1. Student Showcase: Telling Your Family Story – The Tilliduffs

    This is the third in a series of blog post from students of Janet Few‘s Are You Sitting Comfortably?: writing and telling your family history (216) course.

    Janet says: “I have been tutoring the course for several years. Three years ago the option to submit an assessed piece for feedback was added. Since then, each time the course has run, several students have taken this opportunity and have sent in a section of their family histories. They are given about six weeks after the course finishes to do this. I have been in awe of what they have produced in a comparatively short space of time. It is a pleasure to be able to feature some of their stories on the Pharos blog“.

    This offering comes from student, Christine Searle, and tells the story of Tilliduff Family

    The Tilliduffs

    The first mention of the Tilliduff name was in 1317 when John de Tolidef was up before the baillies in Aberdeen requesting that lands he had inherited from his mother Alice be passed to him. His half-brother Adam de Ran was keeping them for himself and had been overheard saying that he had done so.(1) The name comes from the former barony of Tillydaff, about 16 miles to the north-west of Aberdeen and the name is Celtic for “hill of the oxen” (2). The area of Tillydaff still exists as an organic vegetable farm called “Vital Veg”.

    Photo courtesy of Vital Veg, North Tillydaff, Aberdeenshire

    Tillydaff Barony

    The barony consisted of the areas of Tillydaff, (due west of Aberdeen) Rothmaise (near Rothienorman), and Logierieve, Orchardtown and Raniston, all close to Pitmedden.

    Once the family reached Fife in 16th century the name changed to variations of Tullideph. The Fife family were covenanters, and in direct conflict with the few remaining Tilliduffs in Aberdeen, which was a staunchly Catholic area, with William Seton, the son of Marjory Tullidaff, (d. 1616) aligning himself with the Earl of Huntly and the Catholics.(3)

    I have records of 143 people born in Scotland with the name, the majority being in Aberdeenshire, and then Fife, with a handful in Edinburgh and Perth, while there are 58 births in England, with just a couple in Cambridgeshire recorded as Tullideph, the rest being exclusively London and Kent, all but one recorded as Tilliduff and similar spellings. There are just 4 Tullideph births in Antigua and one Tilliduff in South Africa (the only place where the name still exists). The name Tullideph has been carried down several lines as a middle name to the current day (and in one case, still living, as a first name).

    And so to London…..

    The first member of the Tullideph family to settle in London was my fifth great-grandfather, Robert, son of Thomas, who was born in Dron, Perthshire, in 1731(4). A few weeks after his birth the family moved to Markinch in Fife, and in 1734 his father Thomas was appointed to Principal at St Leonards College, St Andrews, where Robert probably remained until he joined the army in September 1756, recorded as lieutenant in George Howard’s Regiment of Foot (the Buffs). This was at a time when there was a recruitment drive in Scotland to strengthen the army for the Seven Years War.

    The Buffs, National Army Museum (out of Copyright)

    Three months later in January 1757 Robert married Lilias Lindsay in Edinburgh.(5) It appears that he abandoned Lilias, as in 1758 he left the army and in 1761 he was in London living with Eleanor and producing a son, Robert Pitman Tullideph.(6) It is assumed that Eleanor’s surname was Pitman, although no marriage has been found – Robert was, after all, already married.

    Their son was baptised at St Mary’s Church in Marylebone Road, London, The church where he was baptised was demolished shortly after the baptism, a larger church being needed. The space remains as an area of rest, with the new church, built about 10 years later, seen just behind.

    A number of things indicate that Robert was disowned by his father Thomas. Thomas’s brother David left a will which specifically excluded Robert, leaving a bequest to “John, the only son of my dearly beloved brother Thomas Tullideph of Kilmany”.(7) Thomas had been the Principal of the United Colleges of St Andrews since 1747 and he was described as “tyrant, proud, selfish, usurping and tyrannical, very far from being a popular Principal”(8). The marriage with Lilias was maybe an arranged one as was often the case in Georgian times, and Robert was not happy about it. His uncle Walter, Thomas’s brother, lived in Antigua and while there he kept a diary.(9) He kept notes from time to time of when he wrote to the family at home, and in 1755 he noted that he had written to Robert – “dear cousin Robin, re his love affair, he the 1st son. My father had 5 children, his Estate was such that he could not give more to your father, although the eldest son, than he gave us”. It appears that Robert wanted to marry but his father couldn’t afford to give Robert an allowance large enough to keep the young lady in a suitable manner. Robert was packed off to the army in September 1756 and three months later married to Lilias, perhaps reluctantly.(10) He left the army as soon as he could, in 1758, just as his regiment was posted to the West Indies, and went to London.

    How would Robert have maintained himself in Georgian London? He was almost certainly well-educated, if not to university level, and perhaps taught the sons of gentry, or possibly he was a servant assisting a well-to-do family with their business. Lilias remarried in 1781 using both her maiden and her married names.(11)

    Nothing is heard of Robert after the birth of his son in London until he is back in Scotland in 1799 and living at Scoonie in Fife, his father having died in 1777. According to records in the archives of the University of St Andrews he is caring for David Hutton, the son of his late sister Cecilia, who had been wounded in the head while on the “Defence” in the service of the Royal Navy and was now suffering from severe epilepsy.

    The Defence at the Battle of 1st June 1794 (public domain)

    The record stated that Robert is farming and describes him as being “in much reduced circumstances.”(12) No burial record has been found. David entered the Royal Hospital in Greenwich later in 1799 and died there in 1812, being buried in Shoreditch on March 7th.(13)

    Meanwhile his son Robert was still in London, living in the City, on the baptisms of his children being recorded as married to Lydia and working as a cordwainer. However, there is no record of him in the Freedom Registers of the City of London for 60 years prior to his death, therefore although living in the City, he would not have been able to work in the city. Did he travel outside the City for work? Cordwainers were makers of fine shoes, usually making a last to fit a particular customer and making shoes to order as required, although they would also often keep a stock of shoes ready-made for passers-by.

    Some research on the family was commissioned by my great-aunt, a descendant of Robert, probably in the 1950s – 1960s, which gives information that no longer exists. The work contains no sources. The London Metropolitan Archives has said that a relevant batch of records was stolen many years ago and the information is no longer available, and many of the records are from this period. Three children are recorded for Robert and Lydia in this research, Joseph born 9th November 1788, Ann born February 11th 1793, and Samuel born June 14th 1795. The record for Samuel is still available,(14) together with the records of two more children, Alice, born 14th September 1797(15) and James, born 31st October 1799(16) – neither of these two appear to have survived babyhood. According to the research Lydia died in 1801, and Robert in 1809. The record of Robert’s death says “Robert Tilliduff, father of the aforesaid children, departed this life on Friday December 29th 1809, buried January 3rd 1810 in St Thomas Burying Ground near the spot where Lydia his wife lay”. This record is no longer available, but I have verified that December 29th 1809 was indeed a Friday. The LMA are unable to say which St Thomas Burying Ground it might have been – there is more than one in the area, and again the records no longer exist.

    Possibly the parish took care of the younger children after Robert’s death, as records for Ann and Samuel from Cripplegate School were available to the researcher, Joseph being of an age to have been already working at the time of his father’s death. Ann was enrolled into Cripplegate School on 21st April 1801, and from 11th June 1811 to 18th April 1820 she went to work as a live-in servant to Mr Hallam the grocer at £8 per annum. Two weeks after leaving her employment she married John Steel at St Saviours, Borough.(17) Samuel also started school at Cripplegate in 1801, and on 1st February 1812 he went to live with Messrs Smith & Holding & Co Ribbon Manufacturers of 35 Newgate Lane earning £8 per annum, to be raised by £4 annually. Joseph married in 1810 at St. Botolphs, Aldersgate, to Elizabeth Surrey Maria Prudden.(18) The church had recently undergone a major refurbishment at the time and has a magnificent interior.

