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.

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.

Blavatar: Amble staiths

Coal staiths and fishing boats at Amble Harbour

My blog has existed for a year and a half with just the standard WordPress symbol identifying it. I decided not to have my own photo as a blavatar image since this is more about my past than about me. Until now I have been stuck for ideas as to what might be an appropriate picture, but tonight I had a flash of inspiration. I have a water colour of Amble harbour showing the coal staiths and fishing boats. Nothing could be more appropriate since it was coal mines and fish quays that brought my various ancestral lines together at Amble to produce me. The blavatar is a little too small to get the full effect, so here is a picture of the painting. This is one of many local Northumbrian scenes painted by my uncle.

May modus operandi

Most of my genealogy research so far has been structured according what grabs my interest on a particular day and what mood I am in. The Easter break was the first time I tried to set myself some more structured plans. Although I did not manage everything on the list it did help me to not wander too far off track, so I am going to do the same for May. Focus areas this month (unless of course I get sidetracked onto something much more fun to follow up) are:

  • Register all of the Murray, Winning and Lemcke information that I have been working on with my Aberdeenshire cousin and follow up other interesting leads he feeds to me. Will probably take the whole month doing a few each day to get up to date.
  • 1st week: Tie together in my tree on Ancestry the families of my 2x great grandfather William Cracket and his siblings Adam, David, Margaret, Mark and Jane
  • 2nd week: Sift through the Oliver and Thornton notes I made at Woodhorn at Easter
  • 3rd week: Bang my head against that Webb brick wall again. Maybe some day it might crumble when I look at it from a different angle
  • 4th week: Feel I am on a roll with my Halls of Elsdon so I might see where Gabriel & Hannah take me next
  • 5th week: See what is behind Ancestry’s shaking leaves on my Carr line

Where my readers live

Top countries reading my blog in March and April 2012

Since WordPress started publishing country statistics at the end of February I have readers from 23 countries. Some just with one view, who have dropped in and moved on. The picture shows those countries with more than 5 hits. I have to confess that Norway is top of the list because of some of my own views when I have been looking up something and was not logged in as admin. It is nevertheless encouraging to see that somebody else out there in the big wide world is reading. Even more encouraging that some of these readers have established contact and we are now collaborating on common lines of research.

April achievements

As April enters its last weekend I took time out from digging to reflect on what fruit this month’s activities have born. Thanks to the Easter break this has been a good month for my genealogy research. Among my April achievements are:

  • Birth record for 2x great grandfather William Cracket after 2 years of searching
  • 3x great grandparents William Cracket and Isabel (Isabella) possibly Gowans
  • Possible 4x great grandparents William Gowans and Isabella Thompson
  • 4x great grandparents Gabriel Hall and Hannah Hunter (and a lead on a possible earlier wife for Gabriel)
  • New contacts established with researchers that are now collaborating with me on Cracket, Hall and Webb

All in all an acceptable April accomplishment. I wonder if May with its bank holidays will prove as successful.

Blossoming blog

Just realised that with my last post I hit a total of 75 posts and 45 pages. Not bad going for a novice blogger, even if I say so myself. Next blogging challenge that I am going to set myself is to become more proficient in spicing up the content with photos to make it a bit more interesting for my readers. Yes, I do have readers. Not a great number yet, as I have not widely publicised the link, but there are a faithful few and the number is growing steadily. My thanks to those of you who have given me encouragement along the way.

There are comment boxes where you can share your thoughts on the content, suggest new topics or let me know if you think we may be related. If you see any factual errors or find any broken links as you are reading please drop me a comment so I can fix them. The comment options show up as a think bubble on posts and as a box at the bottom of each page. If you want to tell me which posts you like best without having to write a comment then you can try out the 5-star system under each post.

Status on plans from March 31

On March 31 I posted a short list of holiday research activities that did not include sitting in the archives. Status is now:

  • Coldstream tollbooth – Done. I also managed to fit in a trip to the Coldstream museum and found Gas Lane where my Murray ancestors used to live. The site of the gas works now seems to be sheltered housing.
  • Coldstream churchyard – Done. I was a bit confused to start with as I arrived at the church in Coldstream to find it had no churchyard. After enquiring in the museum I made a trip out to the neighbouring village of Lennel where I made some interesting Murray finds in the churchyard. Unfortunately a significant part of it has been shut off as unsafe since the land is sliding towards the river.
  • Ulgham churchyard – Done. I found some Watsons, but not the ones I was hoping to find.

(This is my catch-up post for Monday 2nd April when I missed my postaday)

Status on plans from March 20

In planning my Easter holiday I listed up 8 items to follow up at the Northumberland Archives or NDFHS. After three trips to Woodhorn I can now report that I have worked on 5 of the listed items, but only one of them can now be crossed off as complete. On the plus side I have eliminated some options from my other enquiries and I discovered that some of the records I was reviewing to answer the questions had additional information that was useful, so I spent more time on those records rather than hopping over to the next question.

The one item I have successfully cleared from the list is checking that I had documented the correct father for 3x great grandmother Margery Hall born 1803 in Elsdon, Northumberland. I had conflicting information from two different transcription sources giving her father as Joseph and John. I have now reviewed the microfilm of the church records and confirmed that her parents were Joseph Hall of Elsdon and Eleanor Thompson of Rothbury parish.