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Monday, 29 November 2010

A sneaky peek at the new 'Start here' desk


This will only be exclusive for a few hours after posting, but here it is anyway. This is what visitors to The National Archives will see when we open tomorrow, Tuesday 30 November. Regular visitors and followers of the website will know that there have been some changes over the last few weeks, and they will continue for the rest of the year. Every Saturday when we close at 5pm the contractors come in to install/move/paint things, and this continues on Sunday and Monday, while we are closed to the public. Every Monday the staff go and look at the search room to see what has changed, so that it doesn't come as a total surprise when we report for duty first thing on Tuesday (those who have Mondays off just have to get their orientation done really quickly first thing, and home the day starts gently while they get their bearings!).

The Start Here area is the closest to completion so far, with a soft seating area and some magazines.Some of the new signage is in place, and the new layout is starting to take shape. Because the work is being done a little at a time over the weekends, some things can't be moved to their final positions yet, so they are temporarily a little out of place; the cabinet containing the printed Research Guides is currently stranded on the wrong side of a glass panel, causing staff at the Research Enquiries desk to dodge round a pillar to fetch copies to give to readers. Fortunately this won't be for much longer. The new enquiry desks have been built, although they are not ready to use yet.
 
Although the changes to the main reading rooms are going on while we are providing a normal service, the Map and Large Document Reading Room is closed until Tuesday 14 December. It is having a much-needed major refit that can't be done while remaining open, but it should be well worth the wait. Details are on The National Archives website

All the changes have involved quite a lot of work for staff, especially those who work in the Map Room (fortunately for me, I'm not one of them). But it's a good opportunity to have a good clear-out, much like moving house. That's when you discover all kinds of unexpected things; I was checking the contents of some microfiche drawers when I discovered a roll of microfilm that didn't belong there. Not only was it a film in a fiche drawer, it wasn't even one of ours! It was an LDS film, which, you'll be glad to know, is being returned to its rightful owners.
 

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Royal registration rivalry


Queen Victoria   
Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths was introduced in England and Wales in 1837, the year that Queen Victoria came to the throne. When her children were born, they had to be registered like everyone else's, with the local registrar, but which one? It should be simple enough; the registrar of births and deaths for the district where the birth occurred, of course.

But the queen gave birth to her children in Buckingham Palace, so big that it was in two different registration districts. When her first child, Princess Victoria, the Princess Royal, was born on 21 November 1840, George Rawlins, the registrar of births and deaths in the Charing Cross sub-district of St Martin-in-the-Fields believed that he was entitled to register the birth. He had, however, heard that a person from outside the district had been appointed for all the royal palaces, and wrote to the Registrar General on 5 December for clarification, pointing out that a registrar was empowered by Act of Parliament to register all the births in his district, and it would take another Act to deprive him of this right.

Princess Victoria born 21 November 1840
 The Registrar General, Thomas Lister, 'caused enquiry to be made', and found that since most of Buckingham Palace was in the Belgrave sub-district of St George Hanover Square, the registrar of that sub-district was to have the honour of registering the birth of the princess. So Mr Rawlins was disappointed. (The National Archives reference HO 39/5)

Queen Victoria went on to have nine children in all, and when the fifth of them, Princess Helena, arrived in 1846, George Rawlins was no longer registrar of the Charing Cross sub-district. His successor, James Leonard, made a valiant attempt at reclaiming the registration of royal births for St Martin-in-the-Fields. He wrote to the Registrar General '...it being certified to me by the Churchwardens and other Parochial Authorities of the Parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, that the north wing of the said Palace, in which are the private apartments of Her Majesty the Queen, and wherein the birth took place, is within the Charing Cross District for registration...I did on the 26th of May present myself with my Register Book of Births at Buckingham Palace and left a written request that a time might be named to register the birth of the said Royal Infant... ' The response from the Palace was to suggest that Mr Leonard should refer to the Home Secretary for guidance, which he duly did.

The matter was once again referred to the Registrar General, Lister's successor George Graham, who confirmed the earlier decision. His records showed that the question had also been raised in 1841 and 1843 on the births of the Prince of Wales and of Princess Alice, by both parishes, and that plans of Buckingham Palace and boundary maps had been consulted. George Graham wrote 'I am of the opinion that the same course should again now be pursued;...and to inform the Registrar of Births and Deaths for the Charing Cross District...that his services will not be required' (The National Archives reference HO 45/1424)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

There and back

Robert and Mary Donaldson
One of the great things about records going online is the new things that you find. OK, that's pretty obvious, but I don't just mean the things you are actively looking for, like waiting patiently for an new census release to get an elusive ancestor's birthplace. It's the unexpected finds that are the most fun, the things that you wouldn't even have considered looking for.

