Posted by: Christine | May 30, 2013

Samuel the Soldier – a conclusion

I have written before on my research into Samuel Madder, his army career and death in the Peninsula War. After a recent visit to the TNA I think I have come to the point where there is nothing else to find about him.

To recap. There is a large Madder family tree all descended from Samuel Madder (1804-1870). Was Samuel connected to the Madders of Norfolk, to which I belong? I had discovered that Samuel was an army orphan and his father, also called Samuel had been a soldier in the 3rd Foot Guards (Scots Guards). I had been told that the Guards Regimental HQ in London holds personal records for members of the Foot Guard regiments. On writing to them I discovered that this didn’t include soldiers discharged before 1819. They recommended looking at Depot Description books at TNA (WO67).

Before I had investigated these records I discovered an online transcription of Napoleonic War records which mentioned Samuel so I looked at the original of these on my next visit to Kew. In WO 25/876 I found that Samuel had enrolled in the 3rd Foot Guards on 24th November 1800 and that he had previously been in the Norfolk Fencibles from 10th July 1798. At last a Norfolk connection.

Next I looked at muster lists (WO 12/1802-1812). Using these six-monthly returns I was able to follow Samuel through various Companies around England and to Portugal in 1809. Included with the muster list was a casualty list showing that Samuel had died on January 6th 1810. Since there were 70 other deaths reported on the same day and the previous deaths were in Oct 1809, I concluded that it was a report of all deaths over a period. Could I find exactly when he died and how?

I looked next at the recommended Depot Description books. In WO 67/3 I found a description of him, his age at enlistment and his place of birth, Brisley in Norfolk. I could now fit him into the family tree. In WO 67/2 I found confirmation of his date of death, January 6th 1810. Then in WO 67/1 the description was repeated with a date of birth and it gave the name of the place he was recruited, Tatterford in Norfolk.

More information and images of documents can be seen in my previous posts Samuel the Soldier and Madders against the French.

Was there anything else I could try? Last on my list were Pay Books. Surely I could rely on the British Army to know exactly when a man died, so as not to overpay him. On my recent visit I ordered these books (WO 12/1843). I was glad my shoulder had recovered when I saw the size of the book I had to collect in the TNA map room.

3rd Regiment of Footguards - Pay Book (TNA WO 12/1843)

3rd Regiment of Foot Guards – Pay Book (TNA WO 12/1843)

The lists contain details of money owed to the soldiers over several years (Samuel is near the bottom – in the final column one word – dead)

Top half of page - Samuel Madder near bottom

Top half of page – Samuel Madder near bottom

An interesting fact is that the entry after Samuel Madder is Richard Walker, who had also served previously in the Norfolk Fencibles, for the same length of time. I wonder if they were friends who joined up together and after eleven years, both died in Portugal.

Samuel Madder and Richard Walker - friends?

Samuel Madder and Richard Walker – friends?

As we can see from the final calculations, Richard died on (or before) the 15th September 1809. The date for Samuel is still given as 6th January 1810.

Money due to Samuel and Richard

Money due to Samuel and Richard

Perhaps all those 70 men did die on the same day, but since there would have been no battle at that time of year, I will just have to accept that the British Army has let me down. If the pay office didn’t know his exact date of death, no-one did. They probably died of wounds from the Battle of Talavera on 28th July 1809, or disease.

The search for Samuel Madder has taken over a year and several visits to TNA, as well as a bit of background reading as well. It just shows that not everything is available instantly, on-line.

I think I have proved the link between two separate Madder families. I wonder if DNA would back me up? Are there any direct male descendants of Samuel out there, willing to take a test?

Posted by: Christine | May 6, 2013

The garden in April

This post is a bit late, but I’ve been spending time in the garden, instead of writing about it!

What an amazing month! The first half was just a continuation of the previous months. Cold, a bit of  frost and occasional snow. Then half way through, Spring happened. It warmed up and the sun came out. In fact it appeared just in time to use the repaired Pergola (The steps had rotted in last years dampness and after I fell through them last autumn, they had been unusable). We have had a couple of lunches and several cups of tea out there since.

