Friday, 27 March 2015

Sepia Saturday - Big Wheels to the Fore

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.   

Wheels is my focus for this week's theme with my first photographs,  courtesy of my local heritage group Auld Earlston.
 A tractor - and a giant wheel!

 Donaldsons,  (no relation), the butchers still operate  Earlston -
 though they have updated  their vehicles!  

 A lorry of Brownlie's Sawmill which again is still operating in the village. 

Some family photographs:

My father (on the left), and his brother, 
standing proud in front of Dad's first car, c. 1936. 

Onto the 1970's.  to a family holiday in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and here is a powerful view of one of the  steam trains on the heritage line between Grosmont and Pickering  - a photograph taken by my husband.

 A visit to the National Railway Museum at York was also on the itinerary where our  daughter enjoyed playing gymnastics on the giant wheels. 


Full circle - and back to tractors -  and here is my little granddaughter one Christmas morning with her present - so she could be like Daddy driving his tractor. 

Drive over HERE to see more images from fellow bloggers. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015 - Theme Revealed

"Family History -  
Sources & Stories" 

is my theme for the
2015 A-Z Challenge.

I am a family history enthusiast, based in Scotland,  sharing my interest on my blog  Family History Fun.  In previous years of the Challenge. I have taken as my themes " A Sense of Place" and "My Scotthish Borders".  This year I am reverting to what I know best - Family History. 

Family History is so much more than names and dates, but all about discovering stories.  So in this challenge, I shall be  exploring a range of records that can  help you find out  about the lives and times of your ancestors and  in turn enhance writing  your family history.  For it is the richness of the detail in our family stories that make them so fascinating  to ourselves and interesting to others.

Much of my focus will be  on Scottish records, but I shall also be looking at sources (both formal and informal) that  I have used to tell the story of my English ancestors, going well beyond the standard big three of  Certificates, Censuses and Church Records.

I hope you will find the suggestions useful, particularly if you are at an early stage of your ancestral trail. 

As an introductio
A is forAdventure - when I started toying with the idea of tracing my family history, how little did I know on what a journey of adventure it would be - finding my way through the resources; alighting on surprising coincidences such as my great grandmother Maria Rawcliffe  born the same day as my daughter 114 years later;  discovering I had American connection;  hitting obstacles with the birth of my grandmother and the name of her mother remaining  my major brick-wall;  being at times astonished, puzzled  and moved by what I discovered.  

Here is a taster-  
I shall be looking at Archives & Anecdotes, Bibles, Businesses & Black Sheep,  Epitaphs & Ephemera, Funerals & Farming,  through to Mortcloths & Militias,  Occupations & Obituaries,   Sasines & Statistical Accounts, Timelines & Taxation, Wills and War,  ending with Z for Zeppelina  - a Christian name I came across in a 1916 newspaper report.  

So do join me on this A-Z Journey  and share with me your comments.

 A photograph that started me on my ancestral trail.  My aunt Edith & my mother Kathleen Danson  are the two little girl  at the front of this parade in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, c.1912.  My mohter (on the right) does not look too happy, but is so cute in her little boots and big hat.  

Thank you for your interest   

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Sepia Saturday - Furry Cuddles

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history through photographs.   

There could only be one take for me on this week's theme - our much loved pets 

Our daughter was five  years old and Crufts Dog Championships Show was on television - how could we resist that combination. The result by the summer was that Beauty a golden cocker spaniel became part of the family. 

It was a sad time when we lost Beauty at the age of nine, and we said we would not go through that again. But surreptitiously we were all looking at adverts in the local papers, and within a month we had Colleen - a 2 year old gentle blue roan cocker. Somewhere amongst all that dark fur, there were two liquid eyes. 


 Sleeping  Beauties!
Colleen died suddenly at seven years old at a time when there were other stresses in the family. We could not imagine family life without a dog and that had to be another cocker spaniel.  So within a few months we had puppy Casmir (Cass) - an orange roan cocker - she had such a distinctive colouring, she became well known around our small town and lived to the grand age of 13.

I always felt that if Cass starred in a Disney cartoon, she would be the Princess. Judge for yourself here!


It's Love! 

(Based on an earlier posting in  the 2011 series 52 Weeks of Persona lGenealogy)

Click HERE to find more pet stories from fellow bloggers.
Copyright © 2015 · Susan Donaldson. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Sepia Saturday - Marching Against the Demon Drink!

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history through photographs.

A Russian revolutionary march of 1917  features on this week's prompt and I have gone along with this more serious theme with a postcard from the collection of my local community heritage group - Auld Earlston. 

Here the Pipe Band leads a procession along Earlston High Street in 1908 to mark the "Semi-Jubilee" of the local Temperance Society.   

