Ancestry Blog http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm Thu, 11 Dec 2014 19:51:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 The House on Mulberry Street and Clues to Irish Rootshttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/the-house-on-mulberry-street-and-clues-to-irish-roots/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/the-house-on-mulberry-street-and-clues-to-irish-roots/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 19:46:49 +0000 slau http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=136 I’ve located my maternal great-grandparents, John and Margaret Ellen (Cunningham) Haffey in Wayne County, Ohio in the 1880 census. I’m trying to locate their births in Ireland. I have their death records, but they didn’t list a specific Irish birthplace. I have found a record in the New York Emigrant Savings Bank for a John… Read more

The post The House on Mulberry Street and Clues to Irish Roots appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

]]>
I’ve located my maternal great-grandparents, John and Margaret Ellen (Cunningham) Haffey in Wayne County, Ohio in the 1880 census. I’m trying to locate their births in Ireland. I have their death records, but they didn’t list a specific Irish birthplace. I have found a record in the New York Emigrant Savings Bank for a John Haffey and James Cunningham; either could access the account. ~ Sandra H.

___________
Dear Sandra,

We’ve found that one of the strongest motivations for a person’s desire to reconstruct their family’s tree is the desire to discover where their ancestors once lived, especially before they migrated to the United States, whether that be in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, or Asia. Finding the names of our ancestors, of course, is the necessary first step; but then finding where those ancestors hailed from can be just as exciting.

Why? Because there’s something deeply reassuring about being able to point to a map and say, “This is where my people came from.” Geography “roots” or centers us in the world, just as surely as identifying the names of “our people” does. But finding where our ancestors once lived can be quite a challenge, even when we know their names and birth or death dates. And this is especially difficult with our Irish ancestors. We both have some personal experience with this since we both are descended from Irish ancestors.

Discovering an ancestor’s elusive Irish birthplace really is a big deal for genealogists. On what we might think of as “the scale of genealogical difficulty,” tracing Irish roots is right there near the top of the list. The search can be extraordinarily challenging, but the payoff can be so very exhilarating! One key to solving this mystery is keeping people you are searching for in context. What does that mean? Well, who were your ancestor’s neighbors, and who–according to records–did they keep associating with? Whose names keep popping up near theirs? Taking account of the names of your ancestor’s neighbors and friends can yield amazing results.

In 1880, John, Margaret, and their family were living in Pike Station, Wayne County, Ohio. The census shows that their daughter, Ella, was born in Ireland around 1860 and their son, Edward, was born in Ireland around 1862. Daughter Maggie was born in New York around 1866, and children William, Mary A., John Jr., and Catherine were all born in Ohio. Keeping the whole family in mind will be important as we move through the family’s paper trail.

Emigrant Savings Bank

The Emigrant Savings Bank was founded in 1850 by the Irish Emigrant Society and became a safe place for Irish immigrants to save their money. They invented an ingenious system of using biographical information to tell the difference between people with the same names, such as the various James Cunninghams or John Haffeys, who kept accounts at the bank. (We would cringe because of privacy issues if anyone did this today, but it sure makes it handy for researching Irish ancestors!)

You were definitely on the right track exploring the records of the Emigrant Savings Bank, which can be a gold mine of data for tracing Irish ancestry. And in your case, we are pleased to say, you’ve struck gold! It turns out that the bank had four accounts that stood out for John Haffey, each of which offered us more clues about your family’s origins.

In 1862, a man named James Cunningham, “for John Haffey,” opened account number 32881. The bank’s record for this account says that John was born in 1828 in County Donegal and was married to Margaret Cunningham, with two children Ella and Edward. (We should note that this birth year is off from the one recorded in the 1880 census, but it is consistent with that listed in the 1870 census. This often happens, so no worries about that!) Having John’s wife’s name and the name of their two children gives us confidence that this is the correct John Haffey; account 32881 was definitely opened by the John Haffey we’re looking for.

What else can we learn from this bank record? Well, the person named James Cunningham, who opened the account on behalf of John Haffey, was living at 233 Mulberry Street. This turns out to be a key piece of information. (Mulberry Street is located in the section of Manhattan known as “Little Italy” today.)

Back in 1855, James Cunningham of 233 Mulberry Street had opened account number 8691 “in trust for John Haffey.” Incredibly, this record is a treasure trove of information about John! It states that John was from Minnarock [sic], in the parish of Killaghtee, County Donegal; he arrived in the United States in September 1852 on a ship named [either?] “George Green” or “James Nesbith” from Liverpool; his father, Ned Haffey, is dead; his mother, Ellen Carr, is living in Ireland; and he’s single.

2014-12-02-ScreenShot20141202at9.06.01AM.png
A detail from the Emigrant Savings Bank Test Books at Ancestry.com showing biographical information about John Haffey.
James Cunningham of 233 Mulberry Street also opened account 10040 in 1855; it is noted that it is the same as account 8691. In 1857, John Haffey and P. Cunningham of 233 Mulberry Street opened account 15009; it, too, is the same as account 8691. So now we know that accounts 8691, 10040, and 15009 all pertain to the same people.