    St Botolph without Aldersgate, Interior (geograph.org.uk)

    The presiding minister at the marriage was Arthur William Trollope, believed to be uncle to the author Anthony Trollope. Joseph worked as a merchant’s clerk throughout his life, although spending time in the workhouse due to illness on occasions. They had six children, Joseph Samuel 1811 – 1845,(19) Ann Lydia 1813 – 1876,(20) Elizabeth Surry 1815 – 1871,(21) Emily in about 1816 who probably died soon after birth, John Robert 1820 – 1887,(22) and Thomas Prudden 1824 – 1909.(23) The family moved around quite frequently, being recorded at a different address for each birth, around the Blackfriars to St Katherine’s Way area to the east of the Tower of London. Thomas was born in King Henry Yard, two blocks to the east of the Tower of London.

    John Rocque Map 1746 (public domain)

    Soon afterwards the area was cleared for the construction of St Katherine Docks, although the layout is still similar. The area was quite wealthy at the start of the 19th century, with wealthy merchants drawn to the district. However the arrival of the docks brought unskilled labourers and poverty. Elizabeth died in St George in the East(24) workhouse in 1861 aged 71, recorded as dying from “Climacteric decay”, which is defined in A Dictionary of Practical Medicine (Vol. 1) by James COPLAND, published in 1858, as “General decline of the vital powers, at the age of senesence, without any evident cause”. Joseph followed in 1863(25) aged 76, also in the workhouse, recorded as still working as a clerk at the Gas Works, and dying from senile decay. The workhouse was usually the only help available to ordinary working people at that time, whether they were sick or out of work, as medical fees were out of reach for most.

    Joseph and Elizabeth’s son Joseph Samuel became a compositor. A compositor would prepare the trays of letters ready for the printing press. Some of the terms they used are still in use today in computer language, such as “upper case” and “lower case”, which relate to where the trays of letters were to be found stored ready for use on the printing press. It was a time when printing was developing rapidly, with the art of printing illustrations improving, and the ability to bind books with a sewing machine developed. In addition a method of gluing with rubber called “perfect binding” was invented. But Joseph died of phthisis (pulmonary TB) in Bethnal Green in 1845 aged just 34.(26) He left a very detailed will,(27) leaving his bookcase and contents to his father, as well as a Scotch pebble, a gold mounted seal and a beaver hat. To his mother Elizabeth he left a tea-tray with tea service, two beds with bedsteads, and many other pieces of houseware, as well as his Waverley novels and his Johnson’s dictionary. Elizabeth must have been literate, and able to do considerably more than write her name. Joseph was careful to ensure in his will that if his mother were to remarry the items would remain hers and could not be used financially or sold by any future husband. He left a sum of money to both his brother John and sister Elizabeth, and all the remainder of his possessions to his sister Ann, who married two weeks later. Joseph had evidently been very well-off for a young man of 34 in the Bethnal Green area.

    Newgate Prison (public domain)

    At the time of Joseph’s death Ann had just been released from prison at the end of a one-year sentence in Newgate.

    In 1844 she had been found guilty at the Old Bailey of stealing three half-sovereigns and two watch seals from her employer.(28) She was lucky. Transportation would have been the usual punishment for theft of that magnitude, but the prosecutor recommended her to mercy, possibly because of her father’s situation, as he seemed to suffer from ill-health and was in the workhouse quite frequently. Ann was released from prison in 1845, and shortly afterwards married William Vaughan in Bethnal Green.(29) William and Ann had six children, Lydia (1846 – 1942),(30) Peter (1848 – 1922),(31) Ellen (1850 – 1916),(32) William John (1853 – 1855),(33) John (Sept.1856 – Dec 1856)(34), and William Francis (1858 – 1879) who died from accidental drowning in Otora Creek, Mangakahia, New Zealand, on 6th June 1879,(35) where he had been working as a logger, and slipped off the logs as he was freeing them to float down-river, a not uncommon cause of death. New Zealand was short of labour at the time, and the London newspapers had many advertisements for passages to New Zealand where there was plenty of work to be had.

    None of the Vaughan children had offspring so the line ended with them.

    The youngest child of Joseph Tilliduff and Elizabeth was my great-great-grandfather Thomas Prudden Tilliduff, born in 1824 in King Henry Yard, East Smithfield. In 1841 he was living with his family in Philip Street, St George in the East, recorded as an apprentice aged 17. In fact he was an apprentice blacksmith, and in 1851 he is living with his mother in Prevots Row, Stratford-le-Bow. His father Joseph was in the workhouse due to ill health. According to an old newsletter from 1987 by the East London History Society Prevots Row was a row of cottages in Old Ford Road, which still has some houses from around the right era. In 1852 he married Honor Clark in Bethnal Green.(36) and in 1853 their daughter Honor was born (1853 – 1879)(37) but in 1854 the mother died of cholera,(38) being recorded as living in Providence Street, one of the areas that was very badly hit by the outbreak for which the work of John Snow became well-known, instigating the construction of a new sewage system for London and making it one of the most advanced in the world at the time. The source of the outbreak had been traced to a pump in Broad Street, and John Snow removed the handle so that the pump could no longer be used.

    Thomas remarried in 1858, to a widow, Ann Wheal, nee Enever(39) and by 1861 they were living in Plumstead, Kent, where Thomas was working at the Woolwich Arsenal. The Arsenal had had a recruitment drive when ammunitions were needed for the Crimean War, and Thomas was no doubt very glad to move out of disease-ridden London and move his family to the countryside of developing Plumstead, which would remain the home of the Brown/Tilliduff family for the next hundred years and more. In 1861 they were living in St James Place, which would have been in the area of Burrage Road where St. James Church was built in 1855. Thomas and Ann had three children with them born in London, Honor, Eliza Ann (1858 – 1932)(40), and Elizabeth Surrey (1861 – 1946)(41). Four more children were born in Plumstead, Thomas Joseph (1863 – 1924)(42), Emily Mary (1865 – 1866)(43) who died of convulsions caused by whooping cough aged 8 months, Charles Prudden (1863 – 1953)(44), and William John, (1870 – 1928)(45) both of whom went to Australia with their families, but the name died out there with only daughters being born. Thomas Joseph Tilliduff’s son Frederick (1905 – 1981)(46) emigrated to South Africa after the Second World War, where his grandson is now the only person remaining with the name Tilliduff. As he has never married the name worldwide will die with him.

    Thomas’s daughter Honor died in 1879 while in service in Plumstead as a cook to a solicitor, Mr Marwood Kelly Braund. Her dress caught fire while she was cleaning the stove, and she and her fellow servant were so panicked they could do nothing. The flames were put out by Mrs Braund but Honor was “dreadfully burnt” and died from her injuries.(47) Women’s clothing of the time was not compatible with safe working conditions – according to the report Honor’s dress touched the hot iron bar around the hearth and that was enough to set her dress alight.

    Thomas retired in 1883 on a pension from the Woolwich Arsenal, and died in 1909 from carcinoma of the stomach(48). Thomas and Ann’s eldest daughter Eliza married John Henry Brown in 1881 in Rectory Place Chapel, Woolwich.(49) They had eight children, only one of whom failed to reach adulthood – Lilian, 1886 – 1900,(50) died of rheumatic fever in 1900, one day after her fourteenth birthday. My grandfather’s earliest memory was being called in from playing in the street to say goodbye to her. In addition there was Henry, (1882 – 1951)(51), Charles, (1884 – 1922)(52), Sydney (1889 – 1972)(53) Ethel, (1890 – 1972)(54), Agnes, (1892 – 1985)(55), John, my grandfather (1895 – 1990)(56), and Albert, (1897 – 1977)(57).

    My grandfather John Percival Brown gained a scholarship to Haberdashers Aske school in Lewisham, where upon graduation he started to study for a science degree, but an opportunity came up in 1912 when Heinz visited the school looking for candidates for a post as an industrial chemist and John was glad to accept. In 1915 his father John Henry was sent to the United States as Inspector of Armaments destined for the United Kingdom, and in order that he had a home to go to when on leave from the war my grandfather and grandmother, Lilian Henwood, were allowed to marry (58), although still young. His wife Eliza and Agnes, as their only unmarried daughter, went with John Henry to the US, and they appear to have enjoyed themselves, having the opportunity to travel around the US sightseeing during their stay.