View of the garden showing repaired Pergola, pond and new border

View of the garden showing repaired Pergola, pond and new border

As for the plants, it was as if everything had been holding its breath and then someone fired the starting gun. The snowdrops, which had been hanging around for what seemed like months, suddenly shriveled and were replaced by daffodils. Crocuses came and went within days and then the Tulips were out! I had planted some new ones – Orange Emperor – in my revamped border and they went beautifully with the Amelanchier (snowy mespilus) at one end, with its orangy-red leaves. The flowers on this appeared almost overnight.

Tulip (Orange Emperor) and Peony (buds but not flowering yet)

Tulip (Orange Emperor) and Peony (buds but not flowering yet)

Amelanchier - closeup of flowers - look good with a blue sky!

Amelanchier – closeup of flowers – look good with a blue sky!

The Magnolias have started flowering and have avoided any frost, which had been forecast a couple of times, and a green haze appeared on the Weeping Willow. The primroses, which had been the only patches of colour in the garden have gone mad – great clumps everywhere, and the Pulmonarias have suddenly started flowering in earnest.

Blue has suddenly appeared in the garden. Grape hyacinths (Muscari) are lapping round the base of the daffodils and forget-me-not (I’m sure that normally flowers later than this) is competing with the violets (wild, pulled up by my husband as weeds, when he spots them!). Of course the weeds are growing too; I am battling with speedwell at the moment and bitter cress, which appears everywhere, with no warning.

I have also been hacking back some of the undergrowth – a mess of dead fern fronds and over rampant Clematis Montana revealed the new fern fronds opening, and from that angle I discovered the Spring Snowflake (Leucojum vernum) was flowering. While scattering slug pellets round my Trillium (its annual one leaf – they’re not getting it this year!) I noticed the Dogs Tooth Violets ( Erythronium dens-canis ‘Pagoda’ ) had also appeared.

Dogs Tooth Violet (Pagoda)

Dogs Tooth Violet (Pagoda)

The Hellebores are just finishing, so the garden is a combination of flowers that wouldn’t normally be seen together. And today I noticed the buds on the Bluebells.

There were so many different flowers out that I went round the garden and picked a selection: three different daffodils/narcissi, the dog’s-tooth violet, primroses, muscari and forget-me-nots and a piece of pulmonaria. Spring has arrived, if not summer.

Selection of spring flowers

Selection of spring flowers

Posted by: Christine | April 11, 2013

Start of the Voyage

Last year, on the anniversary of the death of John Madder, I wrote about his execution and the reasons behind it. This year I thought I would write about some of the research I have done about his life, in particular the start of the voyage of the Worcester that ended in his death.

While searching for information about John Madder I came across a book, written in 1930, by Lieut. Colonel Sir Richard Carnac Temple Bt. It was called “New Light on the Mysterious Tragedy of the Worcester 1704-1705” and was based on the papers of Thomas Bowrey, one of the owners of the Worcester. After reading this, it occurred to me that, if these papers had been available in 1930, they must still be today. I eventually tracked down the ones I needed to the Guildhall Library – they are now to be found in the London Metropolitan Archives. I see that the reference is now CLC/427, but when I looked at them, the list of over 1000 documents was on microfilm MS 24177, and images of the documents on MS 24178. The first 227 are about the Worcester and I obtained copies of a large proportion of them. The image below is number 84.

First though, a brief account of the start of the voyage. The Charter party was signed on 16th December 1701 and the ship arrived at the Downs, near Deal on 2nd February, to await a favourable wind. For the next month there was an almost daily exchange of letters between Thomas Bowrey and the ship. There were letters from Robert Callant, the Supercargo (the person in charge of the trading), Thomas Green, the Captain and John Madder, the Chief Mate, as well as copies of the letters sent to them by Bowrey. Bowrey’s letters are full of last minute instructions: what to buy, or not to buy (“no trading in slaves”,  “Bring ginger if pepper scarce“), where to go etc.

In a letter of 25th February 1701/2, Bowrey tells Callant and Green to get back on board – apparently they were still staying in Deal! Of course this meant that John Madder was on board the ship, dealing with all the problems. On 5th February he reports a storm which “blew Tuesday night until Wednesday afternoon”. They survived although ” Ships Drove by us on both sides as we ware forsed to port ower helm for some and starboard for others”. On 12th February he was building cabins for two harpooners (Bowrey had decided they should try a bit of whaling during the voyage).

