Sunday, 23 January 2022

About family

I haven't been walking Tilly for the last ten days or so following her operation so I've been doing some family history research instead. 

I'm not intending renewing my annual subscription to the ancestry site in March as I've done as much as I want to on my own family tree and it can be an expensive and time consuming pastime. I was also disappointed when the 1921 census was released earlier this month and is not available within any subscription or free to view online. Anyway last week I turned my attention back to my husband's family. I was wanting to discover why and when they went to live in the West Midlands and then returned to live in this area of Wales. 

My husband's maternal grandparents were born in Wrexham and that side of his family has been incredibly difficult to research as it is full of the most common of Welsh surnames. Having sent for a couple of certificates it appears that my husband's grandfather lived or spent most of his time with his widowed grandmother and not his parents who lived in the same road. In 1911 and still with his grandmother he was working as a bottler in a wine store. When he married in 1920 and again on the 1921 census he had the same occupation and I was pleased to discover the name of his employer but not home addresses which aren't included on the census forms.

I found an article and photo online and this is where hubby's grandfather would have most probably still been working in 1933. In the foreground is a lorry belonging to the wine merchants in Wrexham. George and Alfred Brown were two bothers who had businesses in Cheshire, Shropshire and North Wales including Wrexham and Llandudno. When Alfred Brown died aged 91 in 1939 they had been trading for 70 years.  I have asked permission from the Wrexham history site to post this photo here on my blog.


 

Husband's grandparents had four children together, three including my husband's mother were born in Wales and the youngest being born in 1936 in the West Midlands. We have no idea when exactly the family returned to this area of Wales but we do know that husband's grandfather returned to work in the pub and brewery trade.

My husband's mother had met  a soldier and married in Birmingham when she was just seventeen years old and in 1939 living with her in-laws. We do know for certain that husband's older brothers were born in Birmingham although my husband was born in Wales. Most probably the family moved here to be near husband's grandparents.

There seems to be a similar story in my family. Both sets of my grandparents and their families were in Lancashire in 1939 apart from my mother's brother who was in a home for the blind in north Wales. So it seems that following the death of my maternal grandfather in late 1939 most of the family came to live in Wales apart from my parents but I know exactly when we came to live here. My blind uncle later married and went to live in Leeds.

If only we could go back in time and ask the questions we should have asked but never did. There's very few people to ask now so we can only rely on the censuses to give us the backstories.

22 comments:

  1. Some interesting snippets of family information there. Now I could be wrong (and knowing me I probably am) but I'm sure I saw recently that the 1921 census could be viewed online via Findmypast - I think it was one of those pop-up things I get on my tablet sometimes.

    I agree about being able to go back in time and ask questions - my parents never spoke much about their lives and families before I was born so there are many questions I'd like to be able to ask but can't.

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    1. The 1921 census is exclusive to Findmypast and you have to pay to view each census form, that one form cost me £3.50. The Ancestry subscription I have would cost me £180 to renew in March and I'm not prepared to pay that amount of money and I'm not going to subscribe to Findmypast either.
      I'd love to go back in time, my parents didn't speak about the past either. I've learned so much doing the research though.

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    2. Sheesh, I knew the Ancestry subscription was expensive, that's why I didn't take one out myself a couple of years ago, but £180 is extortionate - I don't blame you for not paying it. You're right about Findmypast - I've Googled and found a few sites saying you can view the 1921 census free via Findmypast but it's a different matter when you go on the Findmypast website. I should have known there would be a catch somewhere!

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    3. I have the Ancestry Worldwide membership which is why the renewal is so expensive, I'm not letting it auto-renew at that price! Last March they tempted me back with an offer and it may have been half price if I remember rightly. I'd not been using my membership in 2020 with having all the hospital treatment, it definitely affected my concentration skills :)

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  2. I share your frustration with the access to the 1921 census. It's too expensive to view many records so will leave huge gaps in the reference section in my family tree.

    It's interesting to read what you've found. Like you, I wish I'd talked more to my parents when I had the chance (I didn't know my grandparents). I learned a lot from Mum about her family but nothing from my Dad and it's too late now.