(Unfortunately, the record for account 32881 (the one where we’re sure it’s our John) doesn’t state that it is the same as account 8691 (the one where we learn John’s hometown and parents.) There’s just an incomplete note “Is same as.” (Would it have killed them to list the account number?!) But the fact that James Cunningham and/or John Haffey was living at 233 Mulberry Street in these four accounts is a strong indication that we are talking about the same people.)

Other Places to Explore

Okay, now that you have this information, where do you search next? It’s tempting to explore church records in “Minnarock” (probably Meenabrock) and grab onto any mention of John Haffey. You’ll definitely want to explore those records, but you should get a fuller idea of your John Haffey’s identify first, so you’ll know if you have found the information about the right person. Remember, just because a name is the same doesn’t necessarily mean that the person whose records you’re examining is the person you are searching for!

2014-12-02-ScreenShot20141202at9.06.19AM.png
 

There are several other places that should be checked before crossing the pond to Ireland. Who are the Haffeys and Cunninghams living in the area around 233 Mulberry Street? City directories would give this information. Ancestry has severalNew York city directories for this time period. Search by surname, but also do a keyword search for “Mulberry,” to find people living on Mulberry Street to recreate the neighborhood. You will want to do this for the 1850s through the late 1860s, when John and Margaret moved to Ohio.

You should also keep an eye out for the other passengers who arrived in this country on the same ship with John. We didn’t find him in 1852, but we did find him in 1854 on the “James Nesmith” (not Nesbitt, as listed in the bank record), with an approximate birth year of 1829 (consistent with the bank record and the 1870 census).

2014-12-02-ScreenShot20141202at9.10.24AM.png
Detail of the passenger list of the James Nesbit, arriving in New York 28 August 1854, showing John Haffy, age 25, a laborer from Ireland.
 

It’s a good idea to focus on the areas where you know your ancestors were living, but also where they died. In this case, we know John and Margaret ended up in Ohio. According to Find A Grave, John, Margaret, and their daughter Catherine (Kathryn) are buried in St. Vincents Catholic Cemetery in Akron, Summit County, Ohio. The cemetery records could hold clues about John and Margaret’s origins. Further, you should explore the records of St. Vincent Catholic Church. You should search for your ancestor’s obituaries, both in “regular” newspapers and religious newspapers.

Baptismal records can be another source of useful information. People usually name relatives or close friends as their childrens’ godparents. The baptism records for John and Margaret’s children could hold clues. St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Wooster as well as St. Vincent in Akron would be good places to start looking.

It might come as a surprise to us today, but people “back in the day” typically didn’t move all by themselves. Neighbors often turn out to be related. Who are the Irish neighbors around John and Margaret in 1870 and 1880? Who else lived on Mulberry Street in New York when John lived there?

Learning as much as you can about John and Margaret in Ohio and New York will help you to establish a better context for them when looking at possible records back in Ireland. Whether you’re looking at records in Meenabrock or elsewhere in County Donegal, you will want to keep in mind the other people who you’ve identified as being associated with John and Margaret in the United States. Good luck!

Do you have a mystery in your own family tree? Or have you wondered what family history discoveries you could make with a DNA test? Send Henry Louis Gates, Jr and his team of Ancestry experts your question at ask@ancestry.com.

Henry GatesBy Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University

Anne Gillespie Mitchell By Anne Gillespie Mitchell
Genealogist and senior product manager at Ancestry.com


Discover your family story. Start a free trial today.

The post The House on Mulberry Street and Clues to Irish Roots appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/the-house-on-mulberry-street-and-clues-to-irish-roots/feed/ 0
Titanic Captain Is One of a Million Historic Liverpool Sailors on Newly Digitized Crew Listshttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/titanic-captain-is-one-of-a-million-historic-liverpool-sailors-on-newly-digitized-crew-lists/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/titanic-captain-is-one-of-a-million-historic-liverpool-sailors-on-newly-digitized-crew-lists/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 00:09:55 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=129 We are all familiar with the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. On the night of the 14th of April 1912, 1,500 people lost their lives after the liner hit an iceberg and sank to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The captain on that tragic voyage was Edward Smith. Smith joined the White Star… Read more

The post Titanic Captain Is One of a Million Historic Liverpool Sailors on Newly Digitized Crew Lists appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

]]>
We are all familiar with the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. On the night of the 14th of April 1912, 1,500 people lost their lives after the liner hit an iceberg and sank to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The captain on that tragic voyage was Edward Smith. Smith joined the White Star Line shipping company in 1880 and quickly became one of its most respected captains. He was regularly trusted to guide the largest new vessels in the fleet.
Titanic

  • 14-Day Free Trial
    GIVE ME ACCESS

Edward Smith can be found in The Liverpool, England, Crew Lists 1861-1919 collection on Ancestry. The collection features the names of crew members who worked on vessels registered to the Port of Liverpool. In the crew lists, Edward Smith is mentioned in 1901 as captain of the SS Majestic, when he and his crew were called upon to transport troops to Cape Colony to fight in the Boer War. Following this, he was awarded a special Transport Medal for his service.