My favourite find was when I did a 'hit and hope' kind of speculative search and got much more than I bargained for. The people in the picture are my grandfather's grandparents, and I knew a lot about them. They were born in the 1830s and lived well into their 80s. They had eight children, and I have plenty of birth, marriage and death certitificates, parish register entries and census returns for the family. They moved around a lot, but always in the counties of Fife and Forfar, much as you might expect of farm workers. Two of their sons, including my great-grandfather, moved west and settled in Glasgow, and I used to think that this picture was of a sweet old couple who stayed behind in the countryside while their more adventurous offspring moved on. I was wrong.

Like most genealogists I am interested in tracing forwards to see what happened to the siblings of my ancestors, and I had accounted for some members of the Donaldson family in Scottish records, but not all of them. Donaldson is not exactly a rare name, but one of their sons, Robert, had the distinctive middle name of Robertson, so in a fit of optimism I put his full name into Ancestry.com as an exact search, and got a result in the US World War I Draft Registration Cards, with his exact birthdate, giving his resdience as Marshall, Minnesota. I wasn't entirely surprised to find that he had emigrated, but when I investigated further and looked for him in the US census, I was amazed to find that his parents were with him!  I then found that they had sailed from Glasgow to New York in 1888 on SS Devonia, with his younger brother James. I have the death certificates of Robert snr and Mary in 1919 and 1920 respectively in Inverkeilor, Forfar, so it had never occurred to me that they might have left the country, although I hadn't been able to find them in the 1891 or 1901 censuses. In 1902 Robert and Mary returned to Glasgow on the Laurentian, and as far as I know this was the end of their travels.

So the sweet old couple that I assumed had never ventured beyond two counties in the east of Scotland turn out to have spent 13 years farming in Minnesota! Robert stayed on in Marshall, where he died in 1946, and was a veterinary surgeon. He became a US citizen, and married his wife Jean, another Scots-born immigrant, in around 1912. They don't appear to have had any children, so I probably don't have any distant cousins in Minnesota. His younger brother James also stayed in America, but I hold out no hopes for any cousins there either, because the last sight I have of him is as a 54-year-old newlywed in the 1930 census.

This shows the benefit of looking for collateral lines, which can bring the unexpected bonus of extra information about your direct ancestors; but now that so many records are easily searchable, particularly passenger lists, I'm sure I'm not the only person with emigrant ancestors they never suspected of being emigrants at all. Perhaps you can't find the death of an ancestor who seems to vanish after their children have grown up and married, because they emigrated with another son or daughter and their family. I also have a couple of those, and I can't believe that my family is all that unusual, so maybe it's worth looking at passenger lists, or doing the kind of entirely unscientific search I described at the start of this post. You never know what you might uncover.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Mappy Monday - the Valuation Office Survey 'Lloyd George's Domesday'

Part of central Oxford, featuring Broad Street
We have an anazing collection of maps at The National Archives, and one of my favourites is the set that goes with the Valuation Office Survey, taken shortly before the First World War. The field books that were compiled for this survey are the most wonderful source for house histories, and to identify the right field book, you need first to use annotated versions of Ordnance Survey maps, and this is generally the trickiest part of the operation. This has been made a little easier by the Valuation Office map finder being tried out on the The National Archives Labs site.

I was doing some research on Oxford, and in particular Broad Street, one of the streets featured in my post Those Places Thursday - Oxford so I used the map finder to locate the field book that included Blackwell's Bookshop and found it in document reference IR 58/64883 It shows details of the property including the owner, in this case B H Blackwell.



The description of the property shows the type of construction, number and size of rooms, and what they are used for, as well as services like gas, water and electricity and the general state of repair. Unfortunately the person who wrote up this field book had fairly horrible handwriting, but with some perseverance you can make out that it describes it as a 'mixed lot' with some lath and plaster construction, and a number of store rooms for books - quite recognisable to anyone who visits Blackwell's in Broad Street today!





