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Author Archives: Margaret McAlpine

Different perspectives

My youngest sister, in her retirement, has set off on a round-the-world tour on which one of the stops is Singapore.  She has been asking me and our other sister for our memories of the place in the mid-1960s when our father was stationed there for three years with the RAF.  While my other sister … Continue reading »

Categories: 20th Century, After the 2nd World War, Miscellaneous | 3 Comments

The era before roll on – roll off

I have previously written a blog about my father’s love affair with cars and in particular the Jowett Javelin which I remember well.  One reader helpfully pointed out that it seemed to be left-hand drive and another added that buying it in Germany around 1952 had probably avoided the punitive purchase tax on new cars … Continue reading »

Categories: Miscellaneous | 2 Comments

Ordinary lives – made interesting

‘Family history worth its salt asks big questions about economic forces, political decisions, local government, urban history, social policy, as well as the character of individuals and the fate of their families.’ So says Alison Light and her book certainly does that.  In fact it is easy to lose track of her ancestors as she … Continue reading »

Categories: Books we've read | 2 Comments

The value of feedback

Now that I have an almost complete draft of my family history I have begun seeking feedback on it. I have re-hashed it too many times to see it objectively and while it is not destined for a very large public I hope that a few people outside the family will find it worth reading. … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Typical 19th century great grandparents

My great grandfather, Frederick George Dunkley (1831-1916), lived all his life in the village of Silverstone, Northamptonshire.  It is a common surname in the area.  The census identifies him and many of the inhabitants there as general labourers but sometimes the term ‘woodman’ is added.  The countryside around is even today surrounded by ample forestry … Continue reading »

Categories: Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Aunty May and the Widow’s Mite

Florence May Dunkley (1909-2005) was my mother’s only sister and four years older than her.  The name May was popular when she was born and a number of my friends had their own Aunty May.  She was the 7th child and first girl of George and Catherine Dunkley, who lived in Silverstone, Northamptonshire.  Life was … Continue reading »

Categories: Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Scraps that survive

Among my grandmother’s (Mabel Burnley nee Harrison) few surviving papers are some interesting items.  There is a newspaper obituary of her father who died in 1933 and several letters about the business of clearing up his estate, but the oddest of all is a page from the Gomersal Book Society.  This must date between 1904-1913 … Continue reading »

Categories: Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Is it never finished?

Researching one’s family can be a lifelong hobby – especially as there are so many different branches of any family to trace back.  But most of us aim to have a finished ‘product’ which we can circulate within the family or a wider audience.  So when to stop following up those distant relatives?  My family … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

A bizarre accident?

James Burnley (born 1831) died suddenly, age 36, in August 1867.  James’ death and the birth of his seventh child, William, were announced in The Leeds Mercury on the very same day.  There is a story that the cause was a bizarre industrial accident[1].  He was said to be near the top of a stack … Continue reading »

Categories: Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: | 2 Comments

What next, when it’s finished?

We are each taking stock of where we have got to over the past three years of working on our family history and I think now have realistic goals and a lot more confidence about the next stages.  I have finished my writing, bar filling a few holes in research, and am receiving feedback on … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , | Leave a comment