However warning signs of the later tragedy soon surfaced. In 1911, Smith was captaining the RMS Olympic when he collided with the British warship HMS Hawke. The vessel had to be returned to port with a badly damaged propeller.

The Liverpool, England, Crew Lists 1861-1919 collection has been published from original records held by the Liverpool Record Office. The records were a form of employment contract between the shipping company and crew, and needed to be completed before any vessel set sail. The collection, which refers to a total of 912 ships and spans nearly 50 years, lists each crew member’s name, age, birthplace, residence and past maritime experience, and even remarks on their general behaviour. There are also details regarding whether crew members were discharges, deserted or died at sea.

The history of Liverpool is intrinsically linked to the development of its port throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, with its natural harbour helping the city become a powerhouse of the industrial revolution and a key transport hub for travel to the promising shores of America and Australia. The port also contributed greatly to the diversity found within the city, with Liverpool rapidly developing a uniquely Irish character. Around 300,000 migrants arrived in the city from Ireland in 1847 alone and within five years a quarter of the city’s population were Irish-born.

Miriam Silverman, Senior UK Content Manager from Ancestry comments, “From ship captains to their crew, this collection sheds light on a period in which the port of Liverpool was a global transport hub. With more than a million maritime records now available online at Ancestry, it will also be of huge significance for anybody looking to trace their seafaring ancestors back to Liverpool at this time.”

Search The Liverpool, England, Crew Lists 1861-1919 collection today and find your seafaring ancestors on Ancestry.

The post Titanic Captain Is One of a Million Historic Liverpool Sailors on Newly Digitized Crew Lists appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/titanic-captain-is-one-of-a-million-historic-liverpool-sailors-on-newly-digitized-crew-lists/feed/ 0
Five Mistakes to Avoid When Researching Your Family Historyhttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/five-mistakes-to-avoid-when-researching-your-family-history/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/five-mistakes-to-avoid-when-researching-your-family-history/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 23:14:37 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=124 We all make mistakes! The key to success in family history research, as in life, is to learn from them. In an effort to guide you through your genealogical journey, we have created this list containing the top five mistakes to avoid when researching your family tree. 1. Assuming a family name is only spelled… Read more

The post Five Mistakes to Avoid When Researching Your Family History appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

]]>
We all make mistakes! The key to success in family history research, as in life, is to learn from them. In an effort to guide you through your genealogical journey, we have created this list containing the top five mistakes to avoid when researching your family tree.

1. Assuming a family name is only spelled one way

Family names can be spelled in a variety of ways. Just because your family name has been spelled in a particular way for as long as you can remember doesn’t mean it always has. Our ancestors, and indeed those people who entered information on our ancestor’s behalf, were not infallible. Mistakes in the recording of your family name may have created the family name you know today. Callaghan could be Callan, Dillane could be Dillon, Smith could be Smyth etc. Search for phonetic variations of your surname and use an asterisk to return more results. For example, searching (John*) will return results for John, Johnson etc.

  • 14-Day Free Trial
    GIVE ME ACCESS

2. Assuming you are related to a famous person

We all want to find a famous person in our family tree. Many of us will have royal connections, rock stars or heroes from history in our tree, but many of us will not. Never accept a family story or hearsay as proof of a connection. The temptation can be to start with the famous person and then try to find a connection to your family. You should always start with yourself and work back. If there is a famous connection it will appear if you have diligently researched back through the generations of your tree.

3. Researching the wrong family

I know what you’re thinking. How could you possibly research the wrong family? You know who you’re looking for – right? Researching the wrong family can easily happen if you jump to conclusions early in your research. Just because the James Smith you have found seems to fit the bill does not necessarily mean that he is your James Smith. Always wait until the sources prove a connection before moving on. This helps to avoid accidentally researching the wrong family.

4. Skipping a generation

Our ancestors had little regard for the toil they were creating for the family history researchers of the future when they named their children. Many of us have family trees containing more than one Michael, John or Mary! With names running through generations like this it is important to write down and match up your dates and locations for each person with the same name. This will help avoid inadvertently skipping a generation.

5. Not documenting your sources

Keep calm and cite your sources! Always document where you have found your information. Your research is your legacy to future generations who research your family tree. One simple mistake or un-sourced addition to your tree could cause others to make assumptions and in turn make mistakes in their own research

Millions of stories. Find yours. Start a free trial today. 

The post Five Mistakes to Avoid When Researching Your Family History appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

]]>
http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/five-mistakes-to-avoid-when-researching-your-family-history/feed/ 0
10 Rare English Surnames About to Go Extincthttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/10-rare-english-surnames-about-to-go-extinct/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/10-rare-english-surnames-about-to-go-extinct/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:56:37 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=118 Did you know that surnames can go extinct just like species do? Think about it: do you know anyone these days named Chaucer? One historical reason for surnames becoming extinct was World War I. Often, men who were friends and neighbors served together; when there were mass casualties, a village or town might lose a… Read more

The post 10 Rare English Surnames About to Go Extinct appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

]]>
10 rare english surnames

[Photo credit: Shutterstock]

Did you know that surnames can go extinct just like species do? Think about it: do you know anyone these days named Chaucer?