The Scottish Temperance Movement was founded by John Dunlop of Glasgow. concerned at the high level of consumption of spirits. He established an anti-drinks society in 1829.  For Dunlop a vital first step was education and social improvement.  A more radical approach was adopted by William Collins, a publisher and evangelist,  who favoured total abstinence.   By 1831, the Scottish Temperance Movement numbered 44,000.   Local abstinence societies were formed and many of these offered classes and concerts as alternative entertainments. National groups also began to be established, with branches opening in many areas of Scotland, with the Band of Hope targeting  children to "Take the Pledge".  

          Band of Hope Membership certificate
 A Band of Hope certificate presented in 1902 at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Wales 


This  newspaper snippet also caught my eye. 
On 4th January 1890,  "The Hawick News" reported:

Yesterday before Provost Milligan, Gilbert Oliver, labourer of Baker Street, who was considered to be past redemption having made his 66th appearance in court, was sentenced to three days imprisonment for being drunk".

That Provost Milligan should consider Gilbert Oliver was “past redemption",  was a bit surprising, considering the  resources in the town to combat drunkenness.   In 1890 Hawick had around 15 churches, a Catholic Chapel, Salvation Army Corps, quite a few Mission Halls, Christian Brethren, and several long-established Total Abstinence Movements.  


For parades on a lighter theme of enjoyment and fun, click HERE to see my Sepia Saturday post in November 2014.  

You will find links  HERE to more  of this week's processions, parades and marches  from other Sepia Saturday bloggers.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Sepia Saturday: A Loving Couple - My Grandparents

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.

No question what the theme is for this week - Valentines. 

This lovely embroidered card was in the shoebox of memorabilia in my grandfather's house, along with the many World War One cards he had sent home from the battlefields.  There is nothing to indicate when this card was sent.   
 William and Alice, c.1916

Grandad (William Danson) married Alice English in 1907 and they had five children.  I never knew my grandmother as she died in 1945.  Unfortunately her early life is shrouded in mystery, as my mother and aunt hardly ever mentioned it.    I sensed this reluctance and never asked the right questions at the right time.

So Alice remains my family history major brick wall.   The marriage certificate gave  her father's name as Henry English, painter (deceased) and her age 22,  meaning  she must have been born c.1884.  I had to wait for the 1911 census to get some confirmation of her birthplace and that gave Bolton, Lancashire.  But I have still been unable to trace a birth certificate.

The cards below have featured before before on my blog, but they fit this week's theme so well I had to show them again.   They were sent back home from France by my grandfather.    He was a taciturn labourer, working as a cattle man in the local auction mart, when he enlisted in the army in 1916.  The pencilled messages on the reverse of the cards are very prosaic, compared with the loving sentiment on the cards themselves

[7 February 1918]  Dear Alice, received your letter allright.  I have landed back at the Butt and am in the pink.  I have had a letter from Jennie and am glad you have word of Tom.  You loving husband, Billy xxx.  

 [28th April 1918]   Dear Alice - just a line to let you know I am in the pink.  and hope you are all well at home........Your loving Billy, XXXX  

The Danson family - Edith, Peggy, my grandparents William and Alice, son Harry   and Kathleen (my mother), with youngest son Billy missing. Taken c.1940. 

William and Alice on the occasion of my parent's wedding in 1938. 

 Click HERE to see  romantic notions from other Sepia Saturday bloggers. 

Copyright © 2015 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Sepia Saturday - Teatime with Family China

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.

Arts & crafts and potters feature in this week's prompt photograph. 


I have written  about my mother's talents in previous blog posts,  notably  in Happiness is Stitching, which focused on her skill with the needle.  

But Mum (right)  also tried her hand at many other crafts, in this case,  painting on china.  Here are some examples of her work, which are signed on the back with her initials and the date 1960. 

Mum  came from a family of three sisters who were all engaged in various crafts.  Here is a small plate  painted by her younger sister Margaret, known as Peggy,  with the inscription on the reverse "Handpainted by M.  Constable, 1979."

Peggy  met her husband whilst working in a barrage balloon squadron during the war.  She  emigrated to Australia shortly after and brought me this little plate on her only return visit to Britain in 1980 - Peggy here with her sons Philip and Ian - my Australian cousins, c.1954

Continuing the theme of china, here are three tea-sets from three generations - my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother. 

 My mother's wedding china from 1938

 The wedding china of my grandmother Alice Danson, nee English who married my grandfather William Danson in 1907.  

Alice English - could this be her wedding photo,  given she is wearing a corsage? Copies of the photograph  were held by various branches  of the family.
And finally a tea-set of my great grandmother,  Maria Danson, nee Rawcliffe.(1859-1919)
According to her granddaughter, Maria acquired it by collecting coupons from a newspaper offer. 

