The Gloucestershire Family History Society (GFHS) was founded 40 years ago this April. As we all know, 40 is a significant birthday (hang on though, if 60’s the new 40, that only makes them 20… Move on! Ed) and so it was only right and proper that this milestone was marked by a special event.
And so, on Sunday 28 April, we were joined by around 250 people who came to see the GFHS in their smart new home at the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub- a pleasingly high number as lots of people had heard about the event on BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Some 40 GFHS volunteers were on hand during the day to welcome visitors and show them the Resource Centre.
Nearly a year ago, I wrote a blog post detailing a large importing project I had begun to undertake. (Sadly?) As I publish this it is my final day Gloucestershire Archives. I will be jumping across the country to West Sussex, and so I thought it would be worthwhile to write about all the hard work our volunteers have contributed to our catalogue. Many of these collections have now been listed to piece level, providing greater detail with names, occupations, dates and other information that will undoubtedly come in handy for family and house historians. To list them first crudely, these collections have now had additional information added to their series and items:
A page from DA26/226/1 – Record of Arrivals by Dursley Rural District Council during World War One, now listed at piece level entry on our Online Catalogue
When was the last time you smacked your funny bone? That’s an unfair question really, as I can’t remember when I last did it. Maybe you did it last week though. Or yesterday. There might even be someone reading these words right now and they are just about to reach out for a cup of tea and – wallop – the sharp edge of a table or chair goes right into their elbow joint.
I could write anything now, as they won’t be reading this at all. They will be grabbing their elbow instead, which will be fizzing with pain. The pain will slowly grow and steadily move up their forearm and into their fingertips. It will feel as though their entire arm has been attacked by twenty crazed cheese graters. Their face will be screwed up in agony and they will be attempting to recite all of the known swear words in the English language. Plus a few unknown ones too, for good effect.
There is one thing that is certain though: funny bones are anything but funny. Funny bones don’t tell hilarious anecdotes. Funny bones don’t play the make-yourself-dizzy game and then fall headfirst into a hedge. That is funny. So why are they called funny bones? Surely they should be called agony bones or arrrggghhh bones.
A very peculiar unsolved missing persons case took place between 1660 and 1662 in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. On 16 August 1660, a 70 year old man, William Harrison disappeared! He was steward to the Lady of the Manor and left his home to walk two miles to Charingworth. His manservant John Perry was sent to look for him, neither returned by the next day. So his son Edward Harrison was then sent to look for the pair, and on his way, of course, he meets John Perry, who had not been able to find his master; so they head for Ebrington and heard that Harrison had been there the previous night (he was going to see a tenant). During their return to Chipping Campden they heard that some of William Harrison’s items had been found on the road locally; including a hat slashed by a sharp implement, a bloodied shirt and neckband.
Not quite Sports Personality perhaps, but there’s been so much happening and so many achievements this year, that it’s worth a quick look back now before we move too far into 2019.
Due to problems with our contractors, our building work isn’t quite complete, but our shiny new public area is, by universal agreement, a huge improvement on what went before. It was good to leave behind our temporary research rooms at the end of March and to introduce improved opening hours including the first Saturday of each month. We’re particularly pleased to co-locate with our friends from Gloucestershire Family History Society, so the Heritage Hub really does feel like a partnership space now. Continue reading →
In my post yesterday I promised you two treasures from the Hicks Beach family archive. Ellice’s Victorian Christmas cards were the first, but for the second I want to take you nearly a century further back in time to the 1820s, where we meet Ellice’s great-aunt Jane Martha Hicks Beach and her book of riddles.
Jane Martha was the youngest sister of Ellice’s grandfather William, and after William’s wife (also called Jane) died, she helped him bring up his children. Jane was the family’s maiden aunt until she was 47 when she married a man called Edward St John, and she was known as “Aunt Jane” to at least two generations of the family. Ellice will have known her, as she didn’t die until he was seven years old.
Jane was a talented artist and was interested in botany and photography; the collection also includes some of her sketchbooks and photographs. She also seems to have had a fairly keen sense of humour, as the riddles in her book will show you. Many of them don’t make sense to modern eyes, some of them rely on early 19th century cultural knowledge, and some of them are a bit of a stretch, to say the least, but some of them still make sense (and are groan-inducingly funny) today. We have been posting some of them on our social media this last week, with their answers, but to entertain you over Christmas week, I thought I’d put together a few without their answers for you to puzzle over. Answers will follow in the New Year! Continue reading →
One of my favourite collections of all those I’ve catalogued over the years is the archive of the Hicks Beach family of Williamstrip in Coln St Aldwyn, Netheravon in Wiltshire, and Oakley in Hampshire. It is full of all sorts … Continue reading →