One historical reason for surnames becoming extinct was World War I. Often, men who were friends and neighbors served together; when there were mass casualties, a village or town might lose a whole generation of their men. Because names at that time were often specific to an area, a name could be almost completely eliminated.

    There are less drastic reasons for a surname’s disappearance as well. Sometimes, a name is changed over time, or a male line may simply die out.

    • 14-Day Free Trial
      GIVE ME ACCESS

    Since 1901, about 200,000 names have disappeared altogether from England and Wales, according to a study conducted by Ancestry.co.uk. These include

    • Chips
    • Hatman
    • Temples
    • Raynott
    • Woodbead
    • Nithercott
    • Rummage
    • Southwark
    • Harred
    • Jarsdel

    Hundreds of other English surnames are “endangered” — so rare that fewer than 50 people in England and Wales have them — and many more may be extinct within a couple more generations. These include

    1. Pober
    2. Mirren
    3. Febland
    4. Nighy
    5. Grader
    6. Bonneville
    7. Gruger
    8. Carla
    9. Fernard
    10. Portendorfer

    Actress Helen Mirren, whose name is on that list, was born with the last name Mironoff, which her Russian father Anglicized to Mirren. Actors Hugh Bonneville and Bill Nighy also have endangered surnames.

    Names that are dying out the fastest these days, as compared to the 1901 UK census, include the surname William, which in 1901 was the 374th-most common surname. In that year, one in every 1,000 people had the surname William; now, not 1 in 50,000 people in the UK does, a 97 percent decreased in prevalence. Other names dying out in the UK include:

    • Cohen (-42%)
    • Ashworth (-39%)
    • Sutcliffe (-36%)
    • Clegg (-34%)
    • Butterworth (-34%)
    • Crowther (-34%)
    • Kershaw (-34%)
    • Brook (-34%)
    • Greenwood (-32%)
    • Haigh (-31%)
    • Pratt (-31%)
    • Nuttal (-30%)
    • Ingham (-30%)
    • Ogden (-30%)

    More people researching their roots today has led to an interest in preserving rare surnames, and as a result, more people are using hyphenated surnames in England. In 1901, “double-barreled names” were used only by the upper class, and just 1 in 50,000 people had one. Today, 1 in 50 people has a hyphenated surname, and almost half of them say it’s to preserve a family surname.

    —Leslie Lang

    Get the story behind your surname at Ancestry. Start a free trial today.

    The post 10 Rare English Surnames About to Go Extinct appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/10-rare-english-surnames-about-to-go-extinct/feed/ 0
    4 Types of French Surnames: Which One Is Yours?http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/4-types-of-french-surnames-which-one-is-yours/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/4-types-of-french-surnames-which-one-is-yours/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 17:00:59 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=84 Is your last name French? Did you ever wonder where it came from and how your family got it? The most common French surnames for people born between 1891 and 1990 were: Martin (patronymic; after the most popular French saint, Saint Martin of Tours) Bernard (patronymic; from the given name, which is of Germanic origin)… Read more

    The post 4 Types of French Surnames: Which One Is Yours? appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    french surnames

    [Photo credit: Shutterstock]

    Is your last name French? Did you ever wonder where it came from and how your family got it?

    • 14-Day Free Trial
      GIVE ME ACCESS

    The most common French surnames for people born between 1891 and 1990 were:

    1. Martin (patronymic; after the most popular French saint, Saint Martin of Tours)
    2. Bernard (patronymic; from the given name, which is of Germanic origin)
    3. Thomas (patronymic; from the medieval given name of Biblical origin, meaning twin)
    4. Petit (a descriptive name; from the French adjective for “small” or “little”)
    5. Robert (patronymic; from the Germanic given name meaning “renown,” “bright,” “famous”)
    6. Richard (patronymic; from the Germanic given name meaning “powerful,” “strong”)
    7. Durand (a descriptive name; “steadfast;” from the Old French durant, “to endure,” “last”; or someone from a place called Durand in former Szepes County in Hungary)
    8. Dubois (A geographic name for someone living in a wood, from du + bois or “from the” + “wood”; in English, often translated as the name Wood)
    9. Moreau (a descriptive type of name meaning “dark-skinned;” literally, “son of the Moor”)
    10. Laurent (a geographic name; from the Roman surname Laurentius, which meant “from Laurentum,” which was an ancient Roman city)

    In France, surnames were first used in about the 11th century to distinguish between people with the same given name, though it was centuries before their use was common.