Sometimes the field book includes a small sketch map or plan of the property, but unfotunately there isn't one for Blackwell's. There is one for the Coach and Horses public house next door, on the corner of Broad Street and Parks Road. The pub no longer exists, and its site is now part of Blackwell's

Friday, 19 November 2010

Follow Friday - The Workhouse

Now celebrating 10 years online, The Workhouse is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the Poor Law. That is pretty much anyone researching in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland. Even if none of your ancestors were not among the poor (lucky you, lucky them) they will have been involved in its operation. Workhouse masters, medical staff, contractors, Guardians of the Poor and a host of clerical staff can be found in the records. And even those not directly concerned in the administration were ratepayers.

The site is an astonishing achievement, as is largely the work of one man, Peter Higginbottom. He has not only researched and written the content of the site, he has photographed many of the buildings too. There are countless maps, pictures and old photographs too.

This is not the place to look for lists of names, although there are some; it is where you will find out how the poor were looked after - or not - back through the centuries. It's also a great way to find out what records exist, and where you can find them. I keep returning to the site because there is always something new to discover. 

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - 'A Happy Pair - thanks to Murphy's'

This is a 1938 promotional leaflet for Murphy's Football Pools, featuring one of their recent winners and his wife. The couple concerned are William Furminger 1892-1969 and his wife Lottie (Wyneschenk) 1893-1983, my mother-in-law's parents.

He is also featured on the inside of the leaflet, along with several other winners, where it is revealed that he won £1548 5s, quite a tidy sum in 1938, the equivalent of around £44,465 (or more than US $71,000) today.

It reads 'Mr L Fulminger of 14 Hopton House Loughborough, Brixton, London S. W. often worried about the future of his wife and family if anything  'happened' to him. "But, now", he says, "the future is bright and cheerful since my £1,548/5/0. win in Murphy's Penny Points Pool

It's a lovely thing to have, and a reminder that you can't believe something just because it's in print; His initial was W, not L, and his surname is Furminger, not Fulminger. It's yet another one to add to the dozens of other variant spellings I have found for this surname. They did get the address right, though.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Remembrance Sunday in Chesham

This is a scene played out all over Britain at 11am today, Remembrance Sunday. Veterans, members of the forces, the British Legion and a number of local organisations marched down the High Street to the war memorial. As always, a crowd waited expentantly as the sound of the band heralded the arrival of the parade, and the reception party headed by the Mayor included two guests of honour, Chelsea Pensioners, in their red dress uniforms and their medals.  

The Last Post was played, and the two minutes silence was observed by all present. People had brought their children to watch, and many children took part in the parade and the ceremony, Cadets, Scouts, Guides and even the little Beaver Scouts who are only about 6 or 7. Wreaths were laid, and speeches made; one speaker reminded us that the number of people who lived through the Second World War is dwindling - even the youngest are now in their late 60s. Another gentleman, originally from Pakistan, drew our attention to the millions of Empire troops who had fought for the Allies, and they were volunteers, too. I won't call this a reminder, because I'm sure many people weren't even aware of this in the first place. It turned out this his own grandfather had not only served, but had been Monty's driver.

The comment about the Second World War fading from living memory, and the presence of the Chelsea Pensioners set me thinking about Remembrance Days past. I remember watching the Festival of Remembrance broadcast from the Albert Hall, as a child in the 1960s, and seeing Chelsea Pensioners, veterans of the Boer War (1899-1902) marching in the parade. My father used to tut disapprovingly at what he considered the sloppy standard of marching by the regular army; lines not straight enough, arms bent when they shouldn't be etc. He said the Army would never have stood for it when he did his National Service in the 1940s!

So what has all this to do with genealogy? Well, quite a lot. Most British people have ancestors who served in the First World War, and on some days it feels as though they have all come to The National Archives at once to look for their records! Local historians are also researching the names on their local war memorials to find out more about the fallen from their town. Chesham is no exception, and a local historian, Lesley Perry, who is also chairman of Chesham Museum, has been researching the stories of Chesham's First World War casualties.

Understandably, most of the interest is in the Army, and it's fairly well known that many of the records were destroyed during the Second World War. But the records of Royal Navy and the Royal Marines survived intact, and they are on DocumentsOnline My grandfather is recorded there three times! He joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, then the Royal Naval Division, and finally the Royal Navy. In civilian life, he worked in the shipyards on the Clyde, so maybe he was just keen to get on board one of the ships, instead of just building them.  
 

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Short-lived Registration Districts

When civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in England and Wales in 1837, the new registration districts were based on Poor Law Unions. These were groupings of parishes that had been created in 1834. The Clerk to the Board of Guardians was the senior officer in a Poor Law Union, and a Superintendent registrar was in charge of each registration district. Registrars of births, deaths and of marriage reported to the superintendent registrar, and  none of the registrars was salaried, but were paid fees for the events they registered, certificates issued, and some other duties.

