purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (genealogy)
I read Trends in School Design entirely because it was written by my grandfather. It is a fairly slim volume published by Macmillan in 1972 as part of The Anglo-American Primary School Project. Small abuse the University of Liverpool's online access to JSTOR netted me Malcolm Seaborne's review* of A `Golden Age' of School Building? by Stuart Maclure which at least let me place Trends in School Design in some context.

I'm going to discuss the design of English primary schools in the 1950s and 1960s under the cut. Don't say you weren't warned! )

*Malcolm Seaborne. A `Golden Age' of School Building? Oxford Review of Education, Vol 11, No. 1, 1985, pp. 97-103.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (genealogy)
Everyone is terribly coy about the subject. Wikipedia, for instance, just says it ended.

I've found one web site which attributes the end to the reduced population but that doesn't really make sense to me. The small-holding population of Ireland was dependent on the potato as its one crop and the blight, as I understand it, was pretty pervasive especially in any damp season (which are not uncommon in Ireland).

So it seems to me you need a diversification of the basic diet, possibly to other varieties of potato or some other change in farming practices that limits the spread of the blight. Or, you need sufficient population decrease that potato fields are widely enough apart that the blight has difficultly spreading - even assuming a 20% decrease in the population (based on census records which most historians seem to agree are inaccurate) that seems unlikely to me. Or some sort of mutation in the potato, or the disease, or climate change (given the blight was worse in damp years)?

Or am I misunderstanding how the blight works? I mean it came back consistently four years out of five, only letting up in one dry season so it seems pretty pervasive to me, not the sort of thing that burns itself out?

Anyone have any idea how the famine ended?
purplecat: (books)
It transpires that my great, great, great, great grandfather's brother, German Buxton, managed to get himself transported to Australia for his participation in the Pentrich Uprising which John Stevens rather grandly terms "England's Last Revolution". Being the particular kind of geeky person that I am this has naturally lead to a fair amount of internet searching and a moderate investment in books about said Uprising.

John Stevens' book on the subject came as something of a shock. I read a fair number of history textbooks both for A Level and when I did an OU course on Early Modern Britain and France a few years back so I have some kind of feeling for what to expect. What I got was something much more straightforwardly narrative - which in some senses was good since my interest was primarily in what happened to German and not on debates about the wider context. I dimly remember Sir Gawain claiming to be an "old-style" narrative historian and wonder if this was the sort of thing he was referring to since it was written in 1977.

It's not that the book peddles a 1066 and all that style good king/bad king (or in this case good workers/bad government - or, of course, vice versa) approach to the story*. However it mostly contents itself with what is thought to have happened and the sources of that information and the speculation it indulges in as to why seems quite narrow in scope. It also contains quite lengthy quotes from original sources which I, at least, rather appreciated.

In short therefore the Pentrich Uprising consisted of about 300 men from Pentrich in Derbyshire (many press-ganged by the ring-leaders) and the surrounding villages who, convinced the entire country was on the brink of revolution, marched on Nottingham on the evening of the 9th June 1817. The revolution ended about eight miles later when a rather smaller group met up with soldiers near Kimberley, promptly turned and fled. About 40 were taken captive immediately and many others rounded up in the ensuing days. Although I say they met up with the soldiers only eight miles away from Pentrich it took them a good four or five hours to get there which seems a long time even allowing for 19th century roads and the fact it was the middle of the night. It transpires that they stopped at no less than four pubs en route!!! Revolution, it seems, was thirsty work. Three of the revolutionaries were hanged, fourteen, including my probable great great great great grand uncle were transported and a further six were jailed for periods between six months and two years.

One of the reasons Stevens may have opted to steer clear of too much analysis of the event was the rather murky involvement of "Oliver the Spy" an agent provocateur who had spent the winter of 1817 travelling all over the north and midlands of England generally both stirring up and reporting upon the 9th June plans for revolution. It is obviously difficult to gauge the extent to which the government was aware of the 9th June plans and even the extent to which the revolution was stage-managed. Stevens devotes a whole chapter to documenting Oliver's activities but at the end of the day it seems moderately clear that he hadn't met any of the Pentrich marchers in person and that while he may have encouraged a wider revolution while doing his information gathering thing, ultimately that wider revolution didn't happen. Oliver's involvement generated much excitement at the time, being exposed in the Leeds Mercury mere days after the uprising, but there certainly doesn't seem to be a simple story to tell about government manipulation of working class discontent for its own political ends.