    So how did your ancestors get their French surnames? Most can be traced back to one of four types:

    1. Patronymic/Matronymic

    This is the most common type of French last name, and it’s simply based on a parent’s given name. Patronymic surnames were based on the father’s name and matronymic ones on the mother’s. It was common for people to distinguish between two people with the same first name by referencing their parents (usually the father). In general, the mother’s name was used only if the father was unknown.

    This type of name was formed in a few different ways. French prefixes that mean “son of”—which attach, of course, to the start of a name—include de and fitz (from the Norman). To use the list of common French surnames above as an example, someone named Pierre whose father’s name was Robert might become known as Pierre de Robert or FitzRobert. Or a suffix may have been added to the parent’s name, such as -eau, -elin, -elot, -elle, or -elet, all of which indicated “little son of.”

    Most patronymic names, though, did not take prefixes or suffixes. Robert’s son Pierre might just be known as Pierre Robert.

    For many generations, these “surnames” did not pass down; each generation took their father’s given name as their surname until, eventually, governments decreed that a surname would be hereditary. That is when, for the most part, the same surname started passing down through each generation.

    2. Occupational Surnames

    It was also very common to distinguish individuals by referring to their jobs or trades. Some French occupational surnames include:

    • Berger — shepherd
    • Bisset — weaver
    • Boucher — butcher
    • Brodeur — embroiderer
    • Caron — cartwright
    • Charpentier — carpenter
    • Chevrolet — goat farmer
    • Couture — tailor
    • Fabron — blacksmith
    • Faucheux — mower
    • Fournier — baker
    • Gagne — farmer
    • Granger — farm bailiff
    • Lefebvre — craftsman (usually a blacksmith)
    • Marchand — merchant
    • Mercier — trader
    • Mullins — miller
    • Paquet — gatherer or seller of firewood
    • Page — servant or page
    • Pelletier — fur trader
    • Segal — grower or seller of rye

    3. Descriptive Surnames

    A descriptive surname is based on a quality that describes a person and sometimes developed from a nickname.

    • Petit — small
    • Legrand — the big one
    • Leblanc — the blonde one
    • Brun — someone with brown hair or a brown complexion
    • Donadieu or Donnadieu (“given to God”) may have been the name of a child given to a priest or monastery or because they were orphaned

    4. Geographical Surnames

    Geographical surnames described where a person lived or hailed from, such as:

    • Beaulieu — beautiful place
    • Beaumont — beautiful hill
    • Chastain — near certain chestnut trees
    • Comtois — from Franche-Comte, a province in eastern France
    • Deschamps — from the fields
    • Dupont — by the bridge
    • Desmarais — by the marsh
    • Dupuis — by the well
    • Linville — from Linivilla, now Ninville, France
    • Marseille — many people have the name of this major French city as their surname
    • Paris — from Paris
    • St. Martin — from St. Martin
    • Travers — near a bridge or ford

    You can search for your family’s French name, its origin and meaning, French guillotine records, and much more at Ancestry.

    —Leslie Lang

    The post 4 Types of French Surnames: Which One Is Yours? appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/4-types-of-french-surnames-which-one-is-yours/feed/ 0
    Down the Mine at 89: Working Life of Elderly Victorians Revealedhttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/down-the-mine-at-89-working-life-of-elderly-victorians-revealed/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/down-the-mine-at-89-working-life-of-elderly-victorians-revealed/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 19:00:55 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=79 Analysis of historic census records reveals the majority of over-65s in Victorian England worked full-time – Ancestry Victorian census reveals farmers, miners, servants and cleaners in their eighties or nineties More than half (57 per cent) of people had to work beyond the age of 65 compared to just 10 per cent today Records also show how so-called… Read more

    The post Down the Mine at 89: Working Life of Elderly Victorians Revealed appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    Analysis of historic census records reveals the majority of over-65s in Victorian England worked full-time – Ancestry

    • Victorian census reveals farmers, miners, servants and cleaners in their eighties or nineties
    • More than half (57 per cent) of people had to work beyond the age of 65 compared to just 10 per cent today
    • Records also show how so-called ‘NEETs’ were virtually nonexistent in 1891

    Working beyond the state pension age may be a concern for many today, but new research shows just how much harder the Victorian over-65s had it, with many working as miners, servants and cleaners into their 80s and 90s.

    • 14-Day Free Trial
      GIVE ME ACCESS

    The findings, from family history website Ancestry, were revealed through a study of the millions of records in the 1891 Census, which lists the names, ages and occupations of everyone in Britain’s workforce at the time, highlighting historic trends in employment.

    Measured against today’s statistics, the census data shows that the number of elderly people working has decreased sharply since the end of the 19th century, with only 10 per cent of over-65s today still working compared to 57 per cent in 1891.[i]

    And while today many elderly workers are generally given less physically demanding work to do, in 1891 men such as Robert Barr from Kilbarchan, Scotland, were still mining for coal at the age of 89. Other examples include James Andrews and Francis Appleby, who are listed as agricultural labourers aged 90, and men like John Stevens, 82, from Dorset, and Robert Miller, 90, from Nottingham, a carpenter and general labourer respectively.

    John Stevens and other older workers on the 1891 Census.