Ten days later their Bowsprit was carried away by a passing ship and had to be replaced. Callant asked Bowrey to try to find the ships owners “ whereby to gett satisfaction, the Master & Compy I beleive where in drinke for if it be the same Master as I am informed it was, noe longer than Saterday last was by the Mayr of this place put into the stocks for Swearing & Drunkenness”

The Worcester eventually sailed on 8th March. A final letter from Thomas Bowrey followed them stating ” The very day you sailed out of ye Downs King William Dyed The same day ye Princess Anne was Proclaimed Queene. all things seem to be well settled” They must have been glad to get away.

This is a letter written by John Madder on 23rd February, reporting the loss of the bowsprit.  Bowrey must have heard rumours that there was a woman on board and asked about it. You can see that he has written his report and then it appears that he doodled the date underneath his signature, while he decided what to say about the woman.

Letter from John Madder 23 Feb 1701/2 (LMA - MS 24178/84)

Letter from John Madder 23 Feb 1701/2 (LMA – MS 24178/84)

Sr / Yesterday in ye afternoon, a ship came / on board of us, and broake ower boult- / spreete, thoueght to a sailed ye day / ye wind yn at ye no no wt. Ye Capn makes / whate heart he cane to gett us / a nother, when it comes on board, will make / what heart I can in setting of (word crossed out) / have not seen Mr Callant since I / Recd yur last, no more to add at / Present, yor humble servant: Concludes / to serve yow – / Jno Madder / 1701/2
as for a woman / being aboard ye ship / yow have been / wrong informed – / for yr is nun nor have / not bene ys 10 dayes – / when she was aboard, she was see sicke / & we could not gett her into aboat  / Feeb ye 23d 1701/2 / Downs

The Worcester arrived in Leith on its way home from India over two years later, in August 1704. In December the crew was arrested. On April 11th 1705 John Madder, together with Captain Thomas Green and gunner James Simson were executed.   R.I.P.

Posted by: Christine | April 8, 2013

My First Conference

Any regular readers of this blog might remember that this time last year I wrote about my experience trying to watch the Guild of One-Name Studies Conference on-line. This year I decided to attend the AGM and Conference in person. This was the 34th Conference and titled ‘Around England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 8,000 names”

Friday morning I set off with my driver and non-delegate for Cardiff. As we had plenty of time we took the “pretty” route. Down the Foss Way to the Cotswolds and joined the M5 near Tewkesbury. After a couple of junctions we left the motorway and, bypassing Gloucester, drove down the A48 between the Forest of Dean and the River Severn. Not a fast route, but more pleasant than the motorway. We stopped at Tredegar House, now run by the National Trust, for some lunch and a walk around the house and grounds. It is a house which belonged to the Morgan family, which included some colourful characters! We could have spent longer there, but we had to get on.

Spring has come at Tredegar House

Spring has come at Tredegar House

Something strange in the stables of Tredegar House

Something strange in the stables of Tredegar House

Onto the M4 for, what we thought, would be the simple journey to the conference venue. The directions were not very precise, so we had a closer look at Cardiff than we expected! Eventually we arrived and, after checking in to the hotel, received a warm welcome and our name badges and goody bags. After dumping our luggage in the room, we went down again for coffee and biscuits. After waiting around for some time with other frustrated arrivals, we returned to our room for some coffee. The late (or non) arrival of coffee was to be a feature of the weekend.

Later there was a buffet dinner which was followed, after an interval of confusion as to location, by the Quiz. This occupied the rest of the evening, as the different Livery Companies battled it out under the control(?) of Kirsty. There was plenty of laughter and was a good way of getting to know people. I don’t know the final score of the Pewterers but we were not one of the three joint winners, whose names I don’t recollect.

The Pewterers ponder a difficult question at the Quiz

The Pewterers ponder a difficult question at the Quiz

Despite the late night we were up early for breakfast and then the opening of the Conference at 9.00, followed by the AGM. After morning coffee (it arrived this time – with pastries) it was time for the talks.

The audience gathers for the first session

The audience gathers for the first session

The morning session was England and started with Andrew Millard on London: Where men can most effectively disappear. This gave a useful account of the expansion of London over the years and the distinction between the City and Middlesex and how different places moved from one area to another – parishes split as the population expanded and merged as numbers reduced. Details were given on where to find the different records. It seems that you need to know the history of a place, before you can find the records, if they exist at all! Links and References for this talk can be found here.

Andrew Millard is introduced as Bob Cumberbatch controls the online broadcast

Andrew Millard is introduced as Bob Cumberbatch controls the online broadcast

The second presentation was by Gareth Davies on Companies House, Products, Services and access to company and directors information. This very entertaining talk, by an employee at Companies House, let us into some of the secrets of the department and how to find valuable information about directors of companies.

After lunch it was the turn of Ireland, with Nollaig O Muraile telling us about the complicated subject of Medieval Sources for Genealogical Research. It seems that there is a lot of information available, but difficulties in knowing how accurate it is. It also suffers from the lack of Irish language speakers prepared to translate and transcribe the records.

The second Ireland speaker was John Hamrock, on the Origins and Meanings of Irish Surnames. He concentrated on the Irish diaspora and attempts to attract their descendants to visit Ireland. He also mentioned the increasing amount of Irish information available online.

All that was enough for one day and everyone returned to their rooms to prepare for the Banquet that evening. This started with a reception at 7.00 and then the meal. This was in the same room where the talks had been, although rearranged.

The Banquet

The Banquet

The starter was Fan of ripe melon & mango coulis, followed by Pan seared chicken breast, Sauvignon blanc and tarragon cream, with vegetables. Dessert was Warm apple tart with ice cream. The food and the service was very good. After coffee was served, there was entertainment in the form of the Fraser Lawson Band. unfortunately this was so loud that anyone who wanted to talk, rather than dance, evacuated the room.

Next day at 9.00, while the Regional Representatives were having their meeting, the rest of us were back for a talk by Debbie Kennett on The Power of Social Networking: Geneaology in the 21st century. This was a similar talk to the one she gave at the Why be a Society in the 21st century Seminar last December, so I won’t go through it here.

After the morning coffee came the Scottish section of the conference. First Lorna Kinnaird, Regional Representative for Scotland South, replaced the advertised speaker Bruce Durie on Retours: the Unknown Scottish Source for One-Namers. These documents are the returns to chancery concerning disputes in the inheritance of property. These cannot be found online – a trip to Scotland is required. A transcript of an index has been produced by Bruce Durie (in three volumes – 2000 pages)

The second Scottish talk was by Dee Williams of the National Records of Scotland on Searching for historic Scots: some free and chargeable resources. This was about the records we can access online, either through ScotlandsPeople (will a subscription ever be available?) or other sites – some of them free.

Lunch followed, when I didn’t get around to any coffee because I was chatting too much – I was starting to get the hang of this conference thing!

The final session was about Wales and I found the first presentation surprisingly interesting. Peter Badham talked about The Welsh Context: A One-Name Perspective. It seems there is more to Welsh surnames than just the use and then disappearance of “ap”. It included information about the history of Wales, which I didn’t know about. But I was glad that my name was not of Welsh origin.

The final talk was by Beryl Evans from the National Library of Wales on Digitised Welsh Newspapers Online. This project appeared online only a few weeks ago and is still in its early stages. More newspapers will be added and the function of the site increased. The good new is that it is completely free!

The numbers in the audience was starting to diminish as people left to catch trains or start on long journeys home and the Conference was closed at 3.30, half an hour early. This of course meant that the afternoon tea had not yet appeared, so I met up with my non-delgate (who had spent a pleasant weekend exploring the area) and we left for home.

So, what is my final impression of the Conference? The venue was very good and easy to reach (when you knew how). The rooms and facilities were excellent and the food was plentiful and there was usually a choice.

The Copthorne Hotel, with lake

The Copthorne Hotel, with lake

View from our hotel room. (I'm sure you can't see the trading estate in summer!)

 As for the presentations, some were of more interest to me than others, but all were worth listening to. I haven’t gone into too much detail as they are available on YouTube and most of the slide shows can be seen by members in the members area of the Guild of One-Name Studies website. 

