Friday, 24 January 2020

It's a small world

 Six degrees of separation

I have been totally engrossed in doing family research this week, not just my family but I have been working on a tree for a friend. It's true to say I have been surprised, amazed and shocked by what I have discovered this week so will try to record a little here on my blog.

Firstly it's worth noting that it's only six months ago I upgraded my membership of the site to a worldwide subscription and am very pleased I did.  The USA records contain much more information than are available on UK censuses. In the UK we have the 100 year rule which means we'll have to wait until January 2022 to be able to view the 1921 census. Of course the 1939 register is available but many records remain closed for people born less than 100 years ago until proof of death is verified. Searching for information in the 20th century can be very frustrating. Anyway the USA records are much more useful in tracing family members.

Not directly my family but I discovered the husband of a niece of a 4th cousin born in 1917 in Yorkshire. I found him on the 1939 register but struggled to find his birth until I realised he was illegitimate and must have been adopted by his mother's new husband. He emigrated at the age of 29 and married shortly after arriving in America. It was from US records that I found his wife's name, his mother's maiden name and the names of his siblings all born and living in the UK. What I then found surprising was at the age of 80 he was convicted of killing his wife but found to be mentally ill when he drowned her. Annoyingly when I tried to access a website to read about the case I was blocked from doing so by GDPR rules because we're in a country belonging to the EEA including the EU. OK, I accept that our privacy is important.

Now for the amazing. The tree I'm building for my friend unfortunately didn't produce the information she was initially looking for but she was still interested to find out about the paternal side of her family. I'd already discovered some distant cousins of my own living in the area she lives in some seventy five miles away. I'd confidently discovered my friend's great grandfather but going back another generation I discovered her great great grandfather married to a lady with a surname that seemed familiar in my own family tree. Back to my own tree I looked again at the 1851 census and my distant cousin was newly married living with his in-laws and his wife's younger sister who went on to marry my friend's great great grandfather just seven years later. Although my friend and I aren't directly related what are the chances of that happening. A really lovely online friend who I've only met in person a couple of times when she comes camping in my next of the woods. Methinks she should take a DNA test as there is a remote possibility we could actually be related :-)

As  I continued to branch out on my friend's family tree I discovered a shocking case at the end of Queen Victoria's reign. Life was grim anyway but I read the story of a man who earned good money as a bricklayer but used to drink away his wages. His boss would sub him money so he took home very little money on pay days.  His two year old daughter died of starvation just half the body weight of a normal child. Her father was found drunk in bed with the body of his dead child and his emaciated wife who died several days later herself. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to fifteen months in prison with hard labour, not nearly a tough enough sentence in my opinion The details of the case are in newspaper cuttings which made for very upsetting reading. The remaining children were taken into care and the baby of the family went on to marry my friend's great aunt.

So following all that computer screen time this week I will be doing something different this weekend. On a rare day out this week I bought a couple of tins of paint and two rolls of wallpaper to freshen up our bedroom now that the en-suite room has been refitted. Just plain wallpaper, no matching necessary, paste the wall not the paper so shouldn't be too much of a challenge. It won't even be worth a photo when it's finished as it's all very beige like the curtains and carpet and me :)

Monday, 20 January 2020


Photo taken yesterday

This isn't the best photo of a sunset you'll ever see. I had to crop out the garden fence, the side of the neighbouring house and Annie had followed me outside and wouldn't move away from the back door so our security light stayed on. It was too cold to stay outside for long but was worth a photo and a nice memory.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Before and after photos

 As promised here are some before and after photos of recent changes to our home.

 The en-suite before 

The bathroom before

When my daughter visited us and saw the new bathroom she really liked it and said it was reasonably priced too. She wondered if the fitters would do a bathroom makeover for her but seeing as she lives some eighty miles away I didn't think it was likely. Anyway, on speaking to the lovely lady in the showroom I told her my daughter was impressed with the bathroom and she replied that they could deliver to her but she’d have to have the fitting done by someone local. She'd also invited my daughter to enter a competition to win a fitted LED mirror, one exactly the same as we were to be given for free in our en-suite room but sadly daughter didn't win the prize. Here's the bathroom after photos fitted during my blogging absence.

