Ancestry.co.uk Blog » Susan Moncur http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk The official Ancestry.co.uk blog Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:06:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Who Do You Think You Are? – Alan Carr tracks a deserterhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/09/15/who-do-you-think-you-are-alan-carr-tracks-a-deserter/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/09/15/who-do-you-think-you-are-alan-carr-tracks-a-deserter/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2011 11:09:04 +0000 Susan Moncur http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=2736 I found Alan Carr’s Who Do You Think You Are? episode intriguing – I was constantly unsure what direction his tale was going to take. We started by exploring his northern mining roots. His grandfather Wilf Carr had all the promise to be a top footballer for Newcastle United only to be struck down by… Read more

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Who Do You Think You Are? on Ancestry.co.uk

I found Alan Carr’s Who Do You Think You Are? episode intriguing – I was constantly unsure what direction his tale was going to take. We started by exploring his northern mining roots. His grandfather Wilf Carr had all the promise to be a top footballer for Newcastle United only to be struck down by a knee injury and spend his working days down the mines instead.

But the programme soon changed track and we swapped to Alan’s maternal line. Alan and his mother’s knowledge of her family was very limited. Her father had been one of 12 children, born to Maria Annie Wayman and Henry Carter. This is where the mystery began, as Alan’s mother knew that they also went by the surname Mercer.

We then went on a fascinating journey through Mary Ann’s life. We first spotted her with Henry in the 1911 England Census. We then looked at the England, Birth Indexes and certificates of their 12 children. It became clear that they moved to Crayford in Kent in 1916 – Henry was working at a factory producing artillery for the war. But the question still remained what else was Henry doing during World War I?

At the Imperial War Museum, Alan and the researchers started looking at the WWI service records and Henry’s career history. We saw that he signed up in 1915 as part of the recruitment drive led by Lord Kitchener. However, Henry’s resolve soon came into question, as his conduct records showed he went absent without leave. On September 13th, he went missing again and this time did not return. They tried to track him down to his home in Camberwell, but he had disappeared with Mary Ann and the children.

Alan was embarrassed by this revelation – but he quickly changed his view and considered how different things may have been had Henry not deserted. The story then unravelled and we discovered that despite appearing in the Police Gazettes during this time and being a wanted man, Henry was able to evade capture with his family by changing their surname to Mercer.

I found the ending really thought-provoking, as domestic deserters is a subject I know so little about. I even found myself considering my view on this when I woke up this morning – considering the fear that young men at this time must have felt, particularly if they had a wife and family that they wanted to protect.

What are your thoughts on this difficult subject? Let us know in the comments below.

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Another Easter treat…http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/04/22/another-easter-treat/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/04/22/another-easter-treat/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2011 08:00:00 +0000 Susan Moncur http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=2151 To further celebrate the forthcoming nuptials of Kate and Wills – and to offer all of you an Easter treat – we’re making ALL our Canadian marriage records FREE from 22nd to 30th April. From today until 30th April you can access not only all the England and Wales Marriage Indexes but also ALL Canadian… Read more

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To further celebrate the forthcoming nuptials of Kate and Wills – and to offer all of you an Easter treat – we’re making ALL our Canadian marriage records FREE from 22nd to 30th April.

From today until 30th April you can access not only all the England and Wales Marriage Indexes but also ALL Canadian marriage records, totally free. Our Canadian marriage collections span over 300 years and contain 20 million records.

The great thing about the Canadian records is that they’re not just indexes – they contain comprehensive details of your ancestors’ special days. You can discover the date and place of the wedding, the full names, ages and addresses of the bride and groom, the groom’s occupation, and the names of each of their parents, You can even see personal signatures of both the bride and groom and their witnesses.

Canada has one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the world. This makes it a hot bed for finding any intrepid family members who followed their loves abroad.

