5 years of blogging

Snip WordPress 5th anniversaryWordPress reminded me today that this is my 5th anniversary of starting to blog. My first post on Digging up the Ancients was made 24th Oct 2010. At that stage I knew very little about my family history so this has been an amazing journey. I have learned so much about the people, the places and the times. Elements of history and geography that flew over my head in lessons at school have found a new meaning because I can now relate them to my own family. So many interesting tales to tell, covering the full spectrum from lost loves to manslaughter and mayhem. I have found ancient ancestors and claimed new cousins. My adventure is now taking me beyond my grandparents’ yarns and the documented paper trail into the realms of genetic genealogy where more fascinating facts may be lurking.

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Niagara Falls on Sunday – 1949

Postcard from Canada 1949My grandparents, Jonty and Meggie Webb (née Henderson), travelled to Canada in 1949 to visit their daughter Mary who had married Canadian Jimmy Ash and moved to Toronto.

A newly found Henderson-cousin, Jayne Handyside of Amble, has found this historical gem while rifling through her family’s old photo box. It is written by my granny and addressed to her brother Randle who was Jayne’s great grandfather. The Archie that is referred to in the postcard is younger brother to Meggie and Randle. He was born in Amble, Northumberland in1907 and emigrated to Canada.

They are clearly having a whale of a time and planning a trip to Niagara Falls, which must have been quite spectacular for them on their first trip abroad.

Amble in old photographs

Snip Amble in old photographsThose of you who are on facebook and have ancestors from Amble may be interested in joining the group Amble in Old Photographs. This group was started a few years ago by Bartle Rippon and for a while there were only about a dozen of us who participated. Membership has increased exponentially over the past couple of months. Many fascinating memories are being published. Since Bartle is a published author, The Ambler editorial board have asked him to consider putting together a book with Amble memories based on input from the group. If you have any good material hidden away in your cupboards and drawers please dig it out and join the group.

My own experiences on there have been very positive as many previously dangling branches on my Henderson part of my family tree have now attached themselves to the right spot with a little collaboration from newly found family members in the group.

David Taggart Henderson (1894-1917)

WWI Plaque David Taggart Henderson 001When we cleared out my mother’s house back in 1999 we found an object in her cupboard which we were unsure about. Since neither of us lives in England, this was packed away in a box in my brother’s house and didn’t see the light of day for a while. When we dug it out again our curiosity was piqued and we decided to investigate what it was. It turned out be a “widow’s penny” given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in World War One. This discovery set us off on the next quest. Who was this David Henderson and why did we have this wonderful memento? He was clearly a relative of my maternal grandmother, born Margaret Jane Henderson, but his name had never been mentioned before.

Further investigation showed him to be my granny’s cousin, David Taggart Henderson, son of her uncle John Henderson, born (1860-1898). Cousin David was only about 5 years older than my granny Meggy, so I assume there were quite close when they were growing up. John Henderson and his wife Mary lost another child in infancy, then Mary went on to marry John Baston and have a second family.

David T. Henderson can be found on the Amble War Memorial. He was an Able Seaman in the RNVR Hood Divsion and you can read more about him at this record on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There is also a slightly damaged headstone cross memorial to him, his parents and his baby brother in Amble East Cemetery. I will add that to the blog another time.

Another month whizzes past

Views Sept 2015September is over and I have just had a quick review of my blog statistics for the past three months. Interest seems to be growing and I expect my September viewings would have been even better if I had continued to post daily for the whole month.

The little lapse in posting for the last week is because I was too busy giving a living introduction to ourViews country Sept 2015 family history to two cousins from the other side of the world who were visiting Northumberland for the first time. We had a whirlwind tour that included Warkworth, Radcliffe, Amble, Hauxley, Alnwick and Alnmouth. I am contemplating adding a new page to cover that visit after I catch up on the work backlog from taking a short break. Managed to tidy up a few branches on the family tree at the same time thanks to their input.

Northumbrian nostalgia weekend

Amusing myself at Oslo Gardermoen airport, waiting for a flight to Edinburgh. Heading “home” to Nothumberland for a long weekend to meet two Canadian cousins for the first time. Their visit will be a little shorter than originally planned as they are having to catch a later train up from London on Friday. The objective is to give them a little taste of their roots, but it will be a whirlwind tour. They are the daughter and granddaughter of my first cousin James Murray Ash (1943-2011), known to the family as Murray. Murray was born in Radcliffe, Northumberland to my aunt Mary Webb (1921-2011) and her Canadian husband Jimmy. Mary and Jimmy (James Murray Ash sr) met when he was stationed in England with the Canadian Airforce during WW2. They moved back to Toronto shortly after establishing a family, so I never had the pleasure of meeting my cousin Murray. Making up for that now by joining some of his family to show them where he was born and where my Aunty Mary worked at Alnwick Castle.