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Monday, 28 April 2014

52Ancestors #17 in Wordart! Simon Molloy Derbyshire, England (1819-1869)

This week I've decided to share what I know about Samuel Molloy (the 4xGreat Grandfather of my children) as a piece of wordart.

Remember, sharing your family history doesn't always have to be a written report!

Pop over to our facebook photos for more ideas and keep an eye on our website too.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

52 Ancestors #15 & #16:Samuel and Hannah Guthrie (Pharis, Loughguile, Northern Ireland)

Samuel and Hannah Guthrie were a brother and sister who never married but lived together. They are the Great-Great Uncle and Great-Great Aunt of my children.

They can be found on the 1911 census of Ireland in the townland of Pharis.
"1911 Ireland Census",[database on-line], The National Archives of Ireland ( : accessed 23 April 2014) Antrim, Castlequarter, Pharis, 8, GUTHRIE

Samuel died on 18th February 1923 and Hannah sent out the cards. When Hannah died the following year on 5th May the announcement was sent out by Jane Guthrie (nee Loughridge) my Great Grandma. She was married to Daniel, a brother of Hannah and Samuel. 

On my recent trip to Ireland I received copies of their funeral cards.
Hannah GUTHRIE death notice card, Pharis, County Antrim, 5 May 1924; privately held by Joanne Tillin, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Bedfordshire, England, 23 April 2014.  

Samuel GUTHRIE death notice card, Pharis, County Antrim, 18 July 1923; privately held by Joanne Tillin, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Bedfordshire, England, 23 April 2014.  
Funeral/death notice cards were used as a quick way to let people know what had happened. Newspapers probably weren't printed on a daily basis so these cards would provide details of the funeral quickly. As you can see they didn't leave a lot of time between the death and the funeral.

I'm hoping to investigate the Northern Ireland records to find their death records.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Postcard Book Page 11 - North Wales and Blackpool

Sorry about the lack of Postcard posts recently - real life has got in the way!! Anyway we're up to page 11 in the postcard book and you can read other posts by clicking on the Postcards label.

This page is again all in the UK - no exotic locations this week!

The top postcard is of Bodnant Hall in Conway, Wales. Here's the postcard from the book.

The next one is posted in May 1908 from a former patient of Nurse Hogg (I think!) and shows Marine Drive in Rhos on Sea (also known as Llandrillo) again in Conway.

The final card on the page is a view of the south promenade in Blackpool a posted in July 1907 and it's from the same person who sent the card of Blackpool tower on the previous page - with the illegible signature again!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

52 Ancestors #14: Bridget McClements (Friary, Loughguile, Northern Ireland)

Wow - what a hectic time we're having at the moment!! School's out for Easter and I'm getting ready for a trip to Ireland next week as well as trying to finish off some coursework for my current Pharos course!

Following the release of the Northern Ireland records I've discovered a new ancestor - Bridget McClements. She is the Great x 4 Grandmother of my children.

All I know about Bridget is that she was married to Henry McNeely - a bootmaker. They had 4 children - Mary, Bridget, Henry and James. Bridget went on to marry James Hickison. Interestingly, the McNeely's were a Roman Catholic family but by 1901 when Bridget's daughter Bridget was part of the Hickinson family her religion has changed to Church of Ireland. I wonder if that was common?

Bridget died in 1900 at the age of 70 (or possibly 73 depending on which way you squint at the number on the death record!) in Friary.

I'm hoping to find out more about the McClements family in the future.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Thoughts on the new Northern Ireland records....

So, on Tuesday I was sitting in the hairdressers having a quick flick through facebook on my phone when I saw a posting which said the long awaited birth, marriages and deaths from Northern Ireland had gone online. I followed the link and sure enough the website was live.

I tried to do a search and realised that I needed to set up an account, which I did but then it wouldn't let me see any of my results without buying credits. As I was on my phone I decided against continuing and waited until I got home and could look at it on a bigger screen.

Once my credits were purchased I was away - or so I thought!

Every search - births, marriages or deaths - must have a surname and a date - exact (dd/mm/yyyy) or a range of years (1872-1876). Fine you think but then you start to hit some problems.

Firstly sometimes the way that you think a surname will be spelt is not the same as the way it's been added to the index. McNeilly is a good example - almost every reference in the index that I found had the "c" transcribed as an "e" such as Meneally, Menelly etc. So if you were trying to search for all surnames beginning McN you would never find your McNeilly family.

I spent a good hour last night searching for my Hickinson ancestors. The majority I found using surnames beginning with HIC. I found that the variants option made very little difference and so I was reliant on coming up with every variant spelling I could think of. But what if there's a mistranscription in the first 3 letters - for example Dickinson or Higgison. A wildcard would help here.

Anyway, I thought I'd be clever and look at the Irish civil registration indexes on Ancestry where the search functionality is better. So I found a reference for the birth registration of Jane Hickeson in 1870 along with the volume and page number and headed back to the nidirect site. But nowhere can I find a reference to the birth of Jane Hickeson in 1870 - I even sat there and tried surnames starting with AIC, BIC, CIC, etc but no luck. Am I wrong in thinking that if they are in the Irish Civil Registration indexes then they should be in the nidirect database?

The other frustrating thing is that you have to put a date in - which I can understand as it stops the database getting too overloaded I suppose - but I might just want to put in just a year. I'm not sure many people will know the exact date as that's what they are hoping to find. The other alternative is to put in a range of years but with a five year gap maximum which allows for a slightly more general search but is still frustrating.

Now this may sound like a very negative post and it's not meant to be - for a start the fact that I can see the actual entry in the register for my great-great grandmother's birth and discover her parents for the princely sum of £2 pounds is absolutely fantastic!!! The free results that come back are more than enough to establish siblings or verify marriages which means that when you actually spend credits you're quite confident that it's the right event. I have been able to verify a few facts that before I had from stories or word of mouth too.

I'd like to say "Well Done" to nidirect for producing such a valuable database but (and there's always a but!) please can we have some more flexible search functionality??

I'm more than happy to volunteer to be a tester if GRONI are ever looking for help - now I wonder if we'll ever get anything like this for England and Wales....

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

52 Ancestors #13: Ernest George TILLIN (Berkshire and India) (1874-1905)

As I've mentioned before on the blog I am conducting a One Name Study into the TILLIN surname and have it registered with the Guild of One Name Studies. This means that I collect as many references to the surname TILLIN as possible and that they are not always directly related to my family. I'm hoping to highlight some of the TILLINs that I find via the 52 ancestors blog series.

Ernest George Tillin was the Greatx3 Uncle of my children and is one of the few military ancestors we have found so far.

He was born in Aldermaston, Berkshire on 19th September 1874 and appears on both the 1881 and 1891 census in Berkshire.

In 1893 Ernest enlisted in the Rifle Brigade following time served with the 3rd Royal Berkshire Regiment.

At this time his enlistment record tells us some interesting information about him including the fact that he was 5ft 5 and 3/4 inches tall, he weighed 140 lbs, his chest expanded from 33 inches to 35 inches, he had a fresh complexion,  grey eyes and brown hair. He also had a scar under his chin.

In 1897 he took part in the campaign on the Punjab Frontier and was awarded the India Medal in 1895 and the Clasp Punjab Frontier in 1897.

The other interesting thing is that in the Next of Kin section of his service record it gives details of his family. His elder step-brother James Monger is described as part of the Royal Artillery in Meerut, India - I wonder if this was one of the reasons that Ernest joined the armed forces. Meerut is also one of the places I have postcards from in my Treasure Chest Thursday postcard series.

After re-enlisting in 1904 Edward died of a heart condition in Aden on 5th November 1905.