|my family records from the late 19th century|
|more family records, probably from the early 20th century|
After a while, the table was getting so formless that I decided it needed a framework of facts and dates. That's where Ancestry.co.uk came in. I went on it to fill in the birth and death dates of various fairly close relatives but within about an hour I was hopelessly addicted. The actions you need to perform on the Ancestry website in order to pin down the life-facts of your relatives perfectly fulfil the same need in me to finish jigsaw puzzles, play spot-the-difference puzzles and keep Gallery Five gift-tags from the 1970s. And the element of detective work is totally gratifying, especially challenges such as chasing down female relatives' maiden names. I've only been researching for 9 days but there are already 307 people on my family tree. If you can link your tree with someone else's on the site, then whole branches can be added with just a few clicks.
|mourning card for my great-grand uncle, who died in childhood in 1864|
As I've been spending almost every waking moment when I haven't been at work trawling through census records and birth, marriage and death indexes, I decided I had to force myself to focus on the actual point of it all. By this point I was researching very distant relatives just for the satisfaction of finding their parents or spouse. So I decided just to establish the birth, marriage and death dates of my direct relatives, going back to Jonas Mattison, born in Richmond, Yorkshire in 1795, plus their children, where they lived and what they did for a living. Jonas has the postition of paterfamilias on the second document above and was my great great great great grandfather.
So I had managed to limit the scope of my researches (notwithstanding that when my free two weeks run out I'm definitely going to have a go on the 'premium' membership of Ancestry.com because then I'll get access to electoral rolls, divorce records, baptisms, ooh, I can't wait. They sure know what they're doing with their business model...) and yesterday morning I sat down to fill in any missing data in my new list of need-to-knows. I had what I needed for my great great great grandparents Thomas and Mary. And I knew that my great great grandfather Christopher had been born in 1858 and spent his childhood in this house on Castle Hill, Richmond:
|F. Mattison & Co: on the low-level part to the right you can still see the words 'Iron Foundry'|
However, my direct relative Christopher didn't live here -- so where did he live? In the 1891 census returns, he lived on Leeming Lane but this is a very long road and none of the house numbers is specified.:
I looked backwards and forwards on the census return for any identifiable house or place such as a mill, to which I could work out the relation to Christopher's house. I found a pub, two pages on -- The Crown Inn:
So if I could locate the Crown Inn I would be very close to pinpointing Christopher and Marion's gaff. I found two photographs of the Crown:
|in the lower photo the Crown is in the distance where the road curves round.|
So this is all just to explain why I'm not doing any painting at the moment...