    1917 John Brown and Eliza in USA

    References:

    1) The Miscellany of the Spalding Club Vol. V
    2) Celtic Place Names in Aberdeenshire – John Milne MA LLD
    3) http:// History of the family of Seton during eight centuries Volume 2 (George Seton)
    4) Scotlands People O.P.R. Births 345/00 0010 0244 DRON
    5) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XYM1-RLD
    6) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQY7-8YV
    7) National Archives Reference PROB 11/975/230
    8) Academic Patronage in the Scottish Enlightenment – Roger Emerson
    9) The History of the Island of Antigua Vol. 3 by Vere Langford Oliver
    10) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XYM1-RLD
    11) Scotlands People O.P.R. Marriages 706/00 0050 0063 DUNBAR
    12) https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/library/special-collections/archives/
    13) David Hutton Age: 45 Birth Date: 1767 Burial Date: 7 Mar 1812 Burial Place: Shoreditch, Middlesex, England FHL Film Number: 405140 Reference ID: Vol. 12
    14) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JW7G-KJL
    15) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQLN-KQ1
    16) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NLP3-D74
    17) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGLZ-NDJZ
    18) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NVK1-DMV
    19) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NP35-343
    20) Film Number: 0374416, 0374417 Ancestry.co.uk
    21) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JWQ5-QKM
    22) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JS1P-TZ1
    23) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NLQL-6ZK
    24) GRO Reference: 1860 M Quarter in SAINT GEORGE IN THE EAST Volume 01C Page 390
    25) GRO Reference: 1863 D Quarter in SAINT GEORGE IN THE EAST Volume 01C Page 347
    26) GRO Reference: 1845 D Quarter in BETHNAL GREEN Volume 02 Page 16
    27) TNA ref IR27/283 Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records Record collection Wills & probate
    28) https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/
    29) Marriage – Dec 1845 TILLIDUFF Ann Lydia – VAUGHAN William Francis Bethnal Gn 2 27
    30) Birth – VAUGHAN, LYDIA EMMA (Mother TILLYDUFF) GRO Reference: 1846 D Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 02 Page 458
    31) Birth – VAUGHAN, PETER WILLIAM (Mother TALLIDORF) GRO Reference: 1848 S Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 02 Page 446
    32) Birth – VAUGHAN, ELLEN JANE (Mother FILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1850 S Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 02 Page 475
    33) Birth – VAUGHAN, WILLIAM JOHN (Mother TILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1853 D Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 516
    34) Birth – VAUGHAN, JOHN (Mother TILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1856 S Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 534
    35) Birth – VAUGHAN, WILLIAM (mother TILLIDUFF) GRO Reference: 1858 J Quarter in STEPNEY Volume 01C Page 479 Death – https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/ Reg No. 1879/632
    36) Marriage – Jun 1852 Clark Honor Margaret – Tilliduff Thomas Prudden Bethnal G 1c 545
    37) Birth – TILLIDUFF, HONOR SARAH (mother CLARK) GRO Reference: 1853 J Quarter in WHITECHAPEL Volume 01C Page 370 – Death – Mar 1879 Tilliduff Honor Sarah 26 Woolwich 1d 808
    38) Death – TILLIDUFF, HONOR MARGARET Age 28 GRO Reference: 1854 S Quarter in SAINT GEORGE (IN THE EAST) Volume 01C Page 380
    39) Marriage – Sept 1858 Tilliduff Thomas Rudden Bethnal Gn. 1c 601 Wheal Ann Bethnal Gn 1c 601
    40) Birth – TILLIDUFF, ELIZA ANN (Mother ENEVER) GRO Reference: 1859 M Quarter in LEWISHAM UNION Volume 01D Page 680 – Death – Mar 1932 Brown Eliza A Age 73 Woolwich 1d 1528
    41) Birth – TILLIDUFF, ELIZABETH SURREY (Mother ENOVER) GRO Reference: 1861 M Quarter in LEWISHAM UNION Volume 01D Page 702 – Death Mar 1946 Applebee Elizabeth S Age 86 Woolwich 1d 1081
    42) Birth – Jun 1863 TILLIDUFF Thomas Joseph Lewisham 1d 726 Death – Name: Thomas J Tilliduff: Sep 1924 Age 62 Woolwich Volume: 1d Page: 888
    43) Birth – TILLIDUFF, EMILY MARY (Mother ENEVER) GRO Reference: 1865 S Quarter in LEWISHAM UNION Volume 01D Page 768 – Death – TILLIDUFF, EMILY MARY Age 0 GRO Reference: 1866 J Quarter in LEWISHAM UNION Volume 01D Page 522
    44) Birth – TILLIDUFF, CHARLES PRUDDEN (MotherENEVER)
    GRO Reference: 1867 M Quarter in LEWISHAM UNION Volume 01D Page 866
    – Death – Date: 05 Jan 1953 Death Place: South Australia Page Number: 143 Volume Number: 792
    45) Birth – TILLIDUFF, WILLIAM JOHN (Mother WHEAL) GRO Reference: 1870 M Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 961 – Death – 1928 – The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1954) Wednesday 16 May 1928
    46) Birth – TILLIDUFF, FREDERICK CHARLES (Mother ELLICOTT) GRO Reference: 1905 Mar DARTFORD 02A Page 627 – Death – https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/48621/page/7292/data.pdf
    47) The Worcestershire Chronicle dated Saturday 22nd March 1879
    48) Death – Dec 1909 TILLIDUFF Thomas P 85 Woolwich 1d 647
    49) Marriage – Jun 1881 TILLIDUFF Eliza Ann – BROWN John Henry Woolwich 1d 1536
    50) Birth – BROWN, LILIAN ADA (Mother TILLIDUFF) GRO Reference: 1886 J Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 1230 – Death – Jun 1900 Brown Lilian Ada 14 Woolwich 1d
    51) Birth – Mar 1882 Brown Henry George T Woolwich 1d 1249 – Death – BROWN, HENRY GEORGE THOMAS 69 GRO Reference: 1951 J Quarter in GREENWICH Volume 05C Page 515
    52) Birth – Jun 1884 Brown Charles Frederick W Woolwich 1d 1225 – Death – Dec 1922 Brown Charles F W 38 Woolwich 1d 1116
    53) Birth – BROWN, SYDNEY CURTIS (Mother FILLIDUFF) GRO Reference: 1888 D Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 1247 – Death – Sydney Curtis Brown Death Age: 84 Birth Date: 21 Sep 1888 Registration Date: Dec 1972 Registration district: Lambeth Volume: 5d Page: 459
    54) Birth – Sep 1890 Brown Ethel Maude Woolwich 1d 1233 – Death – Ethel Maude Burrows Age: 82 Birth Date: 10 Jun 1890 Reg Date: Jun 1972 Reg district: Greenwich Volume: 5b Page: 1019
    55) Birth – BROWN, AGNES HONOR (Mother TILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1892 D Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 1234 – Death – Agnes Honor Brown Birth Date: 7 Oct 1892 Date of Registration: Feb 1985 Age at Death: 92 Registration district: Greenwich Volume: 12 Page: 1439
    56) Birth – BROWN, JOHN PERCIVAL (Mother TILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1895 M Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 1345 – Death – John Percival Brown Birth Date: 14 Jan 1895 Date of Registration: Apr 1990 Age at Death: 95 Registration district: Darlington Volume: 1Page: 792
    57) Birth – BROWN, ALBERT LESLIE (Mother TILLIDUFF ) GRO Reference: 1897 J Quarter in WOOLWICH Volume 01D Page 1254 – Death – Name: Albert Leslie Brown Birth Date: 29 Mar 1897 Date of Registration: Jun 1977 Age at Death: 80 Registration district: Hastings and Rother Volume: 18 Page: 0948
    58) Marriage – Sep 1915 Brown John P (Henwood) Woolwich 1d 3599 Henwood Lily E (Brown) Woolwich 1d 3599

  2. Courses Coming in June

    We have a BUMPER selection of courses on offer for you this June:

    Introduction to One-Name Studies

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 1st June 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    A one-name study is an exciting new journey into your surname’s past. Quite often started as the result of hitting a “brick wall”, a one-name study involves the collection of all the occurrences of a surname and biographical data about everybody who shares that surname. There are a variety of goals, study types and plans for the data. This course, written in association with the Guild of One-Name Studies, provides an introduction to one-name studies and is suitable for all genealogists who have developed an interest in learning more about their surname.

