browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Is it never finished?

Posted by on July 10, 2014

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 story is centred on the Burnley family and their wool mill in Gomersal, Yorkshire and I have made many trips there to find out more.   However, my great great grandfather, George Herbert Burnley (1841-1917) went into farming and by 1879 had left Yorkshire to farm near Newark.  It doesn’t actually alter the focus of my story as his only son, Thomas Lockwood, returned to Yorkshire to join the family business and his son was apprenticed to do the same, but it is a tantalising byway.

One of those cutlery items

One of those cutlery items

George Herbert Burnley was at Lower Hexgreave farm from about 1879, then Python Hill Farm by 1885 and retired to Farnsfield village by 1891 at the rather young age of 50 but the why and how will forever remain a mystery.  I can speculate that the long downturn in farming meant his son saw no future in it and/or that his childless uncle offered him a role in the family mill business but will never know for sure.  In contrast to the Yorkshire ancestors who stayed in one place, this ‘rolling stone’ left few traces.  I have no photo of him – only some ugly silver plated cutlery monogrammed with his initials and a huge heavy Bible which he gave to his only son on his marriage in 1892 with best wishes for his welfare – a rather stilted message.

Front page of that family Bible

Front page of that family Bible

GH moved to Llanfarfechan in Wales some time after 1906, with his wife Emma. His two unmarried daughters joined him and died there themselves in due course.  I did commission some research from the Nottinghamshire archives recently which turned up very little.  I doubt I shall travel to Wales to explore further especially as it is peripheral to my main story and a long way to go.  So this ancestor will be ‘parked’ but not entirely forgotten.



4 Responses to Is it never finished?

  1. Diana Devlin

    Yes, one does have to be firm about which leads to follow. The net definitely goes wider than the main characters one is following, as they themselves would have been part of their own family network. As I go through the generations, I find that I allow various twigs to drop off the branches. So my May Osmund chap was a bit like a trail of ivy hanging on to a main branch.

  2. Nicola Stevens

    Well I think the work comes to a point when it can be considered finished and published, but I am sure that more information will come to light later. so I look forward to a 2nd/updated version in the future. Well done for all your effort so far!

  3. Annie Hedington

    I always feel a special responsibility towards those minor characters in the far reaches of the family tree. The ability to research and write about them is not that commonplace, and if we don’t remember and make known their lives, we condemn them to a second death. I’m grateful to all those ancestral families who donated their DNA to me and made me what I am. However, I shan’t be passing the DNA on, and the property will doubtless end up in skips, so I hope someone writes my story. Hmm. Just in case, maybe it’s time to dig out that noddy book of autobiographical memoir writing….

  4. Ruth Symons

    Hello Margaret
    Just found this site. Emma Botterill was my GreatGrandfather’s sister. I have been researching Edwin Botterill and his family in Australia and have branched out to include has brothers and sisters. So interesting to read about George Herbert Burnley.
    Interested to know if you have any information on the Botterill family.
    Ruth Symons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *