Hello everyone. I really shouldn't do this, but I am going to complain about the weather again! I just spent the weekend sailing at a regatta on the Norfolk Broads. The temperature barely reached 15C (59F in old money). We've had Northerly winds for weeks. With nothing between us here and the North Pole it stays chilly. As we say round here, "Tha's a lazy wind. Tha's soo lazy, that don't bother te go round ye; that go right through ye!"
Despite my having been off sailing for ten days or so this month, we've added 900+ people to the master file, finishing at 186,516. When I think about the places we've worked on, they include families from New Jersey, New York, Canada, South Africa & Zimbabwe as well as the usual England and Wales records. I also worked my way through a few more pages from the Howes Genealogy book and have now passed page 400. Since much of the rest of the book is narrative, and index, I have a maximum of 100 pages to go, meaning I've done 80 % of it already. Phew! I've been able to add a few more details to some of the families too.
A few months ago, I asked whether anyone had a Newspapers.com subscription. Nobody came forward. So I took one myself, just to experiment and see what it’s like. One of the benefits I've found is that their Optical Character Recognition is way better than most other newspaper sources, meaning that it's much easier to find what one is looking for. To put it another way, it’s more difficult to miss what you are seeking! I was pleasantly surprised to find too, that they have a group of British publications, many national papers like the Times and the Guardian, which aren't available from FindMyPast. So I've been working my way through their British records, looking explicitly for marriages. I’ve had two real surprises from that so far, both affecting the Howes family of Cape Cod:
- first, I found the actual date and place of the marriage of Captain Abner J Howes to Elizabeth Day back in 1852 in Liverpool, she hailing from Gloucestershire, originally. I've not even tried to look to see how often Abner travelled to the UK, but he must have been there before or have been some kind of stud to have whisked the young lady off her feet between tides!
- second, when one searches for a name, one picks up Howes as a middle name too. George Howes Payson was born in Brooklyn and married in 1889 in Bergen County, New Jersey. However, the Manchester Evening News reported his marriage to Constance Jackson in 1852 because she had left the Manchester area many years prior and yet her family was still well known thereabouts.
So, the message from this is: don't give up! The one piece of your brick wall waiting to be knocked down may be hiding in plain sight in an old newspaper!
A few updates for the family historians among us
1) FindMyPast has just made one million pages of British newspapers free to use by the public. To see and search the free pages, you will need to register for an account with them if you don't already have one. Once you sign in, at the top of the page, click on search and then look down the list for "Newspapers and Periodicals" and click on it.
2) Ancestry.com has changed its terms of service, basically giving them the right to use all user-submitted content. This has caused a few people to become rather nervous about submitting family pictures. I'm not personally troubled by the change, since I only have one tree with the basic bones of my family structure in it, going back eight generations. I call it "cousin bait", and it works from time to time!
However, comments I was reading online made me stop work on what I had been doing for a few days and work my way through thousands of images to try to find certificate images from users' trees, in case users start to pull them down. I don't copy the certificates themselves, but I do transcribe them. Since it's frequently tricky to figure out who uploaded the original certificate, and I just don't have the time to investigate each one, I mention in the notes section that I've seen the original in a member's tree.
3) MyHeritage's chief genealogist, Daniel Horowitz, is running a weekly series of 30-minute "Ask the Expert" conference calls. To register, click on the following link: https://myheritage.zoom.us/meeting/regi ... KRmCLoxR94. Alternatively, you can watch the call at Daniel's facebook account from the link on the page mentioned above. The times don't work particularly well for Australia and New Zealand, or for anyone in North America who has to work, but if you can schedule around it, I recommend it. I know Daniel and he is a good, knowledgeable speaker.
Everything’s bigger in Texas
It’s true, right? Certainly, it seems to have applied to Howes Great London Circus, I’ve reproduced the picture below for those who will not have seen my covering email. It’s from the Denison News of 1876.
(Sorry but I had to cut it to fit - there's way more material below. To see the original, go to https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531 ... 4/?q=howes)
I found this page quite by accident, while helping another member of the Guild of One-Name Studies find reference to her family in Texas. I had not realized but there is a massive archive of material for old Texas publications at https://texashistory.unt.edu/ . If you have any connections to the Lone Star State, this site is a must.
I did a search for Howes, of course, and this was the first article to pop up. I simply marvel at the bravado of Seth Howes or his publicist to talk in such hyperbolic terms about his circus. It was an act of marketing genius, I think, to use the word “London” in the title. What better, more subtle way of reminding people of the fact that you had the absolute best performers from around the world and the best selection of animals too? And they took almost a WHOLE PAGE advert out in the local newspaper for what is even today just a small town of 20,000 people. Of course, the circus then had to deliver on the promises, and they clearly did.
That’s all folks. Hope we get some global warming here! Have a good September.
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