    You will learn about the history and study of surnames, which surnames are suitable for a study, what a one-name study consists of, and how to get started. We cover how to collect and analyse data from the core records, how to publicise your study and make sure your study is preserved for others in the future.

    You will also learn how the Guild of One-Name Studies guides and supports its members. Non Guild members signing up for the course will get FREE Guild Membership for the remainder of the financial year.

    Special blog only offer: use code BLOG10A to get 10% off the June 2021 course! Code expires 1st June 2021.

    Researching Your Welsh Ancestors

    Tutor: Eilir Daniels 
    Start date: 1st June 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    The course is aimed at those who have some basic knowledge of family history research in England and deals with those particular aspects of family history research in Wales which are different to that of England. For example, you will learn how linguistic, social and cultural factors shaped the day-to-day life of your ancestors and how they coloured the historical documents you will be consulting.

    STUDENTS SAID “I had hoped for some time that Pharos would run a Welsh Ancestors course and I have not been disappointed. The course was absolutely magical in its content and far exceeded my expectations. I hadn’t realised before, how complicated the Welsh history and culture was. It has certainly opened my eyes, has made me want to know more and made me realise why I may be experiencing some difficulties with my own Welsh research. Thank you Pharos and Eilir.”

    Lesson Headings:
    * Key differences between Welsh & English research
    * The Welsh language, place names and surnames
    * Nonconformity in Wales
    * Occupations, migration and emigration
    * Sources and records specific to Wales

    Your Military Ancestors

    Tutor: Simon Fowler 
    Start date: 7th June 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * ONLY A FEW SPACES *

    Part of our Intermediate Certificate programme, there is only one place available on this course.

    So You Think You Know FamilySearch – A Guided Tour

    Tutor: Barbara Baker 
    Start date: 7th June 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Discover what you don’t know about English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh resources at the FamilySearch website with the help of an experienced guide. The website provides access to many of the records, indexes and resources available at the Family History Library, which has one of the largest collections of published, microfilmed and digitised British and Irish records in the world. In recent years technological advances have made it possible for you to search and browse formerly inaccessible records, check geography and boundaries and obtain research advice anywhere, anytime. All this information is free to anyone with the knowledge and navigating skills to find it.

    This course guides you through the highways and byways of FamilySearch.org, offers tips about searching data and using the helps, and brings you to the point where you can say that you really know the FamilySearch website.

    Victorian Crime and Punishment – Courts, police and prisons

    Tutor: Antony Marr 
    Start date: 14th June 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED *

    Demystifying DNA for Family Historians

    Tutor: Karen Cummings 
    Start date: 14th June 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    DNA testing

    DNA testing is becoming an increasingly popular tool in genealogical research and has the potential to solve mysteries and brick walls, where other records do not survive. The more its popularity rises and the number tested increases, the greater the chance of success. However, with so many tests available and so many companies to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.

    This course starts at the beginning, providing you with the tools to understand and demystify DNA testing for use in your own research. You will be guided through what to consider before testing, the different types of DNA, who can test and which test is the most appropriate in different circumstances. You will learn about how DNA is passed down the generations and why this is important, what haplogroups are, and how much you really can rely on ethnicity estimates.

    You will work with examples of real data and have the opportunity to work through techniques with your own results (if appropriate). At the end of the course you will have a toolbox of techniques to interpret your DNA matches with increased confidence.

    The course is suitable both for absolute beginners and those who have taken a test and are beginning to decipher their results.

    Employment Records

    Tutor: Alec Tritton
    Start date: 7th June 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * PLACES SELLING FAST *

    Many documents uncovered during our research indicate an occupation, perhaps several in which our ancestor was employed. Many will have followed their father’s trade or occupation, and their children will have followed them. Others will have broken away, perhaps from the land and headed for the town to learn new skills and enter a different trade. Those more fortunate, at least financially or by birth may have been destined for one of the professions.Records of employment will vary from the scant to the copious; much depends on the occupation. This 5 week course examines what is likely to be found in official and unofficial sources and where and how the information can be used as further insights into the lives and times of our ancestors.

    Lesson Headings:
    * The Professions
    * Merchant Seamen and Coastguard
    * Government employees
    * Town folk
    * Country folk

    That’s all for this month, happy studying!

  3. Courses Coming in May

    Coming up in May:

    17th Century Sources

    Tutor: Stuart Raymond
    Start date: 28th April 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Not strictly in May, but almost, students completing this course will gain a broad understanding of the problems encountered when researching in 17th century records. They will be able to locate indexes and finding aids, document copies and transcripts, and original records. In addition, they will appreciate the research value and practical application of the information found. The course gives significant emphasis to local and regional differences within records as well as to historical context. For genealogists the 17th century presents new challenges. These are not discouraging – if anything, challenges add interest and enthusiasm to research. Historically it is a fascinating period, and genealogically some familiar records continue to be used so the research is not with entirely new material. Themes within the course include: the structure of a gentry dominated society, the records created by 17th century civil and ecclesiastical government, and the problems created by the “Commonwealth Gap”. Sources for 17th century research are found in many formats, from original documents to print to microform to digital. This course presents 21st century techniques for finding ancestors in Stuart England and Wales and teaches record interpretation, analysis and planning.

    Scotland 1750-1850 – Beyond the Old Parish Registers (302)

    Tutor: Chris Paton 
    Start date: 3rd May 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    This is an intermediate level course in Scottish family history for those who are going back beyond 1850. Watch the video from Chris for an introduction to the course and what to expect!

    Deeds and Disputes

    Tutor: Susan Moore 
    Start date: 10th May 2021
    Course length: 6 weeks (5 teaching weeks)

    Chancery document

    The courts of equity and particularly Chancery contain a wealth of material for the family historian, yet perceived difficulties in accessing the original records which are held at The National Archives, and in reading and interpreting them mean that they are relatively little used. This course aims to explain how to get to grips with Chancery cases from the end of the Tudor period right up to the start of the 19th century. Interwoven is information about title deeds to land and property, since so many Chancery disputes centre around property and a knowledge of deeds is essential for the interpretation of many Chancery cases.

    The first part of the course will concentrate on Title Deeds, followed by a reading week, and then the second part of the course will be a study of Chancery court records.

    This course is part of our Advanced programme but can also be taken as a standalone course with or without assessment.

    Professional Genealogist – Become one, become a better one

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 17th May 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * ONLY A FEW SPACES *

    Do you have ambition to become a professional genealogist? Have you already started taking on clients but are looking for guidance or want to check you have thought of everything? Whether you are already researching for clients or planning to do so, this 4 week professional genealogist course guides you through the professional skills that form the foundation for success, covering everything from starting up in business, answering client enquiries and report writing, working out your rates and marketing.

    This course was developed in association with the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), the professional body for genealogists in England and Wales, and includes guidance on what AGRA requires of its members and the application process.

  4. Courses Coming in April

    We have some very popular courses coming up for you in April:

    Progressing Your Irish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 5th April 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for November 2021

    Organizing Your Genealogy

    Tutor: Barbara Baker
    Start date: 5th April 2021
    Course length: 3 weeks

    As you research your family history, you collect information, charts, copies of records, notes, lists of sources searched, etc. Whether you are just starting your research or whether you have been at it a while, it is important to be organized and have a record keeping system. It should be easy to file and store information when you get it, and to find it long afterward. Good organisation and record keeping will help you assess what you have, what you have learned, and what you need to learn. This three-week course is designed to help you get organised, stay organised and be ready for research online and on location by developing good record-keeping habits.