Every Clerk to the Guardians was offered the post of Superintendent Registrar, in addition to his existing job, and in most cases they accepted, because the two posts could be conveniently combined. Where they declined the offer, another suitable candidate had to be found, and this was not always successful. In November 1837 the Clerk of the Lewes union wrote to the Registrar General

'in consequence of the remuneration for the Superintendent Registrars being inadequate to the trouble given no respectable person can be found to fill the office'
As a result, some unions were soon combined for registration purposes only. but for a short time there were some now unfamiliar names among the list of districts. The districts of Hursley and Sedgefield existed briefly in the first quarter (September 1837) before disappearing forever, followed by Buntingford, Cerne, Chailey, High Peak and West Firle before the end of the year. Dulverton, Lanchester and Whitchurch also vanished, but were re-constituted as registration districts some years later. Chailey and West Firle were joined to Lewes, to which was also added Newhaven in 1838. So the Lewes clerk had good reason to comment on the difficulty of filling the posts in his area.

Source: HO39/4 Home Office correspondence Registrar General's Office 1837

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The story behind the sign


I always carry a camera, and if I see a 'ghost sign' like this one I take a picture. This one is clearly visible from the northbound platform of Finchley Road station on the London Underground (one of the quirky features of the London Underground is that most of it isn't underground) It is on the back of a building in Canfield Place.

Faced with evidence like this, what's a girl supposed to do but look in the 1911 census? Sure enough, there they were at 7 Canfield Place, Charles Bryant, 25, chimney sweep, and his wife Eliza, 29, with their only child, 3-year-old Charles. All three were born in Hampstead, and they had a visitor, Ann Daw, 32, a dressmaker, born in Derby (RG 14/645 schedule 280) on Findmypast

It turns out that sweeping chimneys was a Bryant family tradition; The 1911 census shows that Charles and Eliza had been married 5 years, and the London parish registers on Ancestry.co.uk include the marriage of Charles Bryant and Eliza Daw on 6 August 1905 at Emmanuel Church, Hampstead. Charles, aged 20 was a sweep, and so was his father, also called Charles. Charles Bryant's baptiam is also on Ancestry, on 30 October 1886 at Holy Trinity, Hampstead, son of Charles Bryant, master sweep, and Eliza Sophia. The marriage of Charles Bryant and Eliza Sophia Coventry took place on 15 January 1883 at St Mary, Kilburn. Charles, a widower, was the son of George Bryant, another chimney sweep.

In 1901 7 Canfield Place is the home of Charles Bryant, chimney sweep and carpet beater - not young Charles ' father, but a cousin. Young Charles, aged 14, has the occupation 'showroom porter'. Eliza S Bryant, aged 40, is also there, described as a housekeeper, but who may be Charles' mother (RG 13/123 fol 95 p25). In 1891 Charles is with both of his parents, this time in Hendon (RG 12/1050 fol 23 p20) Eliza's age and birthplace are consistent with those of Eliza the housekeeper in 1901, and we learn that Charles Bryant snr came from Lidlingtom, Bedfordshire, and was born around 1856. This is helpful, because on the 1883 marriage certificate he is described only as 'full age'. In the same census year no Bryants were present at 7 Canfield Place, but the premises were occupied by Henry Henderson, chimney sweep, so Charles may have taken over an existing business at some time between 1891 and 1901.

In 1871 Charles Bryant snr was aged 15, and already working as a chimney sweep in his birthplace, Lidlington, but his father, George is shown as a shopkeeper, not a sweep (RG 10/1556 fol 53 page 16). But in 1861, George is 'ag lab and chimney sweep (RG 9/1002 fol 54 page 16). He too was born in Lidlington, around 1831.

George, Charles and Charles, three generations of Bryant chimney sweeps; looking forward, it appears there was also a fourth. The National Probate Calendar shows that Charles Bryant jnr died 14 February 1937, and left no will, but Administration was granted to his widow, Eliza and to Frederick Bryant, chimney sweep. Frederick was his younger son, born in November 1911. This information is shown on the record of Charles' service in the Royal Artillery in the First World War, found on Ancestry.co.uk among the British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920. He served for less than 2 years as a driver in the Royal Artillery, but was discharged as unfit due to a congenital heart defect, and received a gratuity of £15.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

People of Abbotsham, so good they named them twice?