    John Stevens and other older workers on the 1891 Census.

    Similarly, the Census reveals many examples of women working into old age, with common occupations including servants, laundresses and cleaners, such as Priscilla Abbott from Plympton who still worked as a domestic helper at the age of 85.

    When separated to reflect gender, the employment rates from 1891 show the different prospects for men and women at the time. Whilst 33 per cent of women over 65 worked in Victorian England, for men the number was much higher, with 88 per cent of all men still working.[ii]

    Currently the Government is pushing back the age of retirement for those currently working from 65 to 70, largely due to increased life expectancy and living costs.

    In the Victorian era however, the concept of ‘retirement’ didn’t exist, and a lack of state pension or welfare funds meant that elderly people had no support unless they had financial help from relatives. For most working-class people, the only options were work or the workhouse, which forced many people into continued employment no matter how old they were.

    Thankfully, attitudes slowly began to change around the turn of the 20th century, and legislation such as the Old Age Pensions Act 1908 and the National Insurance Act of 1911 became the first steps towards Government protection of the economically vulnerable by giving those aged 65 financial support if they suffered ill health.

    As well as showing huge numbers of elderly workers, the research also highlighted the virtual nonexistent youth unemployment in 1891, with almost every young person not in education involved in some kind of work: 82 per cent of 16/17 year olds were employed in 1891 (compared to 22 per cent today), and 79 per cent of 18-24 year olds had jobs (compared to around 60 per cent today).[iii]

    Ancestry Senior Content Manager Miriam Silverman comments: “We may be facing a ‘retirement crisis’ today but it is nothing compared to what Victorian workers experienced, with this research providing a shocking picture of the struggles elderly people faced in their day to day lives.”

    “It’s thanks to the millions of historic census records on Ancestry that we are able to uncover important social trends such as this. Many of us today will have ancestors who worked well into old age, so now is the perfect time to go online and discover what they did during their ‘golden years’.”


    [i] According to an audit of 1007 records on Ancestry from 1891 Census, 57 per cent of those listed as over 65 were employed. According to ONS, the employment rate for those over 65 is 10.1 per cent (published 11 June 2014).

    [ii] According to the audit (see footnote 1), 88 per cent of men over the age of 65 were employed, compared to 33 per cent of women

    [iii] The audit showed that 82 per cent of 16-17 year olds and 79 per cent of 18-24 year olds were employed full time in 1891.

    The post Down the Mine at 89: Working Life of Elderly Victorians Revealed appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/down-the-mine-at-89-working-life-of-elderly-victorians-revealed/feed/ 0
    It’s All His Fault! Traditions Behind Your Family’s Weird Nameshttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/its-all-his-fault-traditions-behind-your-familys-weird-names/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/its-all-his-fault-traditions-behind-your-familys-weird-names/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:41:16 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=74 “That’s so unusual – is it a family name?” Anyone with an out-of-the-ordinary moniker hears this question often. However, a little research may reveal a family tree peppered with even more unusual names and the reasons behind them. Here are some common naming traditions that may help unlock the mystery behind your family’s weird names.… Read more

    The post It’s All His Fault! Traditions Behind Your Family’s Weird Names appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    Millard Fillmore (public domain photo; Wikimedia Commons)

    Millard Fillmore (public domain photo; Wikimedia Commons)

    “That’s so unusual – is it a family name?”

    Anyone with an out-of-the-ordinary moniker hears this question often. However, a little research may reveal a family tree peppered with even more unusual names and the reasons behind them. Here are some common naming traditions that may help unlock the mystery behind your family’s weird names.

    • 14-Day Free Trial
      GIVE ME ACCESS

    Like mother, like daughter

    One common way to preserve women’s family names in a patrilineal society was to give a daughter the first and maiden names of her mother. Upon the daughter’s marriage, she would retain her maiden name and add the married one, thus ending the confusion of two women with exactly the same name. Except, sometimes that didn’t happen.

    A famous example of this is the mother and daughter at the heart of Grey Gardens, the 1975 Maysles brothers documentary, later adapted into a Broadway play and HBO film. Both women were named Edith Bouvier Beale, and since the daughter never married, they were known as “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” to avoid confusion.

    Last names as first names

    Another way for many mothers to maintain links with their own families after marriage was to give a son their maiden name as a first name. This was especially common in the 18th and 19th centuries, though it remains popular today, particularly if the mother’s maiden name doubles as a common first name.

    Photo credit: Laurence Simon / CC BY 2.0

    Photo credit: Laurence Simon / CC BY 2.0

    One well-known historical example of this is President Millard Fillmore, whose mother was Phoebe Millard. President Fillmore perpetuated the tradition into a third generation, naming his son Millard Powers Fillmore.

    A well-known fictional example comes from the pen of Edith Wharton, author of The Age of Innocence. The story’s protagonist, Newland Archer, takes his name from his mother’s family. Other examples include Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet’s love interest in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Darcy’s cousin is Colonel Fitzwilliam, indicating that Darcy has been given his mother’s maiden name as his first name.