    Old Handwriting for Family Historians

    Tutor: Susan Moore 
    Start date: 12th April 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    This course takes a practical approach to reading and transcribing old handwriting, starting with the records of the 19th century and moving backwards in time. Students will be given the opportunity to examine handwriting styles and develop an understanding of how handwriting developed over the centuries. The course will then focus on Secretary Hand, a commonly used form during the Tudor and Stuart period. Historians will come across Secretary Hand in many types of documents such as parish registers, wills and inventories. The course aims to equip students with their own set of steps to being able to read, and successfully transcribe, the handwriting in old documents, enabling them to read documents which at first sight might appear to be written using a different alphabet.

    The course most suitable for those who already have some understanding and practice with old handwriting in their own family history research, and some familiarity with parish registers, wills and inventories, as many of the documents examined will be from the 16th and 17th centuries. No prior knowledge of Latin is required, although the final lesson introduces the kind of Latin found in 16th century parish registers.

    Nonconformity – Its Records and History 1600 – 1950

    Tutor: Alec Tritton
    Start date: 15th April 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for October 2021

    Recording the Poor – From Parish to Workhouse and beyond

    Tutor: Simon Fowler
    Start date: 19th April 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for August 2021

    Discovering more about your Agricultural Labouring Ancestors

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 26th April 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * New date coming soon

    17th Century Sources

    Tutor: Stuart Raymond
    Start date: 28th April 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    One of our Intermediate Certificate courses, students completing this course will gain a broad understanding of the problems encountered when researching in 17th century records. They will be able to locate indexes and finding aids, document copies and transcripts, and original records. In addition, they will appreciate the research value and practical application of the information found. The course gives significant emphasis to local and regional differences within records as well as to historical context. For genealogists the 17th century presents new challenges. These are not discouraging – if anything, challenges add interest and enthusiasm to research. Historically it is a fascinating period, and genealogically some familiar records continue to be used so the research is not with entirely new material. Themes within the course include: the structure of a gentry dominated society, the records created by 17th century civil and ecclesiastical government, and the problems created by the “Commonwealth Gap”. Sources for 17th century research are found in many formats, from original documents to print to microform to digital. This course presents 21st century techniques for finding ancestors in Stuart England and Wales and teaches record interpretation, analysis and planning.

  5. Agreement with the Society for One-Place Studies

    One Place Studies

    We are delighted to announce that we have come to an arrangement with the Society of One Place Studies for our course, First Steps to a One-Place Study.

    One-place studies are a fascinating blend of local and family history. They are frequently undertaken by family historians wanting to create a context for their ancestors. Through a one-place study, you can investigate the friends, neighbours and associates with whom your family may have interacted and you can begin to understand the community in which they lived.

    Janet FewJanet Few’s course, starting in August, is designed for those who are just starting on their one-place journey and for more experienced one-placers who would like guidance or inspiration, or who are seeking a more organised approach to their study. It will also be suitable for those who may not want to undertake a full-blown one-place study but who wish to investigate an ancestral area in more detail.

    The Society for One-Place Studies is the leading organisation for anyone researching in this area and Pharos Tutors prides itself in engaging tutors and forming partnerships with those who are the experts in their field. The Society’s mission is to advance the education of the public in one-place studies, to encourage and assist those interested in this field of research, and to promote the preservation and publication of material relating to one-place studies, maximising its accessibility to the public.

    We are now able to offer any student of the course, who is not already a member of the Society, free membership for one year when the course starts. We also offer any current members of the Society a discount on the purchase of the course.

     

  6. Courses Coming in March

    We have some great courses coming up for you in March:

    Practicalities of a One Name Study

    Tutor: Julie Goucher 
    Start date: 9th March 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks (4 teaching weeks and a reading / practice week)

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH * 

    The course is designed to enable students to explore the practical steps of maintaining and developing their one-name study through a variety of mediums and to give some context to the various considerations they will need to explore.

    Lesson Headings:
    – Understanding and making the best use of spreadsheets in your study
    – Genealogical Software, what to consider
    – Online Trees and other software
    – The next steps: Preservation and Sharing

    Scottish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Scotland was one of the first countries to digitise its major family history records collections for accessibility online, and continues to this day to use such resources to promote a worldwide interest in family history for those with Caledonian connections. This course describes the major sites and record types that you will encounter in your research, and how to analyse the results. Most importantly it will inspire you to actively pursue your interest in Scottish genealogy and take it to the next level.

    Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records

    Tutor: Linda Newey
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for September 2021

    Advanced Methods and Reports

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    This course provides students with the techniques and tools to ensure the best possible evidence for their pedigrees and trees, and is suitable for hobby and professional genealogists alike.

    We look at problems of identity and interpretation, standards for evaluation and analysis, and how to build a case for proof. We will consider the display of charts and genealogy research reports, showing the conventions and standards that are used and that enable written research to be of a high scholarly standard. Students will also practise writing short research reports.

    Before the Modern Census – Name-rich sources from 1690 to 1837

    Tutor: Else Churchill
    Start date: 2nd March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    What do you do when the nominal census records that you have used so much are no longer there, when you cannot obtain names, ages, birthplaces and the household address of a family? And how do you supplement the deficiencies of parish registers?

    Your attention should turn to a variety of lists which at least reveal where someone lived at a particular time. Though this seems scant information, such facts can be vitally important especially in those years when children were not born and christened.

    Over four lessons you will learn about the introduction of newspapers, the earliest efforts at census taking, and what other records are considered to be useful census substitutes. Census substitutes are often quite local in scope and purpose. Many will be explained and advice will be given on how to search for local lists. You will come away with an understanding of how to make the most of census substitutes, some new online search skills, and an ability to assess and access these sources.

    Church and Community, Selected records 1540 – 1800

    Tutor: Emma Jolly
    Start date: 3rd March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    Ickleton Parish ChurchThis course gives you the tools to understand the nature, jurisdictions and administrations under which different types of community existed in the past, and seeks to bring genealogy and local history closer together.

    You’ve found your ancestor in the parish registers, but was that parish rural or urban, a town or borough? How did that affect your ancestors’ lives and how will it affect your research? We look at the records of towns, such as burgess rolls, and the difficulties and pitfalls in tracing our early ancestors who migrated from rural areas / parishes to towns.

    You will learn about the many records of the diocese and its court, including visitation records, marriage licences and probate records. Also in this category are the records of disputes heard in the church or ecclesiastical courts, often know as bawdy courts due to the nature of cases they heard.

    Finally, we look at the records of boroughs in detail, including guilds, freemen, voting rights and merchant guilds.

    Are You Sitting Comfortably? Writing and Telling Your Family History

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 15th March 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Writing your family history is the logical step after genealogical research, and sometimes while research is still in progress. To avoid gathering dust, a family story must be written to appeal to a broad spectrum of relatives and readers, to answer questions of relationships and to stimulate the sharing of knowledge. The history of a family blends a range of information: the ancestors and their stories, the places they knew, and the context of contemporary conditions and event. A good story, based on sound research, is a focal point of a family re-union, and it makes a great gift.

    This five-week course begins with advice on making decisions about what to write about, and what to include, and how to make some order out of the potential chaos of information. It goes on to discover the historical context and how to add interest into your story with background about what was happening nationally and locally and how this might have affected your ancestors. It looks at how knowledge about occupations can bring an ancestor to life, and how and why social history helps you to make sense of it all and frame your story. Finally in week five, you will discover how to add photos and other illustrations as well as options for publishing.

    If you wish to receive feedback and assessment on your writing, there is the option to submit a piece of writing of up to 3,000 words for marking. The best of the class may even be published on this blog!

  7. Becoming a Professional Genealogist

    Are you thinking of becoming a professional genealogist but don’t know where to start?

    We often receive questions from students who want to know what their next steps should be.

    They ask questions like:

    “Do I need a qualification to work as a professional genealogist?”
    “Do I need to become accredited?”
    “Are your courses accredited?”
    “Where do I start?” “Am I ready?”

    We have a great course that covers all of this:
    Professional Genealogist – Become one, become a better one

    The question of qualifications

    In the UK you don’t actually need any qualifications to set yourself up as a professional genealogist. You may think that’s a good thing, but isn’t it also a little scary? What would you look for in a professional genealogist?

