panik: (DW - Androzani)
posted by [personal profile] panik at 09:39am on 09/03/2010 under , ,
Had a funeral. My beloved Uncle Maurice collapsed and died of a massive heart attack last week. He was 69, my Mum's (much) younger brother, born during the Sheffield Blitz and never seemed to lose the love of life ever after. The one thing the vicar said that rang utterly true, platitudinous though it was, is that he lived life to the full - dear goodnight, he did! In fact, it was what probably killed him in the end but there's no harm in that, I'd rather go out with a bang living life like he did than drag on into my 90's never having done a damn thing.

It was at Grenoside, same as Mum, same as all her family; a gorgeous day. Uncle M was a popular man and it was literally standing room only, but we're English, goddamit so there were no embarrassing displays of emotion, just the usual low-key, controlled affair, lady vicar, Madonna lilies. We got some good music and some happy memories and it all passed off as well as these things can ever be expected to when you've lost someone very dear so suddenly and unexpectedly.

Tea was, as per,  at the Clock House. The last tattered remains of the Foster clan were all there and I was able to drag the names of a couple of uncles out of my auntie Ann (the last Foster standing) which enabled me to finally find my Grandpa's family in the records and add them to the family tree.

Caution: Contains genealogy )

Such was my day. I hope you're all well and keeping out of mischief in my absence ::gives teachery stern and all-knowing look around the room::
Music:: Birdsong, a distant tractor.
location: Yorkshire
Mood:: 'contemplative' contemplative
panik: (DW - Joy)
Which carries the proud boast, 'No 1 selling family history software!' It includes a 6 months membership of Ancestry (wow, that thing is expensive!) and 50% off the cost of an ancestry DNA test. (meep. Wonder what that will show up?).

So last night I took it out of its box and fired it up on the ole' Compaq.

I've been looking at Dad's family - my mum's side are quite posh, well documented and decidedly dull, tbh (a long, long line of forkers, as a friend once put it). Dad's, much more of a mystery and it's been interesting to see who they were and where they came from but most of all - good golly, those people had harsh lives!

Let's take the Beresford's of Crich on my dad's grandmother's maternal line. Living in one small workman's cottage (basically the same sort of place I live in now, a front room, a back kitchen, a bedroom and a loft, earth closet out the back - in Crich! Lol. That house, if it still exits, will probably set you back at least quarter of a million these days, but I digress).

From the 1851 census, we have: James Beresford, age 64, working as a limestone quarryman. His wife Martha, 60, son Joseph, 36, and James 34, both limestone quarrymen, Joseph's wife Elizabeth, 36, washerwoman, granddaughter Harriett (sic) age 11 and Alfred aged 9, both working as cotton mill gleaners. Also a lodger (where did they put him? Remembering my Dad grew up one of 9 children in a house smaller than this), James Hunt, age 70 also working as a limestone quarryman. There's a long list of dead babies in the births and deaths.

Never ever let me complain about my pathetic life of ease ever again.

I''m also finding a lot of  family lore coming true. I got to the Beresford's via a widowed great aunt Theresa, living with my great grandparents when my grandpa was a child, in 1901. In the  1891 census, she's still down as a widow, listed as 'head of house' at another address, living with an older brother (that seems unusual for the time? Assume she was the main earner, the name on the rent book?) whose name is James MacKay (yes Sentinel peeps! Tis in the very blood!) listed as being born, not in Sheffield like all the rest but in Weedon barracks (which I believe is in Northamptonshire) - My Dad (James) was told he was named for a Scots ancestor who emigrated to America, so this looks a promising lead.

Another family story is that the family had ancestors in Eyam at the time of the plague who are listed in the great book there and, indeed, I find a branch of the poor Beresfords in Eyam in the 1851 census, I'll have to dig and see if they were there in the 17C.

I've only used it for an evening, barely scratched the surface of what the software does yet but, cool, ain't it? *g* A terrible time-waster but decidedly cool. I might have a crack at gramma's side next, see what that turns up before we get too far back and it starts getting tricky. I have dad's family back to the mid 18C now but I suspect it'll get harder as we travel further back - not helped by the fact we have a plethora of names like George Walker, James Walker and etc who are like needles in a haystack in this bit of Yorkshire. Best of all, Dad, who reckoned he couldn't remember 'anything' did start to remember - names, addresses, stories - as I asked 'is this him? Is this the one?' over and over. it's been great for him, too but gosh, I miss my mum for all of this, she'd have remembered everything. ::sigh::

I found Mum's sister, too; Joan Foster, d. 1928 age 2 yrs, there amongst the vast list of under 5s, lest we forget how bloody lucky we are to live when we do.

ETA: OMG! Heavy heavy sudden snow! It was blue and clear and thick with frost when I started writing this. Oh wow, that's a lot of snow, falling on ice, there goes my stroll in the woods. Better stay in and eat a mince pie I think, for purely medicinal purposes of course, fortitude against this terrible weather. ::nod::
Mood:: 'enthralled' enthralled
location: Yorkshire