteo football pitch on the floor behind the sofa and we would play for hours.  We didn’t always play to the rules – we bent them a bit.  Instead of flicking the players we might shove them towards the ball.  We shouted and argued with each other – all in the name of winning of course.

On one occasion our mam must have been having a bad day!!  Me and my brother were having our usual heated discussions about whether there was a foul, an off side or whether one or the other of us had cheated in some way.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, our mam appears complaining about our shouting and arguing.  It had obviously got too much for her and she stamped all over our football pitch breaking and severely injuring many of our star players.  Luckily we had other teams of players that we could use.

This incident has gone down in our family folklore and is now recorded for all to see.