    When “Junior” isn’t the firstborn

    Legacy names are often bestowed on the first male child. However, this is not always the case. Some cultures have the tradition of naming the eldest boy for the grandfather or another elder male relative. This is often true in Irish, Greek, and Eastern European families.

    A current example exists in the Rooney family, owners of the Steelers football team. Art Rooney Sr., had four sons. The eldest, former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney, was named for Art senior’s father. It was the second son who was named Art Rooney Jr., and Art has carried the legacy name on with his own son.

    Frick family in the 1910 census (Image courtesy Ancestry.co.uk)

    Frick family in the 1910 census (Image courtesy Ancestry)

    Sometimes families combined multiple naming traditions, making things all the more confusing. Industrialist Henry Clay Frick and his wife, Adelaide Howard Childs Frick, had two sons. The elder was named Childs, using the convention of carrying over the mother’s maiden name. The younger son, who did not survive to adulthood, was named Henry Clay Frick Jr.

    By Melanie Linn Gutowski

    Find out the story behind your name. Start free trial.

    The post It’s All His Fault! Traditions Behind Your Family’s Weird Names appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/its-all-his-fault-traditions-behind-your-familys-weird-names/feed/ 0
    There Are 7 Types of English Surnames — Which One Is Yours?http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/there-are-7-types-of-english-surnames-which-one-is-yours/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/there-are-7-types-of-english-surnames-which-one-is-yours/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:38:02 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=70 Many of us have surnames passed down to us from ancestors in England. Last names weren’t widely used until after the Norman conquest in 1066, but as the country’s population grew, people found it necessary to be more specific when they were talking about somebody else. Thus arose descriptions like Thomas the Baker, Norman son… Read more

    The post There Are 7 Types of English Surnames — Which One Is Yours? appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    english surnames

    [Photo credit: Shutterstock]

    Many of us have surnames passed down to us from ancestors in England. Last names weren’t widely used until after the Norman conquest in 1066, but as the country’s population grew, people found it necessary to be more specific when they were talking about somebody else. Thus arose descriptions like Thomas the Baker, Norman son of Richard, Henry the Whitehead, Elizabeth of the Field, and Joan of York that, ultimately, led to many of our current surnames.

    • 14-Day Free Trial
      GIVE ME ACCESS

    There are perhaps 45,000 different English surnames, but most had their origins as one of these seven types.

    Occupational

    Occupational names identified people based on their job or position in society. Calling a man “Thomas Carpenter” indicated that he worked with wood for a living, while someone named Knight bore a sword. Other occupational names include Archer, Baker, Brewer, Butcher, Carter, Clark, Cooper, Cook, Dyer, Farmer, Faulkner, Fisher, Fuller, Gardener, Glover, Head, Hunt or Hunter, Judge, Mason, Page, Parker, Potter, Sawyer, Slater, Smith, Taylor, Thatcher, Turner, Weaver, Woodman, and Wright (or variations such as Cartwright and Wainwright) — and there are many more.

    This kind of name also gave a clue about whom a servant worked for. Someone named Vickers might have been a servant to Mr. Vicker, and someone named Williams might either have served a William or been adopted by him.

    From the obscure fact department: In medieval England, before the time of professional theater, craft guilds put on “mystery plays” (“mystery” meaning “miracle”), which told Bible stories and had a call-and-response style of singing. A participant’s surname — such as King, Lord, Virgin, or Death — may have reflected his or her role, which some people played for life and passed down to their eldest son.

    Describing a personal characteristic

    Some names, often adjectives, were based on nicknames that described a person. They may have described a person’s size (Short, Long, Little), coloring (Black, White, Green, or Red, which could have evolved into “Reed”), or another character trait (Stern, Strong, Swift). Someone named Peacock might have been considered vain.

    From an English place name

    A last name may have pointed to where a person was born, lived, worked, or owned land. It might be from the name of a house, farm, hamlet, town, or county. Some examples: Bedford, Burton, Hamilton, Hampshire, Sutton. Writer Jack London’s ancestor may have hailed from London.

    From the name of an estate

    Those descended from landowners may have taken as their surname the name of their holdings, castle, manor, or estate, such as Ernle or Staunton. Windsor is a famous example — it was the surname George V adopted for the British royal family.

    From a geographical feature of the landscape

    Some examples are Bridge, Brooks, Bush, Camp, Fields, Forest, Greenwood, Grove, Hill, Knolles, Lake, Moore, Perry, Stone, Wold, Wood, and Woodruff. Author Margaret Atwood is probably descended from someone who lived “at the wood.”

    Patronymic, matronymic, or ancestral

    Patronymic surnames (those that come from a male given name) include Benson (“the son of Ben”), Davis, Dawson, Evans, Harris, Harrison, Jackson, Jones (Welsh for John), Nicholson, Richardson, Robinson, Rogers, Simpson, Stephenson, Thompson, Watson, and Wilson.

