Tag Archives | genealogy

I’ve been Google Street-Viewed!

Google Street View has just come out for the whole of Britain rather than just several of the largest cities, and DS1 discovered that I am on it, crossing the road probably going shopping.    It must have been last summer from the clothes I’m wearing.  And thankfully they have blurred out my face!

I have also had a happy few evenings virtually walking round Stoke on Trent, where I grew up, and finding the streets (and possibly the actual houses) various ancestors lived in, with the help of the census records and a website which converts old street names in Stoke to their new equivalents.  In the 1950s lots of them were changed because the six towns which made up the city of Stoke on Trent had grown up independently and there were lots of duplicate street names, with resultant confusion.  Lots of High Streets, Albert Streets, Church Streets, etc!

Here are a few of the streets in Fenton, not far from where I lived until I was 11.  Fenton is the town that the 19th century novelist Arnold Bennett, in his novels about the Potteries, missed out, and who never forgave him for the omission.

This is Berdmore Street where my great grandmother, Minnie Simpson, was living before she was married:

simpsonminnieberdmorestreet

John Swetnam, my 1st cousin 4x removed, lived somewhere in this street in 1871:

swetnamjohngeorgestreet

The husband of the half sister of my great great grandmother, Sarah Swetnam, lived in this house in Heron Street in 1901 (sadly Sarah died in 1883 but several of my first cousins 3x removed were there.)

leighsgeorge14heronstreetwhitedoor

William Brown, my second cousins 3x removed, lived in this street in 1891; then it was Peel Street, now Ramsey Street.  He was a mineral water carter.

brownannie21peelstreet

Hope you enjoyed this little tour round one of the Potteries towns!

Vintage textiles and family heirlooms

Over the last year, I have been doing a lot of family history research.  I’ve been lucky in that first my Aunt, then my parents and my brother, have built up a huge family tree and I’ve been adding to it and looking into it more.  I have also been given various family treasures by family members over the years and I decided recently to photograph them and put them all together rather than scattered all over the house!

I’d love to find out more about this handkerchief.  It was given to my Nan by my Grandad during the Second World War.  I think it is silk, but the edges have been cut in a scallop pattern and outlined in pen, and the heart decoration is a sort of raised embellishment.  The writing is also in pen and there is no stitching on it at all.  Apparently while my Grandad was in the army, one of the things he was involved in was running a prisoner of war camp so I wonder if this was made by one of the prisoners?

world war 2 belgian handkerchief

My Nan wore this hat at my parents’ wedding in 1959. 

1950s flower hat

My Mum’s cousin (who was a lot younger than her because she was the daughter of my Grandad’s oldest brother… I had to look that up on the family tree!) was a house servant when she was young and she gave me her maid’s uniform – this is the cap and one of the cuffs she wore.  I’ve got the apron and collar as well but the apron is too rumpled to photograph at present and I don’t want to risk it picking up all the gunk on the iron (wonder how that got there?!).

maid's head dress early 20th century

maid's cuff

I took this photo the other day of the reflection on our bedroom ceiling and thought it fitted in well with a post about vintage textiles.  Doesn’t it look lacy?  (I think that is a reflection on the state of the windows but the less said about that the better.).

lacy ceiling reflections

Black Country Museum

Golly, where does the time go?  I can’t believe it’s 2 weeks since my visit to the West Midlands, where the Black Country Museum is based.    It’s called the Black Country in that area because of all the mines and industry which abounded in the 19th century. 

This is the house which my great great great grandparents, Benjamin and Elizabeth Meredith, lived in in the latter half of the 1800s.  It is called the Tilted Cottage because of the effects of the subsidence caused by mining in the area!   Apparently the Museum took great care to rebuild it that way when they moved it brick by brick to its new home.

Tilted cottage, Black Country Museum

Benjamin was a bricklayer but I don’t know if he built this house.  Most of my other ancestors were coal miners, potters and farmers, though the butt filers listed on several of the census returns amused the kids!  Typical male teenage humour…

The main part of the museum consisted of a reconstructed village – here are the ‘back to back’ terraced houses typical of a lot of Victorian workers’ buildings.    They are two houses put together only one room wide.  I used to live in a terraced house till I was 11 and it felt strangely familiar, although it wasn’t a ‘back to back’ type.  Click on the link if you are unclear what I mean – I was a bit vague about it and looked it up on Wikipedia!

back to back houses

I liked it because you could wander around all the back gardens and yards and see exactly what was there, the washrooms and coal houses and chicken coops…

The museum also links up with the canal system and going down there I saw these geese with their goslings:

geese and gloslings

It reminded me of the train journey up there, where the train driver stopped for some geese and their young family who were crossing the railway track!

This was the view from my cafe table when I was eating my lunch:

Black Country Museum

You could also go down a mine but I passed on that as I’ve been down several already and preferred to stay in the warm sunny outdoors!

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