In the end though, as I think I said last year, you can sit at your computer and watch the talks, but then you miss out on all the other activities; the Quiz (whatever the question – the answer is cheese!) and the Banquet, but most of all meeting the other attendees. Discussing your one-name study, finding out how others run theirs, solving problems, etc. 

I’m glad I went and to all my old friends, old and new – See you next year!

Posted by: Christine | April 2, 2013

The Garden in March

I think that if I was feeling lazy I would just refer you to my last gardening post . Not much has changed in the last month. This March has been the coldest since 1962 and for what seems like at least half of it there has been snow on the ground.

View out the back wndow - hydrangea petiolaris covered in snow.

View out the back window – hydrangea petiolaris covered in snow.

How can such a depth of snow settle on such thin branches, especially as the snow was drifting elsewhere? Luckily there has been a bit of colour indoors. In the conservatory an Aeonium has been flowering,  so it can’t be too cold in there!

Aeonium flowering in the conservatory

Aeonium flowering in the conservatory

This is a green leafed Aeonium – one of my dark-leaved (black) plants which was moved into the (heated) greenhouse for the winter has succumbed  to the cold.

One plant that I seemed to get right this year was a pot of Hyacinths, which flowered last week, providing a wonderful perfume to the house. Once again I seem to have mislaid the label, but they were an unusual pinky/orange colour.

A bowl of Hyacinths britten up the window sill.

A bowl of Hyacinths brighten up the window sill.

 The Hellebores are still going strong in the garden. The snow makes them hang their heads, but they soon perk up again when it goes.

The Hellebore Border

The Hellebore Border

As I do every year, I picked some heads and floated them in water. They don’t last very long but it gives a chance to look at them in detail (and in the warm).

Harvington Apricot Hellebore - funny apricot!

Harvington Apricot Hellebore – funny apricot!

This is my new Harvington Apricot Hellebore, that I mentioned in January. Not sure if it was worth the extra money – it doesn’t look much different from some of my “ordinary” hellebores.

I was worried about the frogs, when they laid their frogspawn two weeks ago, just before it turned very cold again. I did wonder why there was only spawn in the bottom (wild) pond, rather than the top (ornamental, with fish) pond, did they know it would be eaten by the fish? No, it must have been more sheltered down there (it’s under a weeping willow) and today I found a proud father (or mother) supervising its future tadpoles.

Frogspawn under supervision in the pond

Frogspawn under supervision in the pond

Today has been sunny, but still cold and we have only one daffodil out, so far. I hope spring arrives soon – the new border wants to get going.

Red stems of a Paeony, tulips and and an Aquilegia getting ready for Spring

Red stems of a Peony, Tulips and  an Aquilegia getting ready for Spring.

Posted by: Christine | March 27, 2013

Reading and Writing

On Monday I returned to the local hospital for an x-ray, which confirmed that my shoulder fracture had mended. I have now thrown away my sling and am free! I will need some physiotherapy as my arm is very stiff, but I can do a lot more. At the moment I am trying to get used to typing with two hands again – more difficult than you’d think!

So what have I been doing with all my enforced leisure? Well I think I mentioned that I have been making a lot of use of my Kindle – and have discovered some of the rubbish that appears in the Kindle Store special offers. In fact one book I read inspired me to post a customer review, for the first time ever (more later).

I have also been doing a bit of proof reading. My husband has been writing a book about the history of Rugby Radio Station, where he spent the whole of his working life. Anyone who has travelled up the M1, M6 or A5 will have seen the tall masts, gone now, visible for miles, especially at night with their red lights. Everyone wondered what went on there – now you will be able to find out (no, they weren’t connected with Daventry radio masts nearby!)

I am not qualified to judge the technical bits, but I have been checking the commas, apostrophes  and capital letters. And of course the spelling (although some would say that is a case of the blind leading the blind!). My favorite error was the reference to playing snooker with a queue – so was that what they did there?

