Tracing your family history in the UK
Looking at the picture for clues.....
Back in the late 1960's I was lucky enough to come across some glass plate neagtives that had been thrown out onto a rubbish tip. I managed to save a few and then started to wonder where were the pictures taken and in what year. In those days in the United Kingdom, before everything became too hard to get information I wrote to the local vehicle licensing department.
Why...Because the registered number on the motorcycle was EH 155 and I knew the EH was given to vehicles registered in Stoke On Trent, Staffordshire.
I thought no more about it, but yes....I got a reply: The motorcycle is a 1909 Motosacoche (Swiss), first rregistered on 4.6.1090 to Edward Chorlton Forster, 8 Gwalis Terrace, Hanley, Stoke on Trent. He sold it on 18.6.1910 to Willaim Heathcote Bentley Humpries of 10 Hope Street, Hanley Stoke on Trent.
What information can you get from this photograph?
Taken in Blackpool early 1930's
How I got started ........
In January 2006 I started watching the very interesting programm on BBC2 televison, 'Who do you thing you are ?', on tracing your family and looking into your family history.
Well I have been thinking about doing the family tree for a while and got hooked . It does help when you have people at work who are doing the same thing, where you can ask and exchange information. My helper is Cindy Knight from Brown Edge, Staffordshire, who has already done a vast amount of work on her family tree.
I started to look further into my past, but where do you start... The internet for a start, so began the trail. I thought it might be a good idea to record my experiences and publish the web site. Early days.......
Keep your eyes open and look for every clue
I had a number of photgraphs given to me recently, incuding the one of the motorcycle on this hub. If you look at he registration number it is 1930 Date the picture was taken.
Check the date on this one taken in Southport
By the way, this is me - The one in white......
Where do you start....
The only thing I regret is not asking more of my relatives when they were alive, what was their life like.... As every second of the day passess, history is made and we do not record it. Speak to your relatives, school friends, anybody who can remember the past.
- MAKE A RECORD - Audio, video, write it down
- SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES
- DO YOU HAVE ANY CERTIFICATES
- DO YO HAVE ANY OTHER DOCUMENTATION
The power of the internet
The information you can get off the internet now is limitless and you can trace your family history very quickly these days with links to Ancestry.co.uk or through Familysearch.org. More on them later.
In the UK the information is sometimes limted when researching through the census, which is presently available to 1901. In the United States, information seems to be more readily available.
Here the National Archives at Kew, in London is a great source of information, with easy access on line.
I will post an example of a trace later.
- The Bowers Family Tree
Bowers family tree, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
- History of Knypersley Schools - Knypersley Primary and Bateman Girls School
A site dedicated to the history of Knypersley, Biddulph, Staffordshire
- Biddulph History Website
A look at the history of Biddulph, Staffordshire, United Kingdom, containing some recording from local people.
Tracing a relative - Thomas Edwin Hill
Thomas Edwin Hill was my grandfather and through documents I have I can try an illustrate what you can achieve with tracing his life.
I was lucky as my mother kept a few documents, so I started with looking for his death certificate. That told me what he died of, where he died and his age and date of birth. I needed to confirm his date of birth so I went looking for his birth certifcate, which I didn't have. I looked on the internet for our local Births, Marriages and Deaths, which in my case was Staffordshire BMD. I found a likely record and applied via , the internet for a copy about 7.50 GBP. The birth certificate came through, with an exact match, and it gave his mothers name, (Maiden) and fathers name. He was born in 1886.
So where to go next.........
Moving on from getting the Birth Certificate
1886 - Thomas Edwin Hill ( My Granddad ) is born on 28th August 1886 at 13 Garden Place, East Vale, Caverswall, Stoke on Trent. East Vale is now Longton.
His parents are shown in the 1891 census.......
1891 CENSUS - His parents moved to Wain Lea, Harriseahead, but his dad has a new job as a coal miner. William now aged 17 becomes a coal miner. Mary and Annie are at school, but there are 2 more family members, Thomas, aged 4 years (Grand-dad) and Alice aged 1.