As for my ancestor's brother, I learn from Stevens' book that the local ironworks manager, Goodwin, having pronounced Thomas Bacon, one of the ringleaders to be "a rascal", considered German to be "a worse". However in 1826 the Reverend John Dunmore Lang in Australia was to describe him as a "sober, industrious man". Mind you by that time German Buxton was running a quarry in Australia and had been ordered to cease work. The Reverend John Lang wanted his church finished and so perhaps his support of German in the dispute was not entirely disinterested.

* for this I refer the reader to the Socialist Appeal's write up of the event. It even has a moral at the end.**

**And when I just went to look the rather bizarre "stop press" headline that Stalin Cartoonist had just died. I can't help feeling that not much can be happening in the world of far left socialism if that counts as exciting news.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (genealogy)
On Genes Reunited there is a (very useful) tool for matching up people in your family tree with people in other people's family tree. So, you know, "here are all the other trees containing an Aquila Slatcher born in 1843" which is terribly handy if your ancestor is called Aquila Slatcher and less handy if they are called Sarah Smith.

The people who annoy me are those who message you in February saying "hi I see you have an Aqulia Slatcher in your tree" and then message you again in October to say "hi I see you have an Aquila Slatcher in your tree" since it gets repetitious. They don't even have the excuse that its difficult to keep track of who you've corresponded with and who you haven't since GR does all that for you.

There's one person who has done this four or five times now. Last time it happened I sent a rather curt response saying "We've already agreed several times we are not related. Please keep track of who you have already talked to". I got a message back saying "You are a very rude person. I will not bother you again." - which, to do them credit, they haven't.

Actually the people who annoy me more are the ones who second time round go "Oooh! you've got so and so in your tree what do you know about them?" and you look it up and have to reply "only what you told me six months ago".

Prompted, obviously, because I just got one of those "Are we related?" queries and have just answered "Yes, but we knew this six months ago."
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
It turns out that one branch of B's family come from Erbistock, near Wrexham.

I thought certain people might like to know.

Oooh! 1090

Feb. 29th, 2008 10:39 am
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Late last night I ended up making contact with a second cousin once removed who has traced one branch of the family back to 1090. This is quite exciting even taking into account the fact that conventional wisdom in genealogy is that most people who claim their family go back to the conquest are indulging in a wish-fulfilment fantasy. I've skimmed the 250 (!) pages she has sent me and clearly the early history of the Benthall family (of Benthall Hall) comes from a National Trust publication so it seems fair to assume that most of that is as correct as its going to be. I suspect the tricky bit will be making the connection between the Benthalls and my branch of the Shuttleworth family (Mum, Sophie, this is Grandad Dennis' mother).


Nov. 2nd, 2007 04:11 pm
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Most of us appear to agree on the identity of Ggrandpa Lloyd. However [livejournal.com profile] bunn has suggested a comparison of noses:

Anyone wish to change their vote?
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
One of the more irritating aspects of B.'s family (from a genealogy point of view) is a tendency to refer to people as, for example, "Great Grandpa Lloyd" without making it clear whether they mean their great grandpa Lloyd, your great grandpa Lloyd, or your child's great grandpa Lloyd. Case in point is the central photograph below. On the back my MiL's father has written "Great Grandpa Lloyd". Now if it is indeed his great grandpa Lloyd then it is the same gentleman as the drawing on the left. If on the other hand it is MiL's great grandpa Lloyd then it is the gentleman on the right.