I have also been doing a bit of writing myself. No – not my book about John Madder, but some fiction! It all started at Christmas. I decided to write a festive, genealogical ghost story, for this blog. I knew exactly what I wanted to write, but couldn’t get it down on paper (or rather the computer). This puzzled me – I chunter away here about all sorts of things – why not fiction? While I was pondering this, I picked up the Percival Guildhouse brochure and noticed they were running a nine week course called “Writing Fiction”, so, with trepidation, I signed up. (The trepidation was because I once did a dayschool there on creative writing – it was terrifying – live writing of poetry!)

My trepidation was unwarranted – the group turned out to be very friendly. It has been running for some time and the tutor is Gill Vickery. She writes children’s fantasy books (in fact her latest, The Opal Quest: DragonChild book 2, was published a couple of weeks ago, if you have any children in your family)

The classes consist of exercises and discussion and everyone seems to have their own book on the go. After a couple of false starts, I have now started “my novel”. So what is it about? Well obviously it is historical –  Something inspired by my family history research perhaps? All those Madders involved in the Napoleonic Wars? Perhaps Victorian servants, or that Elizabethan spy (I haven’t blogged about him yet!) or even John Madder (should I change my non-fiction book to fiction?). Or what about a genealogical detective story?

None of these – I’ve started writing about Byrhtnoth. He died in 991 at the Battle of Maldon (there was a famous poem written about it), where he was the leader of the Anglo-Saxon forces against the Vikings. Why? He is not a relative, although he was Ealdorman of Essex so I suppose that is possible. I went to the anniversary of the battle in 1991, but haven’t thought about it since. I was just trying to think about what to write about and suddenly, there he was. Others on the course have mentioned minor characters suddenly taking over their stories, so perhaps it’s something like that.

Statue of Byrhtnoth at Maldon

Statue of Byrhtnoth at Maldon

I am now deep into researching the Anglo-Saxon period.  Who was king ? What was happening at the time? – I’m starting from his childhood, of which nothing is known (conveniently). I’ve been planning what happens to him, and when. And Names….!! I don’t have time for this! I’ve only written about 3000 words so far and he’s taking over my life.

I’ve signed on to continue the course after Easter, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress. But don’t worry – I won’t inflict any of my fiction writing on you. Not until next Christmas, anyway!

And that iBook I mentioned above? I was searching Amazon to see if anyone else was writing about Byrhtnoth and came across a teen novel (not my usual reading matter) called Viking Sword Saxon Shield. It was less than £2 but I regret wasting even that amount on it. The only good thing was, it inspired me – I couldn’t write as bad as that – could I?

Posted by: Christine | March 20, 2013

Speeding at the Great Exhibition

In my last post I said I would write more about Robert Madder. 

In 1851 he was working as a groom. In the census he was in the household of Eliza Tyrwitt at Heath Lodge, Englefield Green (now the Savill Court Hotel) in Windsor Great Park. (This makes sense as Robert’s family lived in New Windsor.) Eliza was the widow of Sir Thomas John Tyrwhitt-Jones, 2nd Baronet Tyrwhitt-Jones, of Stanley Hall, Shropshire. Living with her was her daughter, Leila and son-in-law, Hylton Jolliffe. Hylton was a Captain in the Coldstream Guards. Robert was perhaps Captain Jolliffe’s groom, as only a few weeks later he was working for another Guards Captain, who appeared in the newspapers.

1851 was the year of the Great Exhibition, held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park London. In early May, Captain Paulet Henry Somerset, of the Coldstream Guards was arrested and charged:
 “with having horsewhipped Police Constable Griffin, one of the constables stationed at the Great Exhibition”.

Trial of Captain Somerset in Reynolds Newspaper 18 May 1851

Trial of Captain Somerset in Reynolds Newspaper 18 May 1851

Identical reports appear in many newspapers. This report  is from Reynolds Newspaper, found on the British Newspaper Archive website, although it can also be found in the Times Digital Archive (free in most libraries).

According to the reports Captain Somerset was driving his carriage along a road that had been closed. The constable tried to stop him and was hit with the whip. Robert Madder gave evidence that:
“His master’s horses were trotting not galloping, when the policeman laid hold of the reins. Before that his master had called out he was not going to the Exhibition”

Somerset was found guilty and sentenced to 10 days in the House of Correction. Obviously thinking they would not send a gentleman to prison, he offered to pay a fine, but it was refused. “Captain Somerset was then removed to the lock-up cells, evidently in a state of most uncomfortable bewilderment”.