Part of my job is to answer enquiries sent by email, and I received one recently that drew my attention to an unusual set of census returns. The enquirer asked if it was possible for a person to appear twice in the same census. The answer to this is yes, for a number of possible reasons.

But this one was particularly interesting because it is not a single individual who appears twice, but half of a village! The place in question is Abbotsham in Devon, in 1841. There are two enumeration districts in Abbotsham, and the enumerator for one of them has listed all the names twice, first in ink, and then in pencil. The instructions to the enumerators in 1841 said that the enumeration books should be completed in pencil, so it may be that this man did not read them properly until he had written everthing out beautifully in ink, all ten pages. The next ten pages see all the names repeated, in exactly the same order, but in pencil (and without the gaps between households that he had left the first time round).

Anyone who has used the 1841 census might wish that a few more enumerators had done the same, because the version in ink is much clearer and easier to read! The reference for this district of Abbotsham in 1841 is HO 107/242 book 2, or if you are browsing by place on Ancestry, Enumeration District 8. Alhough census images can be found on other sites, this is one case where the Ancestry version wins hands down. This is because the images are, unusually, in colour. Most images have been scanned from microfilm, and are therefore in black and white, but where the films were too hard to read, as was the case with Abbotsham, Ancestry were able to scan the original pages.

Just over 200 people were listed twice in Abbotsham, but they were only counted once by the clerks who abstracted the totals, so the population was counted correctly, which was, after all, the object of the exercise.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Mappy Monday - Bath


Most of the maps I have found are black and white engravings in books, but I also have some coloured maps. This map of Bath, dated 1890, is one of my favourites. This is probably because Bath is one of my favourite cities, too. I also found a much earlier map of Bath in one of my books.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Follow Friday - Rootschat

There are lots of discussion boards, newsgroups and forums to choose from, and everyone has their favourites. One of mine is Rootschat 'an easy to use messaging forum for everyone researching their family history roots or local history'. 

Its focus is the UK and Ireland, and there are separate boards for each county, as well as special interest topics such as the armed forces , census, one-name studies, and technology issues. One particularly nice feature is the Photo Restoration board, where you can upload your old family photographs and ask for them to be restored, improved or even colourised.

There is lots of help and advice on this forum, and an army of hard-working volunteer moderators to guide you. There are lots of very knowledgeable people on this forum who are happy to share their expertise, or simply to help each other out. For example, a very kind person who lives close to where I lived as a child took pictures of my old home and my first school and sent them to me - and I hadn't even asked him to!

Forum posts can run the risk of wandering off topic, but there is a safety-valve here in the form of "The Totally Off Topic Bit" for posts that have nothing to do with genealogy.

Rootschat is a nice place to hang out, and is definitely worth a look if you have British or Irish ancestry

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Parish registers online

FamilySearch is the biggest and best-known site for parish register indexes, but it isn't the only one.

A number of English counties have Online Parish Clerks, volunteer transcribers who 'adopt' parishes and  put the results online, free of charge.

They are all works in progress, but worth a look if your county of interest is listed here.

Cornwall
Dorset
Essex
Hampshire
Kent
Lancashire
Somerset
Sussex
Warwickshire
Wiltshire

The Online Parish Clerks have are separate sites for each county, but another site worth searching is FREEREG, which includes transcriptions from many counties in England, Wales and Scotland.

Many printed parish register transcripts can be downloaded from The Internet Archive including publications by Phillimore and Co, and some parish register societies.

Better yet are free digitised images of parish registers, and you will find these for some parishes in Kent and Essex. They are not indexed, although you may find indexes elsewhere, such as on FamilySearch or Online Parish Clerks. History House - dip into the history of Essex links to digitised images of some parish registers in the Essex Record Office. Registers from the area round the Medway Towns in Kent are on the Medway Archives CityArk site. This is not the most user-friendly site I have ever used, to say the least, but given the choice, I'll take inconvenient but content-rich over pretty but empty every time! For anyone not familiar with the term 'Medway Towns', it is the area round Rochester and Chatham; Chatham includes not only Chatham Royal Naval Dockyard, but is also a garrison town, so it is interesting for anyone with ancestors in the Army, Navy and Royal Marines, who may have been stationed there at some time. The Mid-Kent Marriage Index 1754-1911 is a useful resource for another part of the county.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A few pieces of paper tell a story

I bought a bundle of assorted documents on Ebay a while ago, mainly because it included some decorative billheads I was interested in. Of course I looked at everything else in the bundle, and noticed the same name 'Bradbury' appeared on three of them, and a story began to unfold...