What does my flist think?
purplecat: (books)
Over the winter I went to a Family History Fair with my mother and picked up a couple of Society of Genealogist publications, namely My Ancestor was Coal Miner and My Ancestors were Methodists. The latter is pretty much just a list of potential source material and its locations. All very well in its way but not really what I was looking for (especially since it says all the Methodist Baptism, Marriage and Burial records are on the Mormon website and I can't find any of my Methodist ancestors (and I have quite a lot them) there). My Ancestor was a Coal Miner was much closer to the sort of thing I was looking for - combining an overview of the main features of coal mining life with the kind of listing of source material in the Methodist book. In fact its lists of sources are rather better including a good range with sufficient description that I could immediately tell that some might be worth checking for my ancestors. Its discussion of coal mining history is slightly in the style so lampooned by 1066 and all that - lots of little facts designed to tell the neat story of the rise and fall of the industry without much scope for discussion, but then if I'd wanted a definitive history of coal mining in the UK I'd have purchased something different. I was, however, particularly struck by the horror expressed over female mine workers. I can understand why the Victorians got themselves into a bit of a tizzy on discovering women worked undergroud but find it hard to see why someone writing at the start of the 21st century should do so. "Incredibly" muses David Tonks, the author, "it was not until 1 July 1972 that the final two women surface workers were made redundant". What seems more shocking to me, as a 21st century woman, is that the Victorian (and later) reaction was to bar such women from what was, presumably, an important source of family income rather than to ensure that they enjoyed equal protection and equal pay to their male compatriots*.

* NB. I've no reason to suppose they didn't get equal protection (i.e., not much) nor equal pay since Tonks didn't deem it relevant to mention whether or not they worked on a more or less equal footing.


Aug. 30th, 2007 08:55 am
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
My great grandfather was called (according to an essay I wrote age 10 following a phone call with my Nana) William Henry Edny Sims. I've found his marriage certificate and know he was born about 1875. Could I find his birth certificate? *phzzt* I found a couple of potential William Sims' in the census and pursued the mostly likely ones. I found a cousin several times removed of the most likely who told me that Hendy (not Edny, but hey!) was a traditional family middle name. I find this family in various documents displaying an incredibly lax attitude to surname. So far I think I've identified members going by the surnames: Sims, Seemes, Hendy, Hendey, Bobb and Bubb indeed John Hendy Sims, my gg-grandfather, assuming all this is correct, in fact at one time or another used all of Sims, Hendy and Bubb.

So eventually I decide to search for all the William's (any surname) born in the Keynsham Registration district of Gloucestershire (most likely location) between 1874 and and 1876... and I find William Henry H Seams (b. Jan/Feb/Mar 1876) - birth certificate now on order - if that second H is for Hendy I reckon I have my man!!
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I'm hoping the historians on my flist can help me out here. One of the genealogy mailing lists I'm on has just had a discussion about census data seeming to conclude that it is "not a primary source". My, admitedly hazy and lay-person, view of primary sources was that they were original documents which (with the exception of direct eye-witness accounts) were produced for purposes other than interpreting events. In scientific terms I've always thought of primary sources as "raw data". Secondary sources are then those which draw on primary sources and seek to explain or interpret events through the evidence of the primary sources.

Although census data was compiled from forms and, in some cases, hearsay, I had considered them primary since their purpose was not to interpret but to provide data for government machinery and they were produced basically contemporaneously by people actually going round and gathering the raw data. The mailing list, on the other hand, seems to link accuracy as a key feature to the label primary source (and there has been much discussion of the fact that they are a primary source for "address" but not for "birth date").

I'm just curious to find if this is true. The actual labelling of census data isn't of a great deal of interest to me. I feel I'm pretty clued up about their accuracy which is the important thing when compiling a family tree: my ancestors have contrived so far to be mistaken (at best) and downright mendacious (at worst) about surname, parentage, marital status, age, place of birth, and "who was in the house last Sunday" - as far as I'm aware none have yet been wrong about profession on the census, although one fibbed on his marriage certificate. I am however curious about what appeared to me to be a rather strange use of the term "primary source", at least when making an analogy to raw data in science.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
My mother inherited a diary from her mother which had been written by an "Aunt Jinny".

More on the Hunt for Aunt Jinny )


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