This case caused much interest around the world. By November 1st, there was a report in the Otago Witness  in New Zealand, which gives more on the aftermath of the court case. 

Captain Somerset in prison - reported in the Otago Witness 1 Nov 1851

Captain Somerset in prison – reported in the Otago Witness 1 Nov 1851

American journalist George Wilkes commented on the case
(from Passionate Pilgrims: The American Traveler in Great Britain, 1800-1914 By Allison Lockwood – found on Google Books)

American reaction to the case

American reaction to the case

Did Robert Madder keep his job? Nothing more is known about him until 1855.

Captain Somerset was not obliged to leave his Regiment and went on to serve as an aide-de-camp to his uncle, Lord Raglan, during the Crimean War. Captain Jolliffe also served there but died on 4 October 1854 at age 28, from cholera.

Posted by: Christine | March 18, 2013

Wills and Radicals

I recently wrote about the death of Robert Madder and his son Thomas in 1863  and said that I would get a copy of the will of Frederick Wilmot Horton esq. Although I was unable to go on the recent trip to TNA, I asked someone who did go to get me a copy.
I wanted to know if Robert Madder had been named in the PCC will (PROB 11/2206/212). He was, and what is more, he was the first beneficiary mentioned.The fifth line down reads “I give to my Man Servant Robert Madder the sum of two hundred pounds and also all my Wearing apparel”

Will of Frederick Wilmot Horton 1855 (TNA ref: PROB 11/2206/212

Will of Frederick Wilmot Horton 1855 (TNA ref: PROB 11/2206/212

I have never come across a servant mentioned so prominently in a will. He must have been a very good servant – or perhaps he just happened to be in the room when the will was written. Was there more to their relationship?

Captain Horton then gives the rest of his household goods, plus one thousand pounds to his brother, the Rev George Lewis Wilmot Horton. He goes on to list bequests to other brothers and sisters, felllow Naval Captains, the Sailors Home in Portsmouth and his Mother’s butler (John SUTTON). The will is dated 25th October 1854 and was proved 5th February 1855. Robert Madder married 22nd March 1855 – he gives his occupation as Gentleman. Not surprising as £200 would have been worth around £10,000, and he had the clothes as well.

Marriage of Robert Madder and Mary Ann Blizard in 1855

Marriage of Robert Madder and Mary Ann Blizard in 1855

The money didn’t last long as by 1861 he and his wife were back in service – but what service! 

He was a footman and his wife was cook. They were working at Aubrey House for Peter Alfred Taylor a radical MP and his wife Clementina. Supporters of Italian reunification stayed at the house and Garibaldi visited in 1864. Aubrey House was sold in 1997 for £20 million, which at the time made it London’s most expensive house. In 1861, apart from Robert and Mary Ann, the staff consisted of only two housemaids and a kitchenmaid. I don’t know who was looking after the children, Robert Charles and Allen George. I have been unable to find them on that census.

It seems that the more I find out about Robert Madder, the more interesting he becomes. I’ll write another time about his appearance in the papers, a few years earlier.

Posted by: Christine | March 10, 2013

Local GoONS Meeting

Yesterday I went to a meeting of the Staffordshire and Warwickshire Regional Meeting of the Guild of One-Name Studies, organised by Regional Representative Barbara Griffiths. We met in a church hall, just off the Coventry ring road to talk about our one-name websites.

At the last meeting I had demonstrated my website  built using Joomla  Other members had now built their own websites and gave demonstrations, highlighting different aspects.

First up was Susan Hundleby. She has a (so far) basic website for her Hundleby One-Name Study  but concentrated on a school website she runs. Both sites are built using Joomla and the school site uses an extension called Jomsocial. Using this you can run your own social network, similar to Facebook, on your website. If you have a large number of people in your one-name study, society or, in this case, school, you can let them chat away to each other, with you in control. This sounded interesting. The downside is that it is expensive – $99, although there is a trial for $1. Don’t think my ONS is big enough to warrant the expense!

