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19th Century

The redoubtable May Osmund Alonzo Durant

As promised in my last blog, I now reveal some of the history of this remarkable man. He was born at Tong Castle, Shropshire, in May 1816, the youngest of 14 legitimate children. We know little about his childhood, except that by 1822 his mother left the family home for the last time. At the … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Detour with the Durants

Some time ago I blogged about the last will and testament of one of my ancestors.  He had stipulated that if the husband of his married daughter Catharine so much as crossed the threshold of the family home, she would lose her inheritance.  I was not particularly interested in following up this daughter, as the … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, 19th Century | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Lloyd George Knew My . . .

. . .well, not my Father, but my great-great uncle. We usually think of family history as covering the lives of people who were not public figures in their own right, but they sometimes appear at the periphery of the lives of the famous. Randal Casson (1850 – 1914), younger brother of my great grandfather, … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

What Do I Think I’m Doing?

At the last meeting of the Writing Family History group, we thought it would be good to take stock of our projects, so that’s what I’m doing. Three years ago I was approaching near-retirement and clearing up my late parents’ house, my stepfather having died in the autumn of 2010, leaving some papers about my … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, How we write | Tags: | Leave a comment

An old legal document

Further finds unearthed while clearing the house include an impressive legal document, handwritten on parchment. Measuring 60cm x 75 cm approx it is an indenture dated 11th March 1859 between Sarah Newnham Hall of Paddington Green [a widow] and Thomas Tidy of Titchbourne St, a builder.It is an 80 year lease which refers to a … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Mrs Chapone’s Advice

In this season of New Year resolutions, there is usually an explosion of self-help books, instructing us how to keep fit, healthy and happy.  It so happens that I have just started to peruse a self-help book from the 18th century, having reached the appropriate date in my ‘shitty first draft’ . One of the … Continue reading »

Categories: 18th Century, 19th Century, Books we've read | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

The Right to Bear Arms

One of the next things on my To Do list is to visit the College of Arms, having had abolutely no joy in e-mailing them or attempting a telephone conversation.   I want to know the full significance of three sealed documents which have come down my family from the early 19th century. The first … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, Legacies | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Great-grandpa and the Institution of Civil Engineers

Earlier in June my professional body, the Institution of Civil Engineers, announced that its membership records dating back to 1820 and up to 1930 had been launched on the Ancestry website. As well as featuring the most famous civil engineers of the pas,t such as Brunel and, Rennie, the records include my great grandfather, Alfred … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, How we write | Tags: , | 3 Comments

A 19th Century Questionnaire

One of the hardest things I’ve found when trying to write my family history is imaging their thoughts; lucky are those who have decades of letter and diaries to refer to, I have largely anonymous photographs which do not give me a window to the soul.  But recently I acquired a book that may help … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, Books we've read, How we write, Journeys | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Motherhood – a risky proposition?

Earlier in the year, there were celebrations of Pride and Prejudice, marking the bi-centenary of its publication.  This set me off on what has become a veritable feast of Jane Austen, rereading all the major novels, also John Mullan’s What Matters in Jane Austen, then Paula Byrne’s The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small … Continue reading »

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