 
The first is a bill for Poor Rates from Huddersfield Poor Law Union, dated 11 September and addressed to Mr J R Bradbury, 15 Fitzwilliam Street West. But 'J R' has been crossed out and replaced with 'Marian', and the receipt, also dated 11 September, is made out to 'Mrs Marian Bradbury'. 

I guessed that Mr Bradbury had recently died, and the third piece of paper, a builder's bill, confirms this; there are items dated May, June, July and August 1876 for window repairs and the replacement of a water closet, then on 25 August "to 1 strong oak coffin, lined, padded and mattress &c £5 15s 6d".

A quick check of the National Probate Calendar on Ancestry shows an entry in 1876 for the Will of Jonathan Rhodes Bradbury, late of 15 Fitzwilliam Street West, woolstapler, who died 22 August. Probate was granted 14 October to Mary Ann Bradbury of the same address, widow and relict. His death entry on FreeBMD shows that he was 45 years old. It also showed his marriage to Mary Ann Ring in 1858, and FamilySearch gave me the exact date, 14 June 1858, in Strood, near Rochester in Kent. This is a very long way from Huddersfield, but a search in the 1871 census found the family as visitors in a household in Ilkley, Yorkshire (RG 10/4302 folio 99 page 28) shows that Mrs Bradbury was born in Canterbury. The couple also had 3 children, Mary A, 11, Benjamin, 5, and Herbert, 8 months. So poor Mrs Bradbury was not only a widow, she was quite a young widow with young children.

 
    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Three pieces of paper, the kind that would usually be thrown away, but they have a story to tell

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Where did Charles Dickens find his inspiration?

Charles Dickens drew much of the inspiration for his books from people, places and events in his childhood He spent part of his early years in and around Rochester, when his father worked at nearby Chatham Dockyard. He certainly would have seen this stone in the graveyard of Rochester Catherdral - in fact it is clearly visible from the road that Pip would taken to Satis House in Great Expectations. Perhaps this is where he found the name for Little Dorritt and her family; who knows?

The stone reads:
 
Sacred to the memory of
Mr JOHN DUNBAR DORRETT
of this city,
who departed this life
 on the 21st day of  October 1837
aged 52 years.
Also his wife
REBECCA DORRETT 
who departed this life
on the [5th] day of  September 1839
aged 59 years.
 Also
FANNY DORRETT
 who departed this life on the [7th] day of  August 1854
 aged 79 years


The wills of John Dunbar Dorrett and his widow Rebecca were proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC); John, described as a corn dealer, left his entire estate to Rebecca, who was also his sole executrix. When she died three years later, she too was described as a corn dealer. The couple appear to have had no children, since Rebecca's bequests were all to her brothers, sisters and a niece. One of her sisters, Ann Beverstock, lived in Ordnance Place, where Dickens lived as a child, so it may be that he even met Mr and Mrs Dorrett.

No relationship is given for the third person named on the stone, Fanny Dorrett, but an earlier will shows that she was John Dunbar Dorrett's sister: the will of Elizabeth Dorrett, widow, names these two as her children in 1814.

PCC Will of Rebecca Dorrett 16 September 1839 PROB 11/1916
PCC Will of John Dunbar Dorrett 2 December 1839 PROB 11/1887
PCC Will of Elizabeth Dorrett 20 January 1814 PROB 11/1551

Downloadable from DocumentsOnline

Monday, 1 November 2010

Mappy Monday - London, the metropolitan maze

I used to make part of my living by selling books and ephemera, and I even did some publishing on a very small scale. I discovered very quickly that people were particularly interested in London, and maps were also popular. So if you had maps of London to sell, you couldn't go wrong. I don't sell maps any more, but here are some from my collection.

From Collins London Atlas and Guide 1896

From Collins London Atlas and Guide 1896
Chelsea 1902
Finsbury 1906
There are some very good (free) online map resources for London:

MAPCO has selection of high-definition maps of London, and some other places too.

The Charles Booth Online Archive contains the results of his survey into life and labour of the London poor (1883-1903) including extensive notebooks and his famous colour-coded maps

The British Library has an online gallery London: a life in maps with some interesting features

MOTCO contains ten London maps between 1702 and 1862, most of them with street indexes

The Museum of London also has an interesting digital map, Streetmuseum which is not online, but is an  iPhone app