    There are some great professional genealogists out there who have no genealogy-related qualifications, but they tend to be established in the field and have lots and lots of years of professionally varied experience.

    There are also a lot of “wannabie” professional genealogists starting out right now. How are you going to distinguish yourself from the rest? How are you going to demonstrate that you are working at the highest possible standards and are by far the better choice, compared to Mr X down the road? One of the best ways to do this is by following a formal training programme that is recognised by the industry.

    Our Advanced Certificate in Family History Skills and Strategies is a great example of a programme recognised by AGRA, the professional body for England and Wales.

    Aim for accreditation

    Working at the highest standards is all about providing the best quality of service to your clients. How do they know that the beautifully laid out family tree and 50 page report you have produced is not, in fact, riddled with errors? Organisations such as the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) (with equivalents ASGRA in Scotland and AGI in Ireland) only grant full membership after assessment of examples of your professional work.

    Here are some of our top tips as you think about starting up:

    Be honest with yourself

    You have been working on your own family tree for years and have lots of experience but it is important to be honest with yourself about how much you know. We guarantee you don’t know everything yet.

    Be ethical

    Your clients will value honesty even if you can’t take every kind of job on right now. Don’t pretend to be an expert in things you are clearly not. Start small with the more common records and build up your knowledge.

    Be patient

    So, you’ve had some nice shiny business cards printed and your website has gone live. Surely now the queue of paying customers will begin to form? The harsh reality is no, it does take time and it takes longer than you think it might. Be patient and don’t give up!

    Next Steps

    If you are interested in becoming a professional genealogist and want to know more, take our Professional Genealogist – Become one, become a better one course. This four week online course covers everything from starting up in business, answering client enquiries and report writing, working out your rates and marketing.

    If you are looking for more detail on methodology and reporting try our Advanced Methods & Reports course (this is part of the Advanced Programme but can also be taken in isolation).

    If you are interested in taking a certificate programme in genealogy that is recognised by AGRA, see our Certificate Courses pages.

  8. Courses Coming in February

    We have some great courses coming up for you in February and early March:

    So You Think You Know FamilySearch – A Guided Tour

    Tutor: Barbara H. Baker
    Start date: 1st February 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    Discover what you don’t know about English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh resources at the FamilySearch website with the help of an experienced guide. Barbara Baker worked in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for more than 30 years and is an expert in FamilySearch resources.

    Since its beginning in 1998, FamilySearch.org has been a leading family history website on the Internet. The website provides access to many of the records, indexes and resources available at the Family History Library, which has one of the largest collections of published, microfilmed and digitized British and Irish records in the world.

    In recent years technological advances have made it possible for you to search and browse formerly inaccessible records, check geography and boundaries and obtain research advice anywhere, anytime. All this information is free to anyone with the knowledge and navigating skills to find it.

    The lesson headings are:

    Week 1: Introduction to FamilySearch and FamilySearch.org
    Week 2: Exploring British and Irish data and resources at FamiySearch.org
    Week 3: The British and Irish collection at the Family History Library
    Week 4: The FamilySearch Family Tree and What’s New

    Introduction to One-Name Studies

    Tutor: Julie Goucher
    Start date: 2nd February 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    This course is an introduction to one-name studies, written with the guidance of the Guild of One-Name Studies and is suitable for all genealogists who have woken up to the knowledge that they have an interesting and unusual surname.

    You will learn about the history and study of surnames; which surnames are suitable for a study, what a one-name study consists of, and how to get started. We cover how to collect and analyse data from the core records. You learn about all the practical aspects of running a one name study; collecting data, how to publicise your study, data protection, publish results and make sure your study is preserved for others in the future.

    Victorian Crime and Punishment – Courts, police and prisons

    Tutor: Antony Marr
    Start date: 23rd February 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for June 2021

    Scottish Research Online

    Tutor: Chris Paton
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Scotland was one of the first countries to digitise its major family history records collections for accessibility online, and continues to this day to use such resources to promote a worldwide interest in family history for those with Caledonian connections. This course describes the major sites and record types that you will encounter in your research, and how to analyse the results. Most importantly it will inspire you to actively pursue your interest in Scottish genealogy and take it to the next level.

    Wills and Administrations; the riches of probate records

    Tutor: Linda Newey
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED * Booking now for September 2021

    Advanced Methods and Reports

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 1st March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    This course provides students with the techniques and tools to ensure the best possible evidence for their pedigrees and trees, and is suitable for hobby and professional genealogists alike.

    We look at problems of identity and interpretation, standards for evaluation and analysis, and how to build a case for proof. We will consider the display of charts and genealogy research reports, showing the conventions and standards that are used and that enable written research to be of a high scholarly standard. Students will also practise writing short research reports.

    The lesson headings are:

    Week 1: Evidence and Proof
    Week 2: Overcoming Problems in Genealogy
    Week 3: Laying out Your Tree
    Week 4: Writing up Your Research

    Before the Modern Census – Name-rich sources from 1690 to 1837

    Tutor: Else Churchill
    Start date: 2nd March 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    What do you do when the nominal census records that you have used so much are no longer there, when you cannot obtain names, ages, birthplaces and the household address of a family? And how do you supplement the deficiencies of parish registers?

    Your attention should turn to a variety of lists which at least reveal where someone lived at a particular time. Though this seems scant information, such facts can be vitally important especially in those years when children were not born and christened.

    Over four lessons you will learn about the introduction of newspapers, the earliest efforts at census taking, and what other records are considered to be useful census substitutes. Census substitutes are often quite local in scope and purpose. Many will be explained and advice will be given on how to search for local lists. You will come away with an understanding of how to make the most of census substitutes, some new online search skills, and an ability to assess and access these sources.

  9. Student Showcase: Telling Your Family Story

    This is the second in a series of blog post from students of Janet Few‘s Are You Sitting Comfortably?: writing and telling your family history (216) course.

    Janet says: “I have been tutoring the course for several years. Three years ago the option to submit an assessed piece for feedback was added. Since then, each time the course has run, several students have taken this opportunity and have sent in a section of their family histories. They are given about six weeks after the course finishes to do this. I have been in awe of what they have produced in a comparatively short space of time. It is a pleasure to be able to feature some of their stories on the Pharos blog“.

    This offering comes from student, Samantha Taylor, and tells the story of Farrington Family

     

    Our Farrington Family of Brightlingsea

    The town of Brightlingsea is almost an island, bounded by muddy creeks, with a single road connecting it to the county of Essex.  Brightlingsea Creek joins the river Colne just before it empties into the North Sea.  On its way from Colchester the Colne flows past Rowhedge, Wyvenhoe and Brightlingsea, and meets the Blackwater which has travelled from Maldon, past Tollesbury and around Mersea Island.  All these places were famed for their boatbuilding.  This enclave of the Essex coast was steeped in the traditions of seafaring since before the time of Henry VIII.  As a limb of the Cinque Port of Sandwich the townspeople were exempted from serving on juries and in the armed forces, safe from the press gangs, underlining the national importance of their occupations and skills.

    At the beginning of the nineteenth century the creek and hard would have been full of fishing vessels of every size, cutters, smacks and yawls (200 by 1861).  The livelihood of the town came largely from the oyster beds of the Colne and Blackwater estuaries, and fishing as far as the Dutch coast and the Channel Islands.  As an interest in yachting for sport and pleasure began around 1825, wealthy owners looked to the men of the Colne to not only build, but crew, their race winning yachts.  These hardy men, brought up on the sea, knew well the ways of wind and tide and the most treacherous network of sandbanks.  By the end of the century it was as well known for beach huts and boating.

    Well inland from the hard is the centre of the town.  The outline of Hurst Green and Chapel Road is strikingly recognisable, even on the earliest maps, and along with High Street and Church Road forms the very skeleton of the ancient settlement dating back to the Romans.  The grassy triangular Hearst Green looks likely to have been the scene of sports and fairs, and its surrounding dwellings were home to two of our families in 1841.  Joseph Farrington had married Susanna Kerridge in July 1840 and their first child, Joseph Thomas was born in the spring of 1841.  Susanna’s father, James Kerridge, a widower, had married Joseph’s eldest sister, Ann Maria Farrington in October 1840, and they were living with James’s son George, then 13.  Both Joseph and James were fishermen as were more than half of their neighbours.

