Now [April 2020] seems to be a good time to revise and restart the blog.
This is version 2 of the blog which I started almost five years ago, and things have come a long way. The main thing that links all of the posts is that they are about or involve previous generations of family, or extended family. The blog covers a period from about 1800 to about 1930.
It’s more an attempt to understand what people’s lives were like then than genealogy. But it does provide quite a lot of details if you are researching your family history. I’m slowly re-tagging some of the earlier posts so it should be easier to search using either the archives, or categories menus, or the search button which is on every page apart from this one.
It is also slightly weird quite how many times the same places come up, and not just in one family, but lots of them. I still find it very weird that my great grandmother, and my grandfather were living in the Uxbridge Road one hundred and twenty five years ago, about a mile away from where I live now, and no further than two and a half miles from where I have ever lived in London, including where I was born.
There is also a nice strand of poverty running through the tale, in some cases, both rich and poor in the same families. It helps add grit to the tale, and even then the coincidences of geography are odd. There’s a range of jobs in London going from M.P.’s, doctors, and mayors to labourers, coal and sand sellers to scavengers (not the most obvious of career paths to take).
The other tale that comes out very strongly is the number of priests, nuns, and vicars that crop up, not many bishops, a Papal chaplain, a few deans, and only one saint to date, all tempered with an awful lot of wine merchants, and the [almost] peasants.
As a Londoner, I would be ashamed if London wasn’t, inevitably, a major theme running through the whole story, but it is astonishing how far back the links go on both sides of the family. It’s at least two hundred years on either side, and probably before1776. It’s also strange how small an area people lived in; there are quite strong groupings in the East End, Bermondsey, the City itself, Hampstead, and Notting Hill [though when I was young we called it North Kensington].
Ireland is another big link for almost all the families; it is extraordinary to see how quickly, in some cases, people turn themselves from middle class Irishmen to upper-middle class Victorian Londoners. It’s fascinating to consider who these people thought they were – did they think they were Irish, British, part of the empire?? Certainly most seem to have moved from Ireland by 1920, and they weren’t all driven from Ireland by poverty. They weren’t Ascendency either, but they were prosperous, in some cases rather more than that, part of the Irish merchant class. But rather closer to the merchant princes of Ireland than a village shop-keeper.