Happy new year everyone. A big THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed over the past year, including those who have shared family details, certificates, photographs and other memorabilia and especially to Ian, Mike H, Mike T, Judith and Chris, Kelvin and Richard who have all helped massively in the effort behind this site. Quiet thanks too to those members of the Guild of One-Name Studies who have performed "marriage challenges" for various registration districts in the UK and occasionally beyond, providing us with raw material from marriage registers making it easier to reconstruct families. It's no joke to say that our Guild membership has saved us a huge amount of money in certificate ordering, though that is far from being the only benefit!
Current state of play
As we close out 2014, we have 92,811 people in our database, almost all of them already in reconstructed family groups, close to half of whom have one of our five study names. We added another 1,400 people this month. We are inches away from 1,000 correspondents. And of our master list of 23,767 marriages from England and Wales from 1837-1950 we know the names of both parties for 14,400 and the actual location of the marriage for almost 5,600.
We now have close to 1,900 images on our site and are always looking for more. Do you have photos of people or places or certificates you might share? (For reasons of space we restrict images only to people named Howes, House, Howse, etc at birth or death). Many thanks to Paul Howes of Boston, Mass. who sent us a month ago many, many Howes gravestone images all from one graveyard in Ashfield. (We're still getting those online.)
All of our ancestors lived their lives in a context, of course. Some influenced events, e.g., Colonel House, a close advisor to President Woodrow Wilson for many years. All had events influence them, some more suddenly then others, and for them we continue our efforts to honour those who served their country.
During the course of our work sometimes something really surprising jumps of the screen at us. For example, one of the images that Paul Howes sent us was of a war memorial in Ashfield, Mass. containing the name of Sylvester S Howes, who died in 1863. He and the others on that memorial were honored for their service in the "War of Nationality". There was only one relevant war at that time and that was the American Civil War, but I'd never heard of it referred to in that way before. I don't think it's my ignorance since Google doesn't throw up any obvious Civil War references when you type in that phrase. Does anyone else recognize the term?
Good and bad news
I receive a daily update for fresh references to people named Howes, Howse etc, around the world. (Sadly House names are much more problematic, for reasons they will understand!) Two items of particular note this month were:
- the passing of Geoff Howes, a former mayor of the city of Northampton in England. Our condolences to his family. You can read more about Geoff at: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/St ... z3MAvpg6gt
- a heartwarming story from Bradenton, Florida of a pet returning to his family after being missing for 18 months, thanks to Facebook! Read it here: http://www.bradenton.com/2014/12/24/554 ... racle.html. BTW, Landon is not in our database. Does anyone know his family?
Puzzle Corner - bizarrerie!
As my neghbors would say, this is a doozie! Mike Howes and I puzzled about this a few weeks ago and we thought we'd open this up for your comments. The issue revolves around Albert Stanley Howes (http://howesfamilies.com/getperson.php? ... ee=Onename). He was born in 1887 apparently into relative poverty and did very well for himself according to his probate record.
What interested us particularly were:
- his baptism record (mentioned in the database) states that he was born on 7 Jan 1888 and baptised at Harborough Magna on 5 Aug 1888, the son of shepherd Albert Howes & Caroline Louisa Howes of Manchester.
- his birth certificate (copy online) gives his birth as 05 December 1887 at Harborough Magna, the son of office clerk Albert Howes and Caroline Louisa Howes formerly Howes – informant A Howes, father, of Harborough Magna 12 Dec 1887
- there's no record of a Caroline Howes marrying an Albert Howes nor any relevant marriages for either so far as we can tell, EXCEPT THAT Caroline Louisa Howes had already married Thomas Willis in 1885 before Albert Stanley’s birth
Our questions involve:
- who went to the register office to register the birth?
- Albert Stanley was baptized with his cousin whose dad was a policeman! The vicar made no note that any of the parents was absent for the baptism. So who was the father and why did everyone connive in the lie in front of God and a man of the law?
- why didn't the dates of birth tie up, given how recently after birth the baptism took place?
- why did the father's occupation change SO dramatically so quickly? You'd think that someone making something up would have kept the same story. Shepherds dressed a whole lot differently to clerks in those days. Were two different men involved in the fiction?
- was Albert Stanley in fact someone else's child, Caroline's sister, Ellen Jane, perhaps? We note that a couple of public Ancestry trees believe this to be the case but provide no evidence.
- is there a rational explanation for all of this that we haven't spotted?
- what happened to Caroline Louisa Willis, nee Howes?
As I said, a doozie!
Can you help us, please?
Firstly: are you open to making a financial contribution towards our research efforts? This site is strictly non-commercial and I am happy to fund the cost of putting it online. However, we have a long list of certificates we would like to purchase to answer questions about who belongs where. We've had two contributions in the past, and they have helped fund some certificates. If you can help, please do write me at paul "at" howesfamilies.com
Second: do you have a subscription to Scotland's People website? The Howes/etc names are mostly Southern England in origin but there are a few families "north of the border" (particularly House) whom we would like to know more about.
Third: I referred to our efforts to honor Commonwealth war dead (over 700 people at http://www.cwgc.org, alone). Is there someone out there who might be interested in US war deaths for us?
Fourth: I just discovered that the electoral registers for the county of Norfolk in England from are online at familysearch.org for the years 1844 thru 1952. Does anyone fancy going through some of them looking for our study names? It seems that not every year has been indexed but some have been which will make the task a LOT easier. In case you are interested for your own purposes, you can find the collection at: https://familysearch.org/search/collction/1824705
Fifth, and this will likely help everyone, Dick Eastman recently referred to online archives of books and magazines containing material of genealogical interest here:
http://blog.eogn.com/2014/12/26/more-th ... le-online/
Does anyone fancy picking a single book from a single archive?
Sixth: newspapers . . . I could go on!
Publicity for our site
Three years ago, I was pleased to meet several of you, including some distant relatives, at the "Who Do You Think You Are?" show in London where I gave a presentation about this study and how the internet has 'changed the game'. I'm going to be doing the same thing again next year, but at a new venue. The 2015 WDYTYA show will be at the NEC in Birmingham between April 16 and 18. Hope you can be there. I expect that I'll be on the Guild of One-Name Studies stand much of the time. If you can come, please do stop by and say hello.
Thank you everyone for your continued support.
Happy new year/bonne année/blwyddyn newydd dda/Gutes neues Jahr/gelukkig nieuwjaar/feliz año nuevo etc!