1901 CENSUS - The family have moved to 27 South Street, Ball Green, Stoke on Trent. Thomas has now gone back to farming, Annie has become a Bosson, young Thomas, now 14 has become a miner. There is a new family member Miriam aged 9 years. William has now married and lives at 7 High Street, Mow Cop and has a 1 year old daughter Mary E. and son James 3 months
In 1901 Thomas is now 14, so you can presume that in a t least 5 or even 10 years time, he may be getting married ! - There are no more census details available
Does he get married ?
Well not quite, he joins the British Army, which means you now may be looking at developing your research further.
1904 - Thomas Edwin Hill - now Soldier 20841 Signs up for 3 years in the colours and then 9 years in the reserve on 8.9.1904 to report to Lichfield barracks on 9.9.1904 at 10am.
He leaves the Army and is now a reservist for a further 9 years....
There is a marriage and I have the marriage certificate, which has more information on it...
1908 - The Parish Church, Norton in the Moors, on 5th July, sees the marriage of Thomas Edwin Hill a 21 year old collier to Elizabeth Ellen Fallows, 18 years. Witnesess were Alice Mary Hill, Willian Henry Hill and Richard George Fallows
Thomas Edwin Hill - Wold War One
Thomas served in the Royal Garrison Artillery from 1904 to 1907, when he went on the reserve list for 9 years. He was a reserve gunner in the RGA at the commencement of World War One and went to France in August 1914. He sent postcards home and below is an example of an embroidered one. It was stuck in an album, so hiding the writing on it, i.e. the second example.
These cards capture the mood at the time and it is dated 1916
Where does Thomas Edwin Hill go at the start of World War One
Well I have been trying to find out for a long time, as his pay book seems to suggest that was in he Royal Garrison Artillary, at Number 9 Stationary Hospital, which I know was at St Nazaire in France in 1914. He wasn't injured, so why was he at the hospital..I think he was staioned at the hsopital to guard it, n his role as a gunner.
I hav ebeen done to my local library and found his medal record on the internet and in 1914 he was attached to a statioanry hospital, not injured, I'll keep looking...
- Biddulph History Website - Audio
A look at the history of Biddulph, Staffordshire, United Kingdom, with an audio history fom some people who were happy to tell us about themselves
American soldiers in Biddulph World War 2
Whilst listening to some of the audio material, a lot of the older residents of Biddulph remember the American soldiers who came to the town during the later stages of World War 2. They can remember then having chewing gum which they gave to the children. But it was in stick form not tablet form.
This is a plea for help - Any ideas.......
What did your reatives do during the war ?
Well until I embarked on the faily tre, I had no idea what my Uncle Ern did. All I knew was he was a rear guner in the Stirlings and was with the Canadians. That was it. It wasn't util I visited hisgrave and saw the head stone, 295 Squadron, that I got some more information. Things started to fit into place as he had a Norwegian flag on his coffin when he was buried. I know now that they used to fly supplies to Norway....Still researching this one.
But as always if you can help, let me know.
Chatting to the relatives helps.......
Well I haven't on for a long time, busy.....
Went to see a relative today, and found out he kept a little book from his youth, he is now 88 years old, of some of the newspaper clippings reporting on his footballing in the 1940's. In the book was the below clip, which ties in nicely with a lot of research I have already done. These clippings are useful, as they tell you who was still alive, who was married to who and were there any more children. Now I have to track down the date, so it is after the Battle of the River Plate ... December 13th 1939... Bit of work to do........ So I went to my local library who have copies of all the old local newspapers and found him again on Friday 1st March 1940..........Different article......... See second photo....
A newspaper clipping from a relative
Photo 2 dated in paper 1.3.1940
He is even on Youtube......... Albert Bowers
More by this Author
It is now 90 years since the end of world war one. During November 2008 Ancestry.co.uk are offering free access to the World War 1 records, so you can research your relatives history; War Records - Medals - Pensions. ...