May month

Since it is the end of the month I have updated the starring system on my surname list that indicates the newest names. Stars have been removed from the names added in April. A single star now highlights names added in May. All new names that I add in June will have double stars until the next month end. Here is a summary of the names that were new to my genealogy database in May:

Pedigree: Hedley     Other: Cunningham, Garland, Unwin

At the beginning of my I set myself some targets. Looking back on my achievements this month I will have to admit that I have done very little of what I had planned. I have made reasonable progress with tying in more Cracket/Crackett lines but am not finished processing everything I have on scraps of paper. I have also bashed away more at the Webb brick wall, but it hasn’t crumbled yet. By letting myself get sidetracked from the plan I have actually been successful on other fronts. I have gathered a lot of interesting information with respect to my great uncle Edmund Webb’s service in WW1. I have found a number of interesting newspaper articles on several subjects. I have obtained restored versions of a couple of important photographs and I have begun to write a series of alphabet articles. Generally a successful month even though the activities diversified from the plan.

172 years ago today

Andrew Oliver and Margaret Watson - "of age"My 3x great grandparents, Andrew Oliver, resident of Choppington, and Margaret Watson, resident of Morpeth, were married 30 May 1840 at Morpeth parish church in Northumberland. Their marriage certificate shows Andrew’s profession as husbandman, but I know that later on he worked and died in the mines. Their fathers are Thomas Oliver and William Watson who are also shown as husbandmen. The certificate shows them both to be “of age” which was not very helpful.

Editing Ellenor

Ellenor Turner – Wedding portrait 1915

I have a postage stamp sized photo of my granny Ellenor Turner on her wedding day in 1915. This picture has suffered the ravages of time and after 97 years the emulsion is badly scarred. I was contemplating taking the photo to a professional photographer for restoration, but decided to investigate other options first. I was lucky enough to find a restoration thread on rootschat and having tried it out I am amazed by the results. The original is on the left.

Ellenor Turner – restored

In the restored version on the right it surprised me to see that my granny was actually quite a “bonny lass”. I selected this one as the restoration that was closest to the original features. If any of you are interested in seeing the alternative restorations, including a colour portrait, that were offered take a look at Restoration – Wedding portrait ET on rootschat.

Quite quaint quoit contest

Since my ancestors on both sides migrated frequently around the mining communities of Northumberland I have often wondered if they bumped into each other on their travels. Today I came across documentary evidence of one such encounter and was intrigued to read a newspaper article about a quoit match involving my great granda from one side and two of my great granduncles from the other side. The Morpeth Herald of Saturday 6 April 1878 reports the results of the Quoit Handicap at Scotland Gate:

The full text of the article can be found here. Leonard Crackett is my paternal great grandfather. Andrew Oliver and Joseph Oliver are the younger brothers of my maternal great great grandmother Mary Oliver. None of my relatives actually won the competition.

151 years ago today

George Murray 1861 – illegitimate

My great grandfather, George Murray Turner, was born 27 May 1861 in Coldstream in Scotland. It took me quite a while to figure this out as I was initially off on the wrong trail with respect to name and place. I was looking for George Murray Turner with a birth year about 1862 in Northumberland. I realised I needed to think again after discovering that his mother Barbara Murray did not marry William Robinson Turner until 1864. This set me off on the trail of Barbara’s journeys from her birthplace at Alford in Aberdeenshire to her burial at Amble in Northumberland. In the 1861 census 20-year-old Barbara, who must have been heavily pregnant at the time, appears in the household of her father George Murray in Gas Lane, Coldstream. This gave me the clue I needed to search for my great granda as just George Murray in Coldstream records on ScotlandsPeople. The clip from the record shows an illegitimate boy George Murray born in Gas Lane. I wonder if my granny ever knew this about her father. It was never mentioned, so maybe it was the family secret.

122 years ago today

Granda George Crackett – taken in the yard at Church St.

My paternal grandfather George Crackett was born 26 May 1890 at Choppington in Northumberland. George’s parents Leonard Crackett and Mary née Parkinson baptized him in the Primitive Methodist Church on 18th June 1890. In 1915 he married Ellenor Turner of Amble, my grandmother, and they spent the whole of their married lives there. They had three children, my Dad George William, Sydney and Evelyn.

Crackett: Granda George and 3 of his sisters

This second photograph shows Granda George as a young lad with three of his six sisters (Elizabeth, Nellie, Bella, Dorothy Ann, Jane and Mamie). He also had 3 older brothers (Jack, Will and Len). I am guessing he may have been about 10 at the time the picture was taken.

My granda died in 1978 at the age of 88, having outlived granny by a couple of years. He was a keen gardener and man of few words. I remember when I was 11 having to do a little family tree as homework from school. I asked him what his mother’s name was and he answered “Mam”. Fortunately, my granny knew that her mother-in-law had been called Mary so I was not stuck with a complete blank.

Blog reader status

Status

Australia, USA and UK have been the top three countries showing interest in my blog during the past week. I have now passed 3000 hits. About two thirds have been in the past four months since I started blogging more regularly (postaday) in February this year. I also have a number of followers whose viewings are not included in the hit count above. There are now 11 people following the blog and another 9 who are following activity on specific comments. I still have many family members that I have not sent the link to yet, so I expect some significant changes in the demographics of my readers once I start to spread information about the blog to more cousins and potential cousins.

I almost forgot to mention that this is not today’s post, but my catch-up post for Thursday 24th May when I was out for the evening having dinner at Tjuvholmen Sjømagasin. It was a beautiful evening, so we were able to dine outside and watch the boats go by.