Perhaps you’ll solve puzzles in your family’s past by uncovering marriages on Canadian shores? Find out more about Canada and all our records for the country

Search the Canadian marriage records now

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1911 – Your monthly updatehttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/03/30/1911-your-monthly-update/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/03/30/1911-your-monthly-update/#comments Wed, 30 Mar 2011 08:10:39 +0000 Susan Moncur http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=2086 Hopefully you remembered to complete your census form on Sunday? The 2011 Census dominated the headlines over the weekend – apparently over one million households completed their returns online, showing just how much life has changed over the past century. We were hoping to have some news of our own to share with you –… Read more

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Hopefully you remembered to complete your census form on Sunday? The 2011 Census dominated the headlines over the weekend – apparently over one million households completed their returns online, showing just how much life has changed over the past century.

We were hoping to have some news of our own to share with you – a release date for the first section of the 1911 Census on our site. If you’ve been following our monthly updates, you’ll know that this stage will include the scanned images of all the census pages for the whole country. We’ll then continue working to add indexes for these images over the course of the year.

The processing of images continues and is proceeding well. However, as we’ve said before it’s a huge undertaking and at the moment we don’t yet know exactly when they’ll be ready. So rather than guess a date and then frustrate you by having to move it, we’ll update you as soon as we know for sure.

Please keep checking this blog as we’ll bring you any news as soon as we have it. In the meantime, take a look at some of the interesting census-themed blog posts from last week.

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Member Story – “My great-grandmother ran off with a lodger”http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/03/22/my-great-grandmother-ran-off-with-a-lodger/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/03/22/my-great-grandmother-ran-off-with-a-lodger/#comments Tue, 22 Mar 2011 15:49:54 +0000 Susan Moncur http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=1999 Posted on behalf of Mike Sheldon, Leicester I found out my grandfather was the product of an illicit affair and eventual bigamous marriage. This led me to some incredible discoveries further back in my family tree. I knew my great-grandmother, Eliza, became a mother at 16 and married at 17. However, when I found her… Read more

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Posted on behalf of Mike Sheldon, Leicester

I found out my grandfather was the product of an illicit affair and eventual bigamous marriage. This led me to some incredible discoveries further back in my family tree.

I knew my great-grandmother, Eliza, became a mother at 16 and married at 17. However, when I found her listed in the 1901 Census as Eliza Burton, she was the head of her own household, with three children and a lodger named Thomas Sheldon – her husband was lodging some streets away.

My grandfather, William, was born later in 1901 and another brother George arrived in 1903.  The most obvious clue that something was amiss was that the last three children (all boys) had the middle name of Sheldon and the last name of Burton.

I discovered that Eliza and Thomas eventually married in 1906. I ordered the marriage certificate, and found her status was “widow”. I’m certain this was a lie, as I’ve found her husband alive and well at the time, and he in fact remarried himself in 1908. Still, there was no divorce to my knowledge.

I followed the family’s progress, and found my grandfather’s brother Albert was killed in a chemical poisoning incident at the British Celanese company near Derby in 1930.  Four others also died in the disaster, and it was even discussed in the House of Commons at the time. His widow received £800 compensation - a small fortune at the time.

I then worked backwards through the Sheldon line, and unearthed some fantastic family secrets. My favourite discovery was another Thomas Sheldon – my 3x great-uncle, had the words “Waterloo man” written on his burial record.

I dug deeper, and found his Army discharge papers at The National Archives – these were dated 1840 and stated he was in the Royal Horse Artillery at the Battle of Waterloo. You can see Thomas listed in the Waterloo Medal Roll.

Visit our members stories page for more great discoveries

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Updated…Ask the Expertshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/02/17/updated-ask-the-experts/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/02/17/updated-ask-the-experts/#comments Thu, 17 Feb 2011 10:58:01 +0000 Susan Moncur http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=1752 In this month’s issue of Updated our resident Ask the Experts answered some puzzling conundrums including a missing 3 x great grandfather and a clue on how to track down a soldier who looked to have left the army but appears in our WWI Medal Rolls. If you have a question you would like us… Read more

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In this month’s issue of Updated our resident Ask the Experts answered some puzzling conundrums including a missing 3 x great grandfather and a clue on how to track down a soldier who looked to have left the army but appears in our WWI Medal Rolls.


If you have a question you would like us to answer then send us your questions now*

*Terms and Conditions apply: I understand that by sending questions to ‘Ask the experts’, I grant Ancestry.com Operations Inc. a perpetual license to distribute or republish such questions at its discretion, with credit to me. I release Ancestry.com Operations Inc., its agents and assigns, from any obligation to make payment hereunder and from any liability incurred in connection with the use of the questions. Ancestry.com Operations Inc. may edit the questions for content, length, and/or clarity. I warrant that I am at least 18 years of age.

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Has British folklore doomed our summer?http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2010/07/16/has-british-folklore-doomed-our-summer/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2010/07/16/has-british-folklore-doomed-our-summer/#comments Fri, 16 Jul 2010 15:50:42 +0000 Susan Moncur http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=845 I felt a sense of apprehension yesterday when I looked out of the office window to see the sheets of rain hitting the Thames. Not only did I wonder where such rain had come from, but I remembered the old British folklore of Saint Swithun’s day. Sitting at work, I had a vivid recollection of… Read more

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I felt a sense of apprehension yesterday when I looked out of the office window to see the sheets of rain hitting the Thames. Not only did I wonder where such rain had come from, but I remembered the old British folklore of Saint Swithun’s day. Sitting at work, I had a vivid recollection of my grandmother reciting the folklore passage of Saint Swithun’s day:

St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain no more

I remember teasing my grandmother for such superstition and for giving such folklore tales credence. Unperturbed, she then regaled me with stories her grandmother had told her of many summers where it rained everyday for 40 days. Needless to say, I never truly believed her fabulous boasts, but I loved sitting there listening to her retell tales that were told to her by her grandparents.

Many of you have also enjoyed your family tales. Our members have been passing on their glorious family folklore stories to us for years. We’ve been so entertained by them that we’ve now given them a special section on our site. This means everyone can share and enjoy each family’s legendary characters and farfetched tales. So take some time to enjoy some great British legends and entertaining yarns and you may find an interesting use for snails…

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The history of the WAGhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2010/06/14/the-history-of-the-wag/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2010/06/14/the-history-of-the-wag/#comments Mon, 14 Jun 2010 17:48:01 +0000 Susan Moncur http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/?p=742 As England fans eagerly anticipated the kick-off of England vs. USA in the World Cup on Saturday and the rest of us sat back to enjoy (or dread) the football world’s jewel in the crown, I started to think about how footballers and more importantly their wives and girlfriends (WAGs), dominated our media and grabbed… Read more

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As England fans eagerly anticipated the kick-off of England vs. USA in the World Cup on Saturday and the rest of us sat back to enjoy (or dread) the football world’s jewel in the crown, I started to think about how footballers and more importantly their wives and girlfriends (WAGs), dominated our media and grabbed the headlines during the last World Cup.  Is this public obsession something my ancestors experienced as they enjoyed England’s 1966 World Cup victory?

During the 2006 World Cup, no-one could escape the entrance of the glamorous WAGs into popular culture but was this a new phenomenon or had they also dominated past World Cups?

Interest in footballers’ partners appears to date back at least to the late 1960s when England captain Bobby Moore (1941–93) and his first wife Christina Dean were regarded as the stylish “golden” couple – the Posh & Becks of the 1966 World Cup winning team. However, their lifestyles were quite different during the 1966 World Cup, as WAGs drove themselves to Wembley to watch their husbands and the FA booked them into a single function room in the Royal Garden Hotel at Kensington. Maybe their World Cup winning success went to their heads as in contrast when defending the 1970 World Cup in Mexico the England manager Sir Alf Ramsey (1920–99) expressed concern at the effects on the team’s cohesion of the presence of the wives players, so it seems that the effect of WAGs was not just isolated to Germany four years ago!

Still this year and under the watchful eye of Capello I look forward to this World Cup being dominated by the on-field activities and, dare I say it, possibly a repeat of Alf Ramsey and his team’s success of 1966!

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