Seeking Surrey Ancestors

Read All About It!

February 20, 20198:20 amLeave a Comment

I do love historic newspapers and I’m always amazed just how many of my ancestors (or anyone’s ancestors for that matter) get into them! They are such a wonderful resource and so many are now online that it is just too tempting to get side-tracked by the wealth of stories and trivia that they supply. […]

Working Women

February 8, 20197:49 amLeave a Comment

Working Women My friend is taking an online course with through Royal Holloway, University of London on the History of Women’s Rights. It looks fascinating and, of course, very topical just now. As she was telling me about the course, and as we are both ridiculously obsessed family historians, we got to chatting about the […]

Coincidences and Communication!

January 18, 20199:20 amLeave a Comment

Here’s an interesting coincidence; I have a colleague here at the History Centre who’s grandmother worked in the same factory as an ancestor of mine in Leigh in Lancashire.  What are the odds that two people meeting in a Record Office in Surrey might have that connection? Similarly, I met another friend and colleague here […]

Scandal and Fraud!

December 20, 20181:42 pmLeave a Comment

I’ve really enjoyed indexing the returns of prisoners in the quarter sessions and assizes (now available on our website) and although some of the stories are rather sad, some are quite funny and some quite intriguing. Take the case of Francis Alexander McCaull Smyth. In November 1912 he appeared before the quarter sessions court for […]

Sorting, Cleaning, Indexing and so much more!

December 6, 20182:59 pmLeave a Comment

We’re stock-checking for the next couple of weeks and having to do all those jobs we’ve been putting off because we can’t do them when we are open to the public. This is not always the best fun, I can tell you. It often involves intense physical work (re-shelving documents) cleaning documents (which can be […]

Family Stories!

November 14, 20183:11 pmLeave a Comment

My darling and sadly missed Aunty Sybil once described my great-uncle Colin as a ‘bit of a rapscallion’.  Isn’t ‘rapscallion’ a wonderful word?  The dictionary defines it as “a disreputable person; rascal or rogue”.  I feel this might be a little harsh for my great-uncle as, although I know very little about him, his claims […]

Who do we think they were!

October 25, 20182:21 pmLeave a Comment

When my friend (and partner in genealogical crime) Jill and I go out to family history events and fairs, we take with us two rather lovely old photograph albums. Now, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about these; they are NOT part of our archive. They were rescued by one of our […]

Going back even further…..!

October 12, 20184:14 pmLeave a Comment

My friend and colleague Isabel and I have been very busy writing and presenting a course on using and interpreting legal documents for family history. These include wills, marriage settlements, deeds and manorial records. Are any of you scared of tackling pre-1800 documents? I know I was! It’s one of those things which takes you […]

Far and Wide: researching our ancestors overseas

September 28, 20188:34 amLeave a Comment

Hello – did you miss me?  Sorry not to have blogged for 3 weeks but I’ve been having such an amazing time!  First of all, I had a holiday in Italy (yes, they do let me out from time to time!) and when I returned, we had lots of preparation for the wonderful London Family […]

A Woman of Mystery!

August 31, 20188:00 amLeave a Comment

You really can’t always trust what your ancestors say on the census – or on other documents for that matter.  My father’s maternal grandfather modestly describes himself as a ‘Cotton Spinner’ on the 1901 census when he was actually a partner in a very successful cotton mill employing over 250 people in the Wigan area.   […]