David Nelson has also set up a website  using Joomla  It is still very much a work in progress and he told us about his difficulties in setting it up – joomla can be complicated to start with. Help was given with some of his problems. There is also a lot of information available online. I have found the tutorials here very helpful.

Before I get thrown off WordPress for talking too much about Joomla, I should mention that the third demo was from Geoff Findon, whose website  uses WordPress. The Findon one-name study is small and the website is used to attract members of the family – one advantage of WordPress is that it is easy for visitors to leave a reply. Geoff also talked about a WordPress plugin called rootspersona  This can be used to display your family tree on your website, via a gedcom. I was very impressed – I don’t think Joomla has anything to compare. Not sure I could stand the stress of changing just for this though!

After tea and biscuits, John Frearson, demonstrated the advantages of keeping it simple with his website  assembling the website on his computer (using MS Expression?) and uploading to a host site. Incidentally John was the only one of the above websites with a link from his Guild Profile

There then followed a general discussion about websites. The conclusion was that if you want to set up a site for your one-name study, think about what you want to do with it. Attract visitors with an interest in your name? Provide information for everyone? Set up an online community?  When you have decided what you want to do, then look for the best way of doing it.

We then looked at Google+ Hangouts. We might attempt one in a month or so – if you want to join in, have a look at the information on the Guild website  (members only)

Both Susan and David had brought displays about their research, which we could look at – when we weren’t busy chatting!

At the next meeting (date to be arranged) we will be looking at Data Collection.

Posted by: Christine | March 5, 2013

Wot. No Genealogy?

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed a lack of genealogical posts recently – this needs to be rectified.

First, why haven’t I been posting? Well, due to my broken shoulder, I was unable to go to WDYTYAlive as planned. I also had to cancel a trip to the TNA. Either or both of these would have resulted in posts. I will be attending a Guild of One-Name Studies regional meeting in Coventry on Saturday, and towards the end of the month, I hope I can get to the Hobbycraft Exhibition at the NEC, to help RFHG man the FFHS stand. The following day (23rd March) is the BMSGH 50th Anniversary Celebration and FFHS AGM. Any of these events I might write about.

So, with all this spare time, lounging around, waited on hand and foot, haven’t I been roaring ahead with my research? Well, on Tuesday evenings I can still get to the Rugby Local History Research Group meetings – I am continuing to catalogue and scan their archives and discovering how difficult it is to use a scanner with one hand! I have also started setting up a new website for them.

As for the Rugby Family History Group, that has carried on, thanks to lifts from friends. I missed the Members Evening, at which I due to give a talk (only 10 mins, so I don’t think anyone missed it). Then there was the working and research evening – transcribing local parish registers. Since I organise this and there would be nothing to do if I didn’t turn up, I was surprised no-one checked if I would be at the meeting or not – must try not to be so reliable!

I also run the RFHG computer group, once a month and this has been taking up my time recently. Last September I started what I called “Project Rainbow”. Usually we look at new sources of online information or how to use a certain family history program, but I thought it would be interesting to show how to research a family, from scratch, in real-time. At the first meeting we selected a random address in Rugby and looked at who was living there in the 1901 census. We settled on 90 Church Street (in fact 90 was the enumerator’s number not the house number) and found Alfred T Rainbow, a 39-year-old publican living there with his wife and two children. He seemed interesting – it is a local name, so we started.

Now the rules of this exercise was that no-one, not even me, was allowed to do any research or preparation between the sessions. We would turn up for the meeting, go on the internet and see what we could find – scary! I felt this would be more useful as everyone could experience any problems and how to get round them. Last Friday was the penultimate meeting (we don’t meet during the summer) and I announced that everyone could now carry on researching by themselves. On 12th April they can bring their results and there will be a (very) modest prize for the most interesting fact about the family.

Nothing wrong with that, except…..although I had written brief reports of each meeting for the  RFHG website, I said I would provide a gedcom of the family, for reference. I had been entering the names into my PAF5 program, but I needed to enter all the sources, which meant downloading all the census pages, parish registers etc and checking every fact for all 34 people (4 generations, from 1821 to 1938). That  is now done – intensive research into a family which has nothing to do with me!

So that’s why this blog has been quiet – and I’ll need another post to cover the rest of what I’ve been up to.

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