Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Making history

Will this be tomorrow's history?


For those of you not familiar with Wing at all, at 34 seconds young Postman George wanders past the lychgate of All Saints Church, then heads up Church Street towards High Street.

(for those of you more familiar with Wing than me - any other spots of particular note in this short video?)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Transcript software

This week I downloaded Transcript, a freeware program to help you transcribe from image files into a Rich Text file. This program loads the image in the top half of your screen, and you can type in the editor in the the bottom half of the screen.

I've tested it out by transcribing the 1895 Kelly's directory using it, and I do think I'll keep using it. It's not perfect - most notably I'd love it if it could save in plain text format or HTML format natively (so I don't have to open the RTF file and resave as TXT, then open and resave the TXT file as HTML if I'm transcribing something for the website). I'm also still experimenting getting images extracted out of PDFs so that they can be opened in Transcript. But overall the program is sensible and streamlined, features I always appreciate!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Attorneys in Leighton Buzzard

Most of the Wing wills I've been looking at the last two weeks (in the 1804 to 1808 period) have various WILLIS men as witnesses. It transpires that these men are attorneys practising in Leighton Buzzard, including one Valentine WILLIS who initially baffled me by signing his name as Val with a superscript e. The Willis family appear to continue on in this line of work in Leighton Buzzard throughout the century.

Interestly, Elizabeth KEEN refers to David Willis as her "esteemed friend" when appointing him as executor.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Genealogical hardware

Just back from an evening visit to the Family History Centre at the local LDS, and my new netbook (Acer Aspire One D150 for those with enquiring minds) acquitted itself very well. Light to carry, quick to load up, and much much easier to type up wills than to attempt to read my handwriting at a later date!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Random (somewhat farm-related) fact

You'll be pleased to know that the temperature at Burcott Lodge Farm from 25th to 30th June 1866 was a consistent 80F/27C. We have Robert VALLENTINE and his detailed record-keeping to thank for this - Robert was busy harvesting his first clover crop for the year over those dates. Robert also liked to share his conclusions with others, this isn't the first time I've come across reference to him and the farm in print! This particular snippet can be found in Talks on Manures by Joseph Harris, should you feel the urge to explore that particular topic further...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not so focused on farming

In my defence, as well as not making any progress so far this month on the farming pages I haven't made progress on anything else genealogical......

However, the last of the films I ordered back in August last year at the local LDS Family History Centre arrived this week. This particular film has the original wills in the probate records for the Archdeaconry of Buckinghamshire for the 1803 to 1808 period. A quick initial visit to see how the contents were structured and locate a couple of the wills I was after pretty much comprises all my genealogical research for the month!

And perhaps I can claim that it was connected to the Wing farms project, as one of those wills was for Robert ADAMS in 1804 - he farmed at Burcott House Farm.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Statistical fun

Dick Eastman's newsletter led me to a new resource today, histpop.org. This has a variety of historical reports and commentaries about the population of the UK from 1801.

So far I've been browsing the Registrar-General's annual reports. The contents vary somewhat each year, but if (for example) your ancestor drowned and you wanted to know how many others had the same fate that year, it's quite possible that you will find it here amongst the tables of statistics in these reports.

FYI Wing falls into Division III: South Midland.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Focus on farming

After getting distracted on all manner of interesting and/or timeconsuming genealogical or real-life things, I'm going to try and stay focused on completing the overview of farming in Wing. Agriculture was fundamental to the Wing economy, so this section will be a biggie! I suspect it'll be one that's never quite complete either, there'll always be more snippets to add and certainly there will be documents at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies that I may or may not be able to get my hands on (all volunteers who might be able to help me out on that front gratefully appreciated).

My intention is to summarise the farming system, the farms of Wing and their resident families, and get that up on the website as soon as possible. It can then expand as people contribute relevant information.

In the meantime, if you have any information about your farmer family please email me. I've already accumulated some interesting snippets from your emails in the past, like the family gossip as to why the HEDGES farm at Cottesloe was split up and eventually lost. If you've researched the farm your ancestors worked, do let me know what you discovered. Photos of the farm, then or now, would also be great!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

LMA at Ancestry - name indexes

I noted in a previous blog entry that one of the three new databases of records from the London Metropolitan Archives now up at Ancestry has not been indexed by name. Word from Ancestry, via a response to my question on their blog, is that they are focusing their time on indexing the parish records in the LMA series, and may go back to index some of the less critical LMA databases later on.

I do hope they eventually go back and index them all, but I certainly agree that the parish registers are a higher priority.

I also wish that while we're waiting for Ancestry to maybe get around to indexing that database, someone out there in internet-land would put together a detailed list of the individual documents/registers within that one "records" database. That would be a much more helpful finding aid than taking forever to drill down to see what documents are in there, then not knowing exactly how the images are structured, then giving up before you get to the real information (like I almost did with the example below). Entries like...

"Register of Apprentices Bound or Assigned by the Board of Guardians of the Parish of St Johns Hampstead 1851 to 1890 - LMA ref HPBG/110 - images 2 to 11 lists apprentices alphabetically with a folio number, this folio number corresponds to images 12 to 20 which contains the detailed entry including their age, parents, date and details of apprenticeship entered into"

...with a link to the Ancestry page which links to the images for that set of documents. Wouldn't that be 100 times better? Anyone want to put that together? I'm already occupied with my Wing vision......

April update

This month the 1869 Post Office directory was added - this helps fill the gap between the 1864 directory and the 1871 census. This directory also sees the first time a member of the ROTHSCHILD family appears listed as a resident in Wing.

Two more military men were added, Jeffrey TEARLE in WW1 and Ernest Henry GIBBS in WW2. I still only have a handful of Wing WWII men - if your father or grandfather served and should be there, email me to let me know his details.

I've also done the periodic checking of external links from the website, so various pages have been updated with corrections to those.

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