    Certainly in the early part of the nineteenth century the majority of properties were leased from the Lord of the Manor.  As fishermen, I am sure they would have lived in the simplest houses, two up, two down, however large their family became.  James, Ann Maria and their three children continued to live in Hearst Green.   Joseph and Susanna settled in Chapel Road with their nine children.  After Ann Maria’s death in 1867, James lived with his son Robert’s family in Hearst Green and their neighbours in 1871 were Joseph’s son Thomas Joseph Farrington and his wife Jane (Wright).  Another of their neighbours was Jane’s father, Henry Wright, a widower, and her sister Charlotte.  By 1891 Thomas Joseph, Jane and their four boys had moved to 59 Chapel Road, a four room house, probably with a garden.  Thomas Joseph’s brother, George Farrington, his wife Maria Ann (Farrington) and their four children were their neighbours.

    As widows, Susanna (Kerridge) and Jane (Wright) both lived on the High Street, albeit 20 years apart.  In 1891 Susanna was living in a single room but there is no mention of employment, while in 1911 Jane lived as servant/nurse with the Harris family.

    The railway appeared in 1866 running along the river from Colchester and crossing Alresford Creek. This branch of the Great Eastern Railway must have made a tremendous difference to a town which until then could only be reached by one road, or by sea.  The town’s population had grown four fold in less than 100 years, from 1,020 in 1811 to 4,501 in 1901, and by 1874 had a gas works company and a water company.  More houses were built on the north and south of High Street, and later in the century our families could be found in Nelson Street, John Street, and Sidney Street where my grandmother, Marion, was born.

    Brightlingsea lies quite flat along the creek but gradually ascends towards the farmland behind.  On this gentle hill to the north and slightly west, a mile and a half from the town, stands All Saints Church.  Now a grade one listed building it dates back to the 12th century and is built on the site of an earlier Saxon church of which a small arch remains.  The churchyard extends to six acres and the tower, built of local flint in the late 15th century stands 97 feet high, an important marker to those at sea.  Inside the church runs a frieze of tiles commemorating every Brightlingsea native lost at sea, since its inception in 1872 by the Rev Arthur Pertwee, in response to the 36 local seamen lost that year in severe storms on the North Sea.  Each tile is inscribed with the name of the deceased and his ship.  Many members of the family were baptised, married and buried here including Marion, who was baptised on 23rd October 1902.   This little pen and ink drawing of the church was made by Joseph William Farrington in 1938 and given to his niece, my grandmother, Marion.

    Chapel Road, then and now, is the site of the Wesleyan Chapel, records of which go back to 1805, although the building you see today was probably constructed at the end of the 19th century.  Wesleyan Methodism began in the second half of the 18th century but grew in popularity most rapidly in the first half of the 19th century.  The simplicity of their creed appealed particularly to the working class communities like that of our fishermen.  Between 1841 and 1855 at least eight of Joseph and Susanna’s nine children were baptised at the Wesleyan Chapel along with James and Ann Maria’s three children.  The deaths of Joseph’s sister Eliza (21), Susanna’s brother George (22), Joseph and Susanna’s son Isaac (2), and James and Ann Maria’s son James (3) were recorded in 1849.  They would have been buried elsewhere, possibly at All Saints, as there was no burial ground at the chapel.  George, Isaac and James died within a month of each other and I wonder if this is evidence of the cholera epidemic of that year.  A note in the burial record says that George’s body was brought home from the Channel Islands in the ship in which he sailed, but he may have been ill before he left.

    “Brightlingsea men have never been afraid of going to sea.  Their smacks earned a wonderful reputation for daring (and sometimes for piratical practices) in the last century” wrote Hervey Benham in the ‘Last Stronghold of Sail’ (George G Harrap and Co Ltd 1948).

    It is hard for me to imagine the world of these fishermen as they slip between the pages of census return and parish register, just out of reach, but I have been able to give some substance to them through Hervey Benham and Garboard Streyke who wrote most evocatively of this way of life before engines and mechanisation changed it forever.

    In February or March many smacks would sail to Falmouth and the Channel Islands to dredge deep sea oysters and would be away for two or three months.  Others would travel to the Terschelling Light on the Dutch coast, more than 200 miles away, for as long as four months.  In the sprat season from the mid-August to mid-February the smacks would work in groups of six or seven pooling their catch.  Whether dredging or netting fish, their muscles would have strained with the effort of throwing and hauling the gear, and all while under sail.  The storms could be savage and the sea often bitterly cold.  The creek could freeze in the depths of winter.  On top of that they would need to negotiate the most treacherous network of shoals, the Gunfleet Sand, the Long Sand, and the Sunk.

    “Many persons who, whether on business or pleasure, have paid a visit to Wyvenhoe, Rowhedge, or Brightlingsea, must have looked with some curiosity on the black, rough-looking vessels known as smacks, with their crews of bearded and bronzed men, clad in canvas jackets and pilot-cloth trousers” wrote Garboard Streyke as the opening to ‘The Sea, The River, And The Creek’ (Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington 1884).

    Beneath their jackets a traditional, tight fitting knitted gansey and a waistcoat, and over their trousers, thigh length greased leather boots with wooden pegged soles, would have been worn, topped off with a hat, and oilskins if it was rough.  They must have looked much like the men in the photographs by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, and I expect their wives also dressed similarly to the herring girls.

    The crews of four to six men would have started their day as early as four o’clock, before dawn.  Their meals would have been simple but nourishing, cooked on a small stove in the cabin.  Bread and cheese would do for breakfast and a bit of salt beef stew and dumplings, cooked in an iron pot, for dinner, and always washed down with tea brewed in the kettle with sugar, but no milk.  Although they may have frequented the many public houses in the town, when they were at sea not a drop passed their lips.

    It wasn’t just the harsh weather and inhospitable terrain the fishermen had to deal with.  On 21st December 1833 the Essex Standard reported that on Monday 16th December, the Magistrates in Colchester Castle heard depositions from the masters and crews of several vessels which had been molested in dredging for oysters off the coast of France.  One of the depositions was given by Shadrach Martin, master of the fishing smack Globe, describing how the vessel had been boarded by Frenchmen and taken to Granville.  Similar accounts were given by other masters who felt aggrieved by their treatment by the French when they were miles away from their coast, and considering that the French fishermen were not similarly violated when fishing off the British coast.  A letter was sent by the fishermen to the bench of magistrates, and one of the signatories was Isaac Farrington.  Born in Brightlingsea, he moved to Harwich with his young family and in 1884 his granddaughter Maria Ann Farrington would marry Joseph and Susanna’s son George.  As a result of the letter and the depositions the Magistrates sent a letter to Lord Viscount Melbourne requesting protection for the fishermen.  It was less than 20 years since the end of the Napoleonic wars.  William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne was a Member of Parliament for the Whig party and at the time Home Secretary, but would later become Prime Minister and a favourite of Queen Victoria.  Sadly I have not been able to find out if he acted in response to the letter from Colchester.

    UK, Apprentices Indentured in Merchant Navy, 1824-1910, TNA

    A life at sea started early and Joseph Thomas Farrington (14) and Thomas Joseph Farrington (13) were indentured to their father Joseph Farrington on 15th August 1855, as apprentices on the vessel  Rose, of Colchester.  I wonder if this infers that Joseph was at least the master of this vessel, if not the owner.

    Both brothers, Joseph and Thomas worked aboard the fishing cutter Globe,  which was registered in 1844 at Colchester but likely built at Wivenhoe around 1805.  Benham describes her as a ‘powerful cutter smack’.  At the time of the census in 1871 she was recorded at Dover with Thomas, aged 28, serving as Mate.  Joseph, aged 19, had been serving as A B Seaman in 1861 when she was recorded at Guernsey, Channel Islands.  The Globe’s Master, Hazel Polley was a neighbour of the Farringtons in Chapel Road.  Joseph Thomas was recorded aboard Tartar in 1871 at Swansea, and the following year he married and settled there.  In 1881 Thomas Joseph was recorded aboard the steam ship Castalia, built as a cross channel ferry but soon abandoned, as A B Seaman off Erith, Dartford, Kent.  George, the youngest of Joseph and Susanna’s sons, appeared in Newhaven, Sussex in 1881 aboard the fishing smack Queen Victoria as A B Seaman.

    Jane was born in St Osyth in 1849 to Henry Whybrough Wright, a farm labourer and Susan (Southgate).  By 1861, when Jane was 12, they had moved to Brightlingsea.  Jane married Thomas Joseph Farrington in 1869.  They had four sons: George Thomas, born 1871; Frederick Joseph (my great grandfather), born 1873; Thomas, born 1875; and Joseph William, born 1882.

    Jane was illiterate and my great grandfather’s birth certificate bears her ‘mark’, a simple and unsteady cross.  It is impossible to know what opportunities if any she had for an education or whether or not her family supported it.  A select committee report on Education of the Poor, 1818 said of Brightlingsea:  ‘The poor have the means of education, but appear very indifferent in taking advantage of them.’
    According to a House of Commons paper on education, by 1833 the town, with a population of 1,784, had four infant schools, six day schools and three Sunday Schools .  However the greatest change to the provision of education must have come with the 1870 Education Act which provided schools for everyone, known as Board Schools, although education did not become compulsory to the age of 12 until 1899.

    I like to think that Jane decided she wanted more for her boys, that the life of a fisherman was too hard and unrewarding.  Probably the combination of freely provided education and a declining fishing industry played their part, but I imagine she took the initiative while Thomas was away at sea.

    Their eldest son George was apprenticed to shipbuilding by the age of 19, and eventually joined HM Dockyard at Sheerness, Kent.  In the summer of 1895 he married Sarah Emily Underwood who was born in Tollesbury.  They had two children and continued to live in Kent until they died.  Before she married, Sarah was a draper’s assistant in Brightlingsea and in 1911 was living in Brightlingsea and running Farrington’s Drapers at 77 High Street, while George was living in Sheerness with his mother-in-law.  In 1939 they lived in Strood, Kent, and were listed as retired drapers.

    Frederick was apprenticed to shoemaking by the time he was 17, and by 1902, when my grandmother Marion was born, had his own boot making business in Brightlingsea’s High Street.  He had married Nettie Heaver in the autumn of 1899.  Their second child, Muriel was born in Chobham, Surrey in 1910, and in 1911 they were living in Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire.  At some point he visited the United States, perhaps to visit his younger brother, and was so enthusiastic he contacted Nettie and told her to sell all their furniture and pack ready to emigrate with their two girls.  However by the time he returned he had changed his mind.  Certainly by 1915 they had returned to Brightlingsea where Marion was at school, second from the left in the second row down in the photograph above.

    Thomas Farrington’s Master’s Certificate 1903

    Thomas did become a mariner and had achieved his Master’s Certificate in 1903 when he was 28.  Otherwise he is something of an enigma but it has been suggested that he died at sea on a yacht that sank off the coast of Carolina.

    Their youngest son Joseph William had become a mariner by the time he was 18, and living in Bightlingsea with his widowed mother.  However on 7th June 1905 he left England from the port of Liverpool and sailed to Philadelphia on the Friesland.  He didn’t return until 1927 when he sailed from Boston on the Aurania, arriving in Liverpool on 6th June.   An account of his adventures in North America, prospecting in the silver mines of Canada, was recorded in a US local newspaper.  Soon after his return he married Lily Martha Death on the 4th July in Chadwell St Mary, near to the home of his brother.  He and Lily settled in John Street, Brightlingsea where he worked as a bus conductor.

    Isaac Kerridge Farrington, born in 1891, was one of the four cousins living next door to my great grandfather, Frederick and his brothers, that year.  I was kindly sent some ‘Farrington’ related information by Margaret Stone, curator of Brightlingsea Museum and at the time had not worked out the relationship to my own family.  It was cheering to find the connection and satisfying to see the names Kerridge and Farrington come together.  His story, though, is as sad as it is familiar.  He was a corporal in the Rifle Brigade and was killed at Ypres on 10th July 1916.  He carried a small bible in his tunic which contained a request, written inside, that in case of accident it be returned to Miss Lillian Finch of 77 Nelson Street, to whom he was engaged.  The Brightlingsea Times included his photograph and a poem he had written while at the front, when they reported his death.

  10. Courses Coming in January

    December is a quieter month for us at Pharos, as we allow time for students and tutors to take a break. However, we have lot to talk about for January, some last minute Christmas gift ideas perhaps?

    Coming up in January:

    Introduction to Medieval Genealogy

    Tutor: Gillian Waters
    Start date: 5th January 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks (4 teaching weeks and a reading week)

    * COURSE OF THE MONTH *

    Don’t stop tracing your family once you have exhausted the parish registers. It is possible to trace lines back beyond the 1500s, and this course outlines some of the ways that you can break into medieval genealogy. It will help you create the foundations for researching medieval records, describe the nature of medieval records, on-line locations and finding guides that can improve your chances of finding direct or probable relations. It will also help you understand the geographical and political landscapes of medieval England, including general histories and the key events which generated records.

    The lesson headings are:

    Week 1: Starting out on Medieval Research – identifying families to track
    Week 2: Planning the move to Medieval Records – getting to grips with medieval pedigrees
    Week 3: Records of the Landed Classes- the structure of medieval society and the meanings of terminology
    Week 4: Reading week- a chance to do some background research
    Week 5: Medieval Church records, Military records and Taxation

    Advanced Military Research – 20th Century Conflict

    Tutor: Simon Fowler
    Start date: 4th January 2021
    Course length: 3 weeks

    This course follows on from our Your Military Ancestors course with a focus on the 20th Century (you do not need need to have taken the Your Military Ancestors course first).

    It covers the two world wars, the Boer War, the Korean War and other post-war conflicts, including for men who undertook National Service.

    As well as considering the records themselves, the course looks at their context, the purposes for which they were created and how different records relate to each other. We also consider non-military records at The National Archives and elsewhere that can help researchers. Although few records survive for civilians or those who served in the auxiliary services, such as the Merchant Navy and Home Guard, we will consider the records which are available.

    Apprenticeship Records

    Tutor: Stuart Raymond
    Start date: 6th January 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED *

    Researching Online for Advanced Genealogists

    Tutor: Peter Christian
    Start date: 6th January 2021
    Course length: 4 weeks

    The internet is now an essential research environment for family history: many indexes to genealogical records are now available only online, and the internet provides access to a wealth of information and contacts for family historians. This course examines the main types of internet resource which are useful in carrying out research in English and Welsh family history and aims to improve your search skills so that you can be more confident with your search results.

    Employment Records

    Tutor: Alec Tritton
    Start date: 7th January 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Records of employment can do two things; reveal important facts for furthering the genealogical information about a family and provide vivid details of the way your ancestors lived. This 5 week course examines what is likely to be found in official and unofficial sources and where and how the information can be used as further insights into the lives and times of our ancestors.

    Lesson Headings:
    Week 1: The Professions
    Week 2: Merchant Seamen and Coastguard
    Week 3: Government employees
    Week 4: Town folk
    Week 5: Country folk

    Migration in the British Isles

    Tutor: Karen Cummings
    Start date: 18th January 2021
    Course length: 3 weeks
    * FULLY BOOKED *

    Discovering Your British Family and Local Community in the early 20th Century

    Tutor: Janet Few
    Start date: 26th January 2021
    Course length: 5 weeks

    Family historians often neglect the twentieth century as being not really history but there is plenty to be discovered about individuals and the communities in which they lived between 1900 and 1945. Twentieth century research brings with it the difficulties of larger and more mobile populations as well as records that are closed to view. This course sets out to provide advice for finding out about our more recent ancestors and the places in which they lived.