Hello everyone. Happy new month. I’m writing from Florida where I returned last week to celebrate my Ruby wedding with the long-suffering (about 40 years!) Mrs H. So please forgive the vanity picture, taken at London Corinthian Sailing Club right by the River Thames in the middle of London, on September 26, 1980. We were lucky that day that the traditional British autumn gales stayed away! I won’t reminisce too much but I will say that I could not have predicted that we would live in close to 25 different locations during our marriage, in six different countries, have two super boys, both married, and a lovely granddaughter. We have been blessed . . . OK, enough already!
It’s been a strange month. While in the UK I spent a lot of time sorting through many of our family photographs with a view to trying to figure out who was who and talking to some of m older relations to get their help. As a result, I was given a family bible from my great-grandmother’s family – in fact she is the very first entry, the first of ten children, starting in 1874. Her father was a churchwarden and purchased a highly illustrated, leather-bound bible that must weigh close to ten pounds! Funny really. I always wanted to find a family bible. My father’s ancestors were so poor that I once found a page of birth details ripped out from a family prayer book as part of my great-great grandfather’s records from the charity home in which he spent his final days.
Despite my meanderings and family photographs, we added almost 1,400 people during the month and ended up with over 175,400 people in our database. We solved a number of puzzles for and with our correspondents. I say “with” because as I have observed in this newsletter before, “Four eyes are better than two” - it really helps to have some back and forth to solve a problem and extend someone’s family father back in time. Just this evening, I finished working with a correspondent on her Howes family from South Africa, managing to push back a farther generation and add a considerable number of cousins for her. If you have ancestors from there, do take a look for fresh records at FamilySearch.org particularly. You will find baptism, marriage, death and probate records that were not there only two or three years ago.
John Howes (1750-1833)
One of my other aphorisms from our work in this study is, “Nobody studies their family like a family member”. My re-inforcing evidence this month comes from correspondent Stephen Giles who shared with my a Wikipedia page he had written on his ancestor John Howes who was an artist of miniatures and works in enamel back in the late 18th century. Stephen has done a fantastic job of researching his ancestor and publishing the results as you can read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Howes_(painter).
You will note that he was a member of the old London Merchant Company of Clockmakers “by patrimony”. Basically, because John’s father was a Freeman of the City of London, he could become so too, by virtue of his father. Now, John’s father was not just any old clockmaker. He was the Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers back in 1777. Stephen even spotted that despite his appearance in a listing as master in an old book, here: https://archive.org/details/someaccount ... 6/mode/2up, the Worshipful Company had omitted him from their own list. Stephen also proceeded to write a biographical piece on William for the Company and shared a copy with me for placing on our site. Not yet done. Mea culpa. Apologies, Stephen. It will be done before the end of this week.
Do you have master clockmakers from the London Company among your forebears? There are two HOWSEs and four HOWESes among the list here: http://www.clockmakers.org/wp-content/u ... 1May13.pdf
Are there others among us with illustrious forebears deserving of a Wikipedia page? Let me know if you have a go!
As I foreshadowed last month, RootsTech 2021 will be dramatically different from prior conferences. It will be totally online. IT WILL BE FREE TO ATTEND with no need to travel to Salt Lake City to brave the winter elements! Dates are February 25 to 27, 2021.
If you would like to improve your family history skills in any one of a wide variety of different areas do go to https://www.rootstech.org and register. The program is being worked up right now but I have no doubt that it will include technical topics from all parts of the world, to organizing reunions, to learning and using software, to storytelling, and to presentations from all manner of companies involved in our field. There will certainly be multiple presentations on the go at any one time.
Origin of our name
Regular readers will know that I believe our name comes from “the people who lived by the hill”. However, there are one or two other possibilities, one of which is actual places.
As noted in this article, https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/l ... e-18783487, there was a village called Howes just North of Cambridge though it died out in the 1600s. There was a district of that name for a couple of hundred years after that, but the only reference today is the sign for Howes Close which you will occasionally see as part of the rotating images on our home page.
Howes in the news
Just a couple of items this month:
- spare a thought for our sportsmen and women in the lock downs. Cyclist Alex Howes explains: https://www.businessinsider.com/tour-de ... ?r=US&IR=T
- the UK charity sector lost a major fundraiser this month too – the cycling connection is purely co-incidental:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... -hill.html
I’m very pleased to say that two people came forward with donations after my request last month. So, with my matching funds, our certificate buying program will resume this month. Both our donors are Canadians – thank you, gentlemen. At the request of one of them, I will be spending a little time trying to trace British Home Children, who were shipped to Canada from the UK and often had rough lives there as they grew up, not that their home lives had been a bed of roses either.
Thanks to some creative thinking we now have several ways for anyone else to contribute if you would like:
- paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org – use the currency of your choice
- transfer to my bank account in UK or US - write for details
- cheques/checks in either currency
- money order in Pounds Sterling or US Dollars
- Starbucks card. Just buy a card in your own currency, and send me an email with the card number and security code.
Thanks for your continued support. Paul
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