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    1. It would soon mount up viewing a lot of records and as I said in my comment above I'm not prepared to pay to renew my Ancestry subscription now knowing I can't access vital records. It certainly is too late now to ask questions. I think Ancestry may lose a lot of customers to Findmypast.

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    2. Even if you subscribe to FindMyPast you still have to pay to view. It was interesting to see that the Welsh census form was slightly different to the English one - Wales has the extra question about the language spoken. Does that appear on all the previous Welsh census returns or was it a new question for 1921?

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    3. I did read that subscribing to Findmypast will only give you a 10% discount on the pay per view. The question about language spoken, it first appears on the 1891 census then onwards and in the Wrexham ones I've looked at most speak English with just a few that put both Welsh and English.

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  3. How wonderful to be able to find out so much about your family history! I know a bit more about my mother's side of the family (partly because a cousin's husband drew up a family tree), but, very little about my father's side (mostly because he died when I was seven and there weren't many people around to ask questions; my half-sister probably knows more, and I've tried to ask her questions, but, she doesn't want to talk about family history).

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    1. I've seen some family photographs on cousins online family trees both mine and my husband's families, so it's been very worthwhile doing the research. I wonder what our ancestors would think about us being able to delve into their lives.

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  4. I have heard a lot of people upset with the way the 1921 census has been released, after all this time it should really be freely available but if someone can make money on the back of data then these days they will.

    Congratulations of finding out as much as you have done though, you are very fortunate to be able to research family history for both of you.

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    1. I believe even if you were to subscribe to Findmypast it's still not free to view the 1922 census records, they give you a discount apparently. I suppose Findmypast are recouping the money they have spent. Doing the research has kept me busy for the past few years and I know I am lucky to have this knowledge.

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  5. Interesting & it can be quite fascinating finding out things from our past & even the fact I have a convict ancestor which is quite amusing as he actually stole some flannel. Glad you've been able to at least source some of your heritage. Did you get my email? Take care & hugs.

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    1. Thank you so much for your email Susan and I will reply this afternoon. I haven't found any convict ancestors, that certainly was an amusing discovery for something apparently so petty. I have discovered some sad tales along the way but we live in different times now for sure.

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  6. It's fascinating looking back at family history. I researched both mine and Mick's family but haven't picked it up for years now, obviously, you get to certain points where you come to a bit of a standstill but there's always more to discover. That's annoying about the 1921 census. Is it not going to be released on Ancestry at all?

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    1. I've reached a standstill now and it's disappointing having to pay to view each 1921 census form. I've read that Ancestry will have access to the census eventually but when that will be I have no idea.

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  7. From Ann via Bloglovin'
    ann hyde
    • 10h ago
    I always find family histories fascinating. Trying to imagine their lives back in the day.... No Internet for one thing! Crikey, how did they cope! You are so right about wishing questions had been asked, it just never occurred to me at the time.

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    1. Their lives were so different from ours back in the day and we are fortunate to have the internet now to make this research possible. It would never occur to us to ask questions about our parents and grandparents lives, probably be given a clip round the ear for being cheeky :)

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  8. Good grief, had no idea the annual subscription cost so much.

    Is there any way you can access all or part via your local Library? I ask because there's an incredibly useful App called "Press Reader" which gives access to newspapers & magazines both from the UK and all over the world and I can log in for free via my county Library membership.

    So if you can get that for free from the library, maybe there are other things you could access?

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    1. The worldwide subscription is very expensive and I am not paying that much.
      As far as I know the census isn't available in local libraries only in Aberystwyth here in Wales. Having said that I haven't used our local library for years and not heard of Press Reader. There is a newspaper article I would love to read again and wish I'd kept the newspaper from years ago, I'll email you the details if it would be possible for you to access it maybe.

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  9. Me again, me again!!

    Just been to look at our county Library site. Have a look at this link:
    https://cumbria.gov.uk/libraries/1921census.asp

    If you can get to the National Library of Wales you can have access for free now, or later this year Cumbria will offer it for free via their FindMyPast subscription. I think it is highly unlikely we will be the only library service in the country who will offer that 😃

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    1. That's interesting Jayne. There's no way I can get to Aberystwyth but had heard the census is available for free there. I'll check out the link, thank you.

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