I’ve been missing from the blogging world for a few weeks but now I’m back.
At the beginning of September we had a family illness to deal with and things now look a lot better than they did nine weeks ago. So my focus has been somewhere else for a while.
However I haven’t been neglecting my family history research completely. I have been a subscriber to Ancestry for a long time but was becoming frustrated with not being able to find some entries in the 1901 census that I knew should be there. No matter what search criteria I used I couldn’t find any entries for my Dawson relatives in the village of Steeton with Eastburn, near Keighley, West Yorkshire. In fact I couldn’t find any entries at all for Steeton with Eastburn.
So I decided to buy a subscription to Find My Past. There were two reasons for this. One was to see if I had any better luck trying to find people living in Steeton with Eastburn. Second it gave me access to the 1911 census – I had been paying separately for this on the 1911 Census website and this was becoming expensive.
I was immediately rewarded. There it was – Steeton with Eastburn did exist in 1901 and there was a census!! I was able to fill in quite a few gaps in my information.
It seems that this whole village is missing from Ancestry.
I was then eager to start updating as much of my tree as I could with the 1911 census information. So over the past few weeks I have been trying to go through the primary names in my ancestry and systematically add the 1911 information and search for subsequent births, marriages and deaths. This work is ongoing.
I have to say that I was really excited at the prospect of using a new set of records from Find My Past. However I was also quite disappointed with the quality of some of the census transcriptions that I came across. I duly submitted corrections and they were quick to deal with these.
Don’t get me wrong here – I know how difficult it is to accurately transcribe handwriting especially if the document is not very clear and the location names are not known to the transciber. I discovered just how hard it was when I started transcribing for Family Search. But sometimes the correct information just seems so obvious. Anyway that’s my little rant out of the way.
As a result of all this my attention has been diverted from blogging – but I have kept up to date with some of my favourite bloggers and am glad to be back with you.
The last few weeks I have spent most evenings transcribing information from the IGI and the GRO indexes into my trusty notebook.
I have now completed all the IGI records and all the births up to 2005. Just this week I made a start on the GRO marriages.
I have prepared a spreadsheet to eventually capture all the details. However I am not yet convinced this is the way I want to go. So the IT options are still open.
I used to think that the GRO index was infallible and that any mistakes on Ancestry for example would be down to incorrect transcription. I now realise how naive I was.
I discovered duplicate entries and one person registered three times!
So my biggest lesson so far – check the information, then check it again and again if necessary. Always try to find the original document, record or index.
Because I have been concentrating so much on the One Name Study I haven’t done much of anything else.
I still have to join the Guild of One Name Studies and register the Espley name. I decided to wait a while until I gathered more information – especially about the origins of the name and the variants I want to include in the study. At the moment I am thinking that the variant spellings will be – Esply, Esplee, Aspley and Asply.
I know that there is an Espley Group on Facebook and my wife (Jayne) has joined them. Perhaps that might also be a source of information.
Today in 1800 my 3xgreat grandma was born. So join with me and a raise a glass or two to clebrate the 210th birthday of Margaret Snowden.
Margaret was born in the West Yorkshire village of Cowling – situated on the road between Keighley and Colne. The road crosses the Yorkshire – Lancashire border. Back in 1800 the main road through the village was still a dozen years away. The building of it was said to be under the supervision of Blind Jack of Knaresborough, who constructed roads throughout Yorkshire.
Here’s a couple of links to websites about Cowling village.
Cowling is an important part of my family history and will get regular mentions in future posts.
Anyway back to Margaret. She married Thomas Dawson on 2nd September 1819. They had nine children between 1819 and 1840. On the census returns Margaret is always shown simply as “wife”. That really doesn’t do her justice does it. Thomas was mainly employed as a cotton warp dresser (see explanation below) all his working life. So Margaret would have been responsible for the house – I really can’t imagine what it must have been like to raise nine children in rural England in the mid 19th century.
I suspect that their homes were really quite small cottages built near the local mills – which is where Thomas probably worked.
A warp dresser is someone who prepared the long worsted threads for weaving. This consisted of sizing the warp threads with "paps" - a flour and water mix – which strengthened the warp threads and lessened the possibility of them breaking during weaving.
In 1800 King George III was still on the throne, John Adams was well into his presidential term in the USA and in Europe, Napoleon was about to start throwing his weight about.
I can't let a post about the Snowden family go without mentioning Viscount Philip Snowden who was born in Cowling in 1864. He was a British politician and the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1924. I know I may be clutching at straws but I am hoping that I can eventually find a family connection to this famous son of Cowling – even if it is only by distant marriage. Watch this space!!