    Matronymic ones, surnames derived from a female given name, include Molson (from Moll, for Mary), Madison (from Maud), Emmott (from Emma), and Marriott (from Mary).

    Scottish clan names make up one set of ancestral surnames. These include Armstrong, Cameron, Campbell, Crawford, Douglas, Forbes, Grant, Henderson, Hunter, MacDonald, and Stewart.

    Signifying patronage

    Some surnames honored a patron. Hickman was Hick’s man (Hick being a nickname for Richard). Kilpatrick was a follower of Patrick.

    Wondering whether your family name is English? Try plugging your surname into the Ancestry Last Names Meanings and Origins widget. Type in the surname “Duffield,” and you’ll see it’s English, a “habitational name from places in Derbyshire and East Yorkshire, so named from Old English Dufe ‘dove’ + feld ‘open country.’”

    Discover your family story. Start free trial.

    The post There Are 7 Types of English Surnames — Which One Is Yours? appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/there-are-7-types-of-english-surnames-which-one-is-yours/feed/ 0
    Titanic Mystery Solved with DNA Testinghttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/titanic-mystery-solved-with-dna-testing/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/titanic-mystery-solved-with-dna-testing/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:28:17 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=62 DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago. The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the… Read more

    The post Titanic Mystery Solved with DNA Testing appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago.

    The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the Atlantic on the Titanic. At the time of the sinking, it is said that Trevor was rushed to a lifeboat by their maid and that the other three died on the boat. However, only Hudson’s body was found, leaving the mystery of what happened to Loraine and her mother.

    • 14-Day Free Trial
      GIVE ME ACCESS

    The New York City Herald covered the sinking tragedy on April 16, 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

    The New York City Herald covered the sinking tragedy on April 16, 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

    The unknown remained until 28 years later when Helen Kramer came forward on a radio show called “We the People”, and said that she was the two-year-old missing girl. Only a few of the distant relatives believed her story, but immediate family members denied the claims and kept her out of the inheritance.

    When Helen died in 1992 the claims seemed to have died with her. However, in 2012 the granddaughter of Helen, Debrina Woods, resurfaced the claims by saying she had inherited more evidence from her grandmother and that the truth should be told.

    With all of this evidence, and with a desire to solve this case, a group of Titanic researchers put together a project to help unlock the mystery.

    They did just that, by convincing descendants from each family to have a DNA test done.

    The results from the tests show that there is not a relationship between the two families, suggesting that this was a hoax or a complete misunderstanding.

    We don’t want to downplay the tragedy of this story to those involved but rather highlight that we have a tool that will help us unlock the mysteries of our past with DNA testing.

    This isn’t the first time DNA has helped provide evidence to disprove a connection to a historical claim. DNA testing disproved Anna Anderson’s claims that she was Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. Similar to the Kramer story, researchers found multiple people from both sides of the family in question and had them take a DNA test. No DNA was shared, disproving a relationship.

    What questions have you always wondered about in your family?

    Discover your family story. Start free trial.

    The post Titanic Mystery Solved with DNA Testing appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/titanic-mystery-solved-with-dna-testing/feed/ 0
    New Warwickshire Parish Recordshttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/new-warwickshire-parish-records/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/new-warwickshire-parish-records/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:25:06 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=57 Wherever you are in the old county of Warwickshire, you’re surrounded by history – from the Cathedral in Coventry, to Rugby School, to Warwick’s Tudor houses. The region has played host to some of our most important figures – William Shakespeare was born in Stratford, while it’s said that the Gunpowder Plot was hatched in… Read more

    The post New Warwickshire Parish Records appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>

    Wherever you are in the old county of Warwickshire, you’re surrounded by history – from the Cathedral in Coventry, to Rugby School, to Warwick’s Tudor houses. The region has played host to some of our most important figures – William Shakespeare was born in Stratford, while it’s said that the Gunpowder Plot was hatched in Warwick. Now you can discover your family’s part in this fascinating tale, with our NEW Warwickshire parish records, 1502-1984.

    • 14-Day Free Trial
      GIVE ME ACCESS

    These comprehensive lists of baptisms, marriages and burials, created in parish churches, take you right back to the time when Catholicism was the established religion, before Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of monasteries such as Nuneaton Priory and Coombe Abbey near Coventry. For the next 300 years the Church was the centre of the local community – so its registers reflect the ups and downs of parish life.

    Because these new records overlap with our civil birth, marriage and death indexes, they let you pick up your family’s story where those more recent records leave off in 1837. You could start by searching for a relative that you’ve already found in the civil indexes, to pinpoint the church where they were baptised or buried.

    Often, families stayed in the same parishes for generations. So, once you’ve located that first ancestor, you can move back through the centuries, following the twists and turns in your family’s story.

    Of course, this is just the latest in our series of parish releases. In the past few months, we’ve also released local collections from West Yorkshire, London, Dorset, Liverpool and Ireland. These add to millions of parish records already at our site.

    See all our parish collections

    The post New Warwickshire Parish Records appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

    ]]>
    http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/new-warwickshire-parish-records/feed/ 0