Click HERE  to discover how other Sepia Saturday bloggers.
are pottering about this week. 

Copyright © 2015 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Sepia Saturday - A Bird's Eye View Over Sea and Mountains.

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history through photographs.

This week's prompt features an aerial  view of river and boats.   I have an ideal match, with views on high from England's east and west coasts - with a diversion across  mountains.

Here is an aerial view taken as we were coming into land at Newcastle Airport, with a clear picture of the River Tyne, its north and south piers. and on the left South Shields, the home of my husband's ancestors.  The first purpose-built lifeboat in the world was built in South Shields in 1789.  

River Tyne, with Norwegian ships in the background. 

Donaldson, White and Moffet ancestors were master mariners, sailing out of South Shields.  Extended family members were in related occupations as a caulker, seaman, river policemen, shipwright, roper, ship's carpenter and marine engine fitter.
Tyne & Wear Archives were invaluable to providing further information on the families' working lives, with added details traced in the mariner records held at the National Archives at Kew.   I discovered the ships that GGGG grandfather Robert Donaldson and GG grandfather Matthew White
sailed on around Europe - many of which came to a sad end - though not under their captaincy.  I also became acquainted with the names of different sailing vessels - barque or barc, brig, sloop, smack and snow   - an illustration of the diverse routes that family history can take you. 
This painting (below)  of the  brig ""Brotherly Love" hangs in South Shields Museum. and a better quality image can be found HERE,   
In the 1861 Census, GGG grandfather John Moffet was listed as master pf "The Brotherly Love" sailing off Flamborurgh Head in the North Sea.     The crew of eight included three young apprentices, four seamen, and a mate, with most born in South Shields. 

Great great great  grandfather John Moffet in a Napoleonic pose - one of the few old photographs of the family that have survived. 

 A  long-held family story recollected a photograph (sadly lost) of a White ancestor in a top hat in the uniform of the River Tyne police.   A silver uniform button  (left) is  still held by the family.

The Nominal Roll of the Tyne River Police (held at Tyne & Wear Archives)  provided some answers, finding that two  sons of Matthew (senior),   had been  members of the river police force – but both with rather a chequered history.

Henry White  joined 9th January 1882 and brother Matthew June 1896.  The Police Defaulters Book recorded on 11th June 1889.their  misconduct in the same incident -  "for assaulting a seaman A. W. Hanson and other irregularities, whilst off duty".   Henry was fined 2/6 and transferred to Walker Division at his own expense.  The Nominal Roll of 1904 noted his age as 42 and that he had 22 years of service, with a wage of 29/6. Matthew was fined 2/6 and transferred to the Newcastle Division at his own expense.  However he resigned a few months later.

A journey from England's north east coast across to the north west and more scary heights and scary views over the sea from the high point in my home town - Blackpool Tower.
Blackpool Tower from the North Pier
 I am a Blackpudlian.  The  Tower, built in 1894, was modelled on the Eiffel Tower in Paris and rises to 520 feet - facts drummed into us at school.   

Until the 19th century, Blackpool was just a small hamlet.  It rose to prominence with the building of the railway linking  it to the mill towns of industrial Lancashire and Yorkshire and soon became England's  most popular  seaside holiday  destination. The unique Blackpool Illuminations were first switched on in 1879 to extend  the season well into late autumn. 

You can get a cranky lift to the top of the Tower and stand on a scary glass floor to view the town below. I never did this as a child. 
View over the North Pier

Many  seaside towns have one pier - but Blackpool goes two better with the North, Central and South Piers. A visit to Blackpool would not be complete without buying  an ice-cream cone  and walking  to the end of the pier  - an often very breezy experience. 

Looking towards the North Shore and North Promenade

North Shore  was regarded as the more "select" bit of Blackpool, whereas the  South Shore had the attractions of the Golden Mile with its  amusement arcades,  fortune tellers,  food  and souvenir stalls, and the major attraction of the Pleasure Beach. 

The view down onto the Winter Gardens - the white building with the arched roof.  

Opened in 1878, the Winter Gardens is a large entertainment complex including  a theatre,   ballroom and meeting facilities, once the regular venue for the annual party political conferences.   This is where my parents first met in 1936. 

Fast forward the decades and below are memories of us  flying over the Alps into Innsbruck Airport for a holiday in the Austrian Tyrol.  

This is not for the faint-hearted air traveller.  You feel that if you could put your hands out of the plane window,  you could touch the peaks. 

Below is the Europa Bridge on the main route from Austria into Italy. 

 To discover more scary heights from Sepia Saturday bloggers, click HERE

Copyright © 2015 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Note - with apologies - this post has drive me scatty, as no matter what I do, the font and size is coming out wonky. despite a standard setting and looking fine in Blogger draft form!