 The bathroom after

Friday, 17 January 2020

En-suite bathroom finished

The workmen finished our en-suite room yesterday, a day ahead of schedule. They worked hard and we are really pleased with the end result. We weren't going to bother buying a mirror as our mirrored  cabinet in the main bathroom is more than adequate for our needs but we were given the LED mirror free of charge, an offer to anyone who booked a bathroom fitting during the month of November. The room is such a big improvement on what we had before. The old ceiling fan was temperamental and was driving me nuts, not to mention the cracked sink basin and leaking shower.

It's a small room so I have had to take several photos from different angles avoiding my reflection in the mirror of course :)

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Raking in money for garden waste

Our county council was the first to trial four-weekly refuse collections in our area back in 2016 which to be fair didn't pose much of a problem for us being just a two person household. The scheme did cause a stink for some families though saying the rubbish causes smells and attracts seagulls, mice and rats. The scheme was then rolled out across the county in 2018 and saves the Council £390,000 a year.

Then last year it was agreed that the county's residents pay a £30 annual charge for garden waste collections. They reckon this will save the council a further £620,000.  I'm not exactly seeing red over the green waste charges but when the leaflet arrived it is actually a £35 a year charge for one wheelie bin and fortnightly collections. The leaflet says this equates to £1.35 per collection but people don't generally put out any garden waste in the winter months. Anyway, I've paid it now. I'm wondering what other crafty charges they'll introduce next or with the savings they make will they reduce our council tax bill. Not a hope in hell!

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Photos from my past

I've been intending to scan some photographs to add to the family history site and today is a good day to do it while the workmen are here. I've started with some of myself  that my late mother had in her collection and some are really cringeworthy :)

This one was taken on a school trip to London when I was eleven years old and in the last year at primary school. It was the only school trip I ever went on. I remember that we were taken on a Thames river cruise and I imagine my teacher took this photograph.

Now for the cringeworthy,  I've called this one my model look and have no idea why I'd be posing like that considering how introverted I am now :) The photo was taken outside my grandmother's house with Dad's Ford Anglia. I would have been about eighteen years old at the time and had passed my driving test. I drove my parents car from north Wales to Manchester quite a few times, Dad's eyesight was failing and he'd been keen for me to learn to drive. I've definitely inherited my Dad's poor eyesight but hope I'm still legal to drive as I'm certain my Dad wasn't at that time.

Oh dear. I've called this next one my Deirdre look. I used to have my hair permed, that is until the time I was stopped in the High Street and asked if I was Deirdre from Coronation Street :)

The real Deirdre perm - Internet photo

Now I must get on and scan those photos of my family members, aunts and uncles long gone.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Work has commenced

The en-suite room has been gutted today and they've made a start on the tiling. The shower tray and  toilet will be delivered tomorrow, not quite sure what the problem is with those, I assume there is as the showroom manager turned up mid-morning to discuss with the fitters.

He chatted to us for quite some time and we learned he'd lost his dog the week before Christmas.  He was understandably still upset at talking about his loss. The bathroom fitter had already commented how quiet Annie is this time, no barking at him at all and he had no idea that she is ill. In fact she hasn't made a murmur as the workmen come and go, she just lies on the settee quiet as a mouse. It's made us realise what a big difference there is in her condition in just the two months since the fitters were here last.

That's the back wall behind the toilet and opposite the shower, the cubicle itself will have fancy tiles.

The weather is dreadful, with constant rain, strong wind and it's so cold. I'm not even going to attempt to take Annie for a short walk in this. I've made a start on reading my book, I know already I'm going to find it very interesting.

It's a small world

 Six degrees of separation I have been totally engrossed in doing family research this week, not just my family but I have been workin...